Sunday, May 19, 2019

Garth Brooks' Pittsburgh Outfit

Country music superstar Garth Brooks played at Heinz Field on Saturday night. During the performance, he wore, um, this.



While I commend Brooks on wearing the Pirates jersey, having Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger's name and number on the back makes no sense. You know since Ben plays football and not baseball. I understand that Brooks "is in love with Ben Roethlisberger" per his quote in this Post-Gazette article and spent time with the Pirates during spring training. However, combining these two jerseys into one make no sense. Sort of like a blog post combining Celebrities in Pittsburgh Gear and Sean on Fashion.



By the way, I wonder if Jeff King got really excited seeing Brooks wearing his old number, only see Roethlisberger's name on the back.

Photos by Bob Pompeani and Tim Williams. Video courtesy of Garth Brooks.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Fairfax Connector Problems (You Have One Job!)

Look out world! A few years ago, I wrote a letter to the editor of a local newspaper (based on this blog post). Now, I'm writing the government. Well, the transportation agency, which is part of the government, but it's still the government. The issue is that the buses aren't running. The entire job of the bus system is to pick people up and safely take them to their destination.

My slightly redacted email is below as is how this impacts you even if you don't take the bus or even live in Northern Virginia.

Dear Fairfax Connector,

I have been a regular rider of Fairfax Connector for over 14 years and have had positive experiences riding the buses during this time. While I understand that you currently have a shortage of bus drivers, the fact that bus routes appear to no longer be in service is completely unacceptable. I ride bus [redacted], and on April 26th, May 8th, and today (May 14th), the bus that generally picks me up at 7:40 going to Vienna did not show. The 8:10 bus on April 26th also did not show. I didn't take the bus on many of the weekdays between April 26th and today, so my guess is that there were no buses on this route during one or more of these days. I'm fortunate in that I have access to a car and can drive to Vienna. It's inconvenient and also costs about $5 a day to park not including the wear and tear on the car, but I generally have this option. I don't know what people on the route who don't have access to cars are doing.

Since this bus route no longer seems to be running, I guess I have no other choice than to drive to Vienna. Please let me know when you hire drivers and decide to run the [redacted] route again.

Sean



This story shows a little more about the current driver shortage.

You may think that this story doesn't impact you, but it actually does. I do much of the writing of Sean's Ramblings on the bus, so you're missing out on quality (though this is debatable) blog posts. If you want more Sean's Ramblings, we need the buses to operate on schedule. (Or you can babysit my kids so I have more time to write!)

When (if?) I hear back, I'll provide an update.

Photo from the Fairfax Connector website.

Friday, May 10, 2019

Shocking News About Mr. Knick Knack

There's little that surprises or shocks me while seeing the news anymore. As I mentioned in Thursday's post, mass shootings seem to occur all the time, and many seem like an afterthought in the news coverage now. The President saying or tweeting something outrageous? Oh, it must be Tuesday...or Saturday...or Sunday...or Friday...or Thursday...or Monday...or Wednesday. However, I was truly surprised by this headline.

‘Mr. Knick Knack,’ children’s entertainer, charged with possession of child porn


Having young kids, I feel like I've seen or heard of most, if not all, of the children's entertainers in Northern Virginia. Between festivals (like Celebrate Fairfax) and multiple summer concert series (serieses?), it's a great (and generally free) activity for the kids. Rocknoceros has a massive following. 123 Andres always puts on an energetic show. There's also The Great Zucchini, and Blue Sky Puppet Theater, and The grandsons, jr., and others. Including Mr. Knick Knack, who for years has had a regular gig on Monday mornings from May to October or so at the Reston Town Center. Here's more about Mr. Knick Knack from The Washington Post:

A Northern Virginia children’s entertainer who is known as “Mr. Knick Knack” has been charged with possessing child pornography, and investigators are exploring whether the man had any inappropriate contact with juveniles, Fairfax County police said.

Steven Rossi, 58, of Reston was arrested on April 30 on 10 counts of possessing illicit images of children after authorities received a tip earlier in the month the entertainer had child pornography, police said.

Detectives have not uncovered evidence that Rossi had contact with the children in the images, but they are asking anyone who might have information about inappropriate interactions between Rossi and children to come forward, police said.


Holy crap! We've seen him perform a few times, and it wasn't anything memorable, but it was something to do with the kids, and they seemed to enjoy it. Of course, I think they enjoyed eating Goldfish just as much if not more than the show. I'm still shocked about this.

Thursday, May 09, 2019

Living In America

Sadly, this blog post is not about the James Brown song featured in Rocky IV. In the immediacy of the shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, I wrote a post sharing my sadness and my anger including this:

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.

This turned out to be partially true because we continue to see mass shootings regularly, so that becomes the new headline. Now, whenever a place of worship is the target, whether it was an Easter Sunday terrorist attack in Sri Lanka at several locations including three churches, or the shootings at two New Zealand mosques, Tree of Life and/or Pittsburgh gets included in the story. More recently, there was a shooting at a synagogue in Poway, California outside San Diego, where the gunman was allegedly inspired by the New Zealand shooter. Fortunately, "only" one person was killed in the Poway attack.

Let me stop for a second here to mention that I started writing this post before there was a shooting at STEM School Highlands Ranch outside Denver in which one student was killed and eight others were injured. There was also a shooting at UNC-Charlotte last week. As an aside, in both of the school shootings, heroic teens sacrificed their lives to save others. It shouldn't be this way. Anyway, the focus of this post is intended to be on violence at religious institutions, though I'll circle back to shootings overall.


Going back to my October post, I was critical of President Trump for saying "If there was an armed guard inside the temple, they would have been able to stop him." At the time, I wrote:

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?

However, the reality is that it seems like we do. My synagogue recently conducted a campaign to fund security initiatives. This is a portion of this campaign announcement:

Since the tragedy in Pittsburgh, our team has been working hard to ensure that our building is as safe and secure as possible.

We intend to immediately begin implementing the recommendations in the security assessment report to include items such as: improved exterior lighting, locks on the inside of all the classroom doors, concrete bollards/planters near the entrance, improved security cameras, security go bags, an emergency alert system, and police security during high use hours, among other things.

Because these items were not anticipated, and not included in our budget, we are calling on the entire community to help us make this a reality. The security and peace of mind that our members and children are safe, cannot wait.


Obviously, this is not cheap. The synagogue and the number of members that belong to the synagogue aren't small, but we're not a very big community either. (Tree of Life in Pittsburgh in the 1980s was probably triple the size of my current synagogue.) In addition, police are now regularly at the synagogue, and I'm not sure who pays for this though I suspect the synagogue pays a portion as well as the taxpayers. It seems like there must be a better use of their time, but I'm grateful that they are there, and again, this is where we are, and it's necessary because of people like this.

I expect that additional security will be a bigger part of the budget in perpetuity for places of worship, particularly synagogues and mosques. The money isn't going to education or cultural events or even food (all events are better with food!), and someone (basically, members of the community) are going to have to pay for this. This isn't just limited to places of worship. This is at schools, malls, and many of other public places. I'd love to know how much the country is spending on security compared to education, infrastructure, or health care. (After I drafted this post, but before it got published, I saw this article in Washington Jewish Week about security and increasing attacks against Jewish people and institutions.)

The common denominator in all of the US shootings mentioned above are guns. (I'm sure some people will also say mental illness though it seems like "hate" is more prevalent than mental illness in at least some of these attacks. Besides, as I sort of just mentioned, we as a country continue to put less money towards health care which could help those with mental illnesses. This could be an entirely separate blog post.) We saw that New Zealand passed laws to ban military-style weapons after the attack there. While there will be lawsuits and court cases for years, I applaud Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto and the city council for trying to do something.

Like my October post, I don't have a conclusion or a nice way to summarize my thoughts. I just want my kids to be safe at school and at synagogue and not have to participate in or worry about active shooter drills. I also just want people to pray and not have to think about their safety.

Thursday, May 02, 2019

Ariana and Me

In November 2018, Ariana Grande released the song Thank U, Next. The song was Grande’s first number one single on the US Billboard Hot 100 and topped the charts in 12 countries. Basically, this was a massive hit. The reason I bring up this up today is because of the song’s first line:

Thought I'd end up with Sean / But he wasn't a match.


I’ve received constant requests from media and paparazzi to comment on this sentence, but I have refused since I feel like my relationship with Ariana should remain private. That changes today.

After Grande’s performance at Coachella which included a guest appearance by Justin Bieber, many people criticized Toronto Maple Leafs’ biggest fan (but not fan favorite) since he appeared to be lip-syncing.

From Vulture:

Grande swept in and came to Bieber’s defense in a series of now-deleted tweets, saying, “People are so lost. One day everybody that works at all them blogs will realize how unfulfilled they are and purposeless what they’re doing is and hopefully shift their focus elsewhere. That’s gonna be a beautiful ass day for them! I can’t wait for them to feel lit inside.”


This is really a shot at me. I’m not sure why Grande brings this up now. I’ve respected her privacy and wish her nothing but the best. Going back to Thank U, Next, it’s true that we weren’t a match. We were (and still are) in different stages of our lives. She was immature when we were together, and she didn't like that I preferred to stay home and avoid the spotlight. Grande also knows that I'm passionate about my writing, so I'm disappointed that she feels that my writing of Sean's Ramblings is unfulfilling and purposeless. I feel lit inside as it is (though perhaps that's heartburn).

In case you're wondering, I'm not going to comment on my relationship with Ariana any further. I've probably said enough already, and again, I wish Ariana nothing but happiness and success.

You're Welcome, Previous!


Photo of Grande at Coachella by Getty / Kevin Mazur.

Friday, April 26, 2019

Friday Video: Don't Call Me Up

You may or may not remember Neneh Cherry's 1989 hit Buffalo Stance. You may or may not also remember her brother, Eagle Eye Cherry's 1997 hit Save Tonight. While both musicians have had long careers, they are both primarily known as one-hit wonders in the United States. Now, Neneh's and Eagle Eye's daughter/niece (not in a Lannister sort of way) has her own music career. Here is Mabel.



I'm really torn here. I want her to have success, but a story about an entire family known for producing one-hit wonders would be an amazing story. (Looking on YouTube, it seems like Mabel has more than one video with millions of views, so the one-hit wonder label doesn't seem to be in her future.)

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Driving From DC To Atlanta And Back*

For Spring Break, we decided to visit family in Georgia. I had the brilliant plan of driving through the night, so we got the kids bathed and ready for bed and then loaded them into the car in their pajamas. The idea was that we would avoid any traffic, particularly in Northern Virginia, and allow the kids to sleep during the drive. Turns out that the plan wasn't so brilliant. Although we left around 8:30 and didn't hit any traffic during the trip, driving through the night is tough. Basically, if life is a highway, I learned that I do not want to drive it all night long. I had to stop twice to take power naps while the kids (ages 8, 5, and 19 months) were all awake for the majority of the drive. At some point, we didn't even fight it and just put on some videos for them to watch. While I'll write about the trip home momentarily, here are some notes from the drive:

We ate breakfast at Cracker Barrel in Chattanooga, but it was sad and discouraging to pass so many Zaxby's and Waffle House restaurants and not stop.

By the way, major props to whatever marketing person came up with this billboard:


Can I just share that I'm not a big fan of crosses on the sides of highways. Crosses on church property are fine, but it seems out of place and a little intimidating to see a cross or group of three crosses on the side of the road or on a hill adjacent to the highway in seemingly the middle of nowhere.

Although Virginia is only the 35th state in total area, it takes forever to get through it. I'm looking at you, I-81! Yes, I know that you're going to be on I-5 in California or I-10 in Texas for many more miles, but it just felt like I'd never get back home. It's almost exactly 300 miles on 81 from the southern Virginia border to I-66. Then, it's another 50 or so miles on 66. Of course, it didn't help that a tractor trailer overturned on I-81 on the way home adding at least 60-90 minutes to the trip as we just sat on the highway with the oldest (The Moose) regularly asking how long we would be in traffic.

Eventually, we made our way to an exit several miles beyond Natural Bridge (which I would like to check out some day) for dinner. In looking for food options, we saw that The Red Hen, a restaurant somewhat famous for denying service to White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders. This brings me to an important question. The Red Hen is a good 3 hours from the White House and could be even more with DC traffic. Assuming that you're going somewhere only for the purpose of a meal, how far would you drive? I don’t think I’d go more than an hour away.

Taking some side roads before getting back on to the highway, we passed what turns out to be Hull's Drive-In movie theater in Lexington, VA. It would be fun to go to a drive-in theater again since I don't think I've been to one since the Greater Pittsburgh Drive-In in North Versailles closed at least 20 years ago. There can't be many around anymore.

You’ve seen plenty of movies and television shows featuring heists of armored cars. After passing 4-5 consecutive Little Debbie trucks in Southern Virginia, I think that a robbery of these tasty treats would make a terrific Hollywood plot.


During the drive, we went by Blacksburg, Virginia (home of Virginia Tech) and Knoxville, Tennessee (home of the University of Tennessee), and I wondered why these two schools don't compete against each other in athletics annually. Then, I-81 hit, and I realized that they're not THAT close. It's actually 236 miles. I doubt that there are many Knoxville to Blacksburg (or I guess Roanoke) flights, and you probably don't want to drive that.

There's a several-mile portion of I-81 North where you're also on I-77 South. Conversely, you can be on I-81 South and I-77 North. Yeah, that's not at all confusing.


Despite the tiring first drive and the long second drive, I think I'm ready for another road trip! Just give me some time to recover.

* The drive was actually from Northern Virginia to just north of Atlanta, but DC to Atlanta sounds better.


Interstate photo by jimmywayne on Flickr.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

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Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Found In My Basement: Desert Storm Cards

When I was in junior high school and early high school, I was really into collecting baseball cards. My dad took my brother and me to various card shows, and we regularly bought packs of cards from different stores. I feel like any allowance or other money I got went right into cards. Baseball and other types of sports trading cards were a booming industry during this time (late 80s to early 90s). I would also look through the Beckett guide to see card values for Topps, Fleer, Donruss, Upper Deck cards and sets. A friend and I even sold cards at the Eastland Mall flea market, and my brother and I had lemonade stands where we also sold (or tried to sell) cards.

I’m not sure when it occurred, but sometime during the time I collected cards, there was definitely a market over-saturation. It may have coincided with the Gulf War. I’m not doing a history of the Gulf War here, but this was arguably the first televised war. Millions of people watched CNN, seeing what appeared to be a video game with rockets and anti-aircraft and artillery light up the sky over Baghdad. To honor (celebrate?) the Gulf War and the patriotism that seemed to be everywhere, both Topps and Pro Set created Desert Storm cards. Naturally, I got them and still have them.



You got to learn about politics, current events, world leaders, and geography! Are these worth anything today?


Please click here to see more Found in my Basement posts.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

News From Home

I haven’t shared many stories about or quotes from my kids lately, so I thought I would do that today. Please note that The Moose is now 8, Pedro Tulo is now 5, and Luigi is 19 months. Some of these quotes are from way back when The Moose was 7 and Pedro Tulo was 4.

* From Pedro Tulo’s preschool teacher:

Reasons why he gets up at nap time
1) he needs a hug
2) to tell me he just really likes pizza
3) to tell me dogs eat dog food and cats eat cat food

Love this kid. Gonna really miss him next year.


It’s such a nice feeling to drop off your kids at a place where you know the teachers truly care about the kids and the kids enjoy going. Luigi starts at the same preschool in the fall, meaning that it will be the start of the seventh consecutive year that one of our kids will attend there, but with no children ever overlapping.

* You may not be familiar with this version of the Bon Jovi song as sung by The Moose, but you are now!

"Oh, we're half way there. Oh, standing on a chair."



You know, standing on a chair really could fit into this song.

* The Moose's Mom: Are you going to take me to the movies tomorrow?
The Moose: I don’t know how to drive.

* Pedro Tulo: The Steelers are playing the Captain Hooks. (Sean's note: This might have been the New Orleans Saints.)

* Me: Have fun. Be good.
Pedro Tulo: I don’t want to be good.

* The soccer season has started, and for the first time, The Moose is in games with a referee. In the game, there was a foul called on his teammate, and The Moose organized himself and his three teammates (it’s a 4 on 4 game) to create a wall (or a fence as he called it). His head coach and I (as an assistant coach) never taught him this, but I guess he picked this up from watching soccer on television. I was really impressed. (Granted, the opponent smartly passed the ball to a teammate on the side of the wall, but the kid missed a wide open net.) I should also mention that The Moose definitely scored a goal and possibly one or two more during the first game, but he insists on telling me and everyone else that he scored 8 goals in the game.

* Meanwhile, Pedro Tulo had his first organized soccer experience over the weekend. The way it works is that the teams have 30-40 minutes of “practice” time followed by 20-30 minutes of 2 on 2 games against an opposing team. The kids are 4 and 5, so it’s quite amusing. The entire goal is to make sure the kids have fun. I’m the assistant coach, and it was quickly clear that the head coach is brand new at this. Before even having the kids go around and say their names, he had them do a toe-tapping activity.



These kids can’t do this! Anyway, I’m trying to figure out a way to delicately suggest different activities without overstepping my role as an assistant. I mean, the parent who was supposed to bring snack wasn’t there, but there was no email correspondence from the coach to ensure that there is a snack schedule. Snack is one of the best parts of soccer for kids this age. It’s too early for a coup attempt, though I may revisit this in a few weeks.

* Luigi is just getting dragged around from field to field, but he seems to enjoy being outside and seeing his brothers and other kids run around. Apparently, he played with orange cones for 20 minutes at The Moose’s game.

* Finally, The Moose also excitedly points to and says "Gee" (pronounced with a hard "G" like former Ohio State President Gordon Gee or hockey player Guy Lafleur) whenever he sees Ziggy. He absolutely loves Ziggy and is doing a decent job of being "gentle" when he tries to pet him.

Thursday, April 04, 2019

2019 Loudoun United Roster

As the (still pending) official blogger of Loudoun United, Loudoun County's first professional soccer team, I’ve been remiss in not sharing the roster for the team’s inaugural season. Therefore, I’m proud to present your 2019 Loudoun United, um, Uniteders! (Yes, I know the team is simply called Loudoun United. I just thought it might be fun imagining the introduction of these players like they do before basketball games.)


The team's first ever signings were goalie Calle Brown and midfielder Omar Milton Campos. Brown is a Loudoun County native from Leesburg who played at UVA and on the Pittsburgh Riverhounds. (More on the Riverhounds momentarily.) Brown also has some MLS experience being with the Houston Dynamo and Seattle Sounders organizations. If you’re going for a 50/50 ball against Brown, you’re going to lose. He is basically a linebacker at 6'4" and 235 pounds. Along with defenders Peabo Doue from Takoma Park, MD who attended West Virginia University (born December 28, 1991) and Harri Hawkins from Cambridge, England (not Massachusetts) who attended Hofstra University (February 28, 1993) and forward Kyle Murphy (December 11, 1992) from Red Hook, NY and Clemson, Brown (July 1, 1992) is one of the old guys, I mean veterans on the team.

The team's other goalkeeper is Colin Miller from Belair, Maryland. I'll let The Fresh Prince take this one.



Want to feel old? Midfielder Omar Milton Campos from El Salvador was born on August 28, 2000 and is only 18 years old! Fellow midfielders Jack Jean Baptiste (December 20, 1999), Sandor Bustamante (September 30, 1999) and Ariel Fantoni (January 25, 1999) are only 19, 19, and 20. However, these guys are ancient compared to 16 year-old Griffin Yow, who is technically a member of DC United after recently signing with the team but plays for Loudoun United. Yow also has the distinction of scoring the first goal in Loudoun United history.



I'm sure that Yow will tell his kids that his first goal was a rocket into the top right corner from 30 yards out!

Being from Pittsburgh, I'm always going to be partial to anyone with ties to Western Pennsylvania. Midfielder Andrew Lubahn from Erie played for the Riverhounds last season. I wonder if he has the October 1st game against the Riverhounds (also known as the Sean's Ramblings Derby) circled on his calendar.

Fun fact: Jon Batiste is a musician who also works as the bandleader and musical director of CBS' The Colbert Show. Jack Jean Baptiste is a midfielder for Loudoun United from Honduras.


Midfielder Connor Presley from Austin, Texas, born on July 4, 1998, was the inspiration behind the Tom Cruise movie, Born on the Fourth of July. You know. Because of his birthday. (Checks internet to learn that the movie was made in 1989. This entire blog post is just showing that I'm old.)

Midfielder Noah Pilato, who is from Oak Hill, VA and attended Penn State, received the first yellow card in Loudoun United history. Congrats Noah!

Collin Verfurth is another local product from Ashburn and Virginia Tech. Well, Virginia Tech isn't local, but Ashburn is. Anyway, Collin is 6'4" but weighs only 185 pounds. He might have the height, but he's no match for Calle Brown!

While forward Shinya Kadono was DC United's 3rd round pick in the 2019 MLS draft, I'm more amazed by his college stats. At the University of California, Kadono scored 20 goals with only had 3 assists in 66 games during his college career. He could be the Alex Ovechkin of Loudoun United!



Finally, forward Orlando Sinclair hails from San Jose, Costa Rica meaning that Central America is well represented on Loudoun United. (Except for Belize. And Guatemala. And Panama. Okay, this just turned into a geography quiz on naming all of the Central American countries.)

Through the first three games of the season, Loudoun United is holding its own. After losing the first game against Nashville, the team tied Memphis and Tampa Bay.

For more information on the roster and team, check out the Loudoun United website. I'm really looking forward to seeing the team play live. Go Uniteders!

(Photos by Loudoun United and Late Show with Stephen Colbert.)

Tuesday, April 02, 2019

Dog Poop Problem

I'm so glad that I'm on my community's email list. I mean, usually the posts have no relevance to me, but every once in a while, something entertaining comes out. Enter Rob (not his real name).

Rob: I live at [address] and would like to report some serious misbehavior by unknown pet owner(s). On Tuesdays and Fridays mornings I have to leave the big blue trash can outside my house for the trash to be collected. By the time I arrive from work in the evenings of those days, some unknown pet owner(s) have dropped huge bags of pet feces (poop)* inside my trash can. The material is highly toxic and carries lots of diseases. I cannot even move the blue trash can back inside my garage because the smell is unbearable and the material can contaminate my whole family.

I would be grateful to hear your suggestions on how to handle this situation.

In advance, many thanks.


* Sean's note: Was it really necessary to add poop in parentheses? I think we understand.


Now the replies:

P: Wow that is very disgusting. I will start talking to other neighbors and see if it happened to any of them as well? Have they seem who might be doing this? I will also tape a note in your trash can with big RED letters saying "Do NOT dump your dog poop on my trash can. Thank you!!"

C: Get a lock for your can.

Sean's note: Um, if you lock your trash can, how can the trash people take your trash? Think this through, C!

Rob: Many thanks for the advice. The lock would not work in my case as the people throw these things inside my trash can exactly during the time I am away from home—i.e. between the time I place the can outside for the trash collection and the time I arrive home from work. So if I lock the can the trash collector would not be able to open in.

Sean's note: We're on the wavelength here, Rob.

S: I would check to see if this is illegal in Fairfax County. I think it might be.

Sean's note: Are we really going to get the police involved here?



The only thing you can really do is install cameras, and catch the person(s) in the act. If it is illegal in Fairfax, then you can file a complaint. However, you have to do some thinking if this is a major issue for you because it will take time, money, and energy to do all of this.

Other things you might consider is contacting whoever writes the [community] newsletter and seeing if he/she can write a quick article on not throwing your poop bags in neighbors' trash cans. It might be the person(s) think he/she is oblivious that this is an issue. Or post it on NextDoor.

Sorry this is happening.


P: I will keep knocking doors, interviewing your next door neighbors, anyone you see around your house surroundings. I'm sure someone must have seen something or know who the pet owners on your street are. Also definitely post it on Nextdoor, there are way more people who read messages there than here on email.

Hmmm. I'm starting to think this is just a big advertisement to get people to use Nextdoor!

K: We have a ring doorbell which has a camera and it has been great for seeing what is going on. It videoed a guy going around trying to get into peoples cars at 2 AM. You may want to invest in one and then put your trashcan in view of the doorbell.

This email was sponsored by Ring doorbell. WHAT?



P2: You might want to ask a neighbor to pull the cans in off the street and place them by your garage door. I am pretty sure that the dog walker will not take the time to walk up your driveway, but will instead find another can. We are a friendly sort of people here in the [neighborhood] and we like to take care of each other. I am sure if you explain the problem to one of your neighbors who is home during the day, they would be willing to pull your can in at the same time they pull theirs in.

C: I like the newsletter idea. :)

The smiley face will solve everything. Actually, I really want to see this portion of the newsletter.
Item #1: The pool opens on Memorial Day weekend. Here are the hours.
Item #2: Community sidewalk repair update.
Item #3: Don't put dog waste in other people's garbage cans.

Rob: Many thanks. We are indeed friendly neighbors—I have lived [here] for almost 7 years and only now I am experiencing this. My guess is that probably someone hired to be a pet walker is doing this. The question is how to deliver the message to that person or to the pet owner as I am not sure whether they live in our community or not. If there is a newsgroup for pet owners, would you mind to kindly forward my message to that group?

For now I will go with P’s suggestion—I will place a sign in the can with big red letters asking pet walkers not to do it. I hope this will work.

Many thanks to all for your courtesy and attention!


At this point, I think Rob is done. He aired his grievance and feels like people are aware of the situation. But someone can't leave it at that. We need one more reply.

B: Why not try the sandwich signs when not in use.
Just write that the neighborhood watch is looking for the person who is putting the dog poop in private trash cans!


B isn't going far enough. We need neon signs like they have outside Vegas casinos. Get on this, B!

If there are more posts on this topic, I'm happy to share them with you.

Friday, March 29, 2019

Walking Luigi

Luigi recently turned 18 months, and he celebrated this milestone (a few weeks later) by deciding that he was comfortable walking consistently on his own. Before this, he walked while holding someone’s hand, the couch, or by pushing his music cart around the house. Here is Luigi in action:



Both of his brothers didn’t start walking until around the 18-month mark, so there was no concern about him not walking until now. (There was concern among The Moose’s (the first child) parents when he wasn’t walking at this point.) As you can tell by the video, Luigi loves throwing things. Unfortunately, one of his favorite things to throw is food and his milk/water cups when he’s done with them. Otherwise, Luigi enjoys going to daycare and can easily nap 2+ hours there. On weekends at home, he may or may not nap at all, generally since he doesn’t seem to want to sleep while his brothers are also home playing (or making noise to ensure that Luigi won’t sleep).

Luigi’s favorite word is ball, and he often points at and says “Gee” when he sees Ziggy. He loves Ziggy.

The Moose (now 8!) loves making Luigi laugh, and Pedro Tulo (almost 5) can be really sweet like this morning when he gave Luigi multiple hugs before they left. Now that Luigi is on the move, I can see the three of them causing trouble together very soon.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Interview with Sean Leahy

Over 10 years ago, I wrote a post highlighting other blogs with "Sean" in the title. I'm sure that you're shocked that many are no longer in existence. With that written, I thought it would be fun to come back to this topic and turn Sean's Ramblings into Seans' Ramblings. How cool would it be to hear from other people named Sean like Sean "Diddy" Combs, Sean Connery, former Pittsburgh Pirate Sean Rodriguez, and others?

First up: Sean Leahy, NHL writer for NBC Sports. I've been a big fan of Sean's work from his time writing the Going Five Hole blog and then when he jumped to Yahoo's Puck Daddy. Here we go:


I guess my first question is how did you become a hockey writer? Did it start with Going Five Hole (one of my favorite hockey blogs and how I first saw your writing)? What is your background? Were you a hockey fan growing up? (Yes, I realize that this is more than one question.)

I originally had started a blog with a few friends with the idea we'd cover sports, pop culture, technology, and wrestling. Quickly my buddy and I realized our other friends who were going to take care of the non-sports stuff weren't going to contribute as much as they originally promised, so PopJocks became a sports blog. Eventually, my partner was going through grad school and preparing for his wedding, so his time was limited to work on the blog. More and more I started writing strictly hockey and then decided to create my own hockey-only blog, and that's how Going Five Hole was born in the fall of 2007.

I was always a hockey fan. With two older brothers, we played a lot of street hockey growing up on Long Island. I've always wanted to work in sports, but just didn't know what specific job I wanted to do. When I was getting Going Five Hole going, I was working a full-time job with a USL soccer team. Within a year, I was laid off from the soccer team and started writing more and more with Puck Daddy, which I started contributing to in its second day of existence in April 2008.

In my opinion, Yahoo’s Puck Daddy with Greg Wyshynski, you, and others was the preeminent place for hockey over a several year period. Can you share your experience at Yahoo?

Writing for Puck Daddy was such a fun time. Our editors let us do our thing and be creative and have fun while also covering the sport from all angles. It was cool to watch the site's popularity grow over the years and then explode really after Twitter became a huge part of our daily lives. The interaction with readers and doors being opened for us (ex: getting press credentials) really helped us make the site grow.


What happened to cause Puck Daddy to no longer exist? As I mentioned before, I thought it was one of the best places for hockey coverage anywhere.

Verizon purchased Yahoo in 2017 and they basically laid off thousands of people, including me and two others on the Puck Daddy staff after the 2016-17 NHL season. Wysh was only there another few months before leaving for ESPN. Puck Daddy wasn't going to be the same and he didn't have the desire to try and recreate it.

You’re now at NBC. What has been your role there?

I've been with NBC since October 2018 and I oversee four writers -- Joey Alfieri, Scott Billeck, Adam Gretz, and James O'Brien. I also do a lot of the behind the scenes stuff in regards to planning and scheduling and being a liaison to NBC HQ. I still write often each week, trying to find unique angles to stories like I did at Yahoo.

Since you’re with NBC, do you get to watch the filming of "The Good Place" or hang out with Hoda and Kathie Lee?

My requests to appear on "Men in Blazers" and "Law & Order SVU" have not been approved yet, but my fingers are still crossed.


What is the coolest thing you’ve been able to do or experience through your work as a hockey writer?

I've been able to play NHL2K11 against Ryan Kesler, hang out with Jim Craig and his "Miracle" gold medal, spend an hour chatting with Willie O'Ree, and drink water out of a giant Stanley Cup fountain in Times Square. There's been so many cool things I've been fortunate enough to experience over the last decade. I definitely feel lucky.

When not writing and covering hockey, what does Sean Leahy do for fun?

I love watching other sports like football, soccer and baseball. They're a good outlet for me to get away from the game for a bit. I also spend a lot of my summer reading books, catching up on plenty of non-fiction and biographies. Fishing is also a nice thing to do to get away. Grab a 12-pack and hope the fish are biting that day.

Finally, who do you think will win the Cup this year? Actually, a better question may be: Tampa or the field?

I had Tampa vs. Nashville before the season and I'm sticking to that. And even though picking the field might be the smarter bet, it's so hard to think of anyone beating the Lightning four times in seven games. They've only lost back-to-back games twice this season. They've come up short three times in the last four years. I think they finally get it done this June.


Thanks to Sean for taking the time to answer my questions. Please follow Sean on Twitter and read his work on NBC Sports.


Tampa Bay Lightning photo by Chris O'Meara of AP. Picture of Sean from his Twitter page.

Monday, March 25, 2019

Sexual Harassment Story

On Facebook last week (yes, I still use Facebook), two friends from different parts of my life shared a New York Times article about philanthropist and retired hedge fund founder Michael Steinhardt and accusations of a pattern of sexual harassment by him. Steinhardt denies the allegations. This story hits close to home for several reasons. My first job out of college was partially funded by Steinhardt's generosity, and his name was formally listed as part of the position title. I actually met Steinhardt briefly once when he visited San Diego State, and I played a quick game of foosball against him in a two-on-two match.

Meanwhile, one of the people prominently mentioned in the New York Times story is someone that I don't personally know, but we have several mutual Facebook friends. It turns out that we also went to the same college (nearly a decade apart) with the same major. She works for a non-profit organization, and has no reason to make up a story which could jeopardize her career and the relationship between the organization and a big donor. I believe her 100%. She bravely shared her story and has my support and the support of so many others.

I don't really have an ending to this post or anything else to add. I was shocked to see this story come across my timeline but maybe I shouldn't have been. Steinhardt has given millions of dollars to causes and organizations I support, but I and most others know nothing or little about him. It's just sad all around.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Sean's Ramblings Giveaway

Glasses and young children can be a dangerous mix. I don't know what it is, but all of my kids have grabbed my glasses off of my face as infants or toddlers. I guess it's a fun toy that they can reach pretty easily. While I've been fortunate that they have never broken my glasses (though they have bent my frames), my brother and brother-in-law weren't so lucky with my nieces and nephews. In each case, they had to take their glasses to an eye doctor to repair them. But what if there's an easier way to fix them?

Enter the Snapit EyeGlass Repair Kit, the easiest and quickest way to repair your spectacles. Simply drop the screw in the hinge, screw it down and snap the end off. Plus, it's much simpler and less expensive than giving up, throwing your glasses away, and buying a new pair!


I recently received the Snapit Eyeglass Repair Kit, and I hope that I never need it. However, with my kids, particularly 18-month old Luigi, it's nice to know that I have the kit since I'll probably need to use it sooner than later. You can also win your own repair kit by entering below. More information about this product is available on Amazon. Good luck!

Win A Snapit Glasses Repair Kit #7

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.

R.I.P.

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.)