Friday, October 30, 2009

Random Thoughts and Links

Our local Chinese restaurant always puts soy sauce packets with the to-go order. Am I expected to put soy sauce on orange chicken? Does anyone actually do this?

What is the proper way to spell moustache/mustache?

Roddy Piper had a guest appearance (not as himself) on It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia last night. After seeing him for countless hours on TV when I watched wrestling, it's sad to admit that I didn't recognize him.

To the links...

* Nichole got a tattoo! [Long and Winding Road]

* Vote for three of my favorite blogs, PSAMP (Pittsburgh Sports & Mini Ponies); WHYGAVS (Where Have You Gone, Andy Van Slyke?) and The Pensblog (The Pensblog), in the Bloguin Awards. [Bloguin]

* Lawrence Halprin, the architect of one my favorite places to visit in DC, the FDR Memorial, passed away. [DCist]

* PensBurgh announced the Penguins all-decade team [PensBurgh]

Thursday, October 29, 2009

TMI Thursday: Movember

Just yesterday, Lemmonex asked if there are any male bloggers left. My reply was yes, though we mostly write about sports. I realize that some of my female readers probably skip right over my sports posts, so that's part of the reason why I enjoy writing these TMI Thursdays as a change of pace. It's Tim Wakefield pitching the day after Doug Drabek! Anyway, I have a topic today that will appeal to both sexes: facial hair!

Inspired by the retired blogger formerly known as Arjewtino and the guys at Hugging Harold Reynolds, both former participants, I am proud to announce that I am growing a moustache for November, er, Movember. Actually, my real inspiration may be my dad, who has had a moustache (or beard) for nearly my entire life. Starting this Sunday, Movember 1st, I will grow a moustache for a full month to raise awareness and funds for the fight against prostate cancer. The funds benefit the Prostate Cancer Foundation and Lance Armstrong Foundation. Here's more about Movember in a fancy video:

I realize that there really isn't too much here to qualify for a TMI Thursday. I think the fact that I am going to share pictures of myself as the moustache progresses is somewhat of a TMI in itself. Plus, I will only be a few days into the moustache growing process when a big work conference begins. That could be interesting.

If you'd like to contribute to Movember, click here, though I would completely understand if you want to see the moustache before you do so.

For more TMI Thursdays, please visit LiLu and you can click here to see all of my TMI Thursday archives.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Yinz Luv California Tortilla

I didn’t want to write two separate posts, so I’m combining two of my favorite things into one: Jim Shearer’s Yinz Luv videos and California Tortilla.

Here is your latest Yinz Luv Da Stillers video featuring a very funny Brett Favre feature:

Plus, if you go to a California Tortilla today (Wednesday, October 28) and whisper the secret password “Yee-Ha” to the cashier, you’ll receive a small burrito, pop (some - not me - may say soda) and chips & salsa for $5. What a bargain! (Yes, I am going there for dinner tonight.)

Barack Obama > Lou Holtz

The Virginia Gubernatorial election is, thank goodness, only six days away. All of advertisements have been negative, so I'm looking forward to not seeing them on television after next Tuesday. Although I like to consider myself as generally politically aware, I honestly have no idea where Republican candidate Bob McDonnell and Democratic candidate Creigh Deeds stand on most issues. (Please let me know when someone has a good transportation plan and is able follow through with the plan.) In all honesty, it doesn't matter much. The Virginia Governor can only serve one term, so they are essentially a lame-duck immediately after being elected. Virginia is run by the legislature. (Meaning a transportation plan in Northern Virginia never gets incorporated.) Anyway, that's not the point of this post.

Deeds, trailing McDonnell by double-digits in various polls, enlisted the support of President Obama yesterday at a Norfolk rally with nearly 5,700 people in attendance. Meanwhile, "about 200 people sipped wine and munched on cheese and crackers at the Willow Oaks Country Club" in Richmond on Monday night as McDonnell brought out his own secret weapon: Lou Holtz.

Wait, what? I guess the connection is that McDonnell graduated from Notre Dame in 1976 and Holtz coached the Notre Dame football team from 1986-1996. Were Knute Rockne and Tyrone Willingham unavailable?

So what does Lou Holtz have to do with Virginia and with encouraging people to vote for McDonnell? Well, I'm sure that Virginia voters fondly remember Holtz as the head football coach at William & Mary from 1969-1971. You do remember William & Mary as a huge national college football power during that time, right? During his speech Monday, Holtz was asked what was the most important thing he learned while coaching at William & Mary. His response: "We had too many Marys and not enough Williams." Apparently, Holtz didn't want to wait 25 years to have the opportunity to coach current Steelers coach (and former W&M WR) Mike Tomlin.

While it seems like I'm giving Holtz a bit of a hard time, that's not really the case. Holtz is from my mom's hometown, is likely the most successful person ever to hail from there, and has given back to that community even though he hasn't lived there for years. I guess that I don't understand the logic of McDonnell bringing Holtz to an event in Richmond. Were McDonnell supporters really enthused to pay significant money to attend an event featuring Lou Holtz? When you think of Holtz, you think college football. Wouldn't it be more appropriate to have him campaign for McDonnell in Blacksburg or even Charlottesville?

With all of this written, I will give credit to Holtz for knowing his current events as he said, "What do you call a former Redskins player with a Super Bowl ring? Senior citizens."

Finally, boo (and not in the good Halloween way) to WJLA, Washington's ABC affiliate, for having a Battleground Virginia special on Tuesday night instead of airing It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. Yes, I've seen the Great Pumpkin dozens of times, but I was hoping to watch it again on Tuesday evening.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Trivia Tuesday

These are the last group of questions from the trivia night that shall not be named. Your challenge is to answer the ten questions below with no theme whatsoever.

1. What 2005 film about a high school for superheroes-in-training starred former "Wonder Woman" Lynda Carter in the role of Principal Powers and Kurt Russell as The Commander Steve Stronghold?

2. What famous "5 & 10 cent" chain was founded in Utica, New York in 1879? (Sean's note: I always thought they were called five and dime stores.)

3. What derisive nickname for British people originated from a component of the British Navy's diet attempting to fend off scurvy?

4. Of what controversial organization were the following notable Americans admitted or alleged members: Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black, Senator Robert Byrd, President Harry Truman, President Warren Harding, and Chief Justice Edward Douglass White?

5. What technology company produces the Photoshop, PageMaker and Acrobat products?

6. What name did Tom Hanks call his companion - the volleyball - in the 2004 film Cast Away?

7. What sports figure was married to Jeff Gillooly who gained infamy in 1994?

8. What children's book was banned because it contained a tiny picture of a topless woman on a beach?

9. What country singer is known in those circles as "The Redheaded Stranger," the title of his breakthrough album in 1975 and is still touring today?

10. This famous sitcom originally ran on NBC from 1986 to 1990 and featured a wacky alien who crashes on earth and stays with an American family. (If you need another clue, he was back in Pog form in a Simpsons episode.)

As always, please leave your answers in the comments section and don’t use the internet to search for answers. In case you're wondering, we scored 9 out of 10.

I'm not giving the source for these questions since I'm advocating not going to the venue for trivia. (Sorry for the double negative.)

Good luck!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Steelers-Vikings Random Thoughts

You can find a full recap on Sunday's Pittsburgh Steelers-Minnesota Vikings football game anywhere on the internet. However, I'm here to provide my thoughts on items you probably won't find elsewhere. (Please note that I made some of these observations on Twitter yesterday.) I apologize if this looks like a Peter King or Larry King column.

* Who made a worse attempt at a tackle: Jeff Reed on Percy Harvin’s kick-off return or Brett Favre on Keyaron Fox’s interception return?

(Favre's tackle attempt looked worse live and on video than in this picture.)

* The Steelers are not going to win many games where David Johnson has more receiving yards than Hines Ward.

* I miss the Alcoa fantastic finishes commercials.

* How was Casey Hampton offsides twice? Isn't the ball directly in front of him?

* I was really impressed with Vikings’ WR Sidney Rice.

* Miller Lite asks what greatness tastes like. I think it probably tastes like chicken.

* Did Ziggy Hood play?

* I was surprised that Mewelde Moore played instead of Willie Parker after Mendenhall’s fumble.

* Watching the Packers-Vikings game a few weeks ago, DE Jared Allen was the most dominant player on the field with 4.5 sacks and a forced fumble. Against the Steelers, he had only 1.5 tackles and no sacks.

Finally, congratulations to Lara M. on winning the Sean's Ramblings First Contest. Lara's prediction that Ben Roethlisberger would throw for 210 yards was the closest of any other entry, though in actuality, not very close as he threw for only 175 yards. I'm sure that she is happy that we were not playing with Price Is Right rules.

Thanks again to the orientalwatchsite, a website of affordable Men's Watches by Orient Japan, for providing this great prize. (Please visit their website.)

Photo by Peter Diana / Post-Gazette

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Last Call: Sean's Ramblings Contest

This is your final reminder to submit your prediction of the number of passing yards Ben Roethlisberger will have against the Minnesota Vikings today. To enter the first ever contest at Sean's Ramblings where you can win an amazing watch, click on this link or scroll down the page to Wednesday's post.

Thanks again to the orientalwatchsite, a website of affordable Men's Watches by Orient Japan, for providing this incredible prize.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Friday Links & Videos

* Think back to last week. I know it's hard to do, so I'll refresh your memory. I interviewed the one and only Jim Shearer. Take a look at his latest Yinz Luv 'Da Stillers:

* Fascinating interview with Bronson Pinchot [A.V. Club] h/t Gobo

* Is November 1, 2009 the greatest day in sports history? Even though there are games in the NFL, NBA, NHL and MLB for the first time in history, I say no since there are no Pittsburgh teams playing. [Inhistoric] h/t JQ

* You must watch the week seven Vikings Music video. There are no words to describe it, but Green Day should sue. [OFTOT]

* I'm not going to link to the New York Daily News article itself, but I'm going to put a positive spin on the Steve Phillips affair. The woman in the center of the story is a 2008 Ithaca College graduate, and has already interned at ABC, including on the Jimmy Kimmel Show, worked for NBC during the Beijing Olympics and is employed at ESPN. That's an impressive resume; partly due to an Ithaca College education.

* Wegmans is the greatest grocery store of all time, but I've never experienced this while shopping there:

h/t Arjewtino

* Guess the final score of the Pitt-South Florida game and you can win a T-shirt [Pitt Blather]

Would you rather win a T-shirt or a really nice watch? Don't forget to enter the first ever contest at Sean's Ramblings just for predicting Ben Roethlisberger's passing yards.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Top Five Comedies On Television

This is something that I have thought about a lot lately and just feel like sharing. In no particular order, here are the top five comedies currently on television:

Big Bang Theory
30 Rock
How I Met Your Mother
Modern Family
It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia
Curb Your Enthusiasm

I cheated and added a sixth since I don't get HBO, and therefore, watch Curb infrequently. According to Jim would have made this list, but sadly, the show has been cancelled. (Can you notice the sarcasm?)

So what shows make up your top five (or six)?

P.S. Don't forget to enter Sean's Ramblings First Contest to win a very nice watch.

Beware Pittsburgh

Bad news for the people of Pittsburgh especially everyone in attendance at Sunday's Steelers-Vikings game including the players. According to The Weather Channel's weekend/sporting events forecast, Pittsburgh can expect Widespread Flu on Sunday.

No word on whether the flu will impact Jeff Reed's Sunday night activities! (It's so easy to make a joke at Jeff Reed's expense, but his behavior is not funny.)

Thanks to Cotter for helping me with this screen shot.

h/t Seth

P.S. Don't forget to enter Sean's Ramblings First Contest to win a very nice watch.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Sean's Ramblings First Contest: Win a Free Watch

About two weeks ago, I shared my skepticism about a contest where I would give away a free watch. I figured that either the company that sells Men's Watches wouldn't live up to their end of the bargain or that the watch wouldn't be worth giving away. I was wrong on both counts. The watch is nicer than I expected and the company really came through.

What's interesting is that I couldn't find this specific model on an American website. Instead, this Japanese website (translated to English) is selling the watch for 9,980 yen, which converts to $110. Yes, I am giving away a $110 watch!

So here's how this contest works. In the comments section below, predict the number of passing yards Pittsburgh QB Ben Roethlisberger will have against the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday. As a tie-breaker, please predict Rashard Mendenhall's rushing yards against the Vikings.

One entry per person and anonymous entries will be disqualified. The winner must reside in the United States (or at least provide an American address where I can send the watch). All entries must be received by Sunday at 12:55 PM Eastern time. I'm sure that there are other details I should add, but I can't think of anything. Basically, my decisions are final, and I have the right to postpone the contest if something unusual happens like Roethlisberger getting suspended for the game for knocking out Jeff Reed. I'll announce the winner on Monday and that person will have a certain amount of time to provide me with their address.

Please make sure to visit this Men's Watches website to learn more about Orient Watches.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Trivia Tuesday

So last week, I shared our recent adventure of a trivia night gone bad. The consolation though is questions for this week. Your challenge is to answer the ten questions below. Once again, there is no theme whatsoever.

1. On what continent is the city of Timbuktu?

2. Who received a Pulitzer Prize Special Citation in 2008 “for his profound impact on popular music and American culture, marked by lyrical compositions of extraordinary poetic power.”?

3. Long before green, what color was closely associated with St. Patrick?

4. What animated series broadcasted a controversial episode (“Trapped in the Closet”) spoofing Scientology, on November 16, 2005?

5. The maxilla is associated with which human body part?
a. Foot b. Jaw c. Knee d. Ankle e. Finger

6. Which Major League baseball team was the first to wear “lucky” green jerseys on St. Patrick’s Day, in 2004?

7. What popular (and very colorful) monthly magazine has its own museum, Explorers Hall, in Washington, D.C.?

8. Which club founded in 1998 by Sue Ellen Cooper for ladies over 50 requires members to wear formal purple outfits to club functions?

9. Diamond, the hardest known substance, and pencil “lead,” one of the softest, are pure forms of what element found in all living things?

10. Which cloth pattern – traditional for bandannas and often on neckties – is named for the Scottish town where it was developed?

As always, please leave your answers in the comments section and don’t use the internet to search for answers. In case you're wondering, we scored 8 out of 10.

I'm not giving the source for these questions since I'm advocating not going to the venue for trivia. (Sorry for the double negative.)

Finally, stop by tomorrow for a very special contest with an actual prize. It's a really, really good prize. I'm being serious.

StubHub Fail

I received the following e-mail from StubHub early Monday evening:

Subject: Get great seats to any Washington Nationals playoff game

Hey Sean,

Be there alongside your Washington Nationals as they chase baseball immortality. Go to StubHub, where you’ll find a fantastic selection of tickets to every playoff game – so you experience the championship chase live and in person. Check it out. Go to StubHub and get the seats you want today.

I can see the Washington Nationals chase baseball immortality live and in person? Awesome! Perhaps the Los Angeles Dodgers had to forfeit some games and baseball chose to replace them in the NLCS with the Nationals. However, I feel like I would have heard about this from a source other than StubHub.

Maybe baseball has started a relegation system like they do in the English Premier League. Perhaps the Nationals, Orioles, Pirates, Indians and Royals are fighting to see who will stay in the majors and who will be relegated to AAA. Now that would be baseball immortality!

Later Monday evening I received this e-mail:

Subject: Apologies from StubHub

Earlier today, an email promoting Washington Nationals postseason tickets was sent to you. This, unfortunately, was a mistake. We regret the error and apologize for any inconvenience or confusion this may have caused.


The StubHub Team

You better be sorry! I spent countless (none) hours trying to figure out how there where postseason tickets. StubHub, could you at least send me a discount code for the inconvenience and confusion?

Monday, October 19, 2009

Good Weekend (Steelers-Browns Recap)

Let's start with the big picture. The Steelers defeated Cleveland 27-14 while both the Bengals and the Ravens lost. As a result, the Steelers are tied with Cincinnati for the division lead at 4-2 and one game ahead of Baltimore. In addition, the Penguins and the Pitt, Ithaca College and Woodland Hills High School football teams were all victorious, plus two, and possibly three of my fantasy football teams won. (The fourth one lost badly thanks to Mark Sanchez filling in for Peyton Manning on his bye week. That didn't work out very well.)

Back to the Steelers, the passing game looks great. Ben Roethlisberger had 417 yards passing; Hines had a monster game with 159 yards and a TD; and Santonio Holmes (104 yards) and Heath Miller (80 yards and a TD) also put together excellent games. Even though Roethlisberger was sacked three times, I thought the line protected him well.

Here are my thoughts on the game:

- On Hines' TD catch, Rashard Mendenhall did a nice job picking up Cleveland's blitz.

- After attending the Steelers-Browns game at Heinz Field in 2007, I wrote, "In my opinion, Joshua Cribbs has now replaced Eric Metcalf as the scariest Steelers' opponent." Why do the Steelers still kick the ball to Cribbs?

- What happened to Browns' QB Derek Anderson? I remember attending that Steelers-Browns and although Anderson didn't put up big passing numbers, he did throw 3 touchdowns and zero interceptions. He even made the Pro Bowl that season (2007)!

- Did Ziggy Hood play on Sunday?

- I think it's telling that Mewelde Moore was the RB when the Steelers were running out the clock. Mendenhall and (not as) Fast (with turf toe) Willie Parker both fumbled earlier in the second half, so maybe Tomlin trusts Mewelde more than the others in that situation.

- Speaking of Moore, why was he returning punts instead of Stefan Logan?

- Browns' head coach Eric Mangini and defensive coordinator Rob Ryan are not fitness role models.

- Mike Wallace continues to be fast.

- It is so much fun watching Santonio Holmes run in the open field after making a catch.

- Should we be concerned that the Steelers wins are against mostly terrible teams? Here are the records of the teams the Steelers defeated:

Browns - 1-5
Titans - 0-6
Lions - 1-5
Chargers - 2-2

Personally, I say no. Tennessee has completely fallen apart, but we (and they) didn't know they would be that bad after the first week. As for the other teams, the Steelers may be playing down to its competition particularly in the fourth quarter. I think next week's game against Minnesota could tell us a lot about the Steelers.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Ziggy Time

It's official. Steelers' Aaron Smith is having season-ending shoulder surgery today to repair a torn rotator cuff. Smith may be one of the most underrated players in the NFL and will definitely be missed. In his absence, the Steelers will likely start veteran Travis Kirschke, but I think we're all looking forward to seeing Ziggy play.

Don't let this picture fool you. He can be ferocious and will be sure to put pressure on anyone around him. Here's your proof:

Look at those eyes and those very sharp teeth. The Cleveland Browns, and particularly Derek Anderson, should be scared!

In other Ziggy news, Cotter scored an interview with Ziggy Hood himself.

In case you were wondering, these pictures of Ziggy were taken at 9 months. He is now 14 months and has bulked up so that he can play on the defensive line.

2009 Cortaca Jug Ticket Information

As the extremely unofficial blogger of Ithaca College football and the Cortaca Jug football game, I am proud to provide information about tickets for this year's game.

The Cortaca Jug Football game will be held Saturday, November 14, at noon at the Butterfield Stadium at Ithaca College.

There are a LIMITED NUMBER OF TICKETS AVAILABLE. No tickets will be sold at the gate on the day of the game. Tickets are required to enter the stadium. College IDs will not allow you admission to the game.

Ticket distribution for IC students, faculty and staff will be on Tuesday, October 27 and Wednesday, October 28. Distribution will take place in the Hill Center lobby, outside the Ben Light Gymnasium, from 4 to 10 pm both days. This is the designated time for students, faculty and staff to pick up their FREE ticket. ID is required to secure a ticket.

Provided that tickets are available, general community ticket sales will begin on the Ithaca College campus on Sunday, November 1. Sales will be open from noon to 6:00 p.m., in the Clark Lounge of the Campus Center. Tickets will also be sold on November 2 from 5:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. in the Clark Lounge, while tickets are available. Tickets are limited to two tickets per person.

Ticket prices are $7 for adults and $5 for students. Payment by cash or check only.

From my understanding, alumni sales will be online Nov. 1 starting at noon. Ordering will take place through the Alumni Relations webpage. The limit is two tickets per person. It's recommended that you join the online community via the Alumni Relations webpage, in advance. This is assuming that you graduated from IC.

UPDATE: This is the link for IC alumni to purchase tickets.

If you have no idea what I'm writing about, just click here to learn more about the Cortaca Jug game.

The same information I posted above is also available on the Ithaca College website.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

TMI Thursday: New Toilet Story

Unlike my past posts regarding bathroom stories, this one is tame and can be classified as G-rated. Sorry to disappoint some of you!

I shared my frustration earlier this week about the fact our home recently went on the market but that no one contacted us about seeing it. Well, we had our first visitor yesterday. Although the realtor never called us, he either visited our home on his own or brought a client with him. All we know about his visit was that he left behind his business card, kept all of the lights on, and left the toilet seat up. While I could care less whether or not you keep your toilet seat up in our own home (you can tell that this is a male writing this blog), it seems rude to do this at someone else’s home particularly if the toilet seat was already down. This is especially the case in a home with a curious cat who likes to get into anything when he has a chance. Fortunately, this was not the result:

(Don't worry; the cat is sleeping in this picture...I think.)

For much more revealing TMI Thursdays, please visit LiLu and you can click here to see all of my TMI Thursday archives.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Yinz Luv Jim Shearer

Maybe you know Jim Shearer as a former MTV2 VJ and current host of VH1's Top 20 Video Countdown. Maybe you know Jim Shearer as the genius behind Yinz Luv 'Da Stillers and Yinz Luv 'Da Guins, the incredibly entertaining videos about the Steelers and Penguins respectively. Maybe you don't know Jim Shearer at all, so I'm here to introduce him to you. Actually, I just sent Jim a few questions and he was kind enough to reply, so I'll let him "speak" for himself.

How did the Yinz Luv videos get started?

My MTV contract ended at the beginning of 2008 and I was looking for work. Trying to branch off into sports (which I thought could eventually bring me back home to the 'burgh) I went to an audition at the NHL. They were starting up a daily web-show. The audition lasted about two minutes, and I didn't get the job (sigh). As the playoff season started that year, I thought to myself, "Well, if the NHL doesn't want me, I'll just start up my own web-show." While throwing around ideas in my head, I quickly realized that "yinz" rhymed with "guins," and the rest is history.

Do you draw all of the figures in the intros?

Yep. I draw them all. If you notice in the early episodes of Yinz Luv 'Da Guins, the cardboard cutouts aren't as detailed as they are now. That's because I was rushing around to put the intro together, right as the playoffs began, and right as I was about to launch the show. Once I had more time, I could get more creative with the figures (i.e., Ulf Samuelsson viciously checking Cam Neely or Brooks Orpik's crazy-eyes stare).

I think I already know the answer based on the fact that you stated that you draw all of the figures, but is there anyone else that helps you with the Yinz Luv videos? They are so well done that it seems like multiple people must work on them.

I do most of the work on the episodes--hosting (obviously), editing, and producing the segments. However, if you ever see me with another person on an episode, it usually means that someone else is helping me tape. My good buddy Fuzz tapes some of the tailgate interviews and drives me to away games (since I don't own a car).

If the Pirates ever make the playoffs, could we see a Yinz Luv the Buccos?

I might consider doing some episodes if 'Da Buccos make the playoffs, but because I'm holding down a full-time job, while simultaneously doing web-shows for 'Da Guins and 'Da Stillers, the baseball season is my off-season; my decompression period if you will.

Switching over to your day job, has there ever been someone you interviewed on MTV/VH1 that you weren't really looking forward to meeting, but turned out to be extremely (perhaps surprisingly) cool?

All the time, and it happens a lot more often now, because I'm working in the world of pop music. When I was working at MTV2, I hosted 120 Minutes and Subterranean, which dealt with indie-minded music (which is more my preference). Not that I wasn't looking forward to meeting him, but I just met 50 Cent last week, and I was surprised how friendly he was. He shook everyone's hand on the set, and hung around following his interview to small talk with the crew.

Have you ever hung out with VH1 regulars Bret Michaels or Flavor Flav?

I have not. I have interviewed Flavor Flav backstage at a Public Enemy show though, and let me just say, he's hounded constantly for picture, autograph, and hug requests. I remember him as an all-time great hypeman in hip-hop, but his series of reality shows has opened him up to a whole other audience.

I may be one of the few people that watch you on both Yinz Luv and VH1's Top 20 Countdown. To prove it, I enjoyed watching you grow a playoff beard during the Pens' Stanley Cup run on VH1. Did anyone (either at work or at home) give you a hard time about growing the beard or sharing your Pens fandom on national TV?

Before the playoffs even started, I approached our executive producer and asked if I could grow the beard. He, being a big sports fan too, agreed to it. I did give a warning, "Just to let you know, the Pens could go all the way, so I may have this thing on my face for a while." I think the charity tie-in also helped. Who's gonna give you crap if you're raising money for cancer research?

One of the reasons why I asked you about the playoff beard is because I may grow a mustache for charity in November. Do you have any advice for me?

Grow that mustache. It's easy money for charity and makes the ordinary, everyday routine of looking in the mirror a little more exciting.

Finally, now that we're 1/4 of the way through the season (Sean’s note: Jim answered this question prior to the Steelers-Lions game), do you have any general thoughts about the Steelers?

Um, we really need Troy in the lineup, Limas Sweed needs to learn how to hold onto a football in the big leagues, and as a team, the Steelers have to close out games with authority (which will make our lives as fans less stressful).

Jim is passionate about Pittsburgh sports and puts together amazing videos from his unique perspective. If you haven't seen his work before (where have you been?), here's the latest Yinz Luv 'Da Stillers. (Sean's update: It seems like many of the YLDS videos are gone, so this is one from after the Steelers-Packers Super Bowl.

Jim is also passionate about music and recently put together his video playlist on VH1. I figure that I might as well show what he does during the day, so here is Jim talking about Coffee and TV by Blur:

This video has nothing to do with the interview or Jim, but since he talked for almost an entire minute about it, here is Blur in one of the greatest videos ever.

Thanks again to Jim and make sure that you visit Yinz Luv 'Da Stillers and Yinz Luv 'Da Guins and watch him on VH1.

Photos courtesy of Jim Shearer via the Pittsburgh City Paper (you can probably tell that their interview is much more professional than mine) and PSAMP.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Trivia Tuesday

We haven’t been able to attend our usual trivia venue lately, so we tried a brand new place last week. The person running this particular trivia night handed every team a piece of paper containing 30 questions and told us that we had one hour to complete the paper and turn it in. I think I received the same directions for the SAT, except that we were allowed to talk this time. We won’t be going back there for trivia again. Anyway, your challenge this week is to answer the ten questions below. There is no theme whatsoever.

1. Billy Martin, Paul Thomas, and brothers Benji and Joel Madden burst on the contemporary music scene in 2000 as what band?

2. What Belgian company bid $46 billion for American brewing giant Anheuser-Bush in the spring of 2008.

3. In what western state are the falls and the city known as Great Falls?

4. What company introduced the Betamax Videocassette Recorder in 1975?

5. Who was the first sitting or former U.S. President to visit Cuba since Castro’s 1959 revolution when he did so in 2002?

6. What brand introduced the “Spicy Sweet Chili Chips” variety in 2008?

7. What building/decorative material is defined as “a thin mortar used for filling spaces?”

8. Which M*A*S*H character was often called “Ferret Face” by other characters?

9. In what 2001 romantic comedy did Freddie Prinze, Jr. portray an aspiring baseball pitcher who falls for a Cape Cod vacationer played by Jessica Biel?

10. Name two of the three universities whose stadiums have hosted a Super Bowl.

As always, please leave your answers in the comments section and don’t use the internet to search for answers. In case you're wondering, we scored a 7 out of 10, though we disagree with the answers for #10.

I would give the source of where I received these questions, but I'm not sure if I should share this since I'm advocating not going there for trivia. Comparing trivia and the SAT is certainly not an endorsement.

Just Venting

I’m kind of down today.* I have a lot of things on my mind, and I feel like sharing.

- Over the last week or two, I noticed an occasional rattling sound coming from my car. It wasn’t constant and didn’t seem to have any rhyme or reason as to when it would make noise and when the noise would stop. I took my car into the shop for an oil change and emissions test and also asked them to take a look. It turns out that the noise was caused by metal on metal in the brake pad. Therefore, I am a proud owner of new brake pads, new brake rotors and a brake system flush. All of this for the low price of $438. Ugh. In case you’re wondering, I got two estimates with the same diagnosis and prices that were similar.

- Our home officially went on the market on Friday afternoon. Through Monday afternoon at 5:00, we have received exactly zero calls from realtors wanting to bring their clients over for a visit. I realize that this is a holiday weekend, but no calls? Do you know how difficult it is for me to make sure all my clothes are off of the dresser and papers are away? It would be worth it if someone stopped by, but I seem to be wasting a lot of time making sure the home is spotless before leaving for seemingly nothing.

- My fantasy football teams are 3-2, 2-3, 2-3 and 2-3. I’m not happy with any of these teams.

- It seems like every home in our price range and perfect in terms of size is on a short sale. Maybe that’s why these homes are in our price range. Oh, I now need to subtract $438 from our price range.

Trivia Tuesday, which is much more uplifting than this post, will be here later today.

* I’m writing this on Monday afternoon, so by the time you and I are reading this, I’ll probably be fine.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Steelers-Lions Recap: Turkey Win

If three strikes in a row in bowling is called a turkey, what do you call three sacks in a row in football? For the sake of this post, we'll call this a turkey as well.

With Pittsburgh leading 28-20 late in the fourth quarter, the Steelers defense decided to finally pressure QB Daunte Culpepper instead of playing a prevent defense that allowed Detroit to get back into the game. Let's set the scene. After marching down the field and scoring on a Dennis Northcutt (who must be approximately 58 years old) touchdown, the Lions defense forced the Steelers into a three-and-out. Then, Culpepper led another successful drive leading to a 1st and 10 from the Steelers 21 with less than 2:00 minutes remaining. Momentum was totally on Detroit's side, but that's when things changed. LaMarr Woodley and William Gay teamed up to sack Culpepper for a loss of 6 yards. Second down was Gay as the cornerback sacked Culpepper for a 5-yard loss. Lawrence Timmons then completed the turkey with a 13-yard sack. The Lions tried a Hail Mary pass on 4th and 34 but that fell innocently to the turf meaning game over.

In continuing with my fabulous theme, Sunday was the first time the Steelers played in Detroit against the Lions since the Jerome Bettis/coin flip game held, wait for it, on Thanksgiving. Plus, Ben Roethlisberger had THREE touchdowns (one each for Hines, Heath and Mike Wallace) and James Harrison had THREE sacks. As a result, turkey for everyone!

(Too soon for this picture?)

The most important key to the Steelers victory was the fact that I wore my Louis Lipps jersey for the first time this season! You may be skeptical, but the Steelers are 43-3 when I wear the jersey (this record may not be correct).

In other random notes, I made a last-minute decision to watch the game at Fast Eddie's in Fairfax. It's much nicer watching a game at a Steelers bar rather than a bar/restaurant that shows all games. (I'm looking at you Champps and Buffalo Wild Wings.*) However, I can't wait until the Virginia law stopping smoking in bars/restaurants goes into effect. I'm going to smell like smoke for days.

There were some smaller televisions showing other NFL games. The guy next to me referred to the Washington quarterback as Jason Candle. He also called Ravens QB Joe Flacco, Shane Falco. I don’t understand how either of these are insults.

Overall, the Steelers are now 3-2 heading into next week’s game against the Cleveland Browns. The team is now one game behind the Cincinnati Bengals and tied with the Baltimore Ravens in the division. Basically, the team is in pretty good shape at this point of the season and will hopefully get a healthy Willie Parker and Troy Polamalu back next week.

* I've been a Buffalo Wild Wings customer on many occasions, but I have never had a football referee or baseball manager ask me my opinion on a play or coaching decision. To be fair, I haven't visited a Buffalo Wild Wings recently, so perhaps this is a new feature.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Congrats to Ric Blas

I haven't had a chance to write about Ric Blas, a friend of Sean's Ramblings and former (and hopefully future) Olympian, much since the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. However, a few weeks ago, Blas won a silver medal in the men's plus-100 kilogram weight class at the U.S. Open of Judo in San Jose, CA. Blas dominated in his first three matches before falling to Cedric Medeuf in a close final.

Congratulations to Ric on a great performance!

The picture and more about Blas' performance at the U.S. Open is available at the Guam Pacific Daily News.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Historic Photos of Washington DC Monuments

I love Turner Publishing. Over the past few years, they have sent me Historic Photos of Theodore Roosevelt and Historic Photos of Washington, DC for free in exchange for me promoting these books on this blog. Now, they sent me a copy of their latest release titled Historic Photos of Washington, DC Monuments.

This book is now located prominently on one of our few remaining bookshelves. With our home officially going on the market today, I expect that people will notice the book as they walk through. Maybe they'll be so enthralled by the book that they'll offer us even more than the selling price. I'm sure that we could work out a deal where the book would convey if asked.

While I may be getting a little carried away, it really is an awesome book. Seeing pictures of the DC mall from 75 and 100 years ago is fascinating. I particularly like the amazing pictures of the Lincoln Memorial being constructed. Photos of the Washington Monument and Jefferson Memorial are also highlighted.

Anyway, thanks to Turner for sending me these books. If any other company wants to send me free stuff, I'm not above accepting gifts!

Finally, Turner Publishing is having a contest to win free books for a year. Click here to enter.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

TMI Thursday: Strip Club Story

Lacochran was kind enough to bestow upon me the "You Shoulda Been a Stripper Award." I think I'm in pretty good shape, but I don't quite have the six-pack (or any-pack) abs to be a stripper. As part of this award, I'm supposed to list 7 of my personality traits, as evidenced on my blog and then pass the award on to 7 other blogs with notable personality. So if I read this correctly, I won an award, but now have to do work and share my personality traits? Thanks but no thanks (at least on the personality traits thing; I'll keep the award and thank the academy and um, why is the orchestra playing already!?!). Nevertheless, I am truly grateful to Lacochran for thinking of me!

Instead of providing a list of my personality traits, I figured that I'd share a story from my bachelor party. After partaking in food and games at the Penguins practice facility (unfortunately Mario Lemieux was not in attendance), my brother arranged for us to visit a local strip club. Seems like your typical bachelor party, right? Well, this wasn't just any strip club. It was a sparsely populated one where the women didn't fully strip and there was a special feature: Bare-aoke. This could have been fun if the strippers were singing karaoke, but that's not how it worked. Bare-aoke was for anyone and everyone! While I'm sure other people performed, and I actually remember looking through the song list, the only person I recall singing resembled this actress from The Wedding Singer:

The song: Nancy Sinatra's These Boots Are Made for Walking. We were having a pretty miserable time up until that point anyway, but when she started singing, we quickly downed our two drink minimum and got the heck out of there.

Please make sure to visit LiLu for more TMI Thursdays. Plus, you can click here to see all of my TMI Thursday archives.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Penguins Video and Slide Dog

I'm sure that most Pittsburgh Penguins fans have already seen this, but I wanted to share Benstonium's latest video. This will get you pumped up for the season!

In addition, enjoy this amazing video of Slide Dog.

This may be the greatest video ever! (h/t Steve Is Alive)

Future Contest

Here's the deal: I have been contacted by Jordan who represents a company that sells 'Men's Watches' and possibly non-men's watches. If I provide a link to the company and a link to one of their watches (the CFM00001B), they will send me a watch (not the one in the link or picture) to give away. I'm skeptical but am living up to my part of bargain by posting this message in order to give back to you, my wonderful reader, I mean readers. If all goes well, there will be a fabulous contest soon.

While I may or may not receive a watch to give away, Cotter had the opportunity to interview Ryan Clark as part of a contest win a 46" LCD HDTV, Blu-ray Disc Player, Home Theater System, Notebook PC, Verizon FiOS Triple Play Service FREE for 12-months, and an Entertainment Center.

Advantage Cotter!

Happy Wednesday

I'm at home today, so expect multiple posts throughout the day. I'll start with the latest edition of Yinz Luv 'Da Stillers.

Sadly, these were the only highlights of the Steelers-Chargers game that I have seen. Despite having access to ESPN on my Virgin America flight, the network only seemed to cover Brett Favre on Monday.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Trivia Tuesday: Vacation Edition

I'm back from Northern California, and instead of writing about my vacation, I thought I would share my experiences in a question/answer format since it is Trivia Tuesday!

1. What is Sean Connery's famous line when he reaches Alcatraz in The Rock? (Did anyone say this line when we arrived at Alcatraz?)

2. The Alcatraz giftshop featured many Hollywood movies portraying the island or escapes from the prison. However, one movie featuring the late, great Phil Hartman as an Alcatraz tour guide was not for sale. Name the movie.

3. Who was the U.S. Attorney General who decided to close Alcatraz?

4. How many sea lions are there at Pier 39?

5. What is the name of the famous "crooked" street in San Francisco?

6. Did I clog a toilet on this trip?

7. What is Charles Schulz's nickname. (Hint: This is also the first name of a Hall of Fame baseball manager)

8. Name the three Van Pelt children in Peanuts.

9. Was I the go-to guy to find out the score of the Steelers-Chargers game during the wedding?

10. Is the Dyson Airblade the coolest hand-dryer ever?

In case you're wondering, I scored an impressive 10 out of 10. Maybe it's not that impressive since I made up the questions. Anyway, as usual, please leave your answers in the comments section below and don't search the internet for answers. Good luck!

Finally, as a programming note, I'm working on some pretty big interviews and contests so stay tuned for more excitement over the next few weeks.

UPDATE: Here is a picture of me in an Alcatraz cell. This might be more convincing if I wasn't wearing the audio tour headset.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

2009-2010 Pittsburgh Penguins Predictions

It seems like the Penguins were raising the Stanley Cup only yesterday, yet the NHL regular season starts tonight. Yes, really. I’m being serious. Anyway, I asked some of my favorite writers/bloggers/people who follow the Penguins their thoughts about the 2009-2010 Penguins season. Before we begin, allow me to introduce the panel.

* Sean Leahy of Yahoo!'s Puck Daddy
* Bob Smizik of the Post-Gazette's Bob Smizik Blog
* Vince from Pesonen and the Pens
* Damian of Pens Universe
* Hooks Orpik of PensBurgh
* Pat of Igloo Dreams
* Seth Rorabaugh - Empty Netters
* Jeff - He's the biggest Penguins fan I know
* Sean of Sean's Ramblings (that's me)

1. Evgeni Malkin's stats (goals, assists, points, other?)

Leahy - 41 goals, 74 assists, 125 points, another Art Ross Trophy and three total Russian models bagged.
Smizik - 31-70--105
Vince - Well I initially had Janne set to put up 72G 60A (132pts), and Janne is about 10% better than Malkin (1 Malkin = .9 Janne's) so that would mean that Malkin would put up around 119 points, so we'll say 50 Goals and 69 Assists.

Damian - 103 - 46 goals 58 assists.
Hooks - 36 goals, 80 assists = 116 points (Crosby throws up 42 goals, 78 assists and wins the scoring title though)
Pat - 40 Goals, 78 Assists, 1 boarding penalty after he gets sick of Ovechkin and 3 blown tires (not as much as he used to blow out when he was a rookie).
Seth - Not to be generic but 40-60-100
Jeff - 53g, 80a, 133p (Crosby: 44g, 92a, 136p; Ovechkin: 70g, 57a, 127p)
Sean - 43 goals, 79 assists = 122 points and a second Art Ross Trophy.

2. Number of Eric Godard penalty minutes.

Leahy - I can see Godard's appearances drop a bit and after last season's 171 PIM's, I think he'll crush enough skulls to warrant 145 PIM's.
Smizik - 215
Vince - 20... He'll be moved by the 12th game when they realize that Mike Rupp has the same physicality and more of an offensive upsides.
Damian - 193 PM's.
Hooks - 120 PIMs....Not many, I see Rupp and even Biz Nasty stealing a lot of Godard's limited minutes and nights in the lineup
Pat - None - he took Orpik's Crazy Eyes training this summer and no one will go near him this season.
Seth - 156
Jeff - 171 (haha... he's had this many the past 2 seasons)
Sean - 135

3. Who will lead the team in blocked shots?

Leahy - If he can stay healthy, Jay McKee will rule this category.
Smizik - Jay McKee
Vince - Marc-Andre Fleury
Damian - Jay McKee, no questions no how. He serves no other purpose, well...
Hooks - Jay McKee leads the team in blocked shots by far, even when he misses 15 games from an injury he got by blocking a shot.
Pat - Fleury better stop the most shots from the other team! But seriously, you'd be dumb not to say McKee, so I'll say he gets hurt and Mark Eaton leads the team.
Seth - Mark Eaton. He'll take over as the shutdown defender.
Jeff - Mark Eaton
Sean - Mark Eaton (but not this Mark Eaton)

4. Bill Guerin: The greatest player to wear #13 in Pittsburgh history?

Leahy - Charlie Simmer was pretty darn good in his career, but only spent one year in the 'Burgh. Billy G was a key component of the team last year and I think a full year of him alongside Sid will be fruitful.

Smizik - I think Dan Marino has a teensy edge on Guerin. I'd put Guerin tied for second with Nate McLouth, just ahead of Chico Lind.

Vince - Danny Marino not only put up stud like numbers when he played for Pitt, but he did all that while snorting enough coke to have him fall to 27th in the draft and being passed up by his hometown team who was currently being led by the likes of Cliff Stoudt and Mark Malone. Seriously, look at all the jokes drafted before him. He musta been king of the rails... Sorry Billy G, gotta give the props to the hometown boy.

Damian - To be as up front as possible, I don't recall another #13, let alone the best. But my memory is in fact be limited. I blame the children, and lack of information on the internet.

Hooks - Dad scored
Pat - I thought only numbers 66 and up mattered for forwards in Pittsburgh...
Seth - There's not a lot of competition for the number (only three other players have worn it in team history) so I guess you could say it is Guerin. But special consideration should be given to Charlie Simmer simply because he was married to 1981 Playmate of the Year, Terri Welles.

Jeff - Tough one because we had Charlie Simmer, but I will go with Bill Guerin.
Sean - Definitely Dan Marino and not just because I would rather see him wear Isotoner gloves than see Bill Guerin naked in ESPN the Magazine.

5. Will this be the year that Sidney Crosby's playoff beard looks like an actual beard?

Leahy - I think he's better off using beard clippings from Max Talbot.
Smizik - No, 2015
Vince - Tim Hortons doesn't put enough hormones in their food... So unless he switches over to McDonalds or Wendy's for the majority of his food, I'm gonna have to say no.
Damian - Absolutely not. Crosby is like me with the baby-face syndrome. He will have nothing substantive till about the age of 25.
Hooks - Still the envy of 14 year old Mexican boys everywhere.
Pat - Heck no. He may never be able to grow a beard. I have a buddy who is in his 30s and doesn't have to shave for nearly a month. We pay attention to Sid's beard more for the comedy value. The screaming masses really want to know if Evgeni can grow one.
Seth - No. 2035.
Jeff - Haha... no.
Sean - Um, no.

6. Season prediction (please include the number of team points and place in the standings) and any other thoughts.

Leahy - 1st in the Atlantic, 2nd in the Prince of Wales Conference, and a record of 47-25-10-104 pts
Smizik - 43-29-10---96, 4th in conference
Vince - We'll get 97 points and end up in 4th place, meanwhile the Washington Capitals will win the east and think they are the best team ever cause they dominate in regular season hockey then in the first round they will be eliminated by NJ, NYR or Philly. We will go back to the cup and beat Chicago in Pittsburgh in 6 games.

Meanwhile across the seas Janne Pesonen will put up 49 goals and 62 assists in their 56 game season, not only helping the AK BARS recapture the Gagarin cup, but also helping Finland upset both Canada and USSR in the Olympics for the Gold. This will lead to him being signed to a 1-way contract to the NHL for the 2010 season where he will win hart, lady byng, selke, masterson, pearson, ross, richard, and lester patrick trophies, but his team will be eliminated from the playoffs by the Penguins on their way to #3.

Damian - I said it here, I'll say it again. The Pens are the favorite for the division. Though they didn't take the division last year (yet won the Cup), and had a strong advantage the year before (yet didn't win the Cup), I think they will once again show themselves approved this year and take the Atlantic again. Staal, Crosby, Malkin, and Fleury are 21, 22, 23, 24 respectively, that's a core do absolutely die for. And with 2 Stanley Cup appearances at such young ages, they can only get better individually and collectively.

Hooks - 102 points, 1st in the Atlantic (2nd in the East)....playoffs are a crapshoot, anything could happen but they should be in good shape for another run if the health holds up

Pat - This is the season they have a strong, steady and consistent regular season followed by an excellent post-season. I'll say first in the conference (112 pts) and straight through to the Cup.

Seth - I hate predictions so I don't endorse this in any way. 47-25-10. 104 points. Second place in the Eastern Conference.

Jeff - 52-23-7, 111pts, 1st in Eastern Conference.

Sean - 99 points; 4th in the conference. Plus, Coach Dan Bylsma will eat many burritos.

Feel free to add your own predictions in the comments section below. Go Pens!