Friday, September 27, 2019

Stealing Is Bad, But Community Message Boards Can Be Fun

I’ve probably mentioned this before, but I have found my community message board to be great for blog content. This recent thread will make any Buffalo Bills fan upset. Please note that I live in Northern Virginia. I also include my own thoughts on the comments throughout this post.

Warning: there’s a NINJA among us

(Sean’s note: Now this headline is perfect to attract attention. By the way, I had no idea that Drew Drechsel of American Ninja Warrior or the YouTube star Ninja live in my neighborhood.)

I discovered this morning my 3x5’ Buffalo Bills flag missing from its post on my street-facing third floor balcony. It was secure in its base, and couldn’t possibly fall or be blown off.

(Sean's note: I think a lawyer could definitely make a case to a jury that it is possible that the flag fell.)

I don’t have any photos of it flying from my balcony, but it is similar to this photo below. The pole was an old shovel handle from the farm I grew up on so it has sentimental value. How anyone could have gotten up to my 3rd floor balcony and taken it is beyond me. Unhelpful comments degrading my team will be deleted. If you had a flag of your team stolen, you’d be upset too.

Now to the comments!

1. I’m sorry your flag has gone missing ♥️ my grandfather had a large and expensive metal mallet and metal chisels stolen from his backyard a number of years go. It really sucks but eventually it just becomes a distant memory.

This seems like a nice message, but the phrase "eventually it just becomes a distant memory" seems kind of harsh.

2. That’s disappointing, hope it shows up & let’s keep our east division strong


3. That’s crazy that someone somehow got 3 levels up to take your flag. Hope you find it! Looking forward to a good game this weekend between your Bills and my Patriots! I’ve been impressed with the Bills’ play this season! Josh Allen is da bomb!

Forget about the flag. Let's talk some football!

4. It sucks that you got ripped off. I doubt that a fellow Bills fan would do this, but having been to OP, I can understand their determination. Go Bills ! Beat NE !

I saw a comment below before I saw this one, so you'll have to see my thoughts below.

5. That's not good I like the Bills. From a PATS fan. I would be angry also!

6. I would start with any Jets or Dolphins fans in the neighborhood

This is my favorite! Go door to door and ask neighbors to declare their favorite NFL team. If they answer Jets or Dolphins, begin waterboarding! Of course, maybe it’s another Bills fan who likes the flag. As we saw before, they are determined. This case is wide open!

7. (Replying to 6.) no the Dolphins sucks too bad for them to care lol

Poor Miami Dolphins. At least they’re going to have lots of high draft picks in 2020. Plus, they live in South Florida in the winter. And there’s no income tax in Florida. And the city is hosting the Super Bowl in February. And Jennifer Lopez and Shakira will be there for it. You know, forget that poor Dolphins statement.

8. After the Bills lose to the Patriots this Sunday, the guy who stole the flag will return it.

9. Did you report it to the police? Go Bills

There were no replies to this comment. Maybe it was an inside job!

10. Time to send in the Bills Mafia! Poncho Billa lives!

I knew there would be a reference to Bills Mafia at some point.

11. I own a unit in [neighborhood]and am wondering - is there any chance it was removed during the recent painting and pressure washing they’ve done on the exterior of the buildings? You might look in your storage closet and check with your downstairs neighbors. The crews just worked on my section of the community so I’m wondering when they did yours. Just a thought!

This makes some sense. How dare there be a good and coherent point on a message board!?!?

12. Hope the Bills get to the Super Bowl in your lifetime! Would be nice to see the Bills defeat the Patriots! #LEGENDS

And we're back to football with nothing to do with the flag.

13. (Replying to 12) They already HAVE...FOUR times in a row! No team will ever do that again. Now let’s see them WIN one in my lifetime

14. This thread actually inspired me to order a Pats flag on Amazon to arrive in time for Sunday.

Helping the economy. That's what this message board is for!

15. Pats have been to 4 of last 5 Superbowls and won 3. That’s pretty good too (not taking away from Bills of early 90s, they were awesome)

Please, let's have more Patriots fans in this discussion. That would be great.

16. (Replying to 15.) I definitely respect what the Patriots have team of a generation. Brady is awesome, Belichick is a genious. Doesn’t mean I LIKE them...😝

Yes, Belichick is a genious. A genious!

17. (Replying to 16.) I like it when the AFC East is good! Too bad Darnold got mono and the Phins decided to tank for Tua. It’s a two team race!

Okay, I did not come here for a breakdown of the AFC East. I'm done.

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Jason Rollison (1980-2019)

Although it doesn't appear that he was the first to say it, General Douglas MacArthur is often credited with the quote, "Old soldiers never die, they just fade away." It seems some a silly comparison, but I think the same of bloggers. Many bloggers stop writing, but generally, their work lives on and stays online forever. I mean bloggers don’t actually die, right? You don’t interact with someone on Twitter only to learn that they passed away. That just doesn’t happen. Until it actually does.

Those in the Pittsburgh sports community learned that Jason Rollison passed away from cancer earlier this week at the age of 38. 38! Jason wrote for and/or ran several Pirates blogs over the years such as Rumbunter, Pirates Breakdown, and Bucs Dugout. He most recently wrote for DK Pittsburgh Sports.

I talked to Jason once. Ron, author of Steelers Takeaways, organized a Pittsburgh sports blogger conference call a few years back with the purpose of helping create a closer-knit community and to share some ideas. While not much occurred after conversation, it was cool talking with Jason and the other Pittsburgh sports bloggers. I didn’t interact with Jason much since then though I certainly read his work over the years. Still, it’s shocking seeing someone that you read or see tweet, even within the last few weeks, pass away at such a young age.

Jason's obituary via Koch Funeral Home is here (I copied the text below), and Dejan Kovacevic wrote a really good piece about Jason. (The picture above is from the article.)

The Pirates also did this:

Jason Craig Rollison, 38, of Uniontown, died September 23, 2019 after a brief but commanding battle with cancer. He was born December 7, 1980 in Uniontown. He will be remembered as a gentle giant with a heart of gold.

He attended Uniontown schools and graduated from Brownsville High School in 1999, where he was a member of the basketball team. He went on to receive his Associates Degrees from Laurel Business Institute and Duquesne University. He then pursued a career in information technology. He was employed by ACPI in Thompsontown. Jason was a member of St John Evangelist Catholic Church in Bellefonte, PA.

Jason started his journalism career in the early 2000s providing coverage for high school sports in local newspapers. His passion for writing and sports continued throughout his life as he contributed to the Pirates blog, Rumbunter, eventually as editor-in-chief, which he held until 2015. He is the proud author of two books to include PiratesGuide 2019: A Field Guide to the 2019 Pittsburgh Pirates. He also served as the analyst on the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Major League Baseball for, editor at SB Nation's Bucs Dugout and the enthusiastic voice of the 'Buccocast' podcast.

Jason leaves behind his wife of 9 years, Jessica, in what he described as "domestic bliss" and a Hollywood type of love with their pup Tippy Tumbles. Jason would want it noted that he had no say in what to name her. They filled their spare time by exploring, dancing and finding new adventures. Jason loved to find new places and experiences at every turn.

He was pre-deceased by grandfather Wendell Rollison, who raised him as his own. To carry on his memory, he leaves behind his mother Joyce, brother Corey Rollison (Ashley) and many friends both personal and professional.

There will be a viewing at Koch Funeral Home on Thursday September 26, 2019 from 4pm to 7pm. On Friday, September 27, 2019 a funeral service will be held at St John Evangelist Catholic Church at 10am.

In lieu of flowers, request donations be made in Jason's name to The American Cancer Society as a thank you to Hope Lodge for their support in the fight.

Arrangements are under the care of Koch Funeral Home, State College. Online condolences and signing of the guest book may be entered at or visit us on Facebook.

Jason will certainly be missed.

Friday, September 20, 2019

Friday Video: Alligator

If I had to make a new list of the greatest Icelandic musicians (yes, I really made such a list), Of Monsters and Men would be second behind only Björk. You may remember this band from their monster hit song "Little Talks" back in 2011. Of Monsters and Men released a new album called Fever Dream a few months ago, and here is "Alligator," their excellent first single. Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Random Questions and Ramblings

* When I was in junior high and high school, I generally didn’t mind reading the assigned books (assuming that I liked the books), but I definitely didn’t enjoy writing book reports. Now, I read about a book or two a month, and I want to share how much I enjoyed them. While I’m not going to write a book report today, I just want to share that I highly recommend these books that I’ve read over the last few months.

"Playing Through the Whistle: Steel, Football, and an American Town" by S.L. Price

"The Club: How the English Premier League Became the Wildest, Richest, Most Disruptive Force in Sports" by Joshua Robinson and Jonathan Clegg

"Evvie Drake Starts Over" by Linda Holmes

Say nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland by Patrick Radden Keefe

"American Pain: How a Young Felon and His Ring of Doctors Unleashed America's Deadliest Drug Epidemic" by John Temple

Very different books on a variety of subjects but all worth reading.

* On Monday night, Rontez Miles Sr. of the New York Jets (and Woodland Hills High School) and Eric Kush of the Cleveland Browns exchanged jerseys after the game. Both players graduated from California University of Pennsylvania. While I assume that the players will likely put the jerseys in frames, what if they wanted to wear them? Let's say that I play in a celebrity basketball game. (It could happen!) After the game, I’m looking to exchange jerseys with someone closer to my height like Kevin Hart or Muggsy Bogues, not Shaquille O'Neal.

* Pedro Tulo's kindergarten class has had a “Brown Bear Brown Bear, What Do You See?” theme at school based on the Bill Martin/Eric Carle book. The idea is to wear a different colored shirt each day based on the color such as Yellow Day and my favorite, Green Day. (I'm not sure how an American Idiot T-shirt would have gone over.) Earlier this week was Black Day where the kids were supposed to wear a black T-shirt. That day was also Constitution Day where the whole school is supposed to wear red, white, and blue. Therefore, there was a dilemma on what to wear: black or red, white, and blue. I felt ridiculous doing this, but I emailed the teacher about this dilemma. She (rightly) replied that we should choose whatever we want. My wife ended up just having him wear a faded Pirates T-shirt where the black looks more gray. I think we failed this assignment. Oh, and to get in the patriotic spirit, The Moose (now in 3rd grade) wore a Messi Barcelona jersey with red and blue and just a little white for the sponsors. Nothing makes you think constitution like a Messi jersey!

* Mr. T is famous for his mohawk hair (and his catchphrase). Would he be permitted to grow out his hair or shave his head or would his agent stop him?

* One of the key metrics used in baseball is exit velocity. It got me wondering if baseball executives also monitor the exit velocity when players bunt the ball. Is the slower exit velocity while bunting considered better? Is there one player (likely a pitcher) highly regarded for his extraordinarily low exit velocity while bunting?

* I recently found about a dozen papers written during my first two years in college in classes like Introduction to Theatre, Media and Politics, Chinese Politics, and an introductory Freshman seminar course related to Sociology. Although I generally keep way too much stuff, I recycled all of these papers. They won't even make a Found In My Basement post!

* The Pirates currently have pitchers Parker Markel and James Marvel on the roster. Has anyone with names so close but not identical ever been on the same team?

Monday, September 16, 2019

Eddie Money In Pop Culture

Musician Eddie Money passed away on Friday at the age of 70. I believe that I was first introduced to Eddie Money by seeing the video for “Take Me Home Tonight” with Ronnie Spector on MTV. You may also be familiar with his hits that still receive regular airplay on classic rock stations like Shakin', Two Tickets To Paradise, I Wanna Go Back, Think I'm In Love, and Walk on Water. This post is about remembering Eddie Money in pop culture more than from his music career. First, Eddie Money made a terrific cameo on an episode of The Drew Carey Show.

A few things here. The Drew Carey Show theme song still holds up as one of the best in television history. You can fight me on this. Anyway, Eddie Money plays himself. It turns out that Money married Mimi years earlier, and for her to get married to Drew Carey’s brother (played by John Carroll Lynch who once liked one of my tweets) in the church, she needs to get an annulment. Eddie Money refuses, but Craig Ferguson saves the day. This episode also features the late Max Wright, arguably best known as the dad in Alf, playing Drew Carey’s stomach. I can’t imagine anyone under 21 understanding these last two sentences.

Eddie Money was also in an episode of King of Queens, but I never watched that show. However, the food truck in the underrated and short-lived Happy Endings was named Steak Me Home Tonight, presumably in honor of the Eddie Money song.

RIP Eddie Money.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

End of Express

On Wednesday, "The Washington Post" announced that the final publication of its free, daily newspaper, "The Washington Post Express," would be today. Basically, the paper gave the 20 employees at Express and the 75 people who hand papers out at Metro stations throughout the DC area 24 hours notice that they were losing their jobs. This really sucks for them.

The paper started in 2003, and it has been part of my morning commute since I began taking Metro to work in 2005. I’ve made fun of Express over the years and even created an “Express Fail” series, but I always read it. The paper was (I hate writing this is past tense) a good way to catch the headlines of the day. It introduced me to "Pearls Before Swine" and Sudoku and let me know of area events along with articles on sports, television, music, and movies. Plus, the people handing out Express at the Metro stations were almost always friendly. There’s one guy in particular who has distributed newspapers at my station for years, and it’s nice to see him each day. It gives you some comfort and consistency seeing a familiar, welcoming face each day. Today, people were taking pictures with him. I simply thanked him for being outside handing out papers all these years and wished him good luck. He thanked me and shook my hand.

Back to Express, I was honored to have my blog listed several times in its Blog Log feature. This was one such time. It was really exciting, and I have physical copies of them in my home. (Though I’m not exactly sure where. When I find them, it will be a Found in my Basement post.)

The Washington Post seems to blame Metro ridership for Express going out of business. Not the number of riders (which would make some sense), but the habits of riders constantly looking at their phones and not picking up the paper. I'm not sure that I completely buy this rationale and feel like it has to be more of an economic decision.

I guess that I’ll use my commuting time reading books more and catching up on The Washington Post Magazine. It would be great if something similar took its place (or The Post changed its mind) though giving away free newspapers may not be a good business model in 2019. Plus, what's going to happen to all of these yellow boxes throughout the area?

I’m definitely going to miss Express.

Thursday, September 05, 2019

Kamala, Katy, Ariana, & Demi

My friend Josh recently included this picture as part of a post regarding his 2020 Democratic Primary Fantasy League.

This is Presidential candidate and California Senator Kamala Harris with pop musicians Katy Perry, Ariana Grande, and Demi Lovato. I would have loved to have been in the room to hear the conversation between these women. And actually, maybe I was. Here is a brief transcript of that conversation.

Katy Perry: Senator Harris, we’re so excited that you’re here to meet with us today.

Kamala Harris: Oh please just call me Kamala. I’m honored to be meeting all of you. You know how important it is to get young people out to vote and to engage in our democratic process, and I appreciate you encouraging your fans to do this.

Perry: The three of us talked about it, and we want to endorse you to be the next President of the United States. However, we want to know that you’re real. What we mean is that if you want us to encourage our fans to vote for you, we need to know that you know us and aren't just pandering.

Harris: Yes, I know that you have a cat named Kitty Purry. That’s wonderful.

Perry: Oh, Kitty Purry is the sweetest. Anyway, to show that you’re in touch with the youth of this country, we want you to name your favorite song of ours.

Harris: Well, I really think that young Americans will care about my plans on healthcare and education and the environment.

Perry: Do you want us to call Elizabeth Warren?

Harris: Fine.

Ariana Grande: Me first.

Harris: Um, okay. My favorite song of yours is Thank U, Next. I love how you sing about growing from each of your past relationships and how that has helped you become a better you. It’s really an empowering song for women.

Perry: What about my song?

Harris: Well, Katy, I want to say Firework, but since both of us represent the great state of California, I’m definitely going with California Gurls. Us California girls need to stick together! (Gives Perry an awkward high five.)

Demi Lovato: What about me?

Harris: Oh, um, you have so many great songs that it’s hard to choose just one.

Lovato: Well, then give me several of your favorites.

Harris: Well, if I have to pick one, it would be (6 second pause which seems like hours), Party in the USA.

Lovato: That’s Miley Cyrus!

We interrupt this conversation for a choose your own adventure. There are two possibilities here. You can see what happens when I was in the room for the discussion (Ariana and I have a history) and when I was not. For the option of me NOT being in the room, continue reading below. For the option of me being in the room, skip to after the picture.

You chose the option of the four women continuing their conversation.

Harris: Fine, I can’t name one of your songs. I do know that you have had some rough times, and I’m glad to see that you’re doing well. You'll see that my plan is to increase funding for healthcare, both physical and mental. Besides, do you think that Joe Biden or Bernie Sanders know your songs? We both know that you’re not going endorse Biden.

Lovato: True.

Perry: So are you going to meet with Taylor Swift too?

Harris: I haven’t really thought about it, but I’m looking into more ways to connect with younger voters, so it’s a possibility,

Perry: Taylor and I are friends again, so I can put in a good word for you.

Harris: Thanks!

Perry: You just probably shouldn’t mention that you met with us at Scooter Braun’s house.

Harris: Why?

Perry, Grande, and Levato go through the entire ordeal which can just be summed up here. Harris tries several times to switch subjects with no success. Finally,

Harris: That’s really interesting, and I hope it works out. As President, I will do my best to make sure that Taylor Swift is not engaged in any more feuds.

Perry: Thank you, Kamala. You have my endorsement.

Lovato and Grande: Me too.

Harris: Excellent!

You chose the scenario with me in the room.

Harris: Well, if I have to pick one, it would be (6 second pause which seems like hours), Party in the USA.

Lovato: That’s Miley Cyrus!

Sean (who was hiding behind the curtain): Senator Harris. Demi’s best song is clearly Cool for the Summer or Confident and

Harris: Security!

Grande: Sean! Is that you? I’m so glad to see you. I’ve missed you so much.

Harris: You know him?

Grande: Of course. This is the Sean from the first line of Thank U, Next.

Security: Yes, Senator.

Harris: It’s okay. He can stay.

Perry: Wait, this is Sean. Wow! He’s the one who got away.

Lovato: Sean, let me give your heart a break.

Harris: I think I’m going to go now. It was a pleasure meeting with all of you. And Sean, I could use a person like you in my administration. These three extraordinary women obviously think highly of you, so I think you could be a valuable asset to my campaign and administration. I'm not sure why you were hiding behind that curtain though.

Wednesday, September 04, 2019

Jerome Bettis and The Jonas Brothers

Over the years, I've had various posts about "Celebrities in Pittsburgh Gear" (like these) and "Pittsburgh Athletes with World-Renowned Athletes" or PAWRA (like these). This post, based on the following picture, doesn't fit either of these categories though:

That's Hall of Fame Pittsburgh Steelers running back Jerome Bettis (second from the left) along with The Jonas Brothers sometime before/after/during playing golf at Oakmont on Tuesday. The Jonas Brothers played at PPG Paints Arena later in the evening. Yes, that's um, one Jonas brother on the left,* Joe Jonas fourth from the left, and Nick Jonas fifth from the left (next to Joe). Okay, I admit that I had to look up the name of the first Jonas brother. His name is Kevin, even though I was pretty sure it was Plaxico. I assume that Joe's wife, Sophie Turner of "Game of Thrones," and Nick's wife, Priyanka Chopra, went to grab lunch together at Primanti's and then took the incline up to Mount Washington during the golf game.

Any idea who the other guys are in the picture? What do you think The Bus and The Brothers discussed during the round?

Photo from Colin Dunlap

* Update: Kevin/Plaxico Jonas is not in the picture. My mistake. Perhaps he chose to go to Kennywood instead of golfing.