Thursday, January 31, 2008

Really Random Thoughts

This is going to be all over the place so bear with me and enjoy:

* The starting line-up for Animal Planet’s Puppy Bowl IV has been announced. I hope Harry Kalas does not get Jack, Jack and Jackson confused. The always entertaining Puppy Bowl airs at 3 on Super Bowl Sunday and then replays at 6, 9 and midnight.

* I am getting very excited about the season debut of Lost tonight. Unfortunately, there’s a decent chance I may miss the episode since I’m flying to Dallas.

* Speaking of Dallas, I’m going to be there for five days and neither the Mavericks nor Stars have a home game. Since they share an arena, how is this possible?

* I hate admitting this but I have started watching Rock of Love 2 on VH1 (see the note below before clicking on the link). My favorite two “contestants” are Ambre and Kristy Jo. They seem the most real and the least “slutty” if either of these is possible on this ridiculous show. By the way, if you click on the show’s link above, which is PG-13 and may not be suitable for work, Bret Michaels looks almost as feminine as some of the cast members at least in the hair and face.

* Is it just me or does it seem that all of the current and former Republican presidential candidates have a strong dislike of Mitt Romney.

* After the New Hampshire primary, I wrote, “I am really intrigued by Rudy Giuliani’s strategy. He punted Iowa and New Hampshire and is hoping to win in the bigger states like Florida. It doesn’t seem like a very good strategy, but what do I know?” Apparently, I did know something! You can’t essentially sit out six states (well five if you don’t include Wyoming) and then show up part-way through. I’m guessing that no candidate will attempt Giuliani’s strategy in the near future. There may be candidates that enter the race late, but not those who enter but do minimal campaigning in the first few states.

* Interesting post and comments in The Washington Post about Bill Richardson and whether he’ll endorse Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama. I really like Richardson and if a Democrat wins the White House, he should be the Vice President or a member of the Cabinet.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Cheers to the Fairfax Connector

When I have had problems with certain companies, I have been quick to write about my experiences (ex. Saturn, The Washington Post and Metro). Therefore, I want to give some credit to a company that provided excellent customer service. Surprisingly, I’m giving credit to the Fairfax Connector bus system.

Last month, I got on the wrong bus. No, this is not another entry of the “I am an Idiot” series. You see, the front of the bus which shows the bus number was not working. Therefore, I got on the bus and asked the driver the number. I thought that he said 557, which is one of the busses I can take. When I paid with my SmarTrip, I noticed that the cost was $3, $2 more than it should be. When I questioned the driver he said that I was on the 597, which is not one of the busses I can take. Even though he gave me a transfer slip, I was still out $2.

Although $2 really wasn’t that big of a deal, I decided to call the main Fairfax Connector office to explain the situation. They were extremely helpful and did not mock me, which is always a plus in the customer service field. Fairfax Connector also mailed me three $1 bus passes along with several bus schedules. So this message is simply to give credit to the Fairfax Connector.

I’m sure that I’ll criticize someone else again very soon.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Jeopardy Online Contestant Test

The online test for Jeopardy! is back. Here are the specific test dates and times:

Tuesday, January 29th at 8PM EST

Wednesday, January 30th at 8PM CST/7PM MST

PACIFIC COAST (Including Alaska and Hawaii)
Thursday, January 31st at 8PM PST

These tests are for adults 18 and over only to qualify for the regional auditions. Eligible adults must register before taking the test by going to the Sony/Jeopardy! website.

Good luck!

Update 1/29 8:13 PM EST Well, you won't see me on Jeopardy anytime soon unless I'm in the audience and decide to run on stage to give Alex Trebek a high-five. I bombed the online quiz. Of course, having the George Mason-VCU college basketball game on television in the background probably did not help.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Sunday Morning Musings

This car commerical features Pittsburgh Penguins Colby Armstrong, Max Talbot, Sergei Gonchar and Evgeni Malkin. Talbot (the second player in the video) may consider the acting profession after his hockey career ends. (via Scribbled Noise)

All the Sunday morning news shows are obviously talking about Barack Obama's impressive win in South Carolina. However, I want to point out that Joe Biden, who quit the race several weeks ago, defeated Dennis Kucinich, who dropped out on Friday, 694-552 to finish in fifth place. (Bill Richardson received 727 votes to finish in fourth.)

Friday, January 25, 2008

Songs with Time

Every once in a while, I get an idea that I think would be brilliant to post here. In many cases, these ideas have to do with music (for example my list of the top songs of the 2000s and the 25 greatest Canadian musicians and my compilations of songs with alcohol in the title and songs with states in the title.) This time, I decided to create a list of songs that have a specific time in the lyrics. While Time After Time by Cyndi Lauper, Time Has Come Today by The Chambers Brothers, Time by Pink Floyd and Time by Hootie and the Blowfish all literally have “time” in the title, I’m looking for songs like Billy Joel’s Piano Man which starts with the line, “It’s 9 o’clock on a Saturday.”

Here’s what I’ve come up with thus far:

* Chicago - 25 or 6 to 4 (I still have no idea what this means)
* Matchbox 20 - 3 A.M.
* Simon and Garfunkel – Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M. and 7 O’clock News/Silent Night
* KLF – 3 A.M. Eternal
* Anna Nalick – Breathe (2 AM)
* Dolly Parton – 9 To 5
* Alan Jackson – It’s Five O’clock Somewhere
* U2 - 11 O'clock Tick Tock

* Bell Biv DeVoe – Do Me
"The time was 6 o'clock on the Swatch watch
No time to chill, got a date, can't be late
Hey, the girl is gonna do me"

* Destiny’s Child – Jumpin’ Jumpin’
And all you fellas leave your girl with her friends
Cause it's eleven thirty and the club is jumpin', jumpin'

* R. Kelly - Hotel
‘Cuz we`re having an after party, checkin` out 6 in the mornin`

* Bill Haley and His Comets - Rock Around the Clock
One, two, three o'clock, four o'clock, rock

* Jermaine Dupri & Ludacris - Welcome to Atlanta
And parties dont stop til' eight in the mornin'

* Ben Folds Five – Brick
6 am day after Christmas
I throw some clothes on in the dark

* The Bangles – Manic Monday
Six o'clock already
I was just in the middle of a dream

I thought I was putting together an excellent list until I found The Human Clock’s list of songs with time. After reviewing this catalog of dozens and dozens of songs, I quickly realized that I was wasting my own time. I guess my brilliant idea was not so brilliant. If you want to add songs in the comment section BEFORE you visit The Human Clock’s website, please feel free to do so.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

This Is CHIP

I posted information earlier this morning about the Washington Capitals search for a mascot handler and the fact that I used to be a mascot myself. Thanks to Arjewtino for converting the TIF file to a JPEG, I am proud to show a sketch of CHIP.

Although I will always have fond memories of CHIP, you can see why he/she/it is no longer the festival mascot.

Mascot Chronicles

The Washington Capitals are seeking a Mascot Handler whose duties include ensuring that the mascot stays on schedule during games and events, assisting the mascot with interaction with the fans, and being the mascot's "eyes and ears." The individual must be outgoing, friendly and comfortable interacting with groups of fans. You may think that I am making light of the job, but the mascot handler is an extremely important position. I say this as a former mascot.

As a high school junior, I auditioned to be the school’s mascot. The audition consisted of me unsuccessfully attempting a summersault and cartwheel while dressed in full mascot attire. During the cartwheel, the mascot’s head fell off and while everyone laughed uncontrollably (including myself), the coach berated me because apparently the head was fairly expensive. Fortunately, I did not get the job.

Fast-forward about ten years, a friend of mine recruited me to be CHIP at a Northern Virginia festival that I have mentioned numerous times on this blog. You see, mascots, including CHIP, are not allowed to talk. In addition, it is difficult to see out of the giant mascot head. Therefore, you need a good handler to explain what CHIP is (CHIP is not a robot or an alien; CHIP is the festival mascot), make sure kids aren’t scared of CHIP and to be there for moral support (“Take a step up CHIP or you’ll trip on the curb.”). It was amazing how many kids loved CHIP, but conversely, CHIP made several kids cry. The handler must be able to steer the mascot near the kids who want to say hello but also away from the kids who are screaming. It’s a tough job. Of course, if you’re the mascot/mascot handler at the Capitals game, you don’t have to worry about drunk fans who want you to get out of the way! The Caps fans want you to block their view of Alexander Ovechkin on a breakaway. So to the potential Capitals’ mascot handler out there, good luck and be the best you can be!

P.S. In case you were wondering, CHIP has been retired. I wish that I had a picture of CHIP, but all that I have is a sketch in a TIF file, which Blogger does not allow me to add as a picture. If you know how to do add a TIF, please let me know, because you haven't seen CHIP until you've seen CHIP.

P.P.S. (or is it P.S.S.) A sketch of CHIP has been posted here.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Fun Tuesday Links

Here are a few activities for your Tuesday:

How many countries can you name in 5 minutes? I feel like I could do much better than 55 if I tried this again. Please note that spelling counts!


What is your blog wanted for? Apparently, Sean's Ramblings is WANTED FOR THE ABUSIVE ROBBERY of an ADORABLE DONKEY. How did they know? The reward is $2600.

I am the type of person who can look at maps for hours. They fascinate me. The folks at Strange Maps created this map in which the US states are renamed for countries with similar gross domestic products.
US States Renamed For Countries With Similar GDPs. Enjoy!

Oh, try not to look at this map while completing the name the countries quiz. I think that would count as cheating.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Random Cloverfield Question

I saw Cloverfield over the weekend, and while I am not going to give away any spoilers, I have a simple question that anyone can answer just from seeing a preview or commercial. Although we do not know for sure, let’s assume that the monster came from the water and is rather large, based on the fact that he/she/it beheaded the Statue of Liberty. So why would the monster choose Manhattan over anywhere else?

I’m not an expert on New York City geography, so please correct me if I’m wrong. So you’re telling me that the monster goes from the Lower New York Bay to the Upper New York Bay to Manhattan with no one noticing until he/she/it announces its arrival by decapitating the Statue of Liberty? How deep is the water there? Wouldn’t the monster take out a few bridges along the way? Wouldn’t it be much easier for the monster just to attack New Jersey, Long Island or Connecticut? If the monster prefers colder water, it could attack Maine or Nova Scotia. Florida, Georgia or South Carolina would be much more convenient for a warmer climate.

Maybe the monster did some research and figured that New York would be the best place to attack based on its population and proximity to the water. However, by that logic, the Mumbai Metropolitan Area, which consists of the metropolis of Bombay and its satellite towns, would be a much better target. (I'm not an expert on Mumbai either, so please correct me if I'm wrong.) The population of Mumbai and New York City is similar, but the monster should have an easier time navigating and destroying Mumbai since it is much smaller in terms of square kilometers (according to Wikipedia, the area of New York city is 17,884 square km while Mumbai is 2,350).

Am I over thinking this?

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Message to the USTA

Earlier today (depending on where you live – I think), Roger Federer defeated the 49th-ranked Janko Tipsarevic 6-7 (5), 7-6 (1), 5-7, 6-1, 10-8 to advance to the fourth round of the Australian Open. It sounds like it was an amazing match, which unfortunately I missed because I was asleep. Anyway, perhaps you noticed the final score of the fifth set: 10-8. There was so much drama, tension and energy on every point. I’m sure the crowd went crazy. However, this type of ending could never happen at the US Open. You see, as I mentioned in September, if the score is tied 6-6 at the end of the third set in a women’s match or fifth set in a men’s match, the winner is determined by a tie-breaker. What a terrible way to end a match! If anyone at the USTA, United States Tennis Association, is reading this, please change the US Open to follow the same format as the other three tennis majors. Thank you.

P.S. The fourth set of the Lleyton Hewitt-Marcos Baghdatis match airing live on ESPN2 is also amazing, especially since they are playing at 3:30 AM Melbourne time.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

John Kerry is Kung Fu Fighting

I am a few days late on this one, but Express featured this picture on its Friday cover after John Kerry endorsed Barack Obama.

Am I the only one who thought that this picture showed Obama trying to hold back Kerry from a fight? I just hope that Kerry isn’t going to try and fight Nolan Ryan

or Mike Huckabee if Chuck Norris is around.

The Kerry-Obama picture is by Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty Images.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Selling Out?

You may be surprised to know that the main reason I write this blog is for the money. Unfortunately, in the three years since I have started Sean’s Ramblings, I have earned a total of $0. Therefore, when I received e-mails over the past month or two with offers to send me free stuff, I jumped at the opportunity.

First, Turner Publishing asked if I wanted a complimentary copy of their title, Historic Photos of Washington, D.C. by Matthew Gilmore and Andrew Brodie Smith. I think I replied within two minutes of receiving the e-mail with a yes. This is one of the few books where you can honestly write that you could judge the book by its title. There’s a nice mix of pictures of historic events (Harry S. Truman’s inauguration in 1949; the Spirit of St. Louis arriving at the Smithsonian in 1928), monuments (the Capitol building and Washington monument) and pictures of everyday Washington people and places. There are some very cool pictures and makes an excellent coffee table book.

Last month I received an offer to receive the movie “Somebody Help Me” on DVD as long as I provided a review on my website. As I mentioned above, I’m all for free stuff, so in upholding my end of the deal, here is my movie review.

“Somebody Help Me” stars Omai Grandberry (better known as Omarion), Alexis Fields, Brooklyn Sudano and Marques Houston. You know all of these actors from um, um, well, if you are in your early 30s like me, you don’t know them. I guess you might know Omarion and Marques Houston from “You Got Served.” Omarion was also part of one of the worst named music groups of the past 10 years, B2K. Before I get into the movie itself, here is the description from the back of the DVD case:

From the director of You Got Served and House Party 4 comes this urban horror-thriller nail-biter on the order of Cabin Fever and The Hills Have Eyes.

Wait a second. There was a House Party 4? House Party starring Kid N Play came out when I was in high school. There was a fourth edition? How have I lived without seeing House Party 4?

Delivering a chill a minute, Somebody Help Me is the story of Brendan Young (Marques Houston) and Darryl Jennings (Omari Grandberry) as they head off with their friends and girlfriends for a weekend’s stay at a remote cabin in the woods.

"Somebody Help Me" is 100 minutes in length. There certainly were not 100 chilling moments during the movie. I’ve watched enough Law & Order so I may be qualified to write “objection, misleading statement.” The judge would support me.

After the couples settle in, things take an eerie turn.

Not Erie, Pennsylvania. The movie would have been less mysterious (and much better) if the characters ate at Perkins, Quaker Steak & Lube, or hung out on Peach Street.

One by one, the group ends up missing or dead, while the remaining few are forced to band together in order to figure out who – or what – is behind the killings.

I’ll freely admit that horror films are not really my genre. I watched some of the Friday the 13th and Nightmare on Elm Street films, but once was enough. Poltergeist freaked me out as a kid. However, I thought Scream was great because of the mix of comedy and horror. Therefore, I was hoping that Somebody Help Me would have a bit of Scream in it. Nope. I don’t remember laughing or even smirking once during the movie. The beginning scene features the four characters in the car on their way to a remote cabin. As the dialogue developed, I started rooting for the characters to die.

Here’s the basic story: they get to the cabin, see a strange neighbor, meet the sheriff who is mean at first but warms up to them, the main character dreams about a little girl on a swing, their friends arrive at the cabin and drink, a random person walks around the cabin, and then the friends go missing and die. There’s really not much more to the movie. It’s very predictable with a few gory moments (I fast-forwarded through them) and even set up for a sequel that I hope is never made. It wasn’t a terrible movie, but it wasn’t good. Actually, it was on the pretty bad side. While I haven’t watched a horror movie in some time, I thought they usually have nudity. Well, there was no nudity here, probably since the target audience is high school boys. Wait, that doesn’t make sense.

Anyway, if you like seeing predictable horror films geared for high school students with decent acting and not much of a plot but with some suspense and scary scenes, Somebody Help Me is for you. For everyone else, start working on your tax returns.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

California Tortilla & Washington Post Updates

After 21 consecutive weeks of eating a California Tortilla burrito, I think it is time for a break. However, I still have 31 coupons for free burritos good only at the Reston location. If you are interested in buying a coupon or multiple coupons, please e-mail me at seanramblings[at]yahoo dot com. The regular Blackened Chicken Caesar burrito is $6.19 including tax and some of the other specialty burritos cost even more. I’m looking to sell the coupons for $4 each, but I am willing to negotiate, especially if someone is interested in buying multiple coupons.

As for the Washington Post, I am getting closer and closer to canceling my Sunday subscription. As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I received the newspaper at 9:30 AM on Sunday, December 16 and then, the paper was delivered on Sunday, December 23 even though I submitted a vacation stop. Today, the paper again arrived just after 9:30. I submitted a comment on the Post’s subscriber services page, but I doubt that I will receive a response. If I do not hear from the Post by Tuesday afternoon since the screen stated that the Post’s “service representatives have received your message and are working to address it within two business days,” I will call them on Wednesday.

While I was waiting for Sunday’s newspaper, Good Morning America featured a story about an octogenarian couple in Edgerton, Wisconsin who have delivered newspapers for more than 50 years. The story mentioned that they generally deliver the paper around 5:00 AM. That would be 4.5 hours before my newspaper is delivered!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Silly Movie Claim

I saw a commercial tonight for the new movie “The Bucket List” starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman. When describing the movie, the television advertisement featured the line “one of the most entertaining movies of the year.” Um, it’s January 10. There haven’t been many movies released in 2008, so of course, it is going to be one of the most entertaining of the year.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Post New Hampshire Notes

I have some thoughts following Tuesday night’s New Hampshire primary.

I was really hoping that John McCain or Hillary Clinton started their victory speech by saying "Don't call it a comeback. I've been here for years."

When Mike Huckabee won in Iowa, Chuck Norris was on stage supporting his candidate. When John Edwards gave his concession speech after the polls closed in New Hampshire, James Denton of Desperate Housewives shared the stage supporting his candidate. Norris vs. Denton? Advantage Huckabee.

After Edwards’ speech, Keith Olbermann made awkward conversation by asking everyone at the MSNBC studio if they watch Desperate Housewives. Chris Matthews responded no, but that he likes Teri Hatcher. Thanks for that insight Chris.

Boo to John Edwards on several counts. First, he entered the room to “This is Our Country” by John Mellencamp. Find me a sports fan who likes this song after hearing it about 1,000 times in Chevy commercials over the past two years. In addition, Edwards gave a fairly depressing speech about people who have suffered since they do not have health care. Way to fire up your supporters!

Hillary Clinton also discussed serious issues during her speech, but somehow it came off better than Edwards’ speech. Of course, it helped by the excitement in the room. At one point she discussed children who "can't afford to go to college and pursue their dreams." This was followed by loud applause and cheering. Were these people even listening to the speech?

I continue to wait for one of the primary/caucus winners to end their speech by naming numerous states and finishing with "and then we're going to Washington, D.C., to take back the White House! Yeaararh!!!"

Fred Thompson seemed like a popular candidate when he was just an actor considering running for President. Four months later, he’s in New Hampshire receiving 1% of Republican primary votes. Is he waiting for the writers’ strike to end before returning to Law & Order?

I am really intrigued by Rudy Giuliani’s strategy. He punted Iowa and New Hampshire and is hoping to win in the bigger states like Florida. It doesn’t seem like a very good strategy, but what do I know?

Although we are a long way from the conventions, I would love to a convention where we don’t know who will win. When was the last time this happened? That would make excellent television, especially on the Republican side if there’s still a chance that Rudy Giuliani, John McCain, Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney are all still vying for the nomination.

By the way, who came up with the ridiculous name Tsunami Tuesday? There was a traumatic tsunami that hit Indonesia only a few years ago? Is the name supposed to represent the tragedy of several candidates realizing that their dreams of becoming President are over? Let’s stick with Super Tuesday or even the Tuesday after Groundhog Day Tuesday.

How did I go through an entire presidential political entry without mentioned Barack Obama?

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

State of the Ramblings

Today marks the third anniversary of Sean’s Ramblings. Things have changed significantly here since its humble beginnings. I used to write about the Pittsburgh Steelers, Kevin Pittsnogle and how the Dr. Scholl’s “Are You Gellin?” commercials were the worst ever. Now, I write about the Pittsburgh Steelers, California Tortilla and how the Verizon Wireless commercial where the father goes around the house handing new phones to his wife and kids while telling them each individually that they are his number one is the worst ever. In all seriousness, I do think that this site has improved from when I started simply because my writing is much betterer than three years ago.

The past year has been a huge for Sean’s Ramblings thanks in part to referrals from Deadspin, DC Blogs, the Post-Gazette’s Blog ‘N Gold and Empty Netters and even Smart Bitches Who Love Trashy Novels. Hundreds, if not thousands, of people from all over the world visited this little place on the web looking for the Spider Pig lyrics from The Simpsons Movie (type Spider Pig Lyrics in Google and Sean’s Ramblings is listed third; second on Yahoo). More on this momentarily. Some of the highlights of the past year include my California Tortilla journal, the Jenna Bush wedding entry, my hockey road trip recap (parts I & II) and the post where I asked when Pittsburgh became a country town. In addition, there are some very interesting comments as a result of my posts about the Spice Girls, Daughtry and the terrible song “I Did Yo Boyfriend” by Melody. (Sorry for all the links.)

Over the past six months, I have averaged more than 100 hits per day primarily from people searching for Spider Pig lyrics, Jenna Bush’s wedding plans, the aforementioned Verizon commercial and the select a Presidential candidate quiz. The increased traffic is great, but my guess is that 99.99% of these folks visit this site once and never return. This is my quandary. I would like to increase the number of regular readers to this site, but I also like keeping my anonymity somewhat in check. In addition, I have read several articles stating that if you want your traffic to grow, you should focus on one particular topic. I’m not willing to do that. While I like writing about Pittsburgh sports, there are plenty of other great places on the web to visit for that information (and many of them are linked on the right). I enjoy writing about sports, but I also like writing about music, pop culture, television, and anything else going on in my life.

So as year number four begins, I still don’t know where this site will go. Since it is 2008, there will probably be a few more entries about politics and the Olympics. However, if I had to make a prediction, my guess is that I’ll continue to write what I want on dozens of different topics.

Thanks to all of my regular and irregular readers for your support, comments, and just for stopping by. Although it may not look like it, I generally put a lot of time and thought into what I write. I do this because I enjoy it, and I hope that you do too.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

2007 Steelers Postmortem

Do you want to know why the Steelers lost to Jacksonville on Saturday night? Well, I hope that you aren’t looking to me to provide the answers. I apologize that I’m still in a bad mood following the game, but if you have watched the Steelers over the past month or two, you already know the team’s problems. The offensive line was useless as the Steelers rushed for a pathetic 43 yards on 26 carries and Ben Roethlisberger was sacked six times. The special teams gave up another big return and did nothing to really help the team. Besides Allen Rossum’s kickoff return for a touchdown against San Francisco in September, did the special teams do anything, well, special this year? I can’t remember any other big punt or kickoff return or a blocked kick. The play-calling, especially the Roethlisberger’s run on 3rd and 6 late in the fourth quarter, was questionable, as was Mike Tomlin’s decision to go for two after Sean Mahan’s “holding” penalty. Roethlisberger reverted back to his 2006 season in the first half with some poor decisions. While I thought the defense played well overall, they couldn’t make stops when it mattered.

You can read much more analysis about the Steelers throughout the internet, but I wanted to put the season in perspective by going back to my season predictions from September.

The team will finish 10-6 and earn a Wild Card playoff spot. They will win the first playoff game but lose in the second round.

The record was correct, but I was one round off for the playoffs.

Clark Haggans will lead the team in sacks. Ike Taylor will lead the team in interceptions.

Haggans only had 3 sacks this season. That’s a terrible number for a starting outside linebacker in the Steeler defense. Even last night, I don’t remember Al Michaels announcing his name. Meanwhile, Taylor did lead the team in interceptions with three and made a huge pick to help propel the fourth quarter comeback.

Ben Roethlisberger will have more touchdowns than interceptions. He will also not be involved in a motorcycle accident or have an appendectomy this year.

32 TDs and 11 interceptions in the regular season, but had 2 TDs and 3 interceptions last night. There were no known surgeries or motorcycle accidents.

Nate Washington will have at least six touchdowns.

I was close as Washington had five touchdowns. However, he really is hit or miss. Washington had 5 touchdowns in 3 games, but in the other 13 games, caught only 23 passes for 309 yards.

Chris Gardocki will not have a punt blocked this season (or any other season).

Neither Gardocki or Daniel Sepulveda had a punt blocked this season. In case you were wondering, Sepulveda’s punting average of 42.4 yards was 21st in the NFL and net average of 37.9 yards was 11th in the league. In 2006, Chris Gardocki finished with an average of 41.3 yards (30th) and net average of 36.7 yards (tied for 19th). That’s certainly an improvement but that needs to get even better next year.

Fast Willie Parker will have another 200-yard game rushing.

This one was wrong. Although Parker had 8 100-yard games, his high was 133 yards. Let’s hope Fast Willie has a speedy recovery.

Considering the fact that the Steelers had a rookie head coach, multiple injuries to key players and an ineffective offensive line, a 10-6 record and a division championship is a successful season. Of course, Saturday night’s loss still hurts.

Two final comments:

Boo to NBC. Instead of showing one of my favorite things about Pittsburgh, which is driving out of the Fort Pitt tunnel and seeing the city’s skyline, NBC covered the bottom of the screen with an American Gladiators promo. All you could see was the lights on the bridge.

I watched the Pitt-Villanova basketball game in attempt to cheer myself up. That didn’t help. Pitt had a 63-62 lead until Villanova hit two free throws with 10 seconds left. With a chance to win, Ronald Ramon lost the ball, Pitt’s 22nd turnover, to end the game.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Steelers-Jaguars Preview

Welcome to Wild Card weekend! I am excited and nervous about tonight’s Steelers-Jaguars game, so I have been searching the web to see what the “experts” think.

The ESPN folks made the following predictions:
Salisbury – Jaguars
Hoge – Jaguars
Jaworski – Jaguars
Schlereth – Jaguars
Allen – Jaguars
Mortensen – Jaguars
Golic – Jaguars
Wickersham – Jaguars (who the heck is Wickersham?)

In addition, Hank Goldberg picked the Jaguars on Sportscenter this morning and Bill Simmons chose the Jaguars in his column yesterday.

Over at Deadspin, five of the seven picks went for the Jags:
Cool Standings – Steelers
Football Outsiders – Jaguars
Michael David Smith – Jaguars
Big Daddy Drew – Jaguars
Dan Shanoff – Jaguars
AJ Daulerio – Jaguars
Deadspin – Steelers

Cris Carter on Yahoo picked the Jaguars as did Peter King and Dr. Z (he’s probably as real of a doctor as McDreamy) at Sports Illustrated. On CBS Sports, Harmon, Prisco, Judge, Davis, Richard, and “Spin” also selected the Jaguars to win.

Based on my detailed statistical analysis, 29 experts chose the Jaguars to win tonight and only two feel that the Steelers will win. That seems like a clear majority for the Jaguars, so they shouldn’t even play the game tonight. I guess NFL rules, NBC and the Rooney family are the only reason why this game will be played.

Now I certainly understand why everyone is picking Jacksonville. They defeated the Steelers in Pittsburgh 29-22 just last month and the Steelers are playing without injured Marvel Smith, Aaron Smith, Max Starks and Willie Parker. However, the Steelers are playing at home where they had a 7-1 record this season. The team also has twenty players who have appeared in five or more playoff games. Something that has not been discussed (except for the Post-Gazette today) is the fact that this is Jacksonville QB David Garrard’s first playoff game. He’ll be playing in a difficult environment that will be much tougher than the game in Pittsburgh last month. Yes, he had a terrific season and the Jags rely heavily on the running game, but can he be mistake-free today and lead the Jags to victory? I say no.

Just as I was about to publish this story the ESPN NFL Countdown show aired the following statistic: Quarterbacks making their first playoff start since 2005 are 0-7 with a 55.7 QB rating. Apparently, these folks care little about these statistics as Mike Ditka, Keyshawn Johnson, Emmitt Smith and Chris Berman all pick the Jaguars. Tom Jackson replies by saying that he is the only person in America picking the Steelers. You’re not alone Tom; Deadspin, Cool Standings and I are with you!

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Sean On Fashion

Welcome to the latest edition of Sean on fashion. Previously, we tackled the shorts suit, Burberry scarves and what to wear at a football game. Today, I’d like to discuss the pictured polo shirt by Project E. While the picture shows the general sloppiness of the shirt as well as the trademark red Xs, the holes and tears on the sleeves may not be evident. I saw a shirt similar to the one pictured at a Northern Virginia store last week. I was amazed that a shirt in such shambles would actually be for sale. Here’s the best part: this shirt sells for $60; the one at the store was on sale for only $34.50! While I realize that I am probably not the target audience for this shirt since I have little fashion sense and no knowledge of popular trends, can you really wear a tattered shirt with holes and rips to work or even a respectable bar or club? Actually, who is the demographic audience for this shirt? This may be fashionable for high school or college students, but what students have the disposable income to spend $60 on a torn polo? For that matter, what parent is going to allow their child to spend $60 on a ripped shirt?

Although I still don’t understand the fascination of this shirt (and in full disclosure, I have never seen anyone actually wear this), here’s my suggestion if you want one of your own. Buy a plain blue polo shirt at Kohl’s for $15. Throw the shirt in the washer and dryer about ten times and make sure to jump on it repeatedly. Cut portions of the sleeve with a scissors if necessary. Then wear it and get ridiculed by your family and friends.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Why Do People Hate Hillary Clinton?

Although I rarely discuss politics, now is as good a time as any since the Iowa caucus is on January 3, 2008 (that’s tomorrow!). While many Americans have opinions about the presidential candidates, no one elicits such strong feelings as Democratic candidate and former First Lady Hillary Clinton. There seem to be a lot of folks out there who truly and passionately hate Hillary Clinton. My question is why?

I posed this question to Robert Bluey of Bluey Blog and director of the Center for Media & Public Policy at The Heritage Foundation, a think tank whose mission is “to formulate and promote conservative public policies based on the principles of free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values, and a strong national defense.” Speaking for himself and not necessarily for The Heritage Foundation, Rob wrote the following:

Americans began to dislike Hillary during the 1992 campaign and only grew more hostile throughout her husband's eight years in the White House. I think part of the problem stems from the fact she had no intention of following the typical role of first lady, preferring instead to be a political bulldog. This partisanship alienated a large number of Americans who won't soon forget the Hillary of old no matter how hard she tries to remake herself.

Keep in mind that during Bill Clinton's eight years as president, America became a country deeply divided along partisan lines, leading to the contentious 2000 election. This wasn't entirely Clinton's fault, but because Hillary was so closely identified with his political and policy objectives -- beginning with her failed health care plan -- Americans were left with a bad taste.

This seems like a fair sentiment, but if Bill Clinton is responsible, even partially, for the country’s partisan division, why is he hated far less than this wife? So I ask these questions to anyone out there: Why do people hate Hillary Clinton or why do you hate Hillary Clinton?

“Because she is a bitch” is not an acceptable answer. Do you not like her ideas, are not comfortable with a female president or is it something else? If you’re going to leave feedback, please keep your comments constructive.

If this entire topic is too deep for you, don’t worry. I’m sure that I’ll write about the Steelers or California Tortilla very soon.

Update: Smart Bitches took this post even further with an excellent post and over 100 comments. It's a great read.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy New Year - Watch the Winter Classic

New Year’s Day used to be one of the best days of the year as a sports fan. This is not the case anymore. Yes, there are still six college football bowl games on television, but the games are not as important as they once were. Only five of the top twelve college football teams actually play today. The Fiesta Bowl featuring Oklahoma against West Virginia; the Orange Bowl with Virginia Tech facing Kansas; and the LSU-Ohio State National Championship game take place on January 2nd, 3rd and 7th respectively. There are still meaningful games today for regular sports fans. You can see Darren McFadden play one last time for Arkansas, watch Tim Tebow and Florida meet Michigan in Lloyd Carr’s final game as the head coach and determine whether or not Hawaii is up for the Sugar Bowl challenge. However, none of these games have any relevance in terms of crowning a national champion.

If you’re at home today and a casual sports fan, I recommend taking a break from watching some of the football games and switch to the Winter Classic between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Buffalo Sabres at 1:00 PM on NBC. This is the National Hockey League’s first regular-season outdoor game in the United States. Today’s forecast calls for snow showers early which will become steadier snow for the afternoon. The high is expected to be around 35 degrees with winds at 20-30 miles per hour. In addition, 1-3 inches of snow is expected. Between the weather and the 73,000 fans at Ralph Wilson Stadium, this will be a terrific atmosphere for hockey. Seriously, how cool does this look?

For more about the game, visit
Empty Netters, The Pensblog and the NHL website.