Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Happy New Year!

There's a video for everything these days. A search for Rosh Hashanah on YouTube results in thousands of videos. Here are two such videos to celebrate the new year. Yes, we're going to party like it's 5772.

May you have a happy and healthy new year!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Trivia Tuesday

Welcome to a "smokey" edition of Trivia Tuesday. From the description given, name the item that contains smoke or some derivative of smoke in the answer. Good luck!

1. Threatening entity on the TV show “Lost”

2. Firefighters who parachute into remote areas to battle fires

3. Cheech & Chong’s feature film debut from 1978

4. Hit 1973 song by Brownsville Station remade by Motley Crue in 1985

5. 2007 crime drama film starring Jeremy Piven

6. Lead singer of the Miracles

7. Featuring Jackie Gleason, the 2nd highest grossing film released in 1977, after "Star Wars"

8. Famous mascot created in 1944 now voiced by Sam Elliott.

9. Huge radio hit from 1972 by Deep Purple

10. #1 hit for The Platters in 1959

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

This quiz is courtesy of the fine folks at Stump Trivia.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Jayson Werth Deserves Suspension

Baseball and even non-baseball fans remember when Pittsburgh Pirates first baseman Randall Simon hit a woman wearing an Italian sausage costume with his bat during the Milwaukee Brewers' costume race in 2003. Major League Baseball suspended Simon for three games and fined him $2,000. Additionally, Simon was fined $432 and cited by the sheriff's department for disorderly conduct.

On Saturday afternoon, Washington Nationals outfielder Jayson Werth incorporated himself into the Presidents race. Take a look:

Werth actually shoved Thomas Jefferson to the ground. Well, not the actual Thomas Jefferson since he would be 268 years old, but the person in the Jefferson costume. While the announcers and fans all took this as a fun attempt to let Teddy Roosevelt win, take a look at this second video from the folks at Let Teddy Win:

You can see Werth start to take Jefferson down at the 45 second mark. Once Jefferson is on the ground, Werth pushes him again. At 1:10, Werth attempts to kick/trip Jefferson.

According to Let Teddy Win, this "was not scripted by the Nationals, and caught the team’s in-game entertainment and mascot team by surprise." Essentially, this was a premeditated attack that was not planned by the team or major league baseball. Therefore, why isn't Werth subject to the same punishment as Simon?

Adam Kilgore of The Washington Post has more about Werth and the race. This was clearly premeditated which I don't think you can say about the Simon incident.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Steelers-Colts Live Blog

Why not? Who's in?

Friday, September 23, 2011

Muppets Video

Happy Friday! Although the release is still two months away, I'm excited for the new Muppets movie. Check out the latest trailer:

Speaking of the Muppets, here's their performance with R.E.M. Maybe they'll reunite in a few years...not just R.E.M. but the band and the Muppets.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Are Pillow Pets a Thing?

Only a few weeks ago, I shared a picture of the Pittsburgh Steelers Steely McBeam Pillow Pet. It was quite terrifying. Now the Pittsburgh Penguins are selling their own Pillow Pet.

This isn't quite as scary, but as I indicated by the title of this post, are pillow pets the next big thing? Are they like the new Tickle Me Elmo or Chia Pet?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

What Rhymes With Kodak?

One of the biggest hits of this summer was Give Me Everything by Pitbull featuring Ne-Yo, Afrojack and Nayer. Although Pitbull gets top billing and probably brought everyone together, I think Ne-Yo deserves credit for the song's success based on his chorus alone. It certainly can't be because of Pitbull's rhymes. Let's took a look, shall we?

The song begins with the following lyrics:

Me not working hard?
Yeah right, picture that with a Kodak
Or better yet, go to Times Square
Take a picture of me with a Kodak

So Pitbull rhymed Kodak with Kodak. Really? You're a successful rapper and you can't come up with something that rhymes with Kodak?

Later Pitbull sings/raps:

Baby, baby, and it ain't no secret
My family's from Cuba
But I'm an American Idol
Get money like Seacrest

Secret and Secrest. I guess that's slightly better than Kodak and Kodak, but how is this guy one of the biggest rappers out there? He's certainly not close to the lyrical level of Jay-Z, Kanye or Eminem.

In case you're not familiar with the song, here's the video. Enjoy the magical rhymes!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Steelers Win! Buy Gear!

By now, I'm sure that you know that the Pittsburgh Steelers defeated the Seattle Seahawks 24-0 on Sunday. The Steelers clearly won because of the refs just like last time. You've probably already read about the game in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, One For the Other Thumb, PSAMP, Behind the Steel Curtain, ESPN or dozens of other places, so I'm not going to provide a recap here. Instead, I want to share this e-mail that I received from only minutes after the game ended.

So we're now celebrating a week two victory by buying Steelers gear? Am I going to receive an e-mail like this after every Steelers victory? I'm not sure that I want to buy a Steelers hoodie covered by that guy's dandruff. (You may have to zoom in on the picture to see it.) Besides, the guy in the picture freaks me out.

Seriously, stop staring at me, dude!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Ziggy Freaked Out

I have found that writing this blog has been extremely therapeutic over the years. While I tend not to write about family and friends, I have no issues discussing my cat, Ziggy. Last week, Ziggy urinated on our bathroom carpet for four consecutive days. Once or twice could be behavioral. and there have been some changes around the house lately, but we started to get concerned about him. Therefore, we scheduled a veterinarian appointment. In preparation for the appointment, we were instructed to collect a urine sample, but it didn’t happen. Ziggy somehow managed not to urinate in his litter box for the 16 hours leading up to the appointment. Maybe he sensed something was up.

Ziggy rarely leaves home, and it is always a struggle getting him into his carrier. We managed to get him into the carrier, but he whined the entire car ride. The vet itself didn’t start terribly. They took him back to get a urine sample, and while I don’t know how exactly the extracted the sample, I’m sure it wasn’t pleasant for him. They got him back in his carrier, and we waited for the result. The result is some type of bacteria in his bladder and possibly a urinary tract infection.

At this point, there were two options: we could administer a liquid antibiotic twice a day for the next two weeks or they could give him a one shot with some sort of time release. Having rather poor results in giving Ziggy medicine in the past, the shot seemed like easiest and better option for us and Ziggy. Unfortunately, the vet was out of one of the two medicines needed in the shot, so they planned on giving him one shot at the appointment and the second when it came in a few days later. Not the best solution, but it still seemed like the best alternative.

The vet took Ziggy to get the shot, but I guess Ziggy was done. Apparently, as soon as he got out of the carrier, he freaked out. He hissed and bolted and managed to urinate and defecate in the room and all over himself. The vet was able to get him into a cage with the carrier also inside the cage in an attempt to calm him down. I was soon brought back to see him, and he clearly was a mess. They never administered the shot since he was in no position to get it. Plus, I think the vet staff worried that he would attack. Collectively, we decided that if we got Ziggy into his carrier, we would take him home. For about 90 minutes, I tried to soothe Ziggy and convince him to get into the carrier. Even with the vet and vet assistants out of the room for much of the time, he either growled or hissed. At one point, he even bit me. I was and still am devastated by this. This is the same Ziggy that runs to the door when I come home to greet me and regularly sleeps between my legs in bed. He is a loving cat that has never acted like this before.

The end result is that we couldn’t get him to relax. He never got into the carrier and any attempt by me to try to pick him up resulted in hissing. I even tried to wipe off his fur with a wet paper towel, but that didn’t go well either. He spent last night at the vet (they also have a “pet hotel”) where he is separate from the other animals, and they will bathe him and hopefully receive the medicine on Monday to give him the antibiotic. I feel like an awful parent/pet owner, but I’m not really sure what else I could have done. Ziggy wasn’t in any condition to come home. I definitely miss/missed him last night and today. I constantly catch myself looking for him. When we put our child to sleep at night, Ziggy regularly sits next to the chair to make sure everything is okay and because he likes being around everyone. It was an extremely odd feeling last night knowing that I didn’t need to make sure Ziggy was out of the nursery before putting our child to sleep. I just hope that Ziggy is okay, both physically and mentally, and that we can bring him home Monday night.

Update 9/19 @ 9:45 AM: I just talked to someone at the vet office, and Ziggy is doing much better. He is eating fine and even approached and sniffed the vet tech's hand (as opposed to his reaction on Saturday). The antibiotic is also in, so I should be able to pick up Ziggy later today. I'll pass on more information when I'm able to talk to the vet.

Update 9/19 @ 12:15 PM: Although he calmed down from Saturday, he still wasn't happy seeing the vet and vet staff today. He was given a sedative and the antibiotic. They also cleaned him up. Now, I just need to pick up Ziggy and bring him home. He's really been missed here the past two days.

Update 9/19 6:45 PM: Ziggy’s home! I went to the vet, and they brought me back to the cage where he has stayed the past two days. Ziggy was extremely happy to see me. He didn’t stop purring and constantly flipped over so I could rub his stomach while brushing his head against his hand. This is the Ziggy I know and love, not the one that hissed at me on Saturday. We got him into the carrier, but he was shaking until we left the office. He was a little better on the ride home and is now re-familiarizing himself with the house. He’s still a little skittish, but he ate his entire dinner in no time. Now, I’ll have to get a urine sample from Ziggy in two weeks and have the vet analyze the results. They don’t want us to bring Ziggy into the office unless we have to, and I think Ziggy is okay with that too! Thanks again for everyone’s support. It’s amazing how much happiness this cat brings the family. Of course, after the vet bill, we’re going to need him to go to work!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Life Is a Highway: Canadian Pop Music in the 90s (A Review)

Those of you who have read my blog over the years know that I’m a big fan of pop music including any type of music countdown or retrospective (please see every VH1 show – such as Behind the Music and Top 40 one-hit Wonders of the 1990s – that doesn’t involve Wives, Basketball & Mob). Therefore, when I learned that there was a documentary about Canadian pop music in the ’90s, I had to see it. Sure, I may be an American but I once created a list of the greatest Canadian musicians. Plus, I’ve visited the Hockey Hall of Fame, attended a Habs game, and narrowly preceded President Obama and Hilary Duff in Ottawa, so that has to count for something, right?

Here’s the synopsis of this two-hour documentary premiering on CBC Television tonight (Thursday, Sept. 15 at 8:00 PM Eastern time) and concluding next Thursday, September 22nd:

LIFE IS A HIGHWAY: Canadian Pop Music in the ’90s looks at the explosive decade when Canada’s superstar divas and rock gods shared the charts with DIY indie bands, Celtic virtuosos, worldbeat ensembles and hip-hop heroes.

The press release I received touts “thrilling performance footage and candid interviews with such major stars as Sarah McLachlan, Tom Cochrane, kd lang, Barenaked Ladies, Jann Arden and The Tragically Hip, as well as alternative music groups like Rheostatics, Sloan and Dream Warriors.” I wouldn’t necessarily call the performance footage, many from Saturday Night Live appearances or Juno Award shows (Canada’s version of the Grammys), thrilling, but they were a nice touch. I also appreciated seeing the perspective of so many Canadian artists; however, you get the feeling that the filmmakers were unable to land the major, major stars like Céline Dion, Alanis Morissette and Shania Twain.

After a brief introduction, the documentary starts as it should...with Bryan Adams. Adams had a very successful run in the 1980s with hits like Summer of ’69; Run to You; Somebody; and Heat of the Night. Then, instead of Bryan Adams, rocker, he became Bryan Adams, sappy singer to start the 90s as evidenced by (Everything I Do) I Do It for You, which became the #1 song in the world. In the documentary, Jann Arden refers to Bryan Adams as “our rock god.” Really? You have Neil Young, Rush and Joni Mitchell and Bryan Adams is your rock god?

The documentary goes from Adams to the Crash Test Dummies (that’s quite a drop-off!), to kd lang to Tom Cochrane. The underlying theme seemed to be showing the investment made by the Canadian music industry in selling Canadian artists in Canada. This sounds rather obvious, but apparently, the industry folks focused their attention on the American market and worked back up instead of the other way around. Consequently, the money and investment went to America. This may also explain why the Toronto Blue Jays didn’t win the World Series until the 1990s.

The remaining portion of the first hour discussed the Celtic music movement, independent scene and a street alternative revolution. I hadn’t heard of most of the artists featured, so while interesting, wasn’t my favorite part of the film. However, it is amazing the success many Canadian artists had simply by starting busking on the streets.

I enjoyed the second hour much more since I was more familiar with many of the artists discussed (Twain, Dion, Morissette, McLachlan & Snow). The portion on Canada’s “urban stars” was fascinating since I didn’t know of any Canadian hip-hop scene other than Snow’s classic hit Informer.

Here are a few items from the documentary that I found interesting:
- Sarah McLachlan refers to Bryan Adams as a taskmaster.

- Brad Roberts, lead singer of Crash Test Dummies, reveals that he couldn’t think up any words for the chorus of Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm. He was planning on writing words, but it didn’t happen.

- The documentary states that Barenaked Ladies became successful in America by constant touring. Doesn’t Jason Priestley deserve some credit? (Seriously, look at Jason Priestley’s Wikipedia page)

- There’s a video of Natalie MacMaster, someone I had never heard of prior to watching this documentary, performing while wearing Seinfeld’s pirate shirt.

- Several artists refer to the indy Halifax scene as the “new Seattle.” There were also mentions of a Montreal scene and Vancouver scene. Was there no Regina scene or Saskatoon scene? I feel like Saskatchewan was grossly under-represented!

Whether or not this was an intentional overriding message of the documentary, the filmmakers expressed the legacy of Canadian musicians helping each other and the spirit of collaboration. Many of the smaller acts that never made it in America talked about opening for Shania or BNL or Céline. Apparently, there were no rivalries as everyone got along and supported one another. I feel like we should all get together and sing O Canada!

For more information about Life Is a Highway, visit the CBC website and/or check out this article in the Toronto Sun.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Why Is Everyone Whistling?

I’ve noticed a recent trend in the music industry. Four of Billboard’s top 15 songs feature whistling prominently. Take a look:

Maroon 5 featuring Christina Aguilera – Move Like Jagger (#2)

Foster the People – Pumped Up Kicks (#3) -- (To my knowledge, this band has no relation to former Steelers RB Barry Foster.)

Britney Spears – I Wanna Go (#13)

OneRepublic – Good Life (#15)

This doesn't include Lazy Song by Bruno Mars from earlier this year or last year's The Black Keys hit Tighten Up.

Not to sound like Seinfeld, but what's the deal with all of this whistling?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Trivia Tuesday

You thought I forgot about Trivia Tuesday, didn’t you? Not so fast, my friend! Your challenge is to name the phobias listed below. For example, arachnophobia is not just a creepy movie, but also a fear of spiders.

1. Agorophobia

2. Autophobia

3. Bronophobia

4. Hemaphobia

5. Ichthyophobia

6. Musophobia

7. Noctiphobia

8. Phagophobia

9. Thanatophobia

10. Xenophobia

Depending on how everyone does, I may provide answers later so that this is more of a matching game.

As always please leave your answers in the comments section below and do not use the internet for assistance. Good luck!

This quiz is courtesy of the fine folks at Stump Trivia.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Steelers-Raves Recap (Every Little Thing Gonna Be All Right)

51-0. That was the final score of the Steelers-Browns game on September 10, 1989, the first game of the season. The Steelers followed that dreadful performance at home by losing at Cincinnati 41-10. The Steelers team managed to fight back during the 1989 season to reach the playoffs, defeat the Houston Oilers in the wild card round and narrowly lose to John Elway and the Denver Broncos during the next round.

31-0. On September 7, 2003, the Buffalo Bills defeated the New England Patriots by that score at home. The Patriots bounced back from the loss by going 14-2 and winning the Super Bowl.

Although the Steelers played one of their worst games in recent years by losing 35-7 to the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday, the world is not ending. The season is not over. Mike Tomlin and Dick LeBeau didn’t become terrible coaches overnight. Ben Roethlisberger didn't turn into Cliff Stoudt. It was a terrible game against the hated rival, but again, it’s one game (the first game!) of the NFL season. I expect the team to rebound nicely next week against the Seattle Seahawks

Just a few notes about the game:

Did any member of the Steelers play well on Sunday? I’d give a gold star to Mike Wallace with 8 catches for 107 yards.

The Ravens ran 31 times for 170 yards or 5.5 yards per carry. That’s amazing against last season’s top-ranked rushing defense.

Ravens TE Ed Dickson caught 5 passes for 59 yards and a touchdown. He also had another long catch negated by a penalty. Dickson looked better today than Todd Heap did over the past three years.

Ed Reed is a very good safety. Not as good as Troy in my book (can you prove that I don’t have a book?), but the second best safety in the league. However, his two interceptions couldn’t have been easier. Roethlisberger threw both passes directly to Reed. I could have caught them.

Finally, I’m sure that you noticed this fight. Yes, Ike Taylor started it and deserved the personal foul penalty. My question is how was there only one penalty when it appeared that referee was knocked unconscious or possibly died? (Look at the top right of the screen around the :30 second mark.)

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Ten Years In Washington (Part 2)

I have now lived in the Washington DC area for a decade. While I shared some thoughts about significant events that occurred since moving here, I figured I would pose the question about whether or not I am a Washingtonian.

Why I May Be a Washingtonian

- Not only do I regularly ride Metro, but like my fellow Washingtonians, I feel the need to complain about non-air-conditioned trains, cost (I still don't understand the peak of the peak fares), delays, and broken escalators. However, overall, when Metro runs on time, I generally enjoy my experience commuting.

- I dislike Dan Snyder. I'm not a fan of the Washington Redskins in general, but the years of overcharging people for everything at FedEx Field, putting a poor football team together and suing the Washington City Paper all fall under Snyder's watch as owner.

- I know that Chuck Brown is the Godfather of Go-Go.

- I attended Stephen Strasburg's major league baseball debut. Of course, I was one of the few people in attendance wearing a Pittsburgh Pirates shirt.

- I get annoyed by tourists especially when the stand on the left on Metro escalators. However, a recent article in the Washington Post makes me reconsider my views on tourists.

- I have attended concerts or shows at the Kennedy Center, Arena Stage, 930 Club, Wolf Trap, Strathmore, Nissan Pavilion/Jiffy Lube Live and the Verizon Center.

- I have played ultimate frisbee on the National Mall.

- I like the cherry blossoms at the Tidal Basin. Yes, it's a bit touristy, but they truly are beautiful and signify the beginning of spring.

- I know the correct way to pronounce the name of rapper Wale.

- I know what a Topper Shutt is.

Why I May Not Be a Washingtonian

- I have never attended the July 4th fireworks on the National Mall. I'm generally not really a big fan of being in crowds of 100,000 or more (unless the Steelers or Jon Stewart/Stephen Colbert are involved).

- I attended Washington Capitals games before they became pretty good the past few years. Sure, many of these games were against the Pittsburgh Penguins, but there was no such thing as Rocking the Red then. There was also no problem getting tickets then.

- I have never played in a kickball league.

- Although I have had Ben's Chili Bowl at a Nationals game, I have never been to Ben's Chili Bowl itself. Yes, I realize that this item alone probably puts me into the not a Washingtonian category.

- I did not attend either the 2nd Bush inauguration or the Obama inauguration. Please see the big crowd thing above.

- I rarely visit the DC monuments or museums. This is the one part of this list that bothers me more than the others. Although I live in Northern Virginia and not actually in Washington, I certainly should visit these places more than I do. I tend to only visit these historic sites and wonderful exhibits when I have friends and family in from out of town.

- I have never been to Georgetown Cupcake or any other cupcake store or food truck.

- LiLu made a list of 10 places to visit when moving to the District. I have only been to four of them.

- I have not been invited to any White House event. Apparently, I don't have any connections and I don't feel like crashing any events like the Salahis (remember them?).

So what do you think: Am I a Washingtonian?

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Jaromir Jagr's Biggest Fan Pleads Guilty

Judging by this headline, it sounds like Jaromir Jagr's biggest fan (likely his mother) pleaded guilty to being Jagr's biggest fan. However, that's not the case. Here's the story from WTOP:

A suspect charged with spray painting the number "68" on more than 50 vehicles in Loudoun County has been indicted and plans to plead guilty, WTOP has learned.

Court records show Christopher Bolt is set to enter a guilty plea Friday to felony destruction of property as part of a plea deal.

The judge will determine the sentence for Bolt.

It is still not certain why Bolt sprayed "68" on the vehicles. However, the Loudoun County Sheriff says Bolt told detectives he tried to spray paint the number "69," but he crossed it out when it didn't look right and painted "68" instead.

Spray-painting vehicles with Jagr's 68 is much better than spray-painting the number 69 for former Washington Redskin & Denver Bronco (and current ESPN guy) Mark Schlereth.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Trivia Tuesday: What The Heck Is This?

I recently received an e-mail from regarding a new Pittsburgh Steelers product. If you haven't already seen this, I am honored (sure, let's go with honored) to introduce you to the Pittsburgh Steelers Pillow Pet

Your challenge this week is to provide a caption of this product since I honestly have no idea what this is. Sure, I guess the face is that of the silly Steelers mascot Steeley McBeam, but I don't get it. Good luck!

Friday, September 02, 2011

Joe Isuzu

No idea why, but I recently thought about Joe Isuzu. Therefore, I had to find a video featuring the great David Leisure. Enjoy!

Thursday, September 01, 2011

What Are You Doing, Mr. President?

The White House announced last night that President Obama will address a joint session of Congress on Thursday, September 8th regarding his plan for jobs and to improve the economy. While I appreciate President Obama presenting information on his plan on the biggest political stage available, doesn't anyone in the administration have a calendar?

The National Football League's first game of the season between the New Orleans Saints and Green Bay Packers takes place at 8:30 on the 8th. If the television choice is between President Obama and an NFL game, football will win. If the game is pre-empted by Obama's speech, people will get upset.

In this case, President Obama and Congress need to follow the lead of our Canadian friends. This spring, a political debate was postponed because of a Montreal Canadiens' first round playoff game. I hope that President Obama reconsiders the date of his speech, or at a minimum, schedules the address for 7:00 Eastern time.