Thursday, July 31, 2008

This Upsets Me

Why is it that expensive hotels charge an additional fee for internet service while internet service is free for many less expensive hotels?

If you don’t hear from me over the next few days, it is because I am staying at a fairly expensive hotel, and I’m probably not going to pay for internet service.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Steelers and Redskins Fans Wanted

The new Emeril Green show airing on Planet Green is looking for Redskins fans to appear on the show to cook tailgating food with Chef Emeril Lagasse. If you are interested, send an email to foodshowcasting@gmail.com and be sure to include the following: name, address, occupation, age, and a little bit of info on what your current tailgating meal includes. I was told that the show is looking for Redskins fans because the show is taped "in the DC area so we need someone who is local." Regardless, if you’re a Steelers fan or a fan of another NFL team, you have my approval to send them an e-mail.

Meanwhile, Mosser Casting is seeking Steelers fans as extras for the short film Tommy and Me on Saturday, August 9 at Heinz Field. There is no pay, but they will have BYO tailgate afterwards. However, you can’t just show up; you need to contact Ray Werner, the creator of the film, in advance. Ray needs your name, and you need information of where to go, how to dress (lots of black and gold), where to park (free) and exact time (early afternoon). Contact Ray at raywerner@mac.com or visit tommyandme.com. Since I mentioned above that Steelers fans should contact Planet Green, I guess it’s only fair that Redskins fans in Pittsburgh could contact Ray.

In case you were wondering here is the premise of Tommy and Me:

The story shows the compassion of the people, merchants in the Strip for an elderly homeless guy named Tommy, who is befriended by a young guy who works at Mike's Stuff (Mike Feinberg's). In the story, Tommy, who has a great white beard, is nicknamed Steelers Santa and becomes an icon of the Steelers Nation. The story unfolds from there.


The film is dedicated to Operation Safety Net who help care for the homeless in Pittsburgh.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Best Summer Song List

Two of the biggest hits this week (according to VH1) are New Kids on the Block’s Summertime (yes, we are in 2008) and Kid Rock’s All Summer Long (a song where Kid Rock ripped off, er, "sampled" Werewolves of London AND Sweet Home Alabama). Apparently inspired by these titles, I decided to rank the greatest songs with summer in the title.

10. In the Summertime – Mungo Jerry

My favorite band/artist with Mungo in its name.

9. Cruel Summer – Bananarama

You can’t make any type of music list without including Bananarama.

8. Summer Breeze - Seals & Crofts

7. Summertime – Sublime

6. Summertime Blues – The Who

5. School's Out for Summer - Alice Cooper

I gave Alice Cooper’s song the nod over The Who simply because it was featured in Dazed and Confused.

4. Summer in the City - Lovin' Spoonful

3. Boys of Summer – Don Henley (later redone by The Ataris)

2. Summer of ‘69 – Bryan Adams

One of PittGirl’s favorites

1. Summertime – DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince



Perhaps I have memories of this song being played at every camp dance or it simply came out during my formative years. Regardless, I will crank up the radio when this song is played.

So what do you think? Are there songs that I’m missing that you would include? Feel free to include your own rankings in the comments.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Quote of the Day

Neil Patrick Harris was on washingtonpost.com on Thursday answering questions about his life and his work on "How I Met Your Mother," "Doogie Howser MD," "Harold and Kumar" films, "Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog" and more. This is my favorite part of the Q&A:

Question: So what do you think happened to Doogie? Did he grow up, buy a Porsche and start a family practice in the suburbs?

Neil Patrick Harris: He probably developed an addiction to painkillers and wanders around with a cane at some hospital somewhere...

Awesome! NPH may be one of the coolest people ever!

Breaking News: Wegmans Coming to Alexandria

Sean’s Ramblings has learned that the greatest grocery store ever and winner of the "Does Wegmans Rule?" Experiment hopes to build a 150,000 sq. ft. store in Alexandria, Virginia as part of a proposed mixed-use development at Telegraph Road and Beulah Street.

The project will include retail, office space and residential units, and is located approximately 7.5 miles from Old Town Alexandria and 12.5 miles from the Fairfax store. It is also directly across from the main entrance to the Fort Belvoir Military Reservation.

Wegmans has signed a letter of intent and hopes to execute a lease in the near future. Because rezoning and site plan approval are both necessary for the project, there is no opening date or construction schedule at this time.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Television Trivia

The folks at Stump Trivia may have had a premonition that Dan was going to write about 1980’s television. Today’s trivia contest is directly related to television, some of these are from the decade that brought us MTV and the Los Angeles Summer Olympics.

All of these shows below star/starred a famous TV actor/actress who became famous from a DIFFERENT, more popular show that is no longer on the air. Your challenge is to name the actor/actress. An example is the TV show Joey. The answer is Matt LeBlanc. You do not need to indicate that LeBlanc was previously on Friends or that he was in a Bob Seger video with Daphne Zuniga.

1. Watching Ellie
2. Bob Patterson
3. Dave’s World
4. Ink
5. Hooperman
6. Veronica’s Closet
7. Normal, Ohio
8. Dirt
9. Dragnet
10. October Road

Please leave your answers in the comment section and don't use Google or IMDB. Good luck!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Mr. Taylor Goes to Washington

Woodland Hills High School’s own Jason Taylor is now a member of the Washington Redskins after being traded from the Miami Dolphins for a 2nd round draft pick in 2009 and a 6th round pick in 2010. Personally, I’m excited that I’ll be able to see the Pittsburgher in action as I haven’t watched too many Dolphins games over the years. Actually, I probably won’t watch many Redskins games either, but I’ll see highlights on local television and hear about the team on area radio. I hope that he has 15+ sacks and returns to the Pro Bowl. If the Redskins turn out to be 1-15, I’d be fine with that too.

There seems to be some mixed reactions about the trade. Overall, I think most Redskins fans are excited about adding an established pass rusher, but there is some concern about whether giving up a 2nd round pick is too much. In addition, The Washington Post’s Mike Wise writes that "the Redskins genuinely have to worry where Taylor's heart is in regard to football."

However, I feel like most people are not asking the important questions. Will Giant Jason Taylor join Jason Taylor in DC? I think it would be cool to see Giant JT on Pennsylvania Avenue.



The second question is will Edyta show up for some games.



Are John Riggins or Tony Kornheiser asking these critical questions? Someone get Dan Steinberg on this stat!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Ben Roethlisberger's New Pool

Courtesy of Greg, a fellow member of the DC Steeler Nation, these somewhat fuzzy pictures apparently show Ben Roethlisberger’s new swimming pool.









With the temperature over 90 degrees again in Washington today, is anyone else tempted to go for a swim in this pool?

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Sunday Links

It’s Sunday morning and you’re just sitting around before heading to the grocery store. Perhaps you’re watching a little bit of the British Open. You may possibly have an ultimate frisbee game at noon where it will be over 90 degrees and you’re worried about making sure you put on enough sunscreen. Or maybe not. Regardless, here are a few links for your Sunday morning and beyond:

Friday’s USA Today featured a story in its travel section about visiting Pittsburgh. This is now the second time in three weeks that a prominent newspaper featured Pittsburgh as a destination to visit.

In celebration of its 75th anniversary, the iconic restaurant Primanti Bros. is getting a street named after it.

Although the big story at the LGPA’s State Farm Classic is Michelle Wie’s disqualification, Ramblings’ favorite Erica Blasberg is tied for 14th.

I’m late to the game but you have to check out Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog. It’s a play/musical/I don’t know how to describe it starring Neil Patrick Harris and Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place’s Nathan Fillion. The three acts will stay up until midnight Sunday July 20th (that’s tonight people!).

Friday, July 18, 2008

1000

Thursday was a big day as the Emmy nominations were announced and the 2008-2009 NHL schedule was released. I will write about both of these evens soon, but this post is special. This is the 1000th post on Sean’s Ramblings. Actually, the fact that the Emmy nominations and NHL schedule were released yesterday seem to be appropriate as the vast majority of my posts tend to be about television and sports, specifically Pittsburgh sports.

I’m not going to do a "State of the Ramblings" at this time as I tend to save those for the anniversary of this blog. However, the fact that I have been able to write 1000 entries is pretty impressive in my opinion. I’d like to say that I hope to write 1000 more posts, but the pace of how much I write has decreased significantly since my first year, so who knows. (I hope this sentence hasn’t scared anyone; I’m not going anywhere.) With that written, I feel that my entries are much better than my first year, so it’s a quality over quantity deal.

As always, thanks to everyone for visiting whether this is your first here or you are a regular. While I really enjoy writing about my thoughts and experiences, I am grateful to all of you for actually reading what I have to write.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Random Ramblings

1. Do only people from Western Pennsylvania know the proper way to get Heinz ketchup out of the bottle or is this universally known?

2. The NHL schedule is supposedly coming out today. I need to plan some excursions to Tampa, Columbus and the 3rd annual hockey road trip, so let’s get going NHL.

3. Why does raspberry contain a letter P? Does anyone actually pronounce the P? Yes, I thought raspberry was spelled rasberry until recently. More accurately, I never really thought about it.

4. Need a tongue-twister. Say "Green Bean, Green Bead" five times fast.

5. I saw the movie Zodiac over the weekend. There are more ringing telephones in this movie than the Jerry Lewis telethon. (I’ll be here all week.)

6. Arjewtino is back from vacation. Good stuff as always.

7. If you happen to see Will Ferrell, tell him that he should go to Altoona next Monday, July 21. Will, if you’re reading this, show some love to Altoona and attend the Altoona Curve-Akron Aeros minor league baseball game!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

A Million Little Pieces

I am a terrific houseguest. I am nice, courteous and gracious. However, as a guest, I have also had a history of clogging toilets throughout the country. There have been several awkward moments over the years in which I had to ask the host for a plunger, including one such incident in which a New York City apartment manager needed to come to the rescue. I’m sure he really hated his job that day. I also think I treated my host to an expensive dinner that evening.

This past weekend may have taken the cake (who came up with this expression anyway). After entering and then exiting the restroom, I asked the hosts if they had a dust-buster. Fortunately, they did not act at all surprised by this request. Earlier in the day, we went to the beach and spent some time swimming in the ocean. Although I brushed the sand off of my bathing suit at the beach, hundreds of little seashells ended up in my pocket only to pour out when I was in the restroom. Even with the dust-buster and wet paper towels, I continued to find small shells throughout the weekend. Is this what "A Million Little Pieces" was about?



I hope that these stories don’t scare anyone from letting me stay with them in the future. I’ll be sure to bring flowers or buy dinner and drinks!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Hell is AirTran at Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson Airport

Flight delays, cancellations, two people working at customer service with over 100 people in line, missing pilots and/or flight crews and no one to help you at the gate. Welcome to Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson Airport on Sunday, July 13 and Monday, July 14! I should be writing this post from the Washington DC area, but unfortunately, I am not home. Hundreds of flights were cancelled and delayed on Sunday due to a storm. Although we arrived a few hours late, we were able to make it from Jacksonville to Atlanta Sunday evening in time for our flight to Baltimore-Washington International. However, our 7:50pm flight was delayed to 11:50pm. No problem as we had a lovely dinner at the airport Chili’s. And then we waited and waited and waited and watched for updates on the screen. The flight was rescheduled to 12:30am. We saw other flights rescheduled for 2:45am and 3:00am. At 12:25, the airline changed our gate. At approximately 1:30am, my brother called informing me that according to the AirTran website, our flight was cancelled. We didn’t receive official word at the gate from about this until close to 2:00. By this time, we were already on hold with AirTran for nearly 25 minutes before someone answered. We are now returning on the next available flight; late Tuesday morning as there were no flights on Monday on AirTran to Dulles, National or BWI.

The next step: where is our luggage and how do we get it? The answer: I don’t know! We went to baggage claim and had to ask AirTran to pull our luggage. After waiting another hour and fifteen minutes, we learned that our luggage is probably on its way to Baltimore. For all we know, the luggage could still be in Jacksonville or in some other tropical location like Cleveland.

While the delays and cancellations were completely due to the weather, I feel that AirTran deserves plenty of blame. They did not have nearly enough staff at the gates, at the baggage claim, for the planes, or available at customer service to assist the thousands of stranded passengers. The reason our flight was cancelled was because there were no flight attendants available. Apparently, the gate staff was counting on the flight attendants from a flight that arrived around 1:00 to work the Atlanta to BWI flight. However, that particular crew had already served the maximum number of hours it could for the day. AirTran should have realized this and either had another crew or cancelled the flight much earlier. Delta encountered the same problems as AirTran, but the Delta gates were empty by midnight as all of its flights either departed or were cancelled. Concourse C, where all of the AirTran gates were located, looked like it was the Wednesday before Thanksgiving even though it was 2:20am.

To top everything off, I awoke in the middle of the night (for me that was close to 7:00am after going to sleep around 5:00) with a terrible cramp in the back on my leg.

Off to Walmart to try and find some socks and underwear!


Update 2:55pm - I now have socks, underwear and deodorant courtesy of Target (and my credit card)! I also learned that our luggage made it to BWI. Finally, courtesy of Atlanta's WSB-TV, "Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue said he believes visitors to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport should be allowed to carry concealed weapons under a bill he signed into law earlier this year." Based on the amount of angry people at the Atlanta airport, I can't think of a worse idea.


Update Tuesday, July 15 - 4:30pm – We’re home! Our luggage arrived at BWI well before we did, but it was at the airport waiting for us. Thanks to DJ, Poof and Heinz for accommodating us refugees while in Atlanta. For everyone else who struggled traveling on Sunday or Monday because of weather/AirTran problems, feel free to continue posting your comments. It can be very therapeutic and you’re among friends who understand what you went through.

Friday, July 11, 2008

The "Does Wegmans Rule" Experiment Results?

Now that the "Does Wegmans Rule" experiment is complete, we (lacochran & I) thought it would be nice to share the results. For those of you new to this challenge, we asked for volunteers (here and here) to take a checklist to their local grocery store and price the following items:

- 1 dozen large eggs
- 1/2 gallon Bryers vanilla
- 1 pound of bananas
- 1 head of romaine lettuce
- 1 box of San Georgio Spaghetti
- 1 1000 sheet roll of Scott toilet tissue
- 1 cup of Dannon Light ‘N Fit yogurt
- 1 12oz. can of Spam luncheon meat

We figured that this would give a wide variety of products that are commonly used. Well, except for Spam because Spam is funny and makes us think of Monty Python.



Our gracious volunteers visited these stores:

- Wegmans in Fairfax, VA
- Harris Teeter – Herndon, VA
- Shopper’s – Alexandria, VA
- Greenbelt Co-op – Greenbelt, MD
- Giant – Alexandria, VA
- Giant – Reston, VA
- Safeway – Fairfax, VA
- Kroger – Atlanta, GA
- Publix – Atlanta, GA

On to the results. We prepared an elaborate spreadsheet and a 20-page PowerPoint presentation to share, but we couldn’t quite figure out how to post it here. Maybe we’ll publish it as part of our dissertation: Sean Learns the Difference Between Iceberg and Romaine Lettuce. Back to the premise of our experiment, does Wegmans rule? The answer is yes. We took the total of the eight items at the DC area stores, and with a total of $12.93, Wegmans had the cheapest prices. Shopper’s finished in second at $13.25 and the Greenbelt Co-op earned the bronze with $13.34. Safeway was the most expensive at $18.09, although we think that the toilet paper priced was possibly a 4-pack and not an individual roll. (If one roll is really $3.35, we’re never going there again.) Even adjusting the price of toilet paper to $1, the total of $15.60 was about $1.35 more than the next most expensive store (Harris Teeter - $14.16, note: they did not sell individual rolls of Scott toilet tissue at Harris Teeter so we plugged in an assumption of $1 for comparison purposes).

What about Atlanta you ask? We say it is a city in Georgia . Oh, you’re wondering about the prices. Both Krogers and Publix do not carry 1000 sheet rolls of Scott toilet tissue or boxes of San Georgio spaghetti; however, if we add average price of each to the total, Kroger would actually be the cheapest at $12.29, largely due to Breyers ice cream being on sale (only $2.27). Kroger does have the most expensive eggs at $2.29 but Spam is apparently cheaper in the South ($2.29 – Kroger; $2.09 – Publix; between $2.49 [Wegmans] and $3.35 [Safeway] in the DC area).

In case you were wondering, the prices at Giant in Reston and Alexandria were exactly the same.

We were hoping people would document hilarious anecdotes about their secret shopper expeditions but by in large... not so much. Apparently, this is pretty serious stuff. So, we release you from your official obligations as secret shoppers and invite you to create a clean up on aisle 3 incident of your choosing.

So that’s about it. Thanks again to everyone who participated, to DC Blogs for linking to us and to Swapping Tales (aka The Abbot aka abbotofunreason) who created the incredibly cool badge.

A special thank you to lacochran for not laughing (at least that I know of) at the original idea of the "Does Wegmans Rule" Experiment and for truly organizing most of the challenge!

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Summer Television

Are you one of those people who complain that there’s little on TV during the summer? Besides watching sports, Wipeout and VH1’s I Love Money, I might agree with you, although I would never complain about it. I have great respect for television, even the bad television, and am a loyal follower of The Washington Post’s TV writer Lisa de Moraes. However, if you are one of those complaining folks, I have a challenge for you and it has nothing to do with visiting your local grocery store.

I’ve written about the Alison LaPlaca television death pool several times over the past few years. The LaPlaca Open is a contest where you pick ten television shows that will be cancelled during the season. Unfortunately, the LaPlaca Open is no more, apparently because LaPlaca’s lawyers made it stop. Instead, the LaPlaca Open has been renamed The Ted Marshall Open. In my first year in this league, I was brilliant finishing in sixth out of over 100 entries. My luck was not as good for the 2007-2008 season. Although the results are not final, I am going to finish in the middle of the pack largely due to Scrubs and According to Jim returning this year. Scrubs seemed like an extremely safe bet since it was announced that this past year would be its last. Nope. ABC has picked up the show from NBC. Meanwhile, how According to Jim remains on the air is a mystery to me. It is a terrible show with awful ratings. Jim Belushi must have a secret video of Mickey Mouse and is using it as blackmail to keep the show alive.

So my challenge to you is to start studying the fall TV line-up and predict what shows will fail. Entries for the 2008-2009 year will be accepted in August, and I will be sure to announce it again here. I promise that you will see television in a different light and appreciate even the bad shows.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Steelers Trivia

I received a Pittsburgh Steelers calendar as a gift last December which proudly sits on my office desk. It is a daily calendar which alternates between a Steelers fact and a Steelers trivia question. Unfortunately, the calendar seems to focus on a Steeler player drafted recently and spends at least a week on this individual. I feel like I know more about Marvin Philip and Trai Essex than most people should. Last week’s featured player: Clark Haggans.

July 2: Linebacker Clark Haggans began his college career at Colorado State as a walk-on defensive end before going on to become the school’s all-time sacks leader.

July 3: Steelers linebackers Clark Haggans and Joey Porter were college teammates. At what school did they play together?

Really? Besides the fact that Joey Porter hasn’t been on the Steelers since the 2006-2007 season, does the maker of the calendar really think you have no short-term memory? Even if you didn’t know that Haggans attended Colorado State, I would hope that someone would not forget the answer in the split second you flip from one day to the next. I’d prefer a more challenging question to start the day such as at what school did Walter Abercrombie attend.

(Click on Abercrombie’s pro-football-reference page for the answer.)

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Liberal Media?

The New York Times has a great article titled "36 Hours in Pittsburgh" in this weekend’s travel section. The title is self-explanatory, but here’s a sample:

Pittsburgh has undergone a striking renaissance from a down-and-out smokestack to a gleaming cultural oasis. But old stereotypes die hard, and Pittsburgh probably doesn’t make many people’s short list for a cosmopolitan getaway. Too bad, because this city of 89 distinct neighborhoods is a cool and — dare I say, hip—city. There are great restaurants, excellent shopping, breakthrough galleries and prestigious museums. The convergence of three rivers and surrounding green hills also make it a surprisingly pretty urban setting. And if the Pirates are in town, head over to PNC Park. Besides the game, the ballpark offers a great excuse to explore downtown Pittsburgh and the river views.


The article continues by discussing things to do such as visiting the Andy Warhol Museum and Nationality Rooms at Pitt’s Cathedral of Learning and places to eat like Monterey Bay Fish Grotto, although not Pamela’s or the Original Hot Dog Shop. So my question is this: does this article putting Pittsburgh in such a positive light some sort of liberal, left-wing conspiracy? Something to think about!


In case you were wondering, we’ll have the results of the Wegmans Experiment soon. Thanks again to everyone who has participated. The results are currently being safe-guarded and counted by the accounting firm of PricewaterhouseCoopers and will be revealed sometime next week. This just in: the folks at PWC say that they will be working all weekend to tabulate the data but will still accept more checklists through Monday.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Neil Rocks

What better way to celebrate Independence Day than with a post about Neil Diamond! Admit it; you know you want to sing along to America. If you’re a closet Neil Diamond fan, it’s OK to come out now after all these years. Neil Diamond is cool (again). Not only did Diamond produce his first ever #1 album in May but Yahoo music recently wrote the 5 Reasons Why Neil Diamond Will Always Rock...Softly. Although Yahoo could have easily found several other reasons why Neil rocks, including his terrific appearance in Saving Silverman, it’s nice to know that there are other Diamond fans out there.

Enjoy your July 4th and Neil Diamond!

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Play a Doctor on the Internet

I spent much of Monday night and Tuesday looking at my left eye and eyelid. When I arrived home Monday evening after a game of pick-up ultimate frisbee, my wife greeted me by saying, "What’s wrong with you eye?" My response: "Huh?" It turns out that my left eyelid was slightly red and a bit puffy. (I wonder if this would have happened if I went to trivia instead.)

Anyway, when I awoke Tuesday morning, it was even worse. My primary concern was whether or not I had pink eye. I actually considered taking pictures of my eye and asking for readers’ opinions, hence the title of this post. (In full disclosure, I did take pictures of my eye, but they did not come out well.) After searching WebMD and other online medical sites, I determined that I did not have pink eye since there was no itchiness, tearing or discharge. Therefore, my theory is that I either got a bug bite on my eyelid as there were lots of gnats around (not Ryan Zimmerman or Dmitri Young) during frisbee or it is a Brenden Stai, I mean, sty.

My eye is better today, so here are a few completely unrelated links for your day:

I wish Georges Laraque could have been at my Bar Mitzvah (via Pittsburgh Sports and Mini Ponies). Of course, Laraque would have only been 12 at my Bar Mitzvah, so that may not have been as cool.

Two Ithaca College baseball players were drafted: Shane Wolf by the Houston Astros in the 26th round and Bryan Gardner in the 34th round by the Cincinnati Reds. I can certainly see them contributing to a Pirate loss someday.

Finally, the Pittsburgh Penguins resigned the Iceman!

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

What Do I Have in Common With Hillary Clinton?

A: Shots of Crown Royal

While there are numerous pictures of Clinton taking a shot of Crown Royal during an April campaign visit in Indiana (including the one below), there are no published pictures (I hope) of the several shots of Crown Royal I took during a wedding reception I attended on Saturday. Fortunately, nothing like the brawling newlywed incident took place this weekend.



Photo by Carolyn Kaster, Associated Press / April 12, 2008.