Tuesday, November 27, 2007

2007 Hockey Road Trip

The second annual hockey road trip is back after a very successful adventure in 2006. This year’s trip includes stops in Minneapolis/St. Paul, Chicago and Detroit. I’m leaving on Wednesday morning and will try to post updates from the road if possible. If not, expect a full review when I return.

Some initial topics I plan to discuss:

- Why am I flying through Atlanta to get from Washington to Minnesota?

- Will the rental car really be $45 as quoted or will they try to screw me?

- Since I am attending three straight Phoenix Coyote road games, will coach Wayne Gretzky send me a personal invitation to meet the team?

- Is the Mall of America worth visiting?

- Who will win Dancing With the Stars?

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Thankful To Be A Steelers Fan

As the four-day Thanksgiving comes to a close, I wanted to share a few stories that make me proud to be a Steelers fan. The first comes from a reader at Mondesi’s House:

I was in NYC for business over the past weekend and linked up with the New England rep and his fiancée to watch some football on Sunday. They're Patriot fans. Found out about a Steeler Bar in NYC, Scruffy Duffy's, donned my #36 jersey and headed over. An hour before kickoff, the place is filled with #7, #12, #32, #47, #58, #75, #86...........with more and more by the minute. As game time approaches, the Steeler polka and Here We Go is played. People are singing and my buddy asks me, "Do you know the words to this song?" Of course I do. Game starts and there's passion in the air. Folks are disappointed by the start, but no one has given up. The place is erupting with every key 3rd down pick up and exploding with Ben's touchdown run. After momentarily being silenced by Cribbs' return TD, the place builds up and explodes again with the final TD drive. Final Browns drive. The bar has a wheel that it spins with numbers associated with different plays that will result in a free drink: Interception return for TD, Fumble return for TD. The free drink for the second half was a 50 yard field goal. So as Dawson lines up, a make equals a free drink, and miss equals a victory. Victory is preferred to even a $6 beer and place goes crazy. Here We Go is being blasted again. High five and hugs for people who would be strangers if not for their Steelers garb.

The scene and passion of the past four hours has confused my Patriot friends. As we walk back to our hotel to begin going our separate ways, the comments I heard were:

- "Why don't we (Patriot fans) have a song?
- "I'm not sure I wouldn't have been rooting for the free beer."
- "Even the girls wear Steeler jerseys. And not those pink ones."
- "You guys (Steeler fans) are crazy."
- "Do you think they have Patriots' bars in other cities?"

I have also come to find out that my buddy bought a Pats #12 jersey on Monday. It's amazing what happens when fans of other teams get a glimpse at the Steeler Nation.

I have had discussions with folks over the years about the most passionate football fan base. I challenge anyone to prove that their team, whether it is the Green Bay Packers, Dallas Cowboys, or, this season, the New England Patriots are more passionate or more wide-spread than the Steelers. Stories like the one above happen all over the world. Seriously. The Post-Gazette has a detailed list of Steeler bars, which includes places to watch the Steelers play in all 50 states, plus Canada, Iraq, Mexico, Japan, Germany, China, Brazil, Peru, Spain and more.

In case you wanted to make an argument for the Dallas Cowboys, since they are “America’s Team,” check out this story courtesy of the DC Steeler Nation group:

"The term was coined by sportswriter Bob Ryan in 1979, although he didn't have the Cowboys in mind when he created it." After the '78 season, the Cowboys had just lost a crushing Super Bowl to the Steelers," he recalls. "I wanted to come up with a different twist on a story I was doing. So, I asked the Rooney family if I could name the Pittsburgh Steelers, 'America's Team'. But, I was surprised when the Rooney family said no. The next year I asked the Cowboys franchise and they said yes." Other media personalities soon adopted the colorful phrase and within a matter of weeks football fans from coast to coast were referring to Dallas as America's Team. Surprisingly, Steelers owner Art Rooney still has no regrets about declining the honorific title. 'We didn't want that," he says. "We're a Pittsburgh team. We feel strongly about that."

Go Steelers!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Thanksgiving Message

In honor of the Thanksgiving holiday, I wanted to share the following message for you and your families:

Can't believe the Mets traded Darryl Strawberry.

We should also be thankful that Neil Diamond is in the news for revealing the inspiration of "Sweet Caroline."

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Follow Up From Yesterday

The video of the Jonas brother tripping at the American Music Awards is now on YouTube and also here.

Christine pointed out the following ad that was listed on the right side of page:

Gay-Friendly Autos
Does your ride reflect your Pride? Is your car out of the closet?

We didn't realize cars could be gay. Who knew?

Monday, November 19, 2007

Procrastination Week

It is a short week for everyone unless they work in retail, and I don’t want to write about the Steelers embarrassing loss to the Jets (special teams and offensive line problems AGAIN) or Ithaca College falling to Mount Union (this was not unexpected but I was hopeful for a huge upset). Actually, how can a team allow the Jets, who only had 9 sacks in 9 games, record 7 sacks? OK, I don’t want to talk about football anymore. Instead, I’ll share the following links and quizzes that will hopefully occupy some time if you don’t feel like working very hard or if you’re waiting for the turkey to be ready. In case you were wondering, national procrastination week is in March, so I wish you a late Happy Procrastination Week!

* Rolling Stone presents “The Almost-Impossible Rock & Roll Quiz.” I scored a 32 but with lots of guesses.

* The Chicago Tribune lists the top 25 worst TV shows ever. There is no reason why Mr. Belvedere should be on this list especially when shows like MTV’s Date My Mom or A Shot of Love with Tila Tequila or the quickly cancelled Heather Graham show (Emily’s Reason Why Not) are excluded.

* Dr. Freada Kapor Klein wrote an article in the Post-Gazette titled 'The Office': Why doesn't anyone ever quit? While this could and should be a funny article, the author decides to make it serious. Sigh. (I’m not even sure why I am linking to this article. I guess if you work in HR, which I do not, it could be useful.)

* Here is a game to match the movie heist mastermind(s) to the score they tried to steal. I was 12 for 12 on this one.

Finally, I watched some of the American Music Awards on Sunday night and saw part of the Jonas Brothers performance. When they entered the stage, one of the brothers tripped and fell. It was quite funny. (Why is there not a clip of this on YouTube yet?) Anyway, it seems like people think the Jonas Brothers are going to be the next big teen band. Well, let me tell you that I knew Hanson; Hanson was a friend of mine (well, not really). Jonas Brothers, you’re no Hanson.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Blog Readability Test

Apparently, someone needs a high school education to understand this blog. I disagree. I'm sure that elementary school kids can understand my writing about the Steelers, California Tortilla and the stupid Verizon commercial, although my references to Small Wonder and Vanilla Ice probably doesn't help.

To access the Blog Readability Test, click here or on the box above (where it says "click here to find out").

Found on The Burgh Blog.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Worst Television Commercial Ever

In one of my first blog entries almost three years ago, I wrote about my dislike of the Dr. Scholl's “Are You Gellin?” commercials. The whole melon, zinfandellin, gellin’ thing really got on my nerves. Fortunately, I have not seen one of these commercials in many months.

Unfortunately, a new commercial has emerged to replace Dr. Scholl’s. That honor goes to Verizon Wireless for its commercial where a father goes around the house handing new phones to his wife and two kids while telling them each individually that they are his number one. He ends the commercial by pulling out a new phone and telling the Verizon / Can You Hear Me Now guy, “saving the best for numero uno.” What the hell is wrong with the dad? Why does he really need to tell everyone that they are his number one? He’s just a lying liar. And what kind of exercising is his wife doing? After an hour of her moving back and forth, she may burn a total of 10 calories. I’m also not a big fan of her fake laugh when the husband tells her that she is his number one. The wife really could the adult version of the robot girl on the syndicated 80s show “Small Wonder.”

Personally, I can’t wait for the sequel to this commercial where the father receives the first bill and flips out at his kids because they sent and received thousands of text messages. Then, maybe the tables will turn and the father will be exposed for the pompous, lying liar that he is.

So please join me in congratulating Verizon Wireless for having the worst commercial ever. This commercial, which seems to air all the time, is making me reconsider Verizon as my cell phone carrier.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Car Rental Help

I need some help. My 2007 Hockey Road Trip is quickly approaching, and I recently discovered that renting a car is going to be more expensive than the combined cost of airfare and tickets to three separate games. For some reason, the cost of renting a car at Minneapolis/St. Paul airport and returning it four days later to Detroit airport is astonishing. (I think this has something to do with dropping off the car at a different location.) Anyway, I’m looking for suggestions to rent a car for a reasonable price. If you happen to be a travel agent that can get me a good deal, e-mail me at seanramblings at yahoo [dot] com, and I will be glad to promote you and your business here. (That has to be worth thousands in free advertising!)

Thanks in advance to anyone and everyone for their advice.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Steelers-Browns Notes

I attended Sunday's Steelers-Browns game and here my thoughts from Heinz Field:

- In my opinion, Joshua Cribbs has now replaced Eric Metcalf as the scariest Steelers' opponent. Fortunately (or unfortunately), I missed his kickoff return for a TD as I was in the bathroom.

- I was shocked (sarcasm added) that a county act performed the national anthem and a song before the game. I generally only attend one Steeler game in Pittsburgh per season, but every game recently has featured a country act. This week's country group that I've never heard of: Lady Antebellum. For country fans that read this, have you ever heard of them?

- The Steelers struggled to get a pass rush most of the game, so I think they made a nice adjustment by having more defenders in coverage in the second half.

- Since I don't listen to Cleveland talk radio, I wonder if Romeo Crennel is being criticized for his terrible decision late in the game to take a time-out, then challenge Heath Miller's TD catch only to lose the challenge and the second time-out. The Browns really could have used the extra time in the final drive to attempt a field goal closer than 53 yards. These are the kind of poor decisions that will open the door for Bill Cowher to become the Browns' head coach next season.

- Browns' offensive lineman Ryan Tucker's right arm is entirely covered by tattoos. However, his left arm features no tattoos. I feel like this was important for me to share.

- When did Roethlisberger become Randall Cunningham and Fran Tarkenton?

- In the final play of the game, a Browns' player was penalized 15 yards for unsportsmanlike conduct. However, since the game ended, no penalty was actually assessed. I think the Browns should be penalized 15 yards in their next game against the Steelers.

- There was no sign of Steely McBeam in the stadium. His only appearance was on the scoreboard as part of a visit to a school. McBeam got booed.

- When Steelers' General Manager Kevin Colbert checks his voicemail today, I'm guessing there will several messages from Chidi Iwuoma just saying hi. Based on the team's special teams performance, Colbert will probably return the call.

For a recap of the game by professional journalists, check out ESPN & the Post-Gazette.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Bombers Win!

Ithaca College defeated Cortland 40-17 to take back the Cortaca Jug. Woo hoo! Go Bombers! (Here's the box score.) Now we wait until Sunday to see if Ithaca makes the Division III playoffs.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Rivalry Weekend

This is a big rivalry weekend with Cortland State at Ithaca College on Saturday and the Cleveland Browns visiting the Steelers on Sunday. I’ll start with the 49th Cortaca Jug game, although there have actually been 65 games in the series (Ithaca leads 36-26-3). Both teams enter with 7-2 records and the winner has an outside chance at making the Division III playoffs, even though no 8-2 teams earned an at-large bid in 2006 and the D3football.com playoff projections fail to include either team. I’ve got several links for this game so here we go:

* The Ithacan explains how the Bombers can make the postseason.
*Cortland Game Notes
*The Ithaca Journal’s preview #1 and #2
*To the fans, stay safe out there. (Seriously, don’t drink and drive; plus, there are usually checkpoints set up between Ithaca and Cortland.)

After the Steelers crushed Cleveland in week one, I wrote that the rivalry between the two teams was over. I’m not ready to retract what I wrote, but Sunday’s game may decide the AFC North division winner. If the Browns do manage to win the game, the rivalry is back. I’ll be live at Heinz Field on Sunday, though not live-blogging, but I’ll try to share notes about the game.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

G-Hog and Other Links

I can’t decide if this is unintentionally funny or not. From Wonkette, the Pennsylvania Department of Labor is promoting Health Career week by having a groundhog, called G-Hog, rap about health careers. I think Steely McBeam has some competition.

According to the Turnkey Team Brand Index, the Pittsburgh Steelers are the number 1-ranked brand in sports. Of the 122 professional sports teams, the Penguins finished at 20, the Pirates at 72 (how are they ahead of the Los Angeles Lakers at 73?), the Capitals are 118 (yikes), and the Nationals are 100. (I found this on Deadspin)

Here’s a vocabulary game where, apparently, 10 grains of rice are donated through the UN to help end world hunger for each correct answer.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Steelers-Ravens Recap

First, I would like to thank the fine folks at Dulles Airport for ensuring that I missed the first quarter and half of the second quarter of Monday night’s Steelers-Ravens game. While my flight actually arrived on time, I waited at baggage claim at least 15 minutes before receiving my luggage and this is after taking the people-mover thing to the main terminal. Why does it always take so long to get your bags at Dulles airport? I know it’s a big airport, but only once can I remember luggage arriving within a few minutes. After finally getting my bag, there were 15+ people waiting for a taxi. I silently (and not so silently) said c’mon, c’mon, c’mon, c’mon…well, you get the point.

By the time I walked through the front door, the Steelers were already up 21-0. While I would love to talk about James Harrison’s incredible performance, I did not see the three forced fumbles and two of his 3.5 sacks. I also missed seeing Ben’s first three touchdown passes including Nate Washington’s first TD of the season. It may finally be time for Tivo. So this is what I did see live on television:

- Hines Ward blocking. It was great seeing him level Ed Reed. How do fans of other teams feel about Hines Ward? Is he seen as a dirty player? I can guarantee that every fan would love to have Hines on their team.

- Santonio Holmes burned the Ravens secondary on several occasions. It’s hard to believe that he’s only played in 24 NFL games.

- If you are a Ravens fan (or player), you had to be embarrassed by linebacker Terrell Suggs. Down 35-7 late in the first half, Suggs sacked Ben proceeded to celebrate. Losing by 28 points is no reason to celebrate!

- I know it has been written and discussed in many places, but I hated seeing Ben return to the game in the fourth quarter. There was no reason for him to re-enter the game after being injured earlier.

- Harrison’s performance reminded me of several dominant games by defensive players. I watched Osi Umenyiora record six sacks against the Eagles earlier this season and remember Derrick Thomas and Jason Taylor causing havoc with multi-sack games.

The comments on the Baltimore Sun message board are fun. Billick must go; McNair must go; “Stick a fork in them. THEY'RE DONE! I don't see them winning one more game this season.” Naturally, some Steeler fans living in Baltimore are happy and share their comments; Raven fans reply; hilarity ensues.

I’m getting really excited about attending the Steelers-Browns game on Sunday! I will not forget the tickets in Virginia!

P.S. The picture is by Peter Diana of the Post-Gazette.

Monday, November 05, 2007

The Return of Name That Tune

After a several month absence, welcome to a new edition of name that tune. Hopefully this will be a nice distraction for your Monday. Lyrics from five songs are listed below. Your challenge is to name the song title and artist. Please try not to search the internet for the answers. Either you know the songs or you don't. Good luck!

1a. Out on the road today I saw a deadhead sticker on a cadillac
A little voice inside my head said, don't look back. you can never look back.
1b. Out on the road today, I saw a black flag sticker on a cadillac
A little voice inside my head said, don’t look back. you can never look back.

2. I'm dope on the floor and I'm magic on the mic
Now why would I ever stop doing this
With others makin' records that just don't hit
(Full disclosure here: I thought the first few words were I go four for four and I’m magic on the mic)

3. I know that you're gonna have it your way
Or nothing at all
But I think you re moving too fast

4. And just like fashion it's a passion for the with it and hip
If you got the goods they'll come and buy it just to stay in the clique

5. Oh can't you see me standing here,
I've got my back against the record machine

Friday, November 02, 2007

Deception in New Mexico

I am writing live from Santa Fe, New Mexico. Yesterday, I arrived at the Albuquerque airport and traveled north on Interstate 25 towards Santa Fe. A few miles north of Albuquerque (I like typing Albuquerque – is there another large city with two Qs in its name?), I saw a sign that stated 101 miles to Las Vegas. I did not realize that Santa Fe was so close to Las Vegas, so I immediately started to think of an excuse to leave Santa Fe for a few hours to go to Las Vegas. Unfortunately, as most people familiar with U.S. geography already have figured out, the sign referenced the number of miles to Las Vegas, New Mexico, not Las Vegas, Nevada. I wonder how many people have seen the mileage signs and visited Las Vegas, New Mexico thinking that they were going to Nevada. Is it so much to ask the fine folks at the New Mexico Department of Transportation (and I really do mean the fine folks since the speed limit here is 70 or 75 in some places) to put Las Vegas, NM on the signs? I guess that most people driving in New Mexico already know that the sign means Las Vegas, NM, and it may offend the residents of this historic town.

It really is an historic town. According to New Mexico Las Vegas website, "Las Vegas was founded in 1835 by Mexican settlers, whose family roots went back to the early 1600's when the Spanish arrived, Las Vegas was the first town wagon trains on the Santa Fe Trail, which went through the heart of town, hit after 600 miles of tough travel from the last town in Kansas. General Kearney in 1846 announced to the residents that they were no longer citizens of Mexico but under the "protection" of the Army of the United States of America. Located on the edge of the eastern plains at the foot of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, the town became a key stop on the Santa Fe Trail and later host to outlaws, Rough Riders, and silent screen stars. Kit Carson, Billy the Kid, Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday, Teddy Roosevelt, and Tom Mix all strolled these streets. The town's history is preserved in the city of Las Vegas Museum & Rough Riders collection."

Who knew that there was a museum for DMX? Despite the interesting description, I am not going to try to leave Santa Fe for a few hours to visit this Las Vegas, especially since I do not have a car.