Thursday, September 29, 2022

Post Malone Wears A Penguins Jersey

Grammy-nominated artist Post Malone performed at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh on Wednesday along with his multiple face tattoos. Since he wore a Penguins jersey, I’m excited to share this brand-new Celebrities in Pittsburgh Gear post.

My only disappointment is that he wore a “Post” jersey instead of honoring Pittsburgh-born and former Pittsburgh Penguin Ryan Malone by wearing a #12 Malone jersey.

You can see other celebrities in Pittsburgh gear by clicking here.

Photos by @tallcathy and 96.1 KISS

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Shana Tova From National Football League Teams

Happy New Year! Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, began on Sunday night with many Jews around the world attending services or celebrating with friends and/or family on Monday. Inspired by @soccer_rabbi’s search for new year’s greetings by soccer/football clubs in the US and England, I was curious to see which NFL teams posted Rosh Hashanah messages on their social media pages. Here are the results:

That’s it. Of the 32 NFL teams, only 4 posted any type of Rosh Hashanah message on Twitter. While team sites were extremely busy posting information before, during, and after games on Sunday and then post-game interviews, pictures, etc. on Monday, I expected more than four. (At least one for the thumb!) Rosh Hashanah is a really big deal for Jews, significantly more important than Hanukkah which often gets lumped together with Christmas in America. I’m now a little curious how many teams post some type of Hanukkah message in December. My guess is that it will be more than 4.

Sunday, September 25, 2022

Rosh Hashanah 2022 / 5783

Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, begins Sunday night, so I'm just in time to share videos to celebrate the new year. I don't know what's happening this year. A Cappella groups like six13 and The Maccabeats don't have new videos, and there is not nearly the overall selection of fun and/or meaningful videos compared to previous years. I guess New York Mets fans are happy though.

While the most "rocking" video I could find doesn't even seem to be about Rosh Hashanah, the production by/for the Miami Boys Choir performance is remarkable.

If you want to see more kids performing music, here you go:

Enough about music. Maybe you want to know more about Rosh Hashanah. Take it away Houston.

Maybe you want some recipes.

Well, I think that's about it. Oh, I'm sorry. YouTube has plenty of videos about Rosh Hashanah and the rapture. Apparently, this gentlemen didn't have time to edit out his sneezing before discussing that the rapture is happening because Queen Elizabeth died.

We can't end on that video. Let's think about how the queen witnessed one of the most memorable games in baseball history with opera singer Enrico Pallazzo serving as the home plate umpire.

Happy New Year to those who celebrate! 

Thursday, September 22, 2022

My Wimbledon Lie

Serena Williams, arguably the greatest female professional tennis player ever, retired at this year’s US Open. She had an incredible career with 23 Grand Slam singles titles, the most by any player in the Open Era. For years, I shared a story that I tried to see Serena and her sister Venus compete in a doubles match at Wimbledon in 2000. I recently found a journal I kept from my summer in England, and it turns out that this was a complete lie. Basically, I’ve been a lying liar for well over a decade. This is the journal entry:

Monday, July 3, 2000

I first tried writing this entry last night but was too tired to get very far. I spent this past weekend in London. I really enjoyed the tour J gave us of London. We went to Trafalgar Square, Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, and Tower Hill Friday night. I also liked seeing the Tate Gallery, National Portrait Gallery, Madam Tussaud’s, and Madam Tussaud’s Rock Circus. (I got a picture with the Spice Girls.) The Tate Modern was not as enjoyable since it was way too crowded, and I got lost and passed the same exhibit several times.

While I enjoyed all of this, the highlight of the weekend was going to Wimbledon. Several months ago, when I first knew I would be coming to England, I tried to find the dates for Wimbledon. I realized that it was going to take place the same time I was in England, but I didn’t think I’d be able to go. I’ve played tennis since junior high and possibly longer before that. Although I never had a favorite tennis player, I enjoy watching the major events. I have always had a great deal of respect for professional tennis players because of how much time and energy they put into their games and their ability to seemingly hit the ball wherever they want and at what speed.

Anyway, let’s write about this past weekend. After unsuccessfully trying to get a ½ price ticket for a show, we each had different opinions about what to do. J got a ticket for The Graduate with Kathleen Turner. E and JK wanted to check out a museum. L and I decided to try our luck and see if we could get into Wimbledon. By the time we arrived at Wimbledon, there was an extremely long queue (line). We had nothing planned for the rest of the day, so we decided to stay. We queued at Wimbledon (I have a sticker that says this) for three hours before finally reaching the ticket office. The seats for Centre Court, Court 1, and Court 2 were already sold out, which we figured because Agassi, Venus Williams, and Tim Henman were playing, and it was after 5:00PM. General admission tickets were only 4 pounds ($6) after 5. Nevertheless, we were in and very excited. To quote L, “you couldn’t rip the plastered smiles off of our faces!”

We walked around for a few minutes trying to fully comprehend that we were really at Wimbledon. Then, we tried to find the best matches available on the other courts. Court 3 was definitely the best because after a Men’s singles match, Martina Hingis and Mary Pierce were playing doubles, followed by Martina Navratilova in a mixed doubles match.

This is the lie. I really thought we hoped to see the Williams sisters, but it was actually Hingis and Pierce. Both were amazing players but definitely not in the same category as Venus and Serena.

We made our way to Court 3 and watched two Swedes, Thomas Johansson and Magnus Gustafsson. It was a very even match. The problem was it was a very even match. It ended up going 5 sets. Because of that, the other matches were moved to other courts. At one point, we left to go see Hingis and Pierce on Court 6. It was packed. We could barely see the court and kept getting bumped. After we got a few pictures, we went back to see the Swedes. After Johansson emerged victorious, we started waiting for Navratilova. One problem: the crew started taking down the net. On the scoreboard, we saw the score of her match, and it said Centre Court. We decided that we had nothing to lose, so let’s try to sneak in.

I should mention again that we were smiling the entire time and every few minutes would remind ourselves that we were in fact at Wimbledon. Anyway, the Southwest entrance (or a different entrance, not exactly sure) of Centre Court was right behind Court 3. We walked right in. There were no problems and no one checking tickets. I learned later that this double match had been postponed by darkness the night before and had just resumed. We only missed a game or two and the score was 6-4, 7-6, 9-9. I should mention that it was Jan Siemerink and Miriam Oremans against Martina Navratilova and Mahesh Bhupathi.

Lie #2. I thought Martina played with Leander Paes. I really am a lying liar!

Did I already write that I was seeing Navratilova, one of if not the best women’s tennis players ever? Did I mention that I was at Centre Court Wimbledon? It was incredible! We were at the Mecca of tennis. The match itself was also great. This was Marina’s return to Wimbledon after retiring five years before. (Sean’s note: You can definitely see Serena returning to play mixed doubles in a few years, right?) The crowd (including us) was pulling for her. Between each point, we heard many people yell some variation of “C’mon Martina.” At one point, someone yelled “C’mon Martina’s partner!” Martina and Mahesh ended up losing a thrilling third set, 18-16.

Wimbledon was definitely the highlight of the weekend, and it may be the highlight of my summer. L and I had an incredible time, and the queue was definitely worth the wait. I can’t wait to see the pictures, and I am still on a high from being there. This could be a once-in-a-lifetime chance to be at Wimbledon, and I was there.

22 years later, I still haven’t been to a tennis grand slam. Or since I’m a lying liar, maybe I can claim that I’ve been to Paris, New York, and Melbourne for all of the Grand Slam events!

I'm thinking now that since Venus had a singles match that day, maybe Venus and Serena were on one of the side courts practicing, and we tried to see them. No matter what happened, I can no longer blame Thomas Johansson and Magnus Gustafsson for causing me to miss watching the Williams sisters play in person.

Friday, September 16, 2022

Friday Videos

I'm going back to the early 2000s today to share two songs that I haven't heard in a while and enjoy. That's it. That's the post!

Thursday, September 15, 2022

Introducing Pittsburgh Steelers Wine

It is a tough time to be the owner of an NFL team. Sure, the league signed television contracts with Amazon, CBS, ABC/ESPN, NBC, and FOX through the 2023 season for $113 billion, but $113 billion doesn’t go as far as it used to. And yeah, teams continue to make money through ticket sales, sponsorships, and merchandise sales, but the cost of running a team is exorbitant. So during this time of high inflation, teams are looking for new revenue streams just to make ends meet. For the Steelers, I guess the contract to name the stadium Acrisure wasn't enough, so the team announced the launch of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ new wine brand and club, Steel Curtain Napa Valley.

The text above is an introductory message on the Steel Curtain Napa Valley website. When I hear someone discussing “blue-collar grit that is forged in the fiber of the Steel City,” clearly the first thing I think about is “Immaculate,” a red wine selling for $95 a bottle (or $75 for members) made in Napa Valley. For those of you not familiar with American geography, I should probably mention that Napa Valley isn’t part of the Mon Valley.

The website also includes messages from the Steelers organization and the winery:

While I’m not a sommelier or someone who plays one on the internet, I’d love for Ryan Huzjak or anyone else to explain how this wine brand reflects Pittsburgh and the Steelers. You can make a case that Iron City beer represents Pittsburgh or look in a history book to see where the Whiskey Rebellion took place (Spoiler: Western Pennsylvania), but a wine?

I appreciate wine handcrafted with the same values forged in the fibers of Pittsburgh, though I’d prefer wine forged from grapes.

Look, a wine company partnering with the Steelers makes sense. For the winery, you get a loyal, established, and enthusiastic following and access to the team’s logo and marketing capabilities. (I learned of Steel Curtain Napa Valley through an email from the team.) Meanwhile, I’m sure that the Steelers will make money from this venture simply by having its name associated with the product. However, the blue-color grit and wine brand reflecting Pittsburgh is ridiculous. Just say that you’re selling wine to Steelers fans.

Update: @LloydStoleFirst on Twitter mentioned that the Pittsburgh Penguins have their own wine partnership. The website layouts are identical, but while the marketing for the Steelers wine is about blue-collar grit and a wine reflecting Pittsburgh, these are absent for the Penguins brand. Apparently, there is no overlap between the two fan bases.

Thursday, September 08, 2022

Game Changer

Our neighbors/friends recently remodeled their entire kitchen with brand new cabinets and appliances including a refrigerator. They offered us their old frig which we graciously accepted and put in our garage. This has turned out to be a game changer. (Hey, that could be the title of this post!) With three kids, we tend to go through food quickly. There are weekly trips to Wegmans and Aldis (yes, I know the store’s name is Aldi, but I call it Aldis) and at least 1-2 visits each month to Trader Joe’s. They have great frozen meals that the kids enjoy.

Last month, Wegmans was out of its boxes of chocolate chip waffles which Pedro Tulo often eats for breakfast. However, the store had a bulk 48-pack of waffles. With the second refrigerator, there was plenty of room to store the additional 38 waffles instead of the traditional box of 10. So now, instead of getting one or two bags of Trader Joe’s gnocchi with gorgonzola, a favorite of the kids, we might get 3 or 4. Having a little ice cream party for Luigi’s birthday? We got multiple containers and various flavors of ice cream!

Next up is the ultimate question. After saying good bye to Costco several years ago, is it time to go back?

Tuesday, September 06, 2022

Dad Camp 2022

The week before school begins every year is Dad Camp. It started when The Moose was only about five months old the week prior to his beginning going to day care and continues up to today as my kids entered 6th grade, 3rd grade, and kindergarten. Now is probably a good time to mention that all three kids are at the same school for this first (and only) time ever. One drop off in the morning and everyone is in the same location. It’s wonderful!

Over the years, I’ve taken the kids to a variety of places in the DC metropolitan area. Dad Camp was rather limited in 2020 and 2021 due to Covid restrictions and the lack of vaccinations for kids, but we were able to visit some new places over the last few years. I should mention that the real purpose of this post is a reminder for myself of activities I can do with the kids for Dad Camp 2023 and beyond! Anyway, here’s what we did this year:

Monday: Mini golf

Fairfax County’s Park Authority has several miniature golf locations across the county. The ones we’ve been to at Oak Marr and Burke Lake are quite enjoyable. Burke Lake also has a disc golf course which I took my kids to for the first time recently separately from Dad Camp. It wasn’t a disaster, so we’ll try again later this fall.

Tuesday: Puppet show and a movie

I don’t want to call out the production company, but the puppet show was just odd. Others we’ve seen over the years have been more interactive. The Moose was definitely too old for the show. Not doing that again. Meanwhile, Regal Cinemas have $2 kids’ movies on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Even though my kids watched the film several years ago, we saw The Secret Life of Pets for our first trip to a movie theater since the experience ended with a trip to the emergency room. As a bonus, Regal has half price deals on popcorn on Tuesdays, so yes, I bought the largest tub possible for us to share.

Wednesday: Cubs-Nationals Game

I’d like to thank Major League Baseball for scheduling a weekday afternoon game during Dad Camp. The stadium wasn’t crowded, and possibly because the Nationals are pretty terrible this year, the team has a kids eat free promotion to encourage families to attend. I’d also like to thank the person who handed me 4 free tickets while we waited in line to buy some.

Thursday: Meet the Teacher Day

I really appreciate that the school has separate times based on grade levels. All-school activities are an absolute nightmare for crowds and parking. Unfortunately for me, the open houses were 10:00-11:00 for kindergarten, 12:00-1:00 for grades 1-3, and 2:00-3:00 for grades 4-6. That meant three separate trips to school and lots of back and forth.

Friday: Hirschhorn Museum

While my kids would generally be quite happy playing and watching sports every day, occasionally, I try to sprinkle in a little bit of culture in their lives. Enter the “One With Eternity” exhibit by Yayoi Kusama. The Hirshhorn hosted a Kusama exhibit several years ago, and while it looked amazing, I never made it to the National Mall. Now, The Hirshhorn has several Kusama pieces as part of its permanent collection, and I thought the kids would enjoy it. They did!

We arrived on the National Mall right around 9:30 AM, which turned out to be perfect since that’s when you can begin to park on most streets like 7th Avenue SW between the Hirshhorn and Air & Space Museum with beautiful views of the Washington Monument and US Capitol. We got in line to get timed passes for the Kusama exhibit and got 11:15 tickets. This gave us plenty of time to walk on the mall and explore the Hirshhorn’s sculpture garden and other parts of the museum before seeing “Pumpkin” and her two Infinity Mirror rooms. I highly recommend checking them out.

Weekend Bonus: A Loudoun United soccer match. 

The Moose and Pedro Tulo were able to be part of the pregame ceremony where kids lined up on the field as the players gave high-fives and walked through. 

Another successful week of Dad Camp! I’d like to try Luray Caverns next year. If you have any other ideas for things to do in the DC area, please share them in the comments section.