Friday, May 31, 2013

Friday Video

I flipped to VH1 the other morning and came across the video below. Yes, VH1 actually shows videos in the morning. Anyway, I thought this was a catchy song by a new band with a cool sound that was somehow able to convince Kat Dennings to appear in their video.* Only at the end of the video did I realize that this band isn't exactly new.

* Perhaps even more amazing is that Dennings isn't showing off much cleavage in the video.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

You Make The Call

Let's say that you are a referee for an under 8 girls soccer game as part of a holiday weekend tournament. After informing a player that her shoe is untied (or the player approaches you; I, I mean you, don't remember), the player politely asks you to tie her shoe. You look at your watch and see that there is only 15 seconds left in the game. The kid with the untied shoe is on a team losing 16-1. What do you do?

1. Tie the shoe and then as soon as you're done blow the whistle to end the game.

2. Ask the player to find a teammate or coach to help her.

3. Blow the whistle to end the game 15 seconds early, tell the kid nice game and slowly walk away.

4. Other

You make the call!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Antonio Brown Wearing A Yarmulke

The list of Jewish professional athletes that played in Pittsburgh is pretty small. There's Randy Grossman who played tight end for the Steelers in the 1970s, Josh Miller, the Steelers' punter from 1996-2003, and Pirates pitcher Bob Kipper, who is not Jewish but inspired non-Day of Atonement "Yom Kipper" celebrations after any of his victories. While current Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown is also not part of this list, he may have started his own group of professional athletes wearing his own team's yarmulke.

This picture is from Brown's Facebook page with no explanation and appears to have been removed (or I just can't find the picture now). I learned that Pittsburgh's Tree of Life-Or L’Simcha held a Sports Night program featuring Brown about a week ago, so perhaps the synagogue presented the wide receiver with the yarmulke. That's my theory.

h/t The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Blog 'n' Gold

Friday, May 24, 2013

Friday Videos

Yes, these videos are all sports related, but they are not really about sports. Enjoy!

This video actually made me laugh out loud (or LOL as the kids say).

Ian Darke and Steve McManaman may be the best soccer announcers in the world. These are their outtakes.

This is the second video this month of a young kid scoring a goal on a professional soccer field.

H/T to Deadspin on all three videos.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Ithaca College News (David Boreanaz Was a Steelers Ball Boy)

After writing such a well-received blog post about fatherhood, I didn't know how to follow it up. I don't get compliments on my writing/posts very often, so I wanted to create the perfect blog post that would appeal to everyone that reads (or stumbles on to) this blog. That didn't happen. Instead, (if you didn't figure this out from the title) I thought I would share some Ithaca College news.

- The commencement speaker for the 16th annual ceremony since I graduated was Angel himself, David Boreanaz. His speech, though not nearly enthusiastic as the one given by Dot Richardson (only two people will get this), is available below. In watching his speech, I had no idea that he was a ball boy for the Pittsburgh Steelers (10:40 mark). I wish he talked more about this. The audio seems to be a second or two off which is only distracting now that I mentioned it.

More about the 2013 Ithaca College commencement is available via the Ithaca Journal and USA Today. (Yes, Ithaca's commencement is national news!)

With two of the most famous Ithaca College graduates giving recent commencement addresses (David Muir of ABC News in 2012), I should start preparing my speech for 2014. Of course, IC could choose Kripke for next year.

-Michael Faber, a mentor and later a colleague of mine, is retiring from IC after 31 years. This is an interview with him from The Ithacan.

- The IC baseball team is headed to the Division III World Series after defeating Cortland in the New York Regional final. According to the IC athletics website, "the Bombers will make their 12th trip to the NCAA Baseball Championships and will compete in the eight-team championship weekend beginning Friday in Appleton, Wis. Ithaca will face Linfield in the opening round with a 2:15 p.m. scheduled start time." Go Bombers!

- Finally, it appears that there's going to be a movie about the Ithaca College-Cortland State rivalry better known as Cortaca. I'm trying to contact the filmmakers and will post more when I have additional information.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Fatherhood Update (My Son Is 2)

I've learned that timing is one of the most important aspects of writing a blog. For example, it would seem a bit silly to write a review now of the FOX television show The Mob Doctor seeing that the show was cancelled months ago. (When I read this post again in a few years, I'm going to regret using a Mob Doctor reference.) Of course, I don't always follow my own advice. Earlier this week, I wrote a recap of the New York Red Bulls-New England Revolution soccer game I attended three weeks ago. And today, I'm writing about my son turning two even though that occurred nearly two months ago.

- Let's start with the tale of the tape. At his two year appointment, my son was 27.2 pounds (41st percentile) and 35 inches tall (68th percentile). 68th percentile! WOOOO! I'm 5' 7" so I'm hopeful that he's taller than me. Someone told me that you're supposed to double a child's height when they are two to determine their adult height. If that's the case, my son will be 5' 10". Again, WOOOOOOO!

- My son has a girlfriend at daycare. Actually, while they don't want to define their relationship, they are extremely funny and cute together. When they see each other in the morning, they do some type of happy dance. There are also hugs. They have both met each other's families and my son even slept over her house. This could be considering scandalous and may be a plot development on the next episode of Scandal, but we're okay with it.

- I wouldn't necessary write that my son is shy, but it takes him time to warm up to people. I guess this is a good thing. We take neighborhood walks nightly and he's cautious around other people and dogs. He sees some of the same people and dogs regularly, but he'll sometimes move closer to me. (In case you're wondering, when he spends significant time with a dog, he's fine with them though he's not a big fan of getting licked on his face.)

- With all of this dog talk, don't worry about his allegiances. He still loves Ziggy.

- My son's primary interests are books, puzzles (especially the Melissa & Doug ones) and anything with wheels. His favorite toys are cars, buses and trucks. Again, anything with wheels. He also is fascinated by real life buses. Maybe he associates buses with me since he has seen me get off a bus from my commute. Regardless, he gets so excited when he sees a bus.

- My son's favorite stuffed animal is the uniquely named Bear Bear, who granted me permission to share his (her?) picture.

- When I mentioned earlier that he may be shy, he is also cautious. He will hold our hands to go up and down stairs and he's never tried to climb out of his crib.

- It's very scary to me that he knows how to use an iPad. From the sleep mode, he knows what button to press to turn on the iPad, and then he can slide to unlock the iPad. He knows what apps are his too. Again, scary.

- To conclude the bedtime routine, we sing Goodnight Sweetheart, Goodnight by The Spaniels. I'm not sure if my parents sang this to me or if I got this from a movie. If the second choice is the answer, I can thank Tom Selleck, Steve Guttenberg and Ted Danson.

Overall, my son is a sweet kid. He has a wonderful laugh and he gives great hugs. He is usually calm and simply likes to play. There have been a few more meltdowns now that my son turned two, but I'll write about that some other time. Probably when he's about to start kindergarten.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Random Questions

What actor, who has never been nominated for an Academy Award, has the highest grossing films? In case this isn't clear, let's take Will Smith for example. His films (Men in Black, Independence Day, Bad Boys, etc.) have grossed approximately $900 trillion dollars. Of course, Smith got an Oscar nomination for Ali, so he's out of the competition. I have no idea of the answer to this question, but I have some ideas.

What is the top seed in girl scout cookies?

Is there a better lollipop than Blow Pops?

Why is Tuesday always the worst day for mail?

Do they have Long John Silver's restaurants in any upscale neighborhoods? For example, do they have a LJS in Beverly Hills?

Will you watch The Office's finale on Thursday night?

Despite the Pirates extra inning win last night on a Cutch walk off home run, the Pirates are 13-209 against the Brewers since the Randall Simon incident. (This record may not be accurate.) It's the Sausage Curse! The only way to break the curse is for Ryan Braun to take out Cheese Chester. How can we get this to happen?

I guess you could consider this a Trivia Wednesday. Leave your answers in the comments section below.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Pucks & Balls (Soccer Joins the Hockey Road Trip)

As part of this year's Hockey Road Trip, we went to, um, a soccer game. NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman is to blame. If there was no lockout this season, the road trip would have taken place in St. Louis and Nashville. Instead, this year's road trip consisted of only one hockey game, but we added a New York Red Bulls-New England Revolution MLS game. Time for some notes about the experience.

- The game took place at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey. This is the first arena I attended without a roof making this an odd name choice. I was about to go dictionary on you by stating that an arena needs a roof, but the actual definition of arena is "a central stage, ring, area, or the like, used for sports or other forms of entertainment, surrounded by seats for spectators." Roof is not part of a definition. Stupid dictionary getting in the way of my logic.

- The New York Red Bulls do not allow you to bring drinks into the arena. It seems like you should bring in Red Bull. Of course, they sell Red Bull in the arena, so of course you can't bring it inside.

- Thierry Henry, the former Arsenal and French National team player may not be the superstar he used to be, but he is still a big name and can still play. He is also making more than $4.3 million to bring his talents to Harrison, New Jersey. Random question: does Henry live in New York City and have to commute to Jersey for work or does he live in New Jersey?

- The Red Bulls have a player named Jonny Steele. What an awesome name, even if it’s not real. I’m sure his name is actually Jonathan Schwartz.

- The field is beautiful. I’m being completely serious too. You could probably eat off the grass.

- There were no beer men at this game or the Rangers-Devils game. Are beer men becoming extinct?

- The game took place less than a week after the bombings at the Boston Marathon. I didn’t see it, but the New England Revolution fans walked in the stadium together with Red Bulls fans. Seems like it was a nice and moving experience.

- Despite the unity, the Revolution fan club had their own section with added security to make sure no shenanigans took place. How cute that people thought this was a European match.

- As for the match, there were 3 goals in the first 8 minutes of the game. I was completely expecting the teams to keep up the pace meaning a 17-16 final.

- Has anyone watched a MLS game this season? After a foul close to the goal, the referee immediately stepped off 10 yards and brought out what appeared to be shaving cream to make a line for defenders to stand behind. I have never seen this before, and I can’t say that I’m a fan. (Although as a ref, it might be cool to spray the shaving cream in the air at the same time I blow the whistle to end the game.) Have refs done this all season?

- The Red Bulls fans were surprisingly passionate. There was an extremely vocal Viking Army that sang and chanted all game. Very impressive.

- Video time. The highlight of the halftime show was this little kid scoring multiple goals. Start at around the 4 minute mark and stay through the shaky camera.

- Henry clearly got tripped by the goalie in the penalty box, but a foul was not called. The fact that the assistant referee went into position for a penalty shot means that he thought it was a foul too.

This is all the highlights of the game thanks to MLS.

The Boston Globe and NY Red Bulls website have more on the game.

Friday, May 10, 2013

I Think I Can (Friday Video)

My child's favorite book at the moment is The Little Engine That Could since he loves trains. I have a bit of an issue with title since the little engine only has a brief cameo appearance over the last few pages of the book. Perhaps a better title would be The Slightly Creepy Toys Try To Reach Their Destination After Their Own Train Dies: How To Immediately Abandon Your Train. Maybe not.

Anyway, in honor of this book, enjoy "C'mon N' Ride It (The Train)" by the Quad City DJ's. I think I can. I think I can. I think I can. I think I can.

Thursday, May 09, 2013

Definition of a Manly Man

I'm revisiting a blog post from several years ago where I questioned my manhood due to my "fear" of Home Depot. Today, I'm expanding this question as to how you define a man. What exactly makes someone a man's man or a manly man? Just for fun, I put together two lists of where I fit on the man list.

Manly Man

- I enjoy watching and playing sports. When meeting another guy for the first time, I can always fall back on talking about sports.

- I like steak.

- I like beer.

Not a Manly Man

- Beyond changing light bulbs or batteries in smoke detectors, I can't do household repairs.

- I don't know how to drive a stick shift.

- I don't really care about cars. I mean, I like driving them and I think some classic cars look cool, but doing my own maintenance or discussing the merits of a 1967 Mustang versus a 1968 Mustang isn't going to happen.

- I don't eat bacon. (Not Kosher) Do I get partial credit for turkey bacon?

- I don't hunt or fish or watch Duck Dynasty which involves hunting or fishing, right?

- I rarely drink hard alcohol.

I don't think I like where these lists are going as I seem to be on the non-manly man side. So where do you fall on the manly man scale? Are there other areas that should be on a manly man's list? Is there a woman's woman (or womanly woman) list?

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Pittsburgh Penguins Goal Song

My friend Jaromir Jerry wanted to write a blog post, so since it’s the NHL playoffs I let him.

The Penguins have had a smashing few seasons what with Chris Kunitz, Sidney Crosby, and Evgeni Malkin all rostered in and racking up the goals. Overall I’m not too sure what the rest of the season will bring but either way it will be fun to see the Penguins as the Eastern Conference's top seed as they progress through the Stanley Cup playoffs. (Sean's note: Obviously, Jaromir Jerry wrote this before the start of the playoffs.)

Although I have missed a lot of the live games due to Bruins games personal circumstances recently, and most of my free time is spent playing mobile casino games at whilst on nappy duty. Which I won’t complain too loudly about because I keep winning big, so it’s almost as satisfying as watching the Penguins land one in the net, I have kept on top of the cheers and goal songs chosen for the season.

Initially I wasn’t too sure what to make of the goal song, although after listening to it a few times and watching it in context it has kind of grown on me. Every time the Penguins score on home ground at the Consol Energy Center, Blurs "Song 2" will be blasted across the arena. I have to say it’s an improvement on past goal cheer choices such as Rock n Roll Part 2 by Gary Glitter, that became a bit passé after his child pornography scandal and promptly faded into the annals of the past. The start of Song 2 is really appropriate and it kind of sums up the feeling of a goal for both the players and the fans, so I reckon its one that will stick around for awhile and become a catchy anthem. (Sean’s note: I’m not positive but I think the Penguins alternate goal songs. Jaromir, I mean Jerry, doesn’t get to watch many games.)

It makes me wonder if the Penguins theme song Boys of Winter by Icarus Witch is in danger of being replaced by a new song, but fortunately these guys don’t have any scandals hanging over their heads or ghosts from the past waiting to pop out at an inopportune time. Do they? Theme songs, goal cheers and chants have become an integral part of hockey and it’s always interesting to see the fans responses to new additions. I think Song 2, after some deliberation is a pretty awesome goal cheer and it may make itself even more popular than the Penguins theme song as it is seriously vibey.

Soccer Referee Tragedy

By now, you've heard the tragic story of Ricardo Portillo, a Utah soccer referee who died as a result of being punched by a teenage player during a game. This truly is a sad story, and I fully expect (and hope) the teenager to get a significant amount of jail time. You probably also know that I am a soccer referee. Several people have asked me if I've ever been attacked, and fortunately, the answer is no. Sure, I get yelled at during games (c'mon ref, what are you watching, etc.) and I've had several parents, coaches or adult players say that they're going to report me to the league, but in my 15+ years as a soccer ref, I do not recall anyone ever threatening me. With that written, there are times when I leave the field as quickly as possible after a game ends. I may have taken a longer route home with several extra turns to ensure I wasn't being followed once or twice too. (I felt like Rockwell.)

A few years ago, a colleague of mine told me a story about a game he worked. After the ref issued a red card, the player stated that he was going to his car and alluded to the fact that there was a gun in the car. The ref called the game and the police. The player's teammates were extremely upset about the teammate. Apparently, he did this before. Oh, he was the coach's son too.

Anyway, I enjoy working as a soccer ref. I try to facilitate a positive environment where people are playing to have fun. They pay me to get exercise! While I don't work as a ref nearly as often as I used to, I'm going to continue to ref. Sadly, I might need to watch my back a little.

Monday, May 06, 2013

Interview with Pitt Blather's Chas Rich

Welcome to the third installment of my Pittsburgh Sports Blogger Interview Series (I think I need a cool logo for this!) featuring Chas Rich of Pitt Blather, the amazing blog covering the University of Pittsburgh's sports. Pitt Blather is celebrating its 10th birthday this summer, making it one of the oldest continuous blogs covering Pittsburgh sports. As a fan of Pitt sports, Pitt Blather is a must read for me before, during and after Pitt football and basketball games. Enjoy my "conversation" with Chas.

How did you start Pitt Blather?

Well, I had already done some general blogging for about a year. Between seeing an increasing creep of posting on Pitt-- especially from Pitt's coaching search that led to hiring Jamie Dixon and the first ACC raid of the Big East -- and the e-mails I kept firing off to my friends regarding Pitt, it just seemed like a good idea to make a separate blog.

It was originally expected to be a group blog with the rest of my friends from Pitt who I e-mailed stuff during the week. Most of them lost interest or just got a little freaked after a while when they realized that other people were reading.

Have you ever received feedback about Pitt Blather from the University of Pittsburgh or Pitt's athletic department? Do they ever offer you free tickets or a chance to write from the media area?

A couple years after starting, Pitt's Associate AD E.J. Borghetti reached out to me. We e-mail or talk a few times a year. But that's about it as far as communication from Pitt.

I do have a standing offer to get a media pass for football games. Reed did that last year, and I think I will be doing that this year.

Do you get tired of writing about all of the conference realignment (essentially the business of college sports) or do you find that this brings more discussion/visitors to your blog?

The eyeballs don't matter to me. If they did, I would do nothing but recruiting stuff.

There are points where realignment gets tiresome, but I find it fascinating. Which is why I do write about it.

I don't get the delusional speculations -- where people construct ridiculous scenarios in order to get the endpoint they want.

As an aside, prior to the dissolution of the Big East this year, a small contingent of Villanova and Georgetown fans were providing some amazing logic contortions to create a situation where the ACC would invite them. The difference between them and stories concocted by certain WVU message boarders was that they admitted that they were just trying to figure out how to get to that point.

But what I really find interesting about expansiopocolypse is how it lays bare the issue of money in college sports. That what this is all about -- specifically the TV money.

It is so clear how important the money is to sustained success or simply the opportunity to have sustained success in college athletics.

That understanding began, thanks, in no small part, to the shift in conferences that the ACC started with their first raid on the Big East. That's when everybody started waking up to it. The ACC's ill-fated first attempt to put themselves on par with the SEC. Suddenly everyone was aware not only of the idea of conference supremacy, but the money tied into being in the right conference.

For the years afterwards, Pitt fans were focused completely on getting to the Big Ten. Mainly because twelve seemed the magic number for conference size -- and that one opening in the Big Ten. Now fourteen works, while everyone waits for someone to go all the way to 16.

Since we're on the topic (and I know that you're written about this in the past), what are your thoughts of Pitt joining the ACC?

Overall, positive simply for the stability and security for Pitt that it brings. For the life of the blog, Pitt has lived under fear of the conference instability. The idea of not having to worry about the money or the conference imploding will be comforting.

And I can't wait to see what Pitt fans collectively choose to fill that void of angst.

With four head coaches in just a few years, Pitt football has certainly been, well, interesting. What are your thoughts on the state of the football program?

I just don't know. The program has been in such a state of flux that has been able to do little more than tread water for the last few years.

I want to believe in Paul Chryst. That he is the guy to bring the program out of the malaise. Not simply stabilize things at the head coaching spot, but make myself and others believe that the football program can do great things.

That said, I don't know. I don't know exactly how the adjustment to being a head coach is proceeding. It was a mixed bag last year as he learned on the job.

We still don't know what kind of recruiter Chryst will be in the long-term. How well he can develop talent -- besides at the QB spot. It's still one huge question mark.

Although this probably applies to football more than basketball, as a college sports blog, you almost have to write about recruiting. Is it tough or tiresome writing about the recruitment of 16 and 17 year-old kids and their unpredictable nature?

There's no choice, but I find it uncomfortable. More because the reaction by people -- and not just Pitt fans and readers.

It seems every kid's decision is treated as a referendum: on the coach, on the school, on the kid's very moral fiber, on the self-esteem of the fans.

Everyone understands that recruiting is the lifeblood of a program. Yet, it is disturbing to be how emotionally worked up people get about the decision making of a high school kid. No matter the talent, potential or what not. At the end of the day, they are still kids trying to decide where to go college in pursuit of their future (athletic and academic).

I had a hard enough time with that decision without multiple grown men being paid hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars actively recruiting me (aside from my dad gently pushing Penn St) and people talking about me on blogs and message boards; and sending me tweets telling me where I should attend.

Then people turn around and complain about how these same kids have such overinflated egos and are me-firsters.

Switching to basketball, there seems to be a good number of Pitt fans that want to see Jamie Dixon go because of the team's lack of success in the NCAA Tournament. What do you think about Dixon's performance as head coach?

I'm still a huge Jamie Dixon fan. Even with the disappointments in the NCAA Tournament, by any metric he has been the best coach Pitt has had since Doc Carlson.

No City. No school. No program. No facility is "entitled" to success. Not Notre Name. Not USC. Not Alabama. Not UCLA. Not Penn State. Not Kansas. Not Kentucky. Not Pitt.

You can expect it. Want it. Desire it. But it is not entitled.

Pitt rebounded from a disastrous year in terms of injuries, transfers and chemistry. They were not even a pre-season top-25 team. The big transfer that was expected to help this team (Zeigler) didn't pan out. A very limited offense.

Yet this team managed to go 12-6 in the Big East for 4th place. They started two freshmen and aside from losing to Rutgers their only losses came to NCAA Tournament caliber teams.

The NCAA Tournament is a huge issue. Without question. The way they got completely hammered by Wichita State left such a sour taste in people's mouth. That left everyone feeling a lot of rage.

But the other thing I think that has a number of Pitt fans thinking about getting rid of Dixon is the unwavering belief that with a snap of the fingers Sean Miller will leave Arizona for the Pitt job.

That Sean Miller is the better coach and recruiter. That the pull of the alma mater and hometown will do the trick. (Yet if Paul Chryst had gone home to Wisconsin...)

And I'm not down on Miller. He is an excellent coach, and if Pitt had to replace Dixon then Sean Miller is the first call that gets made. I simply don't think it is the slam dunk that he would come back to Pitt.

He's already making excellent money at Arizona (thanks in no small part because coaches like Dixon turned down the job and forced the money to rise). He has huge support from the administration. He's in a major conference but it isn't exactly loaded as far as the other teams. Plus Miller has shown that he isn't a coach that just leaves a program quickly.

Coaches aren't just up and leaving these days. The money is just damn good, and it takes a lot to pry a blue-chip coach from a good situation.

Finally, The Original Hot Dog Shop: Great or amazing? (I guess you can have other options if you'd like.)


Thanks again to Chas for participating in this interview. Make sure to follow Chas on Twitter and read Pitt Blather regularly.

Thursday, May 02, 2013

Psy (Sigh?)

South Korean performer Psy is best known for his monster hit Gangham Style. Psy's video for this song has over 1.5 billion hits on YouTube. Not 1.5 million, 1.5 BILLION. Psy appeared in a Pistachio commercial during the Super Bowl and performed in New York during New Year's Eve including this amusing interaction with MC Hammer, Anderson Cooper and Kathy Griffin. (Anderson Cooper clearly didn't recognize Hammer.)

After these events, I think most people figured that Psy's 15 minutes of fame in America was up. Not so fast! Psy attended last week's White House Correspondence Dinner (maybe he's a special White House Blogger for a Korean newspaper?) pictured below with Nationals pitcher Gio Gonzalez.

In addition, within the past few days, he received a nice ovation at a Los Angeles Dodgers game. (Tommy Lasorda is not impressed.)

While I appreciate that Psy is doing very well for himself and is somehow staying relevant, when does his 15 minutes end? Actually, you don't need to answer that question. He'll probably be on next season's Dancing with the Stars, Splash or Celebrity Apprentice.

h/t DC Sports Bog and Deadspin

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

My Potential New House

Although I'm not in the market for a new home, it never hurts to look, right? I've lived in Northern Virginia for almost 12 years, so staying in the Washington DC area makes sense. Obviously, I would want something bigger than where I currently live. My child and Ziggy could always use extra space. A man cave, particularly one with stadium seating would be fantastic. A yard is a must. A home near nature would be rather unique in this urban/suburban area and would be a nice bonus. You know, let's go crazy. I want to live in a house where I never use the same bathroom twice in the same day. I also want to be able to host friends and family. Perhaps a place where I can invite the entire Pittsburgh Penguins roster over for dinner.

Well, I found the perfect place in nearby McLean, Virginia.

This 10-bedroom, 15-bathroom single family home is 10,350 square feet. I think I can make that work. The lot is just under 100,000 square feet. I have no idea how this equates to acres, but I'm going to guess that it's more than 1 acre. The only drawback is that the house is on the market for $45 million. I feel like I can negotiate this price down, but it may still be slightly out of my price range.