Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Search Mission

It has been almost five years since I completed my Masters program at The Ohio State University. I can't believe that it has been five years already. Anyway, I recently discovered that there is going to be a conference in Washington DC where I'm hoping some of my classmates will be attending. Over the last two evenings, I've searched old e-mails and used Google to try and find some of the people in my program. Tonight, I actually sent the e-mail to see if anyone will be around. It's amazing that I spent nearly everyday with my classmates for two straight years and less than five years later, I'm not even sure I have their current e-mail addresses.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Fantasy Baseball Question

To any fantasy baseball participants out there: Do you know of any websites that show the auction values of players for free? If you do, please let me know.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Black Eyed Peas

What is the biggest group that has emerged on music scene over the past three years? My answer is the Black Eyed Peas. While U2, Green Day and Destiny's Child have been huge, they have been together for years (or decades in the case of U2). Think about it. The Black Eyed Peas have had hit after hit after hit almost consistently over the past 2-3 years. Yes I know they had a song with Macy Gray in the late 90s (I think), but they really hit it big when Fergie joined the group in 2003 and "Where Is The Love" became the #1 song in the country. "Let's Get It Started" was all over the place from the Grammys to the NBA playoffs to the 2004 Democratic National Convention. "Don't Phunk With My Heart" and "My Humps" have also been big hits and the Best Buy commercials haven't hurt either.

Can you think of another "new" band that has been bigger than BEP over the past few years?

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Your Weekend Read - The Junkies

For those of you in the Washington DC and Baltimore area, you hopefully already know about the Junkies. They are a group of four childhood friends that started with a cable access TV sports show and now have the morning spot on WJFK (replacing Howard Stern) and on WHFS in Baltimore. I have been a big fan since early 2002 because they sound like guys who have known each other for years (which they have), are funny, and discuss topics I like such as sports and TV. The Junkies are the feature story in this weekend's Washington Post Magazine. Check it out.

Thursday, February 23, 2006


I feel like I know something that millions of people want to know: the result of the Women's Figure Skating competition at the Olympics. For the people who have been avoiding the internet, TV and radio so that they can watch the taped results on NBC, I will not write who won the Gold. However, I'll give one hint. It was not anyone named Michelle (as in Michelle Kwan or Michelle Trachtenberg of the Ice Princess movie).

More important in my world is the college basketball game between George Mason (21-5) and Hofstra (20-5). GMU is ranked for the first time in school history and is facing a team that has an 18-game winning streak at home, the third longest in the country. HUGE match-up in the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA), which has traditionally been a one-team league for the NCAA Tournament, but I believe deserves two or possibly three bids this year.

UPDATE: Mason lost this evening to Hofstra 77-66. With the win, Hofstra has now tied a little team called Duke with the 2nd longest home winning streak in the country (behind only Gonzaga). Again, the CAA deserves at least two bids this year!

UPDATE II: Why would Fox show Skating with Celebrities after American Idol, when any figure skating fan (even if they knew the results) would be watching the Olympics?

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

True Metro Story

I was on my way home this evening just like any other night. But it was not any other night (insert some type of scary music here). The Metro got to my stop at West Falls Church as I stood in front of the train door like everyone else ready to exit. But the doors to my train never opened (more music). We watched as people from the other train cars exited and headed to the escalator. Still, the doors to our car didn't open (last time for the music). No big deal since we figured the train operator was trying to figure out why our doors didn't open. That was fine until the train started moving, and next thing we knew, we were on our way to Dunn Loring. At Dunn Loring, I, with 40-50 of my closest friends, exited, walked across the platform and waited to take the Metro back to West Falls Church. I wonder if the train operator noticed that more people than usual exited at Dunn Loring or got off the Metro, but instead of exiting the station, went directly across the platform. All in all, my commute ended up being an extra 20 minutes, and I have a new Metro story.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Crossword Puzzle

I don't really like crossword puzzles. I tend to get frustrated by them very easily since synonyms and definitions are not my strength. However, People magazine may have the easiest crossword puzzles anywhere. Here are some sample clues:

37 Across (4 letters) - Actor Sandler (costar of 9 Down - Woody Harrelson - in Anger Management
41 Across (3 letters) - Yoko ___
43 Down (5 letters) - Cinderella Man star Zellweger
57 Across (4 letters) - The Tonight Show host Jay ____
46 Across (3 letters) - "I Left My Heart in ___ Francisco"

Seriously? How about a little bit of a challenge? I'm surprised they don't have the following questions:

2 Down (3 letters) - Furry animal that purrs and makes a "meow" sound
7 Across (5 letters) - The former U.S. President that is buried in Grant's Tomb
27 Across (4 letters) - Write in the name Sean

Monday, February 20, 2006

Quick Hits

DON'T READ THIS IF YOU HAVE NOT WATCHED GREY'S ANATOMY YET. I'll mention the show a little further down so that you don't accidentally read something about it if you don't want to.

Peter King from Sports Illustrated predicts that the Steelers will play Denver on Thursday, September 7th to start the 2006 NFL season. He has a good argument. Of the teams the Steelers could play, the Bengals would have been good, but the NFL can't risk having Jon Kitna or another backup playing QB in the opener if Carson Palmer is not ready to play. A rematch of the AFC Championship looks like the "sexy" match-up for the first game on NBC in many years, especially if the Bronocs sign Terrell Owens.

Grey's Anatomy: Last night, George professed his love to Meredith and they promptly hooked up. The consensus around the web (I had off work today so I was able to look at Grey's Anatomy stuff online late last night) is that George is the greatest guy ever. I'm amazed at how many people online are professing their love for George. Anyway, the other consensus is that Meredith is really going to hurt him. I'm happy for George as he is representing the average guy here, but a relationship is never going to happen. (Yes I know they are not real people.) Personally, I thought George should have gone for Christian Ricci's character from the two-part Super Bowl/bomb episodes.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

TV Shows for Women?

In his latest column/mailbag, ESPN's Bill Simmons, the Sports Guy, received a question about shows that guys watch with significant others in order to "take one for the team." Here is his Hall of Fame list (the ground rules are included in the mailbag): Party of Five, My So-Called Life, Friends (not including the first two seasons), Grey's Anatomy, The Gilmore Girls/Felicity/Dawson's Creek, The OC (third season), The Bachelor, male figure skating in The Winter Olympics and How I Met Your Mother. I can't say much about most of the shows on the list, but I currently watch and enjoy How I Met Your Mother and Grey's Anatomy. Oh, and I don't watch these shows with my wife. I'm not sure if I should make any points here or not, but feel free to add comments.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Pre-Weekend Notes

A few quick notes before the weekend truly begins:

* Vanilla Ice was on Washington Post's live discussion today. My favorite Vanilla Ice quote: "A lot of people don't remember anything since Ice Ice Baby, but I've got 3 records out since then and they're all successes -- but not commercially." How do you measure album success without commercial success? I would say critical praise, but Vanilla Ice bashes critics throughout the chat. According to Vanilla, he's huge in Estonia.

* Here's a somewhat amusing song and video: everythingsoundslikecoldplaynow.com

* Except for the Flying Tomato, the big name American athletes (Michelle Kwan, Bode Miller, Jeremy Bloom) have not done well at the Olympics. The latest disappointment was Johnny Weir, who blamed his fifth place finish on missing the bus and not being comfortable in the building. I think I may have used that excuse once for a job interview.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

George Mason Hoops

After attending approximately five games per season since I moved to Northern Virginia in 2001, I FINALLY attended my first George Mason University basketball game this year. It wasn't pretty, but Mason defeated Drexel 67-48 to go to 20-5 on the season. Jai Lewis, who is listed 6'7" and 275 pounds (if he is really 275, the Bus must weigh 210. I don't know if that makes sense. What I mean is that Lewis has to be heavier than 275), dominated the second half scoring 17 of his game-high 19 points.

There was an interesting moment in the game when a player on Drexel (Sanchez) appeared to have walked either right over on actually on one of Mason's best players, Tony Skinn, when Skinn was on the floor. As you can guess, Skinn wasn't happy. The game was delayed for 10 minutes as the officials met, discussed and reviewed video of the "skirmish" (I didn't see Skinn do anything). After about five minutes, it was announced that Skinn and Sanchez received Technicals. Five minutes later and after more review, both players were ejected. This is a big deal since it was suspected that Skinn would be suspended for the game against Wichita State Saturday night on ESPN2. Fortunately, it was recently announced that he will not be suspended.

To promote Saturday night's game and the entire "BracketBusters" weekend, Lamar Butler (the third of the outstanding three Mason Seniors - along with Skinn and Lewis) was on a chat on ESPN.com. My favorite part: Lamar received a question from both his brother and mother.

Check out Mason and Wichita State this Saturday on ESPN2 at 8:00pm Eastern.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Why Not Me?

I found the perfect show for me: THE WORLD SERIES OF POP CULTURE. According to the VH1 website, VH1 and Entertainment Weekly are "scouring the country to find 16 three-person teams who think they've got what it takes to compete in the most intense pop culture trivia tournament to date." That's me. I just have to find two other people. The other problem is that VHI and EW are not "scouring" enough. If they were, they would come to Washington DC. Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, Atlanta and New York are not at all convenient.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Songs of Sean

Stupid title, I know. Anyway, there are two songs out right now that I really like but probably should not admit it. Actually, I don't mind admitting that I like "Unwritten" by Natasha Bedingfield. She's a cute singer from the UK with a nice voice and positive lyrics. I'm also a big fan of any song where you are able to include a choir. On the other hand, I feel embarrassed writing that I like the music in the song "Boyfriend" by Ashlee Simpson. The beat and the chorus are very catchy; however, the lyrics such as "Don't put words up in my mouth" are just silly (and not a good "silly" like the Junkies' lingo).

Monday, February 13, 2006

Weekend Update

As you may have heard, I was involved in a hunting accident this weekend so I haven't been able to write. OK, I am making light of an unfortunate incident involving the VP, which is precisely the reason why I will never go hunting. I have had enough experiences shooting a teammate while playing XBOX to know that I shouldn't shoot real ammunition.

I actually was away this weekend in Atlanta where I was able to avoid the 8-12 inches of snow that hit Northern Virginia. We had no problems flying back into Dulles today. Some quick notes from the trip:

* I think I took the placebo version of Tylenol Cold. I was sick nearly the entire weekend which is never fun, but especially on vacation.

* The Georgia Aquarium is very impressive. If you are traveling to Atlanta, the aquarium should be on the top of the list.

* Heinz is a great name for a dog, especially for a very cute Boston Terrier puppy.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Day Off

Even though I am sick, it's nice having the day off from work. Hopefully the orange juice and Tylenol will start to kick in soon.

Since I'm at home, I'm writing a lot today about a wide variety of topics. Here are a few more:

* I just came back from the grocery store. It was about 1:30 in the middle of the afternoon and packed. Since we've had such a mild winter in the DC area, I almost forgot what happens when there is any threat of snow.

* In early December, I received this article that argued that Cowher could never win the Super Bowl, stating, "I think it’s time to take this dog out behind the shed, Old Yeller style." Fortunately, the author was wrong. I wonder if he has retracted the article?

* Have you always wanted to follow Ithaca College interns in Torino for the Winter Olympics? If so, here's your chance.

I Don't Understand

My long-time readers know that I tend to write almost exclusively about Pittsburgh sports, TV and random things that happen in my life. I rarely write about politics, mostly because it is pretty depressing. Today's headlines are as follows: Libby: White House 'Superiors' OK'd Leaks and White House Knew of Flooding Night of Katrina. The first article discusses Scooter Libby, Vice President Cheney's former chief of staff, telling a federal grand jury that his superiors authorized him to give secret information to reporters as part of the Bush administration's defense of intelligence used to justify invading Iraq. This speaks to a larger issue of why we are in Iraq when they never had weapons of mass destruction and Hussein had no ties to Al-Qaeda. Why didn't we use our military resources on Osama bin Laden, who if you haven't noticed, has yet to be captured? The second article says that the Department of Homeland Security and White House knew about the flooding earlier than they said they did. At least Brownie was doing a good job.

Oh yeah, there may have also been illegal wiretapping, some U.S. companies in Iraq have not been using millions of dollars from the U.S. government contracts properly and the U.S. Trade Deficit is at an all-time high. At best, you can say that some of this is poor leadership. At worst, you are talking about criminal activity. So why is there no outcry? Do most Americans just not care? Is it because Congress in Republican and no one is willing to step up and make the administration accountable? Is it because people are more interested in American Idol?

President Clinton was impeached because he had inappropriate relations with Monica. Not a smart move and he may have deserved to be ridiculed for his actions, but at least no one got killed for his mistakes. Jason has a great PG-13 picture of a billboard on his blog. Maybe that's what has to happen for anyone to truly investigate some real issues.

Backyard Brawl

Congrats to Pitt for a 57-53 win against #10 West Virginia! Ronald Ramon and Aaron Gray each scored 16 points, and Pitt was able to hold Ramblings favorite, Kevin Pittsnogle to 0 (zero) points. Pittsnogle averages nearly 20 points per game. Pitt seemed to dominate the game; however, 18 turnovers (including 7 by Gray) kept the Mountaineers in it. After losing consecutive games at #1 UConn and #16 Georgetown, this was an important win for Pitt.

I think Pittsnogle had a good excuse for not playing well last night. His wife gave birth last Friday to a 9-pound, 5-ounce baby boy named Kwynsie James. Congratulations to the entire Pittsnogle family (especially if they are still reading this)!

One other college basketball note: I have not been able to attend a George Mason game this year, and I'm really missing something special. Mason is now 18-5 after winning at a very difficult place and team to play, Virginia Commonwealth. Watch out for Mason over the next month and hopefully in the NCAA Tournament.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Quick Grammy Hits

I didn't get home until late tonight, so I missed most of the Grammys. The Sly and the Family Stone performance was cool, especially will.i.am, although it would have been nice if Sly Stone stayed on stage for more than two minutes. In the forty minutes that I have been watching the Grammys, I have only seen one award which went to U2 for best song (I think). I also liked the beginning of the Kanye West-Jamie Foxx performance as they came out in full marching band gear. Green Day just won the Grammy for Record of the Year for Boulevard of Broken Dreams. Maybe it's just me, but I like American Idiot and Holiday more than Boulevard.

That's all I have, which happens when you miss the first two hours and go to sleep before the end. I told you it was going to be quick.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Yes, Even More on the Super Bowl

I really will change topics soon. In the comments section of yesterday's post, Messiah wrote, "It's just unclassy for Holmgren to not only refuse to shake hands but also to say "We knew it was going to be tough playing against the Steelers, but I didn't know we were going to have to take on the guys in the striped shirts, too." Holmgren said this during a Seahawks rally in Seattle yesterday, almost a full day after the Super Bowl ended. This means that he had plenty of time to think about and analyze the game. Maybe (hopefully) he was just saying to get crowd support. Maybe he is trying to distract Seattle fans from the horrible job he did coaching. Gene Wojciechowski of ESPN shared many of my thoughts about the game on ESPN.com. Anyway, I'm tired of Holmgren and am not going to talk about him anymore. Holmgren should go join his wife and daughter on their medical mission in the Congo. At least he will be doing some good there and will be out of the news.

Finally, I have heard some mixed reviews about the Rolling Stones performing at halftime. The consensus has been that someone younger should have performed. Stevie Wonder or Bruce Springsteen would have been good, although neither is that much younger than the Stones. So my question to anyone out there is who would be your Super Bowl halftime choice to perform assuming that they would have performed this year in the post-Janet Jackson entertainment world?

Monday, February 06, 2006

More Steelers

I apologize if I’m all over the place, but I have a lot to write about.

I wondered last night why Terry Bradshaw was not present while the NFL honored the MVP of each Super Bowl. You would figure that since the Steelers were in the Super Bowl, Bradshaw would definitely be there and enjoy a huge ovation like Lynn Swann and Franco Harris received. Depending on who you believe, Bradshaw was not present because he wanted to be with his family or he wanted more money.

I didn't see it and I have not read about it anywhere, but according to a local talk radio show, Seattle coach Mike Holmgren did not even attempt to shake Bill Cowher's hand after the game. Classy guy.

Speaking of classy people, check out the thoughts of Seahawks fans. Apparently, it was entirely the refs fault that the Seahawks lost.

I know that I'm biased, but let's go through the big calls.
* First, the offensive pass interference on Darrell Jackson. While I don't have the NFL rulebook, I'm guessing it does not say "it is not pass interference if the receiver pushes off just a little bit." Most of the time, the receivers will get away with this. However, this occurred only a few feet in front of the official who saw that Jackson got an advantage (even if it was a slight advantage) by pushing off.
* Ben's TD run. It's iffy. I think Ben's hand was covering the tip of the ball as it touched the goal line which is why it looked like he didn't make it. The shady part of the play was that the official initially ruled Ben down and then signaled TD.
* The holding call on Sean Locklear. I personally thought he tackled Haggans. That's not legal.
* The personal foul blocking call on Hasselbeck. Bad call, although Faneca got called for the exact same foul even though he made the tackle, earlier this season.

Maybe next time, the Seahawks can manage the clock better, hit some field goals, pin the Steelers inside the 10 in the punting game, stop the Steelers from making three big plays and not drop as many passes. Oh converting a few more third downs (the Seahawks were 5 of 17) and stopping the other team on third down (the Steelers were 8 of 15) would also help.

How much money do you think Dan Snyder is going to offer Randle El to play for the Redskins next year?

Who knew that Diddy was a Steelers fan?

So Tired

Although I'm going to be smiling all day, it's going to be tough making it through work. I'll be writing more this evening, but here are some quick thoughts on the game:

* How could Seattle not have seen the Randle El pass coming? As soon they saw him running toward Parker, they should have had at least two defenders on Hines.

* Shaun Alexander may have had the quietest 95 rushing yards in Super Bowl history.

* In part of his Washington Post column, Michael Wilbon writes, "Jerramy Stevens (three dropped passes) was even softer than Joey Porter suggested." For all of his talk, Porter did not play as well as in the past games, but he didn't make the mistakes that Stevens did.

* Here's the breakdown of how Ike Taylor played yesterday.

* While not all of my predictions were correct, I got the winning team right and predicted that "Randle-El will be involved in a TD (maybe even throwing it)."

* Although no one is talking about this, Seattle punter Tom Rouen helped keep the Steelers in the game in the first quarter when the team had no first downs. Rouen kicked at least three punts into the end zone, which made a huge difference in field position.

More later...

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Have You Heard the News?

Apparently, there was a football game earlier this evening and this team from Pittsburgh won. Congratulations to the Rooney family, Cowher Power, The Bus, Hines, El, Fast Willie, Big Ben and the entire Steelers team and organization! I feel like I deserve maybe .0000001% credit for the win since I was again wearing the magic Steelers T-shirt. I just wish I had a 2-hour delay tomorrow like many Pittsburgh-area schools!

Please Start!

It's now about two hours before Super Bowl kick-off. I can't get the Polamalu song about of my head, which is actually a good thing. Although it's probably okay to do this today in Pittsburgh, I learned that people don't really like it when you yell, "Here We Go Steelers, Here We Go" at the grocery store.

On to the TV coverage, Ray Lewis is doing commentary on the NFL Network. I was wondering what happened to him since his football career ended. As for ABC, I'm already tired of seeing the Pizza Hut commercials with Jessica Simpson and Miss Piggy. At least Puppy Bowl II on Animal Planet seems to helps the time to go a little quicker.

One final note before kick-off, two weeks ago, Pitt lost to St. Johns and the Penguins lost. I remember saying before the Denver game that if only one Pittsburgh team could win this weekend, I would definitely choose the Steelers. Well, the Penguins lost (again) and Pitt lost to Georgetown today, so hopefully this is a good sign for the Steelers.

Two Days, Two Phone Calls

I was asleep last night when my brother called. I don't remember any of the conversation, but I'm pretty sure he was at a bar in the Southside and I heard a chant of "F*#k Seattle" in the background.

On Friday evening, an old friend called and wanted to know if I was in Detroit because he thought he saw me on TV. Unfortunately, I am not in Detroit; however, the same friend e-mailed me about five years ago and asked if I moved to Buffalo because he saw me on Sportscenter after Game 7 of the Sabres-Penguins playoffs in Buffalo. Of course, I was at that game as I drove from Columbus.

Today may be the longest day EVER. Pitt-Georgetown will be on from 12-2, but that means 3 hours before friends come over to watch the game and 4.5 hours before kick-off. On today's desert menu all the way from Pittsburgh: Terrible Towel Cookies and Ben Burger Cake.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

I Need to Get Out

I've spent the last hour searching the internet for the Steelers Polka and other Steelers fight songs. I have to give credit to Steelers in Hoboken for the most comprehensive list I have seen.

I didn't see this until now but there is a website to show support for Big Ben and is beard.

A very appropriate article from the P-G regarding dealing with stress and nervousness for the Super Bowl. Suggestions include "stick with routines to help you control your emotions and approach the Super Bowl like it's any other football game" and "that's where rituals and superstitions can help the fanatic stay relatively sane." This confirms that I am sane for wearing the same Steelers T-shirt and not shaving on game day. The Steelers have won consistently when this happens.

I'm a few days late on this too. Here are two video clips to Steelers songs: The "Here We Go" song and the Troy Polamalu song.

Don't forget to make your Super Bowl predictions below.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Prediction Time

Time to make your picks.

Who do you think will win and what will be the final score?
This may be a surprise, but I'm going with the Steelers. 30-20

Who will be the MVP?
I'll go with Ben. Although I wouldn't be shocked if someone like Polamalu or Farrior gets it. By the way, Polamalu "tweaked" his ankle and is listed as probable for the game.

Any other thoughts on the game?
Bettis will have at least one TD; Randle-El will be involved in a TD (maybe even throwing it); Joey Porter will have a sack.

Feel free to provide your predictions in the comment section. Whoever is the closest will win a prize. (The prize being your name listed here on Monday.)

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Other Sports

Surprisingly, there is more going on in the sports world than just the Steelers. For example, on Tuesday night, the Ithaca College Women's Basketball team erased a 22-point deficit in the final 6:30 of regulation to beat Oneonta in overtime. Ithaca’s rally from 22 points down was just two points shy of the largest margin ever overcome by a NCAA Division III team. In addition, my high school has four players who made verbal commitments or signed with Division I colleges for football. The colleges: Pitt, West Virginia, Akron and Notre Dame. Not too shabby.

NOOOOOO. I just went to the Post-Gazette to verify the colleges and saw that Troy Polamalu injured his ankle in practice today. Why didn't NBC cut into My Name is Earl or The Office to report about this? I will now be spending the next few hours trying to figure out how Troy is doing. Pittsburghers, what is going on?

Did You Think I Was Kidding

when I wrote the title of yesterday's post as Groundhogs for Steelers? Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow, but the entire Groundhog Day celebration became an impromptu Steelers rally.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Groundhogs for Steelers

I really, really thought about taking the five hour drive from the DC area to Punxsutawney tonight so I can make it in time for Groundhog's Day. According to the groundhog.org, the official site of the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club, I need to arrive before 5:30am. However, it's not going to happen this year. I should probably be at work tomorrow and I don't know anyone else who would join me. Maybe next year. On to today's Steelers links:

This just in, Joey Porter likes to trash-talk. As further proof, here's what he said today in response to Seattle tight end Jerramy Stevens.

Carrie Welling wins the award for #1 Steelers fan! She insisted on being induced so that she could watch the Steelers in the Super Bowl at home with friends. Alexandria Joella (which stands for Joey Porter, Antwaan Randle El and Alan Faneca) was born today at a healthy 6 lbs 12 oz. Mazel Tov!

Were you looking for an article about Steelers rookie Shaun Nua? If so, this is for you.

Finally, I forgot to add this from last week's Penguins-Islanders game. Courtesy of CBS Sportsline, "Pittsburgh RW Eric Boguniecki appeared to injure an arm in the third period when he was slammed into a partition along the Penguins bench by Satan." I hate when the devil hurts Penguin players.