Monday, December 31, 2018

Sean's Ramblings 2018 Year In Review

Welcome to my 14th (yes, 14th!) 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 2018. Please note that these are not my picks for best of and worst of 2018 since I posted that last week. This is simply a summary of 2018.

January: Happy New Year! Even though we're now into the second week of 2018, since this is my first post of the year, I find it completely appropriate to include a Happy New Year message.

February: Using only one hand has been quite difficult. While I can type and drive with only my left hand, it's the little things that are bothering me. I cut myself shaving four times yesterday. I can't tie my shoes or put in my contact lenses. Opening Ziploc bags are also tough. Putting toothpaste on a toothbrush is impossible. And of course, I'm not going to be able to pick up 4 month-old Luigi for many weeks.

March: Here are some of the things going on in my life captured in pictures. Please note that I am not a photographer and do not play one on the internet, and these pictures were all taken using my phone.


April: On Monday, the Pittsburgh Pirates defeated the Minnesota Twins 5-4 to remain undefeated through four games of the 2018 season. The Pirates scored all five runs in the first inning with four courtesy of a grand slam by one of the newest Pirates, Colin Moran.

May: Back in 2010 (again, this blog is old), I wrote a post celebrating the fact that the Washington Capitals lost a playoff series. Why am I bringing this up today, 8 years later? Last week, I was featured in a Washington Post article where I said I felt a little sympathy for the Caps (in response to the question of if I feel sympathy for the Caps).

June: Today's video is "Sober Up," the very cool song by AJR.

July: In September 1998, the sports world centered around Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, and the single-season home run record. I lived in San Diego at the time and attended the Cubs-Padres game where Sosa hit #63.


August: Seemingly overnight, craft breweries have exploded in Northern Virginia.

September: Over the weekend, we took a trip to the National Capital Trolley Museum in Colesville, Maryland. It's a small venue with a room of about a dozen trolleys/streetcars, and then you can take a ride on one of the streetcars.

October: Sean’s Ramblings is generally a light-hearted blog, and I try to inject some humor in most of the posts. Sure, I may be the only person who finds some of my posts funny, but after 13+ years, I haven’t been canceled yet. (Just checking...can a blog get cancelled? And if I do get cancelled, can WordPress or another platform pick me up?)

November: When I knew that I was going to be in Charleston, South Carolina, I decided that I wanted to attend Shabbat services at Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim, one of the oldest synagogues in the United States. The congregation was founded in 1749 with the current sanctuary built in 1840. After the tragic shootings at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, I definitely wanted to attend Friday night Shabbat services.


December: Happy Hanukkah for those of you who are celebrating! 2018 marks a milestone year in the Hanukkah tradition. It’s now been 20 years that pickles have been part of Hanukkah festivities.

And that's basically my blog for 2018. Well, except for all of the posts about my kids and being a father.

Have a Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Sean's Best and Worst of 2018

Welcome to my annual list of the best and worst of the year. I still don’t understand how publications can share their best and worst of lists in November when there’s still an entire month of the year to go. That’s why I publish my list in late December. My apologies for any new books, movies, television shows, etc. that debut on New Year’s Eve.

Best song: High Hopes by Panic! At the Disco

My criteria for best song is that I have to feature the song in a separate post at some point during the year. For 2018, it comes down to High Hopes by Panic! At the Disco, Sober Up by AJR, and No Tears Left to Cry by Ariana Grande. (Lil' Jon and Kool-Aid Man also deserve an honorable mention for All I Really Want For Christmas.) I have a bit of an issue with pop music lately. It seems like everything is about the chorus. Sure, you get a first verse and second verse (though rarely a third verse), but it’s limited. All three of these songs follow this framework. Of course, I recently heard Sweet Dreams by Eurythmics from about 35 years ago, and there are no lyrics to that song (you’d think there would be since Annie Lennox travelled the world and the seven seas).

While Ariana Grande had a monster year professionally, my winner is High Hopes. I just love the positivity and the horns.



In hindsight, I wish I included Say Amen (Saturday Night) by Panic! since I really like that song more. If you told me this time last year that two of my favorite songs in 2018 would be by Panic! at the Disco, I probably would have laughed.

Worst Song: Meant to Be by Bebe Rexha & Florida Georgia Line

I wrote about this several months ago, but the lyrics really bother me. In response to Bebe Rexha singing about awful past relationships and how she wasn't treated right, Florida (or Georgia) basically dismisses her by saying that she's beautiful, so she'll be fine. Jerk.



Best Movie I Saw In The Theater: Crazy Rich Asians

I saw a whopping four movies in the theater in 2018. That’s by far the most since I had kids. I should probably mention that the four movies I saw were Ferdinand, Paddington 2, Crazy Rich Asians, and The Grinch. Although Hugh Grant was great in Paddington 2, I’m going with the grown up movie. I'm pro Constance Wu, and I really want go to Singapore now.

Best TV Show: Speechless

I think that most readers will find this to be the biggest surprise on here. There are so many good shows out there like Killing Eve, Better Call Saul, and The Good Place. I also finally started watching The Americans in 2018 (I just finished season 2), and really enjoyed Barry and Mindhunter. The episodes of Black Mirror I watched were unlike anything I've seen. Full disclosure: I really need to start watching Atlanta, and I didn't see this season's Game of Thrones yet. With all of that written, the fact that I’m picking a standard sitcom is kind of amazing. It just seems like at least once an episode I laugh out loud at this show. John Ross Bowie is comedy gold.


Worst TV Show: Below Deck

I don't know why this is a show. Let's watch spoiled crew members who seem to fight constantly serve spoiled rich guests who spend probably hundreds of thousands of dollars on a luxury boat.

Best Book: Quackers by Liz Wong

I honestly didn’t read as much as I wanted to in 2018 and most of the books I read were good though not great. The one book I read over and over and enjoyed way more than I should have since I’m clearly not the target audience was Quackers.

It’s a cat who thinks he’s a duck until he learns he's a cat but still has his duck friends. It’s adorable!


Crankee Doodle by Tom Angleberger and Cece Bell about Yankee Doodle who doesn't want to go to town or call a feather macaroni is also quite good.

Best Sports Moment: Belgium's Soccer Team

The second half of the World Cup round of 16 game between Belgium and Japan was unreal. After Japan took a 2-0 lead, Belgium tied it at 2. In stoppage time, Japan had a corner kick and a chance to win. Instead, Belgium countered and scored the winning goal.



I’ll give this a close second:



Worst Sports Moment: Tom Wilson

Being in the DC area, it was amazing seeing the excitement surrounding the Caps during its Stanley Cup run. Winning the Cup was good for the region and good for the sport. The only negative (besides the Caps defeating the Penguins) was Tom Wilson getting to celebrate and having his name inscribed on the Cup. What a jerk. He's even worse than the Florida Georgia Line guys.


Best Podcast: Planet Futbol with Grant Wahl

You’re probably seeing a soccer theme here. On his podcast this year, Sports Illustrated’s Grant Wahl interviewed nearly every candidate for the US soccer presidency. Then, he did a podcast every single day during the World Cup, so a podcast for over 30 consecutive days. My personal favorite podcast was his interview with Abby Wambach. If you’re a fan of soccer, I highly recommend his podcast. (One word of caution. He had Bill Simmons on a recent podcast. I read everything Simmons wrote when he was with ESPN/Grantland and still listen to many of his podcasts, though not so much the past few months. I was excited to see that Simmons was on Wahl's podcast, but he just seem to whine the entire time. Wahl's interview with Katie Nolan was very good though.)

Best Blog: Josh’s World

I have no idea how Josh does it. He (allegedly) has a family and (allegedly) a full-time job, yet he cranks out post after post on a wide variety of topics. I enjoy his writing and am really curious to see if he actually slows down when his second child arrives in 2019. (By the way, vote for his child's name to be Sean!) Oh, here's the link to Josh's World.

Sean's Ramblings Best Blog Post: The Attack at Tree of Life Synagogue

This post is about as raw and emotional as I get. I'm still upset thinking about what happened at the synagogue of my youth and how little has changed over the last few months.


Sean's Ramblings Worst Blog Post: Trivia Wednesday

I'm done doing trivia posts. No one replies with answers or guesses.

Feel free to click here to see my best of and worst of the last few years and see if my picks hold up.

Friday, December 21, 2018

Merry Christmas From Lil Jon & Kool-Aid Man

Have you ever thought to yourself, I enjoy Christmas music, but what I’d really like is a Christmas song featuring Kool-Aid Man? If so, you’re in luck!

Lil Jon teamed up with Kool-Aid Man for arguably the biggest Christmas song in 2018.



Oh yeah! This just puts you in the holiday spirit (and is much, much better than the Chipmunks Christmas song).

If you celebrate, have a Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 20, 2018

2019 Loudoun United Schedule From An Official Team Blogger (That's Me)

Although Loudoun United hasn't accepted my request yet, I'm considering myself an official team blogger. Maybe I'm the only team blogger or there could be others out there. Either way, here are my qualifications:

- I started playing organized soccer at age 6.
- With the exception of a few years after college, I have been a certified soccer referee since 1990.
- I coached my oldest son's soccer team.
- I had a Pittsburgh Spirit logo as my Twitter profile picture for several years.
- I've written a blog for nearly 14 years.
- I think it's neat to see a professional soccer team in Northern Virginia, and I want to help it succeed.
- See this picture: The kid in the middle just looks like a future official team soccer blogger!


You may not be familiar with Loudoun United since the team hasn't played any games yet and the stadium is under construction. 2019 is the team's inaugural season in the United Soccer League, the second division of soccer in the US and Canada. Loudoun will compete against teams like the Pittsburgh Riverhounds, Nashville SC, New York Red Bulls II, and Atlanta United II. While I'm not sure if there is shared ownership, there is certainly a partnership between Loudoun United and the Major League Soccer team in the region, DC United, and it seems like some DC United players (not named Wayne Rooney) will play for Loudoun. Think of Loudoun as being a AAA team for DC United.

The USL announced its 2019 schedule on Wednesday, so in my capacity (hopefully) as an official team blogger, I'm happy to share your Loudoun United schedule:

Saturday, March 9 - @ Nashville SC
Saturday, March 16 - @ Memphis 901 FC
Saturday, March 30 - @ Tampa Bay Rowdies

Saturday, April 13 - @ Ottawa Fury FC
Saturday, April 20 - @ New York Red Bulls II
Saturday, April 27 - @ Birmingham Legion FC

Friday, May 3 - vs Bethlehem Steel FC
Saturday, May 11 - @ Charlotte Independence
Saturday, May 19 - vs Hartford Athletic
Saturday, May 25 - vs Saint Louis FC

Wednesday, June 5 - @ Swope Park Rangers
Saturday, June 8 - Louisville City FC
Saturday, June 15 - vs Indy Eleven
Saturday, June 29 - vs Atlanta United 2

Saturday, July 6 - @ Saint Louis FC
Wednesday, July 17 - @ North Carolina FC
Saturday, July 20 - @ Indy Eleven
Saturday, July 28 - vs Louisville City FC

Friday, August 2 - @ Atlanta United 2
Friday, August 9 - vs Charlotte Independence*
Wednesday, August 14 - vs Charleston Battery
Saturday, August 17 - vs Ottawa Fury FC
Saturday, August 24 - @ Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC
Wednesday, August 28 - vs Birmingham Legion FC
Saturday, August 31 - vs North Carolina FC

Saturday, September 7 - @ Hartford Athletic
Friday, September 13 - vs Memphis 901 FC
Wednesday, September 18 - @ Bethlehem Steel FC
Wednesday, September 25 - vs Swope Park Rangers
Saturday, September 28 - vs Nashville SC

Tuesday, October 1 - vs Pittsburgh Riverhounds
Friday, October 4 - vs Tampa Bay Rowdies
Sunday, October 13 - @ Charleston Battery
Saturday, October 19 - vs New York Red Bulls II

* The schedule shows August 9th as the first game at Loudoun United Stadium. The home games prior to that game are listed as TBD. I would offer my "front yard" as an option, but there isn't enough room for 22 people on it and there's a tree in the middle.

We'll call the October 1st game against the Riverhounds the Sean’s Ramblings Derby since I never root against a Pittsburgh team, yet I want Loudoun to do well.


More information about Loudoun United including how to get tickets is available at www.loudoununitedfc.com.

As a (hopefully) Loudoun United team blogger, you can (again hopefully) see fun posts about the team here in 2019. I plan on (hope) to do some player profiles and share posts about the progress on the construction of the new stadium. Perhaps I’ll even get a press pass and can watch a game from there. Maybe the team will let me bring my kids on to the field sometime to kick the ball around.

So many cool possibilities that could happen when (if) I actually become a team blogger!

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

College Football Coaching Buyouts

I hate college football. I mean, I like college football, but I hate college football. Let's go back a few years. The first football games that I attended weren't Pittsburgh Steelers games. I have no idea how expensive Steelers tickets were in the early 80s or how easy it was to get tickets, but I attended several University of Pittsburgh football games during that time. My Cub Scout troop even got group tickets once or twice. Plus, Pitt Stadium was probably about a mile from my aunt and uncle's place, so we parked in their parking lot and walked to the stadium. While I don't remember the 1976 championship season (I was 1), the team was really good in the 1980s with All-Americans Dan Marino, Bill Fralic, Hugh Green, Mark May, and Jimbo Covert. As I got older, I was fortunate to get to watch other amazing players like Ironhead Heyward, Curtis Martin, and Larry Fitzgerald. So I do like college football.


With all of that written, let's be honest here. There are 130 Division I Football Bowl Subdivision teams, and of these teams, only about 15 teams have a legitimate chance of winning a national championship each year. First, you have to be in a power-5 conference (or have a very lucrative contract with NBC) to have a chance to win. UCF has proven to be an excellent team over the past two years, yet, they haven’t been invited to the college football playoffs. Then, you need a lot money. Money to hire the best coaches and for state-of-the-art facilities to recruit the top high school players. To have all of this money, you need a massive stadium and a large donor base to support the program. While I'm probably missing a few schools, here are those that have a true chance of winning each year, according to various betting sites:

Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, USC, Florida State, Florida, Georgia, LSU, Michigan, Auburn, Penn State, and Texas. I guess you could add Stanford, UCLA, and Miami in here too. That's the list.

Now here is my problem. Each year, colleges that are not on this list fire their head football coaches and pay millions of dollars as a buyout, settlement, or per the terms of the contact.* Mike MacIntyre was fired by the University of Colorado and has $10.3 million remaining on his contract.

Texas Tech, Kansas, North Carolina, Charlotte, East Carolina, and Central Michigan are just some other schools that fired their football coaches recently. These are public institutions. Where is the money coming from? Taxpayers? Increased student fees? Here’s my new rule: If you’re not one of the 15 or so teams I mentioned, you’re not allowed to pay millions to coaches who no longer coaching at your school. I have no idea how this could be implemented, but why let details get in the way of a good and fiscally reasonable idea!


* The Louisville Courier Journal published a story in October 2018 showing that fired coaches in 2017 got over $70 million in buyouts.

Monday, December 10, 2018

Sean Versus The Sun

The title of this post probably isn’t as catchy as Joe Versus The Volcano, but I like it.


I recently went to the doctor for my annual examination. While I had high cholesterol in the past, my numbers have been fantastic lately, well within the normal range. All of my other blood results came back fine too except for this item:

Vitamin D, 25-Hydroxy - 24.8 ng/mL (30.0-100.0)

So I now have low Vitamin D numbers. Here are the actual notes from my doctor:

Excellent labs lipids
No dm or anemia

Chol 163 great
rtc one yr and pm
He is in good health
sl low vt d 25 so take otc vit d once a day and get some sun exposure to help bones heal well and remain strong
Not a major issue however


I’m not a doctor, but I’ll decode this message to the best of my abilities.

Excellent labs lipids

Damn right I have excellent lab lipids. Take that lipids.

No dm or anemia

I guess no direct messages for me on Twitter or Facebook for the next year, so just email me instead.

Chol 163 great
rtc one yr and pm


For the next item, I believe this means that I need to go to Reston Town Center once in the evening during this year.

The rest seems rather self-explanatory though I’m not sure why I need to attend the Offshore Technology Conference.


Back to the low Vitamin D numbers, I decided to look at my lab results from the last few years and found that they were not part of the documents. Did they not test this in the past? Basically, have I always had low Vitamin D numbers? If this is something new, I have a theory as to why my numbers are low. The weather.

The Washington DC weather is likely to be the wettest in history. It seems like rained every day over a several month period in the summer and fall, and even if wasn’t raining, it was still cloudy.

Since it’s unlikely that I’ll get much sun in what sounds like it will be a cold and snowy winter, I guess I’ll start taking Vitamin D tablets to go with my fish oil pills. Pharmaceutical companies win again!

Wednesday, December 05, 2018

Happy Hanukkah 2018

Happy Hanukkah for those of you who are celebrating! 2018 marks a milestone year in the Hanukkah tradition. It’s now been 20 years that pickles have been part of Hanukkah festivities. While you likely know that latkes (potato pancakes) and donuts are regularly eaten during Hanukkah, you may not be familiar with the new-ish tradition of eating pickles too. I explained this several years ago, but eating pickles at Hanukkah started in San Diego, California in 1998. So if/when you light the candles over the next few nights, please also include pickles with your meal. Unlike fetch, this tradition of eating pickles is going to happen!


With the Queen movie coming out recently, Bohemian Rhapsody, a cappella group Six13 released a new song for Hanukkah, Bohemian Chanukah.



Not to be outdone, The Maccabeats released their own Hanukkah song, I Have a Little Dreidel.



It seems like advantage goes to Six13 this year. I’ve shared several videos from both these groups over the years, and I really wonder if they’re rivals. I just imagine them meeting on a random street one day, joined by other a cappella groups just like what happened in Anchorman.


My friend Sarah wrote a romance novella, Lighting the Flames, a few years ago. I enjoyed it! Meanwhile Pop Culture Happy Hour is one of my favorite podcasts, so it made my day seeing host Linda Holmes praising Sarah’s work. (Worlds colliding!)



Finally, this is just a normal day on the New York City subway. I keep waiting for him to drop, but it never happens!

Friday, November 30, 2018

Friday Video: Robyn

Back in 1995, Swedish singer Robyn had two major hits with Do You Know (What It Takes) and Show Me Love. At the time, I didn't know she was Swedish. I actually thought she sounded like she was from Swissvale or maybe Turtle Creek, and you could have easily convinced me that she was a fellow Woodland Hills Wolverine.


Fast-forward to around 2010, and I remember hearing her name pop up in best-of lists. I had no idea, but she remained a major music star in Sweden and Europe. Now, eight years after her last album she’s back with a new album, and it seems to be getting extremely positive reviews. I wouldn’t be surprised if this album also appears on critics’ best albums of 2018 lists.

Despite all this, I still only know her two songs from almost 25 years ago and wanted to share one of them today.

To be fair to Robyn and any Robyn fans who happen to read this and want to criticize me for not following her career, here's one of her latest songs from the Honey album.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

I Don’t Understand The Shipping Process (2018 Edition)

I don’t do much online shopping, so when I do, I’m repeatedly baffled by how items are shipped. Back in 2012, I wrote about how one of my purchases was shipping from Maryland to Oregon to Virginia. Three years ago, I shared my confusion about why the same order of cat food needed to be divided and shipped from both Saline, Michigan and Rensselaer, New York. Today’s post is similar to the last one.

Dick’s Sporting Goods recently had an advertisement selling college sweatshirts for $19.98, originally priced at $59.99. I generally don’t like buying clothes online because I prefer to try them on to make sure they fit before making a purchase. I don’t want to deal with the hassle of sending clothes back if they don’t fit. Of course, I rarely go clothes shopping since I don’t have any free time for this, meaning that much of my wardrobe has been the same for years. Anyway, the advantage of buying clothing from Dick’s is that there’s a store about 2 miles from my home, so if it doesn’t fit you must acquit (and I can return them directly to the store).

As a lifelong fan of the University of Pittsburgh, I purchased this Pitt pullover hoodie:


I really like these Pitt colors, especially the bright blue! In addition, as a graduate of The Ohio State University, I bought this "foundation hoodie" to show that I’m a Buckeye.


Now the fun part. The Pitt shirt was shipped from New Stanton, PA. Meanwhile the Ohio State gear was sent from Louisville, Kentucky. Do they only have Pitt gear in Pennsylvania and Ohio State gear in Kentucky? That seems unlikely. There's not a warehouse somewhere with both pieces of clothing? Apparently not.

Please be on the lookout for my next blog post about my bewilderment of the shipping process scheduled for late 2021!

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Cortaca Jug Game Goes To New York City (Area)

The annual Cortaca Jug game between Ithaca College and SUNY Cortland is arguably the biggest rivalry in Division III football. Sports Illustrated even called it the “Biggest Little Game in the Country.” However, unless you’re affiliated with one of these schools, are a die-hard Division III football fan, or live in Central New York, you’re likely not aware of this game. There are probably about 10,000 people who attend the annual game, but it certainly doesn’t have the attendance draw of Ohio State-Michigan. (Of course, stadium capacity is significantly less at Butterfield Stadium and Cortland's Stadium Complex compared to The Shoe and The Big House.) So when it was announced that the 2019 Cortaca Jug game would be played at MetLife Stadium, home to the New York Jets and Giants, my initial reaction was “Holy Crap!” It sounded (and still sounds) like a cool idea. My next reaction though was, “How is this going to work?”


Ithaca and Cortland are both over 200 miles from East Rutherford, New Jersey. That’s not very convenient for students, faculty, and staff that live in those areas. While I've heard estimates that 30,000 Cortland and Ithaca alumni live in the New York City area, I’d be interested in seeing how the area is defined.* How far into Connecticut and New Jersey does this include? Regardless, this still seems ambitious that a majority of grads will attend the game.

Despite all this, I’m definitely interested in going. It’s about a 4-hour drive from Northern Virginia to the stadium. Well, 4 hours without traffic or stopping, which probably means 5 hours unless the Delaware Memorial Bridge is closed when it could take even longer.

Anyway, while I’ve started considering if I can go and what friends may be able to join me, Ithaca, Cortland, Ticketmaster, or whoever else may be forcing my hand. Despite the game being about 50 weeks away (Nov. 16, 2019), tickets go on sale this Saturday, December 1st. This seems insane to me! I don’t know what I’m having for dinner tomorrow (I would normally say tonight, but there’s dinner at a local restaurant where a portion of the sales go to the elementary school PTA, so I know what I’m ordering) or when I’m going to take my car for an oil change, but I need to commit to an event nearly a year away?

My theory is that MetLife wants to make sure that enough tickets are sold to make it worth it. 10,000 people in an NFL stadium isn’t going to work for them. According to this article in The Ithacan, Ithaca College's Susan Bassett, associate vice president and director of intercollegiate athletics and recreational sports, said "there has to be a minimum of approximately 20,000 tickets sold for the game at MetLife Stadium to be a success." If you're going to play at an NFL stadium with a capacity of 82,500, you better have way more than 20,000 tickets sold!

Back to the ticket sales, it seems that sports and especially concert tickets go on sale earlier and earlier now, and I’m not sure why. I mean, I’m sure it’s because of money, but what’s the difference between selling tickets 3 months before an event rather than 11 months?

To conclude, Go Bombers!


* According to The Ithacan article linked above, there are 27,221 Ithaca College alumni within a four-hour radius of the city. I guess they have some pretty good data.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Top 40 Songs From November 1992

I'm a pop music fan. Maybe it's because Neil Diamond and Billy Joel were the first two artists I listened to more than anyone else. Maybe it's because I watched a good amount of MTV as a kid, who played only pop music in its early days. Maybe it's because my favorite radio station growing up was Pittsburgh's B-94. It's probably a combination of all of this.

Last week, a friend shared a tweet with the Cash Box top 40 singles from November 21, 1992. Even though I just shared that I'm a pop music fan, there's a lot more not good on this list than good, and I'm probably being generous.


Let's start with the good. If Jump Around, Rump Shaker, and to a lesser extent, Rhythm Is a Dancer, doesn't get you pumped up, you have no pulse. There are also some really strong songs by female artists here with Free Your Mind by En Vogue, Walking on Broken Glass by Annie Lennox (an underrated song in my opinion), and Real Love by Mary J. Blige. Two TLC songs are a nice bonus. This may hurt my street cred here, but I like If I Ever Fall In Love by Shai.

Now to the others. The slow version of Layla is fine, but not nearly as good as the original (though I get bored by the instrumental part at the end of the original very quickly). End of the Road was played at the end of every dance and graduation event from 1992-1995. It got tiresome after the first 20 or 5000 events. Prince and Madonna both had much, much better songs. I'll also take My Prerogative, Don't Be Cruel, and the Ghostbusters 2 songs over the two Bobby Brown songs here. How Do You Talk To An Angel is an awful song. Maybe this gets me some street cred back. There are a lot of songs here I don't even recognize. Wayne Newton had a top #25 song in 1992? What is a Mad Cobra? Just so much meh here.

Share your thoughts about this list in the comments section below.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Thanksgiving Message 2018

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

Turkey lurkey doo and
Turkey lurkey dap
I eat that turkey
Then I take a nap


I dream of the day when I can have a Thanksgiving nap. In reality, I'll probably chase my kids around all day and crash on the couch after they go to sleep while watching football.

Well, with that, have a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Trivia Wednesday

Trivia Wednesday doesn't sound nearly as good as Trivia Tuesday, but today seems like a great day for trivia. Either you're at work hoping to get out early before Thanksgiving or you need a break from preparing for Thanksgiving. With that, here are 10 questions for you based on the pictures.


Please leave your answers in the comments section below. Good luck!

These questions are courtesy of PubStumpers.

Monday, November 19, 2018

Linked In

See what I'm doing here? (I think) I'm being clever by having a posted titled "Linked In" while I share links about interesting articles I've recently read. So here are some links to check out when taking a break from figuring out where and when to buy your turkey and pumpkin pie!

* Where did the phrase "Kennywood's open" originate? The Post-Gazette did some research though we probably will never know. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]

* Josh went to Nashville. I went to Nashville for my annual(-ish) hockey road trip about two years ago, but I still haven't written a blog post about that portion of the trip. I should do that sometime especially since I really enjoyed the city. [Josh's World]

* A friend posted this "Homestead & Survival Alarm Clock" picture on Facebook. [Facebook]


Who's parents? Um, I've had this exact alarm clock for at least 20 years. I know that I took it with me to England in 2000, so I probably had it when I was in college in the 90s. What a solid alarm clock!

* An English soccer referee was banned for using rock, paper, scissors instead of coin flip before kickoff. The problem is that he should have played the pick a number between 1-10 and whoever is closest wins game. [CBS Sports]

* Apparently, in solidary with this referee, hundreds of refs did rock, paper, scissors to start games over the weekend. Although I was an assistant referee and not the center referee for two games Sunday, we did a coin toss since that's the way you start a game! [ESPN]

* Ron launched a new website, Steelers Takeaways. Please support him and the site. [Steelers Takeaways]

* Heinz offered Kansas City QB Patrick Mahomes free ketchup for life. I think he should do it and not just because it's Heinz ketchup. Actually, yes, it's because it's Heinz ketchup. [ESPN]

* Finally, credit where it's due. Congratulations to Emory's women's volleyball team on winning the NCAA Division III championship. Emory dominated by losing only one set during the entire tournament run. Of course, that set was against Ithaca College in the quarterfinals and Emory won two other sets against the Bombers 25-23, but Emory deserves and earned the title. [Emory Athletics]


Photo from Emory University's athletics website.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

The Moose's American Ninja Warrior Junior Audition

One of my kids’ favorite shows right now is American Ninja Warrior Junior on Universal Kids. I’ve only watched a few American Ninja Warrior (Senior?) episodes, but it seems like a similar concept. Kids 14 and under are broken into three divisions based on age and compete in an obstacle course that I could definitely not complete.


My two older boys have started making their own obstacles in the house which somehow ends with them jumping on a couch (which is not okay) or trying to climb on their bunk bed (which is super not okay). The final challenge on American Ninja Warrior Junior is to climb a 13-foot wall. There are "hand holds" for the younger divisions, but even then, they still have to reach them at I believe 10 or 11.5 feet to then climb to the top. Again, while I can’t do any of this, my seven year old The Moose thinks he can.

We recently met some friends at a trampoline place that happened to have a giant wall. All The Moose wanted to do was the wall. Here’s the result:


The Moose is about 4’ 1” and stayed really determined attempt after attempt even though he wasn’t all that close to getting to the top. I really appreciate his willingness to not give up. Basically, he was Chumbawamba as he took a whisky drink, vodka drink, lager drink, and cider drink.


Or maybe it's that getting knocked down, but getting up again part of the song. Close enough.

It looks like they have ninja-style gyms in the area, and I think my kids (well at least The Moose) would really enjoy it. Add that to my winter to do list! (The other two are probably too small for it, though if there's a speed-crawling and drooling challenge, Luigi would dominate.)

Oh, if I ever made it to American Ninja Warrior, I'd call myself The Blogging Ninja!

Monday, November 12, 2018

The Travel Voucher

This blog has been pretty heavy lately, so here's something a bit lighter. A lot lighter.

For years, I have hoped to have the opportunity to help the airlines. Let me rephrase this. You know how airlines sometimes oversell flights? I don’t understand the reason behind this, but they do. Anyway, when this occurs, airlines will ask for volunteers to give up their seat to go on a later flight in exchange for some type of travel voucher. Every time this has happened to me in the past, either I had to be on that flight (for something work or family related), it would be frowned upon if I took the later flight but let my young kids fly alone, or the airline already had enough volunteers.

Traveling to Charleston earlier this month, United Airlies asked for volunteers to get put on a later flight as well as a $700 travel voucher. I was apprehensive since I didn’t think I could do this, but two people I was with encouraged me to go for it. One even used the “you waited in line for burritos” argument and said I was the king of getting free things, so why wouldn’t I do this? It was a very persuasive.


By the time I approached the desk, the voucher was up to $800. I was sold. The flight boarded, and I waited at the gate to make sure it was full. It was. I had to wait at the gate for another 20 minutes after the flight departed from the gate, but at the end, United gave me a $1000 voucher. WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

The next step was the airline giving me a voucher to take a shuttle from Dulles to National for a flight on American Airlines. I'm not sure how United got me on an American flight, but I wasn't going to complain. I took the shuttle with another woman who also took United's offer for the voucher and later flight. We talked about our families and how the voucher would help us visit family living in other areas. Oh, I also received a $10 food voucher. It didn’t cover my entire Five Guys meal, but it was close.

Of course, it turned out that the woman who shared the shuttle had the seat next to me on the plane. At that point, we had nothing else to say to each other. Hooray for books and headphones! I made it in Charleston in plenty of time and now I have a $1000 to spend on United! With three kids, that might (might!) cover one family flight next summer.

Monday, November 05, 2018

Shabbat In Charleston

When I knew that I was going to be in Charleston, South Carolina, I decided that I wanted to attend Shabbat services at Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim, one of the oldest synagogues in the United States. The congregation was founded in 1749 with the current sanctuary built in 1840. After the tragic shootings at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, I definitely wanted to attend Friday night Shabbat services. The unique sanctuary is unlike any I've ever seen, so I've included some pictures here.


In the immediacy after the shooting, I was sad and angry. I shared my frustration about the shooting and the state of our country. I still feel terrible for the family members of the victims, and I still have no confidence in our government to do something to prevent mass shootings by making sure that people who shouldn't have guns, don't have guns. Just on Friday, two people were killed and five others were wounded at a yoga studio in Tallahassee.

With all of that written, there is some good in the world. Seeing how the Pittsburgh community has come together has been incredible. I always knew that Pittsburgh was a special place, but I've been amazed by the city's unity and support for one another. Back to Charleston, there were easily 200 people for Friday night services. I don't know how many people typically attend Shabbat services, but my guess is that this is significantly more than usual. I went to services by myself, and while I tend to keep to myself in unfamiliar situations, the congregation was particularly welcoming. I sat next to a pastor of a local church and his wife, both at the synagogue with their son to support Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim ("KKBE") and the Jewish community. Naturally, I met another couple that spent about a decade in Pittsburgh in the 80s. It turned out that we both attended Tree of Life at the same time (I didn't know them) and actually lived less than a mile apart for several years. Because Pittsburgh.


Overhearing several conversations, there were definitely people of multiple faiths attending services in solidarity with the Jewish community. It sounds like this happened throughout the United States. And this is why in the wake of last week's shooting, I do have some faith in humanity. It seems like there are so many divisions in this country, particularly politically, but attending services with so many people really was heartening. Oh, every synagogue should serve root beer floats during the oneg (the post-service social gathering) like KKBE! Root beer floats can certainly bring the country together!


(The first and third photos are courtesy of the Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim website. The second is my own picture, clearly not of the same quality of the others.)

Monday, October 29, 2018

Remembering The Victims Of The Squirrel Hill Synagogue Shooting

Now that we know the victims of Saturday's horrific shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue shooting, I want to share some of their stories. I really don't want to hear about the gunman and his hatred. Law enforcement, lawyers, and a judge and jury will take care of that. This post is to remember those who tragically lost their lives just for being at synagogue. Please note that stories below are from friends who posted them on Facebook as well as links from newspapers and websites.

Dan Stein

* Yesterday was the worst day of my life! My dads life was taken at the Tree of Life shooting. My mom, sister and I are absolutely devastated and crushed! Our lives now are going to have to take a different path, one that we thought would not happen for a long time. My dad was a simple man and did not require much. In the picture below he was having a great day doing two things he loved very much. He had just finished coming from synagogue, which he loved, and then got to play with his grandson which he loved even more! We love you dad more than you’ll ever know! Thanks in advance for all the love and support!

* Dan was an inspiring man. Hands down the best coach I ever had. With a big heart filled with compassion, he helped us young boys become the men we are today. Our thoughts are with you.

The Tribune-Review also published an article titled "Squirrel Hill shooting victim Dan Stein remembered as a kind soul."


Mel Wax

* Mel Wax was a fixture in my synagogue growing up, called New Light. He was my informal bar mitzvah tutor, I guess you could call it, helping teach the prayers. He *always* told jokes. He treated me like a real person, not just a kid. We were a small synagogue, and if there wasn’t a minyan (a minimum of 10 people) on a Saturday morning, he’d use the Temple’s phone to call me to get the hell down there. (They had decided you could use the phone on Shabbat if you were trying to put together a minyan. Sensible rule.). I’ve worn tefillin exactly once in my life, but it was Mel who had the patience to show me what to do and take me through the ritual. He was probably the one person besides our parents to give positive feedback on the Purim plays that [name redacted] and I would write together, which looking back on it were *insane* (setting the Purim story in the middle of the Clarence Thomas/Anita Hill hearings, with lines for each member on the Judiciary Committee? Why not!). I have a very distinct memory of Mel shaking his head watching a Steelers-49ers game all at the Temple when a rookie Barry Foster forgot to field the kickoff, resulting in the longest onside kick in NFL history. And he greeted me warmly when I came home for the high holidays my freshman year of college, asking me how life was all the way on the other side of the state.

Mel Wax was a good man. You all know a Mel Wax, at your church or synagogue or mosque or school or in your neighborhood. A person who makes an impact on others just be being themselves and doing what they do week in and week out. Mel Wax was murdered yesterday in a terrible act, along with 10 others — including other parents or friends of friends — doing what he did every single Saturday morning for his entire life, precisely *because* of what he was doing.

Mel, your memory is a blessing.



Cecil and David Rosenthal

* When you hear the names Cecil and David Rosenthal today, please know they were joyous men who overcome so many challenges and obstacles to life. They were so much more than our neighbors in Stanton Heights. With a mother named Joy, they couldn’t be anything other than a love to their parents and siblings and our entire community. Our family has so many great memories of them from Cecil giving me a joyous cheer during my Bar Mitzvah to their constant presence throughout Sq Hill especially at the JCC to the great big hugs Cecil loved to give. They died doing something they loved and have done every week, practicing our blessed and ancient religion of Judaism. We and everyone who interacted with David and Cecil were lucky to have done so. A monster may have taken their bodies, but he did not steal our memories, our faith or our collective resolve. Our hearts ache for the entire Rosenthal family and all the families of those who were senselessly taken by that monster.

* As a child, I would sit in the congregation and look for the dedicated brothers that were always there to worship. I admired their dedication, though I didn’t share it. They were always there. It was such a huge part of their lives. My heart breaks that they were taken away. The last time I attended Tree of Life was 2 years ago. I brought my kids to Rosh Hashanah services. Before I could focus on the Rabbi, I needed to find the brothers. There they were. I told my kids about them, their love for worship, and the community. I will always think of them. I am so incredibly sorry for all of the families’ losses.

Both the Tribune-Review and Pittsburgh Post-Gazette had articles about Cecil and David.


I also highly recommend checking out The Washington Post, Post-Gazette, and Buzzfeed who all have profiles and more about each of the 11 victims.

Let's also pray or share positive thoughts to those injured in the shooting, including several Pittsburgh police officers.

Finally, I attended a vigil on Sunday night at my Northern Virginia synagogue. One person in attendance wore a Troy Polamalu jersey. That just seems so Pittsburgh, and I will always love my home town!

Sunday, October 28, 2018

The Attack At Tree of Life Synagogue

I am sad and I am angry, but I'm mostly sad. On Saturday morning, a gunman entered the Tree of Life synagogue in the Squirrel Hill section of Pittsburgh, killed 11 people, and wounded several others including 4 Pittsburgh police officers. Tree of Life is the synagogue I belonged to growing up. I attended Hebrew and Sunday school at Tree of Life and had my Bar Mitzvah there. Therefore, Saturday's shooting hits really close to home.

For a little background, Tree of Life was a massive synagogue. The main sanctuary can seat over 1,000 people, and when I was young in the late 70s and early 80s, they used to hold two services on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur to accommodate everyone. Basically, there was an A service and a B service. The membership numbers have dropped over the years for a variety of reasons including the fact that there aren't as many Jews that attend conservative synagogues in Squirrel Hill as there used to be. Since Tree of Life is still a large building though, there were three separate services for three separate congregations occurring on Saturday.


Although I moved away from Pittsburgh years ago, I'm sure that I still know people who attend Tree of Life, and I definitely know people who live near the synagogue. I already learned that the father of someone I know was killed. He recently became a grandfather, and I feel awful for the family. I may know others when the victims' names are released on Sunday (or at least I'll know someone who knows someone). We've now seen shootings with multiple casualties in places of worship such as Charleston, South Carolina and Sutherland Springs, Texas in the last few years. This is in addition to shootings at Virginia Tech, Stoneman Douglas High School, Sandy Hook Elementary School, a concert in Las Vegas, an Orlando club, countless workplace shootings, and so many others. This is where I'm angry. Mass shootings happen ALL THE TIME. Outside of Pittsburgh, Saturday's shooting at Tree of Life will be likely be out of the news cycle in a few days.

After Saturday’s shooting, President Trump spoke to reporters before boarding Air Force One. As part of his remarks, he said, "If there was an armed guard inside the temple, they would have been able to stop him."



I don't swear on this blog and rarely due in person, but fuck you. Seriously, fuck you. You have no empathy whatsoever. You're blaming the victims because there wasn't an armed guard immediately after the shooting occurred. Four highly trained police officers were wounded when facing the shooter. There was certainly plenty of security in Las Vegas when over 50 people were killed at a concert. Why is it assumed that an armed guard would be successful in stopping someone with multiple guns including an automatic weapon in a surprise attack? Plus, why would we want to live in a country where we need armed guards at places of worship? Do you really want armed guards at every restaurant, grocery store, daycare, hardwood store, laundromat, etc.? Guns are definitely part of the problem. I know I've written this before, but I attended a school district that had the day off for the first day of deer hunting season. My high school also had a hugely successful rifle team. In general, I don't have an issue with guns. What I do have an issue with is the types of guns available and that we don't have laws (or enforce laws) that make it difficult for people to obtain them. Why don't we have universal background checks or require a license to own a gun? I'm really not interested in having a debate about this as mass shootings continue to happen. And if you think a good person with a gun or having armed personnel everywhere is going to solve everything, you're delusional. How many accidental deaths will there be from a "good person with a gun" shooting someone they think is a bad person with a gun? Will all of these guns be properly secured? Let's say there is someone with a gun with the intention of doing harm. If everyone has a gun, will people just start shooting anyone else with a gun thinking they are the bad guy? How will police distinguish the bad guy in this situation?


Back to the sad part. I spent Saturday with my family knowing that the shooting in Pittsburgh occurred and wanting to know more of what was going on, but I wasn't about to turn on the TV in front of the kids. How do we explain to our 7 and 4 year-old kids that there was a shooting in a synagogue? They see police at our synagogue during the High Holidays, but they don't understand why. Now, it seems like they will be there all the time. My one year old will likely always see police at synagogues. And this makes me sad. Why can't we pray and be part of a community where we don’t have to worry about our safety? Maybe I’m being naïve here. Something has to change. We don't need more VegasStrong or PittsburghStrong slogans.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Luigi Turns One

I haven’t really written much about our third son Luigi after he arrived home from the hospital in September 2017. He was supposed to add some additional content to Sean’s Ramblings, but he really hasn’t. No wonder television shows have babies go from newborns to walking and functioning kids so quickly. There’s only so much you can write about a baby. Let me rephrase this. There’s a lot that you can write about your first child as he or she develops, but by the third kid, it’s already been covered.

Let’s start with basics. At his one year appointment, Luigi was 20.6 pounds (25th percentile), his height was 24.1 inches (14th percentile) and his head circumference was 42.6 centimeters (85th percentile). Look at the size of that noggin!



Actually, his head looks proportional to the rest of his body, but anytime I can add a reference to So I Married An Axe Murderer, I’m going to do it.

Overall, Luigi is a pleasant kid. He sort of has to be because of how much time and attention his brothers The Moose (7) and Pedro Tulo (4) need. His favorite toys are doors, garbage cans, and especially, our cat, Ziggy. Luigi absolutely adores Ziggy and lights up when he sees him. Ziggy is quite patient with Luigi too, often allowing the child to grab him and pull his fur before walking away.


It’s been quite a year for us and Luigi. He arrived almost a month early, and despite being 6 pounds and 13 ounces, he spent the first week of his life at the NICU where he was cared for by some amazing nurses. The next few months are a blur. My wife stayed home with him until January, and I just remember shuttling the older kids back and forth to and from school and preschool. I guess I worked during this time too, and I helped out at night, so there really wasn’t much time for sleep. One night when Luigi was about a month old, I was holding him on the couch, and we both fell asleep. Somehow, I accidentally dropped him onto the carpeted floor. That obviously woke us both up and was probably the most scared I have ever been as a parent. He calmed down fairly quickly, but I was terrified that he got hurt, perhaps seriously, because of me. I read everything I could find online about dropping babies, and it helped that he had a doctor’s appointment sometime in the days after this. He was fine, but I think that may be why he didn’t like me much the first few months. Well that and that I’m not the mama.


At three months, Luigi had hernia surgery. Although the doctors said that he wasn’t in any discomfort due to the hernia prior to the surgery, I’m not so sure. He seemed like a happier baby after this. Even in the hospital, he smiled at the doctors and nurses after the surgery.

While I took time off work immediately after all three of my kids were born, I only had a week alone with both The Moose and Pedro Tulo after maternity leave ended. In January, my wife went back to work, and I planned on taking the entire month off with Luigi. It was terrific spending so much one-on-one time with him. One of my goals was to get out each day whether it was meeting a friend for lunch, running errands, or becoming mall-walkers. Nearly every weekday over a 2-week period or so, we joined retirees and other moms with young kids at the mall. Let's go to the mall!


I found that the best time to go was around 9:00, prior to the stores opening at 10. There was something comforting and fun walking around when the stores were still closed and few people there (except outside of the Apple store), yet there was a rush of employees preparing to open their stores. At one point, Luigi and I saw a few other moms with their kids in strollers meeting in the middle of the mall and exercising. It turns out that it was a group called Fit4Moms which has franchises all over the country. I was tempted to ask to join, but the fact that Moms was in the title dissuaded me. Still, Luigi and I would stroll through the mall and try to see if we could find the group. I would have conversations with Luigi asking him where they went. And then I'd ask him why there are two separate Auntie Anne's in the mall and so many places to get a haircut!

Our planned month together ended a little more than a week early when I fell and dislocated my wrist. That was a really difficult time for me. After spending so much time with Luigi, I couldn’t do anything with him before and after my surgery. With only one available hand, I couldn’t pick him up to get him in and out of the crib. I couldn’t change his diaper. While I could feed him if someone handed Luigi to me, trying to rotate him to burp was not enjoyable for either of us. So for about six weeks, I basically would try to get him to smile and lay next to him on the floor. I could still take care of the older kids, but my wife was basically on her own with Luigi.

Now, a little more than a year old, Luigi really is a happy kid. He started crawling around 9 months and he doesn’t stop moving. He hasn’t started walking yet though he’ll cruise on furniture and can walk if holding on to our hands or pushing one of his toys. Plus, he’s on pace to walk before his brothers did at around 17-18 months. Luigi eats just about anything you give him, and the transition to milk went smoothly. Now, we need him to start using cups more rather than bottles.

Luigi loves his brothers, and his brothers love him. While The Moose was all in as soon as Luigi came home, Pedro Tulo ignored Luigi for the most part until just a few months ago. Now, it’s the cutest thing to see Pedro Tulo go into Luigi’s room in the morning and say “Good morning Luigi.” Luigi always smiles at this.

A belated Happy Birthday Luigi! Now, can you please sleep in on weekends!

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Sidney Crosby Is Good at Hockey (Again)

This is Crosby's game-winning overtime goal Tuesday night in Edmonton.


Same play but with different announcers.


For clarification, the "again" in the title of the post is not to suggest that Sidney Crosby was bad at hockey at any point of his NHL career. I wrote a different post titled Sidney Crosby Is Good At Hockey earlier this year.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Ted Mosby: Plant Shop Employee

When I lived in San Diego, I had the opportunity to see the west coast premier of Rent. This was a very big deal at the time, particularly because the cast included one Neil Patrick Harris. This show was also more than I spent for any other ticket up to that point, including those for concerts or sporting events. I don't remember much about the show, except that for much of it, I thought to myself, "Wow. Doogie Howser is singing!" or "Where did Doogie go?"

The reason I mention this is because Little Shop of Horrors is coming to the Kennedy Center in Washington DC next week and features Ted Mosby, I mean Josh Radnor from How I Met Your Mother.


I realize that Radnor has had numerous other acting roles, but I really only know him as Ted Mosby: Architect. If I saw Little Shop of Horrors, I'm sure that I would be in the audience thinking about how he shouldn't have ended up with Robin at the end of the show (sorry, spoiler) or wondering why he's not hanging out with Barney, Marshall, or Lily.

While NPH has clearly outgrown his Doogie Howser persona, I don't think that Ted, I mean Josh, has.

(Photo from Playbill.)

Friday, October 12, 2018

Friday Video: High Hopes

In 2006, Panic! at the Disco’s "I Write Sins Not Tragedies" reached #7 on the Billboard Hot 100. It's an odd song about a couple that should or shouldn't get married because the "groom's bride is a whore" and no one can close the door. Based on the subject, I'm not sure how this got so much airplay.

The band has had plenty of success over the last decade, even receiving a Grammy nomination for a Best Rock Album, but no single has come close to matching the success of I Write Sins. That could change in the next few weeks or months with the very catchy and uplifting song, High Hopes.

Enjoy.



Thursday, October 11, 2018

Sean Needs Music Help

I’m writing this blog post in 2018, not 2008 or even 2000. When it comes to music, I am a dinosaur. No, I’m not talking about the music I listen to regularly. Actually, maybe it is. I tend to listen to the radio as background noise at work. I’m not in the car much, but when I’m by myself (meaning not long family car trips where we play Magic School Bus and Curious George episodes for the kids), I generally listen to podcasts or, again, the radio.

You may have noticed that I haven’t written anything about my phone or computer. I got out of college before Napster got big and everyone downloaded music. I missed that wave. I never had an iPod and don’t have music on my phone or computer.* I’ve never paid to download any songs. Sure I have tapes and CDs, but I don’t think I’ve purchased a CD for myself this decade. I’m not sure I even know how to create a digital music collection. How do you get music from a CD to my phone?

(This is not a photo of me. I typed "confused" into Google Images and this iStock photo was one of the results.)

This is where I need your help. I am years behind the digital music revolution. If I save songs to my computer (which I’m not exactly sure how to do), where can I save them as a backup? Basically, where do I even start?


* Actually, I have a total of one song on my phone. The Foo Fighters released five songs available to download for free several years ago. I still have a song named Sean. What a great title for a song!

Friday, October 05, 2018

Friday Video: Superhero

I’ve shared links and videos of musician Emma G several times here and on my Facebook page. I saw her busk at my Metro station over a year ago, and she has an amazing voice singing a variety of covers as well as being a talented songwriter. I’m no Clive Davis or Quincy Jones, but I think she's going to breakout. Emma G has a new song called Superhero, and I like this description:

It's an empowering track that has both inspired audiences around the country, as well as sparked conversations through its uncompromising and in-your-face lyrics, yet also head-noddingly accessible and radio friendly sound.

See and hear it for yourself right now!


The song is available on iTunes, Spotify, Pandora, Tidal, Bandcamp, and everywhere else you listen to music.

You can also learn more about Emma G on her website and Facebook page.

Wednesday, October 03, 2018

Soulja Boy's Message To Phil Kessel

The 2018-2019 National Hockey League season starts tonight. To celebrate the beginning of the season, Soulja Boy shared a birthday message to American hero and two-time Stanley Cup Champion Phil Kessel. Sure he pronounced Kessel's name incorrectly, but it's the thought that counts.

Tuesday, October 02, 2018

Bring Back BBQ Fritos

If you watch cable news and listen to many politicians, you would think that we live in an extremely divided country. And maybe we do. However, maybe I'm an optimist and believe that we have more in common than things that divide us. People just want to be healthy and safe, want the best for our kids, and except for some folks in the northeastern part of the country, root against the New England Patriots.

Something else that bonds most Americans is our love of snacks. And that’s where we need to come together as Democrats, Republicans, Independents, Libertarians, Green Party members, unaffiliated voters, Librarians, Mechanics, Cosmetologists, and everyone else to support an important cause.


Earlier this year, the Frito-Lay company made the tragic decision to discontinue BBQ Fritos. This is truly an outrage and injustice. I only learned about this recently when I was in a grocery store that had a buy one, get one free sale on Fritos, yet there were no BBQ Fritos to be found. I noticed that a different grocery store also had several varieties of Fritos, but there were no BBQ Fritos in sight. That’s when I started doing some research and contacted Frito-Lay. Here’s our correspondence:

Me:
Dear FritoLay,

I am a big fan of your products and eat Rold Gold pretzels probably more often than I should. At a local grocery store recently, I saw that Fritos were on sale, so I wanted to buy the BBQ flavor. While there were a half dozen different varieties of Fritos, the store didn’t carry BBQ. At a different grocery store, I also noticed that they no longer carry this flavor. Additionally, I see that this flavor is not listed on your website. Do you no longer make BBQ Fritos? If this is not the case, where can I find them?

Thank you,
Sean

The Reply:
Hi Sean,

Thanks so much for writing to us about Fritos BBQ. This variety has been a fan favorite for years, and we’re very sad to say it has been discontinued. We know that’s a big disappointment since fans like you have been looking high and low for it!

We’re sharing with our Fritos Team all the feedback we receive from our loyal, passionate fans as they may consider bringing it back in the future.

Thanks again for reaching out to us! I’m sending a coupon to you and hope one of our other snacks will satisfy your taste buds!

Best regards,

Tina
PepsiCo Consumer Relations

Sean's note: If BBQ Fritos have been a fan favorite, why discontinue it?

Me:
Tina, Thank you for your quick response. Just out of curiosity, what was the reason behind discontinuing the Fritos BBQ? Is there data available to show that this variety had poor sales in relation to other Frito Lay products? More importantly, how can I start a campaign to get Fritos BBQ back? Do you need a certain amount of tweets or signatures on a petition?

Tina:
Hi Sean,

Thank you for writing again. I appreciate the turn around. All we know, is what's been shared before.

We are sharing feedback as we are receiving contact detail. Who's to say what the future will bring?

The executives know how loyal consumers feel, we are ourselves Frito-Lay fans.

I cannot encourage anyone to spend time on a campaign for the return of a specific snack.

Thanks again for reaching out to us! We value your loyalty and truly appreciate your business.

Best regards,
Tina

I was prepared to start an online campaign, but it looks like two people already introduced petitions. Please sign these petitions and contact the Frito-Lay company to let them know that you want, no DEMAND, the return of BBQ Fritos.

Might as while call your Senator and member of Congress on this too. They probably don’t have much going on! And this is something both sides can agree on to help the country.

Let's do this. U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A!

(Again the petitions are available here and here.)

Monday, October 01, 2018

Brett Kavanaugh Meets Jules Winnfield

Sean’s Ramblings is generally a light-hearted blog, and I try to inject some humor in most of the posts. Sure, I may be the only person who finds some of my posts funny, but after 13+ years, I haven’t been canceled yet. (Just checking...can a blog get cancelled? And if I do get cancelled, can WordPress or another platform pick me up?) With that written, it’s difficult to find any humor in last week’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, who accused Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her when they were teenagers. It was riveting television, filled with drama and tension, and terrific product placement by Coca-Cola.


See, I was able to find something funny here. Someone else also found something funny, and mixed together Kavanaugh’s testimony with Samuel L. Jackson’s character, Jules Winnfield, from Pulp Fiction. (The video is NSFW due to language.)



Completely off topic, why did the Senate go away from 60 votes to appoint a Supreme Court Justice? You get way more partisan candidates when only a majority is needed.