Thursday, August 18, 2022

Jayson Werth and the Nationals Ring of Honor

I took my kids to the Washington Nationals-Chicago Cubs game on Wednesday. The Nationals lost 3-2 and are now 39-80. They are a bad baseball team and that says something from someone who follows the Pittsburgh Pirates! While looking around the stadium, I noticed that Jayson Werth’s name is included in the team’s Ring of Honor. Apparently, this induction occurred in 2018, but I have no recollection of this happening, and I guess I never noticed this before.


I’m not a Jayson Werth fan. I think he’s a bully who should have got suspended for attacking a mascot and is a jerk for pouring chocolate syrup on Nationals' reporter Dan Kolko. Nats fans like Werth though. My question is this: why does Werth deserve to make the team’s Ring of Honor? According to this September 2018 article, the team credits Werth for changing the culture from the Nationals being a mediocre (and sometimes awful) team to a team that won 4 NL East titles in his 7 years. Pay almost anyone $126 million over 7 years, and I’m sure they will help bring a winning culture too. Of course, let’s not forget the addition of guys like Bryce Harper Stephen Strasburg, and later Max Scherzer. Ryan Zimmerman was also really good during this time. They helped the culture too. Oh, and for all of that winning culture Werth brought, do you know how many playoff series the team won with him? It rhymes with “Hero.”


In 2012, the first year the Nationals won the division, Werth had 5 home runs and 31 runs batted in over 81 games in an injury-filled season. Adam LaRoche, Danny Espinosa, Mike Morse, and even Tyler Moore had more, and in some cases, significantly more home runs that season. Werth ended up with a 9.0 WAR (wins above replacement) during his time as a National. He made 0 all-star teams. For $18 million a year, I think you would expect more. You know who should have been inducted into Ring of Honor before Werth? Ian Desmond who had a 16.5 WAR and an all-star appearance in his 7 seasons on the team. Maybe Alfonso Soriano with his 6.1 WAR with 40 home runs/40 stolen bases 2006 season. Maybe even Mike Morse who had 67 home runs in 1353 plate appearances during his 4 seasons in DC compared to Werth’s 109 home runs in 3427 plate appearances. And if you want to talk about culture, put Howie Kendrick, Adam Eaton, and especially Gerardo Parra in the Ring of Honor. Everyone loved Baby Shark during the team’s World Series run.

Basically, what I’m writing is Jayson Werth was a good baseball player in DC, but the team put him in the Ring of Honor to justify $126 million contract. And that’s one of my hills I’m willing to die on.


Werth photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Imagess

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Bret Michaels' Concert Uniform

There are many jobs where you have to wear a uniform. Professional athletes in team sports wear jerseys with their team name on them. Many restaurants require employees to wear uniforms or hats with the restaurant logo. I remember working at Blockbuster* and wearing the dashing navy shirts with gold trim and store logo. This brings me to Poison lead singer, fellow Pittsburgh Steelers fan, and Rock of Love star Bret Michaels. (Man, I miss Rock of Love.) Poison recently played at PNC Park in Pittsburgh with Motley Crue, Def Leppard, and Joan Jett & the Blackhearts. I saw this picture of Michaels with a Terrible Towel and thought it would make a perfect addition to my Celebrities in Pittsburgh gear series. 


Then, I noticed that Michaels was wearing a Poison T-shirt. This seemed odd to me. I don't ever recall seeing a musician wearing a shirt of the band they are in or of himself/herself. It turns out that Michaels is wearing Poison shirts throughout the tour.


Minneapolis:



Marysville, Ohio:



Buffalo:



Toronto:


Bethlehem:


Boston:


Council Bluffs, Iowa:


Denver:


I think you get the point. So now I'm wondering if Bret is constantly doing laundry and wearing the same shirt each show or if he's just grabbing various Poison shirts from the merchandise stand at each tour stop.


* If you're under 25, you may have only heard of Blockbuster, a chain where you could rent movies on something called VHS tapes and DVDs. You would enter the store, walk around aisles to select your movie, pay approximately $5 per film, and then you had to return it by noon the day after you rented it. (If you rented a movie on Friday night, you had to return the film by noon on Sunday.) I'm convinced Blockbuster made much of their profits through late fees. Oh, here is one of my Blockbuster shirts:



Friday, August 12, 2022

Live From Camden Yards

Timely is not one of the words to describe my writing. I mean, would now be a good time to share my thoughts on the Steelers drafting Kenny Pickett? Maybe I can write about the Tokyo Olympics. While this isn’t quite as old, this post is about attending the Pittsburgh Pirates game at Camden Yards in Baltimore last week.
 
Welcome to Baltimore!

 
Here are some tips for anyone looking for the least expensive way to attend a baseball game (at least in Baltimore).
 
1. Find a night where there is a thunderstorm but with rain expected to end within an hour of the scheduled first pitch.
 
2. See that the game is delayed and arrive at the stadium parking lot 30 minutes after the scheduled first pitch. Discover that there is no one working the lots which means free parking.
 
3. Bring kids. The Baltimore Orioles have a promotion where for every paid upper deck ticket, you get two free tickets for kids 9 and under. Thanks to arriving at the ticket office about 45 minutes after the scheduled first pitch and in some rain, the person at the box office declared my niece to be 9 even though she’s 10. Therefore, 6 tickets (for me, Pedro Tulo, Luigi, my brother, my niece, and my nephew) cost $26. That’s less than $4.50 per ticket!
 
* The game ended up starting around 8:50 after a 109-minute delay. You’re killing me…
 

* I ran into a good friend from high school at the game. It was great catching up as it was the first time I’ve seen him in probably 15 years.
 
* As I’m typing this, Orioles’ OF Brett Phillips is hitting .149 this season and is 2 for 11 (.182) since joining the team from the Tampa Bay Rays. In his 6-year career with 4 separate teams and 894 plate appearances, Phillips is hitting .190 with a .275 on-base percentage, a .350 slugging percentage, and a career WAR of -0.1. While he’s a good defensive outfielder, he’s not a very good hitter. I write all this because between innings he seems to engage with fans in left field. He’s smiling and always throws a ball into the stands. Seems like a good dude.
 
* In the 7th inning, Oneil Cruz attempted to check his swing on a 1-2 count. The home plate umpire signaled to the third base umpire to make a determination if it should be a strike or a ball. It was at this exact moment that I (and many others) noticed that there were only 3 umpires on the field. One umpire was sick and that was the first time I realized an umpire was missing. The umpire located near second base ruled that Cruz swung and called him out. While I think it was the right call, the Pirates bench was obviously upset based on the position of the umpire.
 
I bring this up because the same situation happened in the 8th inning. With Phillips at the plate, the same umpire in the same position ruled that he did not swing on a play. Pirates manager Derek Shelton was rightfully angry and got ejected. In my opinion, the home plate umpire should have made the decision himself. With that written, I think it was the right call again. You can watch it all here:
 

* Hot take alert! I want Kevin Newman on my team.  He’s really solid at shortstop and 2nd base and is great as a defensive replacement or an occasional starter. The problem is that he seems to have lost any power he had when he hit 12 home runs in 2019 as he only has 6 home runs in 891 plate appearances over the last 3 years including 0 home runs in 2022. He shouldn’t be an everyday starter.
 
* Mitch Keller didn’t seem to have his best stuff and only had 1 strikeout, but he only had 1 walk and allowed just 1 run in 6 innings. He’s pitched well lately, and I really hope he’s a solid starter for the Pirates for years to come.
 
* I really don’t have much else to write about the game itself. The Orioles won 1-0 as the Pirates managed just 6 hits. I saw the Orioles play in Toronto in June, and based on my large sample size of seeing the team twice in person this season, the bullpen (and in particular Felix Bautista) is legit!
 
This is the AP game recap.

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

The CVS Optical Experience

The Moose recently received a letter from CVS informing him that the optical department at a store in Quincy, Illinois was closing. This was interesting for several reasons. First, The Moose is 11 and has never had an eye examination outside of the normal review at his annual physical. This probably will change soon since I started needing glasses around his age. The bigger surprise about the letter is that The Moose has never been to Quincy. Or Illinois. Or the central time zone. To my knowledge, no one in my family has been to Quincy either. Plus, I’ve never watched an episode of the TV show Quincy M.E. or seen Quincy Jones in person.


CVS sent a second letter apologizing for the first letter. While that's all fine, I'd much rather they sent a coupon for a free candy bar or greeting card too.

Friday, July 29, 2022

Friday Videos and Links

It's been a while since I shared some of the great things I've read and watched, but today is a day to change this! Let's start with some music. This is "Fall" by Temple Brothers, who are amazingly talented and still can't legally buy alcohol! In full disclosure, I knew their mother in high school, and I previously included their father in my annual "Best Of" posts for his incredible nonfiction books. There's some fantastic genes in this family!


One of the benefits of writing this blog is that I've become friends with numerous people that I never would have interacted with otherwise. Aaron Brame fits this description. He is a gifted writer and shared his first blog post in a long time recently about being an accordion-playing busker. I really missed seeing his writing! [Aaron Brame]

In Josh's most-recent blog post, he shared that he's scaling back his writing. I really relate to this post since there are a lot of similarities to what I've been thinking about regarding my writing. [Josh's World]

Sue Kerr threw out the first pitch at Pride Night at PNC Park. So cool! [Pittsburgh Lesbian Correspondents]

Fellow Ithaca College graduate Veronica Hernandez became the first Latina general manager in minor league baseball history. Go Bombers! [MLB.com]

Fellow Woodland Hills graduate Sarah James recently released her first book, The Woman with Two Shadows: A Novel of WWII. This is her interview with Joshua Axelrod in the Post-Gazette. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]


Let's close with one more song. Gallo Locknez was recently featured on the YaJagoff podcast. I like this song with Buddhakai. Definitely gets you pumped up! [YaJagoff]

Thursday, July 28, 2022

Stressed Out

I’m stressed. I don’t get stressed very often, but it’s happening right now. I tend to get stressed when I’m concerned about money and home projects/repairs, and those two are often related. We had a leak in our kitchen a few years ago any time there was a heavy rain and thought it was fixed. As you can see, it was not.


While the leak is now fixed and we confirmed that there is no mold, we now need to remove part of the ceiling, put up drywall, and repaint the ceiling. And by we, I mean someone that we pay to do this.


We also had a separate leak coming from our dishwasher. It turned out that the gasket needed replaced. We got it repaired a week or two ago, but the guy didn’t seem to do a good job attaching the new gasket. We opened the dishwasher yesterday to this.


The guy came back today and fixed it, but I have little confidence in him.

What else?

* The washing machine seems to be off balance thanks to an apparent broken leg.

* The Moose just left for 3 weeks to an overnight summer camp, and while I think he’s going to have a fantastic time, he doesn’t know anyone, and this is a brand-new experience for him. I worry a little about him.

* I’m starting a new project at work and constantly questioning myself about if I’m doing everything correctly.

* I received my retirement statement in the mail. Although I’m not going to retire for many years, my account lost a lot of money over the last six months. Like A LOT, A LOT.

* I haven’t watched this season’s Better Call Saul yet this season, but I saved the episodes on my DVR. I finally sat down to watch the first episode, and it was gone. Episodes 2 and 3 aren’t there either. It turns out that my DVR was set to keep only 10 Better Call Saul episodes. I guess I figured that I would always watch them immediately, though that clearly didn’t happen this season. I have episodes 4-10, but the first three episodes were replaced with some 2-minute “Stories from Set” specials and a Talking Saul show. Now, it seems like the only way to see the first three episodes is to buy them on Google Play, YouTube, or Amazon Prime. We have Prime but still must pay for them. Why pay for Prime if we can’t get these episodes?


* We just got a new kitchen faucet and had to get that installed.

* The lease on our minivan is up in several months, and I don’t want to deal with car shopping again.

* I received our county car tax bill in the mail. Ugh!

While some of these things are first world problems, many are not. I have no skills whatsoever in doing home repairs, so any project costs much more money than it probably should since we’re paying for labor in addition to the equipment and materials. Now would be the perfect time to make some money from this blog! Meanwhile, can I just go away to a summer camp for a few weeks and not have any responsibilities? (This might be the theme of Grown Ups, but I never saw the movie.)

Thursday, July 21, 2022

2022 Pittsburgh Pirates Draft Recap

Welcome to my annual-ish Pittsburgh Pirates draft recap. As always, this is for entertainment purposes only. While I have not analyzed anyone’s pitching mechanics or bat speed, I found some interesting facts that you won’t read or see anywhere else. Please note that I’m not including every draft pick, and the players mentioned below are in no particular order.


Want to feel old? The 2022 Major League Baseball draft may be the last one to feature players born in the 20th century. 16 of the 21 Pirates’ draft picks were born in 2000 or later. The remaining 5 were born in 1999.

12th Round: K.C. Hunt – Pitcher, Mississippi State University

There are a lot of upset people in Pittsburgh right now. The home of the Pittsburgh Steelers recently changed its name from Heinz Field to something like "Are You Sure" Stadium. Some people blame the Steelers for selling its name to the highest bidder including one with no apparent Pittsburgh connection. Some feel like Heinz should have continued its partnership with the team. In any event, people don’t like the new name. Enter K.C. Hunt. Hunt’s ketchup is likely the second largest in the United States and clearly inferior to Heinz. However, if K.C. Hunt becomes a star, think of the sponsorship opportunities and possibilities for him if that other ketchup company wants to make larger inroads in Pittsburgh and beyond!

(By the way, KC stands for Kyle Clemente as in the legendary Roberto Clemente. That’s very cool.)

7th Round: J.P. Massey – Pitcher, University of Minnesota

While I wish that JP stands for John Parker (as in Dave Parker) or James Pena (as in Tony Pena), based on his 6.70 career ERA in college with 106 walks in 123.2 innings, I think his name might stand for John Polcovich!

18th Round: Elijah Birdsong, Pitcher- University of the Pacific

If I asked you where the University of the Pacific is located, you would probably guess somewhere extremely close to the Pacific Ocean. You would probably think it’s like Pepperdine University in Malibu overlooking the ocean. Nope. The University of the Pacific is in Stockton, California, about 90 miles from the ocean. It’s not as ridiculous of a name as the University of South Florida in Tampa, but it’s close.

Competitive Balance-A (between the 1st and 2nd rounds): Thomas Harrington, Pitcher - Campbell University

Given the connection with one of the greatest Pittsburghers, I’m amazed that Harrington is the first player from Campbell ever drafted by the Pirates.


1st Round: Termarr Johnson, SS - Mays High School (Georgia)

Sure, Johnson has been called the best hitter in the draft and a combination of Wade Boggs and Vladimir Guerrero Sr. but look at the first name. Termarr has the perfect number of “R”s in his name to be a Pirate! (Credit to @thesteelersnat for this joke.)

Fun fact: Johnson is the only player drafted by the Pirates under 6 feet tall.

8th Round: Cy Nielson, Pitcher - Brigham Young University

With the name Cy, he just had to be a pitcher. Even if he turns into the greatest pitcher of all time, I think it’s safe to write that he’s going to have significantly less wins than Cy Young’s 511. When people talk about records that will never get broken, no one is getting more wins than Cy Young. Or more than Young’s 315 losses. Or more than Young’s 749 complete games. Or his 7356 innings pitched. Seriously, you can spend hours looking at Cy Young’s Baseball Reference page.

10th Round: Tanner Tredaway, OF - University of Oklahoma

Big Enya fan.


11th Round: Dominic Perachi, Pitcher - Salve Regina University

I love this pick. First, I always root for Division 3 athletes to do well. (Go Tim Locastro!) Perachi was the D3 pitcher of the year. While his competition doesn’t compare to a pitcher from the SEC, I’m glad the Pirates are giving him a shot. I’m rooting for him.

Plus, remember several draft picks ago when I wrote about the University of the Pacific? C’mon, that was like 2 minutes ago! It’s right up there! Anyway, Salve Regina could be named University of the Atlantic. It’s in Newport, Rhode Island, and the baseball field is about a 5-minute walk from The Breakers mansion built by Cornelius Vanderbilt II, the grandfather of Gloria Vanderbilt and great-grandfather of the guy who does New Year’s Eve shows on CNN.

3rd Round: Jack Brannigan, P/3B - University of Notre Dame

Yeah, yeah, two-way player. Ohtani. Maybe like Bubba Chandler who the Pirates drafted last year. Now that we got that out of the way, Brannigan’s last name reminded me of the late Bennigan’s restaurant chain. I miss Bennigan’s. Turns out that there are still 11 restaurants in the United States. Many are in Iowa, but the closest to Pittsburgh is in Steubenville, Ohio. I think Brannigan should do an appearance there. Amazingly, there are also more than a dozen restaurants internationally. I’m definitely going next time I’m in Bahrain or Cyprus.

Sure, I could have gone with a Jack Brannigan /Laura Branigan joke that I think he has Gloria’s number, but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to share this song and commercial.


Good luck to all of the players drafted by the Pirates. I hope that they have successful and productive baseball careers. 

Please click here to see more of my Pirates, Steelers, and Penguins draft recaps.

Monday, July 18, 2022

Better Future: Pirates or Nationals?

I was born and raised in Pittsburgh and have lived in Northern Virginia for about two decades. So while the Pittsburgh Pirates have always been my favorite baseball team, I follow the Nationals closely too. Yes, following these two teams in 2022 has been challenging. At the all-star break, the teams are a combined 70-117 with the two worst run differentials in all of baseball. For weeks, I’ve considered writing a blog post about which team has the brighter future or even if either team has a bright future. Today is the day I finally did it.

Here’s a quick, quick summary of both teams:

Pittsburgh Pirates


* Signed Ke’Bryan Hayes, arguably the top defensive 3B in baseball, to an 8-year contract

* OF Bryan Reynolds was an all-star and MVP candidate in 2021.

* 5 minor leaguers (Henry Davis, Oneil Cruz, Nick Gonzales, Quinn Priester, and Liover Peguero) in the preseason Top 50 of the Top 100 prospects. “Unusually tall” for a SS Oneil Cruz and his incredible arm is now starting for the Pirates.


* Possibility that Roansy Contreras and/or Mitch Keller could become quality, top-end starting pitchers.

* Rookie OF Jack Suwinski had 13 home runs in May and June. Of course, he just got sent down to the minors after going 4 for 37 (.108) in July.

* One of the lowest payrolls in baseball and have traded away any decent player over the last few years.
 
Washington Nationals


*Juan Soto is only 23 and put up numbers in his first four seasons comparable to Mike Trout, Frank Robinson, and Ted Williams. In 2022, he’s having a “down” season batting only .250 though he still has 20 home runs and a .405 on-base percentage. More on him soon.

Keibert Ruiz is already one of the best defensive catchers in baseball.

22 year-old SS Luis Garcia is starting nearly every day.

24 year-old Josiah Gray could become a top-tier starting pitcher.

Only two top players (Cade Cavalli and Brady House) in the preseason minor league top 100 prospects. Cavalli started the season terribly but has pitched significantly better in AAA over the last few months.

* Traded away or failed to re-sign many top players over the last few years. Josh Bell will probably be gone soon too. The two big signings haven’t worked out well either. The team owes Patrick Corbin about $60 million for 2024 and 2025. Corbin is 4-12 with a 5.87 ERA and 1.70 WHIP in 100 innings this season. Meanwhile, Stephen Strasburg has pitched 30.1 innings since winning the World Series MVP in 2019. His base salary is $140 million for 2023-2026 with a full no trade clause though there’s $80 million of deferred money for 2027-2029 in there somewhere.

* Team is for sale.
 
Even with the ownership uncertainty, the Nationals larger payroll and having a generational talent in Juan Soto gives the DC team a slight edge in my opinion. However, this changed after this past weekend. Earlier this season, Soto declined a 13-year, $350 million contract offer. While this is an incredible amount of money, everyone who follows baseball understood that Soto deserved more. The Nationals responded by offering Soto a 15-year, $440 million deal. Although the $29.3 million annual salary would rank 15th among players based on their 2022 salaries, this would have been the largest contract in MLB history. Soto declined this offer too. Apparently, he feels like he could get more and/or he doesn’t want to play in DC. I don’t think the team will go higher, so with Soto set to be a free agent in 2024, it is being reported that the Nationals are open to trade offers. If Soto leaves, this would continue a trend of the Nationals letting free agents sign elsewhere (Bryce Harper and Anthony Rendon) or trading away All-Stars (Trea Turner and Kyle Schwarber). The Nationals would essentially turn into the Pirates but with a worse farm system though you’d think they would get a ransom for Soto. Without Soto, I'd take the Pirates.
 
What do you think?

Photo from the Colorado Rockies scoreboard by Brian of RTJR.

Tuesday, July 12, 2022

An Email From 2000

In January 2001, I was a full-time graduate student at The Ohio State University while also working multiple jobs. I was in the beginning of a long-distance relationship with my now wife, and I attended most of the home football games that fall. The team ended the season with a 6-6 record, which was (and still is) unacceptable in Columbus. As a result, the school fired coach John Cooper. For no apparent reason, I was also sent the following email from Steve Snapp at the university’s Department of Athletics about the new coaching search:

FYI --  While the search for a new football coach is underway, I will be the primary contact for any of you who have questions. As you can imagine, both Andy Geiger and Archie Griffin are immersed in the search process and simply do not have time to respond to all the requests for interviews that they are receiving. I will make information available to you as it becomes available to me. All of us here understand that all of you have a job to do, but we are trying to get the best person available for the job and do not want to do anything that compromises the search process. Thanks for your understanding.

Spoiler: Ohio State hired Jim Tressel. The now late Snapp sent this email to dozens of radio, print, and television media members across the state of Ohio including Kirk Herbstreit, Dan Wetzel, Jim Lachey, and Tim Benz. Contacts at every major Ohio newspaper and television station received this email. I know this because every name and email address were listed in the “To” line. I didn’t receive any subsequent emails, but I saved this message apparently in case I wanted to contact Herbstreit to ask him about his thoughts on college football (and because I save everything).


Last week, I found this email and decided to send my own email to everyone on Snapp’s list. I was curious if any of the emails still worked 21 years later and if anyone would reply. I sent the message and then watched as undeliverable message after undeliverable message filled my inbox. The next day, I received a response from an individual who was the sports director at the OSU student radio. He shared his experiences and cool stories about his time at the radio station and mentioned that he later worked as a sportswriter for more than a decade. I’m amazed that I received a response and that someone (else) still has an email account from 20+ years ago.
 
Now, I’m curious if anyone else who worked in Ohio media in January 2001 still works in media and wants to reply. They can share their thoughts about the upcoming Ohio State football season, covering the Buckeyes in 2000-2001, the state of the Big Ten conference with the pending additions of USC and UCLA, or anything else.


Photo by Kirk Irwin


Update: Since Amy asked, here is the text that I sent to about 65 people:

My name is Sean [redacted], and I am a 2001 Ohio State graduate from the College of Education and Human Ecology. Over 20 years ago, the now late Steve Snapp of The Ohio State University's Department of Athletics accidentally copied me on an email to Ohio media members regarding the open football coach search. Spoiler: Ohio State hired Jim Tressel. That seemed to work out pretty well. 
 
For no apparent reason, I saved this email and now there might actually be a reason. I write a blog called Sean's Ramblings and thought I would try to make a post about Steve Snapp's email. Specifically, I'm curious to see how many of these email addresses still work. If you receive my email, thanks for making it this far. If you don't mind, please reply and let me know who this is and if you still work in media. Please feel free to share any thoughts about the upcoming Ohio State football season, the state of the Big Ten conference with the pending additions of USC and UCLA, or anything else.
 
Thank you for your time and consideration.

Friday, July 08, 2022

Update

You might have noticed that I haven’t written many blog posts lately. Or maybe you haven’t noticed. This is definitely going to sound like a first-world problem, but I went on two vacations in last three weeks. Between preparing for being away, being away, and then trying to catch up on things after being away, I haven’t had much time to write lately.
 
I just wanted to share that I’m fine and still here. In the next few weeks, I plan on writing about parts of the vacation, an email from over 20 years ago, and my annual Pittsburgh Pirates draft recap. Maybe I’ll even get around to writing about my kids’ baseball seasons which have been over for more than a month now or share my thoughts about things I’m watching and reading. Maybe there will be a surprise or two too.

In the meantime, enjoy a picture of Ziggy making sure that we can’t leave for vacation again!



Friday, July 01, 2022

Enough Already

Over the last few months, I receive at least 1-2 comments every day on a post I wrote over 11 years ago. And it's not even a good post. For several years in the late 00s and early teens, Jim Shearer, the former MTV and VH1 VJ, created a series of videos called Yinz Luv Da Stillers and Yinz Luv Da Guins during the Pittsburgh Steelers and Penguins playoff runs. Most of these videos are now private, so my January 2011 post now simply shows an unavailable video. This still doesn't stop presumably bots from commenting on this "well written," "marvelous," "awesome," and "amazing" post daily. I mean, most of my posts have these attributes, but I delete many of the comments if they're in Russian and/or include links I'm scared to click or share. Some comments (that I translate) ask if I'm interested in knowing what a three-circuit steel door means or they are for a company offering comprehensive services for legal support in obtaining temporary registration in Moscow. I'm going to pass.


I really don't want to delete any of my old posts since there's a reason why I wrote them when I did. Still, it's getting annoying receiving constant comments that I just have to delete or ignore.

Monday, June 27, 2022

Taughannock Falls

This might be the longest break between posts in the history of this blog, and the reason is because I went on vacation. Yes, my family of five took our first real vacation possibly ever. All of our trips consist of visiting family and/or returning to Pittsburgh, so I don't really count those as vacations. The last vacation I can remember was going to a wedding in New York City, and that was when The Moose was 1. He's going into 6th grade this fall! While I hope to write several posts about the trip to Niagara, Falls, Toronto, and upstate New York, this post is about Taughannock Falls.


Taughannock Falls and the Taughannock Falls State Park are in central New York about 10-15 minutes away from Ithaca. I went to the state park several times in college, particularly to show friends and family that visited from out of town. The falls are 215-feet high, and I spent way too much time unsuccessfully searching online for the largest waterfalls in the continental United States. According to one source on WikiPedia, Taughannock Falls has the largest drop for any waterfall east of the Rocky Mountains. This includes Niagara Falls (188 feet), which I'll come back to monetarily.


As part of our vacation, I thought we would go to the park, walk the 3/4 trail to the bottom of the falls, and then visit Ithaca. That all happened, but before the hike, we went to the scenic overlook, which I had never seen before. How did I not know about this? It's an awesome view of the falls with barely any walk, and they had bathrooms! Amazing!


Overall, Taughannock Falls was a great as I remember even though I hadn't been there in probably 20 years. If you ever go with kids, make sure you visit BEFORE going to Niagara Falls about 3 hours away. Despite being taller, the kids weren't very impressed with Taughannock Falls after seeing the vast size and huge mist of Niagara Falls.


Oh, we saw some circling vultures too!


Friday, June 10, 2022

Coldplay Plays Mary Land

I was one of the first people to discover Coldplay. This obviously isn't true, but it feels this way. I was in England in the summer of 2000 and heard Coldplay's "Yellow" well before the song debuted in the United States. While I've followed the band over the last two decades and like many of their songs, I don't think I ever bought any of their music. Still, when I saw that they were coming to the Washington DC area, I was definitely interested in seeing the show.

Here are my thoughts about the Coldplay concert:

* Is it bad that I can't name any Coldplay band member other than Chris Martin? For a band so big internationally, it seems odd that (at least to me) no other members are recognizable. Maybe I'm completely off here and everyone knows, um, The Edge, Flea, Mike Dirnt, and (the late) Taylor Hawkins. 

* It's not exactly shocking that a band as successful as Coldplay that have played together for over 20 years put on an amazing show. Chris Martin commands the stage, and Coldplay has a really deep catalog so even casual fans know most of the songs they performed. Add in really cool bracelet light things (technical term), giant balloons, and multiple stages and you have a fantastic concert. This is a sample:



* Coldplay's first number #1 song since 2008's "Viva la Vida" is the recent collaboration with BTS titled "My Universe." I think it's fair to say that BTS is currently the biggest musical group in the world. The day before the Coldplay concert, BTS visited the White House and met with President Joe Biden. This got me thinking that maybe BTS would stick around and join Coldplay on stage. While this didn't happen, Chris Martin ate dinner with BTS, and they all went bowling along with H.E.R.

* H.E.R. opened for Coldplay, and it's not exactly breaking news that she is extremely talented. She has an incredible voice, can really play the guitar, and even played drums at one point during the set. H.E.R. turns 25 later this month and already has a Grammy and Oscar. I think she's 1-2 huge songs away from being a superstar. 

* Instead of BTS, H.E.R., or any other special guest performing with Coldplay during the show, we got a Muppet. Actually, we got a Masked Singer character on screen singing alongside Martin. I think bizarre is a good word to describe this.


* You might be curious about the post title. Twice during the show, including around the 8:30 mark of the video below, Martin referred to Maryland as Mary Land. This made me smile. After saying Mary Land, Coldplay performed a song about one of their first big performances which took place in Washington DC. It's a cool little song that the band has played exactly once on stage. Oh, the video and song are NSFW due to language.


* Although I don't think they were announced to be on the bill, the band Shaed performed before H.E.R. It's possible that you know their song "Trampoline" from a few years ago. I'm bringing up Shaed because even Chris Martin pronounced their name incorrectly (at the 6:45 mark of the video above). They need a manager to change the name from Shaed to Shade like Tom Hanks did for the Onedors.


* Finally, Coldplay pledged to make the tour sustainable and low-carbon and had people ride bikes to create power. Seems like some people paid a lot of money for floor seats only to ride a stationary bike in 85-90 degree temperatures. Anyway, good for Coldplay for supporting initiatives like reforestation, ocean clean-up, reducing emissions, and building a park for dinosaurs from the Jurassic period. 

Friday, June 03, 2022

Joe Haden and Roger Federer

Although Joe Haden is a free agent and not currently a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers, I think he qualifies for a brand new edition of PAWRA! If you're not familiar with PAWRA (and why would you since I haven't had a PAWRA post in over 3 years), PAWRA is Pittsburgh Athletes with World-Renowned Athletes, just another of my many popular series (serieses?). Joe Haden is in Paris and apparently ran into Roger Federer, only one of the greatest tennis players of all time.


I reached out to Haden to see how and where he met Federer (presumably at the French Open or at an event associated with the French Open), but he's on vacation and surprisingly did not respond to my random question on Twitter. I don't know the identity of the person on the left in this picture.