Thursday, January 28, 2016

Craig Adams Retires

Former Pittsburgh Penguin Craig Adams retired on Tuesday after playing 14 seasons in the NHL. I actually thought he retired when the Penguins didn't sign him to a new contract at the end of the 2014-2015 season. Adams is (I believe) the only NHL player born in Brunei and also attended a small Boston-area school called Harvard. Adams frustrated many Penguins fans at the end of his tenure for his lack of offensive, and even defensive, production. He also made the dumb decision to fight his own teammate, superstar Evgeni Malkin, in practice. Someone that went to Harvard should know better. With all of this written, I still have a bit of a soft spot for Adams.

Adams was claimed off waivers in March 2009, but his Stanley Cup experience and excellent work on the penalty kill helped lead the Penguins to their own Stanley Cup three months later. There was also a bit of a running joke that whenever Adams scored, which was infrequent (though he did score three goals during the 2009 Cup run), the Penguins won. However, my favorite Adams moment came off the ice during HBO's 24/7.

Now that I'm a father of a preschooler, I appreciate this video even more. My 4 year-old loves to rattle off names of his classmates or tell us who has what job (line-leader, calendar person, etc.). Maybe The Moose (my son) could have been an HBO star!

Monday, January 25, 2016

Winter Storm Jonas

If your city is going to be paralyzed by a blizzard, it might as well be an historic one. Winter Storm Jonas arrived in the DC area on Friday afternoon and finally finished its work sometime late Saturday night / early Sunday morning. While you can see the snow totals for the DC area here (my estimate is that we received about 27 inches at my home), I decided to give a thumbs up/thumbs down on the snowstorm.

Thumbs Up: Jonas. Look, I don't understand why every storm needs a name, but Jonas is fine particularly since the Jonas Brothers are probably thrilled by the extra exposure. Meanwhile, I hope that Hanson is plotting somewhere to have their own blizzard.

Thumbs Down: Snowzilla. Is this name really necessary? Why did this name make it in news stories?

Thumbs Up: My son (The Moose) helping shovel.

Thumbs Down: My street. The snow plow got stuck on Sunday morning, and I don't think it's been back since. My side of the street isn't bad but the other half is still a mess.

Thumbs Up: I found a bag of Stacy's Pita Chips. Sure the expiration date was last month, but they still taste good to me.

Thumbs Down: Sweets. I don't seem to have any here. I should have bought a bag of Hershey's kisses before the snow hit.

Thumbs Up: Me. I did an awesome job shoveling. Here are before and after pictures from Saturday morning.

Of course, we received another foot of snow after I finished, so there was much more shoveling. However, after I finished I felt like quoting Lords of the Underground. They don't understand, I'm the motherf'n man. (Some of the words in the video are NSFW.)

Thumbs Down: My car. I don't think it's ever getting out of this parking spot. My car is in the middle.

Thumbs Up: Pittsburgh Sports. Pitt won an exciting basketball game on Saturday afternoon while the Penguins defeated the Vancouver Canucks.

Thumbs Down: This was supposed to be the annual hockey road trip weekend. It didn't happen. Of course, the New York Islanders actually cancelled the game in Brooklyn, so maybe it will happen in February instead.

Thumbs Up: The Washington Post. The Capital Weather Gang provided great information over the past few days.

Thumbs Down: The Washington Post. I'm a Sunday subscriber, and while I didn't expect to receive the Sunday paper, I liked getting the circular on Friday. Unfortunately, instead of including the Comics, Travel and Arts sections, all I got was the weekly ads. Heaven forbid we don't know the sale prices at Kohl's and Target!

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

There seems to be a lot of hype about the upcoming Batman v Superman film. Personally, based on the picture below, I don't get it.

Of course, maybe the special effects will be unbelievable. I will give director Zack Snyder and the make-up people a lot of credit though. The Batman pictured doesn't look anything like Ben Affleck.

Friday, January 15, 2016

The Perfect Crime

I'm not a thief, but I'm going to play one today on the Internet. Recently, a man dressed in a Walmart uniform to steal from the store. Here's the story:

Authorities are searching for a man who may be stealing from Walmart stores by wearing an employee vest and who, on one recent occasion, used a ruse to get a cashier to walk away from their logged-in register, Fairfax County police said Thursday.

Police said the unidentified man walked up to a cashier at the Fair Lakes Shopping Center store around 4 p.m. on Dec. 15. He told the cashier that he was needed in the office and, after the cashier left without logging out of the register, proceeded to check out a customer before taking an undisclosed amount of cash.

This (and thinking about watching Ocean's Eleven) has inspired me to pull off my own heist. Look out, world. Prepare for the Blockbuster Bandit!

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

11th Annual State Of The Ramblings

President Obama may have had his final State of the Union on Tuesday, but the State of the Ramblings continues! 11 years is a long time to write a blog. When I mentioned on Twitter that January 8th marked this anniversary, Kip replied that I was "blogging when 95% of people didn't even know what a Blog was!" Now, I'm writing as people prefer to read everything in 140 characters or less. (Although, if Twitter starts allowing for 10K characters, blogs could be back, baby!)

Long-time readers probably noticed that I don't write nearly as often as I used to. The number of blog posts has decreased annually. Honestly, I just don't have the time to write as I once did. My prime writing time is after the kids go to sleep, but even then, there are things to do around the house, or I just want to sit on the couch and watch TV. Actually, I partially blame TV for my lack of productivity. You just can't concentrate on writing when incredible shows like Fargo, Game of Thrones, or Better Call Saul are on television. I'll blame the Pittsburgh Pirates too. They've been really good the past three seasons, so I find myself trying to follow them as much as possible during the baseball season. (It seems like every Pirates game last summer was a 1-run game!) Of course, I still manage to fall asleep watching television several times a week, so writing while napping isn't possible (at least, not yet!).

With all of that written, I still managed to write 123 posts in 2015. That's a post every three days. Not too shabby if you look at it that way. I had several big ideas for blog posts last year, but many of these fell through for various reasons. One that succeeded was my fascinating interview with Sean Guillory of Sean's Russia Blog. It's very long (part 1 & part 2) but much deeper than what is usually on Sean's Ramblings.

I also wrote a piece where I blasted VH1's decision not to renew Jim Shearer's contract. This turned out to be my most read and most-commented on post in 2015. Oh, check out Jim's latest project Stillers Cabin (a new version of the fantastic Yinz Luv Da Stillers)

I could write more about my kids, but I'm not sure how interesting that is to anyone outside my immediate family. Here are two recent stories:

1. The preschool teacher for my four year old (The Moose) read a story about a child with an imaginary friend. At the end of the story, she asked the class if any of the kids have an imaginary friend. The Moose was the only one to raise his hand. When the teacher asked the name of The Moose's imaginary friend, he gave the name of his brother, my 1.5 year old child (Pedro Tulo). My younger son is quite real and certainly not imaginary.

2. Pedro Tulo had a bad case of diaper rash not too long ago. Our doctor recommended a homemade recipe of mixing equal parts Desitin, Vaseline, and corn starch. It worked, but this is definitely not Kosher for Passover.

So is this stuff worthy of its own blog post? I don't know.

For 2016, I still have a few big ideas. I want to apply for media credentials for the 2017 Academy Awards. (I need more likes on my Facebook page for this to happen.) I also really, really, really need a fashion makeover. My pants, jeans, and some of my shirts are too big, and even the clothes that fit aren't all that stylish. Basically, unlike Taylor Swift, I do go out of style. Anyway, my dream is for a fashion blogger and/or clothing store to help me while I document the experience. Ideally, the store with donate these clothes to me (or reduce the prices significantly) for the exposure. I'm basically a pro-bono case for them!

So thanks to all of you for reading over the past 11 years. Cheers!

Monday, January 11, 2016

Saturday Night's Alright For Fighting (Steelers-Bengals Recap)

What a strange Saturday night! No one won the Powerball, and we learned that Sean Penn met with El Chapo as the Mexican drug lord was a fugitive. Sean Penn is welcome to further explain his actions right here on Sean's Ramblings. You know since his name is Sean? Oh, there was a playoff football game between the Steelers and Bengals too.

I have so many thoughts about this game, but that could take a while, so let's start with this non-comprehensive list of things to happen in Steelers/Bengals by Patrick Daugherty, a NFL writer for Rotoworld/NBC Sports:

A few items not mentioned above.

- Domata Peko's unsportsmanlike conduct penalty was actually amusing, especially if you imagine Michael Keaton or Christian Bale in the "cape" instead of Peko.

- Early in the game, Phil Simms said that Antonio Brown is a "tremendous catcher of the football." Is Brown just an adequate catcher of a baseball and basketball? Maybe he is a lousy catcher of the frisbee. Perhaps he is a catcher in the rye.

- There has been no discussion about the size of Steelers RB Fitzgerald Toussaint's forehead. I really want to find clips from I Married an Axe Murderer here, but we'll settle for the picture.

- I'd love to know what Joey Porter said to Pacman Jones to cause Jones to go nuts. Maybe he said Ms. Pacman is a better game (which is completely accurate) and Pacman disagreed.

- For Bengals fans upset about Porter even being on the field while the Steelers medical staff were treating Brown, let's check out this video from near the end of the third quarter.

Giovani Bernard was just leveled by Ryan Shazier. (I'm not going to debate whether or not there should have been a flag.) The call on the field was a catch, so the Bengals offense and the Steelers defense were on the field as the Bengals' medical staff was attending to Bernard. This was before Mike Tomlin challenged the play. So look who was out in the middle of the field? Bengals defensive player Vontaze Burfict. There were other Bengals folks there too who had just as much reason to be on the field as Porter did in the fourth quarter. Pause the video at the 10 second mark. Who is the person dressed in all black (clearly not an active player) at the top left that puts his hands on Bud Dupree? While Porter is going to get fined by the NFL, he shouldn't be alone in sending money to the league.

- Mike Munchak got a 15 yard penalty & Joey Porter helped draw one. These are both Steelers assistant coaches. So where was the leadership of defensive coordinator Keith Butler and offensive coordinator Todd Haley for not getting involved themselves? Or was this brilliant leadership by having their subordinates get involved?

This isn't from Ted Cruz, but someone should probably let the Cruz campaign know that telling a football team's fans that they do not deserve a team is not going to help to win the Ohio vote.

So now the Steelers will travel to Denver to face the Broncos with a questionable Brown, DeAngelo Williams, and Ben Roethlisberger. However, if you want to read even more about this game, I recommend the following:

DK Pittsburgh Sports
PGH Sports Daily Bulletin
Behind The Steel Curtain
USA Today's Steelers Wire
Steelers Depot

Oh, let's end with Nick Lachey's thoughts on the game. (h/t Rob)

Friday, January 08, 2016

Friday Videos

Today marks the 11th anniversary of Sean's Ramblings. I'll celebrate this milestone and write my annual State of the Ramblings next week, but in the meantime, here are two videos to end the first full week of 2016.

The first video is Cake By the Ocean by a band called DNCE. Apparently, the band is too cool for an A. Anyway, I heard this song for the first time on New Year's Eve Day on the radio. Then, I saw DNCE perform this song on ABC's New Year's Rockin' Eve. It's a really, really, catchy song. Oh, the band is fronted by one of the Jonas brothers, and there are some NSFW words in the song/video. I didn't realize any of the Jonas brothers were allowed to swear. Back to the song, I can't get it out of my head, and that's a good thing.

As a bonus, artist/musician Ali Spagnola performs all 46 Top Ten hits from 2015 into one 4:30 video. Plus, I believe that Ali is originally from Pittsburgh. Enjoy!

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, January 05, 2016

2015 Sean's Ramblings Visitors

Ryan Seacrest, Carson Daly and Pitbull all counted down to start 2016 on national television, but I know that the new year can't truly begin for all us until we know the top visitors to Sean's Ramblings in 2015. Like past years, this information is courtesy of Google Analytics.

Top 10 Number Of Visitors To Sean's Ramblings By City

1. New York

2. Chantilly, VA

3. Pittsburgh

4. Arlington, VA

5. Washington

6. Deerfield Beach, FL

7. Chicago

8. Los Angeles

9. Houston

10. Towson, MD

This is the third straight year New York finished in the top spot.

For many years, some variation of Pittsburgh, New York, and Washington always finished in the top 3. Washington has slipped the last two years, and my guess is that's because the popular blog, DC Blogs has gone dormant as has the DC blogger community. (There's a DC Bloggers MeetUp group that just started, but where the DC blogging community seemed dynamic about 6-7 years ago, it's no comparison to the current vibrant Pittsburgh blogging community.) The fact that I seem to write less and less about Pittsburgh sports is probably the reason my hometown finished 3rd.

As a reminder, if your city is not in the top 10, visit my blog from multiple computers or mobile devices in 2016 early and often and encourage your friends and family to do so too.

Top 10 Visitors by Country

1. United States

2. Canada

3. United Kingdom

4. Australia

5. Germany

6. France

7. Russia

8. Philippines

9. South Korea

10. India

Where did you go Brazil visitors? I guess you'll be back in 2016 since you won't find any better coverage of the Summer Olympics than here!

Finally, in the past, I shared the top 10 keywords used to find Sean's Ramblings. However, I'm not sure about how reliable this is anymore particularly since there are separate entries for Sean's Ramblings, Seans Ramblings, Sean Ramblings, etc. Therefore, here are the Top 10 Visited Posts In 2015 (even if they were published prior to 2015).

1. The Last VJ

VH1's decision not to renew the outstanding Jim Shearer's contract to host the Top 20 countdown.

2. Maroon 5's Sugar Sounds Like Michael Jackson's Beat It

3. 2011 Year-End Credit Card Spending Summary

People still find my blog for this post simply because folks freak out when they see Sun Refining & Marketing on their credit card bills. This company is also known as Sunoco.

4. Why Do People Hate Hillary Clinton?

This blog post is now 8 years old...and will probably be the #1 most visited post in 2016.

5. Hyomin Throws Out First Pitch At Pittsburgh Pirates Game

Korean pop superstar Hyomin threw out the first pitch at a Pirates game. I'm still convinced that the Pirates would have won the Wild Card game if she threw out the pitch at that game too.

6. Do Pretzels Go Bad

I still think I need a good answer to this.

7. Sally Wiggin

A 2013 post about a legendary Pittsburgh broadcaster

8. Songs With Alcohol in the Title

This post is from 2007! 2007!

9. Chris Coghlan Hates Asians

I may have been a little upset that the Cubs outfielder injured Jung Ho Kang.

10. Hanson Brother Runs NHL All-Star 5K

A fun post about my friend who dressed like this to run a 5K.

See you in 2016!