Friday, September 30, 2016

Fall For Fairfax 2016

One of my favorite events of the year, Fall for Fairfax, is this weekend at the Fairfax County Government Center. This is a terrific event for preschool and elementary school kids. Basically, it's perfect for my 2 year old and 5 year old. Lots of fun activities and performers and it's free! Yes, the carnival rides, food, and some activities cost money, but admission, entertainment, and plenty of other activities (the instrument "petting zoo" is fun) are free.

Here are two videos about the event:

More information is available at the Fall for Fairfax website. Hope to see you there!

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Sex Sells

I'm not sure if I learned about the "sex sells" concept of advertising in one of my college marketing classes, in one of the 8 Mad Men episodes I watched, or just through living life. There is certainly debate about the effectiveness of using sex to sell products. Within two months of each other, Business News Daily said yes it helps while Business Insider wrote no. Based on my experience as a consumer, I'll go with the compromise position that sex sells sometimes.

Why am I discussing this today? Well, recently, I received this postcard in the mail from a sports betting website. Please note that I covered up the company website and phone number since I didn't want to provide them free advertising.

Perhaps I should have covered up the woman in the picture too. Based on this ad, am I to believe that if I bet big money on the Tennessee Titans to defeat the Jacksonville Jaguars that this woman will be instantly attracted to me? (I mean I get that most women are but I've yet to be approached or propositioned by a woman wearing only football shoulder pads.) I understand that most sports bettors are male, but I tend to doubt that a picture of this woman encourages more people to wager on a Central Michigan-Toledo college football game.

Conversely, I also received the latest catalog for SmartPak Equine. (I'm sure all of you get this too.)

While most of the catalog's pictures feature horses, I'm not sure why, but I think I may need to buy a long-sleeve shirt or new jeans.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Link City

Earlier this week, there was a private event at a Northern Virginia Chick-fil-A for bloggers to preview their new brunch menu. I applied to participate in this event, but the client did not select me. I think that part of the reason is that my Sean's Ramblings Facebook page has less than 40 likes. This number needs to go up. In the next few months, I'm going to apply to be a media member for the 2017 Academy Awards. Sure, I only see 1-2 movies in the theater these days, but wouldn't you like to see me on the red carpet asking Natalie Portman if she'd like to bring her family over to my house for a Passover dinner? I could ask Meryl Streep whether she would want to appear in the next Alvin and the Chipmunks movies. For the Oscars to take my application seriously, I think I need to have at least 100 Facebook likes. I'd probably feel more confident in my chances if that number was closer to 10,000.

Oh, I also probably didn't get selected for the event since it was for "mommy bloggers," and while I write about being a dad, I'm not exclusively a "daddy blogger." [Falls Church Patch]

The word "jagoff" is officially in the Oxford English dictionary. Congrats to John of Ya Jagoff on helping make this happen. [Ya Jagoff]

I am honored to finally have a Tweet worthy of making it on Alex's This Week in Tweets. This is a slight consolation for not getting invited to the Chick-fil-A event. Well, except that I didn't get any free food for this tweet. [Everybody Loves You]

Lowell is a fellow Pittsburgher than now lives in Northern Virginia. He loves Harambe and hates John Cullen. He also has an entertaining Twitter account though many of the posts are R-rates. He's also running in the 6.6K run and family walk, so please donate to his cause supporting the Mario Lemieux foundation. [Lemieux Foundation]

Meat Loaf would do anything for love, but he won't do that (meaning give up fantasy sports). [The Washington Post's DC Sports Bog]

Finally, Emma G busks outside my Metro station once a week nearly every week. She usually does cover songs, and she's really good. It's really a nice way to start the day. She recently performed at The Kennedy Center, but before you watch the video check out her amazing story. [Stuff]

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Sofia Vergara: Steelers Fan!

Two years ago, I speculated that Sofia Vergara may become a Steelers fan based on her relationship with Joe Manganiello. From this Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon clip, it seems like Joe is doing everything in his power to convert Sofia to be part of Steeler Nation.

(Getting Big Ben's name wrong is nothing to feel bad about. Why do you think so many broadcasters, reporters, and fellow players refer to him as Big Ben? Much easier than saying or writing Roethlisberger.)

Well done, Joe. Well done!

Monday, September 19, 2016

Remembering Terry

On Friday afternoon, I learned that Terry, a high school classmate and one of my closest friends in junior high, passed away. He and his family took me to Seven Springs where I skied for the first time. I filled in as a substitute on Terry's paper route at times when he was away. I don't think I've ever shared this before, but Terry and I set off fireworks one day, and at one point, a firework exploded by my ear as I was about to throw it. I didn't hear clearly in my right ear for hours, and Terry laughed about how slowly it took me to throw it in some type of exaggerated pitching motion. Terry also attended my Bar Mitzvah, and we had some epic chess matches together.

Besides being friends on Facebook, I probably hadn't talked to Terry in over 20 years. I always find it strange how someone can be such a big part of your life at one point and not at all a part of your life at another time. I guess that's just growing up and growing apart. I don't remember when we stopped hanging out or going different directions, but it must have been at some point in high school. My brother-in-law actually met Terry at a Steeler bar in Atlanta probably 10 years ago. Apparently, Steelers fans or people from Pittsburgh is its own 6 degrees of Kevin Bacon game.

I don't know what happened with Terry, but I have a pretty good guess based on his obituary. My thoughts and prayers truly go out to his friends and family. For me, I'll remember the good times of us being kids since I wasn't there for the bad times. I'll also remember our chess team dominance in Pittsburgh's eastern suburbs which was featured in The Pittsburgh Press.

Rest in peace, Terry.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Brush With Fame

One of my favorite ice-breakers to play when I used to work with college students was a game I called "Brush with Fame." This was a simple game where you would go around the room to introduce yourself and then share a story about some type of celebrity interaction or sighting. I usually shared two stories. The first was Mr. McFeely of Mr. Rogers Neighborhood visiting my kindergarten class. (I also met him in DC about 30 years later.)

The second story occurred at the hotel lobby (I don't remember the name) next to Pittsburgh's Civic Arena during the 1990 NHL All-Star weekend. Wayne Gretzky signed autographs for at least an hour and was very cool about it. Meanwhile, Mario Lemieux ran through the lobby as quickly as possible and signed only a handful of autographs. I'm not at all bitter all these years later that my brother was one of the handful of people that got an autograph. Plus, I still had my Wise potato chips Lemieux poster in my room for many years. Meanwhile, I also brought some hockey cards and may have asked Kirk Muller of the New Jersey Devils to sign his card. Unfortunately, I think I handed him a John MacLean card and he replied, "That's not me."

So why do I bring this up? When I lived in San Diego in the late 90s, I visited Los Angeles several times. I assumed that people see famous folks in LA all the time, but apparently, that wasn't the case. I did have one celebrity sighting though. While waiting for (probably well over an hour for) a table at the extremely popular and trendy restaurant called The Cheesecake Factory, I recognized someone picking up food to go. I tried to overhear the conversation between this guy and the restaurant staff, but I didn't get any significant information. The guy: Teddy from the NBC Saturday morning teen TV show Hang Time.

You may know the character Teddy better by his real name, Anthony Anderson. Anderson received an Emmy nomination for Lead Actor in a Comedy for his role on Black-ish. Whether or not he wins an Emmy this weekend, I can now include Anderson the next time I play Brush With Fame. And Carson Daly.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Steelers-Redskins Recap

With the Pittsburgh Steelers playing their first game of the 2016 season, I'm excited to bring back my semi-regular posts with notes from Steelers games that you won't see anywhere else.

- There was a nice moment before kickoff with members of both teams and military personnel holding the American flag. I'm sure Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder was extremely proud of the gigantic American flag while in Dallas, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones plotted to make an even bigger flag. 

- Washington dominated the first quarter by outgaining the Steelers 253 to 1 in total yards (these numbers may be incorrect but it felt this way). However, the Redskins only led 6-0 after failing to get into the end zone. I have to admit that I felt pretty good because I figured that the Steelers played pretty bad only to be one touchdown away from taking the lead (which is what they did).

- If you're the best corner in the game (Josh Norman), you should be able to blanket the best wide receivers like Antonio Brown. Why do you need to stay on one side of the field? Sure, Norman can boast that he Brown didn't do much against him, yet what difference does that make when your team loses by 22 and Antonio has 8 catches for 126 yards and 2 touchdowns?

- The best commercial on television is Ice T at a lemonade stand. I may switch to Geico just because of this commercial.

Conversely, Burger King's Cheetos chicken fries sound awful (though I really want Cheetos right now).

- ESPN's Jon Gruden provided my quote of the game when discussing Cameron Heyward. "He can go hard for a long period of time."
13 year old Sean smiled at this. Okay, 41 year old Sean smiled at this too.

Runner-up: ESPN's Sean McDonough on Steelers linebacker James Harrison: "The ageless linebacker is now 38 years old." 38 isn't ageless, it's 38.

Honorable mention: Gruden again. "I hope Le'Veon Bell is watching this game." There wasn't really any context to this other than Deangelo Williams playing well. Maybe ESPN was counting on a ratings boost from Bell watching the game

- The Steelers were 2 for 2 on 4th and 1 situations including Roethlisberger's 29-yard touchdown pass to Antonio Brown and were also successful on 3rd and short situations. I feel like Washington's defensive coordinator is going to have nightmares about 3rd and 1 or 4th and 1 all week.

- Besides being partially responsible for Roethlisberger's interception, I thought Eli Rogers looked good (6 catches, 59 yards and a TD in the 1st half) in his NFL debut. I'm sure that someone already created a Mr. Rogers Neighborhood shirt in his honor. Maybe Doug?

- Although he ended up underperforming as a first round draft pick, it's nice to see Ziggy Hood still in the league. I know this Ziggy was happy to see him. 

- You'd like to see the Steelers have more than, um, zero sacks, but they did a nice job of holding a team that was one of the best in the league during the second half of the 2015 season to only 16 points.

- The Washington Post's DC Sports Bog has some great stuff about the game too.

Congrats to the Steelers on the big win! Almost as importantly, my colleague now needs to wear a Steelers tie at an organization meeting or holiday party. If the Redskins won, I would have had to wear an ugly burgundy and gold tie. Everybody dance now!

Friday, September 09, 2016

Todd Haley Is Wrong*

On Thursday, Dustin Dopirak of DK Pittsburgh Sports (subscription required) wrote an article about Todd Haley and Keith Butler, offensive and defensive coordinators of the Pittsburgh Steelers respectively, discussing Monday night's football game against the Washington Redskins. This part of the article jumped out to me:

[Haley] said road environments make it more difficult to run the no-huddle, but said that doesn’t mean the Steelers won’t do it.

“There’s a lot of factors that go into it,” Haley said. “That’s one of them, at times. I believe in our group. Last year at Seattle, I thought we went out there and had a very good operation. That was a big test for us. We’ve challenged the guys to be able to handle any environment and go out and run our offense. It will definitely be loud there.”

Ha! Haley obviously wasn't with the Steelers the last time the team played in Washington in November 2008. During that game, Washington was forced to use a silent count - AT HOME - because of the crowd noise by Steelers fans.

DC area media are already discussing the amount of black and gold that will be at the game. Rich Tandler of CSN Mid-Atlantic wrote that he "will not be surprised if somewhere from a fourth (about 20,000) to a third (around 26,000) of the fans in attendance are pulling for the visiting team." He's probably about right, but not because of many Steelers fans driving in from Western Pennsylvania. Instead, it's the thousands of Steelers fans that live in the DC-Baltimore Metro area.

I would write that I'm excited to part of the Steelers fans at FedEx Field, but it's a pain to get to and tickets are expensive. And it's a school night. Go Steelers!

* The original title of this post was Todd Haley Is On Drugs. However, seeing that Le'Veon Bell and Martavis Bryant have both been suspended because of drugs, Todd Haley is probably not on drugs.

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

First Day of School

Tuesday marked the first day of kindergarten for The Moose (my five year old) and first day of preschool for Pedro Tulo (my two year old). Naturally, there was a lot to do in the days and weeks leading up to the start of the school year. For example, while The Moose is pretty good on clothes, we needed to get him double-knit reversible slacks and bell-bottom Brady Bunch trousers. He also asked for Adidas, but we got him Zips. I think he might be worried about his rep, but in my opinion, he's only five, so he doesn't have a rep yet.

So the big news in my world was The Moose getting into the before school child care program. This only happened during the middle of last week, and this makes a huge difference. Instead of waiting with him for the bus to pick him up around 9:00, we can drop him off at school as early as 7:00. The Moose can definitely be shy (especially around us), so as expected, he was a little clingy when I dropped him off. He wanted/needed several hugs and kisses before I was able to get out of the room. As for the day itself, The Moose reported that he had a good day. He knows his teacher's name though he wasn't going to reveal any other information about his day.

Us: Did you have any specials like music or art?
The Moose: (No response.)
Us: What was your favorite part of the day?
The Moose: Everything.

The only thing we know is that he had a good day. We'll hold off on water-boarding to get answers out of him until next week.* The only negative from the day (for us, not him) is that I guess he didn't know that he needs to throw his trash away. After eating his pudding, he put the container back in his lunch bag causing the bag to be covered in the leftover pudding when he got home.

As for Pedro Tulo, he walked into preschool like he owned the place. He sort of does. He was at the school for much of the last two years when we dropped off and picked up his older brother. He knows all of the teachers (even if he doesn't know the names), and they all know him. When my wife dropped him off, he simply said bye mommy. He ate most of his food and did some type of art activity with glue, and amazingly, came home in the same clothes he wore to start the day.

I know that not all days will go as well as the first day, but I'll take this for day one. My little guys are growing up. Now excuse me as it's getting a little dusty here.

* This is a joke. Water-boarding won't happen until first grade.