Thursday, April 30, 2009

For Penguins Fans

Looking for tickets to games 1 & 2 of the Penguins-Capitals series? Here's an offer I just received from the Caps:

Limited Dewars 12 Club (Sean's note: I don't know what a Dewars 12 Club means.) All Inclusive Playoff Packs Left For Round 2

Game 1 vs. Pittsburgh Penguins Saturday, May 2 at 1 p.m.

Game 2 vs. Pittsburgh Penguins Monday, May 4 at 7 p.m.

Package Includes:
- Ticket to Capitals Playoff Game
- All-You-Can-Eat buffet*
- Unlimited beer, wine and soda* (I hope that they have pop too!)
- Washington Mystics season ticket (How were the Mystics able to finagle** their way into this?)
- New Era brand Capitals hat
- Capitals rally towel

Ticket packages start at $225

* Buffet & beverage from doors opening to start of game (doors open at 11:30 a.m. Sat 5/2 and at 5:30 p.m. Mon 5/4) featuring: Hand Carved Turkey Sandwich w/ Cranberry Mustard, Pasta Salad, Hot Dogs w/ Fixings Bar, Artisan Cheeses, Fresh Fried Potato chips with a trio of dips, Focaccia Bread and Assorted Gourmet Dessert Bars (I guess this means no Iron City or Primanti's.)

For more information call (202) 266-CAPS or email

** Finagle is a funny word! He was also a decent pitcher for the Pirates.

TMI Thursday: My First Drunk Experience

While many people were regular drinkers in high school, I did not have my first full drinking experience, unless you count Manischewitz at synagogue or holidays, until college. During the first week of my Freshman year, I went over to some friends’ room to hang out. (Friends is always an interesting term during the first week of college since everyone is just trying to fit in and get acclimated to a new environment.) In this case, I had a crush on one of the girls in this room and became friendly with her roommates. The other people there included a guy who was dating the girl that I liked (he was a bit of a tool and I was only friendly with him because I couldn’t be a jerk to him and still be friends with his girlfriend; at least, this was my logic at 18; plus, I am generally a nice person and am nice to almost everyone) and a few other people, including someone who was able to access alcohol. I’m not sure if drinking was on the agenda for the night, but that’s what happened.

Here’s the TMI in my TMI Thursday. I got drunk on Zima, the extremely manly drink that is not even in existence anymore. I also tried some wine coolers that the girls were drinking. I don’t remember how many Zimas I had, but I managed to stumble back to my own room on the other side of campus. When I got there, my roommate had a open beer, and since I never had a Budweiser, I decided to try it. A little later, I laid down to go to sleep and remember being a little dizzy. Then, all of a sudden, I didn’t feel well. Mixing Zima, wine coolers and beer was not a good idea. I jumped down from the top bunk of the bunk bed but couldn’t get any further. Sprawled out on my hands and knees, I threw up in the middle of the floor. My one roommate was great in supporting me (and the next day laughing at me) and even helped clean up. (We didn't have very good cleaning supplies, so the stain on our carpet lasted the entire year.) My other tool of a roommate decided at some point just throw my towels away.* The next morning I retrieved my towels from the hall’s bathroom trash can and washed them. I didn’t have many towels and certainly didn’t want to spend what little money I had from my $4.30/hour campus job to buy new towels.

Anyway, I never had Zima again and really didn’t drink much beer for another 2-3 years. Of course, the next alcohol-related lesson I learned took place on the night of my 21st birthday. Long Island Ice-Ts plus Ben & Jerry’s ice cream is an even worse combination than Zima, wine coolers and beer.

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

* I should really include stories about this roommate in future TMI Thursdays. He was a spoiled a-hole who on his way back from Thanksgiving break decided to buy a disc-man because he was bored in the airport. Please note that this was 1993 when disc-mans were still fairly rare. Just about everyone I knew listened to and bought tapes.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Steelers Game Moved To Yom Kippur

The NFL announced yesterday that the Steelers-Bengals game on Sunday, September 27 has been moved from 1:00 to 4:15 Eastern time. While this isn’t a big deal to most people, it is to me. You see, Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement and holiest day of the year, starts at sundown that Sunday and continues through sundown on Monday. Yom Kippur is a day of reflection and repentance and the only day of the year that I don’t go online, watch television or listen to music or the radio. The change in time means that I won’t be able to watch the game.

I certainly understand the NFL’s rationale for moving the game. The league initially scheduled the Titans-Jets game at 4:15 that day, which meant that the Jets would have home games during both Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. However, why move the Steelers-Bengals game? The league could have easily moved the Jaguars-Texans game. No one cares about those teams unless you have Jones-Drew or Andre Johnson on your fantasy team! Actually, less people care about the Bengals.

I was much more worked up about this until I read the following comment from ppdoc on

@imabananaman1 - sorry dude. i am an observant Jew and while it is a real bummer when the Ravens play on a holiday there is no question about what to do. Football is football. It is fun. It is interesting. It is a game. The Ravens play at 1 pm and the game will be over prior to Yom Kippur starting and I still can’t go. Why? It is the most holy and awesome day of the year. It is not the type of time that you come into by being wild at a football game for 3 hours and then thinking about all of the things you did the previous year that you regret.

It is an easy answer. DVR the game and sell you tickets. If you don’t want to do that, you have the option to go to the game. If that makes you feel queasy on the inside - good. It should. In the grand scheme of things drinking a beer and screaming for you team doesn’t measure up to one of the Days of Awe.

At least that is my opinion. As Jews you choose to have expensive tix to the games. You choose whether to listen to your conscious or listen to your evil inclination. If that creates spiritual turmoil, then you should spend the time and think hard about what is really important. If it is football, then so be it. But don’t speak for all Jewish people. It is a 30 second bummer for me and then its over. FYI - I never miss games unless it is a Sabbath or a holiday. I travel every year to see my team. I used to drive 6 hours every Sunday am up from Ft. Bragg to go to the games. So I think I qualify as a fanatic.

That is very well put except for the fact that ppdoc is a Ravens fan. That just about ruins his argument.

Anyway, I’m still not happy about this but there’s nothing I can do. I’m sure I’ll write something similar in September, but I ask that no one tells me about the Steelers game during Yom Kippur.* I’ll find a way to record the game and watch it later even though it is doubtful the game will air in the DC area.

Maybe I’ll just spend Yom Kippur in San Diego. That way sundown will begin after the game ends!

h/t One for the Other Thumb

* I’m sure you’re going to remember this five months from now!

31 Cent Scoop Night

In my never-ending quest to help you find cheap or free food, I am happy to announce that today (Wednesday) is 31 cent scoop night at Baskin-Robbins. Small scoops* are available from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. at participating Baskin-Robbins locations. In honor of 31 cent scoop night, Baskin-Robbins will donate $100,000 to the National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) National Junior Firefighter Program.

From past experiences, I recommend arriving around 9 since you will have to wait at least 30 minutes between approximately 6:00 and 8:30. 31-cent ice cream is a good deal, but it's not worth waiting that long.

* 2.5 oz. scoops (or 3 oz. Soft Serve cones) are 31 cents plus tax where applicable. Limit 3 scoops per person. Sorry that I have nothing funny to add to this note.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Trivia Tuesday

I'm taking a break from the Sporcle quizzes this week and going back to basics. Your challenge is to name the American cities listed below referred to by each of these nicknames:

1. Valley of the Sun, Birdtown

2. Charm City, America’s Comeback City

3. Gateway to the West, Mound City

4. The Biggest Little City in the World, Neon Babylon

5. Mistake on the Lake, America’s North Coast

6. Rose City, Stumptown

7. Cradle of the Confederacy, Capitol of the South

8. The City of the Big Shoulders, The Second City

9. Birthplace of Basketball, City of Homes

10. Hitsville USA, Hockeytown

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 9 of the 10 correct.

Thanks to Stump Trivia for providing these fun quizzes!

Shinedown = Elton John?

The video below is the song Second Chance by a new band (at least to me) Shinedown. The chorus features the lead singer screaming/singing "Tell my mother, tell my father, I've done the best I can." Maybe you have heard the song, and maybe you haven't. I'm sure that someone else probably made this observation already, but even though the lead singer looks like a hardcore rocker dressed in black leather, he sounds like Elton John. Listen to the part when he sings "I just saw Haley's Comet." Is there a chance Elton John has a son or the band is singing a new Elton John song but doing the Milli Vanilli thing? I can't get past this.

That is all. Thank you; come again!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Steelers Draft Ziggy

I received a text on Saturday evening from my SIL (that would be sister-in-law) notifying me that the Pittsburgh Steelers drafted Ziggy. Obviously, I didn’t believe her since Ziggy is still a kitten, but more importantly, didn’t play football in college or attend any of the pre-draft workouts (at least that I know of). However, I have complete faith in Kevin Colbert, the Steelers’ director of football operations, and Coach Mike Tomlin, so I trust their judgment. At 8 months, Ziggy is already 10 pounds and could continue to grow, which would work perfectly for a defensive lineman. Although I have never timed Ziggy in the 40-yard dash, I can attest that he is as quick as a cat. In addition, Ziggy has at least a 3-foot vertical leap that he uses to jump from the floor to the kitchen counter. The only negative is that Ziggy has character issues as demonstrated by the pictures below; however, I think the Steelers, and everyone else, just attributes this to Ziggy being young and perhaps immature.

Personally, I’m happy that Ziggy is finally going to earn his keep. The signing bonus for a first-round draft pick is significant and should be a big help as we start looking to buy a new home. Unfortunately, I worry that Ziggy will be a hold out. Although Mike Tomlin said that "[Ziggy’s] a Steeler-type of player," I slightly disagree. We spent $30 on a wonderful Steelers cat bed that Ziggy refuses to use. Even after word that he got drafted by the Steelers on Saturday night, Ziggy continued to ignore the bed.

As his agent, my smile and thumbs-up (and closed eyes) are an attempt to show that everything is fine.

More Ziggy coverage is available in the Post-Gazette.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Dear Philadelphia Flyers Fans,

Enjoy chanting "Crosby sucks" while mowing the lawn, hitting golf balls or on your way to work on Monday since you’re not going to have the chance to do so at the Wachovia Center again during the 2009 Stanley Cup playoffs. However, you may have a good point. Perhaps Sidney Crosby does suck. I mean he only had two goals on Saturday and a total of 4 goals and 4 assists in the series. Of course, those eight points would be three more than any other Flyer (Mike Richards and Claude Giroux led the team with 5 points) in the six-game series. Actually, I’ll let Crosby, the recipient of all of the taunting, speak for himself:

"We've had huge rivalries over the years. It's a loud building. They were playing well and the crowd was into to it, so to hear a little silence was gratifying."

So what’s the excuse as to why the Pittsburgh Penguins defeated the Flyers this season? Simon Gagne, Kimmo Timonen and Braydon Coburn were injured during last year’s playoff series, but they looked healthy the last few weeks. In addition, the Penguins took 2 of 3 games in your home arena. I remember when the Penguins went years without defeating Philadelphia at the Spectrum. Are you going to blame Biron or will you actually concede that the Penguins are better than the Flyers?

On a positive note, enjoy the LeSean McCoy era with the Eagles. I’m being completely serious with this statement. I really enjoyed watching McCoy at Pitt, and I hope that he does well in Philadelphia.

For the Penguins fans reading this, make sure to visit Empty Netters and The Pensblog for more coverage of the Penguins first round victory.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Friday Video - Pac Man

Do you remember Friday Night Videos on NBC? If I remember correctly, they aired well after Conan O’Brien or Carson Daly. Since I could be dating myself enough already, maybe they aired after David Letterman when he was still on NBC. Anyway, I just remember that the show would come on, and I would realize that it was probably about time to go to sleep. They may still have Friday Night Videos after the Jimmy Kimmel show, but seeing how I have never watched that show (since I’m sound asleep), I wouldn’t know.

Anyway, in honor of Friday night videos, here is a Friday day video, unless you happen to be reading this on Friday night/Saturday morning. Please note that it’s OK to laugh out loud as seeing a real life Pac Man run around is very funny. There could be NSFW language in this, but since it’s in French, I have no idea. So if you're watching this at work in France, please feel free to let me know if this is inappropriate.

h/t Sportsocracy

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Vegas Contest

I am proud to announce a contest that has never been done at Sean’s Ramblings. I am hoping to take a vacation to Las Vegas in late June, approximately Monday, June 22 through Friday, June 26, but I may be flexible by a day or two on either side. Your challenge is to help me find the cheapest flight from Washington Dulles airport (IAD) to Las Vegas (LAS). A few ground rules. Since I’m flying across the country, the trip must be at least 3 nights. You may find a great deal for flights leaving Washington on Wednesday and returning on Thursday, but that doesn’t quite work well. In addition, the flight must have one or less stops, and I prefer not to take the red-eye back.

Please leave your best results, including the price and airline, in the comments section or e-mail me at seanramblings[at]yahoo(dot)com.

The winner, and in fact all contestants, will receive a free burger at Red Robin on your birthday! All you have to do is sign up for the Red Robin e-club. Did you really think I was going to pay for you to fly to Vegas? I doubt that you would you read this far if my headline was “Help Sean Find a Cheap Flight.” Think about it this way. You would love to read a blog post or two about my experiences in Vegas!

On that note, thanks for your help!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Steelers Refrigerator

Can you really call yourself a Pittsburgh Steelers fan if you don't have a Steelers refrigerator? Well, Mark of Maryland is providing you the opportunity of a lifetime through his Craigslist ad. For only $225, you can have a "Pittsburg Steelers refrigerator, plus other Steelers stuff." Major FAIL for spelling Pittsburgh incorrectly.

Here a picture of the Steelers frig in all of its glory:

This refrigerator doesn't appear to be anything special, does it? Actually, the wheels may be a nice feature. I think I had the same one (without the Steelers logo and sans wheels) in my college room, but it only cost $50.

h/t DC Steeler Nation (also accessible at the DCSteelerNation Yahoo group).

I Have a Secret (More Free Food!)

I bet you think that I'm a day early for TMI Thursday. Well, I hope that you didn't make that bet. Today (Wednesday, April 22) is secret password day at California Tortilla. Visit any California Tortila and when you say the secret password "Talk Talk," the spunky cashier will give you FREE Chips and Queso or Salsa. I have looked to see if the purchase of another item is required, but that doesn't seem to be the case. According to the e-mail I received from Pam, California Tortilla's Queen of Burritos, there are no strings attached.

I really hope that you're visiting my blog for more than free food notices!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Trivia Tuesday

I’m addicted. This is what I did this past weekend: worked as a soccer referee, watched games two and three of the Penguins-Flyers series, unsuccessfully tried to organize bills and statements from the past 5+ years and spent hours on (I guess I probably ate and slept too.) What an amazing website! Therefore, for this week’s Trivia Tuesday, I again present two quizzes from Sporcle.

Quiz #1: Name the sitcom cities. You know where Seinfeld took place but what about Mr. Belvedere? I scored a 17 of 28.

Quiz #2: Name the starting NFL quarterbacks from Tecmo 1991. I scored a 19 of 28. Just based on his name (if he still goes by this handle), Tecmo of PSAMP better try this one!

Please share your results in the comments section. Good luck!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Free Ice Cream

As a connoisseur of free food, I wanted to provide the following public service announcement. Tuesday, April 21st (that's tomorrow!) is Free Cone Day at Ben & Jerry’s. Free scoops will be served from noon to 8:00pm at participating "Scoop Shops." Visit the Ben & Jerry’s website for locations and more information.

If you’re counting calories, don’t worry; there are no calories in free ice cream! Besides you can burn the calories cheering for the Penguins on Tuesday night.

Random Question of the Day

What do you call a person who plays the flute? Hmmm, maybe I didn’t phrase that properly as there could be multiple possibilities for that question. How do you pronounce the word flutist? Is it flute-ist or flout-ist?

Thank you.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Sunday Morning Video

Here's a great video spoofing* the Budweiser Drinkability** advertisements:

The only problems is that I can't get past the guy's jersey since there has never been a Pittsburgh Penguin who wore #73. Was he trying to wear a Kip Miller or Jarrko Ruutu jersey but got the numbers reversed?


* is spoofing a word?
** how many made-up words can I have in one sentence?

Friday, April 17, 2009

Not So Fresh FM

About two weeks ago, Washington radio station 94.7 FM changed its format from classic rock to a "contemporary pop tunes" station. Radio stations change formats all the time, so this isn’t that big of a deal (although it’s the end of an era according to this Washington Post article). While I liked the old station and am sorry to see it go, my issue is with the station’s new title: Fresh FM. What music do you expect to hear with a station named Fresh? You would think music from new artists and recently released songs. Well, here is the song list from what I listened to for just over an hour Thursday afternoon:

Have a Bad Day – Daniel Powter (he was #26 on my list of top 25 Canadian musicians; I may need to reconsider that pick now)
Ever the Same – Rob Thomas
Keep Holding On – Avril Lavigne
If You Had My Love – Jennifer Lopez (I don’t even think she was J-Lo yet)
Why Don’t You & I – Santana and Alex Band (I think he was/is the lead singer of the band The Calling)
Someday (not exactly sure of the title) – Sugar Ray
Better In Time – Leona Lewis
Closing Time – Semisonic
I Need You (this is different than I Need To Know) – Marc Anthony
Slide – Goo Goo Dolls
It’s A Little Too Late – Jo Jo
Daughters – John Mayer
Viva La Vida – Coldplay
She’s All I Ever Had – Ricky Martin
Breathless – The Corrs
Who Said You Can’t Go Home – Bon Jovi
Drift Away – Uncle Kracker
Found Out About You – Gin Blossoms
What’s Left of Me – Nick Lachey

It was during the Nick Lachey song when I switched to Yahoo’s Big Hits of the 80s station.

When looking at this list, nothing jumps out as fresh. The Leona Lewis and Coldplay songs are the only ones released in the last year or so. (The Marc Anthony song could also be new since I’ve never heard it before, but I doubt that as the only thing I’ve heard about him doing recently in J-Lo.)

Look, I have nothing against pop music. I love pop music including some of songs here (Goo Goo Dolls, The Corrs & Gin Blossoms). However, there is definitely no truth in advertising; there is nothing fresh about this station.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

The End of Passover

I am extremely excited that Passover ends at sundown tonight, so that I can go back to my normal routine of eating pizza, sandwiches and Lucky Charms. This picture is the only positive I can find from eating matzo the past 7+ days:

Unfortunately, I’m not done eating matzo yet.

Maybe this is just Ziggy’s way to celebrate a Pittsburgh Penguins’ playoff victory!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

2009 Pittsburgh Steelers Schedule

The NFL released its 2009 schedule Tuesday evening (was it really necessary to have a television special for this?), one of my favorite days of the year. I always study the schedules, not only for football but for other sports, and try to make plans accordingly. Last year, I called the Jacksonville Jaguars and friends and family immediately after the schedule was released in order to make arrangements to see the Steelers in north Florida. Anyway, enough about me and my travel plans.

Here is the schedule for your 2009 Pittsburgh Steelers:

Thursday, Sept. 10 – vs. Tennessee, 8:30 p.m. (NBC)
Sunday, Sept. 20 - at Chicago, 4:15 p.m. (CBS)
Sunday, Sept. 27 - at Cincinnati, 1 p.m. (CBS)

Sunday, Oct. 4 – vs. San Diego, 8:20 p.m. (NBC)
Sunday, Oct. 11 - at Detroit, 1 p.m. (CBS)
Sunday, Oct. 18 – vs. Cleveland, 1 p.m. (CBS)
Sunday, Oct. 25 – vs. Minnesota, 4:15 p.m. (FOX)

Nov. 1 - Bye
Monday, Nov. 9 - at Denver, 8:30 p.m. (ESPN)
Sunday, Nov. 15 – vs. Cincinnati, 1 p.m. (CBS)
Sunday, Nov. 22 - at Kansas City, 1 p.m. (CBS)*
Sunday, Nov. 29 - at Baltimore, 8:20 p.m. (NBC)*

Sunday, Dec. 6 – vs. Oakland, 1 p.m. (CBS)*
Thursday, Dec. 10 - at Cleveland, 8:20 p.m. (NFL Network)
Sunday, Dec. 20 – vs. Green Bay, 1 p.m. (FOX)*
Sunday, Dec. 27 – vs. Baltimore, 1 p.m. (CBS)*
Sunday, Jan. 3 - at Miami, 1 p.m. (CBS)*

* Times and TV network may change due to flexible scheduling.

A few thoughts:

- The Steelers will play the maximum of five nationally televised primetime games. Woo hoo!

- However, I still hate the NFL Network. Stupid Thursday night games where I can’t watch the Steelers from my home.

- Unlike last year where it seemed like the Steelers never played a 1:00 game (seriously, look at last year’s schedule), it’s nice to see some early afternoon games.

- Are you excited to see Jay Cutler’s home debut in Chicago? Yeah, me neither.

- Possible travel plans: Miami for New Year’s (although that could be an expensive flight during the holidays); Cincinnati (I used to make this trip every year until the Bengals forced you to buy tickets for the Steelers games plus 2-3 other games. Since the team was terrible again last season, I’m sure the policy hasn’t changed.); and a very small possibility of Detroit.

- Yes, the game in Detroit will be the Steelers first trip to Detroit since Super Bowl 40. Jerome Bettis is also from Detroit.

More on the schedule is available on the Post-Gazette and the Pittsburgh Steelers website.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Trivia Tuesday

A few programming notes before Trivia Tuesday. First, today is the official release day of Beyond Heaving Bosoms: The Smart Bitches' Guide to Romance Novels. For more information about the book, check out my interview with author (and friend) Sarah Wendell, Sarah and co-author Candy Tan’s interview on NPR and where you can buy the book from the Smart Bitches website.

Next, I want to congratulate lacips of This Is Getting Old for winning the Rock of Love 3 Fantasy League. He made a shrewd move (even if he didn't know it) by selecting Taya and not Mindy on Sunday's finale. I finished in second place because I chose both of the finalists, but lost 25 points when Mindy was eliminated. That was the difference to give laclips the victory. In case you're wondering, I am not organizing a Daisy of Love Fantasy League!

Trivia Tuesday is slightly different this week. Instead of providing a list of questions, I'm directing you to a different website for two quizzes.

For the first quiz, you have 12 minutes to name the 100 most commonly used words in the English language. I scored a 53.

In the second quiz, you have 10 minutes to name the characters from The Simpsons. I scored a 48 out of I believe 63 and feel like I should have done much better. Mayor Quinby is incorrect.

Please share your results in the comments section. Good luck!

h/t Dan via Messiah for the Sporcle quizzes.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Tired of Tires

I’ve been a driver for nearly 18 years and probably driven over 200,000 miles during that time. I mentioned briefly last Monday that I got a flat tire, but I didn’t include the fact that this was the first flat tire in the 18 years of driving. Well, while heading back to Pittsburgh on Friday, I had my second flat tire in less than a week. Last week’s incident occurred on I-66 when the rear driver’s side tire blew out. On Friday, I noticed that my alignment seemed a little off when I was on 270, but I didn’t piece everything together until I merged onto I-70 and heard and felt another flat tire. In this case, the rear passenger’s side tire had some sort of valve leak. So now I have two new tires and two new valves on the front tires. However, I still sort of freaked out when I drove to and from Washington this weekend. I worried a little after hitting any bump on the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

As a bit of a tangent, I’m quick to criticize or write negative posts against companies that do a poor job. I don’t always give props to companies that go above and beyond my expectations. So today, I want to give credit to AAA auto services. They were amazing during both flat tire incidents. AAA arrived quickly and was extremely thorough and professional. Kudos to AAA!

Since I’m in a generous mood, I’d also like to give kudos to The Washington Post. I unsubscribed from receiving the Sunday edition because they were unreliable in delivering the paper. They ignored vacation stops and wouldn’t deliver the paper until after 9:30 on Sunday mornings. Well, I subscribed again a month or two ago, and something changed within the organization. I had a 6:00am flight to Bradenton, Florida when I went to Pirates’ Spring Training last month, and the newspaper arrived on my doorstep at 4:30 just before I left. They have been great since I subscribed again.

OK, tangents over. Not to make this too much of a sappy post, I was subjected to watching Miley Cyrus and company promote the new Hannah Montana movie on the Tyra Banks show while waiting for my tire to be repaired. While I do not condone torture, airing the hour-long Miley Cyrus-Tyra Banks episode on a continuous loop would cause any terrorist or criminal to confess!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Friday Links

It's a sad day in the blog world as Arjewtino retires. He had one of the most consistently funny blogs out there and will certainly be missed.

Washington City Paper presents the Best of DC 2009. In a shocking development, Jose Theodore did not win the Best Caps Player. (Have I already mentioned that the Caps won’t win a Stanley Cup with Theodore in goal?)

Congrats to the P-G’s Dejan Kovacevic for winning two AP Sports Editors’ Best Writing of 2008 awards. That’s another reason why he was not allowed in the Best Pittsburgh Sports Blog Tournament! (Bucs Dugout)

This Is Getting Old made a fascinating discovery. Chocolate milk must be sold in New York City 3 days earlier than anywhere else.

Metro set a weekend ridership record last weekend. I was one of the riders; it was an awful and crowded trip and then I had to fight to get out of the train. (DCist)

Gilahi can help you get a degree in public speach. Not speech, speach.

I predicted a 76-86 record for the Pirates this season on RizzoSports Blog. At the current pace (the team is 2-2), I'll be off by five games.

PSAMP always seems to find the best YouTube videos. This week's video features a baby impersonating what his Steeler fan dad does when upset.

HHR interviews Bruce Weber, author of As They See ‘Em: A Fan’s Travels in the Land of Umpires.

Jason prepared his annual Steelers mock draft. (Jason Christ Superstar)

Ithaca College is closing the Tower Club. (Bluey Blog)

Behind the Steel Curtain chatted with Steelers Analyst Craig Wolfley. Here's the money quote:

WOLFLEY: Tunch Ilkin used to get anxiety attacks where he would throw up alot. You never knew when they would happen. Even in training camp, he would throw up at any time. Anyhow, we're playing the Browns in a preseason game in the early 80s. Tunch is standing next to me in the huddle and I notice vomit on my foot. Tunch is gurgling. We broke for the line and I could hear his stomach. I'm thinking, this could be great. On that particular play, I was assigned to help Tunch double-team their defensive tackle, Ron Simmons. Right at the snap, as if it were choreographed, we both lunge at Simmons and Tunch lets it loose. I'm not talking about a dribbler, I'm talking about a gusher. He heaves right in Simmons' face and the guy goes crazy. We didn't need to block him. He was PO'd beyond belief, Tunch is sick and I'm laughing hysterically. The next play he still has chunks on his face and he lines up four yards behind the ball. Tunch didn't have to block him the rest of the game. I'm still laughing.

Finally, don't forget to check out my interview with Beyond Heaving Bosoms author Sarah Wendell (or just buy the book!).

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Richest Television Actor

I watched Surviving Suburbia on Monday night (that’s my TMI Thursday*) starring Bob Saget. Since the show really didn’t require a lot of my attention, I started thinking Saget’s career. How much money has he made from his work on Full House, How I Met Your Mother, 1 vs. 100, America’s Funniest Home Videos and all of the syndication money that comes along with these shows? It has to be millions.

So here’s my question. What actor has made the most money from only their television work? The assumption is that the actor probably appeared in at least two TV shows that went into syndication since that’s where the big money is made. DVD sales probably factor in as well. Kelsey Grammer may be the favorite based on his work on Cheers and Frasier. What about Grammer’s Cheers co-star Ted Danson for Becker? The entire cast of Friends should be in the argument, but who made the most of this group? Matt LeBlanc for Friends and Joey? What about Bill Cosby for The Cosby Show and Cosby (as well as Fat Albert and Picture Pages)?

I'm sure that I'm missing dozens of possibilities, so I turn to you. What do you think?

Since my TMI Thursday was pretty lousy (I didn't even title my post TMI Thursday since it was so bad), I encourage you to check out Live It, Love It for all of your TMI Thursday needs.

* It's not that Surviving Suburbia was a terrible show; it just wasn't funny. There's nothing remotely new about this show to distinguish itself from other family sitcoms except that Bob Saget is thinner than Jim Belushi and the guy from The Full Monty. I can't see this show making it to next season.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Interview with Sarah Wendell, A Smart Bitch

While I have interviewed an Olympic athlete and a person I thought to be a professional NFL quarterback, I have never interviewed an author. Until now that is! Sarah Wendell is the co-founder of the website Smart Bitches, Trashy Books and co-author of Beyond Heaving Bosoms: The Smart Bitches’ Guide to Romance Novels, available everywhere* on April 14th. Never did I think I would every write the phrase "Beyond Heaving Bosoms" on my blog. Anyway, I have known Sarah, a fellow Pittsburgher, since high school and her husband Adam even longer. They are great people who I know would be there for me if I ever needed anything (and I'm not just writing this because they will read this!). Plus, if I had to rate the best weddings I attended, their wedding would rank #2 behind my own. It was so cool taking a cruise and singing New York, New York by the Statue of Liberty! In addition, Adam has won our fantasy baseball league five times, while I still have no championships (though this is my year!).

How did you first start the Smart Bitches, Trashy Books website?

The nutshell version: I used to have a personal blog, and this chick shows up out of nowhere leaving these LONG ASS COMMENTS about petfood. When I emailed her back (nicely, not like, "WTF?") we found we had a lot in common, specifically a predilection for critical literary analysis, a strange compulsion to make our own petfood, and a shameless, hopping love of romance novels. We bemoaned the lack of reviews that treated romances to actual critique, as opposed to unilaterally dismissing them or squeeing all over the place to the point that you'd suspect My Little Sparkly Ponies would fly out the ass of the reviewer when she read.

So we decided to start a romance novel review blog, because (a) there were not enough blogs already on the internet (b) we wanted to cuss a lot and talk about romance novels seriously and irreverently at the same time and (c) why the hell not?

What kind of feedback do you get from the romance novel authors? I would think they wouldn't be happy if you give the book a poor review.

Depends on the review. Many will email me privately and say thank you, even if it's a harsh review, because my general rule is: if I don't like something, I will over-explain every last reason why I didn't, and back my own ass up several times over. I hate when I read a review that reads, in total, "This sucks." WHY did it suck? Because you don't like that particular character trope? What if that trope totally does it for me? So when we don't like something, holy shit do we tell you why. And much of the time, authors have responded that while difficult to read, our reviews are very honest, very useful criticism - and romance doesn't get nearly enough of that.

Conversely, this can make our positive reviews incredibly squeeful.

Sometimes I give a poor review and hear nothing. But anyone who sends us something to read and review knows that we'll be honest and detailed. Don't walk in the kitchen if you can't take the heat.

In rare cases, the author who is reviewed will throw an epic flouncing shitfit and then it's just entertaining. Sooooo entertaining.

Fabio: Yay or Nay?

Until recently he was a solid "Yay." He knows exactly why he's famous, and he doesn't seem to take himself seriously - from the Nationwide commercial to the America's Next Top Model appearance to the insistence that he can't believe it's not butter, he acted like he was in on his own joke.

Then I discovered that maybe, perhaps, the Fab-ster does indeed take himself too seriously. When I tried to interview him for the book, and I contacted his fan club, his agent, his manager, and anyone who had long blond hair and mammoth pectorals, but he didn't return the calls. Totally his loss.

When or how did you realize that your fantastic website could become a book?

We didn't decide it could be. We had no idea it would work! When Rose Hilliard, an editor at St. Martin's, contacted us and said, "Hey, have you guys ever thought about writing a book about romance novels?" we laughed our asses off. Literally - the conference call was full of Candy and me snorting and giggling because... come on now, seriously? But Rose showed us how to write a proposal, our agent, Secret Agent Dan helped us refine it, and then we landed a book deal with Touchstone/Fireside, which is a division of Simon & Schuster.

So it wasn't so much a decision as it was a suggestion and an invitation. Either way, it was shitloads of fun. We got to think about what all we'd want to say about romances and what games we'd want to include that weren't really feasible in a blog format.

So tell us about the book.

"Beyond Heaving Bosoms: The Smart Bitches' Guide to Romance Novels" is a tongue-in-cheek guide to the romance novel genre. It's for people who have always wondered WHY romances are so popular, or why their wives/girlfriends/friends/significant other read them. It's also for fellow fans of the genre, because, as Candy says, only a romance fan can appreciate that the best of romance is on-par with the best literature published, and the worst is more vile than you could possibly imagine.

Romances are also a billion dollar industry, written by women (mostly) for an audience of women (mostly) and not nearly enough attention is paid to the genre, both as a form of literary expression and as a venue for cultural analysis. So our book aims to do a little of that, with fun, games, and cussing.

Do you have a favorite Pittsburgh sports moment? (Sean’s note: I bet I am the only person interviewing Sarah that will ask her this question.)

Several, but surprisingly neither are the recent Steelers Super Bowl wins. The first win, Freebird, our older son, was sick, and while Adam was doing the dance of joy, I was taking the wee man's temperature and he posted the highest fever I'd ever seen. So that was decidedly NOT fun. The next time, Baba O'Riley was sick. Steelers Super Bowls are not friendly to the relative stability of my sons' immune system.

My favorite Pittsburgh sports moments are:

1. Adam teaching me how to throw a frisbee forehand, which I discovered I can do with some, or more appropriately, "a little" accuracy. Backhand, I suck.

(Sean's note - Just because this occurred in Pittsburgh, does that really count as a Pittsburgh sports moment?)

2. My one and only trip to PNC Park, probably after the [fantasy league] draft in either 2002 or 2003. I have a picture I took on my phone of Adam and me in our seats, eating neon yellow nachos. Looking at it makes me so happy.

Does it ever get annoying having a husband who seems to win our fantasy baseball every year?

Nope. But it sounds like you may have some issues, Sean, Hmm?

Yes I probably do. Anyway, Beyond Heaving Bosoms comes out next on Tuesday, April 14 but you can purchase the book now from the Smart Bitches website or Amazon.

* well, maybe not everywhere, but definitely somewhere.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Trivia Tuesday

This week’s Trivia Tuesday may be the toughest ever, so I hope that you brushed up on your knowledge of food and drink products that started in the 19th century as I mentioned last Tuesday. Three products are listed below. Your challenge is to name the one that FIRST appeared in the 19th century (that would be the 1800s).

1. Cocoa Puffs, Coca Cola, Popsicles

2. Reddi-wip, Wonder Bread, Lipton Team

3. Eskimo Pie, Canada Dry Ginger Ale, Dr. Pepper

4. Campbell’s Pork and Beans, Cracker Jack, Quaker Puffed Rice

5. Spam, Log Cabin Syrup, Wheaties

6. Aunt Jemima Pancake Mix, Animal Crackers, Hellmann’s Real Mayonnaise

7. Betty Crocker, Cream of Wheat, Kellogg’s Rice Krispies

As always, please do not use the internet for the answers. This is also the part where I usually write that either you know it or you don’t. However, this week may be more of a guessing game. Please leave your answers in the comments section. Good luck!

In case you were wondering, we amazingly got 6 of the 7 correct.

Thanks again to Stump Trivia for providing these fun quizzes!

Finally, stop by tomorrow where I’ll have a special interview with a soon-to-be famous author.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Sean's 2009 Fantasy Baseball Teams

If you're ever going to get a flat tire, I highly recommend that it happens on I-66 Eastbound between Courthouse and Rosslyn on a late Sunday afternoon when the weather is perfect and you can maneuver your car into the shoulder on an exit ramp. Thanks to the Virginia State officer and AAA guy who were both extremely nice and arrived quickly. I wish I could write something funny here, but my tire is being fixed as I type this, and there's not much else to the story.

Meanwhile, I participated in my second of two National League-only fantasy baseball league drafts this weekend and figured that I would share my results. I know that no one cares about other people's fantasy teams, so that's why I included the flat tire story above. Anyway, these are both keeper leagues which is why I have Hanley Ramirez at $19.

Here is my roster in the league I really, really care about (this is the 19th year of the league and my 18th season in it; I have never finished in 1st):

Bengie Molina C SF $10
Yorvit Torrealba C COL $1
Adrian Gonzalez 1B SD $34
Casey Blake 3B LA $13
Bill Hall 3B MIL $9
Mike Fontenot 2B CHC $10
Miguel Tejada SS HOU $15
Jeff Keppinger SS HOU $3
Garret Anderson OF ATL $7
Brian Giles OF SD $7
Raul Ibanez OF PHI $20
Fred Lewis OF SF $4
Nate McLouth OF PIT $15
Utility - Chris Duffy OF MIL (Yes, the same Chris Duffy, Pirates fans) $1

Chris Carpenter P STL $6
Josh Johnson P FLA $10
Paul Maholm P PIT $5 10
Ross Ohlendorf P PIT $4
Jake Peavy P SF $36
Mark Prior P SD $1
Jon Rauch P ARI $7
Max Scherzer P ARI $10
Jose Valverde P HOU $30

The bigger money league (this is year #6 for me; no wins in the league either):

Chris Iannetta C COL $4
Ivan Rodriguez C HOU $6
Derrek Lee 1B CHC $23
Pedro Feliz 3B PHI $6
Travis Ishikawa 1B SF $18
Jeff Baker 2B COL $10
Hanley Ramirez SS FLA $19
Miguel Tejada SS HOU
Rick Ankiel OF STL $10
Jay Bruce OF CIN $12
Juan Pierre OF LA $7
Ryan Spilborghs OF COL $5
Chris Young OF ARI $15
Utility - Pedro Alvarez 3B PIT $5

Dave Bush P MIL $7
Ryan Franklin P STL $4
Jair Jurrjens P ATL $7
Hong-Chih Kuo P LA $1
Paul Maholm P PIT $6
Johan Santana P NYM $41
Ian Snell P PIT $6
Huston Street P COL $10
Todd Wellemeyer P STL $10

I ended up leaving $16 on the table in this league. Ugh.

Is it bad that I have 3 Pirates on each team (not including John Grabow and Ross Ohlendorf as reserves in my second league)?

Have a flat tire-free Monday!

Friday, April 03, 2009

Post About Nothing

It’s been a fairly weak week here at Sean’s Ramblings. No Trivia Tuesday or TMI Thursday; just my thoughts about the Pitt-Villanova game and my plea for advice in buying a new computer. (I'm still looking for suggestions if you have any.) Actually, the soccer coach story was fascinating, so this week wasn’t a total loss.

Anyway, I have the following random items and thoughts that I'd like to share:

- The next time you’re at a grocery store, do me a favor and see if they have Swiss Miss butterscotch pudding. I love this pudding but haven’t had any or even seen any in years. If you happen to find it, send me an e-mail or leave a comment. Thank you.

- I have spent much of my free time over the past week or so focusing on my fantasy baseball league. Unfortunately, I still don’t feel prepared for this weekend’s draft.

- I don’t understand the appeal of Twitter.

- Here’s a trivia question for you. I am currently wearing a 2006 Final Four T-shirt which includes the logos of all four team. (That's not the question.) 2006 is the year that George Mason made the Final Four and Florida won the national championship. Who were the other two teams in the Final Four?

- Please join my Facebook blog page thingy (technical term).

Finally, here's a brand new picture of the dishwasher:

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Crazy Soccer Coach

Since the spring soccer season has started and I am back to being a referee again, I figured I would share this story of soccer coach Michael Kinahan of Scituate, Mass. who coached the 6- and 7-year-old girls team "Green Death." (Courtesy of Deadspin.)

Here are some highlights in the introductory e-mail to the parents:

Unless there is an issue concerning the health of my players or inside info on the opposition, you probably don’t need to talk to me.

Want more?

But it is imperative that we all fight the good fight, get involved now and resist the urge to become sweat-xedo-wearing yuppies who sit on the sidelines in their LL Bean chairs sipping mocha-latte-half-caf-chinos while discussing reality TV and home decorating with other feeble-minded folks. I want to hear cheering, I want to hear encouragement, I want to get the team pumped up at each and every game and know they are playing for something.

A little more?

Don’t animals eat what they kill (and yes, someone actually kills the meat we eat too – it isn’t grown in plastic wrap)? And speaking of meat, I expect that the ladies be put on a diet of fish, undercooked red meat and lots of veggies. No junk food. Protein shakes are encouraged, and while blood doping and HGH use is frowned upon, there is no testing policy. And at the risk of stating the obvious, blue slushies are for winners.

Why not go after the refs?

If the refs can’t handle a little criticism, then they should turn in their whistle. The sooner they figure out how to make a decision and live with the consequences the better. My heckling of the refs is actually helping them develop as people.

I want to address the referee portion since, well, I am one. The officials for a game of 6 and 7 year-olds are generally new refs who themselves are probably only 14-16. They are put on this level to get game experience and help the kids learn the rules of soccer and enjoy the sport. So you're abusing a 14 year-old? Does that make you feel good? If Mr. Kinahan had an experienced ref on during one of his games, he would not make it to the second half.

The Patriot Ledger has some great comments by those for and against Kinahan. Oh, according to the comments, it was a 12 year-old ref. Even better!

In case you're wondering, I'd guess there is a 99% chance that I'll be a youth soccer coach myself someday.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

New Computer Advice Needed

I’m writing this on Tuesday night since my computer is going to be one of many to explode on Wednesday from the Conficker worm.* Should be fun! Hopefully, the world isn’t going to end and you’re able to read this. Regardless of what happens/happened, my computer has had some type of problem for several months and is D-U-N, done (or close to being done).

So I’m about to start a search for a new computer, and I need your help. My requirements are pretty simple:

- The internet (self-explanatory)
- Word so that I can type my blog posts and see what I misspelled
- Excel to help prepare for fantasy baseball and football drafts (although I haven’t used it yet this year)
- Whatever program you need to download pictures from a digital camera. I have no idea how this works. I take pictures and somehow my wife magically gets them from the camera to the computer.
- iTunes. I don’t use this either but my wife has an iPod.

That’s all I ever do on the computer. I’d also like to be able to watch videos online of TV shows that I may miss (ex. Lost, How I Met Your Mother), but I think this falls under the internet category.

I’d like a laptop rather than a desktop, and I don’t want to spend too much money. I’d even be open to a Mac. Any suggestions are greatly appreciated.

* Conficker seems like the biggest computer issue since Y2K. I bought my first computer in college in 1995 because I got tired of spending hours in the middle of the night/early morning in the computer lab working on papers. In late December 1999, I called the computer company worried that my computer would be affected by Y2K. The company said that I would be fine as long as I had Windows 95. When I told them that I had Windows 3.1 (one of the less than 2% of computer at the time still with 3.1), the response was "Oh." I don’t think that computer company is still in business. In case you’re wondering, I didn’t get Windows 95 or 98 and my computer was fine.