Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 Sean's Ramblings Year In Review

Welcome to my 9th annual year in review, where I take the first few lines of the first entry of each month in order to produce a random and (hopefully) interesting summary of 2013.

January - Have you ever wondered who visits Sean's Ramblings and how they found this blog? No? Really, it's just me?

February - With the Super Bowl over, it's time to turn our attention to hockey, college basketball and even baseball's Spring Training. Dan, who formally announced his retirement from blogging and one of the people who inspired me to start Sean's Ramblings, passed on this story from last week.

March - We're going all the way to Kuwait for the first video.

April - Today's post comes from Ya Jagoff! ,and is part of a special day of shenanigans from other Pittsburgh Bloggers. Enjoy (and make sure to read all the way to the bottom to see where you can find my guest post)!

May - Although I'm not in the market for a new home, it never hurts to look, right? I've lived in Northern Virginia for almost 12 years, so staying in the Washington DC area makes sense. Obviously, I would want something bigger than where I currently live.

June - The Pittsburgh Penguins are in the Eastern Conference Finals and the Pittsburgh Pirates are tied for the second best record in the majors. Therefore I'm writing about, um, the Pittsburgh Steelers today. I recently received an e-mail from NFLShop.com selling Steelers swimwear.

July - Although this video is a month old, how often have you seen Thomas Dolby perform "She Blinded Me With Science" with astronaut Buzz Aldrin?

August - Although I've followed the Pittsburgh Pirates as closely as ever, I've avoided writing this blog post for many weeks. After collapses in both 2011 and 2012, my fear is that the Pirates will collapse again as soon as I write about the team's success.

September - My son starts his first day of preschool today. It's a brand new place for him with teachers and other kids he has never met. Plus, instead of sleeping in a crib or pack-and-play, he's going to sleep on a mat for the first time.

October - Today should be a happy day as the Pittsburgh Pirates are playing in their first playoff game since 1992. After 20 straight losing seasons, it has been an extraordinary year watching Andrew McCutchen stake his claim as the National League MVP, Pedro Alvarez tie for the league title in home runs, and the pitching staff seemingly always getting key outs. Unfortunately, one of the biggest Pirates fans I know, my cousin Bob, passed away Friday night.

November - You may have noticed that I don't update Sean's Ramblings nearly as often as I used to. I could share a variety of excuses, but really, it's President Obama's fault.

December - You've seen matryoshka dolls (I looked up the name), or Russian nesting dolls, where there are dolls of decreasing size placed inside other dolls. Personally, I think these are really cool. I have no idea where my aunt found this but she gave me one of former Pittsburgh Penguin great Jaromir Jagr.

I hope that you enjoyed Sean's Ramblings in 2013! Thanks for your support, and I'll "see" you here in 2014. Have a Happy New Year!

Monday, December 30, 2013

Steelers-Browns-Chiefs-Chargers Recap

It's time to put the Terrible Towels away until next season. Start the season 0-4 and lose to an awful Oakland Raiders team and you really don't deserve to make the playoffs. Sure, the Steelers should have reached the playoffs based on the mediocre San Diego Chargers' performance against the replacement Kansas City Chiefs (more on this below), but that obviously didn't happen. Here are some of my thoughts about the Steelers-Browns game:

- Steelers RB Le'Veon Bell ran for 90 yards and a TD. He finished the season with 1163 total yards in 13 games. I'm excited to see how Bell progresses in the future.

- While drunk driving is extremely dangerous and drunk drivers certainly deserve the appropriate punishment, you would think that Robocop would do more than catch drunk drivers.

- After Troy Polamalu made a tackle CBS announcer Steve Beuerlein said "You see the way he throws his body around & just gives it up." That sounds a little dirty.

- J.J. Watt should enjoy being in all of these commercials now. On a 2-14 team, he won't be in many (or any) next year.

- At 3:34, Ziggy started knocking things off of the dining room table to get my attention since he wanted food. Doesn't he understand that the Steelers game was on (and that it was too early to eat)?

- Antonio Brown had another solid game (9 catches, 87 yards) as part of an incredible season where he became the first player in NFL history to have at least 5 receptions and 50 yards in all 16 regular season games. While I'm not going to compare Brown with Calvin Johnson, the best WR in the NFL, I do see some potential similarities in the other wide receivers around them. Johnson has never had a really good #2 receiver, though that hasn't stopped him. Meanwhile, with Emmanuel Sanders a free agent, Jerricho Cotchery a year older and Markus Wheaton unimpressive as a rookie, it will be interesting to see how the Steelers surround Brown next year.

I really don't have much more to write about the Steelers game. Jarvis Jones and Lawrence Timmons both played well. The offense played good enough to win, the special teams didn't make any mistakes and the defense played a solid game.

This brings us to the post game. With the Dolphins and Jets both losing, if the Chargers defeated Kansas City, they would be the #6 seed. If they lost to Kansas City, the Steelers would be in the playoffs. It would have been nice if Heinz Field stayed open to show the game on the scoreboard.

What would have been more fun was if the NFL had cameras in the Steelers locker room showing them watching the Chiefs-Chargers game. Better yet, maybe the team could have watched the game at Mike Tomlin's house. Imagine seeing Brett Keisel's reaction when one of Tomlin's kids stands in front of the TV!

- In the NBA, injured or inactive players tend to wear suits or at least dress nicely on the bench. In the NHL, scratched players dress nicely in the booth. Kansas City players such as Alex Smith and Jamaal Charles sure looked professional...wearing Chiefs T-shirts and shorts.

- KC running back Knile Davis is by far my favorite person named Knile.

- Ryan Succop missed a field goal at the end of regulation that would have put the Steelers in the playoffs. That sucked.

- The Chargers ran perhaps one of the dumbest plays in NFL history by doing a fake punt from their own 28 yard-line. If they were unsuccessful, the Chiefs would be in field goal range to try to win the game (again). Instead, the determination that the runner's forward progress was stopped even though there was no whistle or indication by a referee as to where to spot the ball. Oh, and the play couldn't be reviewed. Behind the Steel Curtain has more on this.

- There was also the penalty that should have been called that wasn't called during the final Succop field goal. For all of the complaints about this though, I didn't see anyone mention this during the broadcast or on Twitter when this happened.

Remember my first paragraph about the Steelers not deserving to make the playoffs? San Diego is not much better. They lost to Houston and Washington, the two worst teams in the NFL. Miami & Baltimore don't have any rightful claims to the final AFC Wild Card spot either. Oh well. Big off-season for the Steelers, but I'm optimistic about the team's future.

Friday, December 27, 2013

2013 News Bloopers (Friday Video)

This is an enjoyable and funny video of the best news bloopers of 2013. Please note that it may be NSFW due to some bad words here and there from newscasters. There's also an ad around the 7:15 mark that is fairly annoying. I get ads at the beginning of videos, but why put one in the middle? Anyway, have fun, and I dare you not to laugh.

h/t Deadspin

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Random Ramblings

- Over the past few days, my son successfully used the potty three times. This is a huge accomplishment, and one that I felt needed to be shared on Twitter.

Yes, I really did read The Washington Post Magazine's Date Lab to him on the potty. While I think he is headed in the right direction in becoming potty trained, I learned last night that there is still a long way to go. After sitting on the potty for 10-15 minutes without going while I read him books (and part of Date Lab), as soon as he got off the potty, he urinated on the towel on the floor.

- My car hit 100,000 miles near the Virginia-North Carolina border in March 2012 as part of my annual hockey road trip . My car just reached 110,000 miles a few days ago. Only 10,000 miles in 21 months is fairly impressive.

- Why is orange juice sold in a refrigerated section of grocery stores while apple juice is not?

- In the Yiddish language, the number three is dray. Yes, now every time you hear a Dr. Dre song, you'll think about him as Dr. Three.

- I planned on dedicating an entire blog post to the new online soccer referee recertification exam, but part of the annual recertification class involved a session on social media. We are not to discuss confidential information, so I cannot write that I'm going to work several matches in Brazil next year as part of a tournament that rhymes with Morld Pup.

- There are radio stations that play on Christmas songs in December, but why not a station that plays only love songs around Valentine's Day? How about stations that play summer songs in July (they could play Summertime by DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince on a loop!) or Halloween songs in October (all Monster Mash, all the time)?

- Finally, I just learned that I know the person who coined the phrase Thanksgivukkah. Go Pittsburgh people!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Crazy Fantasy Football Championship Finish

I'm in 6 fantasy football leagues this year. In hindsight, this is too many leagues. Actually, I realized that this is too many leagues by week 3. Anyway, perhaps due to being in too many leagues, I had a terrible fantasy football season. I only made the playoffs in 2 of the 6 leagues and was eliminated in the first round of the playoffs in one of those leagues. However, I reached the championship in the Pittsburgh Bloggers fantasy football league only to see one of the weirdest and wildest endings in fantasy history. Well, at least my extensive football history.

Going into Monday night, Sean's Team (yes, that's my actual team name) led Shrimp Shack Shooters ("SSS") by 4 points. I had the 49ers defense while SSS had Tony Gonzalez starting. Here's your fantastic finish:

With 2 minutes and 10 seconds remaining, I had a 5 point lead.

2:09 - Tony Gonzalez with a TD catch, but there are two flags on the play...both on SF. The TD catch gave SSS 6 points while causing my DEF to lose points. Instantly, SSS took a 4 point lead.

Atlanta recovers an onside kick. Tony Gonzalez makes another catch or two increasing SSS' receiving yards (& fantasy points).

1:10 - NaVorro Bowman of the SF intercepts a Matt Ryan pass and returns it 89 yards for a TD. The 8 points (6 for the TD & 2 for the INT) gives me a 2 point lead. Woo!

:21 - Gonzalez with an 11 yard catch reduces my lead to 1.

:05 - Gonzalez with a 9 yard catch. While I believe that we're tied, all of a sudden, I'm down 2. I get very confused. (I later discover that Gonzalez's catch gives Atlanta 402 total yards. In the league you get -1 points if your defense allows 350-399 yards but -3 when your defense gives up 400-449 yards. We need to change this next year.)

Last play of the game - SF intercepts the Hail Mary pass. We're tied!

Go to the league rules for tie-breakers, but there are none. Who is the Commissioner of this league? (It's me. Crap.) Well, I'm blaming Alex since he created the league and the rules last year.

So we have a tie and no tie-breaker. I can't say that I'm a fan of a co-champions. Am I the Miami Hurricanes while SSS is the Washington Huskies? One possible solution is to use bench points as a tie-breaker. In this scenario, SSS would win. While I'm fine with giving SSS the title, but we can't really make a new rule on Christmas Eve, right? Christmas spirit or fantasy integrity or something?

Regardless, this was an exciting ending!

Update: For some reason, ESPN determined that SSS won the league. Maybe because he had a better regular season record than me?

Monday, December 23, 2013

Holiday Videos

There's a good chance that you have already seen these holiday videos, but if not, enjoy the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Holderness family videos.

Of all of the song titles, my favorite is "Do Jussi What I See?"

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Pittsburgh, Virginia?

Are you a Pittsburgher living in Virginia and looking for a last minute Christmas gift? Here's your chance to show your Pittsburgh spirit by, um, wearing a T-shirt with the word Pittsburgh over the map of Virginia.

While I don't get it, I'll let Teespring, the company designing these shirts, explain:

There are many Pittsburgh fans in the state of Virginia, but unique Penguins fan gear is hard to find. (Sean's note: It is even more unique to find Penguins fan gear that doesn't include anything about the Penguins on it.) Be one of a kind with this Virginia for Pittsburgh limited edition shirt. (You certainly will be one of a kind.)

Each shirt is printed on super soft premium material and remember we always offer a money back guarantee! (Not just soft, super soft!)

This shirt would be perfect...if you lived in Pittsburgh, Virginia. According to Google maps, although there are several Pittsburgh Paints stores in Virginia and a Pittsburgh Tank & Tower Corporation in Virginia Beach, there is no such place as Pittsburgh, Virginia.

Anyway, an ad for Virginia for Pittsburgh T-Shirts appeared on my Facebook feed. In looking at the reactions, plenty of other folks were confused, or worse (several NSFW comments), about these T-shirts. Ah the holiday spirit!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Friday Video: Recovery by Frank Turner

Have you ever thought that you discovered a new artist and/or new song way before everyone else only to learn that the YouTube video for the song has 1.8 million views? I know that I'm not alone on this one (right?). In this case, I'm describing Frank Turner, who apparently is no relation to Ike Turner or Frank Thomas, and his song Recovery.


Thursday, December 19, 2013

Where The Jews At

I love maps. I also love seeing maps with various colors representing, well, anything. In this case, Joshua Comenetz created this map of the U.S. Jewish population by the 113th Congressional districts.

This is fascinating. Here are some notes on the project:

- The estimate of the Jewish population in all Congressional Districts is 6,735,830, approximately 2.18% of the total U.S. population.

- Not surprisingly, there are more Jews in New York City and the greater NYC area than anywhere else. Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Miami, Baltimore, Washington, and San Francisco/San Jose also have Congressional districts with at least 50,000 Jews.

- Conversely, there are virtually no Jews anywhere in North Dakota or South Dakota. The least Jewish district is Oklahoma's 2nd district with 0.004% of the population or 30 people. That's less than the number of people in the Pittsburgh Pirates dugout during a regular season game!

- There are over 10,000 Jews in the southeastern Arizona Congressional district? Even if Tucson is part of this district, that number seems high.

- Want more? The Berman Jewish Databank at the Jewish Federations of North America has a summary of the results including multiple downloads. My favorite is the Excel chart showing the estimated Jewish population of every Congressional district. Apparently, the district where I live has 22,000 Jews or 3.02% of the population

- Comenetz's 10-page PDF summary is available here.

- The Yeshiva World News has information too.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Before Guy Cool, After Guy Sad

We have all seen plenty of advertisements that feature before and after pictures. There's the bald guy in the before picture that thanks to some magical product has a full head of hair in the after picture. Sometimes you see Mike Ditka doing, um, something with his teeth. Easily the most common before-after advertisements show miraculous weight loss among the pictured individual(s). I often find that the pictures are so unclear that you're not even sure that the person is the same. Regardless, the person in the after picture always looks better. Right?

Welcome to this ad by Clarendon Fitness published in a recent Express.

While I believe that Clarendon Fitness wants to show that the guy lost weight due to his use of their gym, you're not quite sure based on the pictures. Does he really look thinner in the after picture? Besides, the guy looks happy, humorous and funny in the before picture and dejected and miserable in the after picture. Did anyone from Clarendon Fitness notice this while proofing the ad? Maybe they were just looking at the woman in the bikini.

The guy is not really the best endorsement for the gym. Of course, maybe everyone is just looking at the woman.

Update: It's always fun when I hear from the company that was the subject of my blog post. Take it away, Clarendon Fitness.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The Secret Life of Derek Anderson

You may remember Derek Anderson as probably the greatest Cleveland Browns quarterback of the 21st century. Yes, that's not really high praise. In 2007, Anderson threw for 29 touchdowns (and 19 interceptions) while leading the Browns to a 10-6 record and earning a spot in the Pro Bowl. Of course, Anderson never matched that success going 8-17 as a starter over the next three seasons including a 2-7 record as a member of the Arizona Cardinals. While you may know that Anderson is still in the league as a member of the Carolina Panthers, you may not know that he is an illustrator of one of my son's favorite books: The Potty Train.

While my son really does love this book written by David Hochman & Ruth Kennision and illustrated by Anderson, it really hasn't helped with potty training. We read the book while he is on the toilet, but it's not like he has actually gone potty. Getting back to Anderson, who knew that the former Oregon State quarterback had the time and the ability to illustrate children's books?

Of course, perhaps I have the wrong Derek Anderson. Maybe the illustrator is actually the Derek Anderson who won an NCAA basketball championship with Kentucky and an NBA Championship with the Miami Heat as part of his 12-year NBA career.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Razor Review

I hate shaving. If it were up to me, I'd look like Brett Keisel or one of those Duck Dynasty guys.

Of course, that type of beard may not go over well with some members of family and colleagues. Plus, there would likely be a little gray in my beard these days. Therefore, I generally shave about 6 days per week. It takes way too much time to shave, and despite shaving for about 25 years, I still manage to cut myself more often than I should. Yes, razors can be expensive, but I do what I have to do to look this good!

Enter the MicroTouch One razor.

I jumped at the opportunity to get this razor for free just for reviewing this product. According to the product description, MicroTouch One is the modern version of the timeless classic safety razor. A substantial and precision-crafted tool, MicroTouch One is made of solid brass and chrome plated to a beautiful, polished shine. The razor and the case certainly look cool.

Plus, Rick Harrison of Pawn Stars calls the MicroTouch One razor "the best shave of your life." Although I enjoyed watching Pawn Stars several years ago, I have to disagree with Harrison. Using the MircoTouch One, I had one of the worst shaves of my life, and I've had a lot of bad shaves. After shaving with the MicroTouch One, I actually had to use my regular razor to even the shave. To be fair to MicroTouch One, there's a very good chance there was user error. The product was heavier than I was used to, and I wasn't exactly sure that I put the razor in properly. It never felt right though I could certainly feel a razor against my skin. While I could (and probably should) try the razor again, I just don't have time in the morning to mess around with this again.

For $19.99, the case, the razor and the 12 blades seems like a good deal. It just wasn't for me.

Despite this not-so-glowing review, I'm certainly happy to continue to review other products companies want to send me for free! Operators are standing by!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Random Quotes

- Although we've already discussed Selena Gomez singing about Mr. T in her song Slow Down, there's another line that I wanted to bring to your attention.

You know I'm good with mouth to mouth resuscitation.

Does that mean that Selena Gomez has her CPR license? Has she actually saved someone from drowning in her previous job as a lifeguard? Is there a rating system of mouth to mouth resuscitation and how do we know that Selena is on the good side?

- I recently completed Billy Crystal's book Still Foolin' 'Em: Where I've Been, Where I'm Going, and Where the Hell Are My Keys? I found the book entertaining and found many of his stories, including any interaction with Muhammad Ali, fascinating. Of course, I needed to share his experience playing in a Spring Training game as a member of the New York Yankees against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

"The Pirates pitcher was Paul Maholm: six foot two, 220 pounds, from Mississippi. Never been to a Seder."

"The windup, the pitch. It's a cutter. The nastiest cutter I've seen since my bris."


- A few weeks ago, Bob Smizik of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette wrote a blog post about how aggressive the St. Louis Cardinals had been in upgrading their roster. Commentor Bill Maloni wrote my favorite reply.

Um, because he's a prospect for the Pirates?

They don't have the money to sign Byrd; they don't have the money to sign Peralta; they bailed at giving AJ an offer sheet; and they missed out on Jack Johnson.

How could the Pirates miss out on Jack Johnson? Clearly, the team needed to get the laid-back, Hawaiian musician on their roster!

- Unlike Lady Gaga in her new song with R Kelly, I have never told anyone that they can do what they want with my body. Have you?

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

My Grammar Battle with a Newspaper Editor

Let me preface this post by stating that grammar, spelling and vocabulary are not my strong suits. My SAT verbal score was below average. It's actually amazing that I've written this blog for so long.

I also understand that grammar and spelling are seemingly non-existent on Twitter. People type quickly or post Tweets from their phones which can make it difficult for editing. Plus, many people mistake your for you're way too often. Maybe it is wrong of me, but I tend to hold journalists and editors to a higher standards on Twitter than your typical high school student. That's why I am irked by this with correspondence Jerry Micco, the Assistant Managing Editor/Sports at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Take a look at the first Tweet. By my count, Jerry only used 110 of the 140 characters allotted by Twitter. Seems like there are more than enough characters to add an extra "L" and "W" particularly when there are two spaces between Mike and Tomlin.

To Jerry's reply to me, is there a spelling police? Maybe this is some kind of NSA force that Edward Snowden exposed. Jerry might know this through his newspaper access.

Oh, it's always nice to be called dude by a guy in his mid to late 50s.

Monday, December 09, 2013

Steelers-Dolphins Recap

The Steelers season is over. I mean, they're still going to play three more games, but the team has virtually no chance of making the playoffs. The Steelers have had moments this season where they looked amazing, but there have been more times when they have not looked good. Too many offensive turnovers early in the season. The inability for the defense to make big stops. Injuries. Questions about coaching and personnel. There's going to be a lot of talk in the next few days, weeks and months about where the team goes from here, but, as the title suggests, I want to share my thoughts about Sunday's game. As always, my recaps are different than any other Steelers recap you'll read.

- Let's start with the final play of the game. Here's what I think the Dolphins players were thinking during this play.

Oh, this is cute. The Steelers are going to try to lateral all over the field. Oh, an offensive lineman has the ball. Hilarious. Isn't this where they started at the beginning of the play? Back to Big Ben. Wait, is he allowed to throw it down the field again? Let's just tackle him anyway. He just flipped the ball to Antonio Brown. Was that a forward lateral? Hold on. Antonio Brown has the ball. Holy crap! Not Antonio Brown. He's really, really fast and really, really good. Uh oh. Uh oh. Ref called him out of bounds. He was out, right? Okay. Whew. That was close. Let's get out of the cold and get some Smiley Cookies.

- I'm always amazed at the number of players who do not wear long-sleeve shirts underneath their jerseys on cold games. What you usually don't see is the same players putting on heavy jackets on the sidelines. I think NFL players are sending the wrong message here. Basically, their actions are showing that it is okay to expose your arms in freezing temperatures. This could increase the number of potential frostbite cases among people trying to emulate their favorite players. WOULD SOMEONE PLEASE THINK OF THE CHILDREN!

- For the Steelers, you can't expect to win while giving up 181 rushing yards, especially when Daniel Thomas (!) runs for over 100 yards.

- Cameron Heyward has really played well this season. He had 10 tackles on Sunday, including a sack, and a batted-down pass. Heyward just needs to be careful to not go all Hulk Hogan and slam his opponents down on the turf.

- The Dolphins have an offensive lineman named John Jerry. I bet you didn't know this, but John Jerry Jingleheimer Schmidt; his name is my name too!

- This is the only truly serious part of the recap, so feel free to skip this section if you'd like to read my usual humorous banter. During the Thanksgiving game against the Ravens, Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell appeared to get knocked unconscious late in the game and was later diagnosed with a concussion. As the witty announcer Dan Fouts said, he got his Bell rung. Cute. Anyway, with all we have learned about concussions and brain injuries over the past few years, it seems, questionable, at best that Bell returned to the field only 10 days after his injury. I guess that the doctors cleared him to play, but his head injury has to be concerning.

- It seems like nearly every Steelers-Dolphins game is played in bad weather. There was the 3-0 Steelers win in a 2007 Monday Night game which started late due to a major thunderstorm. I also seem to remember a game in Miami where there was tropical storm rain.

- Grudge Match with Robert De Niro and Sylvester Stallone looks like a terrible movie. I hope that Alan Arkin is getting paid well to appear in this film.

- I was surprised that Troy Polamalu's interception return for a touchdown was only his 3rd pick-6 of his career. I thought he had more.

- Miami's Charles Clay is arguably the most successful Clay since former Congressman Henry Clay. You didn't expect to see a reference to the former Whig Party Presidential candidate as well the Speaker of the House and Senator from Kentucky in the Dolphins-Steelers recap, did you?

I'm guessing a live blog of next week's Sunday night game against the Bengals is unlikely.

Thursday, December 05, 2013

The Curse Of Taylor Swift

Take a look at this picture:

From left to right, you have Max Talbot, Jordan Staal, Taylor Swift, Alex Goligoski & Tyler Kennedy. I'm not sure when this picture took place, but it was at a time when the four guys pictured all played for the Pittsburgh Penguins while Taylor Swift wasn't feeling 22 yet. Anyway, all four of the players are no longer part of the Penguins organization, and while they have each done well financially, they have not achieved the level of professional success they did as members of the Penguins. So is there a Taylor Swift curse?

From yesterday's Pittsburgh Post-Gazette interview with Tyler Kennedy:

It’s pretty crazy, but that’s hockey. Not too many guys stay with the same team their whole career. Maybe it was that Taylor Swift [jinx] thing. I don’t think I’ll be going to any concerts in San Jose with Taylor Swift, that’s for sure. But I thought we really came together as a line, and I think we had a great two, three years. We really became close as friends. Maybe that’s why we did so well on the ice. The biggest thing was, we just played well together.

(emphasis added)

Did they know she was trouble when she walked in? I wonder if there are teardrops on guitars somewhere.

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

What Is The Worst Excuse You Ever Used?

My trip to the dentist on Monday reminded me of a visit to my pediatric dentist as a kid. During the cleaning many years ago, my dentist asked me if I knew there was a piece of bread or cereal in my mouth. My reply was no and that I thought it was a tooth. I don't think that reply went over very well with him.

Possibly because of this incident, I make sure to brush my teeth and not eat anything else after brushing before my appointment. I also learned not to provide excuses to dentists. I currently have a great relationship with my dentist, and she even got us an electric toothbrush as a wedding gift. I think that one of the reasons is that we have an honest and open teeth relationship. Early on, she asked me if I floss, and I said no. She hasn't asked me since, and my teeth have always looked good. I've had other dentists tell me that I should floss, and for some reason, I resent this. It's like the dentists went to some type of school that teaches them to guilt patients into buying floss. I bet Oral-B is behind this!

So what's the worst excuse that you ever used? Did it work?

On a completely different subject, why is there still no updated technology for x-raying teeth so that you don't have to wear the heavy vest?

Monday, December 02, 2013

Found In My Basement: European Penguins

You've seen matryoshka dolls (I looked up the name), or Russian nesting dolls, where there are dolls of decreasing size placed inside other dolls. Personally, I think these are really cool. I have no idea where my aunt found this but she gave me one of former Pittsburgh Penguin great Jaromir Jagr.

Inside Jagr are a collection of Penguins from the late 1990s all from the USSR (Darius Kasparaitis, Alex Kovalev, Aleksey Morozov) or Czechoslovakia (Jagr & Martin Straka)

I feel like Robert Lang or Jan Hrdina were probably upset that they weren't included. Oh, this doll is out of my basement and into the living room.

Please make sure to see other items found in my basement.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

The Choice Is Yours

With this post, I made through it all thirty days of National Blog Posting Month ("NaBloPoMo"). I hope that you joined me throughout this adventure and enjoyed the ride. Actually, unless you read my blog while driving (probably not a good idea) or in a car, you likely didn't go on a ride. Anyway, do not expect 31 blog posts for December, but I'll definitely post throughout the month.

Now, enjoy Black Sheep for your Saturday.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Celebrate Hanukkah With Pickles

Happy Hanukkah (or Chanukah or whatever way you would like to spell it)! I hope that you are including the tradition of eating pickles as part of your celebration. Not familiar with this tradition? Well, I explained the history of pickle tasting/eating last year:

The tradition of eating pickles on Chanukah dates back centuries decades to 1998 in the biblical town of Jerusalem San Diego. On a cold (for San Diego) December day, there was a Kosher Pickle Taste Test at San Diego State University. Hundreds of student, faculty and staff participated in this extremely successful event. The next day, SDSU’s student newspaper, The Daily Aztec, showed pictures of the event on the front page.

And with that, a tradition was born. Help spread this relatively new tradition by eating pickles this Chanukah.

If you celebrate, I wish you and your family a Happy Chanukah!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thanksgiving Message 2013

On this Thanksgiving, I wanted to share this message for you and your family:

Turkey and sweet potato pie
Sammy Davis Jr. only had one eye

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Trivia Wednesday

I wasn't planning on posting trivia this week, so that's why we're having Trivia Wednesday instead of Trivia Tuesday.

I'm dating myself (again), but do you remember the game show Classic Concentration hosted by Alex Trebek? The end game involved the contestant identifying a phrase or name based on pictured symbols. This week's trivia is somewhat like that. Your challenge is to name the ten artists and songs based on the pictured symbols below.

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 District Trivia.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Blogger Event at Fair Oaks Mall Recap

Let's go back to a time before Rihanna won the American Music Awards' Icon award. A time before the Minnesota Vikings led by QB Christian Ponder tied the Green Bay Packers led by Matt Flynn. I'm sure that people will remember both of these events for generations. Yes, let's go all the way back to last Wednesday when I wrote about my apprehension of going to a Northern Virginia blogger event. Well, I attended the event hosted by Andrea of the Real Housewives of Northern Virginia at Fair Oaks Mall and had a nice time. All of the bloggers were nice (some had even read my blog post) and the staff at Fair Oaks Mall were extremely generous. Plus, free food and drinks! Let's go to the recap.

I arrived at the mall just in time to be escorted to Champps for the first course. We had chicken tenders and chicken skewers, and I got my first opportunity to mingle. With other men, I can always use sports as a fall back conversation topic. With women, that doesn't always work. However, one of the first person I met was from Western Pennsylvania and is a Steelers fan. I figured this was a good sign.

Despite writing Sean's Ramblings for nearly nine (yes nine!) years, I have a hard time describing this blog. Most of the people I met have specific themes to their blogs like Amy of A Little Nosh, who writes about family-friendly recipes, and Gina of Money Wise Moms, who writes about family finance and frugal fun. My blog is all over the place and always has been. With all of the Mom bloggers in attendance, I felt the need to say that my blog involves fatherhood posts, which it does, but I also write about TV, pop culture, Pittsburgh sports, and so many other topics.

After Champps, we visited the new Michael and Sons Fun Zone and got to be the first people to explore the play area before the grand opening which occurred last Friday.

There seems to be more seating than the previous play area and there's only one entrance making it easier to track your child(ren). I also had the opportunity to speak with the designer who explained that the material used in the fun zone is anti-bacterial. That was a huge hit. In case you're wondering, yes, I went down the slide.

After more free food courtesy of Luciano Italian Restaurant & Pizzeria, we saw Santa and the Ice Princess at the mall's Ice Palace. While I was impressed with all of the work put into building the Ice Palace including a cool room with falling "snow," Santa really isn't my thing. I'm more of a Hanukkah Harry guy.*

I didn't sit on Santa's lap or tell him what I wanted for Christmas, so I just wished him a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Then, I approached the Ice Princess and asked her if people visit Santa and then completely skip her. She replied that many girls like to take pictures with her, but most boys pass since they can't get past the princess label.

Our final stop of the evening was dessert at Sbarro. More free food! Overall, I enjoyed the event and was glad that I attended. I met some fascinating people and even got a few parenting tips. The Fair Oaks Mall staff were terrific, and the new Fun Zone is going to be a big hit with kids and their parents. (There's a 100% chance my son will play at the Fun Zone this winter.)

Meanwhile, I'm excited to attend the next Northern Virginia event whenever that takes place, particularly if it involves free food!

* This is now two 1980s era Saturday Night Live references in the past three days. Clearly, I have not watched the show much in the past 10 years.

Fun Zone photo courtesy of Our Kids.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Steelers-Browns Recap

It is extremely difficult to concentrate on the Steelers game while entertaining my two year old child. Fortunately, enjoying to wave the Terrible Towel seems to be passing to the next generation. When the Steelers score a touchdown, I wave my Terrible Towel and yell "Wooooo." I then hand the towel to my son, and he does the same thing. It is incredibly cute. We had the opportunity to do that three times on Sunday. Then we went back to stacking blocks.

The Steelers defeated Cleveland 27-11. Here are some notes about the game:

- I really miss Myron Cope referring to the Cleveland Browns as the Cleve Brownies.

- Before the opening kickoff, CBS broadcaster Solomon Wilcots said that people in Northern Ohio live for this weather, meaning cold and windy. While I haven't spent that much time in Cleveland, I don't remember having any conversations with anyone who lives there or is from there that "lives for" the cold weather. Seems like folks in Northern Ohio enjoy the summer weather at Cedar Point.

- A lot of people are going to credit the Steelers offensive line for the win. That makes sense as the Browns had no sacks. Not as noticeable but also impressive was the fact that the Steelers only had 2 penalties for 8 yards. Besides one illegal formation penalty, there were no false starts or holding calls against the Steelers.

- A +4 turnover margin and 5 sacks by the Steelers defense were also huge.

- Ray Horton, the Browns defensive coordinator, served as a Steelers coach for several years. Apparently, CBS invested serious money and/or energy putting a camera outside the Browns coaching box as they showed Horton constantly in the first half.

- Cameron Heyward showed a really good stiff-arm while running after his fumble recovery.

- I don't understand something. Ben Roethlisberger throws right-handed but punts left-footed. Shouldn't he kick with his right foot?

- When I heard the announcers call Tank Carter, I thought of the former Steelers safety Tyrone "Tank" Carter. Turns out the Browns have a completely different player named Tank Carder.

- Seems like Browns' back-up running back F. Whittaker could get a better gig after winning an Oscar for Last King of Scotland and probably getting an Oscar nomination for The Butler.

- Steelers punter Mat McBriar got crushed on a kick but the ref only called running into the kicker. Apparently, the Browns needed to actually grab McBriar's leg and break it in half to get a roughing the kicker penalty.

- I hate Ramsey from this Bud Light commercial. If a friend purposely dumped the chips on the floor, he's not getting invited back.

- I hope that Antonio Brown traded jerseys with Josh Gordon after the game like he did with Calvin Johnson last week. Brown had another good game, but Gordon was nearly unstoppable.

- Do you know the game, give me five, on the side, up high, down low, you're too slow? I feel like Keisel is doing the up high part to Dick LeBeau.

The Steelers are now undefeated (3-0) when they know I'm going to write a recap of their game.

Thanks to Cotter for the gifs.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Wayne's World Wayne's World Potty Time Excellent

Over the past few weeks, we've started to work on potty training with our son. When I write "work on potty training," this pretty much means that we put our son on the toilet before bath time or whenever he says potty. He sits on his special seat while we sit on the bathtub next to him and read him books. After anywhere from 5 to 20 minutes, he says all done and happily flushes the toilet. Of course, he has only actually "gone potty" once, and I've never actually seen it happen. Many evenings, he won't urinate in the toilet, but will do so almost immediately after we put him in the bathtub.

While I understand that the first step is actually getting him on the toilet, and he seems to enjoy that, how do you encourage him to actually use the toilet? Any suggestions?

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Muppets Most Wanted Trailer

Although I've only seen two movies in the theater this year, I came across this official trailer for the upcoming Muppets movie. I want to go to there.

Dominic Badguy made me laugh.

Friday, November 22, 2013

It's Good To Be A Bomber

Ithaca College and its most famous graduates are doing well right now. Gavin MacLeod, best known for his role on The Love Boat, recently released a book titled This Is Your Captain Speaking. (I'll have a review of the book sometime soon.) He's been making the rounds promoting his book including a stop on The Today Show. Meanwhile, David Boreanaz is back for another season of Bones as well as starring on DirecTV's Full Circle.

The Birthday Boys, of a new sketch comedy show with the same name on IFC is funny and seems to be doing well. (They even scored an interview with the newspaper of the other college in Ithaca.)

CCH Pounder has had a recurring role on Suns of Anarchy all season.

David Muir is the weekend anchor for ABC News' "World News" and co-anchor of "20/20."

Ithaca's athletic teams are also doing well. The football team hosts Framingham State University in the Division 3 playoffs on Saturday. The women's soccer team is the Sweet Sixteen round of the NCAA tournament and faces Messiah (not frequent reader and collaborator Messiah) this weekend.

Finally, I went to a Northern Virginia blogger event last night (more on that soon), and, um, am more than 2/3 of the way through NaBloPoMo. Yes, it's good to be a Bomber!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

My 2013-2014 Ted Marshall Open Picks

Although the 2013-2014 television season started months ago, I realized that I never shared my picks for this year's Ted Marshall Open TV Death Pool. I going to blame CW and Oh Sit for this since we still don't have a winner for the 2012-2013 season. JUST CANCEL THE SHOW ALREADY, CW!

Anyway, if you're not familiar with the Ted Marshall Open, it is a contest to see who can guess which TV shows will be canceled during the 2013-2014 season. As someone who has participated in the Open for several years, it completely changes the way you watch and think about television.

Here are the basic rules:
- Eligible shows include all first-run comedies, dramas, prime-time news, daytime and late-night shows running on the five major networks (ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, CW), except for weekend non prime-time shows.

- Certain shows, such Dancing with the Stars, have multiple airings per week. For a show to earn points, all airings of the show must be canceled.

- Each canceled show you selected earns 20 points, plus bonus points for where it was ranked. Your top ranked show earns 10 bonus points, your second 9 all the way down to 1. The maximum score possible is 255 points.

- A show is considered canceled when it is determined that there will be no more first run episodes of the selected show on any of the six major networks after September 8, 2014.

- A show must air at least one first-run episode between September 9, 2013 and September 8, 2014 on the five major networks for any points to be awarded. Shows like Law and Order: Criminal Intent are not eligible since the first-run episodes do not air on NBC.

And now, here are my picks:

10 - How I Met Your Mother (CBS)
9 - American Dad (FOX)
8 - Nikita (CW)
7 - Super Fun Night (ABC)
6 - We Are Men (CBS) - Already canceled!

5 - Dads (FOX)
4 - Ironside (NBC) - Already canceled!
3 - Reckless (CBS)
2 - Trophy Wife (ABC)
1- Sean Saves the World (NBC)

Overall, I feel pretty good about my picks. This is the final season of HIMYM, American Dad is scheduled to move to TBS next year, and this should be the last season of Nikita. The remaining shows are all new this season and don't appear to be doing well in the ratings. Reckless hasn't appeared yet, and while I don't remember what it is about, it seemed (to me) like a show that wouldn't last.

Finally, although Trophy Wife didn't look terrible and has actually received decent reviews, the show fell into my "Knights of Prosperity" rule this year. Several years ago, I selected The Knights of Prosperity, a show that featured Donal Logue and a not-yet famous Sofia Vergara, that was originally titled Let's Rob Mick Jagger (I believe). Although Jagger appeared in the first episode, the network wanted him to be a series regular. That didn't happen, so they changed the show's name. Basically, it appeared to be a mess, so I picked it for cancellation. While I ended up being right, I watched all of the episodes and found it to be a funny show. Therefore, while Trophy Wife might be good, I now refuse to watch new shows that I slated for cancellation.

Wish me luck!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Highway To The Uncomfortable Zone*

As I get older, I notice that I'm becoming more and more introverted. I have some good friends, but meeting new people and participating in new activities just doesn't interest me. However, I'm taking a big step out of my comfort zone later this week and felt the need to share.

While I have become involved in a Pittsburgh Bloggers group with some amazing people, the fact that I don't actually live in Pittsburgh anymore makes it difficult to truly get involved outside of the online part of the community. Therefore, I started looking for any type of Northern Virginia Blogging community and found out about an event for NoVa bloggers.

So now I'm scheduled to go to an event that seems geared toward Mommy bloggers. Not only will I know no one there, I will likely be one of the only men in attendance. 24 year-old me would be psyched about the potential female-to-male ratio (though maybe not with the likely age discrepancy and with the uncertainty about what to talk about with parents with young kids), but late 30s me is a little apprehensive and a bit nervous. While I'll share my experiences of the event soon, if anyone reads this and is a DC/NoVa blogger that wants more information about this event or wants to attend with me as a Wingman/Wingwoman, please let me know.

* I really am terrible at coming up with blog post titles.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Trivia Tuesday: 10 Pictures, 1 Eye

Happy Tuesday, boys and girls. Your challenge today is to name the one-eyed characters pictured below.

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 District Trivia.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Steelers-Lions Recap

It wasn't always pretty, especially in the second quarter, but the Steelers defeated the Detroit Lions yesterday in a stressful 37-27 game. After taking a 14-0 lead in the first quarter, you thought (or at least hoped) that the Steelers would cruise to an easy victory. Not so much. The Lions scored an incredible 27 points in the second quarter to take a 27-20 lead at halftime. The Steelers, led by Ben Roethlisberger's 367 passing yards and 4 touchdown passes, prevailed by holding Lions' wide receiver Calvin Johnson to zero catches in the second half while and not giving up any Lions points. Here are my notes from Sunday:

- I'm an Ike Taylor apologist. Over the past decade, he has been one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL. Taylor's biggest problem, at least in the eyes of some Steelers fans, is that he can't catch. Basically, all he does is shut down the #1 WR but doesn't create any turnovers. I'm fine with that and want Taylor on my team. With that written, Taylor had an awful first half. I think everyone expected Calvin Johnson, the best WR in the NFL, to make some catches against Ike. However, Taylor missed several tackles causing big plays to be even bigger.

- Early in the game, the Fox ticker showed that Chad Henne of Jacksonville was 2 for 2 for 71 yards and a TD. The ticker also showed Jags TE Mercedes Lewis as having 1 catch for 9 yards. I'd like to think I wasn't alone in wondering who had the other catch for the 62-yard TD.

- Detroit has an offensive lineman named LaAdrian Waddle. With a last name of Waddle, he probably knew as a child that he would play on the offensive line.

- Punter Mat McBriar redeemed himself in the second half, but is it too much to ask for a consistent punter? There has to be a member of the Colquitt family available somewhere.

- I think Fox went a little overboard with their "circle the player" graphic.

- The Steelers played Styx's Renegade twice. Has that ever happened before?

- I spent too much time biting my fingernails during the game. It's a terrible habit and can't be good for my teeth.

- The Steelers had multiple opportunities to score with the ball on Detroit's one-yard line. Did it ever occur to anyone to try a good old-fashioned QB sneak?

- With Festivus quickly approaching, we should all think about the final tradition of the Feats of Strength. I'd like everyone to try to emulate Ziggy Hood in his one-handed sack of Matthew Stafford.

- Does anyone know when the new Fox show Almost Human will debut?

- Did anyone else notice Calvin Johnson give up after Will Allen's interception? He made no effort in trying to tackle Allen.

- Finally, the Steelers are now 2-0 when they knew I was going to write a recap of the game.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Bat Kid

If you happened to avoid any news on Friday or during the weekend, perhaps you missed the story of Bat Kid. I'll let AP explain:

Dressed in a black Batman costume, his fists clenched as he took on foe after foe around San Francisco, a 5-year-old boy who has battled leukemia for years fulfilled his wish Friday to be his favorite superhero.

In the process, Miles Scott became a darling of social media and attracted thousands of fans around the country, including the White House.

The Make-a-Wish Foundation and the city of San Francisco did amazing work in helping make a kid's dream come true. Check out the videos below. Please note that it might start getting a little dusty in the room.

Batkid from San Francisco Chronicle on Vimeo.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Cortaca 2013

Today is a special day. Not only is it Talk Like a Pittsburgh Pirate Day, but it also the annual college football game between rivals Ithaca College and SUNY Cortland. I've written about the Cortaca game and the battle to win the Cortaca Jug many times over the years, so instead, I'm just going to provide some links about today's game below.

Here is a preview of the game courtesy of The Ithacan.

Here are your game notes from Cortland Athletics website.

The Ithaca Journal profiles IC coach Mike Welch & co-captain Will Carter.

The Ithacan profiles cousins Senior running back Rakim Jones and sophomore defensive lineman Tijah Henderson.

Finally, if you're in DC, watch the Cortaca game at Grand Central.

Go Bombers!

Update 11/17

Cortland defeated Ithaca 28-24. Boo. This is the recap by D3Football.com

Despite winning four straight games in this series, it seems like Cortland celebrated like this was the biggest win in school history. According to CNYCentral.com, about 30 people got arrested.

Actually, maybe Cortland students really needed to celebrate as the team's season is now over. Meanwhile, Ithaca advances to the D3 playoffs to host Framingham State next Saturday.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Talk Like A Pittsburgh Pirate Day

The writers, actors and everyone else associated with Parks & Recreation are brilliant. In the "Article Two" episode that aired on April 18th, the show featured this reference to Talk Like a Pittsburgh Pirate Day on November 16th:

It is extremely appropriate that the first celebration of Talk Like a Pittsburgh Pirate Day is talking place only two days after Andrew McCutchen won the National League MVP award. So on November 16th, go ahead and talk like McCutchen. Talk like Roberto Clemente. Talk like Bill Mazeroski. Talk like Willie Stargell. Talk like Bob Prince. Talk like Gerrit Cole or Pedro Alvarez or Starling Marte.

You can simply walk around saying No Doubt About It or Raise It while flashing folks the Zoltan sign.

Whatever you do, talk like a Pittsburgh Pirate!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Interview With Empty Netters' Seth Rorabaugh

I'm excited to introduce Seth Rorabaugh of Empty Netters in this latest installment of the Pittsburgh Sports Blogger Interview Series. Seth writes Empty Netters, a blog published on the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's website, which is a must-read for any Pittsburgh Penguins or hockey fan. I think you'll enjoy this.

You're in a unique situation where you write a blog for a major newspaper. What is your background and how did you start working for the Post-Gazette? Were you hired specifically to write Empty Netters?

I started working at the Post-Gazette in the fall of 1998 as a freelancer. I was going to and living at Point Park College (now university) for a degree in journalism. One of my professors was a copy editor at the Post-Gazette and got me a job just answering phones on Friday nights for high school football. I did that for a year answering phones for all sorts of sports such as basketball in the winter and baseball in the spring. The next fall, I "graduated" to typing agate (i.e. box scores, standings, statistics, etc.). A year after that (fall of 2000), I was hired a full-time news assistant typing agate and other entry-level things. I did a little writing for high schools and small colleges throughout the years and started doing a little copy editing on the night desk for sports. In 2007, I started doing the blog in my spare time. Over time, it's has morphed into a full-time position.

The Post-Gazette credentials get you access to the Penguins and NHL teams and players that most bloggers don't have. Have there been interviews or people that you met that stand out either in a good way or a not-so-good way? Have you ever been star struck?

There have been a ton of interviews that stand out in good and bad sense. Easily the best for me personally was when Sidney Crosby was kind enough to give me an hour and a half one day during the lockout. We just sat in the bleachers at Southpoint and talked. I think part of it was that he didn't have anything else to do. Over the years, I've encountered lots of good and surprising interviews. In no particular order, Paul Bissonnette, Martin Brodeur, Steve Yzerman, Frans Nielsen, Bryce Salvador, Nicklas Lidstrom, Andy Murray, Brent Johnson, Matt Niskanen, Teemu Selanne, Ben Lovejoy, Mike Commdore, Andrew Ference, Toby Petersen, Ron Francis, Patrick Roy, Scott Hartnell, Jaromir Jagr are some that really stand out in a good way. For various reasons, John Tortorella, Erik Karlsson, Peter DeBoer, Patrik Elias, Zdeno Chara, Brad Marchand, Lindy Ruff, Adam Oates and Dwayne Roloson stand out as some of the worst. I will admit I still get a little star struck around the likes of Jagr or anyone of that era that I grew up watching. I'm really eager to interview Selanne again when the Ducks are in town next week. I still act professionally (or I hope I do) when I interview those players, but the seventh-grader in me is ecstatic when some of those players come around.

A 90-minute conversation with Sidney Crosby seems unreal. What all did you talk about? I sort of hope him living at Mario's house came up.

During the lockout, we (myself and other Penguins reporters) talked to Crosby and the other Penguins players working out down at Southpointe a lot. Under normal circumstances, a PR person will usually shuffle you away after 10-15 minutes. During the lockout, the players and team employees were not allowed to interact so we sort of had free reign on talking to these guys on and off the record. Most of them were really generous of their times and sometimes, I think they just had nothing else to do other than talk to us. Crosby was sort of in that boat. One day, I just asked him if he had a little bit of time for an interview. He said yes and we just sat in the stands and talked. After about 20 minutes, I asked if he needed go leave. He said no. I asked again after 40 minutes and he said no again. I published this Q&A and it turned out great in my opinion.

Not a question but a comment. I'm not at all surprised that John Tortorella made your list for worst interview subjects.

The shame about Tortorella is that he is very intelligent and has some tremendous insight into the game. There are occasional moments (I.E. non-game days) where he will hold court with reporters and answer all kinds of questions about the general state of the game. One time, I asked him about the art of "clearing the crease." And talked about how different it is today with the newer interference rules and gave a very detailed response. Sadly, he doesn't offer much on the day of game.

One of my favorite features of Empty Netters are the pictures taken of folks wearing hockey jerseys. How did you start taking game-day pictures? Do you ask people to pose for pictures or just roam around the arena taking action shots?

When I would "live" blog the home games in the first year or so of EN, I would attend as a fan then watch the game on my DVR and type up the play by play. I would add my notes I took from the game in person and link to photos of a players jersey I saw. So if I saw someone in a Janne Laukkanen jersey, I basically would do a Google image search for a Janne Laukkanen photo and link to that. Eventually, I joined the rest of humanity and bought a phone with a camera and started just taking the photos.

During hockey season, you write multiple lengthy posts per day with play-by-play coverage of every Pens games as well as sharing links from throughout the hockey world. Do you have any hobbies during the season besides following/writing about hockey?

I'm a big college football fan but as the season really kicks in, my time to watch that sport wanes. I also have a fantasy football league with some of my best friends from high school. I can only really indulge most of my hobbies in the summer. During those months, I swim and ride my bike as much as possible.

Is there ever a time like a February game against the Florida Panthers where you want to take a night off?

There are times in October that I feel that way. I love this sport, but trying to cover it, or at least cover it well, is a very time consuming endeavor. Unlike baseball, covering a night game takes up an entire day virtually. A morning skate starts at 10:30 a.m. You stick around the rink to cover both teams' skates until roughly 1:30 p.m. You can get home, do a little writing/research then you need to be back at the rink by 5 p.m. for a 7 p.m. start. Depending how late the game goes, you might not leave until midnight. When you work in sports in any capacity, you must understand you have to sacrifice a lot of your free time. I've skipped a lot of weddings, parties, family events etc., to cover the team.

I'm always amazed at how much I seem to learn about Penguins players and history by your posts. Would you consider yourself a Pens historian?

I like to think I have a good mind on Penguins history but anytime I'm around Penguins broadcaster Bob Grove or PittsburghHockey.net Webmaster Jim Kubus, I feel pretty inadequate in that area. They are the best Penguins historians around.

Has your work ever been featured in the print section of the Post-Gazette? Would you like your work to be published there?

I occasionally write for the paper if I happen across an interesting story or even a scoop. Most of my work is online and frankly, I'm much more comfortable writing for an online format than a print. Mainly, I enjoy the virtually unlimited space you can write with on line.

Can you explain your post on The Pensblog about three years ago where you asked readers to contact the Post-Gazette editors about Empty Netters? (At this point, I fully expect you to take off the microphone, declare that this interview is over and storm out.)

Sean, I'm under a non-disclosure agreement with my editors to not discuss that post on the Pensblog publicly. I can only reference my post on EN which followed it up. I appreciate your understanding on that.

Why the "great" Joe Vitale? He can never replace the great Mike Zigomanis!

A former Penguins writer for the Post-Gazette used to reference Dick Tarnstrom as "the great Dick Tarnstrom" in Q&A's with the readers. As a bit of a "tribute" to that writer, I started calling Mike Zigomanis "The great Mike Zigomanis" when he strung together a few good games. When he left, that "honor" fell onto Martin Skoula and eventually Joe Vitale. Vitale actually asked me about it once this season because he follows me on Twitter and I explained to him the lineage with Zigomanis and Skoula. A teammate was privy to the conversation and sarcastically said, "That's some great company Joe." Vitale calls me "The great Seth Rorabaugh" in return.

Finally, do you have any predictions about the Penguins, either as a team or for individual players this season?

I think they'll be one of the five best teams in the NHL this regular season. But the regular season hasn't really been their problem the last few years. It's the postseason. I usually hesitate to predict the postseason this time of year. So many things like trades or injuries can occur between now and then.

Thanks again to Seth to participating in my interview series. Make sure to check out Empty Netters everyday and follow Seth on Twitter @emptynetters.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Great Story, But I Can't Think of a Good Title

A friend recently posted on Facebook that she got into the wrong car after dropping her child off at school. This reminded me of something that happened to me when I was in 9th grade. Let's go back in time. Picture it: Sicily. 1927. Actually, Western Pennsylvania. 1989. I was close to a straight A student for much of junior high*, but 9th grade was different. I struggled picking up French, but the biggest challenge was Biology. The teacher (we'll call him Butch for his high school nickname that I'm sure he regretted revealing) was tough. Not a mean tough, but a challenging tough. By the end of the year, you were going to learn a lot about biology**, but you were going to have to work hard. This was probably the first time where I truly had to work hard in school.

At some point during the year, I missed several days of class, and the teacher allowed me to stay after school to catch up. I don't remember the exact project, but basically, you put two fruit flies in a test tube, wait for the magic to happen, and then see how many fruit flies were in the test tube each day. They multiply quickly. Anyway, it must have been a Friday and Butch asked me to put the fruit flies in his car (how trusting!) since the school may have turned the heat off over the weekend. I guess the fruit flies could only live at a certain temperature. I put the box of fruit flies in the trunk of the car, quickly made copies of all of his keys for a later heist and returned the keys.

On Monday, my teacher approached me to see where I put the fruit flies. I told him that I exchanged them for Penguins tickets. (I did not say this.) I learned later that I actually put the flies in one of the English teacher's trunk. The cars were completely different colors and models, but I guess that I wasn't listening closely when he told me the type of car. The keys he gave me opened the trunk, so I figured that I had the right car.

Meanwhile, I think the box of fruit flies stayed in the puzzled English teacher's car all weekend. I don't know if any of them survived.

* Since I don't have my report cards in front of me, I'm sticking with this story.

** I'll always remember that the DNA bonds are A & T and G & C or "At Gold Circle." Does anyone remember Gold Circle? They had an amazing toy section.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Trivia Tuesday

While I do not condone gun violence or the sometimes excessive use of guns in movies, that has nothing to do with Trivia Tuesday. Your challenge today is to name the films based on the pictures below.

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

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