Thursday, July 28, 2011

TMI Thursday: The Debbie Gibson Experience

Remember when TMI Thursdays were a weekly occurrence? I don’t really have much embarrassing to write about these days, so consider this a special occasion. Yes, any post regarding Debbie Gibson counts as a special occasion. Much to my surprise, I searched my blog and discovered that I really haven’t written much about this 80s pop icon. There have been bits and pieces of stories, but not one comprehensive post. Consider this that post.

My first celebrity crush was on either Alyssa Milano from her days on Who’s The Boss or Debbie Gibson, singer of #1 hits Foolish Beat and Lost in Your Eyes as well as top 10 songs Only in My Dreams, Shake Your Love and Out of the Blue (Electric Youth reached #11). While I honestly don’t remember who was on my radar first, I do know that I didn’t own anything featuring Alyssa Milano while I bought two Debbie Gibson cassette tapes. In addition, the first concert I ever attended without my parents: Debbie Gibson at Duquesne University’s A.J. Palumbo Center in Pittsburgh. Although I don’t remember the exact date of the concert, I still have the ticket stub somewhere 20+ years later. I went to the concert with my friend Dave and met up with junior high school classmates Kris and Greg. How did we ever manage to meet up with friends at an unfamiliar location without cell phones? Anyway, Debbie Gibson played all of her hits, and I bought a Debbie Gibson poster. I remember thinking that she would be the last thing I saw before I went to sleep, and therefore, she would be in my dreams. (Get it? She sang Only in My Dreams. Give me a break I was probably only 13 or 14.)

I love YouTube. I found this video, which according to the title is of Debbie Gibson performing Only in My Dreams at the A.J. Palumbo Center in Pittsburg (really?) on September 16, 1988. I was there...and I was 13. By the way, the drummer also plays sax? Amazing!

I really haven’t followed Debbie Gibson’s over the past two decades. I know that she goes by Deborah now, performed on Broadway and showed off her ice skating skills in the short-lived FOX reality competition show Skating with Celebrities. Now, Debbie Gibson is back! Debbie and fellow 80s pop star Tiffany announced tour dates (Cleveland and Council Bluffs, Iowa?) and on Friday, they are performing on Good Morning America. The DVR will get some rare early morning work. While I always thought that Tiffany was overrated, if the tour comes to Washington DC, I’ll be there! Who’s with me? Anyone? Anyone?

(While Debbie Gibson still looks great, doesn't this seem like a picture Ke$ha would take?)

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Pirates Video

Today is July 26th and the Pittsburgh Pirates remain tied for first place following a 3-1 victory over the Atlanta Braves last night (recap here and here). I am quite happy as are the guys at Benstonium who generally make funny videos with takes on Pittsburgh sports personalities. In their latest video, titled Buccos Tribute 2011 - Our Time, Out Team, they went a completely different direction to create a piece of art that literally gave me goosebumps (and not the books by R.L. Stine). Enjoy!

Trivia Tuesday hasn't done very well recently, so I'm giving it a week off. We'll try it again next week.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Found In My Basement: Mix Tape

I ran a series last year called Found In My Basement where I wrote about items that I, well, found in my basement. I thought it was a terrific idea, but then my camera broke, and I apparently stopped going into my basement. However, while trying to find one of Ziggy's toy mice (I have no idea where they are), I ran across some old cassette tapes including "Sean's Rogan's Mix" named after the pizza place in Ithaca, New York partly responsible for my freshman 15 and sophomore 15. This mix was probably made in the fall of 1993. Here are the contents of the tape:

Side A

American Pie - Don McLean
Sing Hallelujah - Dr. Alban
All That She Wants - Ace of Base
Hotel California - Eagles
Because the Night - 10,000 Maniacs
Fly Like an Eagle - Steve Miller Band
Mr. Vain - Culture Beat
Piano Man - Billy Joel
Down Under - Men at Work
Linger - Cranberries

Side B

Plush - Stone Temple Pilots
The Sounds of Silence - Simon & Garfunkel
Superman - John Williams & the Boston Pops
The Sign - Ace of Base
Everyday - Phil Collins
Orinoco Flow (Sail Away) - Enya
Wonderful Tonight - Eric Clapton
We Didn't Start the Fire - Billy Joel
Come Baby Come - K7
Roll the Bones - Rush

Wow! I have no idea where to begin. Not one, but two Ace of Base songs? Enya? Who puts an instrumental on a mix tape? Classic rock together with I guess what you could call club music at the time in Dr. Alban, Culture Beat and K7. How many of you have even heard of these performers? I hope to redeem myself in other mix tapes I created, but I'll have to do more searching in order to share what else I found in my basement. (A cliffhanger?)

By the way, if I created a new mix tape today, Land Down Under would still make the cut. All of a sudden, I feel like eating a Vegemite sandwich!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Friday Video

Should we teach math in schools? That is the question asked of "Miss USA" contestants. I added the quotes because there's no chance this is real, right?

Maybe for Trivia Tuesday I should ask if folks know the square root of 16!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Random Ramblings

Have you ever had a female cab driver? I've had female bus drivers and subway drivers, but never a female taxi driver.

Let's say that you are the General Manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Who would you try to acquire to help improve the FIRST-PLACE team in the NL Central and what would you be willing to trade? (For example, what would you trade for Carlos Beltran or would you trade for Carlos Beltran?)

There's an expression "happy as a clam." Are clams really happy? Who decided that clams are happy?

One of the reasons why I will never drink and drive: I struggle to recite the alphabet backwards while sober.

I saw a headline over the weekend that Rebekah Brooks was arrested. My initial reaction was what did the teen singer of "Friday” do to warrant an arrest.

Have you seen the trailer for Rise of the Planet of the Apes? There's no way that humans can defeat these apes especially if they have weapons.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Trivia Tuesday

Huey Lewis & The News performed in the DC area last week. Therefore, this week's Trivia Tuesday is inspired by their hit "I Want a New Drug." The names of medicines/prescriptions are listed below. Your challenge is to give the best reason why these prescriptions are given.

1. Xenical, Meridia

2. Propecia, Roganie

3. Zocor, Lipitor

4. Singulair, Zyrtec

5. Norvasc, Lotrol

6. Zoloft, Effexor

7. Lunesta, Ambien

8. Xalatan, Lumigan

9. Famvir, Valtrex

10. Cialis, Levitra

As always please leave your answers in the comments section below and do not use the internet for assistance. Good luck!

This quiz is courtesy of the fine folks at Stump Trivia.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Matisyahu Wears a Pirates Hat

My favorite Orthodox rocker/rapper/reggae artist, Matisyahu, performed in Pittsburgh on Saturday. Smartly, he wore a Pittsburgh Pirates hat.

Picture by @awright512

In addition, the Post-Gazette had a decent profile of Matisyahu last week.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

First Place!

I realize that today is only July 16th, meaning that there is still 2.5 months of the baseball season remaining, but how can you not get excited about your first place Pittsburgh Pirates?

Let's Go Bucs!

Photo from the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Standings from ESPN.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Friday Video

Although she's not a great singer and seems to have a screwed up personal life, Britney Spears (or at least her management) knows how to make catchy pop songs. Britney's latest song, I Wanna Go, continues her line of hit singles. Plus, as a bonus, you can see Guillermo of Weeds pour milk over his head.

Even though I don't understand all of the lyrics, I can't get this song out of my head. That's the true sign of a Britney hit!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

New Jersey Housewife Visited Fairfax Wegmans

Anytime that one of Bravo's Real Housewives visits my supermarket, I need to write about it. Yesterday, Jacqueline Laurita one of the stars of the Real Housewives of New Jersey (she's the one that didn't flip over a table at a restaurant or file for bankruptcy)* traveled to the Fairfax Wegmans to promote something called Blk Beverages. Here's proof:

I love the fact that she was set up at the store's main entrance. I can just imagine walking into the store expecting to grab a cart and going directly to the produce section to pick up strawberries (Wegmans has had great deals of strawberries all summer), and bam, there's a Real Housewife giving away drink samples and posing for pictures. I'd expect this from Alec Baldwin, but not a New Jersey housewife.

* The Real Housewives shows tend to be on in my household on occasion, so I've learned about these characters through osmosis. With that written, maybe Ms. Laurita did flip over a table or file for bankruptcy. I can’t keep track of everyone.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Can Gay Marriage Pass in Virginia

Last month, New York became the sixth (and largest) U.S. state to legalize gay marriage. This got me thinking about whether or not gay marriage could pass in Virginia. Although I’ve now lived in Virginia for nearly 10 years, I admit that I’m not an expert in Virginia politics. Actually, I take that back. I know that there is a one-term limit for the Governor, meaning that the Legislature has all power. In addition, Northern Virginia seems to be a separate state from the rest of Virginia. There are always complaints about traffic in Northern Virginia and how Richmond doesn’t contribute as much money to transportation issues here as they should.

Anyway, I’m getting off topic. I asked people who truly know Virginia politics whether they think gay marriage could pass in Virginia. I didn’t ask them to share their personal beliefs; just realistic thoughts about gay marriage in Virginia. Enjoy (and feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section)!

Jim - Bacon's Rebellion

The chances are pretty slim that Virginia will approve gay marriage any time soon. As long as we have a socially conservative Republican governor, an even more socially conservative attorney general, and a Republican House of Delegates packed with social conservatives, there is zero chance of gay marriage legislation being enacted. I question whether such a bill could make it through the Democratic-controlled state Senate. Times are changing, though, and as the younger generation, which is far more accepting of gays, replaces the older generation with traditional values, we’ll see a change in attitude. But it will take another 10 years at least.

Doug - Below the Beltway

To answer your question, legalizing gay marriage in Virginia is going to be difficult. It cannot be done the way New York did it because, in 2006 Virginia passed a Constitutional Amendment that defined marriage as being between one man and one woman only and forbade the creation of any legal relationships for homosexuals that resemble marriage (meaning no civil unions).

Absent court action changing this would require another Constitutional Amendment, which would have to be approved by majorities in both houses of the legislature and then approved via a ballot initiative.

Miles - The Green Miles

Virginia passed a constitutional ban on gay marriage several years ago and it would take a long process to repeal. A recent poll showed Virginians moving in the right direction on the issue, but frankly we as Democrats need to do more to make the case. In particular I wish Virginia's Democratic leaders would vocally get behind repealing the ban and replacing it with equal rights for all Virginians.

Krystle - Crystal Clear Conservative

It is always nice to find another Steelers fan in the Virginia blogosphere

As for your inquiry on gay marriage, Virginia will not pass legislation to approve gay marriage. In 2006, Virginia had an amendment on the ballot to add a constitutional amendment to approve marriage as being between one man and one woman. Voters approved this amendment overwhelmingly. 57 percent voted in favor of the amendment, while 42.9 percent voted against it. [Source]

Loudoun Insider - Too Conservative

No way it could pass in Virginia anytime soon.

VA Blogger - (also of) Too Conservative

Not only can it happen, but it will happen, I'd guess in the next 20 years. Even if Virginia is among the last states to enact it, this is much more of a generational issue than an ideological issue.

Brian - Common Sense (He is also running for Delegate in Virginia's 37th district)

I will try and not let my lingering anger over the Pirates beating the Orioles in 79 influence my answers. :)

To answer your question, I think it is unlikely that a change in the gay marriage laws in Virginia could happen in the near future, as we saw in New York. New York's biggest issue was convincing a number of gay marriage opponents in their State Senate to switch their vote against gay marriage in favor of it. That's just pure lobbying. If I recall correctly, New York's Senate defeated a prior gay marriage bill in 2009. The gay marriage supporters were able to lobby effectively to get members to change their votes. And as New York didn't have a state constitutional amendment defining marriage, all they needed - in addition to the Governor and the Assembly, both already supporting - was a bill passed.

It's much, much harder in Virginia given how our marriage laws operate. In 2006, the Virginia State Constitution was amended to bar gay marriage and to prohibit the creation of civil unions or other marriage equivalent relationships. Constitutional amendments are pretty difficult to achieve in Virginia - in order to pass, the amendment must be passed by two separate General Assemblies - meaning once in one, then again after an election has intervened - and then it goes up for a referendum vote of the entire Commonwealth. The 2006 amendment passed on a 57%-42% vote in a high turn-out year (over 52% turnout - the highest we've seen in a non-presidential year, and that was also the same year Democrats took back the U.S. House of Representatives).

So, in order to repeal the 2006 marriage amendment, the General Assembly elected in 2011 would have to vote once to repeal it. Then the GA elected in 2013 would have to vote again to repeal it. At that point it would be put on the ballot, probably for the 2014 election for a statewide referendum.

That's a heavy lift.

The Marshall Newman amendment (the marriage amendment) had bipartisan support in both Houses of the General Assembly back in 2004 and 2006. Given that the latest polling I saw still has a majority of Virginians opposing gay marriage, I don't expect to see the amendment repealed anytime in the near future.

Joel - Virginia Beach Progressives

Recognition of gay marriage is prohibited in Virginia. In 2006, the General Assembly passed a ballot referendum that sent the Marshall-Newman Amendment to the voters. 57% of Virginia voters voted for the amendment, which prohibits recognition of gay marriage in Virginia.

The process for repealing Marshall-Newman requires that the General Assembly pass a ballot referendum twice with an election in between the two sessions, and then the voters must approve.

The current composition of Virginia's House of Delegates makes passage of a Marshall-Newman appeal very improbable, as conservative Republicans have control of that house. Democrats have a very slim majority in the Senate currently, and Democrats are focused on keeping that majority, with any House pick-ups being secondary. All this makes, for a very difficult, and unlikely, uphill climb for those wanting to make gay marriage legal in Virginia.

The good news is that Virginian's are shifting on this issue, like many states. An RTD poll in May found that 43% of Virginians are opposed to gay marriage, and 47% supporting gay marriage. The RTD article also sites national polls showing a 13% shift in opinion since 2006 regarding gay marriage, where 53% of the nation supports it.

While New York did have Republicans siding in favor of gay marriage, Republicans in New York aren't the same kind of Republicans in Virginia. I don't think we'll see any real movement toward the repeal of Marshall-Newman unless Democrats win control of both houses long enough to have two votes on the repeal.

My take isn't much different than the others above. Governor Bob McDonnell certainly isn't going to touch gay marriage. His website states that he "believes marriage is the union between one man and one woman. As a legislator, Bob McDonnell was chief sponsor and author of a constitutional amendment protecting traditional marriage (Chief Patron, HJ 187, 2004)." In addition, McDonnell celebrates being named "Legislator of the Year" twice by the Virginia Family Foundation. Here are the initiatives of the Family Foundation:

•Opposing Domestic Partner Benefits | Homosexual advocates have worked to diminish the status of marriage by providing marriage benefits to any relationship. Already, private companies in Virginia can do so. Despite a marriage amendment that prohibits this, efforts are underway to expand this to state and local government.

•Opposing Homosexual Behavior as a Protected Class | Every year there are efforts in Virginia to add homosexuality to the list of protected classes in non-discrimination laws. This is not only unnecessary, as no evidence of discrimination exists, but has potential negative ramifications on religious liberty.

Wow. There's no evidence of discrimination? I feel like I'm already giving the Family Foundation more exposure than necessary, so I'll just stop. Meanwhile, although gay marriage isn't likely to happen soon in Virginia, I live in one of the states where marriage between first cousins is still legal. Way to go Virginia!

Thanks to all of the bloggers who provided thoughtful answers to my question. Regardless of where you fall on the political spectrum, please make sure to visit each of these well-written blogs.

Completely unrelated to the gay marriage topic, I love the fact that my blog can't get away from Pittsburgh sports as two replies included mentions of the Pirates and Steelers!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Reverse Trivia Tuesday

Let’s do something different today. Instead of the normal routine of you answering questions that I provide, I’m putting Trivia Tuesday in your hands. Your challenge is to provide questions for me and everyone else to answer. Music, movies, sports, history, geography, current events; any topic of your choice. Let’s see what you got.

As always please leave your answers (and questions!) in the comments section below and do not use the internet for assistance. Good luck!

Update: Since there have been no questions so far, I'll throw one out there to (hopefully) get the ball rolling. Mick Jagger recently introduced his new supergroup called Superheavy. One of the band's members is A.R. Rahman, who was the composer behind what 2008 movie?

Monday, July 11, 2011

Flying With an Infant

At the age of approximately three and a half months, my child took his first flight last week. Here are some notes from our adventure:

- I learned that car seats must face down when going through the security X-ray machines, otherwise, they will get stuck in the machine causing a delay for all of the people behind you.

- This is one of the many reasons why I think that all airports should have a special security line for families with strollers. (Yes, I’m looking at you Washington National.)

- US Airways was adamant that we needed to bring an original birth certificate for my child. However, at the airport, no one asked to see the birth certificate or even a copy of the birth certificate.

- At the gate prior to the flight, as soon as I started reading Dr. Seuss’ ABC: An Amazing Alphabet Book to my child, the gentleman sitting next to me left. Sure, he went to the gate to ask the airline personnel a question, but I don’t think the timing was a coincidence. Perhaps he already knew the answer to the question Big A, Little A, what begins to A? (The answer, of course, is Aunt Annie’s Alligator A...A...A.)

- Overheard at the airport:

Intercom: This is the last call for flight #1459 (I made up this number) to Houston.
Approximately 7 year-old kid to his father: I want to go to Houston.
Dad (not really paying attention): What?
Kid: I want to go to Houston.
Dad: Oh, okay. Your mom will take you.

- A guy on my flight wore a button that stated “I lost 40 pounds. Ask me how.” He also wore a fancy Herbalife shirt, so I’m guessing that might be part of the reason why he lost 40 pounds. I wonder if Herbalife sponsored him to wear the shirt and button. If so, I need to start a campaign where people wear a button that states “I read a mediocre to above-average blog. Ask me how.” along with a special Sean’s Ramblings T-shirt. I'll give someone $2 to do this, though you'll have to create your own T-shirt. Perhaps, you can contact Get Fresh Designs to make you one.

- Since we travelled with a small child and needed extra time, we were able to board the flight before anyone else. What an excellent feeling! I felt like I was boarding my own private jet. I could put my carry-on bag in an overhead compartment of my choice. Take that first-class people (even though there was no first class section on the plane)!

- We were extremely worried about how our child would react to the sudden change in altitude. Although we had a pacifier ready and were prepared to feed him at the first sign of discomfort, would he freak out and start screaming disrupting everyone on the flight? Well, he slept through take off and ate during the descent only crying when we tried to burp him. Please note that he always cries when we burp him (how dare we take the bottle away when he’s not finished eating!), so this was nothing new.

Overall, good flight. People were generally nicer to us realizing that we were traveling with a (very cute) infant who was on excellent behavior. I also have new respect and patience for anyone traveling with young kids.

Feel free to share your own stories or experiences, positive or negative, traveling with an infant whether as a parent or just a regular passenger sitting next to a young child.

Thursday, July 07, 2011


I demand a graphic with text in all CAPS for this announcement.

For the first since his birth 3.5 months ago, our son slept through the night! We put him to sleep around 8:30 PM last night, and he didn't wake up until 6:30 AM this morning. I have no idea if this is a one-time deal or the start of a welcome trend; however, this makes me so happy that I can dance like the Metro Party Boys!

(This video didn't seem to work for me earlier, so hopefully you are able to watch the Metro Party Boys dancing on the Metro on July 4th.)

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Cool Soccer Goal

Check out this cool goal by Darlington Nagbe (what a name!) of the Portland Timbers of the MLS.

From a soccer referee perspective, this is truly a great shot. If it was slightly lower, Darlington's teammate would have been called offsides either by heading the ball or possibly obstructing the goalie while in an offsides position, which would have negated the goal.

Of course, you can certainly ignore my analysis and just watch the video again!

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Trivia Tuesday

If you're working today, I'm sure that you don't feel like working following the long holiday weekend. Therefore, I present to you several Sporcle quizzes to help you get through the day.

You have eight minutes to name the MLB players with the most home runs against each franchise. I scored a 108 out of 156 answers, but should have done better since I missed a few obvious answers.

Name the 50 Largest US Cities without setting off the mine by naming a city from #51-100. This is fun but frustrating. I scored 19 out of 51 answers correctly before hitting a "mine" causing the game to end.

Can you name the cities which had the largest Jewish populations in 1939. Only 15 of 42 for me.

I think I'm off my game as I didn't score very well on any of these quizzes. Now, it's your turn. Take the quizzes and share your results in the comments section below. Good luck!