Friday, September 21, 2018

Breaking News: Cereal with Milk Is Good

To the likely horror of at least one of my sister-in-laws, I do not know the difference between Kendall and Kylie Jenner. Look, I know who Kim, Khloe, and (crap, I have to look it up) Kourtney (I knew that!) are, so isn't that enough? Earlier this week, Kylie Jenner made major news (seriously) from this tweet:



Look, I get that Jenner probably never goes grocery shopping and wouldn't know the cost of a gallon of milk, but how could she never know about milk on cereal? Did she never see the Rice Krispies commercials with Snap, Crackle, and Pop? I know this is before her time, but her dad was on the cover of a Wheaties box. There were none of those hanging around the house? No one in her house with so many siblings and step-siblings never had cereal and milk for breakfast? What are they eating for breakfast?


Anyway, this single tweet will probably do wonders for the cereal and dairy industries. Everything a Kardashian/Jenner seems to discuss or promote turns to gold. (Well, milk isn’t going to turn into gold, but you know what I mean.)

Actually, maybe I'm the trend-setter here. I've had cereal and milk nearly every day for decades now!

Monday, September 17, 2018

Mac Miller 1992-2018

(Please note that the videos in this post are not suitable for work.)

As I’m sure that you know by now, rapper Mac Miller passed away last week, way too young at the age of 26. Miller was born and raised in Pittsburgh and represented the city proudly. Although I’m more than a decade older than Miller, we have some connections. He attended Allderdice High School where many of my friends went to school, we both went to the same camp, the founder of the company that produced Miller's first albums went to school with my brother, and we both loved the blue slide at Frick Park. (I just took my kids there when I visited Pittsburgh last month.)


I can’t say that I followed his music career all that closely after he initially hit it big. Calling his music “frat boy rap” seemed spot on at the time, and I enjoyed some of his break-out songs. However, he matured and it is reflected in his music. Miller performed a Tiny Desk concert in August and you can hear the retrospection.


It really seemed like Miller had so much going for him and ahead of him. Addiction is a terrible thing.

I recommend checking out the obituaries by the LA Times, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, and Vulture.



Friday, September 07, 2018

Happy Birthday Ziggy!

Our cat Ziggy turned 10 last month. He has been a major part of our lives (and this blog) since we adopted him in November 2008. Ziggy was there before kids. He started as the focus of our attention as a kitten, but now he's outnumbered significantly by our three kids. When we learned that we were expecting a third child, we bought a bunk bed for the older two. Ziggy may believe that this was a gift for him. The top bunk is one of his go to places, and he often sleeps next to The Moose or Pedro Tulo after they fall asleep. Ziggy is also extremely patient with a now one year old Luigi who absolutely adores him. Luigi will grab Ziggy's tail and fur, but Ziggy doesn't seem to mind. I think he likes the attention. He just tries to keep a respectable distance and prefers if I'm there to jump in if necessary.


I wrote about this a few years ago, but Ziggy still likes cuddling up with me at night. Not to brag, but I'm his favorite. Ziggy is a sweet cat, and I can't imagine our home without him. Happy Birthday Ziggy! To the pictures!


It really is his house. We just live there with him!

Wednesday, September 05, 2018

Play Survival Football

The headline makes it sounds like this is the Hunger Games! In reality, all you do is pick one NFL team who you think will win each week. If you choose correctly, you have chosen wisely!


You also get to advance to the next week. The catch is that you can't pick the same team twice. Get it wrong and you're out. In that case, you have chosen poorly.


The gold cup looks nice, but DON'T DRINK OUT OF IT!

Anyway, there might even be a prize for a winner. I don't know what the prize will be or even if there will be a prize, but there could be a prize. Let me just type prize again to let you think that you could win a prize. Which might happen. Prize!

To enter, follow this link and enter this information:

Group ID Number: 31101
Password: 123abc

Good luck!

Tuesday, September 04, 2018

National Capital Trolley Museum, 90s Advertisements, & Trivia Tuesday

Over the weekend, we took a trip to the National Capital Trolley Museum in Colesville, Maryland. It's a small venue with a room of about a dozen trolleys/streetcars, and then you can take a ride on one of the streetcars. The one trolley you could ride when we visited was built in the 1950s and was still operational in Toronto until the mid-90s. Maybe more interesting to me was the ads still on display in the trolley. While this isn't necessarily a Trivia Tuesday post, I'm giving you a challenge today. Can you name the albums from the following ad:


U2, Tom Petty, Pink Floyd, Peter Gabriel, R.E.M., and Eric Clapton immediately jumped out to me. It looks like there are also Hootie and the Blowfish, Melissa Etheridge, and Seal albums. Since this is a Canadian station, that's probably Barenaked Ladies on the top left. Please help fill in the ones I'm missing in the comments section below.

Here are a couple more pictures from the museum. (Not pictured is the one woman who yelled at us for having a loud 4 year old. You're in a trolley museum. There are going to be kids there!)



Now, I need to make sure I get to Toronto by 4:00 this afternoon to catch Ricki Lake!

Monday, August 27, 2018

Remembering John McCain

One of the unique things about being at The Ohio State University is that presidential candidates often visit campus. The student population is one of the largest in the country and being in a swing state makes the campus an attractive venue for candidates to share their message. Plus, Columbus has a fairly large media market, so candidates know that they will get coverage in central Ohio and throughout the state. As a graduate student in 2000, I was able to see Al Gore, John McCain, and Carrot Top (though I don't think the latter was running for president). With McCain passing away on Saturday, this post is obviously about him.


I don't remember if McCain used the "Maverick" label at the time, and I honestly don't remember anything about the speech. It may have just been me learning more about McCain, especially his time as a POW, but I came away from his rally being impressed. He seemed more honest and genuine than many other politicians. McCain ended up losing the Republican primary to George W. Bush, and it's interesting (that's one word to use) to have seen what would have happened if McCain won the 2000 election.

In my opinion, McCain realized that he had to go more to the right to get the Republican nomination. While I don't have a specific example of this off the top of my head, it seemed like he played more to the base between 2000 and when he ran again in 2008. This time, he successfully won the nomination, but lost the general election to Barack Obama.

Over the past few years, McCain has been one of the few Republicans willing to speak out against Donald Trump, even though he ended up voting for many of his policies. I'm actually not sure if I admire McCain or not for not stooping to Trump's level after the ridiculous statement that “[McCain] was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.” While I disagree with many of his politics, I admire McCain for his service and being one of the seemingly few politicians willing to work with Senators and members of Congress from the opposing party. McCain dedicated his life to the United States and deserves respect and appreciation for this.

RIP Senator.


Photo from JohnMcCain.com.

Proof that McCain spoke at Ohio State on February 26, 2000 courtesy of The Lantern.

Update: Drew Magary of GQ has some thoughts on McCain that is worth checking out.

Friday, August 24, 2018

Friday Video: No Tears Left To Cry

Today's video is "No Tears Left to Cry" by Ariana Grande. I'm pretty sure that it's the three notes (da-da-da) that make this song for me. It's really simple, but it works. Now, don't get too dizzy watching this video.


Wednesday, August 22, 2018

2018 MTV VMAs

I watched the 2018 MTV VMAs on Monday, apparently to prove that I am old and not in touch with current popular music. If you're not interested in this topic, I suggest you scroll down to the end for an amazing video which I think was the highlight of the night. Here are the people in attendance who are older than me:

Jennifer Lopez
Madonna
Aerosmith
Some (but not all) members of Backstreet Boys
Ariana Grande's mom and grandmother
Camila Cabello's mom
Ken Jeong

That's it. In case you're wondering, I'm two months older than Alex Rodriguez. Other reasons how this award show made me feel old:

1. Apparently it's fine to say "sh!t" on MTV now. (It's not okay to say it on Sean's Ramblings though.)

2. When did face tattoos become such a big thing? When Mike Tyson got one years ago, it was major news.


For example, pictured above is Post Malone, who I assume chose his stage name as a tribute to the former Utah Jazz power forward. Someone also really could have showed him how to move the microphone up. Besides the awards he won, it was also a big night for him as he got to perform with the guy from the Skittles commercial.


Camila Cabello won a few VMAs including video of the year and artist of the year, so you would think that Tiffany Haddish would be able to pronounce her name correctly.

If you don't show up to the awards show, you don't get an award. Beyoncé and Jay-Z, Bruno Mars, Ed Sheeran, Childish Gambino: No (major) awards for you!

I'm pro-Ariana Grande. That is all.

At the beginning of the show, Cardi B held one of those award statue moon-man things. Yet, when she won the award for best new artist, she remarked how heavy it was. Does that mean that she held a fake award at the beginning? Is there a conspiracy here?

Finally, this was by far my favorite part of the night.


That is Bebe Rexha dancing backstage. Meanwhile, the guy on the left just wanted to get by to do his job. I love the look on his face.

Photo by Theo Wargo / Getty Images

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Trip To Pittsburgh

We took a family trip back to the 'Burgh last weekend, so of course I have some notes (and pictures) from the trip. This never gets old.


* I had never been on the USS Requin before. While I found it very cool, I would not recommend taking an 11-month old on it as you have to climb from compartment to compartment. Not very easy to carry a kid through this. Who knew that submarines weren't designed for infants?


* Major props to Eat 'N Park in Homestead for having this sign in the bathroom.


And yes I bought Smiley Cookies from, um, Smiley Cookie as one person once said. (This gaffe alone should have disqualified Donald Trump from the presidency.)

* I've gone to the Carnegie Museum of Natural History (the dinosaur museum) since I was a young child and I've always parked on the street. For this visit, I parked in the garage behind the museum. Has the garage always been there or is it brand new?

* There was a guy wearing a Jurassic Park T-shirt at the Carnegie Museum. I thought about taking a picture, but that would have been rude (and I couldn't stealthily take one without getting his face and/or his kids in the picture).

* A highlight for the kids was the blue slide at Frick Park. The blue slide isn't quite as blue as it used to be.


By the way, very nice job by the people who use the playground. People left cardboard boxes there so that kids could use them to slide down.

* Who would travel to Pittsburgh and wear Pittsburgh sports gear just walking around the city without going to a game? Makes no sense!


* Speaking of places where kids shouldn't be, I had an opportunity to be a guest on The YaJagoff! podcast. However, John and Rachael were broadcasting from The All-Star Craft Beer, Wine, and Cocktail Festival at PNC Park where you had to be 21+ to attend. None of my kids can pass for 21, so maybe next time. (I should have had my kids stand on each other's shoulders while wearing a trench coat. That would have worked!)


* This is the third consecutive trip to Pittsburgh where I did not stop at The O. Stupid Pennsylvania Turnpike traffic (and very heavy rain) for ruining my lunch plans!

* I drove by the house where I grew up which is currently for sale. My parents sold the house about 8 years ago. Anyway, it looked the same from the outside, but I'm not sure if the current owner moved out or is just lazy or unable to attend to the yard, and I couldn't get past how awful the yard looked. Grass was overgrown and you could barely see the concrete path in the front yard leading to the door. And now this song is in my head.


* Oh, it was also odd seeing my elementary school not there anymore. It was an administrative office for many years, and apparently it was torn down a few years ago. Now it's just grass.

* Naturally, I randomly ran into my brother's first grade teacher and her daughter who someone I knew from when I was in high school. Because Pittsburgh.

Hopefully, I'll be back to the 'Burgh again soon.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Thank You CVS

Last week, I went to CVS to try to find a plastic covering for a cell phone screen. They only had one type available, and while I didn't think it was what I needed, I made sure that I would be able to return it with the receipt and bought it for $15. I also had a CVS coupon good for 40% off one item, so I actually paid $9 plus tax.


After confirming that the covering wasn't the right one, I returned it on Monday. The cashier put the $9+ back on my credit card, and then told me that they would give me $6.36 in store credit for the coupon. Although I asked her several times if she was sure since this didn't sound right, the cashier insisted that I was due the balance. Unfortunately, there was something wrong with the register, so she was unable to give me a store credit on the card. She called over a manager, and at this point, I was worried for her as I figured she would get in trouble for essentially giving me free money. The manager came over and also had difficulties with the register, so she handed me $6.36 in cash.

Basically, CVS gave me $6.36 for using a 40% off coupon on a product that I returned. I don't get it!

(Photo from the National Real Estate Investor.)

Friday, August 10, 2018

Metro's Brilliant Plan

People regularly and justifiably criticize Metro, but I think they deserve credit for once. The Unite the Right rally (the same group who protested in Charlottesville last year) is scheduled for Sunday. Like other events in DC with people coming from out of town, most people will take Metro to get downtown.

However, it just so happens that Metro begins a major construction project this weekend with two high-traffic stations (Farragut West and McPherson Square) closed on Saturday and Sunday. Another busy station (Metro Center) is only accessible via the Red Line. Service is going to be such a mess over the next two weeks, that Metro is telling people only to use them if you have no other options.


While it's going to be a major inconvenience for people like me who rely on Metro to get to work, maybe Metro is actually helping by making it more difficult for the Unite the Right folks to get to the rally. What a brilliant plan! Of course, Metro also floated the idea of having white supremacist-only cars to help prevent potential fights, so maybe not.

Wednesday, August 08, 2018

Bryce Harper Will Be Overpaid

Bryce Harper is a good baseball player, but not a great baseball player like he and others think he is. Yes, he was great during his 2015 National League MVP season and yes you would probably like to have him on your team. The question is at what price. There has been talk that Harper seeks a deal of $300 million or more when he becomes a free agent at the end of the 2018 season. Someone may pay this. It's the baseball owners' money, so they have every right to spend it as they please. If I was a baseball owner or GM, I would never pay Harper this though. (In full disclosure, I cut out coupons and regularly look for discounts and deals, so I may not be a good example.)

Here's why:



When the ball was hit, the score was tied at 1-1 in the 9th inning against a team the Nationals are chasing in the standings. This should have been a double with runners on 2nd and 3rd and the Braves taking a 2-1 lead. Instead, Harper seemed nonchalant as he threw the ball to home plate.

I'm sure you're thinking, Harper didn't have a chance to get the out at home, so it doesn't really matter. Fine. What about WAR, or wins above replacement? Harper currently has a WAR of 0.9 which is good for tied for 95th...in the National League! Todd Frazier, Alen Hanson, Gorkys Hernandez, Hunter Renfroe, and Adam Frazier are all better than Harper in this category. And none of these players are going to earn $300 million!


If you want a guy to hit home runs, Harper (tied for 3rd in the NL) is your guy. If you want a guy to get on base, Harper (12th in the NL), is solid. If you want a guy who strikes out a lot, Harper (4th in the NL) is also your guy. For $25 million or more a year, I'll pass.


Photo by Patrick McDermott/ Getty Images

Wednesday, August 01, 2018

3rd Annual Workhouse Brewfest

Seemingly overnight, craft breweries have exploded in Northern Virginia. While I don't get out much (that will happen when you have three young kids), I've been to Caboose Brewing Company in Vienna and Old Ox Brewery in Ashburn and enjoyed them very much. Cool atmospheres and outstanding beer. Both of these breweries are part of more than 30 Virginia craft breweries, artisan distilleries, and Virginia wineries that will be on tap at the third annual Workhouse Brewfest on Saturday, August 4, from 1:00-8:00 at the Workhouse Arts Center in Fairfax County, Virginia (9518 Workhouse Way, Lorton, VA 22079).


Here's more about the event via the press release since I like considering myself press:

This unique event will feature live performances by 12 of the region’s most popular bands, incredible food trucks, access to air-conditioned art galleries and 65 artist studios, and of course some of the area’s most exciting craft beer, artisan spirits, and Virginia wine. The day will provide an unforgettable experience for every kind of beer lover – from the uber-knowledgeable beer geek to the casual drinker and those new to the world of craft beer. Fairfax County, Visit Fairfax, and Celebrate Fairfax are joining the Workhouse in producing this year’s Brewfest, Tickets are available for purchase online at http://workhousebrewfest.org.

Fairfax County officials say they are thrilled to continue their support for Brewfest as part of the county’s plan to boost the economy, which includes encouraging entrepreneurs and innovation; promoting arts, hospitality, and tourism; and supporting events that cultivate a vibrant, energized community. In its first two years, the event has showcased the appeal and potential of these small businesses to be significant draws for tourism, business investment, and regional development. Brewfest’s success even contributed in part to Fairfax County leaders adopting new zoning rules that expand the areas where craft producers can operate in the county.

Brewfest also highlights how craft beer is a big business in Virginia. Craft breweries sustain more than 10,000 full time equivalent (FTE) positions and produce nearly $1.4 billion in economic impact in the state, according to the Brewers Association. There are more than 200 licensed breweries in the state – including 10 in Fairfax County. Of course, the arts also contribute significantly to the economic health of the county and enhance its appeal to many audiences. Americans for the Arts reports that in Fairfax County alone, direct economic activity tied to arts and culture organizations and their audiences exceeds $271 million dollars per year and supports more than 6,200 FTE jobs.


More information about the event is available on the Brewfest website and on Facebook and Twitter.

Monday, July 30, 2018

Put Your Seat Back In the Upright Position

We just returned from a trip to south Florida to visit my parents. I learned on this trip that it is easier taking three kids on a plane than driving 13 hours each way (though JetBlue did not serve Cracker Barrel). On the flight home, an older gentleman in the seat in front of me decided to recline his seat even though I had a 10-month old Luigi on my lap. I was not happy by this since there's already limited room on airplanes and this made it even less comfortable.


At several moments in the flight, I put the tray table down (and up) and Luigi cried or touched the back of his seat. Apparently, even though I couldn't see him, the guy gave dirty looks back each time this happened. Look, I understand that you (meaning the guy) paid for the flight and have the right to recline your seat. I also understand that you're old, lived a full life, and feel that you earned the right to do what you want. However, don't expect a 10-month old to sit quietly the entire flight, especially when you take away 35% of the space he has.

As a side note, as you can see by the rather poor picture, I watched part of Crazy, Stupid, Love on the flight, a much better film with Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling together than La La Land. I'm not sure if this is an underrated movie or just a rated film. Regardless, it's a good movie, even if it's just for the fight scene between Gosling, Steve Carell, Kevin Bacon, and John Carroll Lynch. You may not know the name, but you know JCL.


Anyway, if that guy (not John Carroll Lynch) is in front of me on my next flight with my family, and he reclines his seat again, I'll make sure to have Pedro Tulo sit behind him, and I know my 4 year old will kick his seat a few times!