Friday, June 23, 2017

Friday Video: Take It All Back

In the last two weeks, I saw U2 and Bush in concert (not at the same time), and I took my first ride in an ambulance to go to an emergency room. (Everything is okay.) Basically, I have a lot to write about, so stay tuned for a fun next few weeks.

Today's video is Take It All Back by Judah & the Lion. This is a really catchy song that seems to be getting more and more airplay. The banjos truly make the song. In a complete upset, without ever seeing a picture of the band, I figured that they would all have beards. Not necessarily ZZ Top beards, but regular beards. I am surprisingly wrong. Only one of the band members has a beard. Enjoy!

Monday, June 19, 2017

Bring Back Press Your Luck

Have you looked at the network television schedule this summer? If so, you may have noticed the return of the Match Game, Gong Show, Battle of the Network Stars, $100,000 Pyramid, Family Feud, and To Tell the Truth among other game shows from the past 40 years or so. One show that is conspicuously absent though is probably my favorite game show of all time, Press Your Luck.


If you somehow have never watched this cinematic classic, I'll let Wikipedia describe the show:

Press Your Luck is an American television daytime game show created by Bill Carruthers and Jan McCormack. It premiered on CBS on September 19, 1983 and ended on September 26, 1986. In the show, contestants collected spins by answering trivia questions and then used the spins on an 18-space game board to win cash and prizes. The person who amassed the highest total in cash and prizes kept his/her winnings and became the champion. Peter Tomarken was the show's host, and Rod Roddy was the primary announcer.

The show was known for the "Whammy", a red cartoon creature with a high-pitched voice. Landing on any of the Whammy's spaces on the game board reset the contestant's score to zero, accompanied by an animation that showed the Whammy taking the loot, but frequently being chased away, blown up, or otherwise humiliated in the process.


And here is said Whammy and part of the show:



So here's my idea. Bring back Press Your Luck with a bit of a twist. Celebrity animators for the Whammy! It would be fun to see what a Stan Lee Whammy would say or do. A Whammy along with Cartman by Trey Parker and Matt Stone? Absolutely! I'd love to see what animators of The Simpsons, Bob's Burgers, Archer, Family Guy, etc. do with the Whammy.

Get right on this, CBS! Big bucks no Whammy, stop!

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Congrats Pittsburgh Penguins

I'm posting this on Thursday morning more than 72 hours after the Pittsburgh Penguins won the franchise's fifth Stanley Cup including back-to-back titles and about 24 hours after the victory parade. I'm happy for the team and organization (feel free to say organization like they do in Canada - organ-I-zation), the city of Pittsburgh, and my fellow Penguins fans. What's odd is that while I'm happy, I'm not exuberant. I don't think I'm being complacent; it's just that I'm getting older and maybe sports aren't as important to me as they used to be which is an extremely odd thing for me to write. Old me would have written this blog post Sunday night or Monday morning.

When the Pens won their first two Stanley Cups in 1991 and 1992, I believe that I watched the games in Pittsburgh at my home with my dad and brother. When the Pens defeated the Red Wings, I watched game seven over at a friend's house. Last year, I watched the clinching game at home by myself. This year, not only did I watch the game at home by myself, I actually fell asleep and missed half of the second period and most of the third period. While my six year old loves sports and asks every morning who won games from the previous night, I wasn't going to let him stay up to watch a game on a school night. So I basically watched the game at home with my computer at my side following Twitter.

This seems a little sad though that's where my life is. Spending hours at a bar (and probably $25+ on food and drinks) to watch the Penguins game doesn't appeal to me and really isn't practical. Honestly, the reason I probably wasn't as excited about the Pens' win is because there was a family situation this weekend (everything is okay and may be a future blog post), and my mind was preoccupied with that and an appointment on Monday morning.

This post seems a bit depressing. Sorry. I'm happy that the Penguins won. I really am. I'm happy that Crosby and Malkin were able to "secure their legacies" and that Marc-Andre Fleury got another Cup. That Matt Cullen at age 40 won again and long-time NHL vets like Ron Hainsey and Mark Streit won their first titles after about a combined 25 years in the league. Chris Kunitz has 4 Cups! Matt Murray has played in only 62 regular season games and has two championships. This Pens team is extremely likable (even for those of you who hate Crosby, you can read this), so good for them and Pens fans.

So congratulations to the Pittsburgh Penguins! Now here are some pictures to commemorate the championship.









Photos by Getty and Matt Sunday of DKPittsburghSports. I don't know who deserves credit for the Justin Schultz photo.

Thursday, June 08, 2017

Celebrate Fairfax 2017

Northern Virginia’s largest community-wide event, the 36th annual Celebrate Fairfax! Festival, is tomorrow, June 9th, through Sunday, June 11th at the Fairfax County Government Center. This family-friendly event features more than 130 performances on eight stages, carnival rides, hundreds of exhibits/exhibitors, nightly fireworks, the always entertaining DockDogs championships, and fair food! This will be my 16th year being part of the festival, meaning that I've been there long enough to finally be able to drive a golf cart! I say this every year, but where else can you see concerts for $15 at the door (or less if you get tickets at Wegmans today or buy them online) and get to see everything else the festival has to offer? Let me know if you can get tickets for one of the headlining bands for less than $15 (even without the fees) at another venue.*

Anyway, here are this year's main attractions:

Friday, June 9th at 8:00 p.m. - Bush

As the lead vocalist, guitarist and main songwriter behind multi-platinum rock band Bush, Gavin Rossdale has sold close to 20 million records in the U.S. and Canada alone. Together with Bush, he’s compiled an amazing string of 18 consecutive Top 40 hit singles on the Modern Rock and Mainstream Rock charts, including 11 that hit the Top 5.  Six of these became No. 1 hits: “Comedown,” “Glycerine,” “Machinehead,” “Swallowed,” “The Chemicals Between Us” and “The Sound of Winter.” Bush is currently touring in support of their newest album, Black and White Rainbows.



By the way, how do we live in a world where Machinehead has less than 2 million views on YouTube, while The Chainsmokers have over 100 million views for their song Paris?

Saturday, June 10th at 6:30 p.m. - Everclear with special guests Vertical Horizon and Fastball

It’s been 20 years since Everclear released their 1997 multiplatinum smash So Much For The Afterglow, yet the album remains a beloved fan favorite, and continues to inspire new generations of musicians & fans today. Bolstered by the record’s enduring popularity, Everclear are about to embark on a highly anticipated tour celebrating its milestone anniversary, with plans to perform the album front to back, including some tracks the band has never played live.  Everclear will be joined on this tour by special guests Vertical Horizon and Fastball.



Sunday, June 11th from Noon to 6 p.m. – The Sunday Brew

The newest addition to the Celebrate Fairfax! Festival, the Sunday Brew is a pop-up beer festival being held Sunday from 12pm to 6pm at the Bud Light Main Stage.  The Sunday Brew will feature 13 local and regional breweries, each with up to 4 types of craft beer on tap. This program will also include two stages of non-stop entertainment, beer-focused activities and exhibits.  All festival attendees are welcome to enjoy the music and activities; however, only those attendees that purchased the Sunday Brew ticket may will be able to taste the craft brews. Tickets are limited

For more information about the festival, check out the Celebrate Fairfax website.

In addition, please follow me on Twitter and Facebook as I'm sure that I'll share pictures during the weekend.


* For example, Bush is playing at the IP Casino Resort And Spa in Biloxi on June 30th and tickets start at $54. On July 1st, Bush plays the
Revention Music Center in Houston, and then at Stubbs BBQ in Austin on July 2nd. Tickets start at $35 at both locations with a $7.25 fee at Stubbs (and probably more for the Houston show.

Tuesday, June 06, 2017

Trivia Tuesday: Movie Edition

Happy Tuesday, everyone! Your challenge this week is to name the films based on the nine pictures below. Please note that all of these movies have a common co-star. While I won't identify this actor, he celebrated a birthday yesterday and used to have a Funky Bunch.


As always, please leave your answers in the comments section below and don't use the internet for assistance. Good luck!

This week's trivia is from the fine folks at Trivia Kings.

Thursday, June 01, 2017

TMI Thursday: Fountain Day

Twenty years ago last month, the Spice Girls were proclaiming Girl Power (while also telling us what they want, what they really, really want) and Hanson's MMMBop was about to take over the country. Meanwhile, I graduated from college. I nearly missed this anniversary except for a former mentor/supervisor posting something on Facebook about Ithaca College's Senior Splash. Senior Splash sounds innocent enough, and it is. During Senior Week, seniors jump into the campus fountain. 20 years ago, Fountain Day, as it was known then, was a drunk fest.


Let me preface this post by writing that I used to work as a student affairs professional. As someone that worked with students, I applaud Ithaca College for continuing this tradition and making it much, much safer for students. As a student 20 years ago, Fountain Day was awesome!

On the final day of classes, seniors gathered at the Textor Ball on the middle of the campus. While I don't remember if students drank at Textor Ball (though I think we did), there was definitely pre-gaming that occurred. Then, we ran across the quad and jumped into the fountain. There was lots of splashing, and hugging, and celebrating. I kissed a girl, or she kissed me. At one point, someone's lit cigar went into the back of my hand. Instead of getting any type of first aid, I just dipped my hand into the cold, dirty water and kept it there. I had that mark on my hand for years.


I also remember getting out of the fountain and, soaking wet, going up to the college president's office with a few friends to try to convince him to jump into the fountain. Actually, I have no idea why we went there. Again, there was lots of drinking involved. Fortunately, he wasn't there.

After Fountain Day ended, I went back to my room, exhausted and nauseous. It may have been more that nausea. After about an hour, I cleaned myself up to go to a ceremony where I was getting inducted into the History Honors Society. My head was pounding during the reception, and then we had to repeat some type of pledge. Instead of short sentences or statements, the professor said something like, "I am honored to be part of a professional society where learning about history is important, and I promise to do my best, to do my duty, to help other people, and to obey the law of the pack with liberty and justice for all, and I wanna really, really, really wanna zigazig ah." This was impossible even if everyone was completely sober.


That night, I went over to some friends' house for a party. Sort of. All of the seniors were wiped out from the day's festivities. I remember one sophomore was there and really wanted to go crazy while the rest of us just wanted to relax and possibly sleep.

Anyway, congrats to the 2017 Ithaca College students who graduated recently and enjoyed Senior Splash! And congrats to all of the 1997 IC graduates who graduated 20 years ago and (hopefully) didn't get injured during Fountain Day!

Please feel free to click here to see previous TMI Thursday posts.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Penguins-Predators Stanley Cup Final Preview

If you are a fan of the Pittsburgh Penguins, Nashville Predators, (or Anaheim Ducks or Ottawa Senators; sorry), or professional hockey, you know that the 2017 Stanley Cup Finals begin on Monday. The Pittsburgh Penguins are trying to be the first team to earn back-to-back titles since 1997-1998. Meanwhile, this is the Nashville Predators first trip to the finals in franchise history.

I should probably mention that if you're looking for a thorough preview breaking down puck possession, goalie tendencies, and basically, anything hockey related, you should probably go somewhere else. Think of this as the preview that you didn't know that you needed.


James Neal (now of Nashville) and Patric Hornqvist (now of Pittsburgh) were once traded for each other. Really. This is going to blow your mind. Neal played for the Penguins from 2011-2014 including during the 2011-2012 season where he scored 40 goals and had 81 points. Hornqvist started his career in Nashville and played for the Predators for six seasons. You may hear about this trade once or twice during the finals.

The National Anthem debate. Jeff Jimerson will sing the national anthem for every Penguins home game, but the big question is who will perform the anthem in Nashville. The "regular" anthem singer, Dennis K. Morgan, has been replaced during this playoff run by Nashville residents Kelly Clarkson, Trisha Yearwood, the "captain's wife," better known as Carrie Underwood, and others. Morgan is not happy about this. Anyway, it will be interesting to see who will perform during the Stanley Cup Finals. Underwood? Garth Brooks? A Johnny Cash hologram?


Nashville is a hockey town (now). This is something else you may hear once or 7,000 times! I went to a Nashville and a Preds game in December (I really may write a blog post about it some day) and had an awesome time. The crowd was totally into the game, and it was an amazing atmosphere. If I wasn't a Penguins fan, I would definitely be rooting for Nashville.

Nashville and Pittsburgh have a rich playoff history against each other. And by rich, I mean one game where the Steelers lost to the Titans on January 11, 2003. Stupid Joe Nedney. (The Predators should have Nedney appear at every home game, though this would really only troll Pittsburgh sports fans since no players on the Pens or Preds would care about this.)

Olli Maatta of the Pens is from Finland and played on his country's Olympic hockey team. Nashville goalie Pekka Rinne is also from Finland and played on the Olympic hockey team. The finals should be a ratings bonanza in Finland!


At the beginning of the 2008 NFL season, the Titans defeated the Steelers and Tennessee linebacker Keith Bulluck stomped on the Terrible Towel. Naturally, karma kicked in and the Titans lost in the playoffs and the Steelers ended up winning the Super Bowl. Therefore, let's hope that Mike Fisher, Carrie Underwood's husband, does something as disrespectful (like maybe punching Marc-Andre Fleury?) to give the Penguins a little more motivation and championship.

Nashville has P.K. Subban and P.A. Parenteau. According to unnamed sources, the team is also big fans of P.B. & J sandwiches.

The University of Pittsburgh's men's basketball coach is Kevin Stallings. Before taking the job in Pittsburgh last year, he coached at Vanderbilt University for more than 15 years. The Stanley Cup Finals is essentially the Stallings Bowl! The losing team should be forced to keep Stallings.


Nashville coach Peter Laviolette and Pittsburgh coach Mike Sullivan were both born in Massachusetts making this the first NHL final featuring two American-born coaches. USA! USA!

Finally, the Washington Capitals traded Filip Forsberg to Nashville for Martin Erat. That was a really good trade for the Preds and a really bad trade for the Caps.

Let's Go Pens!

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Congrats Lou Bega

Lou Bega is the epitome of a one-hit wonder. Mambo No. 5 was one of the biggest hits of 1999, not only in the United States but around the world. It was so big that I used it as a haunted house catchphrase. While Bega had one other song that barely entered the Billboard 100 in the US, Mambo No. 5 is clearly his calling card.

Now, almost 20 years after the release of Mambo No. 5, Lou Bega is cashing in by appearing in this New York Life Insurance commercial.



Good for him! By the way, how does Bega look exactly the same today? Plus, is Bega required to wear this style hat at all times? Could he have asked New York Life Insurance if he could wear a fishing hat or no hat at all?

And here's the actual video of Mambo No. 5 if you want this song in your head all day. I still like this song!

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Sunday Video

As everyone knows by now, Chris Cornell, lead singer of Soundgarden, Audioslave, and Temple of the Dog, passed away a few days ago. To me, when I think of the grunge era of the 90s, I think of Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and Stone Temple Pilots. While Soundgarden comes after these groups, Cornell had the most distinctive voice of any singer of this era. Actually, I don't think any male rock/pop singer had a better voice than Cornell. Maybe as good, but not better. Today, here's a special Sunday video post featuring Soundgarden. While the video for Black Hole Sun always freaked me out, here's Fell On Black Days, a song I like better any way.



I also recommend reading Josh's post about Cornell.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Chris Rock Wearing a Pirates Hat

Chris Rock and I have a lot in common. We both think that we're funny (though in Rock's case, he actually is funny). We both appeared on television, though again, Rock's stint on Saturday Night Live is a bit more notable than my appearances in the Price Is Right audience and calling into Rizzo Sports Week. We also both have Pittsburgh Pirates hats as evidenced by his appearance at Thursday's Pirates-Nationals game.


Let's Go Bucs!

This photo is courtesy of Stephanie Springer.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Random Ramblings

* I discovered that Paw Patrol and popsicle sound exactly the same when being said by my three year old (Pedro Tulo), leading to much confusion.

* I'm glad that my kids (and I) don't watch Barney and especially Teletubbies. 20 years ago, I feel like this would have been unavoidable.

* After working as a soccer referee for a few games over the weekend, Ziggy decided that he had a much better use for my bag.


* When my six year old (The Moose) plays soccer, he winds up on the ground a lot. Either he gets knocked over or just manages to fall on his own. I mention this because I've watched Jake Guentzel of the Penguins be on the ice a lot during the Stanley Cup playoffs. If my son is trying to pattern his soccer game after Guentzel's hockey game, I'm fine with that based on the results. By the way, this is a cool article written by Guentzel about being an 11 year-old and seeing Phil Kessel play in college and now playing with him a decade later. He also seems to have made a new friend with Nick Bonino's daughter.



* On the topic of soccer, I'm the coach of my son's team and despite the season starting on April 1st, there have only been two games because of rain and spring break. So frustrating.

* Finally, I received this trophy for winning my fantasy/rotisserie baseball league.


I think CBS patterned the bobblehead guy after Adrian Gonzalez of the LA Dodgers.

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Had a Bad Day

On Monday, the Penguins got crushed in game six of the Eastern Conference semi-finals by the Washington Capitals. Meanwhile, perhaps inspired by the Pens' performance, the Pirates lost 12-1 to the Los Angeles Dodgers. That wasn't even the worse news for the Pirates as pitcher Jameson Taillon had surgery for suspected testicular cancer. (Best wishes to Taillon on a speedy and full recovery.) The only way things could have been worse for Pittsburgh sports fans on Monday would have been if Antonio Brown, Le'Veon Bell, and Ben Roethlisberger were all suspended for drug use.

Away from the sports world, it's never good when my high school makes national news. That's what happened last week when an extremely disturbing video was released showing a police officer and the principal assault a student. Oh, the principal was also recently hired to be the team's football coach. Even if he was the perfect principal, how can he do both jobs effectively?

Let's move to my current home of Fairfax County. I was a resident of Reston, Virginia for 5 years. There's never any national news from Reston, right? Oh, just some crazy lady at Trader Joe's telling a Muslim woman that she shouldn't be in this country. Lovely.

There's got to be some positives, right? My friend Aaron Brame had this very cool poem "Watching Hockey with My Son" published in Sandy River Review.


Celebrate Fairfax is quickly approaching too. In exactly one month from today, Bush will perform Machinehead, Everything Zen, Comedown, and the underrated The Chemicals Between Us in Northern Virginia.



(Was this video always this odd?)

Here's to a better day today and a Penguins win on Wednesday.

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

2017 Steelers Draft Recap

Although my sports focus right now is on the Penguins-Capitals series, the NFL draft took place last week, so I thought I would share my thoughts about the Steelers draft picks. Please note that this isn't exactly an in-depth, analytic blog post. It's slightly different.

1st round: T.J. Watt, Linebacker, University of Wisconsin

Watt is probably best known for being the little brother of J.J. Watt, the all-pro linebacker for the Houston Texans. Little known fact...there is also an A.J., B.J., C.J., D.J., E.J., and a U.J. in the Watt family. If T.J. has any success in the NFL this season (let's say 10 sacks), you can guarantee that there will be some JJ/TJ commercials in our future. The Watts could be the new Mannings.

2nd round: JuJu Smith-Schuster, Wide Receiver, University of Southern California

I could go the easy route and write that JuJu is the first Jew(Jew) on the Steelers since Randy Grossman and Josh Miller, but Antonio Brown already represented the Jewish community proudly. Instead, I'd like to think that the Steelers drafted JuJu to keep one of the team's biggest fans, Snoop Dogg, happy. JuJu played in the Snoop Youth Football League and attended his favorite college, USC. Snoop definitely approved!




3rd round: Cam Sutton, Cornerback, University of Tennessee

Last season, the team's best defensive player, Cam Heyward, was lost for the season in early November due to a pectoral injury. For some Cam insurance, the Steelers decided to draft another Cam to make sure there is always a Cam on the field. (Alternatively, perhaps the Steelers staff has been spending a lot of time watching Modern Family reruns and decided they wanted another Cam on the team based on Eric Stonestreet's character who is also a football coach.)

3rd round: James Conner, Running Back, University of Pittsburgh

No attempts at jokes here. James Conner is a cancer survivor and probably the second best running back in University of Pittsburgh history (after Tony Dorsett) which says a lot since Curtis Martin, LeSean McCoy, Craig "Ironhead" Heyward, and Dion Lewis all played at Pitt. Plus, from everything that I've read and heard, Conner is a great person. To paraphrase, Silver Linings Playbook, James Conner is the man.



4th round: Joshua Dobbs, Quarterback, University of Tennessee

Dobbs is an aerospace engineering graduate and is smarter than all of us, particularly the unrelated Lou Dobbs. He also knows pi to at least 48 digits.



My favorite parts of this video are the host wanting no part of being involved in the bet (but being told that she has to do it) and the guy executing the pie smashing. I wonder what is going through his mind during with his stone cold expression.

5th round: Brian Allen, Cornerback, University of Utah

Just to be clear, the Steelers did not draft Byron Allen, the founder, chairman, and chief executive officer of the U.S. television production company Entertainment Studios. This is Brian Allen...or is it?

6th round: Colin Holba, Long Snapper, University of Louisville

From the Steelers.com:

“Being a specialist, very rarely do guys get drafted,” said Holba. “Just for this to happen, it’s beyond my wildest imagination. I can’t wait to get to Pittsburgh and start working. I know (the Steelers) have Greg Warren. He has been there a while. He is one of the best in the business. I can’t wait to soak up all of the information he has to offer and do all that the coaches tell me to do and work my butt off.

“The Steelers have some of the best special teams in the NFL. I can’t wait to learn and soak up all the information (special teams coordinator Danny Smith) has to offer.”


Holba also wants to be around Sheryl Crow so that he can soak up the sun. Meanwhile, he's going to steal your girlfriend (in this scenario, "girlfriend" means Greg Warren's job).


There's a scene from Cheers where this character Henri says to Woody, "I'm going to steal your girlfriend" repeatedly. Sadly, I can't find the video, making this joke not nearly as good as it could have been. Ted Danson is the man though.

7th round: Keion Adams, Defensive End, Western Michigan University

Did you know that Western Michigan University, located in Kalamazoo, Michigan, is only approximately 30 miles away from Three Rivers, Michigan? Based on its proximity to Three Rivers, you would think that the Steelers, who play near the confluence of the Alleghany, Monongahela, and Ohio Rivers, would draft players from Western Michigan University more often!

For more of my amazing draft recaps of Pittsburgh sports teams, feel free to click here for the archives.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Welcome Spamalot Fans

I mentioned last month that I was going to advertise for the first time ever in the 12+ years of this blog. This is the result which appears in the Woodland Hills High School musical program for Monty Python's Spamalot playing April 28-29 and May 4-6, 2017. (Please click here for ticket information.)


So for those of you who were intrigued enough to check out this blog based on the program, thank you. I am a Woodland Hills alumnus who performed in two musicals as Government Man in Li'l Abner and Twin #2 in Peter Pan. I'm sure that Mr. Crone still uses my acting performance as an example for the cast each year. Or it's possible that Mr. Crone never shared my acting since he knew that no would ever be able to top these performances. I mean, why have Twin #1 and Twin #2 sing each line together in "I Won't Grow Up" when Twin #2 has a below average voice and was way off tune with Twin #1? Better to alternate lines, thus giving each a solo. Brilliant directing and acting!

Anyway, I write about Pittsburgh sports, pop culture, and things going on in my life, generally involving my kids, The Moose and Pedro Tulo (not their real names). I also post trivia quizzes and share videos on occasion. Just by reading this paragraph, I can tell that you're sold, will bookmark this page (do people still bookmark pages/websites?), and visit multiple times per day, even though I only post a few times per week.

So enjoy Spamalot or I hope that you enjoyed the show if you're visiting after watching the performance. And congratulations to the cast and crew of the production. I know that it's a lot of work, but you're part of one of the best high school musical productions in the country.

Oh, you can also follow me on Twitter and Facebook. I barely know what a Snapchat is, so I'm not there.

Go Penguins!

(Thanks to Sean McCool, an analyst and photographer for Pirates Prospects, for designing the ad. Please follow him on Twitter too!