Friday, December 29, 2017

Sean's Ramblings 2017 Year In Review

Welcome to my 13th (yes, 13th!) 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 2017. Please note that this is not my picks for best of/worst of 2017 since I posted that last week. This is simply a summary of 2017.

January: Happy New Year! Today, you're going to get three rants for the price of one (assuming that you're paying for this blog...which you're not, so you're just getting three rants).

February: Welcome to a brand new edition of Sean analyzing current song lyrics. The songs below are all near the top of the charts and all used lyrics that are inspired by 80s movies.

March: Over the weekend, President Trump sent out the following tweet.

April: We've established that I'm often out of touch, one of the last people to adjust to new technology, and basically, unhip. (Unless it's hip to be square, and then I think I'm okay. If you don't understand this reference, go to Google and search for Huey Lewis and The News greatest hits.)

May: Although my sports focus right now is on the Penguins-Capitals series, the NFL draft took place last week, so I thought I would share my thoughts about the Steelers draft picks. Please note that this isn't exactly an in-depth, analytic blog post. It's slightly different.

June: Twenty years ago last month, the Spice Girls were proclaiming Girl Power (while also telling us what they want, what they really, really want) and Hanson's MMMBop was about to take over the country. Meanwhile, I graduated from college. I nearly missed this anniversary except for a former mentor/supervisor posting something on Facebook about Ithaca College's Senior Splash.

July: In the early 90s, it was impossible to avoid Boyz II Men. They performed ballads such as "It's So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday," "End of the Road," and "I'll Make Love To You" that was played at every wedding, graduation ceremony, and prom.

August: This is Halsey. (It sounds cooler if you say it like "This is Jeopardy.")

September: In the Taylor Swift-Katy Perry rivalry, I'm Team Katy. Despite the fact that she was awful hosting Sunday's MTV Video Music Awards (we can blame the writers, right?), I think we can all agree that it would be much more fun to hang out with Perry over Swift

October: These are depressing times. In the past month, hurricanes Harvey and Irma devastated Texas and Florida respectively. Then, Hurricane Maria absolutely destroyed much of Puerto Rico.

November: When you write over 2,800 blog posts in nearly 13 years, you tend to have some overlapping topics. Therefore, some of this post expands on previous posts though I have some thoughts/notes on fatherhood, Pittsburgh sports media, and Ithaca College too.

December: Woodland Hills High School, just outside the Pittsburgh's city limits, is probably best known for two things: football where the team has been to the WPIAL playoffs for 22 consecutive years and produced nearly a dozen NFL players including Jason Taylor, Rob Gronkowski, and Steve Breaston and musical theater where the school has won countless Gene Kelly Awards for Excellence in High School Musical Theater.

And that's basically my blog for 2017. Well, except for the part about having a new son. That was pretty significant.

Have a Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Caps For Sale Comes to Life

Caps For Sale is a well known children's book by Esphyr Slobodkina. If you're not familiar with the story, a peddler wanders around a town unsuccessfully attempting to sell caps. During a break, the peddler takes a nap and wakes up to discover the monkeys took all of his caps. Hilarity ensues!

Meanwhile, hilarity did not ensue when one monkey took a Pittsburgh Steelers cap.

From WPXI:

A former Erie man now living in Bali who fell from a roof while chasing a monkey that had stolen his favorite Pittsburgh Steelers cap will have surgery.

Jeff "Swede" Swedenhjelm, who moved to Florida 17 years ago before relocating to Bali, fell 33 feet on Monday.

"He's like, 'That's my hat, I need it,'" his daughter, Lyric, told Channel 11 in an interview. "And you know Steelers Nation is everywhere, but in Bali, it's a lot harder to come by, to buy a new hat, so he wasn't going to let it go very easily.

Villagers took him to a local hospital, where he was diagnosed with severe damage to his spinal cord. He currently is paralyzed from the chest down.

I really don't want to make light of this situation, but it seems like a bad idea to have caps around monkeys.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Friday Video: Rudolph

Have you always enjoyed the holiday classic Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer but thought that it was missing more words, questions, and exclamations between the lines of the song? Well, rapper DMX is here for you, and he's gonna give it to ya up in here (up in here). Enjoy!

(The songs and videos are safe for work. It's Rudolph. You can't add bad words to a Rudolph song.)

And here's DMX performing this song live.

For those who celebrate, have a Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Sean's Best and Worst of 2017

Welcome to my annual list of the best and worst of 2017! Actually, it's not my annual list of 2017 since there's no way I would have known in 2014 what my favorite song or book of 2017 would have been. You know what I mean. Anyway, feel free to enjoy my thoughts on some of the biggest pop culture (and more) things that occurred in 2017.

Best TV Show: The Good Place

I watch a lot of television. With young kids and especially a new addition to the family in September, I rarely get to the movies (more on that below). I also find that I don't have time to sit down and watch a 90-minute or 2-hour plus movie as I fall asleep too easily and just don't have the time to watch a movie in one sitting. Therefore, I load up on TV shows on the DVR and started a Netflix subscription. There are so many great shows out there. Just on Netflix alone, I really enjoyed Ozark, Glow, Master of None, American Vandal, and Stranger Things this year. ABC's Speechless may be the funniest show on TV, and I love Better Call Saul. FOX's Brooklyn Nine-Nine is still fantastic and I found USA's Search Party very interesting. The most clever and fascinating show, and also my favorite from the past year, is NBC's The Good Place. The premise behind the show is that Kristen Bell dies and goes to The Good Place, which is basically heaven. However, Bell's character is actually a terrible person who really shouldn't be there. Ted Danson is perfectly cast as the architect of The Good Place neighborhood and the rest of the cast is amazing. There was a huge twist at the end of season one that made most people (or at least me) wonder where the show would go from there, but season two has been just as good if not better than season one.

Please note that I have not seen Game of Thrones yet this year, so that didn't make the list. I also need to see Mindhunter.

Worst TV Show: Nashville

I've watched this show from the beginning. I guess it's a guilty pleasure, and I really don't know why I still watch it. At the beginning, it was Connie Britton and Hayden Panettiere being country music stars. The show was definitely soap-opery but the music was good (even from someone who isn't a big country music fan), and I enjoyed most of the characters. ABC cancelled the show a few years ago, but it got a second life on CMT. Then, this season, they killed off Connie Britton, only the best person on the show. Panettiere's character keeps doing dumb things and never learns from anything in her past. Then, they had a "is Gunnar the father of Scarlett's baby" thing. Plus once Will came out as gay and most people were okay with it, the show didn't know what to do with him, so he rarely gets screen time. Meanwhile, Deacon can never be happy, and the show wasted Rachel Bilson having her be an accountant or something. The one redeeming quality of this show right now is that I can watch it and do something else. I need to have my full attention on the shows listed above, but I can write a blog post watching Nashville and know I'm not going to miss anything. Anyway, I really should stop watching this show especially when I have season three of Fargo, the last season of Orphan Black, and the current season of This Is Us all sitting on my DVR.

Best Song: Feel It Still by Portugal The Man

I wrote about this song back in August, and since that time, it exploded. I'm not saying that I was the reason for the song becoming one of the most played songs of 2017, but I guess I'm not not saying that either. Plus, the band's Twitter account liked and responded to my tweet when I wrote my August post. That gets bonus points in my book!

Worst Song: Paris by The Chainsmokers

I considered writing a blog post analyzing the lyrics of this song but decided against it...until now.

We were staying in Paris
To get away from your parents

All the way to Paris just to get away? The Chainsmokers were formed in New York City. I'm sure they could have just gone to Jersey.

And I thought, "Wow
If I could take this in a shot right now
I don't think that we could work this out”

You went all the way to Paris to realize that you're going to break up. What an awful person. You could have done that in Atlantic City or even better at home without traveling thousands of miles. Think about it. You take your significant other all the way to Paris which is a really big deal, and then you get there and realize that you can't work it out. Jerk.

Out on the terrace

Nice job finding another word that rhymes with Paris.

I don't know if it's fair but I thought "How
Could I let you fall by yourself
While I'm wasted with someone else”

Wait, not only did you realize that you couldn't work it out but you're with someone else? And again, you took this person to Paris. Super jerk!

If we go down then we go down together
They'll say you could do anything
They'll say that I was clever

You're not going down together, Chainsmokers. You're dumping this person. There's no together here. And no one will say you were clever.

If we go down then we go down together
We'll get away with everything
Let's show them we are better

You are definitely not better. Again, you are an a**hole.

Best Movie I Saw in the Theater: Wild Kratts

You're probably thinking to yourself, I've never heard of this movie. If you have young kids, you may know the PBS television show but are still confused by this entry. PBS partnered with movie theaters across the country to show episodes of some of its television shows on the big screen. The cost of tickets serve as donations to local PBS stations. It's a neat idea where young kids can go to the theaters in a comfortable environment (meaning that it's okay if the audience isn't completely quiet during the show). For Wild Kratts, I took both The Moose and Pedro Tulo with me, and we bought a bottomless tub of popcorn. The popcorn was delicious!

Worst Movie I Saw In the Theater: Ready, Jet, Go

This was another PBS show, and I took only Pedro Tulo for his first ever trip to a movie theater. He could not keep still. We went to the restroom at least three times, and he wondered all over the mostly empty theater. I also didn't get popcorn.

Best Blog: The Mrs. Fisher

My friend Nichole blogged regularly throughout 2017 sharing everyone from wedding plans and her honeymoon to the building of her new house. While some of her posts about fashion and style certainly are not geared for me, it's been really fun reading about Nichole's busy 2017!

Best Podcast: The Poscast / The YaJagoff! Podcast (tie)

Michael Schur is the official winner of 2017. He created the best TV show in The Good Place and is partially responsible for other quality shows like Brooklyn Nine-Nine and Master of None. In his off time, he and Joe Posnanski, a writer for, do a podcast called The Poscast. While baseball is a central topic to The Poscast, they also regularly conduct drafts on various topics such as "We Are the World" singers, autumn things, salty snacks, and road signs. Highly entertaining and the podcast I listen to immediately when they are available.

Meanwhile, I've listened to John Chamberlin's The YaJagoff! podcast since the beginning, and it really found it's footing this year with co-host Rachael Rennebeck. The podcast seems to go to a different Pittsburgh event or venue every week, and it makes me a little jealous about all the cool stuff happening in Pittsburgh that I'm missing. Plus, the podcast was responsible for this awesome Christmas ornament.

My Best Blog Post: Life as a New Father

This was quite the personal post about my fears of being a new father to a third child. A close second is my two-part interview with Chris Wright, the former GM of the Pittsburgh Spirit and President of the Minnesota Timberwolves and Lynx. He recently (after the interview) started a new job where he's responsible for the day to day business and sporting operations of the Minnesota United. (This is part one; this is part two. I'm still extremely grateful to Chris for his graciousness in talking with me.

My Worst Blog Post: J.D. Vance Comes to Washington

I pointed out that the National Book Festival listed the same author twice on its advertisement.

Best Sports Moment: Penguins Repeat As Stanley Cup Champs

Marc-Andre Fleury was the hero in the opening rounds, and Phil Kessel is a two-time Stanley Cup champion! It wasn't always pretty (see the end of the Capitals series and much of the Ottawa series), but Crosby, Malkin, and company won back-to-back titles!

Worst Sports Moment: The Pittsburgh Pirates (again)

The Pirates were one of the best teams in baseball just a few years ago, and after a 75-87 season, there's discussion about the team trading its best players Andrew McCutchen and Gerrit Cole. If trades are made, I have little confidence in the team's front office to get solid returns for these players to allow the Pirates to contend again in the near future. So frustrating.

Best Movie I Saw At Home: Deadpool

What a fun movie. I mean it definitely deserves it's R rating but highly entertaining.

Worst Move I Saw (well, didn't see) At Home: Get Out and Hell Or High Water

Why would my DVR show that I recorded 2 hours of Get Out, and when I played the movie, it said it wasn't available? I'm blaming Showtime. For Hell Or High Water, the first 25 minutes were all messed up, and I wasn't going to start after missing this. I'm blaming the DVR on this one.

Best Book: The Arena: Inside the Tailgating, Ticket-Scalping, Mascot-Racing, Dubiously Funded, and Possibly Haunted Monuments of American Sport by Rafi Kohan

Unfortunately, I didn't read as many books as I would have liked in 2017. This book was right up my alley as I've been to dozens of stadiums and arenas across the country, and this deals with everything besides the on-the-field/court activity. As the title indicates, the book broaches subjects like stadium financing, in-game entertainment, security, and much more. Very interesting stuff that you probably don't consider going to a game.

Feel free to share your best and worst of 2017 in the comments below. Happy Holidays, and have a Happy New Year!

Friday, December 15, 2017

Friday Video: Wish I Knew You

We're getting close to the end of 2017, and you know what that means, right? I'll have my best and worst of 2017 post sometime soon! (And you need to go out any buy those ridiculous 2018 glasses that you can only use once for New Year's Eve.) For the best song of any given year, my rule is that the video of the song must be posted on my blog at some point during the year. Although I'm (probably) not going to award my best song of 2017 to The Revivalists for Wish I Knew You, it's definitely a contender.

The song has only received widespread attention over the past few months, but it's actually from February 2016. Who knew? (Well, besides The Revivalists.)

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Merry T-Rex-Mas

Do you see two Tyrannosaurus Rex dinosaurs fighting over a table saw or is it just me?

(This picture is courtesy of Displaced Yinzer‏.)

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

JuJu Claus Is Coming To Town (Assuming Your Town Is Pittsburgh)

JuJu Smith-Schuster may be one of the most fun people in sports. He is the youngest player in the NFL and has been part of some epic touchdown celebrations.

JuJu only recently got his driver's license, so prior to this, he rode a bike quite frequently. It was national news when his bike got stolen, but after it was recovered, he made sure everyone knew that his bike would not be stolen again.

JuJu is also helping to give back to the community.

The jolly and giving man in the traditional red suit has been replaced! This Tuesday, December 12 at 6 p.m. at the Mall at Robinson expect a wide receiver in a chic, tailored red suit for a photo opportunity in the spirit of the season of giving. Yep, JuJu Claus is coming and all proceeds of the photo opportunity benefit the Homeless Children’s Education Fund.

The center court of the Mall at Robinson will be the headquarters for JuJu Smith-Schuster to be JuJu Claus in his David Alan custom-designed suit. Total Sports Enterprises will present the photos only opportunity for $19 per photo, which benefits the Homeless Children's Education Fund, along with the sale of #Team JuJu laces. Total Sports Enterprises will sell the laces in-store at the Mall at Robinson and online at for $7.99 youth, and $9.99 adult. To further support the cause, each purchaser of #TeamJUJU laces receives a ticket for a drawing to win a pair of authentic Adidas JuJu cleats.

For more information concerning JuJu Claus coming to the Mall at Robinson tonight, visit

Friday, December 08, 2017

Potato Pancakes For Breakfast?

Potatoes can be a big part of any breakfast. You regularly see hash browns or home fries on any breakfast menu. At Waffle House alone, you can get hash browns covered, smothered, chunked, diced, capped, topped, and/or peppered or some type of combination of any or all of these.

With Hanukkah starting next week, Safeway is selling potato pancakes at these discounted prices:

The only problem is that the potato pancakes are in the "Breakfast & Cereal" portion category on the Safeway app. Despite the fact that potato and pancake are in the food's name, I've never seen or heard of people eating potato pancakes for breakfast. Have you?

(Please don't mind my terrible attempt at crossing off the address of my local Safeway.)

Monday, December 04, 2017

Actual Video of Sean on Stage

Woodland Hills High School, just outside the Pittsburgh's city limits, is probably best known for two things: football where the team has been to the WPIAL playoffs for 22 consecutive years and produced nearly a dozen NFL players including Jason Taylor, Rob Gronkowski, and Steve Breaston and musical theater where the school has won countless Gene Kelly Awards for Excellence in High School Musical Theater. About 7 years ago, someone who graduated from Montour High School started working at my organization. Upon learning that I went to Woodland Hills, he bitterly conceded that Woodland Hills always won at the Gene Kelly Awards.

Anyway, during my sophomore year of high school, I was on the stage crew for the production of Guys and Dolls. The fact that I actually helped build a set is funny since I have no building or repair skills whatsoever. (As a tangent, I really need to replace the fluorescent light bulb in the laundry room. I'm going to have to make a Home Depot trip, aren't I? Ugh.) During my junior year, I decided that I wanted to be on stage and not be behind the scenes. Although my singing audition probably went poorly since I have an awful voice, I killed in my dancing audition. Probably more importantly, the show needed a few more male cast members, so I earned the role of Government Man and part of the chorus in the production of Lil' Abner.

Recently, videos of the (gulp) 1992 production of Lil' Abner were posted on YouTube. While it's interesting (at least to me) to check out the videos, I wanted to share a few today.

The first is a scene before, during, and after the song Unnecessary Town. I'm wearing a suit and hat seated at the U.S. Army table. The last 30 seconds or so of the video shows my true acting range.

Oh, feel free to enjoy a Pittsburgh Steelers joke around the 1:10 mark. (The Steelers were coming off of a 7-9 season.)

There are/were some really, really talented people involved in this musical. Fortunately, they carried me!

The second video shows the cast dancing/singing to Rag Offen The Bush. Again, I'm wearing a hat and tie, and you can find me at the front right (scene left).

You can see all of the videos here. 25 years later, seeing the Confederate flag displayed so prominently is a little creepy. I guess that's part of the art of the show. Overall, though, this brought back some fun memories, and I think The Moose enjoyed watching me perform.