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.