Tuesday, March 31, 2009

No Trivia Tuesday

Have you ever had a song stuck in your head that you couldn’t get rid of? This happens to me occasionally, but one particular song has been stuck there for days. More on this momentarily.

So, I apologize for the lack of Trivia Tuesday this week, but I have a very good reason. We tried something new last week and went to music trivia at Black Finn in Bethesda. The idea was terrific; they have three rounds of 12 songs each, play about 30-45 seconds of a song and you need to provide the artist and song title. However, the execution was poor. There are certain fundamental requirements in a trivia game. You need to be told the correct answers after it's over. You need to be told how well or poorly you did. And you need to be told how close you came to winning. Music trivia failed on all three accounts. The only thing they did was actually have questions, but for all we know, the thing was fixed.

After the first round, we were handed back our answer sheet and told that we won. Hooray for us! We have no idea how our opponents did, but since I am money at identifying songs and we won a round of drinks, all was good. After the second round, the trivia guy announced the winner. Nothing more, nothing less as only the winning team received the answer sheet back. This repeated after the third round where we were not sure if there was an overall winner or just a winner for the third round. The entire operation seemed a bit shady as did 50-cent charge if you wanted lettuce and tomatoes on your burger. Needless to write, we’re not going back. I just hope that someone at Black Finn reads this because they need to change how the trivia game operates.

Let’s go back to the song stuck in my head: "Apologize" by OneRepublic. I’ve had the chorus, "It’s too late to apologize; it’s too late" in my head but with a twist. Instead of to apologize, I’ve been thinking "It’s too late to order fries; it’s too late." When we returned to our normal haunt for trivia last night, the menu changed slightly so that sandwiches come with potato chips instead of French fries. Fries are now an additional 75 cents. So maybe it is too late to order fries or perhaps this was punishment for going somewhere else!

Anyway, Trivia Tuesday will return next week. Brush up on your knowledge of food and drink products started in the 19th century. Yes, that really is the theme; I’m sure that you can’t wait!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Pitt Falls To Villanova

I really want to be upset or disappointed about Pitt’s loss to Villanova in the Elite Eight on Saturday night, but I can’t. I guess you could say that if Pitt made one more free throw, allowed one less offensive rebound, or turned the ball over one less time, they would have won. Well sure, but to use an expression that I hate, it is what it is.* Pitt and Villanova are both great teams and played an amazing game. Villanova has as balanced a team there is in the country and deserves its spot in the Final Four. Plus, after seeing how poorly top teams Oklahoma and Louisville played on Sunday, I feel even better about Pitt’s performance. Levance Fields, Sam Young and DeJuan Blair all had terrific seasons, and the team as a whole deserves credit for accomplishments that no other Pitt team has achieved.

I should also add another reason why I’m not too upset about Pitt’s loss. I talked to a woman on Friday whose kids went to high school with Scottie Reynolds. She was rooting for Villanova because she said that he is a nice kid and is a bit of a hometown hero. I really can’t hate a team like Villanova who has three seniors in Cunningham, Anderson and Clark and also features Corey Fisher who has had an amazing childhood as featured by ESPN.com last week. Jay Wright and the team are likable and play a fun style of basketball where they can dominate on both ends of the floor (just ask Duke).

Anyway, congratulations to the University of Pittsburgh Panthers men’s basketball team on an incredible season! Thanks to Fields, Young and Biggs for their four seasons at Pitt.

For more about the game and Pitt's season, go to Pitt Blather and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette website.

* If I ever use this expression here again, feel free to stop reading this blog!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Notes From Bradenton

Before I write about my trip to Pirates' Spring Training, Don of Mondesi's House deserves props for writing this last week:

In a way, Fields has a bit of Ben Roethlisberger in him, in that he always seems to save his best for last. If ever I see Fields lining up a three-pointer with, say, three minutes or less, I'm going to say that's probably a high-percentage shot.

Don proved prophetic as Levance did it again Thursday night in leading the Panthers over Xavier. Go Pitt!

Anyway,I have talked about attending Spring Training for many years, but this week, I finally made it to Bradenton, Florida to see the Pittsburgh Pirates in action. Here are notes and pictures from my trip:

I arrived at the Bradenton/Sarasota airport from Washington via Atlanta (and my favorite airport) and went directly to McKechnie Field in time to see the Pirates warm-up.

This is Pirates super-prospect Andrew McCutchen (the guy with a bag on his shoulder) along with Pirate great Bill Virdon on the left.

Ian Snell in the bullpen.

Andy LaRoche playing catch.

As for the game, Aaron Harang pitched six scoreless and hitless innings for the Reds as the Bucs couldn't do anything offensively other than Freddy Sanchez walking twice. Meanwhile, Ian Snell gave up six runs in 4 & 1/3 innings and left the game with a blister on his toe. To make matters worse, he had some wonderful things to say about Bradenton: (h/t Raise the Jolly Roger)

"Nothing against Bradenton but there are all old people here," Snell said. "They don’t really cheer or do anything. The WBC was crazy. You had people from Venezuela and Puerto Rico dancing in the stands, setting off whistles constantly shaking maracas. It was loud and it was crazy. You can’t at all compare the atmosphere. It was nuts there."

I like Ian Snell. I like his competitiveness and I really, really want him to succeed. However, let's review what I wrote above. Ian - you got lit up by giving up 5 runs in the 2nd inning. The Pirates offense didn't get their first hit until the 7th inning and finished with no runs and two hits. So you expect dancing in the stands from Pirates fans during an exhibition game where the Reds didn't even bring your regulars? Actually, the crowd did get excited for the T-shirt toss:

Here's a brief summary of the game from Chuck Finder of the P-G. Meanwhile, I have a few more pictures:

Freddy Sanchez.

Nate McLouth (do any of his teammates call him M.C. Louth?).

Matt Capps, who along with Sean Burnett and Jason Davis, pitched great in relief.

The picture may not do it justice, but this is a flock of seagulls at the field. The seagulls were present during both games I attended, but only for about ten minutes each game. I have no idea how an outfielder could concentrate with the seagulls flying around and then landing and walking around the grass. I ran. I ran so far away! That's what I would do if I was an outfielder in this situation. Seriously, I hate seagulls!

Monday's game against the Tampa Bay Rays was completely different. Zach Duke pitched great and the Pirates offense woke-up led by two doubles by Jack Wilson and an Eric Hinske triple.

My thoughts:

- Andrew McCutchen was amazing in walking three times (please note the sarcasm).
- I realize that everyone is clubbing Nyjer Morgan about his Spring Training performance; however, he played great leading off in this game. Morgan was 1-3 with a walk and stole two bases.
- Jack Wilson seems to be exclusively pulling the ball. He hit four balls, two doubles against Tampa Bay and two fly-outs in the Cincinnati game, to deep left.
- If Duke pitches like he did Monday during the rest of the year, well, that would be good!

I only took one picture from the Tampa game. 5 points if you tell me what's wrong in this picture.

Finally, I visited Pirate City where there are over 100 minor league players on four fields.

- It is extremely difficult to track the players since they have numbers, but no names on their jerseys. Actually, there was one man (player) with the name on the back of his jersey: Phil Dumatrit. He has a serious fastball.

- Among those on the minor league roster, there are 4 Gonzalezs (Angel, Benjamin, Elevys, and Gemmy Gonzalez), 3 Penas (Eduardo, Ronald and Silvio Pena), 3 Rodriguezs (Chris, Dionis and Gerlis Rodriguez), 3 Garcias (Diomedes, Edward and Juan Garcia plus Infield Coordinator, Carlos Garcia) and 2 Walkers (Andrew & Edwin; Neil was with the major league team when this list was printed, although I saw him play in a AAA game. He had a triple). There is also a Jose L. de los Santos and a Jose R. de los Santos.

- Did you know the Pirates have a player named Brian Leach (I hated him on the Rangers) and another named Henry Henry?

- In addition, if RHP Sean Giblin or RHP Sean Smith ever want to write a guest post (since this is Sean's Ramblings), they are more than welcome to do so.

- #99 Calvin Anderson is a very tall man.

- Kyle Stark, Director of Player Development, walked from field to field watching batting practice. Apparently, his predecessor, Brian Graham, would just ride a golf cart around the facility.

- Jeremy Powell is the only player on the minor league spring training roster over the age of 30 at 32. I'd guess that his prospects to make the majors isn't very good.

Finally, I did not see Dinesh and Rinku.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Vote for Caitlin & Nick

I have never met Caitlin King and Nick Rossmann, who are friends of a friend, and are one of the 10 semi-finalists for Northern Virginia Magazine's Best Engagement Story contest. However, they have a cool engagement story (see below), so I thought I would do my part to encourage you to vote for them. Voting ends promptly at noon Eastern time on Friday, March 27.

Here's the story for all of you romantics out there:

On a brisk December evening, Nick asked Caitlin to meet him at the museum of news in Washington, D.C. to go to his work’s holiday party. There is a glass display of newspapers from all 50 states outside the building. Nick had created a special edition of The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and inconspicuously posted it on the display over another newspaper. He knew this place was especially meaningful to Caitlin, because she is a journalist and used to walk past the Newseum every night on her way home from work while it was being constructed — just to read the headlines.

When Caitlin arrived that December night, they casually walked by the newspaper display. She saw the Post-Gazette and immediately stopped in her tracks. The big headline read, “Caitlin, Will You Marry Me?”

At that moment, Nick turned to Caitlin, and said, “I love you with all my heart. ” He dropped down to one knee and asked, “Will you spend the rest of your life with me?” With the ring on her finger, tears rolling down her face, she said, “YES!”

For the next few minutes, they laughed at the articles Nick had written for the front page, and then Nick suggested they go to The Source restaurant next door for dinner. As they walked inside, dozens of people yelled “SURPRISE!” Nick had arranged an engagement party with all of their friends. To top it off, an undercover photographer (hired by Nick) captured the entire proposal in pictures!

P.S. Go Pitt!

TMI Thursday: Another List

Last month, I completed the Facebook list of 25 Random Things About Me. Since I had nearly two hours to kill at the airport on Tuesday, here’s part two:

1. I am going to grow a moustache in November. I’m excited about this.

2. I just returned from Florida on Tuesday night and am already getting antsy because I have no trips planned.

3. Some people have to have a cup of coffee every morning; I need to have a glass of orange juice.

4. I have a terrible habit of biting my fingernails. It’s probably ruining my teeth, but I have no plans of stopping.

5. It may not happen for another 10 years, but I’m going to have surgery on my knee someday. I have discomfort in my left knee way too often.

6. I don’t ever want another job where I need to wear a tie everyday. I am happy that my current job does not have the tie requirement.

7. The last time the Steelers lost a game when I was in attendance was the AFC Championship game against the San Diego Chargers.

8. I was so upset by that game that I skipped the Super Bowl that year and saw the Lion King in our on-campus theatre instead. (San Francisco crushed the Chargers, so I made the right decision.)

9. I pay too much for phone service, but cannot go with only my cell phone since I get poor reception in my home.

10. I still don’t have an IPod.

11. I don’t understand the appeal of NASCAR, yet I like horse racing which is essentially the same thing but at a slower speed and 3+ hours shorter.

12. I want to get Lasik eye surgery someday.

13. I count the number of stairs I walk up on the Metro escalators.

14. My record walking up the Metro escalator stairs at the Court House station is 47.

15. I do not own a pair of sunglasses (but I would like a pair for my birthday; hint, hint!).

16. I am terrified of staying out in the sun too long. I’ve had several bad sunburns over the years.

17. I don't know anyone with fake breasts (or do I and I just don't know it?).

18. I have two driving pet peeves: People who don’t use turn signals and people who keep their turn signals on for miles.

19. It’s scary that almost everything I do, I think about how I can write it on my blog. (Did this sentence make sense?)

20. There’s not a better way to start the day than Ziggy, my kitten, curling up with me and purring. Unless he does this at 5:00am!

I’m stopping at 20 since I can't think of anything else right now.

Make sure to visit LiLu for more TMI Thursday. Plus, you can now click here to see my TMI Thursday archives.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Steelers to Loose Super Bowl Trophies

Yes, this was the subject of an e-mail that was forwarded to me. Not lose, but loose. It only gets worse from there.

The Super Bowl XLIII Champion Pittsburgh Steelers, the only team to win six titles, will soon be loosing half of those trophies. After a meeting between NFL Commissioner Rodger Gadel (Sean's note: Rodger Gadel? Really?) and President Barack Hussain Obama, Obama decided to redistribute half of their Steeler Super Bowl victories and trophies to less fortunate teams in the league.

"We live everyday in the country that invented the Super Bowl." said Obama "We are not about to lose this Great American tradition in the wake of these difficult times." Obama’s plan calls for the Steelers, who are a successful NFL team, to give half of their Super Bowl trophies to teams that are not successful or have not been as successful as the Steelers. "The Detroit Loins are just as much a part of the same fiber of the NFL as the Steelers and they should, no rather will, be entitled to a Super Bowl Trophy as well." Obama explains in his plan that he has imposed on Godel and the NFL.

The Pittsburgh Steelers, who by virtue of hard work, excellent team play, stellar draft choices, responsible investing of free agents, careful hiring of coaches and excellent community service and commitment to their fans, has prospered greatly during the past 30 years and have won six Super Bowl Trophies. But President Barack Hussain Obama’s plan calls for the Pittsburgh Steelers to carry the larger burden of the NFL’s less successful teams. Obama went on to further proclaim, "In these difficult times we are all in this to work together. We must reclaim the NFL Championship Dream for every team, for every city and for every fan."

"My plan will not affect 31 of the 32 teams in the league." Obama assures. That’s over 95 percent of the teams in the NFL will not have to worry about loosing any Super Bowl Trophies. "The worst teams in the NFL and the teams that can’t seem to get a break and win a championship will no longer have to worry about going without a title." Obama promises. "We are a country and league of hope. We all need to make a change. It does not matter the color of the teams uniforms, the personal decisions that the teams make or their performance but rather if they are a member of this great American league."

The Super Bowl XLIII trophy will be redistributed to the 0-16 Detroit Lions. Through no fault of their own incompetence, the Lions could not manage a victory all season and this trophy will help ease the pain of their lack of performance and give them hope once again. The redistribution of Super Bowl XL trophy will go directly to the Steeler’s division rival the Cincinnati Bengals. The Bengals who also have fallen on hard times have never won a Super Bowl. This victory will bring a smile to hundreds of Bengal fans all over the world as they can now celebrate. Finally, one of the Steeler’s two Super Bowl victories over the Dallas Cowboys will go back to the Cowboys since the league needs to provide hope in the face of difficulty and provide hope in the face of uncertainty. This is a heavy burden for the Steelers but together we can all prosper.

All hope is not lost for Pittsburgh fans, Barack Hussain Obama has another plan in place. Obama has meet with MLB and commissioner Bud Selig on a similar plan. The New York Yankees will redistribute two of their world series trophies to the Pittsburgh Pirates as a supplement to their loosing 16 straight seasons and counting. This plan will help stimulate the Pirates and enable them to regain the American Dream. Barack Hussain Obama will be meeting with the NHL and Michael Phelps in the upcoming weeks as this issue is high on his agenda for "Hope and Change."

Someone is still bitter about Obama being elected President! I'm not touching any political aspect of this, but I do have a few notes:

1. Would Canada, or at least Quebec, go to war against the U.S. if we tried to take away some of Montreal's Stanley Cups? If so, look out Plattsburgh, NY!

2. The Pirates don't want any World Series titles from the Yankees. The Pirates earned the Championship against the Yankees in 1960! (Someone I met at the Pirates game in Bradenton on Sunday was a Yankees fan and is still unhappy about Maz's home run.)

3. Based on this plan, at least the Browns won't get a trophy!

Franco & Me

Here is a picture of Franco Harris and me from last Monday's screening of My Tale of Two Cities:

You'll just have to guess which one is Franco and which one is me!

Since Franco was nice enough to take this picture, the least I could do is promote the Pittsburgh Promise, a scholarship program to help all Pittsburgh Public School students plan, prepare, and pay for education beyond high school at an accredited post-secondary institution within the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Harris serves as the Chairman of the Pittsburgh Promise's Board of Directors.

As a programming note, TMI Thursday will return tomorrow (Thursday; imagine that!), and I hope to have a recap, including pictures, of my trip to Bradenton for the Pirates' Spring Training on Friday.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Random Question of the Day

Since I am currently in Florida, there will not be Trivia Tuesday today. Sorry. Instead, I have a question for any fan of music from the late 1980s/early 1990s that was posed to me by WahooJ.

Why does the song "Epic" by Faith No More (featuring the chorus "You want it all, but you can't have it.") still receive regular radio airplay while comparable song, "Everything About You" by Ugly Kid Joe (chorus: "I hate everything about you.") does not?

I have a theory, but I'd like to see what you think...

Friday, March 20, 2009

Spring Training Question

We’re in the middle of the NCAA Tournament’s first round with Pitt and Robert Morris both playing today and the Penguins are continuing their hot streak trying to make the NHL playoffs. So today seems to be a perfect time to write about the Pittsburgh Pirates! I’m heading to Bradenton, Florida on Sunday for my first ever Spring Training, and I figured I would ask a few people what I should look for while I’m there. Here are some serious and not-so-serious responses:

Nick of Decibel Magazine and of the defunct McClendon's Folly:

Dejan Kovacevic has suggested that the Pirates may open the season with Craig Monroe in RF and Erik Hinske in LF. I seem to recall that Monroe is a below-average defender and Hinske is on a one year deal. Add in Nyjer Morgan and the Pirates could have one of the worst starting outfields in the major leagues. With Brandon Moss' ongoing injury woes and Tabata reassigned to the minors, is there any hope for this outfield? Also: is there anywhere in Bradenton to get a Primanti's sandwich? Considering the added value of fries + slaw, I could see the oldsters actually lining up for an early-bird special.

Ryan of Three River Sports:

Serious - What are your impressions of Andrew McCutchen and does he look comfortable and like he can play in the majors just yet. Does he look comfortable at the plate and in the field? Like a guy who is just about ready to come up to the majors as soon as the arbitration date passes? Or does he still look raw like a guy who needs more time in AAA and shouldn't be rushed?

Non-serious - First of all, who in the hell is Virgil Vasquez? I'd never heard of the guy and now all of a sudden he is one of the final 6 or so guys competing for a spot in the starting rotation and is evidently better than Tom Gorzelanny! Did he come from the California Penal League or something? And if you happen to see him, is he any good? His lofty status really confuses me.

My other question: Does anyone down there resemble the infamous Jimmy Anderson picture from two years ago? Now that my leading candidate, Gorzelanny, is gone I doubt it, but I'd be curious all the same. If you can't remember what I'm talking about, here's the picture:

Don of Mondesi's House:

-Check to see if Jack Wilson still has a pulse. 2 for 28 this spring?

-Who's taking time to sign autographs and who seems to be less interested in that part of spring training?

Brian of Raise the Jolly Roger:

Serious thing to look for: Andrew McCutchen has been playing nearly every day this spring, even though the club insists he will not be on the Opening Day roster. Look to see how he handles the tough major league starting pitchers (who only pitch for the first half of the game, or less, then minor league scrubs come in). Is he ready (or close to being ready) to face these guys on a regular basis?

Not so serious thing: This seems like a perfect place for a Rinku and Dinesh (the new Indian pitchers) reference, but their story has been beat to death. So, see if you can find out if they Raise a Jolly Roger at McKechnie when the Bucs win. Oh, and since we're in the mix this spring, are there any "Grapefruit League Champs" banners around from past years?

Messiah of White Nerdy Wonks (I hope the site isn't done):

For serious, I'd focus more on the economy and baseball rather than the Pirates themselves, namely: Are there any fans at the park? And does anyone really care?

For less serious, I'd go with: Which pierogi had the best off-season workouts?

Dave of Bucs Trade Winds:

Donnie Veal, how does he look? Does the velocity seem to be there? Sues, I hear he is throwing some serious gas. I'd like to know how his control is and if his other stuff is as MLB caliber as his heater?

(Sean’s note: Pitcher Jeff Sues was reassigned to Altoona after I received Dave's email.)

Last question. Does the local Pizza Hut close at 6:00 like it does in Homosassa?

Brad of This Is Getting Old:

I haven't been to Bradenton in years. Instead of focusing on the Pirates, I would love to see pics of Pirate City, the field, and and the city. You must go to this orange grove called Mixion's. It will be the highlight of the trip (and I want pics). Also if you are in Tampa, go to eat at BD's Mongolian Grill. You will not be disappointed. Florida in March, you lucky bastard. I'll still have my Snuggie on here in Scranton.

Thanks to everyone who responded! Happy first day of Spring and Go Pitt!

Photo from Deadspin.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

TMI Thursday: My First Kiss

Discussing my bathroom habits and embarrassing myself by admitting that I enjoy certain songs and television shows in my previous TMI Thursdays have not been difficult to share. This post is a little different, as prior to last week, I never admitted this to anyone. I think I’m setting up unrealistic expectations for what I’m about to reveal, but I guess that’s up to you.

Let’s go back in time to homecoming during my sophomore year of high school. I asked a beautiful girl to the dance, and amazingly, she said yes. Prior to the dance I watched a television show in which the main character attended a high school dance and contemplated making a move on his date. The character told his friend his plan that during a slow song when the time was right, he would either lick, nuzzle, or breathe heavily on his date’s ear (or something like that). I don’t remember the actual move, but it’s not as disturbing as it sounds (I hope). Anyway, the character hypothesized that if his date did not recoil, she would be open to him kissing her. He tried this at the dance and was successful. Therefore, I realized that I must try this same move. It worked on television, so of course it would work in real life! Surprisingly, it actually did work in real life. So I would like to thank this guy for giving me the guide to my first kiss:

Yes, Doogie Howser, M.D. told his best friend Vinnie Delpino his plan and then kissed Wanda Plenn at the high school dance. I think Doogie and Wanda lived happily ever after, although according to IMDB, Neil Patrick Harris was in all 90 episodes while Wanda only appeared in 48 shows. As for me and my date, after the kiss, I asked her to be my girlfriend. She said yes, and we dated for 8 whole days before she broke up with me. However, we became good friends through the rest of high school and beyond, attended each other’s weddings and still keep in touch today even though I should do a much better job of maintaining contact.

Oh, if Neil Patrick Harris or Wanda (Lisa Dean Ryan) happens to read this post, can you please tell me the actual move. It couldn’t be licking her ear, could it?

As always, visit Live It, Love It for more TMI Thursdays.

Finally, don't forget to wear a sweater tomorrow (Friday, March 20) in honor of "Won't You Be My Neighbor? Day" for Mister Rogers' birthday.

I'm not sure if Mister Rogers would have liked TMI Thursday, but I hope that you do!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Random Question of the Day

How do you pronounce the word salmon? I have always said sam-uhn, but over the past few days, I have heard several people pronounce the word as sal-mon. The "L" is silent, right (or am I wrong)?

As a tangent, we took an Alaskan cruise for our honeymoon and went to a salmon hatchery and saw the amazing work done to help breed and increase the salmon population. Then, we went to a salmon bake and had some of the best salmon I've ever tasted with a brown sugar and honey sauce (if I remember correctly). In retrospect, maybe the cruise line shouldn't organize these two events in tandem.

This post sounds like something Lemmonex would write except that I'm not including any recipes!

Look for a very special TMI Thursday tomorrow!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Trivia Tuesday

Welcome to a St. Patrick's Day edition of Trivia Tuesday. Of course, none of these questions have anything to do with St. Patrick's Day. This week’s challenge is to name the people or characters whose initials are JC. New father "Jason Christ" Superstar is not one of the answers.

1. Who loved Chachi?

2. Who represented Abner Louima, Todd Bridges, Tupac Shakur and Reginald Denny in various trials?

3. Former Late Night talk show host from Norfolk, Nebraska.

4. In a 1966 Time magazine cover story, which French woman was dubbed "Our Lady of the Ladle?"

5. What short story writer, a regular New Yorker contributor, was mentioned in a Seinfeld episode title?

6. Actor in The Godfather and start of the TV show Vegas.

7. What Seattle folk singer played Amazing Grace and Chelsea Morning at Bill Clinton’s 1993 inauguration? (CSN&Y named a song after her.)

8. What NBC News correspondent – and future new anchor – was arrested at the 1964 Republican National Convention?

9. Who co-wrote the song Ring of Fire with Merle Kilgore, which was later performed by husband Johnny Cash?

10. What Hong Kong-born actor made his US movie debut in 1980’s The Big Brawl?

As always, please do not use the internet for the answers. Either you know it or you don’t. Please leave your answers in the comments section. Good luck!

In case you were wondering, we got 7 of the 10 correct.

Thanks again to Stump Trivia for providing these fun quizzes!

Monday, March 16, 2009

A Letter to 15 Seeds

Dear Robert Morris University, Binghamton University, Morgan State University and California State University Northridge:

First of all, congratulations on earning your spot in the NCAA Tournament. Each of you have had great seasons and deserve your spot in the field of 65. You may be wondering, well thanks random guy for the note, but who are you? Well, my name is Sean, and I am a college basketball fan as well as an amazing* blogger. Twice in my life, I have had the opportunity to attend the men’s NCAA tournament, first in 1997 and again in 2008. In 1997, I watched the #15 seed Coppin State University defeat the second-seeded University of South Carolina at the Civic Arena in Pittsburgh. Last year, I was present for the amazing game between #2 Duke University and #15 Belmont University at the Verizon Center in Washington. As a #15 seed, you may remember (or you're learning now about) the Duke-Belmont game and how Belmont could have, and arguably should have, pulled off an amazing upset. Was it a coincidence that at the two NCAA Tournament games I attended the #15 seed won and should have won on both occasions? I say no.

Therefore, I welcome you to invite me to your first round match. I believe that my track record as stated above proves that I can be of great assistance in watching your game live. All that I ask for is a flight from the Washington DC area to wherever your game takes place, two tickets for the games (please note that games are in plural for both of your first and second round matches), a hotel room near the arena, and a gracious per diem for food. In exchange, you’ll get a great good luck charm in me. Just think of all the exposure #15 seeds receive when they win an NCAA Tournament game. You’ll be on the front page of the ESPN and Yahoo Sports websites, be the lead on Sportscenter and be the talk around the water cooler for days and weeks to come. I think the benefit your team and school will receive will certainly outweigh the cost of paying for my trip.

Just so you know, I give priority to attending the Robert Morris game since they are a Pittsburgh area school and I have been on the campus and in Sewell Center. However, I will certainly consider offers from all for of you.

Good luck in the NCAA Tournament, and I look forward to hearing from you.


* at least in my mind

Sunday, March 15, 2009

My Tale of Two Cities and Sunday Links

As a reminder for folks living in the DC area, there is a special screening of My Tale of Two Cities, "a funny and heartfelt "comeback" story about coming home and the city of Pittsburgh, the real-life "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood" tomorrow (Monday, March 16) at the AFI Silver Theater in Silver Spring at 7:00pm. That is one long sentence! Franco Harris, Mr. McFeely, Franco "Dok" Harris, who has declared to run for the Mayor of Pittsburgh, and Sean of Sean's Ramblings, who has declared not to run for the Mayor of Pittsburgh or any other city (yet?) will all be in attendance. 

Here is the movie trailer:  (UPDATE: This is the actual movie!)

Tickets are only $10, but are first come, first serve and may sell out. To reserve your seats, please email Natalie at mytaleoftwocities@gmail.com and specify the DC screening. More information about the film is available on the My Tale of Two Cities website

 Here are some other links and videos for your Sunday while you wait until the brackets are announced:

 - Steve Is Alive asks the Top Eight Mysteries of Pittsburgh. My favorite: "Who thought Franco Harris and George Washington were on the same level to share side by side statues of each other at Pittsburgh International Airport?" 

 - LiLu shares the places you must go to when you move to Washington. Sadly, since I live in the suburbs and don't get out much, I have been to less than half of these places. 

 - PSAMP found an online stock comic strip generator

 - Gilahi found a bare naked pole dancer. Actually, it's a bear naked pole dancer. This is completely safe for work or home. 

 - Congratulations to Cotter for his 1000th post on One For The Other Thumb

 - The USTA is looking for volunteers for the U.S. Open between August 29 to September 13, 2009. It probably helps if you live in or around New York. 

 - Finally, you know Jim Shearer from VH1's Top 20 Video Countdown and Yinz Luv 'Da Steelers. Well, he also puts out Yinz Luv 'Da Guins videos like this one: 

Friday, March 13, 2009

Fleetwood Mac Concert Review

To quote Mick Fleetwood from Tuesday night’s concert at the Verizon Center in Washington, "The Mac is back!" While I agree with him, he or Lindsey Buckingham could have said this at the beginning of the show instead of when they exited the stage. Before I write about the concert, I want to start with the fact that Fleetwood Mac is a fascinating group. There’s the Fleetwood Mac with Peter Green from the late 60s/early 70s and then the one with huge mainstream success with Stevie Nicks and Buckingham. Between Nicks, Buckingham and Christine McVie, who unfortunately is not on the tour, I can’t think of another band with three different lead singers and songwriters. (I’m not counting a group like Destiny’s Child where all three singers have their own verse of a song. A Christine McVie song is completely different than a Stevie Nicks song which is completely different than a Lindsey Buckingham song.) Plus there have been some relationship issues between the band members over the years.

Anyway, the concert was awesome. To paraphrase Buckingham, the band isn’t promoting a new album; they are just playing their hits. And play their hits they did. The Chain, Rhiannon, Landslide, Go Your Own Way, Silver Springs, Don’t Stop, Gold Dust Woman and more. Excuse me as I go into notes format:

- Who do you put in the Pantheon of great guitarists? Hendrix, Clapton, Van Halen, Santana, King, Berry, and Slash could all be candidates. After seeing Fleetwood Mac live, I think Buckingham deserves some consideration.

- Nicks performed her trademark twirl during Stand Back. While she was great all night, I think Nicks may have lost a step on her twirl. (Of course, it could also have been the shoes she was wearing.)

- The Post-Gazette’s review of Fleetwood Mac’s concert in Pittsburgh included the set list. The list didn’t change between the Pittsburgh and Washington shows.

- If anyone reading this was at the DC show, can you please translate what Fleetwood said during the encore of World Turning? I couldn’t understand a word coming out of his mouth.

- The last concert I saw before Fleetwood Mac was Neil Diamond. There's probably about a 10-year age difference between Neil (late 60s) and most of Fleetwood Mac (around 60). What 50 year-old performer can I see next?

- I was tempted to buy a $45 Rock On Gold Dust Woman T-shirt but decided against it. (The shirt sells for only $34.95 on the Fleetwood Mac website store although I don't know the cost of tax and shipping.) I feel like I bought a Dave Matthews Band T-shirt for only $15. Of course, that was also 15 years ago.

The Washington Times and The Washington Post reviewed the show, but the Post included a picture (from 2004 accorinding to the comments) that wasn’t taken during the concert. In addition, you can read more about the show from local bloggers Jason’s View from DC (plus a video) and The Pink Cheeseburger.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

2009 Celebrate Fairfax Headliners Announced

It is my pleasure to provide this exclusive announcement* of this year’s Celebrate Fairfax! festival headliners.

Friday, June 5: Blues Traveler

It’s fine to start singing Run Around, but if you’re at work, you may want to keep your voice down.

Saturday, June 6: The Fixx

British band best known for One Thing Leads to Another. It’s not The Fixx’s fault that Toyota may have killed their song, Saved by Zero, by playing this song in millions of commercials during this past football season.

Saturday, June 6: Old Skool All-Stars: Tone Loc, Naughty by Nature and Sugar Hill Gang

Funky Cold Medina, OPP and Rapper’s Delight all live! I am extremely excited for this concert.

Sunday, June 7: Phil Vasser

I know little about country music, but my friends that are country music fans are excited about Vasser coming to Fairfax, VA. That’s a good sign.

I’ll write much more about Celebrate Fairfax as it gets closer, but for more information about the artists and the entire festival, visit the Celebrate Fairfax website.

* unless you already saw this somewhere else

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Laptop Cat

Friday's Speed Bump comic strip looked familiar:

I've posted this picture of Ziggy before:

h/t Messiah

I'm going on very little sleep after attending the Fleetwood Mac concert last night, so this is all that you're going to get from me today. I'll have a full concert review later this week as well as another major announcement. I'm also contemplating posting an extra special and embarrassing TMI Thursday. This would by far be my most TMI "TMI Thursday" but I'm not sure that I want to reveal it. We'll see.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Trivia Tuesday

No introduction necessary, so let’s jump right into this week’s Trivia Tuesday. Your challenge is to name the city from the street name given.

1. Bleeker Street

2. Newbury Street

3. Hollywood Boulevard

4. Champs Elysees

5. Lombard Street

6. Bay Street

7. Fleet Street

8. Lakeshore Drive

9. Bourbon Street

10. Beale Street

As always, please do not use the internet for the answers. Either you know it or you don’t. Please leave your answers in the comments section. Good luck!

In case you were wondering, we got 8 of the 10 correct.

Thanks again to Stump Trivia for providing these fun quizzes!

Penguins v Capitals: Battle of the Car Commercials

While the Penguins defeated the Capitals on Sunday courtesy of a Sidney Crosby shoot-out goal, there also appears to be a battle between the two teams off the ice. Dan Steinberg's Sports Bog featured this video of Alexander Ovechkin singing the Eastern Motors song:

I'll take Max Talbot for the block.

If nothing else, this should at least make you smile on a Tuesday.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Major Announcement: Franco Harris and Mr. McFeely Coming to Washington

Pittsburgh is coming Washington! Actually, Pittsburgh is coming to Silver Spring, Maryland. As part of the annual "Won’t You Be My Neighbor? Day" in honor of Mister Rogers’ birthday, there will be a special screening of My Tale of Two Cities on Monday, March 16 at the AFI Silver Theater in Silver Spring. Tickets are $10, but are first-come, first-serve and may sell out. To reserve your seats, e-mail Cait at mytaleoftwocities@gmail.com and specifically mention the DC screening. Plus, there will be a special appearances by Steelers’ Hall of Fame running back Franco Harris, Mr. McFeely of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood and Sean of Sean’s Ramblings. (Shockingly, the organizers are not promoting the fact that I will be in attendance.)

Here’s a description of the movie from its website:

"My Tale of Two Cities" is a funny and heartfelt "comeback" story about coming home and the city of Pittsburgh, the real-life "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood", coming back to once again become "The City of Champions." The film, which stars some of the city's favorite neighbors including Franco Harris, Teresa Heinz Kerry, former treasury secretary Paul O' Neill, and many others, has struck a chord at a time when people and cities across this country are thinking about how to reinvent themselves for a new age and when it seems, now more than ever, we need each neighbor to make a difference.

I hope to see you there!

P.S. I've been waiting for an official e-mail that the event is on, but I can wait no longer! If I'm a bit premature in posting this, then I apologize.

Photo from the My Tale of Two Cities website.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

The Pensblog Wins the Pittsburgh Sports Blog Tournament

Congratulations to The Pensblog for winning the (first?) Best Pittsburgh Sports Blog Tournament by defeating Mondesi’s House 67.9%-32.1% in the championship. I do want to address some of the comments that took place during the championship round. Certainly not everyone has to like everyone else’s blog or the comments on the blogs. However, there is no reason to disparage the blogs themselves simply because of the amount of time the bloggers spend writing for your enjoyment and to express their own thoughts. As for the two finalists, The Pensblog is the most influential blog in Pittsburgh and has the most passionate following. WWGRD was everywhere last year, and each Penguins game post on The Pensblog receives hundreds of comments. Meanwhile, Mondesi’s House covers all Pittsburgh sports better than any other Pittsburgh blog. The Terrible Towel pictures and videos featured prior to February’s Super Bowl were incredible and demonstrated the amount of MH readers there are nationwide and internationally.

Actually, I’ll let the blogs themselves talk about each other:

The Pensblog:
"Also, we have nothing but respect for our championship opponent, the very deserving finalists Mondesi’s House. We would be remiss not to give the proper dues to what Don has done over the last few years. We don’t take pride in much, but being a member of the Pittsburgh blogging community is the one thing we really enjoy."

Mondesi’s House:
"It looks like Mondesi's House is going to finish as the runner-up to The Pensblog, which is as solid of a blog as you'll ever read."

Overall, I want to thank everyone for visiting and voting. I especially want to thank the Pittsburgh sports blogs out there for supporting the Best Pittsburgh Sports Blog Tournament and for all of the incredible work they do on their sites. I mentioned this when the tournament began, but I don’t think we realize how lucky we are to have such an incredible sports blog community. I doubt that any other city has this type of dedicated blog community.

Go Pitt! Go Pens! Go Pirates! Go Steelers!

Friday, March 06, 2009

Friday Links and More

The Best Pittsburgh Sports Blog Tournament Championship is two posts below or click here to vote for either Mondesi's House or The Pens Blog. Voting ends today at 5:00pm Eastern time.

I almost cried when I went to Wegmans last week because they had their Passover display up already. I'm not looking forward to matzo. They also had an Easter display featuring countless boxes of Peeps. Hooray for Peeps! Speaking of Peeps, entries for the 3rd annual Peeps Diorama Contest are due by 11:59 on March 15. Last year's gallery is amazing. [The Washington Post]

How I Met Your Mother is going to reveal the mother by the end of this season. Perhaps. [Entertainment Weekly]

I'm writing this on Thursday night, but check out Cotter's blog sometime Friday where I am part of the weekly Meeting People Is Easy. [One For The Other Thumb]

Ithaca College (Go Bombers!) is hosting the Sport, Sexuality, and Culture Conference on March 18-20. Speakers include USA Today's Christine Brennan and former Penn State and NBA player John Amaechi. This should be an interesting conference, but I can't see ESPN or Sports Illustrated covering it (even though they should). [Ithaca College]

Congratulations to Hand of Godard for the comment of the week on my post, Penguins Should Acquire Stillman and Nash:

I love the idea of getting Nash, but I think it would be a stretch to get Stillman. As long as we could keep Jordan Staal, I propose getting Marc Staal from the Rangers as well as prospect Bryan Young from the Edmonton Oilers. I think a Crosby, Staals, Nash and Young power play would be exciting.

Finally, there is a good chance that I will have a major announcement here on Monday that will certainly be of interest if you're a member of the Pittsburgh diaspora living in the Washington DC area (or even if you live in Washington but have no Pittsburgh connections).

Have a great weekend (and don't forget to vote for the Best Pittsburgh Sports Blog)!

Thursday, March 05, 2009

TMI Thursday: Janet Jackson Is Jealous

I apologize for not writing a TMI Thursday post recently, and I can’t even take credit for this one. I was in warm and sunny Orlando last week for work when I received a call from my wife. She said that she noticed several circular rashes on our kitten’s stomach. We didn’t see anything like this on Ziggy before, so she scheduled a vet appointment. We also never witnessed Ziggy scratching or biting his stomach, but the appointment was made as a precaution.

So my wife took Ziggy to his appointment and mentioned to the vet that maybe it was a spider bite or something else. The vet took a look at Ziggy’s spotted belly and said, "Your cat has nipples." He continued by saying, "Your husband is coming home. Make him a nice dinner* and break the news to him that your kitten has nipples." Who even knew that male cats had nipples? Actually, this guy did:

Apparently, the vet receives this question much more often that you would think, nearly once a month. So the end result is the Ziggy has nipples. He’s in good health and is now an amazing 9 pounds, 9 ounces. When we adopted him in mid-November, he was only 3 pounds, 8 ounces. Our little boy is growing up!

* I think I picked up California Tortilla.

As always, check out Live It, Love It for all of your TMI Thursday needs.

If you're looking for the Best Pittsburgh Sports Blog Tournament, go to the post below or click here to vote for Mondesi's House or The Pens Blog now through tomorrow (Friday, March 6th) at 5:00pm Eastern time.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Pittsburgh Sports Blog Tournament Championship

Well, we made it to the Best Pittsburgh Sports Blog Championship! If you had to guess who would make the finals before the tournament started, I think you would predict The Pens Blog and Mondesi's House. These blogs are likely the most read and most influential of all the Pittsburgh sports blogs. Both The Pens Blog and Mondesi's House are regularly linked to by national and international sports blogs and certainly earned their places in the finals based on the outstanding posts and information they provide and have provided over the years.

The Pens Blog reached the finals on the strength of a 66.8%-33.2% victory over Behind the Steel Curtain. BSC dominated its division but ran into a seemingly unstoappable force. In the other semi-final, Mondesi's House and Pittsburgh Sports and Mini Ponies were close over the first day of voting, but Mondesi's House pulled away with a huge Tuesday afternoon winning 56.6% to 43.4%. Congratulations to both Behind the Steel Curtain and PSAMP for reaching the Final Four and for the amazing job they do on their blogs.

It's now your turn to select the Best Pittsburgh Sports Blog. Voting starts now and runs until Friday, March 6 at 5:00pm. As a reminder, please only vote once. Let the best blog win!

#1 The Pens Blog vs. #1 Mondesi’s House

Thanks again to all of the incredible blogs in the tournament, Cotter for creating the super logo and to you for visiting and voting! In addition, please check out all of the blogs in the tournament and other Pittsburgh sports blogs listed in the links section on the right.

Update: Voting is now closed. A recap of the tournament will be posted on this site in the next few days. Thanks to everyone for visiting and voting!

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Penguins Should Acquire Stillman and Nash

The National Hockey League’s trade deadline is tomorrow (Wednesday) at 3:00pm Eastern Time. The Pens have already traded Ryan Whitney to the Anaheim Ducks for Chris Kunitz and prospect Eric Tangradi. I encourage you to read Empty Netters, The Pens Blog and the other Penguins blogs for analysis of this trade if you haven't done so already. Meanwhile, I have a few ideas of what else the Pittsburgh Penguins should do.

1. Acquire LW Cory Stillman. Stillman, currently a member of the Florida Panthers, is the type of veteran with Stanley Cup experience that the Pens could use. Stillman won Stanley Cups with the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2003-2004 and Carolina Hurricanes in 2005-2006 where he had 26 points in 25 playoff games. Stillman has scored 20+ goals in 9 of the past 11 seasons and although he only has 12 goals this season and is currently injured, he has been a key part of the Panthers’ resurgence. When he gets healthy, Stillman would be great for the Pens down the stretch.

2. Acquire LW Rick Nash. Nash, the #1 overall pick in the 2002 NHL draft, is the franchise player for the Columbus Blue Jackets, poised to make it to the postseason for the first time in the team’s existence. If the Blue Jackets make the playoffs, think about all the pressure Nash will be under. With the Penguins, he will be part of a team that made it to the Stanley Cup Finals last season and won’t have to deal with the same expectations of Malkin and Crosby. Nash is a sniper who would fit perfectly with Sidney Crosby. Even in plastic form as shown here, Nash could still score 25 goals.

So my proposal is to have a line of Crosby, Stillman and Nash. I realize that Stillman and Nash both play left-wing, but the Pens could move Stillman to right-wing. This line could take Pittsburgh on the Marrakesh Express to the Stanley Cup. They could Teach Your Children to play beautiful hockey. Before you disregard what I am writing and decide to Carry On to another website, just remember that this line could bring the Stanley Cup to Our House. They’ll even celebrate the Penguins winning the Cup in Ohio!

I really hope that Crosby, Stillman and Nash have the opportunity to be coached by former Penguins goalie Wendell Young or even Scott Young. Think of all the magic Crosby, Stillman, Nash & Young (or Youngs) could produce!

Trivia Tuesday will return next week. Voting in the Final Four round of the Best Pittsburgh Sports Blog Tournament continues through 8:00pm tonight in the post below.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Pittsburgh Sports Blog Tournament – Final Four

Welcome to the Final Four of the Best Pittsburgh Sports Blog Tournament! I think this may be the first tournament ever where all the #1 seeds advanced to the Final Four. I’m actually a little disappointed that there were no Cinderellas, but the people have cast their ballots and the top seeds earned their place in the Final Four. Before the voting begins, let’s look back at the Elite Eight.

Behind the Steel Curtain had a relatively easy run in the Sammy Khalifa division until this round where they held off the final all-Pirate blog in the tournament Where Have You Gone Andy Van Slyke by a 53.3%-46.7% margin. Behind the Steel Curtain now faces The Pens Blog who handled Empty Netters by earning three of every four votes in this match-up. I really thought that this would be much closer, but I guess not. Based on how this tournament has gone so far, The Pens Blog appears to be the favorite to win it all.

With Pitt as the #1 basketball team in the country last week, it makes sense that Pitt Blather would receive a lot of votes based on all of the Pitt fans following the Panthers. However, Mondesi’s House was able to prevail in an amazing 50.5%-49.5% contest. Pittsburgh Sports and Mini Ponies clinched the final spot in the Final Four by defeating the other Post-Gazette blog in the field, Blog ‘n’ Gold 57%-43%.

So there you have it. Voting starts now and runs until Tuesday, March 3 at 8:00pm Eastern time. As a reminder, please only vote once. Let the Final Four voting begin!

#1 Behind the Steel Curtain vs. #1 The Pens Blog

#1 Mondesi’s House vs. #1 Pittsburgh Sports and Mini Ponies

Thanks again to all of the incredible blogs in the tournament, Cotter for creating the super logo and to you for visiting and voting!

Update: Voting for the Final Four is now closed. Congratulations to Mondesi's House and The Pens Blog for advancing to the Best Pittsburgh Sports Blog Tournament Championship. You can vote for either Mondesi's House or The Pens Blog by clicking here now through Friday, March 6th at 5:00pm Eastern time.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Sunday Links

* Ashley Diparlo and Becky Emmers of WTAE's Pittsburgh Channel website are awesome. They are even more awesome for including the Best Pittsburgh Sports Blog Tournament on their Links N'@ video. This is the first time Sean's Ramblings has ever made a video, even though my blog name was not officially mentioned.

* Prior to its tour starting on Sunday in Pittsburgh (and I'll see them in DC in a few weeks), the Post-Gazette caught up with Fleetwood Mac in a fairly in-depth preview. The money quotes:

"It's exciting to us," Nicks says, "because we're not trying to shove new songs down people's throats."

Plus, Christine McVie is not on tour:

"Christine had been keeping big secrets from us all the many years. She was afraid to fly. Because she's such a tough old bird, she never let us know."

* Sports Illustrated wrote that the Pirates could surprise with the young talent. (h/t Bluey Blog).

* Speaking of hopeful things that probably won't happen, Metro will make it to Reston by 2013. (h/t Restonian)

* The Washington Nationals fired Jose Rijo, special assistant to the General Manager and the owner of a baseball academy in the Dominican Republic that the Nats have used, and General Manager Jim Bowden could be next. I receive probably 3-4 e-mails from the Nationals each week selling tickets, merchandise or providing Nationals new. Shockingly, they have not sent me one e-mail about the Bowden or Rijo situation.

* Mike of Steelahs.com wrote a nice post about his experience in the Best Pittsburgh Sports Blog tournament.

* It's very easy to dislike the Washington Redskins. Owner Dan Snyder laid off 20 employees in January, but signed defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth to a reported 7-year, $100 million deal Friday with $41 million of that guaranteed. Good luck with that.

* Finally, I haven't been a part of Cotter's Meeting People Is Easy in many weeks, so the least I could do is link to it.