Thursday, February 27, 2020

My Life In Pictures - February 2020

With February almost complete, I thought I would share what’s going on in my life.

* We got this note in Pedro Tulo’s backpack.

Our immediate response: What happened YESTERDAY? When we emailed the teacher about it, she wanted to set up a phone call. Uh oh!

* Luigi has been sick since Sunday. He woke up with a high fever on Sunday and Monday mornings, but after taking some ibuprofen, was completely fine though the fever spiked again on Wednesday morning. I took him to the doctor on both Monday and Wednesday, and they tested him for the flu (three times between the two appointments) and strep. All of the tests came back negative. Unfortunately, the Wednesday appointment showed that he had an ear infection. There’s something called RSV (not to be confused with PSV, a Dutch soccer team) that has gone around the preschool, so it's probably that. According to the CDC website, symptoms of Respiratory Syncytial Virus include a runny nose, decrease in appetite, coughing, and fever. That seems about right for Luigi.

Anyway, here is Luigi taking a 2.5 hour nap on me Wednesday.

He's generally been very happy and active throughout the week (except when I want him to drink something!), but he can't go back to school until the fever stays down.

* A local restaurant hosts a weekly Bingo game geared towards families, so I took the kids there recently. I mention this because everyone there was so supportive. When someone yelled out "Bingo," most people clapped or cheered. When I was in college, a friend and I played Bingo once at a local fire hall. (I may be wrong about the location.) It was intense! People had multiple cards and ink Bingo markers. My friend won one game, and the regulars were quite upset that a college kid beat them. No Bingo markers at this game. Crayons only!

* I took a school trip to Washington DC when I was in 8th grade. I don’t remember much about the trip, except that seeing the White House was the worst part. You waited in line for seemingly forever, only to see a few roped off rooms with fancy chairs and plates. I recently had a chance to take a White House tour and thought I should give it another chance. It was better than I remembered, but there are still so many other things I’d recommend seeing and doing in DC. Two things stuck out. First, I liked that there is a soccer goal in the Kennedy Garden. Although there’s no room for anything other than penalty kicks (practicing corner kicks seems impossible!), it's still pretty cool.

The second is that I "saw" the President leaving the White House (per the incredible picture below). When a friend asked a Secret Service guy if he was taking the helicopter to Andrews Air Force Base, he replied "something like that." I know secret is in the title, but I looked later and saw his published schedule state depart White House and then arrive to and depart from Andrews. A yes would have been okay. (And yes, it was cool seeing the helicopter.)

* Finally, I took this picture from a hotel restaurant near the White House.

There is a lot to complain about living in the DC area (mostly the cost of living and the traffic), but views like these are incredible.

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Arsenal Player Eats During Game

I'm sharing a video that will likely get removed rather quickly. (Update: The video got blocked almost immediately.)

On January 1st, I was home celebrating the first day of 2020 by watching an English Premier League match between Arsenal and Manchester United. As you can see (by the pictures below, not the video), near the end of the second half, Arsenal's Lucas Torreira is clearly eating chocolate, an energy bar, or something else in the middle of the game.

Then, it appears that he put the remaining food into his pocket. My immediate thought was this seems really unusual, and then I began considering this from the perspective of a soccer referee. I don't think there is anything in the Laws of the Game that would prevent someone from having a mid-game snack. However, if a player threw or spit the food at someone, the player would receive a red card.

Now I kind of hope that this becomes a trend though I'm sure it would come down to sponsorships. Look, there's LeBron James running the Lakers offense while eating a McDonald's Big Mac! And there's Michael Thomas of the New Orleans Saints making an incredible one-handed catch...because he's holding a KIND bar in his other hand. How is Sidney Crosby able to make such an amazing pass while holding and eating a bag of Skittles?

Maybe eating during games will encourage more youth to play sports?

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Kangaroos Wanted

I love my community message board. Where else could you see a post like this?

Does anyone know of a petting zoo with kangaroos or a rental service with kangaroos for birthday parties?

I mean, sure, requests for kangaroos probably happen all the time in Australia or on websites for zoos. (That’s a thing right?) Not the type of post you typically see in Northern Virginia though.

As always, the fun is in the comments! There are actually a few legitimate responses. Someone suggested a local animal park while someone else shared a kangaroo website. Yes, there is actually kangaroo facility that serves the Washington DC area. Who knew?

Others were appalled by the suggestion.

1. OH NO! That is so cruel. It does not seem so, but is a terrible thing to do to an animal. I can’t believe folks do this sort of things. This must be so traumatic for these guys. All of the noise at parties, travel and handling. There must be something else that would be fun for the kids, but not at the expense of the kangaroo. Just think about it a minute.

2. WHAT? Rental kangaroos is a really, really bad idea

My favorite response, though, was this:

I have a kangaroo, but he’s not for rent.

Does this guy really have a kangaroo or is just messing around? I was able to figure out that he works as an Environmental Scientist, so maybe he does have a kangaroo. Maybe?

What the original poster really should do is contact the executives of The Masked Singer to see if the kangaroo is available.

Another option is to have Anthony Anderson and Jerry O'Connell attend!

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

I Went Viral

You may have heard that there was a Super Bowl last week. You may also have heard that there was a halftime show featuring Jennifer Lopez and Shakira. While there was no debate that the Kansas City Chiefs won the game, there was plenty of debate about the halftime show. My friend Christine put it best.

The topic is pretty polarizing right now. Even in my small little [Facebook] universe, the contrasting opinions have gotten heated at times. You have those saying it was inappropriate, those who hold it up as an example of strong women and Latin culture, those who see it as exploitation and objectification of women, others who say people are hypocrites while sharing cheerleader pics and last year's shirtless Adam Levine. I've seen men and women on both sides of arguments for or against - and that's just the clothing issue. I've also seen people disliking the dancing, the music choice, complaints about the Spanish songs...lots of complaints.

On the Monday after the Super Bowl, I posted this tweet:

(If the tweet doesn't embed well here, this is what I wrote.
"I don't understand any criticism about Shakira and Jennifer Lopez's wardrobe last night. They've dressed the same way their entire careers! Even the character voiced by Shakira in Zootopia dressed like this.")

Apparently, lots of people searched Shakira and Zootopia and found my tweet. And then they liked it and retweeted it. The end result was over 2,500 likes and 650,000 impressions. That’s just slightly more than I receive with one of my typical tweets.

Alas, the tweet has now faded and few people are noticing my tweets. For example, I thought this tweet on Monday night was brilliant.

Unfortunately, 650,000 people didn’t see this one!

Thursday, February 06, 2020

A Political Post That’s Not Really Political (Landmines Are Bad)

It’s been a big week in politics. (Probably not the best way to start a post based on the title.) Monday featured the Democratic Iowa caucus, where as the time of me writing this, there still hasn’t been a declared winner. I guess it’s possible that the people of Iowa read my campaign platform and voted for me!

Tuesday was the annual State of the Union which will be remembered more for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi ripping up the speech at its conclusion than for anything else.

Some people have said that this is the worst thing to ever happen in Congress. Clearly, these people never heard about House Representative Preston Brooks of South Carolina beating Senator Charles Sumner of Massachusetts unconscious with a cane in the 1850. Or they didn’t see Ted Cruz read "Green Eggs and Ham" on the Senate floor.

Wednesday will be remembered for the time when a sitting president survived an impeachment vote in the Senate. Clearly, President Trump learned his lesson and will never seek foreign assistance or try to dig up dirt on political rivals ever again. 

With all of this going on, it’s easy to miss an action that occurred last weekend when President Trump “rescinded restrictions on the US military's ability to use landmines.” I’ll let this article explain.

"The President has canceled the Obama administration's policy to prohibit United States military forces from employing anti-personnel landmines outside of the Korean Peninsula," White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said in a statement.

"The Department of Defense has determined that restrictions imposed on American forces by the Obama Administration's policy could place them at a severe disadvantage during a conflict against our adversaries. The President is unwilling to accept this risk to our troops," she added. 

Look, in theory, I get the idea of having smaller government and fewer restrictions. But getting rid of the restrictions on landmines? Is there a landmine company out there that donated money to the re-election campaign because it needs to sell more landmines? Is there a significant group at the Pentagon who, in 2020, believes that our military really needs and is missing out on landmines? I thought we’re doing the Space Force thing now, so why go back to landmines? 

Landmines are bad and tend to hurt and kill civilians, often more than military members. Sure, the article says that the Department of Defense will only use landmines with a 30-day self-destruct or self-deactivation feature, but are you going to walk on a path where landmines might be buried on day 31? Or day 310? Or day 3100? Probably not. You still hear stories about landmines that have been found or detonated from World War 2. Again, landmines are bad, so there is no reason to get into the landmine business again. 

And since everything else is going on, no one is even mentioning this.

Tuesday, February 04, 2020

Life Update

I hate not writing. I’ve written Sean’s Ramblings for over 15 years now, and I get in the pattern of writing a new post every few days. It bothers me that it’s been two weeks since my last post. So today, I’m going to share the primary reason why I’ve had this break. My kids!

Luigi (2) had surgery last Monday to get his tonsils and adenoids removed. Because he is fairly young for this procedure, he stayed overnight at the hospital for observation. He did great and was a little restless in the hospital after the he fully woke up from the anesthesia. It probably didn't help that he wanted to move around but couldn't go too far since he had an attached IV.

He was fine the first few days at home, but woke up a little cranky on Friday thanks to a fever despite taking Tylenol and ibuprofen regularly after he got home from the hospital. I took him to the doctor, and it turned out that he had strep. I have no idea how or where he got it but he did. He's back at preschool this week but still has restrictions on what he can and can’t eat and do.

On Saturday, my wife wasn’t feeling well, so she went to an urgent care and discovered that she had strep too.

Just for fun, Pedro Tulo (5) woke up yesterday with a sore throat, so I took him to the doctor. Strep for him!

Finally, The Moose (8) and I got checked out last night, and we’re fine. NO STREP FOR YOU (well us)!

In non-health news, Pedro Tulo got assessed at school. Here’s part of the report:

After modeling and instruction by the examiner, Pedro Tulo generated the following story about a boy who brings his pet bunny to school

He went to the school. Then they was talking about bunnies. Then (distracted by another student in the hallway) Who’s that? (Just another kid. Go ahead.) Do you know him? (No, go ahead. You said they were talking about bunnies.)

This is a perfect summary of Pedro Tulo in that it is a struggle to keep him focused. He’s kind of like the dog in Up.

Otherwise, The Moose has to go back to the dentist since it seems like he needs a filling.

So this is my life. Just taking kids to and from doctors appointments and washing my hands constantly. My hands are so dry right now. I’ll end with this. On Sunday, as the kids watched the Super Bowl, I was doing laundry and getting things set for Monday. I slipped going up the first step from the basement (not like my fall two years ago), and broke my fall with a bag of pretzels. The unopened bag of pretzels become an open bag of pretzels. This was only part of the result.

I think I’m going to find small pieces of salt in my basement for days or weeks!