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!

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Trivia Wednesday

I didn't have a chance to post this yesterday, so instead of Trivia Tuesday, we're going to have Trivia Wednesday this week. Your challenge is to answer the questions below based on the maps.

1. This is a detail from a map showing the service area of what fictional New York organization?


2. This map shows the numbers of times each nation has done what?


3. Name the island shown in this edited Google Map image from March 2017.


4. Identify the event represented by this cartogram.


5. This map, updated in January 2017, shows the numbers of what in each state?


6. Whose name has been redacted from this map?


7. This is the main floor of what establishment?


8. This map (created for the Risk-like game Lux Delux) imagines a battle over what campus?


Please leave your answers in the comments section below. Good luck!

These questions are courtesy of the Just Images Maps mini-league of LearnedLeague.

Friday, April 14, 2017

The Car Accident

A few weeks ago, I was involved in a car accident. Everyone was okay. Now that we established this, I'll try to set the scene of the accident. On a sunny afternoon, I was driving on a two-way, two-lane street in my neighborhood. At an intersection, a guy decided to turn into the side street apparently thinking he needed to do so quickly. Although I honked my horn and slammed on the breaks, only resulting in him stopping his car in the middle of road, I wasn't able to stop in time and hit the front right side portion of his car.



After making sure everyone was okay, he accused me of going too fast. I didn't respond because I couldn't believe this idiotic thought. Plus, another driver stopped by to check out the situation around this time and called the police for us. There were no witnesses to the accident, meaning he could have waited 4 seconds to turn after I passed through the intersection.


Meanwhile, the guy then ran, by foot, to his home to get insurance information. As I found out later, the guy has a Venezuelan license and is on his mother's insurance policy. Unfortunately, he was not Andres Galarraga. A police officer talked with both of us, had us complete the Police Department Accident Exchange of Information form, and ended up giving the other guy two citations, one for being at fault for the accident and I'm not sure what the other was for since I haven't seen the police report yet. (It could be related to the Venezuelan license.)


Now the real fun begins. Since the other driver was at fault, I went through his insurance company. After nearly two weeks (and me calling and emailing his insurance company multiple times), they told me that they were unable to get in touch with their client, and I would have to go through my insurance company. Lovely. I'm not going to identify his company, but Flo should either drop them or have their name their price tool equal about $30,000.


Anyway, my insurance company has been terrific. Unfortunately, they determined that my 2003 Honda with nearly 127,000 miles wasn't salvageable. While I'll get a settlement, I now need to find a new (to me) car rather quickly. We're probably looking at a bigger car like a Honda Pilot or Honda Odyssey, Toyota Highlander, Chrysler Town and Country or something similar. I don't want to use the word "minivan," but that could be in the discussion. Any suggestions?

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Trivia Tuesday: What Are iPhone Stickers?

We've established that I'm often out of touch, one of the last people to adjust to new technology, and basically, unhip. (Unless it's hip to be square, and then I think I'm okay. If you don't understand this reference, go to Google and search for Huey Lewis and The News greatest hits.) Therefore, it's no surprise that I don't understand this iPhone stickers commercial that appears to air non-stop:



So do you send these stickers via messages/texts? If so, are these different than emojis? Can you only get these stickers with an iPhone7? And in the commercial, why does the guy slam a "Very Hungry Caterpillar" sticker in someone's food? That seems extremely rude and uncool. Unless of course, this is the in thing to do now.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Sean's Ramblings First Ad (Help Needed!)

In the 12+ years of Sean's Ramblings, I have spent exactly $0 on this blog. Based on the design, content, and the fact that "blogspot" is still part of the web address, I'm sure that this doesn't come as a surprise. This 12-year streak is about to end, and I need your help.

The back story. I am a graduate of Woodland Hills High School, probably best known for the amazing run of football players like Jason Taylor, Steve Breaston, Ryan Mundy, Lousaka Polite, Shawntae Spencer, and Rob Gronkowski that made it to the NFL. Woodland Hills has also consistently produced the best musicals in Western Pennsylvania over the past 25 years. I think it's fair to give myself a (very, very) tiny bit of credit for its success based on my work on stage crew for Guys and Dolls and "starring" roles as Government Man in Li'l Abner and Twin #2 in Peter Pan.


This year, Woodland Hills is producing Monty Python's Spamalot, and they are significant short on the budget. They are currently planning on making cuts to costumes and make up, eliminate the live orchestra, and basically cut everything besides essentials. (It seems to me a live orchestra is fairly essential for a live musical.) I personally know how much the theater program meant to me in high school as well as hundreds and hundreds and other students over the years. Therefore, I'm going to place an ad for Sean's Ramblings in the program to help make-up the shortfall. This is where you come in. I have very little design experience and skills (as you can tell by reading this blog). I also don't have much space to work with in an 1/8th page ad. I want to have some kind of ad that congratulates the cast and crew and also includes a link to the blog. Maybe I could even include an "S" logo that used to be at the top of the website, but doesn't seem to exist anymore. Any suggestions or willingness to help me put something together are greatly appreciated. While this would probably take someone who knows what they are doing about 10 minutes, it could take me hours.

Thanks for helping support a great cause (the musical, not my blog)!

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Happy 6th Birthday

The Moose turned six over the weekend, so I thought I would write a "letter" to him in case he wants to read this later in life. (Let's just hope he doesn't read most of my other blog posts.)

Happy 6th Birthday! You have been counting down to this day for weeks and are truly excited to celebrate. When we took you to your first day of kindergarten last September, I remember being worried about how you would adjust to a new and bigger school without knowing anyone. Looking back now, I have no idea why I was worried. You made friends with your classmates so quickly and everyone, including the older kids in the after-school program, seem to like you. We picked up dinner recently and you saw one of your classmates at the restaurant. You went right up to him, played a few games or rock-paper-scissors, both of you laughed, and you came back smiling.

This brings me something else. You are really, really competitive. While this is a generally a positive asset while playing soccer and often motivates you at school, not everything needs to be a competition and you can be a sore loser. You're not going to win every game of UNO (and there are definitely no ties in UNO though not according to you).


You also love watching sports. Any sports. Naturally, your team always wins. For example, when we attended the URI-George Mason basketball last month, you cheered for URI as they led throughout. Late in the game, when George Mason took the lead, you started supporting the Patriots. URI prevailed at the end, and you were happy that your team won. Please just pick a team and stick with them. Maybe this is the Pittsburgh Pirates fan in me supporting the team over so many years of failure.

Overall, you're a sweet boy. Sure, I would prefer that you listen more often than you do and it would be outstanding if you moved faster, particularly in the morning. Apparently, you take after me regarding moving slowly, though I move much faster than you. Hey, I can be competitive here too! You love your brother (unless he's playing with your stuff), and the two of you are going to create so much mischief together...in a good way, I hope. You can definitely be shy too, and that's just part of your personality.

There are times when I'm excited that you're growing up and others where I want you to stay this exact age. Just know that you are loved so, so much. Happy Birthday!


(This is the closest to me sharing a complete picture of The Moose on my blog. He "borrowed" the hat I received from attending a Nashville Predators game, and he thinks it's his hat now.)

Friday, March 24, 2017

Pirates Should Sign Doug Fister

The start of the 2017 baseball season is only approximately a week away. As of now, it appears that the Pittsburgh Pirates, coming off of a 78-83 (and 1 tie that no one seems to recognize) season, are going to have the following starting pitching staff:

Gerrit Cole
Ivan Nova
Jameson Taillon
Chad Kuhl
Tyler Glasnow or Drew Hutchison

Taillon, Kuhl, and Glasnow all made their major league debuts in 2016 with varying degrees of success. Glasnow, in particular, struggled though he's pitched better recently in spring training. While Hutchison has slightly more professional experience, he has had a poor spring training thus far. With apologies to unproven Steven Brault and Trevor Williams, who both seemed destined to start the season in AAA, if any of the starting pitchers get injured or struggle, there appears to be no reliable depth. Enter Doug Fister.


The 33 year-old pitcher is currently a free agent. I'm not really good at presenting baseball stats, but Fister has a career 3.60 ERA. That is better than every Pirate that started a game in 2016 with the exception of Nova and Taillon.


(Thanks to Matt Gajka of DK Pittsburgh Sports for this graph from Baseball Reference.)

Fister was a league average pitcher with a 0.0 WAR in Houston last season (not exactly a pitcher's park), yet, he pitched 180 innings, more than any other Pirate in 2016. He also had a fantastic 2014 season in Washington when he went 16-6 with a 2.41 ERA. From following the Nationals, I can understand his disappointing 2015 season as the team inexplicably bounced Fister back and forth from being a starter to the bullpen. So after a combined 8.6 WAR in in 2013-2014, he only had a 0.2 WAR in 2015-2016. I also remember him being a ground-ball pitcher (though I don't have stats to support this) which works well at PNC Park. I think coming back to the National League and working with Pirates' pitching coach Ray Searage will help Fister be closer to the pitcher he was in 2013-2014.

Since Fister hasn't pitched yet this spring, the Pirates can easily let him get stretched out in AAA or extended spring training, particularly since the team won't need a 5th starter very often in April.

I'm completely on the Pirates should sign Fister bandwagon. I may even need to start a petition. In the meantime, I'll just use the hashtag #PiratesSignFister.

Get it done, Pirates!

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Fatherhood Stories & The Missing Hat (Random Ramblings)

We are in full potty training mode for Pedro Tulo who will turn 3 next month. This means regular trips to the bathroom every 30 minutes or so. Pedro Tulo enjoys flushing the toilet and will do this multiple times per restroom trip even if the toilet hasn't completely filled up with water after the original flush. He's actually doing pretty well though he still doesn't tell us when he needs to go. Anyway, we recently received our quarterly water bill, and I was pleasantly surprised that it was less than $7,000.

On December 15, 2006, my friend and I attended a Pittsburgh Penguins-New York Islanders game at the Civic Arena in what has turned out to be stop #1 in our now 10-year hockey road trip. Ryan Malone scored a hat trick in this game, and all fans received a Penguins ski/winter hat courtesy of Seven Springs. (Yes, I believe that many hats were thrown on the ice.) I am saddened to report that I lost the hat somewhere yesterday morning. It must have fallen out of my jacket pocket at my son's school or somewhere near the Metro station. I won't call this devastating, but it is definitely a loss.

Our ear, nose, and throat doctor and entire office are still in business because of us. Actually, maybe they all got significant holiday bonuses because of us between getting tubes in and tonsils out and all of the follow up appointments. I think they should send us a gift basket or something. Maybe winter hats!

There is music-based competition television show hosted by Jamie Foxx called Beat Shazam that is currently looking for contestants. This is right up my alley, and I may apply when I get an extra few hours to craft the perfect application and video (meaning that I probably won't apply). Here's information about the show.


One trivia question for the day: Grand Island, Fremont, Hastings, Papillion, and Bellevue are among the ten most populous cities in which U.S. state?

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

NCAA Tournament Challenge

Everyone creates his or her NCAA Tournament Challenge, but I want to do something different. I'm teaming up with (insert the name of anyone who wants to be a sponsor here) to have the Sean's Ramblings NCAA Women's Tournament Challenge.


Are you concerned that you know nothing about women's college basketball? No problem! Here's what I can tell you about women's college basketball this year:

1. UConn hasn't lost a game since the Carter Administration.
2. Baylor's basketball coach wants to fight people who don't like Baylor.
3. The Maryland Terps went 30-2 this season, but only got a #3 seed...in the region with UConn.

If you know more than this, you have a good chance to win. If you know less than this, you have a good chance to win.

Simply go to the ESPN website to join the "Sean's Ramblings" group. Submit your picks before the games begin on Friday, March 17th. Good luck!

Friday, March 10, 2017

Friday Video: Green Light

You remember Lorde, right? She's from New Zealand and had a monster hit, Royals, a few years ago that was created after she saw a picture of baseball Hall of Famer, George Brett. Anyway, she's back (in pog form).* Her latest song is Green Light and seems way more upbeat (at least starting around the 35 second mark) than her previous work. I really like the piano in this song. Enjoy.



* Is anyone going to get this 20 year-old reference?

Tuesday, March 07, 2017

How Many States Have You Visited? (Trivia Tuesday)

The Washington Post recently published a story in its Travel section by an author who traveled to all 50 US states. She also mentioned that there is an All Fifty States Club. I really want to join this club. Since the map below counts Washington DC as a state, I have been to 42 states.


I was able to visit many of these states in 1997, when my brother and I went on a road trip, and then I drove from Pittsburgh to San Diego to start a new job (and back to Pittsburgh from San Diego in 1999). I've also been fortunate to visit several states I wouldn't normally go to for work. My honeymoon was in Alaska. I have no idea when I'll be able to visit Hawaii, Montana, Idaho, Kansas, and Arkansas. A trip to North Dakota is possible when my friend and I take our hockey road trip to Winnipeg sometime in the next few years. A summer trip to Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont is also a goal for the not-so-distant future.

So how many states have you visited? Please share your answer and any other stories in the comments section below.

Monday, March 06, 2017

Obama's Long Game

Over the weekend, President Trump sent out the following tweet:


Naturally, people went crazy. Trump's supporters called this the biggest overreach in Presidential history. Trump's critics replied that he provided no evidence of this, and said that even if this was true, this would be a Department of Justice investigation, not issued by the Obama administration.

Jon Favreau, President Obama's former speechwriter, replied with this tweet:


Personally, I think Trump has a case here. Obama is well aware of the 22nd Amendment which states that "No person shall be elected to the office of the President more than twice, and no person who has held the office of President, or acted as President, for more than two years of a term to which some other person was elected President shall be elected to the office of the President more than once."

Obama ordered the wiretapping knowing that the Justice Department would find something that would lead to Trump's impeachment and subsequent removal. With the executive branch in chaos, somehow the presidential line of succession would disappear. Despite both the House and Senate being under Republican control, Obama knew that this was a way to get around the 22nd Amendment and plans to become President again instead of Mike Pence, Paul Ryan, Orrin Hatch (yes, he's third in line to be President), every Cabinet Secretary, and Designated Survivor, Kiefer Sutherland.

You heard it here first.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Trivia Tuesday: Music Quiz

Esquire created a 50-song music quiz that is fun and also somewhat difficult. It's multiple choice but make sure you play this in a place where you can turn up the speakers.

Please share your results in the comments section below. I got a 243 and have no idea how the scoring system works. Good luck!

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Sean's 2017 Oscars Picks

Since the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences denied my request for media credentials for this year's Oscars, I considered boycotting the festivities. Instead, I'm using this for motivation so that the Academy will not only accept my application in the future, but actually invite me to be at the ceremony. Despite only seeing a couple of movies in the theater last year, here are the correct picks for who will win on Sunday night.


Best Picture: La La Land

A movie celebrating Hollywood? Of course this will win.

Actor in a Leading Role: Denzel Washington, Fences

Casey Affleck was the early favorite, but there are allegations of sexual assault against him. The Academy doesn't want to celebrate him, so they'll give the award to Denzel.

By the way, if Affleck does win, does Minnie Driver (who is terrific in the TV show Speechless) trash her home or hotel room since she will be the only major character of Good Will Hunting without an Oscar?

Actress in a Leading Role: Emma Stone, La La Land


Everyone loves Emma Stone. She dances, she's funny, and she previously received a nomination for Birdman, meaning that the Academy feels that she "paid her dues."

Actor in a Supporting Role: Mahershala Ali, Moonlight

When LL Cool J remakes Mama Said Knock You Out, he's going to change the line to:
Just like Mahershala Ali
They called him Cassius

Actress in a Supporting Role: Viola Davis, Fences

She's really good.

Animated Feature Film: Zootopia

This was one of the biggest grossing films of 2016 and was really good.

Directing: Damien Chazelle, La La Land

I saw Whiplash last year, so give him Chazelle the award for that.

Documentary (Feature): O.J.: Made in America


I wrote about this already. Even though this really is a TV show rather than a movie, this was amazing.

Foreign Language Film: The Salesman (Iran)

As soon as Trump instituted the travel ban that would prevent anyone from Iran, including the director of this film, from flying to the US, you knew he would win.

Music (Original Song): How Far I'll Go from Moana

The two songs from La La Land will cancel each other out, and the Academy will help Lin-Manuel Miranda get closer to his EGOT.

Writing (Adapted Screenplay): Moonlight

Everything I hear is that this film should win the Oscar for best picture. This is the consolation prize.

Writing (Original Screenplay): La La Land

This is La La Land's night.


Essentially, I told you win so you don't have to watch now. (Well, unless you want to see the speeches.) Of course, don't tell the Academy this or they may rescind my invitation!

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Random Fatherhood Ramblings (& More)

* You know how I spent the holiday weekend? Taking my 2 year old (Pedro Tulo) to the bathroom every 15-30 minutes or so. We are in full potty training mode with him wearing underwear, and honestly, I'm scared to take him too far from the house in case he has an accident. After the first 10 days or so, it seems to be going okay, but there is no consistency. It would be fantastic if he could tell us when he needs to go potty rather telling us that "he's wet" immediately after doing his business no where near the toilet.

* Staying on the subject of toilets, Pedro Tulo put both his and his brother's toothbrushes in the toilet this weekend and flushed them before we could stop him. I was able to recover one toothbrush, and I just hope that the other one made it through the pipes without incident. I really don't want to call a plumber over this. Oh, this was the conversation after I found the first toothbrush.

Me: I was able to find one.
My five year old (The Moose): What color is it?
Me: Pink.
The Moose (excitedly): That's mine.
Me: Yes, but you're not using it anymore.

* Meanwhile, The Moose celebrated the 100th day of the school year on Tuesday. He is convinced that he graduated from kindergarten and will begin 1st grade on Wednesday.

* My high school classmate Ramon is an artist and art teacher and is a finalist for the 2017 Pittsburgh Marathon poster design. Please vote for him/his poster here!


* My friend Sarah of Smart Bitches Trashy Books was recently on CBS Sunday Morning discussing romance novels. Check out the 5-minute video at the CBS website.

* Finally, two links from my friend Rob

Former Pittsburgh Penguin Jim Paek is now the coach of the South Korean hockey team. [CBC]

* I want this jersey. [Yahoo]

Monday, February 13, 2017

Sean's 2017 Grammy Awards Recap

I promised that I wasn't going to write about the Grammys this year. I just didn't have the time. Then I started watching the ceremony, and this happened:

* Ed Sheeran performed his new song. The Weeknd performed his new song. Beyoncé had a new song(?)/spoken word performance that has never been seen before. Meanwhile, Adele opened the show by performing Hello, a song that has been out for well over a year.

* Do the Daft Punk guys ever get tired of wearing this outfit?


At some point, you'd think they would want to come out on stage wearing a T-shirt and jeans and maybe a Sia wig.

* I've head The Weeknd's new song on the radio a few times and really thought it was a new Michael Jackson song that was recorded before his death and only released now.

* If you were going up against David Bowie in any category, you knew you were going to lose, right?

* It's a good thing that Chance The Rapper has had a successful music career. It would be odd for him to answer phone calls and reply to e-mails as Chance The Rapper if he worked as an accountant or plumber. Of course, in that case, maybe he would change his name to Chance The Accountant or Chance The Plumber.

* 21 Pilots said that they watched the Grammys several years ago and pledged that they would accept a Grammy award in their underwear if they ever won. Is it common for groups of teenage/millennial males to sit around watching television in their underwear?


* My next door neighbor in college played Award Tour by A Tribe Called Quest all the time. It was great to hear the song (well part of the song) performed live.

* John Legend and Chrissy Teigen must have an amazing babysitter. They regularly appear at award shows and functions, and I doubt the baby travels with them.

* Meanwhile, apparently Jay-Z and Beyoncé couldn't find a babysitter on Sunday, so they just brought their daughter Blue Ivy to the Grammys. Personally, I would have loved for there have been a separate TV station simply showing Jay-Z and Blue Ivy (and Beyoncé though she was on stage or backstage for a significant part of the show). For example, let's see if Blue Ivy has a meltdown when she discovers that Jay-Z forgot to pack an applesauce. Or, what is Jay-Z's reaction when the kid asks for Goldfish but then decides that it's more fun to throw them instead of eat the snack? Are random people coming up to Blue Ivy telling her that she's cute? Jay-Z probably doesn't want random people coming up to his daughter.

* James Brown was known as the Hardest Working Man in Show Business. Someone needs to give Lady Gaga the Hardest Working Woman in Show Business title. After an impressive Super Bowl halftime show where she ran all over the stage, she had less than a week to prepare for a Grammy performance with Metallica.

* Compare that to the Carpool Karaoke bit. John Legend and Faith Hill clearly didn't know the words to Sweet Caroline. Practice for 10 minutes, particularly when you know you're going to sing with Neil Diamond!



And with that, goodbye from the other side.