Thursday, August 29, 2019

Sean Analyzes Song Lyrics - Summer 2019

The 2019 MTV Video Music Awards took place on Monday night. This isn't a post about how I'm too old for MTV or me complaining about how MTV doesn't play videos anymore. Instead, this is the return of Sean analyzing song lyrics featuring some of the songs from Monday night. Please note that I'm including videos of the songs below. Some of them may not be suitable for work.

Shawn Mendes & Camila Cabello - "SeƱorita"

Land in Miami

Before I talk about the first line of the first verse, let's look at some other Shawn Mendes songs.

Shawn Mendes - "If I Can't Have You"

I'm in Toronto and I got this view

Shawn Mendes - "Lost in Japan"

Do you got plans tonight?
I'm a couple hundred miles from Japan, and I
I was thinking I could fly to your hotel tonight

Okay we get it. Shawn Mendes is a successful 21 year-old pop star who gets to travel the world. I'm happy for you Shawn. Really I am. Now, correct the spelling of your first name.

Lizzo - "Truth Hurts"

New man on the Minnesota Vikings

I actually thought that this line was "No man" which would have been quite a shot at Kirk Cousins, Stefon Diggs, and their teammates. Oprah Magazine has a thorough break-down of this entire song, and while there was some debate about whether or not Lizzo is/was dating someone on the Vikings, it appears that she is/was not. Therefore, let's take a look at some other options about the meaning.

Terence Newman played in the NFL for 15 years most notably for the Dallas Cowboys. Now, he's the nickel/defensive backs coach for the...Minnesota Vikings! So yes, (Terence) Newman on the Minnesota Vikings.

Another possibility is that Lizzo is a Vikings fan and does some PR for the team. After every draft pick or free agent signing, she announces "New man on the Minnesota Vikings."

Lizzo may also be involved in player personnel. Perhaps she's trying to recruit Pittsburgh Pirates shortstop Kevin Newman to the Vikings, or, no. She couldn't do this. No way. It's not possible!

Lil Nas X featuring Billy Ray Cyrus - "Old Town Road"

Can't nobody tell me nothin'

A triple negative in a 5-word sentence. This is really impressive!

Taylor Swift featured Brendon Urie of Panic! at the Disco - "Me"

And you can't spell "awesome" without "me"

I actually originally thought that this was "can't spell us without me" which makes no sense at all. So let's take another line from this song.

Hey kids, spelling is fun.

This reminds me of a post I did, um, several years ago where I looked into the Britney Spears song, "3." In that song, counting was fun. Now, spelling is fun. What a world!

Taylor Swift - "Delicate"

Oh damn, never seen that color blue.

This song is a few years old, but this line really jumps out. Apparently, Swift has never been to the paint section of Home Depot or to Sherwin Williams.

Please click here to see other posts where I look at song lyrics. Some of them go back, um, several years.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Breaking Pittsburgh Pirates News

The Pittsburgh Pirates have been awful with a record of 7-28 since the All-Star break (through Monday, August 19th). This is not the breaking news here. There’s a lot of blame for the poor results to go around. From the lack of quality pitching to injuries to key players like Jameson Taillon to a poor track-record of drafting and developing to the inability of the team to spend significant money in free agency. It seems likely that the team will fire manager Clint Hurdle and possibly even the General Manager Neal Huntington during the off-season as brand-new leadership and a different philosophy are probably needed. However, the Pirates could make a major move with or without making any major personnel moves. What I mean by this is that Sean's Ramblings has learned that Pirates owner Bob Nutting and the team's front office will petition Major League Baseball to move to the team to the American League.

You're probably asking why would the team do this? The Pirates have been in the National League for well over a century. The answer is the team's success against American League teams. In 2019, the Pirates are 12-5 in interleague play but only 39-68 (again, though Monday) against National League teams. That 12-5 record is tied for the best interleague record for any National League team. You're probably thinking, that's ridiculous. That's an extremely small sample size. (You're probably thinking about a lot of other things besides the small sample size, but stay with me here.) However, let's look at the Pirates record against American League teams over the last 9 years:

2019 12-5 (Best in NL)
2018 15-5 (Best in NL)
2017 10-10
2016 9-11
2015 13-7 (Best in NL)
2014 11-9
2013 15-5 (Best in NL)
2012 10-8
2011 8-7

That's a record of 103-67 or an incredible winning percentage of over 60%. I say incredible because this is the Pirates' record against National League opponents during the same timeframe:

2019: 39-68 (through Monday, August 19th)
2018: 67-74
2017: 65-77
2016: 69-72
2015: 85-57
2014: 77-65
2013: 79-63
2012: 69-75
2011: 64-83

Total 614-634

That's a winning percentage of just under .500 at 49.2%

Maybe the front office or coaches know how to manage the Pirates better against American League teams. Maybe they prefer playing with a designated hitter rather than trying to figure whether they should have a pinch-hitter bat for the pitcher in the 6th or 7th inning. Whatever the reason, I think I see why the Pirates want to switch to the AL. Yes, there's the record above, but this is an opportunity to bring in additional ticket revenue. Pirates fans are probably tired of seeing the Brewers and the Reds nine times a year. Now, they would be guaranteed a home series against the Yankees and Red Sox each season. They would probably be in the American League Central meaning nine games each year against Cleveland. Take that Baker Mayfield! Plus, the Twins look good this season, so maybe Pirates fans can pretend that Doug Drabek could have faced Kirby Puckett in the 1991 World Series. (We'll disregard the Royals, White Sox, and Tigers from this conversation. Presumably, if the Pirates moved to the AL one of these teams, probably Kansas City for a fun Cardinals-Royals rivalry, would move to the NL.)

There's no word of whether MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred will consider the Pirates request. With the schedule out for 2020, the earliest this could occur would be 2021.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Bears Vs. Raccoons

I love my community message board. While most posts simply ask for advice on contractors or contain neighborhood news, you get posts like this:

On July 31 at 5AM, a resident of the [neighborhood] observed three medium size bears crossing the street between [street A] and [street B]. Just wanted to get the word out so everyone is aware. Thank you.

This is some pretty significant news. Of course, it didn't have nearly the impact it could have since there were no pictures included. Now the fun part...the comments!

Woo, so we are having a Zoo around [here] Dear’s Foxes, now Bears

We have lots of Dear's around the neighborhood like "Dear Abby," "Dear John" (the TV show starring Judd Hirsch, not the movie with Channing Tatum and Amanda Seyfried) and "Dear Evan Hansen."

Was it reported so it would be publicized in the mainstream media?

Wait, this community message board is not mainstream media? Is this FAKE NEWS?

And my favorite:

Are we sure it wasn't racoons? I know they aren't the same size but it's 5 am in the morning and we've had a lot of racoons lately due to people not properly disposing of trash.

I think you would notice the different between three bears and three raccoons.

It really was a missed opportunity that no one commented that the bears were simply walking in the woods while their porridge cooled. Meanwhile some little girl was about to sit on their chairs, try their porridge, and sleep in their beds.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Trip To Loudoun United's New Stadium

Back in December, I wrote a blog post about Loudoun United, a new soccer team in the United Soccer League. For those of you not familiar with Loudoun United but may know baseball, Loudoun United is somewhat like a AAA team for the MLS team DC United with common ownership and some players playing on both teams. The point of the December post was to share Loudoun United's 2019 schedule and also as a sort of application to become the team's official blogger. My idea was to write about the team on my blog as well as on my Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram pages and share things that people wouldn't normally see or at least with a different viewpoint from the team's perspective. For example, I proposed writing several posts where I would get to take pictures of the stadium as it was being built and completed and possibly get to interview a few players.

I hoped that the team would appreciate the extra (free!) exposure, and in exchange, give me some tickets to take my family to a few games. Despite some correspondence with the team, nothing ever came of this. I would see pictures from Loudoun United's social media account from various events like the debut of the team's jerseys and the stadium ribbon-cutting ceremony only after the events occurred. I was never invited to any of these functions. While I understand the team not wanting to partner up with a blogger who they don't know, I feel like my social media helped (and could have helped more) promote the team at no cost at all to them.

Last Friday, Loudoun United hosted its first home game at the just-built Segra Field. Continuing my amazing lucky streak this summer, I won two tickets to the game against the Charlotte Independence. I have now won tickets to see Dave Matthews Band, DC United, Loudoun United, George Mason men's basketball, and entry for 10 to an area piano bar all in the last few months. And yes, I played the lottery once recently but lost $1 on a scratch-off ticket. Anyway, since The Moose didn't do a good job listening last week and was talking back more than an eight year-old should, I took 5 year-old Pedro Tulo with me. He promptly fell asleep about five minutes into our 35 minute ride to the stadium, not including the time it took to park.

Speaking of parking, according to WTOP, "two of three parking lots within a few hundred feet of the stadium [were] ready for Friday's game, with the capacity of holding approximately 500 cars." I think those lots filled up quickly. I was directed to park by the youth fields down the hill from the stadium, where I passed at least one sign that said "No Segra Field Parking." I don't want to say that they weren't prepared for the amount of cars for the first game, but there's plenty of room for improvement in getting people in and out of the venue.

I took a few pictures of the stadium on the way in. It's nice. I would probably compare it to a good high school football stadium. I don't know if that's a compliment or not. The field looks great, though it's a turf field, so I hope Loudoun United plans on converting it to a grass field next season. The seats also look nice, though we sat in the "Supporters Section" which are your standard bleacher seats with no backs. Everything else is somewhat piecemeal. There are no permanent structures with the merchandise in a tent, the box office in what appeared to be a trailer, and food and drinks available in tents or at food trucks. I didn't buy food during the game, but it didn't look like you could get food quickly.

A beer man (or woman) going through the stands selling beer and/or water may have alleviated this. My biggest complaint is that you weren't allowed to bring in an unopened bottle of water despite it being August in Northern Virginia meaning temperatures in the 80s even as the sun started going down. In case you’re wondering, DC United, the Washington Nationals, and the Jiffy Lube Live concert venue all permit unopened water bottles. And these were the bathrooms:

Oh, the team also has a horse.

If you want to feel old and feel like maybe you haven’t accomplished much in your life as a teenager and into you’re 20s, Loudoun United games are the place for you. These are the ages of some of the Loudoun United players who played in Friday night’s game.

Moses Nyeman - 15
Jacob Greene - 16
Griffin Yow - 16 (He signed a contract at 15 and played a few games for DC United)
Nelson Martinez - 18
Christain Sorto - 19
Connor Presley & Orlando Sinclair - 21

These kids, and yes they are kids, are getting paid to play soccer before some of them can even vote!

Going to games with Pedro Tulo is always an adventure. While The Moose never wants to miss anything and will sit for hours watching a game, Pedro Tulo gets restless. He bounced back and forth between sitting (or standing) on the bleachers and sitting on my lap in the first half. Then, as the second half was about to start, two kids sat next to us holding beach balls. Despite the second half starting, Pedro Tulo wanted his own beach ball immediately. So we walked from our seats at one end, past the food trucks (and the still long lines at the food trucks) to the other side of the stadium to the Visit Loudoun table where they gave any beach balls, stickers, and more, including a Loudoun County wine map which Pedro Tulo insisted on getting even though the Visit Loudoun staff member said it was adults. (Pedro Tulo liked the map in it, and he can be very charming.) The Visit Loudoun person also told me about the Dulles Summer of Love Music Festival on August 17th featuring Michael Glabicki of Rusted Root and his new band, Uprooted and tried to explain who Rusted Root was. I graduated from a Pittsburgh-area high school in the mid-90s. I know Rusted Root. The father of one of the band members officiated my wedding. I know Rusted Root. (I didn’t say any of this out loud.)

On our way back to the bleachers, I thought that maybe we could sit in one of the regular seats for a better view and better for my back. There were no ushers, so we easily could have done this, but Pedro Tulo wanted to go back to the bleachers. Ugh. One of my favorite things to do when I was younger was get cheap seats for Pittsburgh Pirates games at Three Rivers Stadium and then move down to the nice seats on the third or first base lines in the 5th or 6th inning. I need to teach this to Pedro Tulo.

Back in the bleachers, we sat closer to the Screaming Eagles group. Pedro Tulo enjoyed the drumming and especially the cheers of “Loudoun United.” He constantly screamed this phrase, and for once, his screaming at a public venue was completely appropriate!

After the game, several players came over to the Supporters Section and slapped hands with the fans. At that point, we moved from the bleachers toward the exit but were able to stand by the edge of the field. Then, much to the security guard's dismay, Pedro Tulo ran on to the field and gave high-fives to Elvis Amoh and Griffin Yow. The security guard decided not to stop him because Pedro Tulo ran right back and was being charming again.

It again took longer than it should have to get out of the venue, but we made it, and I expect that this process will improve for future games. My final verdict is that I enjoyed going to the game. It was good, entertaining soccer with a lot of goals scored in a back-and-forth game. The game ended 3-3 with Charlotte taking 1-0, 2-1, and 3-2 leads before Loudoun United responded. Definitely a great environment to take your kids. As for Segra Field, the scoreboard went out several times in the second half, and from the Supporters Section, you couldn't hear the announcer share who scored or received a yellow card. The parking situation needs improvement, though I expect that there won't be 5,000 people at the next game as was the announced attendance for this game.

It also appears that my hope of being Loudoun United's official blogger is over. With that written, I can easily be bribed with tickets to write future posts about the team! :)

Please check out this Washington Post article and post-match facts from Loudoun United for more information about the game. This video has all of the highlights too.

The first picture is from Loudoun United. The rest are by me.

Wednesday, August 07, 2019

15th Anniversary

My wife and I celebrated our 15th anniversary by taking a 24-hour overnight trip. This was the first time we were both away from our kids in 8 years, back when we only had one child (who was only about five months) to attend an out-of-town wedding. I hope that those of you with kids who have family nearby feel fortunate to have loved ones be able to watch them.

The plan was to stay at a resort not too far from home. Before we could check in, though, we went to lunch. Outside of going to the Leesburg Corner Outlets, I had never spent any time in Leesburg since I moved to Northern Virginia in 2001. The downtown area is pretty cool with a bunch of restaurants and shops. They also have my dream restaurant, Bites Wine & Grilled Cheese Bar, a grilled cheese place that also serves alcohol (if you couldn't figure this out by the name). We need more of these!

I love independent bookstores. Powell’s in Portland is amazing, and one of my favorite places to go to when I lived in Columbus was Book Loft. Leesburg also has a cool bookstore called Books and Other Found Things I have no idea how staff can find any individual book, but I purchased a book called "The Daddy Book" for my kids. Okay, it was for me, but to read to my kids. They also had some unique hard-cover books such as "Brave New World" and an autographed copy of "Catch-22" by Joseph Heller. I have no idea what the going rate for this would be, so $475 could be reasonable or even a bargain. (I did not buy this book).

Other than exploring historic Leesburg, we spent most of the time exploring the resort (they don’t like it when you try to walk on the golf cart path or try to crash a wedding) and doing a lot of eating. We went to a really good place for dinner, and I already wrote about them tremendous brunch at the resort.

While we were away, I tried to avoid reality as much as I could, knowing that it would be there when we got home. Still, just by having my phone on and flipping around to different TV stations, you couldn't miss coverage and news about mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton. I shared my thoughts on mass shootings after the massacre at Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh last year, and, as expected, nothing has changed. It really would be nice if something did.

I don't want to end this post on a sad note, so I'll include some pictures of the trip below. I also kind of wonder if my wife would have still married me if she knew I would write a blog during nearly the entirety of our marriage!

Tuesday, August 06, 2019


I have an entire blog post drafted about my 15th wedding anniversary, but I realized that one part of it was important enough that it deserves its own post.

In all of the years that I’ve written Sean’s Ramblings, I don’t believe that I ever mentioned how breakfast/brunch is one of the world’s greatest inventions. We stayed at a resort for one night for our anniversary (the first time we've been away from our kids in 8 years!), and they had an amazing brunch buffet that included the following:

- An omelet station

- Bagels and lox

- Fresh fruit, but not just your regular cantaloupe and honey dew that’s at any buffet, but also cherries and cut-up peaches and plums.

- French toast

- Deviled eggs

- Oatmeal. Oatmeal doesn’t sound exciting, but it’s amazing with brown sugar and fresh fruit mixed in.

- Breakfast potatoes

- Yogurt parfait

- Muffins

- Bacon

- Sausage

- Waffles

I cannot confirm or deny that I ate nearly everything available! (I can confirm that it was delicious.)

I'm fine with having cereal with milk accompanied by a glass of orange juice most mornings, but when I win the lottery, I'm having this type of brunch as often as possible.

We now return to your originally scheduled programming, already in progress.

The photo above is by graceht and is not from where I ate brunch.

Thursday, August 01, 2019

Found In My Basement: Roberto Clemente's Player Evaluations

A good friend of my in-laws is a huge Pittsburgh Pirates fan. He even got to be the Pirates alumni manager for a day at a Spring Training game about a decade ago where Terry Francona (the Phillies manager at the time) ribbed him since they were from neighboring towns in Butler County. He once mailed me an envelope filled with various Pittsburgh Pirates information such as scorecards and old articles that I just found earlier this week while going through boxes which haven't left the back of the closet in years. He also included a copy of these player evaluations of Roberto Clemente as a teenager.

Pretty cool!

Please click here to check out more Found In My Basement posts.