Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2008 Year in Review

Welcome to my 4th annual year in review, where I take the first line or two of the first entry of each month in order to produce a random and (hopefully) interesting summary of 2008.

January: New Year’s Day used to be one of the best days of the year as a sports fan.

February: Are you just sitting around your home waiting for the game to start?

March: Did you know that this week (March 3-9, 2008) is National Procrastination Week?

April: In preparing for the upcoming vacation, we thought it might be about time to join the 21st century and purchase a digital camera.

May: In addition to more upbeat stories about the economy and the fact that Rev. Jeremiah Wright won’t go away, one of the major news items this week was the Miley Cyrus pictures taken by Annie Leibovitz for Vanity Fair.

June: I have watched each of the first four games of the Stanley Cup Finals in a different state.

July: What do I have in common with Hillary Clinton? A: Shots of Crown Royal

August: So I’m at my fancy Chicago hotel where internet service costs $13+ per day.

September: During my recent visit to CVS Pharmacy, I noticed that they have this new little scanner where you can check the prices of your items and scan your ExtraCare rewards card for a coupon.

October: I have a problem with Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin and it has nothing to do with her political views.

November: I’m going on about five hours of sleep after attending Monday night’s Pittsburgh Steelers-Washington Redskins game.

December: I’m going to do things a little different for this week’s Steelers recap.

As usual, it seems like I wrote about a wide variety of topics, although sports tended to be the predominant subject. A little bit more politics than usual which should be expected seeing that there was an election this year.

On behalf of everyone here at Sean's Ramblings (that would be me), thank you very much for reading and your continued support. Have a Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

What Ever Happened to Jerome Bettis?

Perhaps you have heard of this former Steelers running back who retired after winning a Super Bowl in his hometown of Detroit. So where is Jerome Bettis now?

Even though Bettis has been retired for nearly three years now, he still seems to get mentioned regularly. Over the past few months, Jamal Lewis, Mewelde Moore, Le'Ron McClain, Michael Turner, Brandon Jacobs, LenDale White, and even Tunde Ogun of Division III's Christopher Newport and Frankie Hejduk of the Columbus Crew have all been compared to Bettis.

Tennessee Titans' coach Jeff Fisher - Yeah, [Jamal Lewis is] an emotional runner. He's enthusiastic. He is kind of like the old Jerome Bettis where he'll get up after a big play, jump up. Yeah, he's fun to watch. Not fun to play against, but fun to watch.

Pats after the Patriots lost to the Steelers - Mewelde Moore, filling in for the injured Willie Parker, looked like Jerome Bettis and caused severe tackling problems for the Patriots. - In my mind, [Le'Ron]McClain looks more and more like Jerome Bettis every week he gets to carry the ball. That's not a bad thing.

Los Angeles Times - They are both men of girth, RBs packing some extra lbs., so the comparison is a belt-line cinch: Is Tennessee Titans running back LenDale White the next Jerome Bettis?

Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Lito Sheppard - "Other than maybe (New York Giants running back) Brandon Jacobs and possibly Steven Jackson, we haven't seen a guy like this since we faced Jerome Bettis in Pittsburgh (in 2004). Look at [Michael] Turner's thighs. They're like tree trunks."

USA Today - The closest thing to The Bus in today's NFL comes to Heinz Field on Sunday with the New York Giants in the person of 264-pound running back Brandon Jacobs.

Asbury Park Press - In just his fourth season, Jacobs running style has already drawn comparisons to some of the big, punishing backs of the past, including Jerome Bettis, the former Steeler, Christian Okoye and Natrone Means.

Washington and Jefferson coach Mike Sirianni - There's no way he's 6-foot, 218 (pounds)," Sirianni said, citing [Christopher Newport's Tunde] Ogun's listed height and weight in CNU's media guide. "Being from the Pittsburgh area and having Jerome Bettis here, he looks like Jerome Bettis. But he's bigger. He's as good of a back as I've seen in a long time in Division III. Not only is he physical and hard to bring down, but he's got great feet. He can run past you."

Deadspin - So, Sunday was Hejduk's Jerome Bettis moment as a club player—Hey, Frankie's from Southern California, that's where our game is being played—when the Columbus Crew beat the New York Red Bulls 3-1 in MLS Cup.

While many people seem busy comparing Bettis to other athletes, Steelers fans miss #36 the running back as a Post-Gazette reader asked Ed Bouchette earlier this fall if the Steelers need another Bus.

In addition, everyone seems to want Jerome's opinion

On Notre Dame's Charlie Weis in the Chicago Sun Times:
'I'm a fan of Weis,'' former Irish and Pittsburgh Steelers running back Jerome Bettis said. ''He's done a great job in getting the players there, and now he's got to win. You've got the first half right, in terms of getting some top talent there. Now the second part is you've got to get that talent to win.'

On Hines Ward in the Pittsburgh Tribune Review:
"Hines is not dirty," former Steelers running back Jerome Bettis recalled. "Hines was not the kind of guy in practice who beat up on his own teammates. He waited until game day, and you saw something totally different out of him."

On Adrian Peterson in the Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune:
"He is the best running back in the game," Jerome Bettis said. "After talking to him, it seems to me that he's a student of the game and as he develops and learns more he's going to get even better. That's scary."

On athletes and guns following the Plaxico incident:
"Athletes are targets. Some players like to splurge on very expensive items; rings, watches, bracelets and chains, so there have been a lot of instances where players have been robbed."

So besides numerous interviews, what does Jerome Bettis do these days as a retired athlete?

He inspires people through Sharing Miracles, a 30-minute public affairs television program that tells the compelling and inspirational stories of real patients. This month's episode featured Bettis -- known in the sports world as "The Bus" -- who was 14 years old when he was first diagnosed with asthma. He says: "Initially I thought that with asthma, I couldn't be involved in any sports or other activities. Thankfully, my mother encouraged me, instead of discouraged me, to play. She said, 'As long as you take your medicine, the doctor told me that you will be fine.' But, as I got older, I had to take serious steps to control my asthma."

He likes to golf.

He speaks in Erie, PA:

It wasn't until he officially became a champion that Jerome Bettis realized he had been one all along. That was the message the former Steelers running back had for a crowd of more than 2,000 Thursday at Penn State Behrend's Junker Center. Bettis, appearing as part of the college's award-winning speakers series, urged attendees, including dozens of children clad in Steelers jerseys and caps, to follow his example of passion, hard work and singular focus in their life's pursuit. Any chance it is the Guy Junker Center?

Bettis participated in the annual U.S. Marine Corps "Toys for Tots" drive when they launched their "Stuff the Bus" campaign.

He also has the restaurant Jerome Bettis' Grille 36 and the "Bus Stops Here" Foundation.

Bettis is also married and has two kids.

So to answer my original question, I guess Jerome Bettis is everywhere. Who knew? I also heard that he's on some kind of NFL television show.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Second Favorite Football Team

Let’s say that you are forced to cheer for a professional football team other than the team you currently support. Who would you choose?

Here are my personal criteria in picking a "second favorite" team:

1. They cannot be in the same division as the Pittsburgh Steelers.
2. They cannot be the Dallas Cowboys or New England Patriots.
3. There has to be some type of personal connection.

Based on these factors, if I had to choose a second favorite team, the winner would be the Miami Dolphins. Besides not being in the AFC North and not being the Cowboys or Patriots, the Dolphins certainly meet item #3. Former Dolphins superstar Dan Marino is from Pittsburgh and played for the University of Pittsburgh Panthers. In addition, the Dolphins have had a player from my high school since 1997 (Jason Taylor from 1997-2007 and Lousaka Polite this season). Plus, the always entertaining former Steeler Joey Porter is a current member of the Dolphins. Overall, how can you not support a team that was 1-15 last season and are now in the playoffs?

Therefore, as my second favorite team, I am very excited for the Dolphins and their fans (the Dol-fans) on winning the AFC East. I hope they crush the Ravens and will be rooting for them next weekend. Of course, if Miami defeats Baltimore, that means they would face the Steelers the following week. At that point, the Dolphins just become another Steelers opponent who I hope loses 51-0.

So who is your second favorite team and why? Please also include your favorite team if it is not the Steelers.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Thoughts From Pittsburgh

- I realize that it is Winter Break, but there should never be kids under 10 at Buffalo Wild Wings at midnight.

- Overheard at the Heinz History Center

A father and son listening to an audio recording of "Pittsburghese" words.

Dad: Do you still think I talk funny?

Son: Yes

- Boo to the McDonalds and Wendy’s in Breezewood for being closed on Christmas. I thought everything in Breezewood was open 365 days a year. Meanwhile, there must have been 200 people at Sheetz.

- I’m always amazed by the amount of Steelers jerseys and clothing worn throughout the city. This happens on a daily basis, not just on game days. How were the Steelers only #3 in team loyalty this year?

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Random Thoughts and Links

Among the $50 billion Bernard Madoff has lost for investors, today, the Elie Wiesel Foundation announced that it lost over $15 million through Madoff. Wiesel is a Holocaust survivor, Nobel laureate and "created the foundation some 20 years ago to foster international dialogue and youth programs to teach tolerance." Bernard Madoff may be one of the worst people alive.

How can Capital One and ESPN call it "Bowl Week" when they show 20 college football bowl games from December 20 through January 2? I guess "Bowl Week" sounds catchier than "Bowls Over a Two-Week Period" or something.

Hugging Harold Reynolds celebrates the 36th anniversary of the Immaculate Reception

The Washington Post (!) reviewed the 30th anniversary edition of Roy Blount Jr.’s "About Three Bricks Shy…And The Load Filled Up" about the Steelers dynasty.

One for the Other Thumb has a special version of Meeting People Is Easy: Steelers Gifts Edition

Arjewtino is home alone.

Finally, the guys at Doubt About It called it a day. DAI has been one of my favorite Pittsburgh sports related blogs, and although we knew this day was coming based on the inactivity the past few months, it's still sad to see a great blog go.

I’m working on a few big things for this site over the next few weeks, including a possible Rock of Love III fantasy league. So far, only LiLu seems to be interested. Any one else?

Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Fantasy Football Champion

I remember my very first fantasy football league. I was a junior in high school, and we really didn’t know what we were doing. There were no fantasy football magazines or websites. I don’t even think there were any websites back then. All of the stats were done by hand. With the #5 pick in the first round, I selected Jerry Rice. The only other players I remember on my team was Wilbur Marshall (we had an individual defensive player) and my starting quarterback, John Friesz of the San Diego Chargers. As you can guess, a team starting Friesz did not win the title. The league was done after one year as half of the participants went off to college. I didn’t play fantasy football again until 2001.

Meanwhile, I have been in one fantasy baseball league consistently since 1992 and joined another league over the past few years. This year, I was in three fantasy football leagues, losing in the quarterfinals in my 16-team league after going 10-3 in the regular season and falling in the semi-finals in the second league. By my estimate, I have participated in around 40 seasons of fantasy baseball and football. Throughout that time, I have never won a championship. I wrote about my fantasy football frustrations each of the past Decembers (2007 and 2006) and even thought about quitting. However, my perseverance has paid off as I am now a fantasy football champion.

I know most people don’t care about my championship team, but this is my blog, so I’m going to write about this magical season. If you don’t want to read about it, feel free to answer the trivia Tuesday questions below. Anyway, of all of my fantasy football teams over the years, this may be one of my worst. My top three running backs, Joseph Addai, Reggie Bush and Earnest Graham all missed significant time with injuries, with the last two now on IR. In addition, my first quarterback drafted was Derek Anderson of the Browns. He didn’t work out well this year for me or the Browns. In fact, I’m convinced that my team is the worst team ever to go 13-3 (including playoffs) and possibly the worst team ever to win a championship.

Take a look at my starting line-up this week:

QB: Chad Pennington (I made a last-minute decision to bench Matt Cassel)
RB: Joseph Addai (even though he was active, he didn’t even play this week!)
RB: DeShaun Foster (yes really)
WR: Reggie Wayne
WR: Greg Jennings
Flex: Kevin Walter
TE: John Carlson
D/ST: Pittsburgh (The team’s worst performance of the year)
K: Jason Elam

How the hell did I win? Well, I need to give credit to the Oakland Raiders defense who shut down Matt Schaub, Steve Slaton and Andre Johnson. I also need to thank the Giants defense for containing Steve Smith but doing nothing else. I guess I should also express some gratitude to the Redskins defense for holding Brian Westbrook to only 11 points. In fact, only Brandon Jacobs showed up for my opponent. (Sorry Gobo.)

I also should send some flowers or donuts to the real hero, Philadelphia Eagles’ coach Andy Reid. In my semi-final match-up, I was up 5 going against DeSean Jackson on Monday night. Although Jackson scored 7 points for having 70+ receiving yards, he earned a -2 for throwing an interception. Yes, Andy Reid had Jackson, a wide receiver, throw the ball on 3rd and goal. I won the tie-breaker. (Sorry Messiah.)

However, I don’t think I have fully explained just how bad my team was this year. In this 12-team league, I faced the team who had the lowest score of the week 7 times, including the championship. In two of those weeks, I finished 11th in points scored, but earned the ugly victory. For the championship game, I finished 10th in points scored, worse than all but one of the teams in the consolation brackets. I think there's a saying that it's better to be lucky than good. I'd rather be good, but for this year, I'll take lucky.

I guess I can check winning a fantasy league off of my list of things to accomplish in my life. Is a fantasy baseball title next?

Trivia Tuesday

Welcome to the Hanukkah edition of Trivia Tuesday! Actually, this week’s trivia has nothing to do with Hanukkah, Christmas or any holiday. The artists listed below had a Top 40 hit that features a first name. (The song had to be in the Top 40.) The artist and the year are listed below. Name that tune!

1. Buddy Holly (1957)

2. Plain White T’s (2007)

3. Barry Manilow (1974)

4. Elvis Costello (1989)

5. Rolling Stones (1973)

6. Boston (1986)

7. Michael Jackson (1983)

8. Tony Basil (1982)

9. Fountains of Wayne (2003)

10. Simon & Garfunkel (1970)

As always, please do not use the internet for the answers. Please leave your answers in the comments section. Good luck!

Thanks again to Stump Trivia for creating these fun quizzes.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Vote Against Saban

I should have posted information about this earlier, but the Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year voting ends at midnight Eastern Time tonight. This award recognizes the college football coach in each NCAA division that best demonstrates sportsmanship, integrity, responsibility and excellence.

Please note the word integrity. The Division I coach currently leading in the voting is Nick Saban of the University of Alabama. When I think of integrity, I don’t think of Nick Saban. As the coach of the Miami Dolphins, he constantly denied the rumors of the Alabama job and even said, "I guess I have to say it. I'm not going to be the Alabama coach. ... I don't control what people say. I don't control what people put on dot-com or anything else. So I'm just telling you there's no significance, in my opinion, about this, about me, about any interest that I have in anything other than being the coach [in Miami]." Two weeks later, he left Miami.

Personally, I like Jim Tressel of Ohio State or Pat Fitzgerald of Northwestern. This may be the one case where I would write to vote for Joe Paterno over Saban. Actually, I take that back. You can’t be coach of the year when so many of your players get arrested. So vote for anyone besides Paterno and Saban.

For Division II, vote for Bill O’Boyle of Chadron State College. I know nothing about him, but I like the bald head/moustache look.

Once again, voting for the Coach of the Year ends tonight at midnight. Check out this website to vote or for more information.

Steelers-Titans Thoughts

- Just for a little perspective, over the past four games, the Steelers won at New England, against Dallas and at Baltimore before losing Sunday at a 13-2 Tennessee team. If someone told you before stretch that the Steelers would go 3-1, I think you would be happy.

- As for Sunday’s game, way too many turnovers for the Steelers. The Roethlisberger fumble inside the Titans' 5 was crucial. Even if the Steelers get a field goal there, it’s a different game.

- What was the unsportsmanlike conduct penalty when the Titans were preparing for a field goal attempt near the end of the third quarter? Who was it against?

- Do we have a running game? Stop with the draw/delay plays to Parker.

- Cleveland got shut out by the Bengals today as Ryan Fitzpatrick threw only 9 passes and Cedric Benson had 38 rushes for 171 yards. If the Steelers can't run against the Browns next week, we're going to be in trouble in the playoffs.

- I think we've been spoiled over the past month or so by all of the turnovers and sacks by the Steelers defense. Only one sack today and the Titans had no turnovers.

- It also seemed like LenDale White and Chris Johnson had holes to run through all game, particularly in the second half.

- I hope Ryan Clark is OK. He, along with James Farrior, is the most underrated player on the Steelers' defense.

- Mitch Berger had a punting average of 44 yards on his 5 punts. I guess that means he keeps his job for another week.

- Justin Gage (!) had over 100 receiving yards.

- Keith Bulluck of the Titans was showing off some Terrible Towel rip-off at the end of the game.

- In addition, LenDale White and I believe Jevon Kearse stomped on a Terrible Towel as shown in the video below. What class! Disrespecting and stomping on a Terrible Towel is on the same level as desecrating the American flag. I'm completely serious about this as a portion of the proceeds from the sale of The Terrible Towel benefits the Allegheny Valley School in Pittsburgh, one of the largest providers of care for people with mental retardation in the state of Pennsylvania. All I can write is Karma.

I'd love to see the Steelers get a rematch against the Titans on January 18!

- In other Sunday news, everyone, including big, fat Tony Siragusa just minutes before kick-off, said that the weather was going to be terrible in New England. Therefore, I benched QB Matt Cassel in my fantasy league championship and started Chad Pennington instead. So of course, Cassel throws for 300+ yards and three touchdowns. Oh, Kurt Warner was removed in the third quarter after going 6-18 for 30 yards. Matt Cassel was still throwing the ball into the fourth quarter and wasn't taken out until New England was up 47-0. Another reason to hate Belichick. Although Pennington had a great game, Cassel scored 9 more points than Chad.

- When will Randy Johnson, aka The Big Unit, guest star on CBS’ The Unit?

- Finally, I’m a big fan of James Brown, the broadcaster, not the singer. (Actually, I like the singer too, but that’s not what I’m writing about.) However, I hate the way he throws the highlights to Shannon Sharpe. I’m going to have nightmares tonight hearing "Shannon" over and over again.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Miami Dolphins Playoff Information

About five years ago, I bought a Dan Marino jersey for my friend who is a HUGE Dolphins fan. Ever since then, I receive periodic e-mails from the Dolphins. When I checked my Inbox this evening, this is what I saw:

Dear Dol-fan,

All of us at the Miami Dolphins and Dolphin Stadium are excited about the performance of the Dolphins under the leadership of Coach Tony Sparano. The team’s outstanding play has put us in playoff contention as we head into the final game of the regular season. As a result, the National Football League has authorized us to make plans for a possible post-season game to be played at Dolphin Stadium on Saturday, January 3rd or Sunday, January 4th. Our players and coaches have appreciated our fans’ support all season long and the home-field advantage they have provided will be even more critical in the post-season.

If the Dolphins defeat the Jets on Sunday, the Dolphins will host the AFC Wild Card Weekend game at Dolphin Stadium on Saturday, January 3rd or Sunday, January 4th. As a Dol-fan, we would like to offer you the opportunity to buy playoff tickets before they go on-sale to the general public. The final announcement of this game, and if it will be played, will be made following the conclusion of the Dolphins vs. Jets game on Sunday, December 28th.

If you would like to purchase tickets to this game before the general public, please click here to take advantage of this special pre-sale offer which begins at 9am on Monday, December 22nd. When prompted, please insert the word “Partner” into the Password Box. Please note, in the event the Dolphins do not host a playoff game on January 3rd or 4th, you will be refunded the cost of the ticket and any other fees charged if you choose the TicketFast delivery method, which will provide you the opportunity to print your tickets online. If you choose either the UPS or in-store delivery methods, you will receive a refund of the tickets and the convenience fees but NOT THE DELIVERY CHARGES.

A deadline of Saturday, December 27, 2008 at 11:59pm (or until allocated tickets are sold out) has been set for this pre-sale opportunity and due to time restrictions the deadline cannot be extended as tickets to the general public will go on-sale shortly thereafter.

Thank you for your continued support of the Miami Dolphins and Dolphin Stadium.

Go Dolphins!

First of all, Dol-fan? Really? If there are any Dolphins fans out there, do you really go by Dol-fans?

I would write that this type of e-mail regarding playoff tickets was a bit premature. However, based on the fact that the NFL authorized this, I'm sure that the Patriots, Jets, Chargers, Vikings and Broncos all sent out similar messages today too. Well, except for the Tony Sparano and Dol-fan part.

P.S. Isn't the dolphin stuffed animal cute?

Friday, December 19, 2008

Friday Links

Between Trivia Tuesday, TMI Thursday and Friday Links, I need to come up with more creative titles.

Seth at Empty Netters created an impressive list of jersey fouls.

I just learned from Messiah that there is an NFL television distribution map that shows where each game will be aired. The Steelers-Titans game will be on CBS on Sunday here in the Washington DC area. Woo hoo!

My SIL recommends watching the documentary, Blood Detectives, premiering tonight (December 19) on the Discovery Health channel at 7:00 PM ET/PT and again at midnight.

Frank Walter of the Baltimore Ravens admits that he spat in the face of the Steelers’ Mitch Berger, but says it was an accident. How do you accidentally spit in the face of an opponent with a helmet on? The answer is that you don’t. Another example of the classy Ravens. (h/t Mondesi's House)

A moving piece about Steelers’ defensive end Aaron Smith.

Finally, with the fantasy football season almost over (I’ll share my experiences about this season next week), I’m already looking for some type of league before the baseball season starts. Therefore, if you are interested in joining a Rock of Love III fantasy league, please leave a message in the comments or e-mail me at seanramblings[at]yahoo(dot)com. Yes, I’m being serious.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

TMI Thursday: Accomplish the Impossible

I’ve written in the past about my amazing ability to clog toilets throughout the country. I’m even at the point now that when I think clogging is even remotely possible, I will perform a courtesy flush. However, there is one place where I have never considered the courtesy flush as I didn’t think stuffing up the toilet was possible. The place is the bathroom on my office floor. The toilets at work are industrial strength and were created to handle the wear and tear of multiple uses. Public toilets in general are built to withstand anything and everything.

Just last week, though, I stuffed up the toilet at work. At first, I thought that maybe I didn’t fully flush the toilet. On the second flush, the water rose to near the top of the bowl and didn’t go down. I momentarily stood there in awe of my accomplishment and then realized that I should exit quickly before anyone entered the restroom.

For the record, I weigh 155 pounds. I just felt like I should share this information.

For more TMI Thursday, check out Live It, Love It.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Milk Closing Credits

Over the weekend, I saw and enjoyed the film Milk, the story about the country’s first openly gay elected official, Harvey Milk. The acting was terrific especially by Sean Penn (although he was better in Mystic River), but I am not going to provide a full movie review. Instead, I want to point out something that has little to do with the movie: the closing credits.

The credits start with Sean Penn as Harvey Milk, Emile Hirsch as Cleve Jones, and Josh Brolin as Dan White and continues through the characters with less screen time. Near the end of the cast credits, Brian Yates Sharber is listed as Gay Man.* To state the obvious, Milk features many gay characters. I don’t think I’m giving anything away by saying that Harvey Milk was gay as was the characters played by Hirsch, James Franco, and, well, nearly everyone else. So why do the credits distinguish "Gay Man" from the other gay men?

* No, I didn’t write the name Brian Yates Sharber down in the theatre. IMDB comes through again!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Trivia Tuesday: Pittsburgh Sports Edition

Welcome to another edition of trivia Tuesday, this week featuring questions related to Pittsburgh sports. The questions are courtesy of The Pittsburgh Sports Wiz Trivia Quiz book that I found in my bedroom when I visited home over Thanksgiving.

1. What was the halftime score of Super Bowl IX?

2. On New Year’s Eve, 1988 Mario Lemieux scored five goals against the Devils. How did this make NHL history?

3. What year was the Cordova/Rincon no-hitter?

4. Who hit his 500th career home run off Don Robinson at Three Rivers Stadium?

5. In how many World Series games did Roberto Clemente hit safely?

6. What three varsity sports did Mike Ditka play at Pitt?

7. Which two men were Sports Illustrated’s Sportsmen of the Year in 1979?

8. What future Pirate was the first member of the expansion Kansas City Royals to hit two homers in a game? (Hint: He once took a long walk.)

9. The Pirates went to black and gold in 1948, replacing what colors?

10. At the time this book was released (pre-Ben), who was the last quarterback taken in the first round by the Steelers?

As always, please do not use the internet for answers and enter your responses in the comments section. Good luck!

Plus, feel free to visit Sean's Ramblings for the Pittsburgh Steelers trivia question of the day on the top right of this website.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Dear Margo Is Wrong

Did you know that Yahoo has an advice columnist? Me neither. Did you know that said columnist is the daughter of Ann Landers? The better question is did you know that Ann Landers has a daughter and that she is following in her mother’s footsteps?

Anyway, take a look at this December 12, 2008 Dear Margo column:

DEAR MARGO: I have been dating a guy for two years, and when we met, everything was perfection. We have had ups and downs, of course, but I feel there's one thing that is always putting a strain on our life: My boyfriend is totally obsessed with the Pittsburgh Penguins. Everything he does revolves around them, from the clothes he wears each day (always a Penguins hat and/or shirt) to the car he drives (his license plate boasts the name of his favorite player) to his room, which is covered floor to ceiling with 8 by 10 pictures, jerseys in cases, pucks, sticks, game-used skates and hockey cards. He needs to go to all the home games (42-plus over eight months), and he goes alone because he only has one ticket. His hockey mania takes a huge toll on our relationship because it involves a large chunk of time away from "us." We both work and go to school, so our time is limited, but the Penguin season in the mix makes it much worse. I end up feeling unimportant to him -- almost as if he has a second girlfriend and he's cheating on me with "her." Please help me find a way to make him understand my feelings and to lessen the strain on our relationship.

DEAR OFF: You have my sympathies. A former husband was also obsessed with hockey ... about which I knew nothing. In fact, I remember watching the first game he took me to for a while and then blurting, "My God! They're on skates!" I suspect that even if your boyfriend had two tickets it would not solve your problem. Your guy sounds like such a jock and a fanatic that my hunch is the romance cannot last. No offense, but the Penguins seem to have edged you out in terms of where he puts his energy and spends his time. I suspect he already understands your feelings, and that a relationship is not so important to him. I am guessing the only way you could see more of him is if you ran the Zamboni machine.

Margo is anti-hockey and based on this believes that Off-Season-Only Girlfriend needs to end the relationship. Perhaps she should meet with her Yahoo colleague, Greg Wyshynski of Puck Daddy, to learn more about the game. However, let’s just take a look at the relationship. Have we as a society learned nothing from the terrible movie (but terrific book) Fever Pitch? There is certainly a way to mix fandom and relationships. I think the larger issue here is that the boyfriend only has a single ticket. The root of the problem is that Off-Season-Only does not have the opportunity to join her boyfriend at the Penguins games. If she could share in the joy of watching Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin live with her boyfriend, the relationship would be fine.

Actually, maybe Margo is right. Off-Season-Only is writing Margo asking her to “help me find a way to make him understand my feelings.” If she can’t communicate her feelings to her boyfriend, maybe he’s better off without her.

h/t Amy

It turns out Pensburgh already wrote about this. That's OK as I'm sure more people out there will agree with me!

Steelers Win AFC North

As a Steelers fan, it feels great seeing Pittsburgh win the AFC North and earn a first-round playoff bye at the expense of the Ravens, especially in Baltimore. Sunday’s game proves what I have been saying for years: contrary to what many Steelers fans believe, Pittsburgh’s biggest rival is clearly the Baltimore Ravens and not the Cleveland Browns. While it may be mean and a bit of schadenfreude, just looking at the picture below makes me, and I’m sure other Steelers fans, smile.

The game itself lived up to the hype as both defenses dominated. Through the first 57 minutes, the Ravens outplayed the Steelers, particularly on special teams and in the defense’s ability to create turnovers. However, when the game was in question, the Steelers led by Ben Roethlisberger, Hines Ward and Nate Washington made big plays and the Ravens defense could not respond.

Congratulations to the Steelers for winning the AFC North!

The photo is from Jonathan Newton of The Washington Post after Baltimore lost to the Indianapolis Colts in the 2006 playoffs.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Lyric of the Week

Womanizer, woman-womanizer
You're a womanizer
Oh, womanizer, oh
You're a womanizer, baby

You, you, you are
You, you, you are
Womanizer, womanizer

Well said, Britney, well said.

P.S. Is it possible to use fewer words in a chorus?

P.P.S (or is it P.S.S.) This insightful and thought-provoking song really is catchy.

Friday, December 12, 2008

2009 Fantasy Football Question

Since I’ve been spending way too much time with my fantasy football leagues lately, I thought I would ask a question to anyone else who is also obsessed.

For the 2009 fantasy football league season, who would be the top 5 picks?

Does the consensus 2008 #1 pick, LaDainian Tomlinson, make the list? How about Michael Turner? Feel free to include (or not include) an explanation of your top 5 in the comments. At the very least, enjoy the following Pearls Before Swine strip:

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Dancing in the Dark

Lacochran had this exchange with her husband a few weeks ago:

Just last night we had the following conversation:

Hubby: We have all these phone books. I thought I might get rid of a few.

Me: Get rid of them all.

We're probably the last people to do so.

I replied that "I keep our phone books too just in case the power goes out or there are computer problems. I figure as soon as I throw out the phone books, we'll lose power and the computer will die!"

Well, last night the power went out just before 7:00, and I used our phone book for the first time in years. My first call was to Dominion Virginia Power to report the power outage. They already knew and told me over 4000 customers were out and that crews were on the way. The 4000 customers included Mamma Lucia and California Tortilla in the neighboring shopping center (Dominion didn’t tell me this). Seeing that the chicken in the stove still had about 30 minutes left when the power went out, we needed food quickly in order to survive the blackout. That’s where the phone book came in again.

Chick-Fil-A: Hello.

Me: Hi. Is this Chick-Fil-A?

Chick-Fil-A: Yes it is.

Me: Great. Do you have electricity?

Chick-Fil-A: Huh?

Me: Do you have power there?

Chick-Fil-A: What?

Me: We live a few miles from you and the power is out in the entire neighborhood. I just wanted to find out if you were open before I drove there.

Chick-Fil-A: Oh, OK. Yes, we have electricity.

Thank you, phone book!

A few other notes about Blackout 2008:

- We bought flashlights at Target just this past weekend because I thought we should have some.

- It’s very difficult to get a good workout on the treadmill without power.

- Nothing is more romantic than eating Chick-Fil-A by candlelight with the cat tryinig to jump on the table.

The power returned around 8:45.

Finally, I received a comment yesterday thanking me for the eye candy picture I posted of Derrick Inglut. To be fair, I feel l like I should post a picture of my favorite LPGA golfer, Erica Blasberg.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Random Ramblings

I read the Express nearly cover-to-cover everyday during my daily commute. In yesterday’s Fit section, I spotted an advertisement for Derrick Inglut Personal Training. If you look at the picture in the Express, on the front page of his website or below, it appears that Inglut has no chest hair except from his belly button down to his underwear. I’m certainly no expert on this, but it seems like there should be a rule that you either have all of your chest hair or none. By the way, who the hell walks down the street and pulls up his shirt for the camera?

Have you noticed the significant number of football players wearing just their short-sleeve jerseys during cold-weather games? The temperature during Sunday’s Steelers-Cowboys game was in the teens or low twenties, but it seemed like only a few players wore long-sleeve Under Armor style shirts under the jersey. We already know that they’re tough. Does this make them look tougher?

More and more, I seem to type Sena instead of Sean. If you see a reference to Sena’s Ramblings soon, that may be the reason why.

While shopping for jeans and pants over the past few weeks, I’ve noticed that there is no such thing as a size 33x29 anymore. It seems like the only 29-inch length pants out there are for 36-inch waists. Why is that? 36x29 seems like an odd body type.

If you can ice skate and play defense (I’m looking at you Arjewtino), the Pittsburgh Penguins need some help. Hal Gill is out for 2-4 weeks joining the already injured Ryan Whitney, Sergei Gonchar and Phillippe Boucher. (Yes, 4 of the top 5 defensemen are all out.)

Finally, I think our cat has a foot fetish. He likes to lick your feet when you get out of the shower; he seems to carry and play with socks regularly; and he can sense when you are tying your shoes from miles away and is ready to attack said shoelaces.

The photo of Deshea Townsend, Larry Foote and Nick Eason is via AP.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Trivia Tuesday

I’ve been having some computer problems lately, and I think this guy may be the reason why:

He's so cute but he jumps on the laptop keyboard way too often. Between the computer problems and finding out this morning that I lost in the playoffs in one of my three fantasy football leagues (I was up 25 points going into last night with the Carolina D against Steve Smith; I lost by 1 point), I’m not in the best of moods to start the day. Anyway, it’s Tuesday so on to the trivia. Your challenge this week is to identify the poet who wrote the listed works.

1. A Light in the Attic (book)

2. Leaves of Grass (book)

3. The Road Not Taken (poem)

4. Tulips and Chimneys (book)

5. Strange Fits of Passion Have I Known (poem)

6. Iliad (poem)

7. Concord Hymn (poem)

8. Just Give Me a Cool Drink of Water ‘Fore I Die (poem)

9. A Night Without Armor (book)

10. A Narrow Fellow in the Grass (poem)

As always, please do not use the internet for the answers (and least for now). Please leave your answers in the comments section below. You can either thank or blame Stump Trivia for creating this quiz. In case you were wondering, we got 6 out of 10 correct. Good luck!

Monday, December 08, 2008

Movie Personality Test

I found this "ultimate personality test" from A Daily Dose of Zen Sarcasm, where you pick your favorite movie from the directors listed below. This is the little blurb that goes along with the test:

It’s not strange to disagree about movies that are wildly different, and there are surely a few random movies that are very polarizing. What I find most interesting is which movie people consider the best movie from a particular director, as it is usually very telling and polarizing in a different way, so to this point I will propose a new personality test where you reblog your favorite movie from each of these directors:

1. Joel Coen (why no Ethan Coen?): No Country for Old Men, The Big Lebowski, Fargo, The Hudsucker Proxy, Miller’s Crossing, Raising Arizona, etc
2. Wes Anderson: The Darjeeling Limited, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, The Royal Tennenbaums, Rushmore, Bottle Rocket, etc
3. Hal Ashby: Being There, Shampoo, Harold and Maude, etc
4. Kevin Smith: Zack and Miri Make a Porno, Dogma, Chasing Amy, Mallrats, Clerks, etc
5. Quentin Tarantino: Grindhouse, Kill Bill, Pulp Fiction, Reservoir Dogs, etc

There doesn’t seem to be any answers to this test; it just seems like an excuse to pick your favorite movies. I’ll share mine and feel free to enter your favorites in the comments.

The Big Lebowski – The Dude may be one of the greatest movie characters of all time. This movie seems to be funnier every time I see it.

Rushmore by default as I only saw this and Royal Tennenbaums of the West Anderson films. Bill Murray was great.

Being There – The only Hal Ashby move I’ve seen. Plus, I liked the book.

Zack & Miri probably because I saw this recently and it was filmed in Pittsburgh. Major bonus points for all of the Monroeville shots.

Easily Pulp Fiction. Just an amazing movie with a terrific cast. Plus, when I saw the film in the theatre, I thought the movie ending in the middle of the story was so cool (and it still is).

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Steelers-Cowboys Live Blog

I’ll be here with the guys from White Nerdy Wonks for a live blog of today’s game. Feel free to share your thoughts or just watch us as we write about the game, our fantasy football leagues and other inside jokes.

Go Steelers!

Friday, December 05, 2008

Friday Links (Please Buy My Hockey Tickets)

Despite posting an ad on StubHub and Ottawa’s Craigslist, I continue to be unable to sell my tickets for next Monday’s (December 8) Ottawa Senators-Florida Panthers game. Amazingly, trying to sell the tickets through my blog hasn’t worked either. However, I finally found a reason for people to attend the game: you can see Florida’s David Booth, who wants to go on a grizzly bear hunt. Just don’t read this story since the tickets are in the upper deck.

On to the links:

Five Questions with D.C. Steeler Nation and Cowboy Nation. Christmas Ape is clearly the winner.

Remember the song/commencement address reminding you to wear sunscreen? Blog ‘N Gold created a Bill Cowher version for his commencement address at North Carolina State.

Mystery Man (of Tidbits and the Angry Consumer) writes that the leaf blower is the dumbest invention ever. Take that, singing fish!

This is Getting Old thinks the Pirates should sign Barry Bonds. Hmmm.

The Pensblog looks back at the dark ages of the Pittsburgh Penguins: 2001-2006.

Any other soccer referees out there? If so, check out this video (in the middle of the page) from a game that took place in Greece. (I have no idea what the language is on this website.) A player tripped a guy who ran on the field, and for his action, earned a red card. There seems to be some debate about this in the referee community. The reason for the red card is "violent conduct" since the player deliberately kicked the pitch invader during the match and it was unprovoked violence. Players cannot take such violent action like this during a match against anyone (even if the action is egregious as invading the pitch) and not expect to have the maximum disciplinary sanctions imposed by the referee. On one hand, I agree with this decision. However, seeing this picture of James Harrison tackling the Cleveland Browns fan who ran on to the field always makes me smile.

(Yes, writing about the incident in Greece was partially an excuse to post the Harrison picture again.)

Finally, you may have noticed the banner ad on the top right of this page. Since someone was nice enough to actually pay for an ad (yes, really), please click on the ad or visit Pretty please!

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Bathroom Etiquette

Twice in the past two weeks, I have walked into the bathroom at work only to hear someone talking on his cell phone while on the toilet. When this happens, I try to make as much noise as possible. I cough and clear my throat, try to flush as loudly as possible (and sometimes flush twice) and wash my hands like a doctor would before going into surgery. I feel like it’s my responsibility to let the person on the other end of the phone call know that the guy she is talking to is on the toilet. Is this rude or am I doing my civic duty? By the way, I see no problem texting or playing games on your cell phone while on the toilet in a public restroom (for TMI Thursday, I used to play blackjack regularly on my old cell phone; however, this was only when no one else was in the bathroom), but I think talking on the cell phone crosses the line.

By the way, if you want an amazing bathroom/phone story, check out this post by Who Invented Roses, an outstanding blog that I wish I started reading years ago.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Message to Ottawa

Dear People of Ottawa:

I’m going to make a broad generalization that you all love hockey. Everyone in Canada loves hockey, so this should especially be true in the nation’s capital. Therefore, I have a deal for you. How would you like attend an Ottawa Senators game on Monday, December 8? Don’t answer yet as it gets better.

How would you like to see the Senators play its arch rival the, um, Florida Panthers? Before you reply, I’m sure that I don’t need to tell you this, but I know you want to see Florida’s superstars such as Noah Welch, Rostislav Olesz, and Kamil Kreps live. But wait, there’s more!

You can also have the experience of sitting in the Coca-Cola family zone where no alcohol is permitted. This opportunity to see Ottawa-Florida without beer may be worth thousands of dollars. However, for one day only, you can purchase two tickets in Section 314, Row N for only $30 including shipping. Plus, you can say that you bought Ottawa tickets directly from a blogger who lives in the Washington DC area.

To non-Ottawains/Ottawaites (?) wondering why I am selling these tickets, I offer this brief explanation. My third annual hockey road trip this season includes stops in Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto. In order to buy tickets for the Ottawa-Montreal game, the Senators force you to purchase tickets for another game. This is why I have useless, I mean, amazing tickets for Florida-Ottawa. Since I will not be making two trips to Ottawa over a two-month period, I am trying to sell my tickets to anyone who can use them. I really don’t want them to go to waste.

If you are interested in purchasing the tickets, please contact me at seanramblings at yahoo[dot]com.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Trivia Tuesday: Pittsburgh Sports Edition

With the long Thanksgiving weekend, we didn’t go to trivia last night. Instead, I present questions from The Pittsburgh Sports Wiz Trivia Quiz book that I found in my room while back in the Burgh.

1. What Pitt player was the very first draft choice of the USFL?

2. In the 1995 movie Sudden Death, who did the Pens play in the fictional seventh game of the Stanley Cup Finals at the Civic Arena?

3. Name the Pirates sole representative on the 1994 National League All-Star team.

4. Name the four ex-Bucs on the 1994 National League All-Star team.

5. At the urging of broadcaster Myron Cope, the Steelers made this wresting champ their final draft pick in 1989.

6. Which Steelers quarterback played baseball for Jim Leyland in the Florida Instructional League?

7. The Pittsburgh Maulers home opener against the Birmingham Stallions was the only sellout in United States Football League history. Why? (Hint: it was due to one player; name the player)

8. Who replaced Dave Parker in right field when he left the team? (This same player was also the last-ever pinch runner for Willie Stargell.)

9. What former Penguin coached the Pittsburgh Phantoms (roller hockey) in their only year of existence?

10. Name the only two Pirate Cy Young Award winners.

As always, please do not use the internet for answers and enter your responses in the comments section. Good luck!


Last Wednesday night, I flipped through every news station trying to get information about the horrific events in Mumbai. I finally settled on CNN who seemed to have the most detailed news as well as a reporter outside of the Taj Mahal hotel. Throughout the coverage, I couldn’t help to watch the news ticker at the bottom of the screen. Every few minutes, the ticker would show an item that Spencer and Heidi really didn’t get married. So when did this count as news? There was a major ongoing event with hostages in multiple locations and scores of people killed. That should have been the only item on the ticker. Instead, we need to know that two people on an MTV pseudo-reality show may or may not have got married?

Disgrasian has actual screenshots of the Spencer/Heidi CNN ticker.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Steelers-Patriots Recap

I’m going to do things a little different for this week’s Steelers recap. If you’re looking for detailed analysis about how the Pittsburgh held New England to 10 points and the Patriots offense to 1 of 13 on third down conversions or the punting abilities of Mitch Berger, go somewhere else. May I recommend the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Instead, I want to point out the following real and fictional New England Patriots players who contributed to the Steelers win.

The turning point of the game occurred part-way through the third quarter. Leading 13-10 after a Jeff Reed field goal, Matthew "AC" Slater fumbled the kick-off, and the ball was recovered by Keyaron Fox. Two plays later, Ben Roethlisberger hit Hines Ward for an 11-yard touchdown.

Maybe this wasn’t noticed by everyone, but Sam "Clay" Aiken had two special teams holding penalties for New England. After another Reed field goal to give the Steelers a 23-10 lead, the Patriots returned the kick-off to midfield. However, Aiken’s holding penalty brought the ball back about 15 yards. Without the penalty, the Patriots would have been in field goal range after Ryan Clark’s unnecessary roughness penalty three plays later.

The Steelers sacked Matt Cassel five times forcing two fumbles. Offensive tackle Matt "Judith" Light deserves some of the blame for this as James Harrison beat Light on at least one sack/fumble.

Plus, who can forget the dropped passes by Randy "Kate" Moss, especially one in the end zone near the end of the first half?

Overall, the Patriots clearly missed Tom "Marsha" Brady.

By the way, it was nice to see former Mexican President Vicente Fox score a defensive touchdown for the Broncos against the Jets. I was wondering what happened to Fox since he left office. (Wahoo J deserves credit for this one.)

Yes, this may be the dumbest post I have ever written.