Friday, August 18, 2017

Friday Video: Portugal. The Man.

There's a really good song getting major radio airplay (yes, I still listen to the radio) called Feel It Still by Portugal. The Man. (as opposed to Portugal. The Country.) Actually Cristiano Ronaldo, one of the two best soccer/football players in the world, is probably also known as Portugal. The Man.

While I don't understand the video or even the meaning of the song, I like it. (I'm really selling this, right?) One thing that jumps out is that the line "Oooooh, I'm a rebel just for kicks now" sounds very similar to "Oh yes, wait a minute Mr. Postman" from the 1960s Marvelettes' song Please Mr Postman. (Yes, I had to look up the name of the group.) Sure enough the writers of Please Mr Postman got writing credits here.

Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Andrew Stevenson! Jose Lobaton! Feel The Excitement!

Even though it is mid-August and there is still a month and a half left in regular season, the Washington Nationals have essentially won the National League East division barring one of the biggest collapses in baseball history. Therefore, the team can afford to lose a few games and let some of their best players rest. (The Washington Post's Barry Svrluga basically wrote the same thing on Monday.) That's what happened Sunday when I attended the Nats-San Francisco Giants game.

Meanwhile, prior to Sunday, the Moose (now 6) has been to two Major League Baseball games. In his first game, Max Scherzer threw a no-hitter and was one strike away from a perfect game. In the second game, the Pirates defeated the Nats in 18 innings. Although we left in the 15th, we saw two Presidential mascot races and participated in both the 7th and 14th inning stretch. The Moose was due to attend a regular, normal game.

With the Friday night game postponed due to rain and thunderstorms, the Nationals and Giants played a split double-header on Sunday with the first game starting at 1:05 and the second at 7:05. Apparently, Nats manager Dusty Baker gave Max Scherzer an option about which game he wanted to pitch. He picked the night game, meaning that we got to see the highly anticipated A.J. Cole-Chris Stratton pitching duel. Baker also seemed to give most of his veteran players the option of playing the day or evening game, meaning that we got to see Adrian Sanchez instead of Daniel Murphy, Andrew Stevenson instead of Michael A. Taylor or Howie Kendrick, and Jose Lobaton instead of Matt Wieters. With Bryce Harper going on the DL, we got to see a truly lousy Nationals line-up.

Let's go to the notes:

- We had really, really great seats. As an extra bonus, we were in the shade!


- Sunday was Boy Scouts game at Nats Park, so Baker and the Nats clearly DID NOT THINK OF THE CHILDREN when making the line-up.

- Due to the double-header, the Nats also cancelled the kids run around the bases activity they usually have after Sunday games. WOULD SOMEONE PLEASE THINK OF THE CHILDREN!

- Chris Stratton's parents missed a golden opportunity to name their child Briggs. The middle name could have been "And" or just something that starts with N.

- If Stratton becomes an All-Star, this will be his breakout game, meaning that perhaps The Moose's streak of seeing something significant stays intact. Stratton struck out 10 in 6 & 2/3 scoreless innings. This was his 2nd major league win and first as a starter.

- After the 8th inning, The Moose declared that he needed to poop. I asked him at least three times if he was sure but he said yes. Stadium bathrooms, especially after 8 innings, are disgusting. I asked an usher if there were any family restrooms nearby, and she looked at me incredulously and simply pointed us to the nearest men's room. Fortunately, we found a stall that wasn't awful, I cleaned it the best I could, and placed three layers of toilet paper between the toilet seat and The Moose.

- After an awful weekend in Charlottesville, I totally understand Thomas Jefferson just wanting to watch a baseball game.


Me: Would you like to take a picture with one of the President mascots?
The Moose: No. They're kind of scary. (I'm slightly paraphrasing The Moose here.)

- Random question #1: People remove hats for the national anthem, but are you supposed to remove your hat for G-d Bless America?

- Game one of the double-header ended with Howie Kendrick striking out. Game two ended with Kendrick hitting a walk-off grand slam. I wonder if this was the first time in baseball history where the same player was the last player to hit in both games with these results.

- Random question #2: After the first game, everyone had to leave the stadium with the gates reopening at 6:00 for game #2 of the double-header. How difficult would it have been to hide somewhere in the stadium for an hour?

- I didn't expect to see this being sold at the stadium. I wonder if I'll see them during Rosh Hashanah services.


- With the Nationals offense doing little, the crowd was its loudest when booing San Francisco relief pitcher Hunter Strickland. Strickland purposely hit Bryce Harper with a pitch in May. Strickland then gave up a 2-run home run to Anthony Rendon. AND WE NEVER HEARD FROM STRICKLAND AGAIN! (Unless you watched the 2nd game of the double-header where he pitched again.)

For more about the game, check out MLB.com and ESPN.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Video Week: Macklemore Wears Clemente Jersey

This is a late surprise entry to Sean's Ramblings video week. If someone wears a Pittsburgh sports jersey on national TV, I'm going to blog about it. On Thursday, Macklemore went on Good Morning America to perform his new song with Skylar Grey, Glorious, wearing a Roberto Clemente Pittsburgh Pirates jersey. It's an awesome jersey.

(I'm having trouble embedding the ABC video of the performance here, so you can see Macklemore being interviewed by the Good Morning America crew instead. The point of the post is the jersey, not the song itself.)



A little critique though. I don't like the tucking a jersey into jeans look. Yes, baseball players tuck jerseys into their uniform, but they aren't wearing jeans.

In addition, I noticed that Macklemore is releasing Glorious as part of a solo album. What happened to Ryan Lewis? (I found the answer here.) Is this the equivalent of Hall leaving Oates? Is this George Michael leaving Andrew Ridgeley and Wham?


This post is a little of everything. It's Sean on Fashion, my series of Celebrities in Pittsburgh gear, and Sean's Ramblings video week!

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Video Week: When Snoop Went Country

During last year's hockey road trip, we visited the Johnny Cash Museum in Nashville. I think this is a must see for any music fan, and I'm writing this as someone who is not a big country fan and didn't really know much about Johnny Cash prior to the visit. The memorabilia is really cool, and Cash's story and longevity are fascinating. There's one area where you can listen to other artists covering Cash's songs. One song/version in particular jumped out at me: Snoop Dogg's I Walk the Line



I like Snoop. He put out a lot of hits both on his own and with Dr. Dre and remains relevant today. I'll tune in to see Snoop as the host of Joker's Wild. We're both Pittsburgh Steelers fans too. With all of that written, this version of I Walk the Line is awful. Now, Snoop's country song Buy My Medicine with a cameo from his friend Willie Nelson isn't bad.



This post is part of the first ever Sean's Ramblings Video Week.

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Rum and Cola?

This is Stay by Zedd and Alessia Cara, one of the songs of the summer.



Besides being catchy, I believe that this is the first song that prominently features the word cola in the lyrics since Savage Garden's mid-90s hit, I Want You.



Let's dissect this a little more. The specific lyrics in Stay are:

Living on my sofa, drinking rum and cola
Underneath the rising sun.


First, I thought it was curious that a 16 year-old was singing about rum, but Cara is actually 21. Who knew? More importantly, who says rum and cola? The drink is always called Rum and Coke. It's a curious decision, but I'm sure the songwriters have their reasons for the lyric being cola rather than Coke.

And the reason seems to be the song appearing in a Pepsi commercial! Sacre Bleu!!



This post is part of the first ever Sean's Ramblings Video Week.

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Video Week: Bullpen Hijinks

Welcome to the first ever Sean's Ramblings Video Week. While I generally only post videos on Fridays, I wanted an excuse to share multiple videos that deserve separate blog posts. Hence, video week!

Last week, there was a rain delay during the Chicago Cubs-Arizona Diamondbacks game at Wrigley Field. Apparently, there are cameras in each bullpen so the opposing teams can see what the other team is doing. That led to this "competition" to make the other team laugh.



This certainly made me and The Moose laugh!

Thursday, August 03, 2017

A Facebook Story (Or A Story From Facebook)

I saw this story below posted on Facebook. I have no idea whether it is true or not, but I'll share my thoughts at the end. Here we go:

When I got home that night as my wife served dinner, I held her hand and said, I’ve got something to tell you. She sat down and ate quietly. Again I observed the hurt in her eyes. Suddenly I didn’t know how to open my mouth. But I had to let her know what I was thinking. I want a divorce. I raised the topic calmly. She didn’t seem to be annoyed by my words, instead she asked me softly, why?

I avoided her question. This made her angry. She threw away the chopsticks and shouted at me, you are not a man! That night, we didn’t talk to each other. She was weeping. I knew she wanted to find out what had happened to our marriage. But I could hardly give her a satisfactory answer; she had lost my heart to Jane. I didn’t love her anymore. I just pitied her!

With a deep sense of guilt, I drafted a divorce agreement which stated that she could own our house, our car, and 30% stake of my company. She glanced at it and then tore it into pieces. The woman who had spent ten years of her life with me had become a stranger. I felt sorry for her wasted time, resources and energy but I could not take back what I had said for I loved Jane so dearly. Finally she cried loudly in front of me, which was what I had expected to see. To me her cry was actually a kind of release. The idea of divorce which had obsessed me for several weeks seemed to be firmer and clearer now.

The next day, I came back home very late and found her writing something at the table. I didn’t have supper but went straight to sleep and fell asleep very fast because I was tired after an eventful day with Jane. When I woke up, she was still there at the table writing. I just did not care so I turned over and was asleep again.

In the morning she presented her divorce conditions: she didn’t want anything from me, but needed a month’s notice before the divorce. She requested that in that one month we both struggle to live as normal a life as possible. Her reasons were simple: our son had his exams in a month’s time and she didn’t want to disrupt him with our broken marriage.

This was agreeable to me. But she had something more, she asked me to recall how I had carried her into out bridal room on our wedding day. She requested that every day for the month’s duration I carry her out of our bedroom to the front door ever morning. I thought she was going crazy. Just to make our last days together bearable I accepted her odd request.


I told Jane about my wife’s divorce conditions. She laughed loudly and thought it was absurd. No matter what tricks she applies, she has to face the divorce, she said scornfully.

My wife and I hadn’t had any body contact since my divorce intention was explicitly expressed. So when I carried her out on the first day, we both appeared clumsy. Our son clapped behind us, daddy is holding mommy in his arms. His words brought me a sense of pain. From the bedroom to the sitting room, then to the door, I walked over ten meters with her in my arms. She closed her eyes and said softly; don’t tell our son about the divorce. I nodded, feeling somewhat upset. I put her down outside the door. She went to wait for the bus to work. I drove alone to the office.

On the second day, both of us acted much more easily. She leaned on my chest. I could smell the fragrance of her blouse. I realized that I hadn’t looked at this woman carefully for a long time. I realized she was not young any more. There were fine wrinkles on her face, her hair was graying! Our marriage had taken its toll on her. For a minute I wondered what I had done to her.

On the fourth day, when I lifted her up, I felt a sense of intimacy returning. This was the woman who had given ten years of her life to me. On the fifth and sixth day, I realized that our sense of intimacy was growing again. I didn’t tell Jane about this. It became easier to carry her as the month slipped by. Perhaps the everyday workout made me stronger.

She was choosing what to wear one morning. She tried on quite a few dresses but could not find a suitable one. Then she sighed, all my dresses have grown bigger. I suddenly realized that she had grown so thin, that was the reason why I could carry her more easily.

Suddenly it hit me...she had buried so much pain and bitterness in her heart. Subconsciously I reached out and touched her head.

Our son came in at the moment and said, Dad, it’s time to carry mom out. To him, seeing his father carrying his mother out had become an essential part of his life. My wife gestured to our son to come closer and hugged him tightly. I turned my face away because I was afraid I might change my mind at this last minute. I then held her in my arms, walking from the bedroom, through the sitting room, to the hallway. Her hand surrounded my neck softly and naturally. I held her body tightly; it was just like our wedding day.

But her much lighter weight made me sad. On the last day, when I held her in my arms I could hardly move a step. Our son had gone to school. I held her tightly and said, I hadn’t noticed that our life lacked intimacy. I drove to office…. jumped out of the car swiftly without locking the door. I was afraid any delay would make me change my mind...I walked upstairs. Jane opened the door and I said to her, Sorry, Jane, I do not want the divorce anymore.

She looked at me, astonished, and then touched my forehead. Do you have a fever? She said. I moved her hand off my head. Sorry, Jane, I said, I won’t divorce. My marriage life was boring probably because she and I didn’t value the details of our lives, not because we didn’t love each other anymore. Now I realize that since I carried her into my home on our wedding day I am supposed to hold her until death do us apart. Jane seemed to suddenly wake up. She gave me a loud slap and then slammed the door and burst into tears. I walked downstairs and drove away. At the floral shop on the way, I ordered a bouquet of flowers for my wife. The salesgirl asked me what to write on the card. I smiled and wrote, I’ll carry you out every morning until death do us apart.

That evening I arrived home, flowers in my hands, a smile on my face, I run up stairs, only to find my wife in the bed -dead. My wife had been fighting CANCER for months and I was so busy with Jane to even notice. She knew that she would die soon and she wanted to save me from the whatever negative reaction from our son, in case we push through with the divorce.— At least, in the eyes of our son—- I’m a loving husband.

The small details of your lives are what really matter in a relationship. It is not the mansion, the car, property, the money in the bank. These create an environment conducive for happiness but cannot give happiness in themselves.

So find time to be your spouse’s friend and do those little things for each other that build intimacy. Do have a real happy marriage!


Five people replied that this was beautiful and/or made them cry. I had a different reaction.

1. Based on the child clapping and telling his dad that it was time to carry his mom (along with the fact that the parents were together for 10 years), this child can't be older than 10. So what exams are so crucial that he needed to be prepared a month in advance? He's not taking the SAT!

2. The mom/wife was so concerned about her child and this exam but appears to have no concern about the kid when she knew she was dying. Oh, he'll remember that mom and dad had a loving relationship for the last month of her life. (Even though dad spends A LOT of time at Jane's, I mean, the office). She is also leaving the family in shock with no support system. Did she tell her husband or other family members or friends that she was dying so that maybe the child could have some counseling ready after her death? Maybe this was just revenge. Maybe she thought, you cheated on me, so you get to deal with this mess.

3. The husband was really, really oblivious. His wife is dying, but he notices only that she got thinner on basically the last day of her life.

The final message in this story is nice, so maybe I'm just being mean and cynical. Do you agree with me or am I a cold person?

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

Halsey's Arena Tour

This is Halsey. (It sounds cooler if you say it like "This is Jeopardy.")


You may know her as the female lead in The Chainsmokers' 2016 #1 song, Closer. You may also know her from her current solo song, Now or Never which reached #17 on the Billboard Hot 100. While I try to keep up with popular music, I'll admit that this is all that I know about Halsey. However, I recently heard commercials that she is coming to Washington's Verizon Center in October as part of an arena tour.

While it's possible (likely) that I'm out of touch, how is Halsey big enough to do an arena tour? Yes, she has 5 million Twitter followers and had the #1 album in the US (according to Wikipedia, "Hopeless Fountain Kingdom debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200 with 106,000 album-equivalent units, of which 76,000 were pure album sales"), but here are bands/performers that have played or will play at Verizon Center in 2017.

Jay-Z
Janet Jackson
Green Day
John Mayer
Red Hot Chili Peppers
Chris Brown (and others)
The Weeknd
Eric Church
New Kids on the Block with Paula Abdul and Boyz II Men
Kendrick Lamar
Daryl Hall and John Oates and Tears for Fears
Queen + Adam Lambert
Roger Waters
J. Cole
Earth Wind & Fire an CHIC featuring Nile Rodgers
Shawn Mendes
Depeche Mode
Arcade Fire
Ed Sheeran
Katy Perry
Bruno Mars
Tim McGraw and Faith Hill
Enrique Iglesias and Pitbull
Guns N' Roses
Imagine Dragons
Lady Gaga
Andrea Bocelli

There are plenty of superstars listed in this group. While there are others where you can debate whether or not they can fill an arena, it seems like all of them have more impressive resumes than Halsey. Again, I may (and probably am) out of touch, but my question still stands: how is Halsey big enough right now to do an arena tour?