Tuesday, March 19, 2019

2019 Celebrate Fairfax Headliners

I moved to Northern Virginia in August 2001 and got involved with the Celebrate Fairfax festival almost immediately. My first experience at Celebrate Fairfax was in 2002 as CHIP, the short-lived festival mascot.

I worked as a staff member in 2003 and 2004 before becoming a volunteer again in 2005. The 2005 festival was, um, interesting. Although I only helped out at an admissions gate for a 3-hour shift, many long-time volunteers, exhibitors, and even sponsors approached me while I walked around the site (as a civilian not a volunteer) to share their frustrations about the event. Fortunately, most of the people in attendance didn’t realize the chaos going on behind the scenes. One part of that year that everyone did notice was the inexplicable decision to have two headliners perform at the same time on two separate stages about 1500 feet away from each other. However, this poor decision led to one of my favorite Celebrate Fairfax moments. While Blue Oyster Cult performed on one stage, Better Than Ezra got a guy from the audience to come on stage to play a cowbell. Then, with the guy hitting the cowbell, the band performed a cover of Blue Oyster Cult’s (Don't Fear) The Reaper.

I mention this because Celebrate Fairfax announced its 2019 headliners featuring Better Than Ezra performing on Friday, June 7. I enjoyed seeing them perform in 2005, and imagine that the band is even better now having more years on stage. Here are a few Better Than Ezra songs that you may know.

Then, Smash Mouth will take the stage on Saturday, June 8. Smash Mouth is an interesting band. They had several massive hits in the late 1990s, but they seem best known lately for getting in Twitter fights with trolls and the Oakland A’s. The band also had this fun exchange with current Washington Nationals pitcher Sean Doolittle last year. Anyway, I'm excited to see them, so count me in!

Sunday, June 9th features the third annual Sunday Brew!

More information about Celebrate Fairfax is available on the festival website. Tickets go on sale on April 1st.

Friday, March 15, 2019

Friday Video: Johnny Cash

When I went to Nashville as part of my hockey road trip a few years ago, I visited the Johnny Cash Museum. Even though I'm not much of a country fan, I highly recommend going if you're in Nashville. It's a very cool place. I've also shared before that I'm a Neil Diamond fan and even wrote about my extremely odd experience getting tickets for one of his concerts.

Despite visiting the Johnny Cash Museum and being a Neil Diamond fan, I never knew that Cash covered a Neil Diamond song. Enjoy his version of Solitary Man. (I also believe that Tom Petty is singing back-up on this.)

Thursday, March 07, 2019

My Luke Perry Story

Actor Luke Perry passed away earlier this week at the way-to-young age of 52. Perry is best known for his role as Dylan McKay on Beverly Hills 90210. The show debuted in October 1990 when I was in high school. I don't remember watching Beverly Hills 90210 very much, but the show was unavoidable, and the cast were seemingly everywhere.

While the show had high ratings, there was definitely some 90210 fatigue by the mid to late-90s. Sometime during the end of my college career, I saw the move The Fifth Element starring Bruce Willis in the theater. I believe that these were the opening credits.

At the sight of "and Luke Perry," there was a collective groan throughout the theater, followed by some laughter at the fact that so many people groaned. (This was at a time before IMDB where you didn't know the entire cast before the movie came out.) I think there was definitely some relief among much of the audience that Perry wasn't in the movie after the opening sequence.


Photo of Luke Perry in 2001 by Leslie Hassler/AP

(Of course since this blog is old, and apparently I have few blog ideas, I already wrote about this in 2010.)

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Christian and DeAngelo (and Roosevelt)

Welcome to the latest edition of Pittsburgh Athletes with World-Renowned Athletes! (At this point, it’s more than a working title. I think it’s the actual title. PAWRA!) Recently, former Pittsburgh Steelers running back DeAngelo Williams shared this picture of him with Christian Pulisic.

I asked DeAngelo where and when this picture was taken, but I did not receive a response. My guess is this was from the summer of 2018 when Pulisic’s Borussia Dortmund faced Portuguese club Benfica as part of the International Champions Cup in Pittsburgh. Of course, English club Chelsea recently signed Pulisic to a $73 million deal, making him the highest-paid American player ever and by a significant amount.

Maybe we'll see Pulisic visit Pittsburgh again someday, but the next time with a World Cup trophy. (I can dream, right?)

Photo from DeAngelo Williams' Twitter account.

You can also click here for previous PAWRA posts.

UPDATE: The Steelers posted a picture of Roosevelt Nix with Pulisic. Apparently, he (and I assume Williams) spent time in Germany with the American Football Without Barriers Foundation. Here's a video of Nix and Pulisic.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Two Videos

It’s been a busy February for me. Nothing very exciting, but between sick kids and home repair stuff, it’s been busy. While I would love to share some thoughts about the Oscars, the ceremony was already three days ago, and I understand that most people have moved on. (Plus, I didn’t see any of the nominated films except for Won’t You Be My Neighbor, the documentary about Mister Rogers. And yes I know that this film wasn’t nominated which may be the biggest oversight in the history of the Academy Awards, but I'm going to pretend that it was.) Instead, I want to share videos from two sporting events that occurred over the weekend.

First, my favorite soccer team Sheffield Wednesday defeated Swansea in the English Championship League game on Saturday. This goal by Steven Fletcher was pretty good.

Maybe he was offsides, but the call was that he was on, so GOAL!!!!

Meanwhile, this happened at the end of the Liberty League title game between Ithaca College and RIT.

Senior Annie Giannone was 1 for 7 from the field and 1 for 4 from the line before this game-winning shot. She's listed as only 5'4" and still managed to take on four defenders! Ithaca College is now on the Division III NCAA Tournament!

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

The Head and Shoulders Commercial Is Wrong

It’s quite possible that this commercial has aired for months, but I only saw it recently.

I have so many thoughts on this commercial.

- First, why is the Kiss Cam guy or girl showing these two? They definitely don’t appear to be a couple.

- The Steelers fan is way out of the Pats fan’s league.

- Rob Gronkowski attended Woodland Hills during his senior year and is a WHHS graduate. Perhaps this Pats fan is really a Steelers fan but is friends or family of Gronk, so that’s why he’s wearing the #87 jersey. Therefore, the two really struck up a rapport before the Kiss Cam came along.

- Okay, that last point seems highly unlikely.

- There is no chance that the Patriots crowd would support this kiss. There would be many more jeers and boos than cheers.

- Smart move by Head & Shoulders by having the Steelers fan wear a JuJu Smith-Schuster jersey than an Antonio Brown one.

Thanks again to Head & Shoulders for providing me with blog content for nearly a decade. (And if you click on the link, you'll see that some of the posts are so old that the videos no longer work.

Friday, February 15, 2019

Friday Video: Make Me Feel

I'll admit that while I've known about Janelle Monáe for years, I don't think I was familiar with any of her songs before her performance of "Make Me Feel" at last Sunday's Grammys. Spoiler (to no one) - She's really good! Monáe has to be the closest artist to Prince out there too. While I plan on checking out more of her music, here is Monáe at the Grammys.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

My Life In Pictures: February 2019

It's been a busy month so far due to forming an exploratory committee to run for President. Apparently, donors aren't all that interested in contributing to a campaign of someone with no political experience or name recognition. Here's everything else going on in my life:

Luigi had a fever last week and took a nearly three hour nap on me. I considered trying to transfer him to his crib several times but figured that he really needed the rest, so I didn't want to disturb him. Luigi is 17 months now, so I don't think there will be many more opportunities of having a child sleep on me.

Meanwhile, Ziggy took his own nap (on a cardboard box?) just a few feet away.

A year after dislocating my wrist from slipping on my stairs, we got carpet for the stairs. Not pictured: Ziggy sleeping on the stairs.

I don't know how it happened, but Pedro Tulo somehow broke my Christina Aguilera CD. This CD is probably worth thousands! I mean, can you get a Christina Aguilera CD anywhere anymore? The Pittsburgher in me is devastated by this.

I took the two older boys to a Chinese new year celebration at the mall. It was cute seeing Pedro Tulo sitting on The Moose's lap, and the older one allowing this.

I haven’t bought a pair of non-work shoes in at least 3-4 years, so I feel the need to share a picture of my new purchase. It's nothing fancy, but I'll probably have these shoes for the next decade.

Finally, we don't watch Paw Patrol that much anymore, mostly due to The Moose outgrowing the show. One of the show's characters is Mayor Humdinger, the mayor of the neighboring town of Foggy Bottom. Mayor Humdinger has always done things like cheat in races or try to get treasures before anyone else, but in a recent Paw Patrol episode, he actually stole a car that can turn into a plane. He needs to be in jail and impeached! What kind of criminal justice system do they have on this show? Adventure Bay should declare war on Foggy Bottom unless Mayor Humdinger faces serious actions!

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Major Announcement: Sean 2020

I'm concerned about the present state and future of our country. Too much division and not enough working together to find some common ground. I think I can help bring the country together. Therefore, I am proud to announce that I am forming an exploratory committee for the a 2020 Presidential bid. You’re probably thinking, Sean, why would I vote for you to be President of the United States? My response is that I created a comprehensive platform back in 2012, and I still stand by this today. (Well, except for the NHL lockout part since there currently isn’t a lockout, but as President, I pledge that I will ensure that there is no lockout or strike when the current agreement between the players and owners ends.)

You’re probably also thinking, we’re a divided country, so how are you going to bring us together? I have several ideas. The first is to force Tom Brady to retire from the New England Patriots after this Sunday’s Super Bowl. I realize that I may lose significant votes in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, Connecticut, and Maine, but I feel like I can win them back with this argument. The rest of the country is tired of seeing the Patriots appear in the Super Bowl, so forcing Brady to leave that team is an automatic win. For Patriots fans, don’t you want to see how the team plays without Brady but with Bill Belichick still as coach? This has been a hypothetical discussion for years. Now we can see it happen. Plus, can Brady win as QB for another team without Belichick? The country can really get behind this.

We can also bond on criticizing the Academy Awards for making the absurd decision not to nominate Won't You Be My Neighbor for Best Documentary. Instead, the Academy gave a nomination to Free Solo, even though we saw that movie 30 years ago when it was called Return of the Jedi.

I'm still not sure what we can do about this injustice. Maybe sanctions? Maybe it's just teaching the country about the legacy and importance of Mister Rogers.

You probably wonder why I'm announcing my candidacy now. It's still many months before the primaries and the Iowa caucus begin. (Something else we can agree on...caucus is a funny word!) Well, one year ago last week, I had surgery on my dislocated wrist. Many people thought I would never become a PGA golfer, compete in a tennis Grand Slam event, or pitch in a MLB game. Well, I proved everyone wrong. I mean, I haven't done any of these things (yet), but my wrist is as healthy as it's going to be, so I'm just waiting for the call.

This is the difficult part. I need volunteers to serve on my exploratory committee. Your important job will be to poll the country and see if I have a chance to compete. I also don’t have Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz money, so if you could contribute a few million dollars, that would be great.

I’m thinking that being on this committee will not be a very time-consuming endeavor!

The Brady-Belichick picture is from USA Today.

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Learning Geography

After yesterday’s debacle where I wrote a blog post only to discover that I wrote a similar post on the exact same subject 9 years ago, I’m doubling down today. I listed to a local sports talk radio show today, and there was a discussion about the Senior Bowl where college seniors are essentially auditioning to be drafted by an NFL team. They mentioned some of the players on the North and South rosters and something didn’t seem right. I thought this sounded familiar, and sure enough, I wrote about my confusion about geography with this nearly 10 years ago to the day. Well, I’m expanding on this topic today!

Take a look at this map.

The locations in red represent colleges and universities for players on the "North" team. This includes players like Memphis running back Tony Pollard (please be related to former Steelers RB Frank Pollard!) and University of Southern California* linebacker Cameron Smith. Meanwhile, the blue locations are for players on the "South" roster such as Buffalo and Washington State quarterbacks Tyree Jackson and Gardner Minshew II, respectively.

You would think that the NCAA, an organization "dedicated to the well-being and lifelong success of college athletes" would do a little better with making sure that students learned simple geography!

Join me tomorrow where I recap episodes of NBC's Hit Me, Baby, One More Time!

* Southern is in the name of the school!

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Found In My Basement: 1980s Pirates

It’s a long story, but we had a leak in our home over the summer, and as a result, we need to replace our hardwood floor. My home currently looks like a scene from the TV show Dexter without the blood. Anyway, before the floor people arrived, we needed to move the smaller items. This included so many books and toys. As part of this process, I also came across my scrapbook from growing up and wanted to share this page today.

Autographed pictures from Pittsburgh Pirate greats! Or at least Pittsburgh Pirate goods! I have no idea how I acquired these pictures. It's likely that my dad took my brother and me to some type of appearance featuring John Smiley and Jim Gott. I wonder if they discussed writing "Best Wishes" on all of the pictures before the appearance. Bill Madlock must have been in such a charitable mood that he autographed the picture twice. My favorite of this group is probably catcher Junior Ortiz. It's not autographed or even in color. Was he just somewhere passing them out like ads for a new club opening?

Please click here for more Found in My Basement blog posts.

Update: My first Found In My Basement blog post was published on August 16, 2010. Why am I mentioning this today? It's because I included this exact same picture in that blog post. Apparently, I've run out of blog ideas and am recycling content from several months before the first episode of Game of Thrones aired!

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Dallas (2019 Hockey Road Trip)

I strongly considered having "Sean Does Dallas" as the title of this blog post, but I went with the less controversial title instead. Over the weekend, I visited Dallas as part of my annual hockey road trip. Here are some pictures:

When I checked into my flight, I realized that I purchased a "Basic Economy" ticket. This means that I got to take one personal item on the flight or pay $25 or $30 each way for a bag, even if it's a carry-on bag. Yes, I managed to fit everything I needed for the weekend and the flights into a backpack.

I'm going out of order, but besides the hockey game, the one thing that I had to do in Dallas was see The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza. The trees are much taller now, but this picture is from the sixth floor of the building formerly know as the Texas School Book Depository, just several feet away from where Lee Harvey Oswald shot President John F. Kennedy. Despite the assassination occurring 55 years ago, this museum seems to be the top tourist attraction in Dallas. I'm sure that city and corporate officials want the focus to be on arts, sports, and other things, but I get a sense that the assassination is always going to be a significant part of Dallas. (As an anecdote, I asked the waitress and hostess at a restaurant what's one thing we had to see in Dallas, and they both replied, separately, the JFK Museum.) Anyway, I highly recommend visiting the museum.

Oh, I didn't expect to see the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette available at the gift shop.

I also didn't expect to see this T-shirt available a few blocks away from the museum. I noticed the don't take pictures sign about a minute after taking this picture.

The reason for going to Dallas during a cold January weekend was to see the Dallas Stars, making it the 24th game/arena my friend and I have seen together over the past decade.

I really like the Dallas Stars green and even the giant star that comes down onto the ice during the pregame ceremonies. It's not as good as the sabretooth Nashville Predator, but it's a close second (until I see the San Jose Shark in person).

I couldn't get a great picture, but it's nice to see someone appreciate Dallas Stars legend Jaromir Jagr.

One neat feature of the American Airlines Arena is that there is no room for the visiting back-up goalie on the bench. Therefore, he needs to sit way over here.

There's no reason why the North Stars moved to Dallas and why they keep the retired numbers of the Minnesota players.

You'll notice that this was not my picture. I really, really, really, really wanted to take a picture of and with the Stars' mascot Victor E. Green (better known as Texas Youppi!), but it didn't happen. Maybe if I got a picture with Victor, the Stars would have won. Instead, the St. Louis Blues won 3-1 with Vladimir Tarasenko scoring two goals. In the two Blues games we've attended, Tarasenko scored 5 goals. Coincidence?

For breakfast at the hotel, a Texas waffle! (Not pictured: This waffle covered with chocolate chips, whipped cream, and syrup. I make sure to eat healthy on vacations!)

We also saw the Allen Americans face off against the Wichita Thunder in an ECHL minor league hockey game. If you're holding a baby in a front row seat and feel the need to bang on the glass, you got to do what you got to do.

Even though the team is called the Americans, this seems like some Communist propaganda celebration after goals. By the way, I hope that Zachary Pochiro makes it to the NHL, so I can say that I saw him score 4 goals in a game for the Americans! I also feel like the Americans should have pictures of Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys throughout the arena.

Deep Ellum appears to be the cool, trendy area. We drove through on Sunday morning, and I felt the need to take a picture of this odd robot statue dude who likes to hold pigeons.

Finally, I arrived back to Dulles Airport to this. Actually, Dulles was closed, so we got diverted to Philadelphia and sat on the plane, refueled, and were able to fly back when Dulles reopened. I got home about 3.5 hours later than expected, but at least I made it home on the same day.

And this was Monday morning back in Virginia. Time to shovel.

Victor E. Green picture courtesy of Getty Images. (Not pictured or mentioned was a visit to the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum. If you're in Dallas for an extended period of time, check it out.)

Wednesday, January 09, 2019

2019 State Of The Ramblings

Sean’s Ramblings turned 14 yesterday making this the oldest, continuous non-subject specific blog on the planet.* What I mean by this is that there are probably other blogs that have been operational longer, but they are about one particular subject (sports teams, a genre of books, etc.). This is just a personal blog about whatever I feel like writing about on a given day where I make little to no money. Whether this is the first time you’ve visited my blog or, like Kevin Pittsnogle’s mom (no one is going to get this reference), you've read this for years, thanks for checking out Sean’s Ramblings!

A quick update about the last year. I started 2018 with the intention of writing more posts than in 2017. Then, I promptly dislocated my wrist and had a cast for 5-6 weeks making typing (and everything else) much more difficult. A sincere thank you to Christine for writing a guest post about her experiences living in South Korea right before the beginning of the Pyeongchang Olympics and to Shannon, Josh, and John and Rachael for agreeing to interviews in early 2018. They provided fantastic content while I was on the disabled list.

Overall, I accomplished my goal of writing more posts in 2018 than 2017. Hooray for me and for you in that you got to read more of my posts! With that written, I find it more and more difficult to write as often as I’d like with three kids. While I’d love to make a goal this year to write more than last year, I’m not sure that’s possible. Instead, I may try to write longer, more meaningful posts. This sounds good in theory, so we’ll see if this actually happens.

I also want this year to be the year that I become an “official” blogger. Whether this means I’m successful in my quest to be a blogger for the new Loudoun United soccer team or that I get to cover some type of event such as a grand opening, an awards ceremony, or a press pass for a sporting event, 2019 is the year this will finally happen!

Thanks again for all of your support, and I hope to continue to provide you with some fun and thought provoking (well, probably not thought provoking) content in 2019.

You can click here to see my previous State of the Ramblings posts. In addition, please like/follow me on Instagram and Facebook too!

* This statement may or may not be true, but if you can find an older, continuous non-subject specific blog on Earth, please let me know.

Thursday, January 03, 2019

Sean On Pittsburgh Sports

The biggest story in Pittsburgh sports clearly involves the son of now former Riverhounds assistant coach Mark Pulisic. If you haven’t heard, Chelsea signed his son Christian Pulisic from Borussia Dortmund for approximately $73 million. Not too shabby.

(I'll miss seeing Pulisic in black and gold though.)

Oh, did something else happen in Pittsburgh sports? Perhaps you want to read all about the Penguins scoring 7 goals (chili goal! chili goal! chili goal! chili goal! chili goal!) in a 7-2 win over the New York Rangers on Wednesday, extending the team's winning streak to 7 games.

Oh, not what you're looking for? Fine. The Steelers finished 9-6-1 and failed to reach the playoffs. The team had a turnover differential of -11, good for 28th out of 32 NFL teams. If the team had an awful but slightly better turnover differential, they would have reached the playoffs, and Pittsburgh sports fans would be talking about a playoff match-up this weekend instead of this mess.

I don't really want to get into this, but I will. Ben Roethlisberger is the best QB in franchise history, but he also tends to call out teammates on his radio show and threw way too many interceptions this season. He is a good teammate or not a good teammate. Mike Tomlin is still in the top tier of NFL coaches or his team lacks discipline and his players have tuned him out. The defense was inconsistent and gave up too many second half touchdowns. Chris Boswell had an awful season. Unfair penalties. The Le'Veon Bell saga. Ugh, make this all stop. Again, if the team made the playoffs, most of this stuff would have gone away. Winning hides a lot of things.

Now, to top it all off, there's Antonio Brown. Basically, Antonio Brown may or may not have had an injured knee, but he failed to show up to his MRI. He may have been unable to play on Sunday due to an injury or he was suspended. Regardless, he didn't play and now it sounds like he's asked to be traded. Except that Coach Mike Tomlin says that he hasn't asked for a trade.

Here's my two cents. Brown can be difficult and he's a diva. He also remains one of the best wide receivers in the NFL. Brown had 104 catches for nearly 1,300 yards, and an amazing 15 touchdowns in 15 games. He's probably a bad teammate, yet, he's so productive. The Steelers would be worse without him. Plus, you can't discount the money. As ESPN's Bill Barnwell tweeted, "If you’re reading that the cap isn’t an issue with an Antonio Brown trade, just ask this: has a team ever eaten 10% of the cap in dead money to trade a Pro Bowl player in the prime of his career?"

While I may dispute the prime of his career part of this Tweet, the rest is accurate. You can't give up 10% of your salary cap to one player not on your roster. Brown isn't going anywhere. With the season over, let's let cooler heads prevail. Brown and the Steelers organization will take some time away from each other and realize that they both need each other.

Again, just make this all stop!

In the meantime, can we have a little joy in our lives? Antonio Brown was (spoiler) good on The Masked Singer, FOX's new show Wednesday night. Yes, really!

By the way, Robin Thicke was an excellent judge on the show. I may need to have a separate blog post just about The Masked Singer. (The terrific Emily Yahr wrote a terrific piece about it.)

The Christian Pulisic picture is from Sports Illustrated.