Friday, January 31, 2014

Friday Links & Videos

If you're looking for something to pass the time before the Puppy Bowl and Super Bowl, I think you'll enjoy these articles and videos below.

I was asked to share my 12-song mixtape playlist. Enjoy possibly the greatest mixtape ever! [Everybody Loves You]

An oral history of the awesome movie Swingers. And yes I have seen Big Bad Voodoo Daddy in concert a few times. [Grantland]

Josh Noel of the Chicago Tribune visited Pittsburgh and loved it. [Chicago Tribune]

Debbie Gibson celebrated the 25th anniversary of the Electric Youth release. Please remember that the future is Electric Youth! [Billboard]

This may look like a normal hockey fight, but check out Mike Green of the Caps and Erik Karlsson of Ottawa at around the 1:15 mark. Makes you feel good about the world. [Deadspin]

Dejan Kovacevic wrote a nice tribute to the late Curtis Bray who passed away way too young. Bray attended Gateway High School and the University of Pittsburgh and leaves behind a wife and child. [Pittsburgh Tribune Review]

Puppy Bowl Camera! [Animal Planet]

Pittsburgh Sports Daily Bulletin seems to be invading on my Pittsburgh Sports Blogger Interview Series territory by having interviews with Dave Bryan of Steelers Depot, Neal Coolong of Behind The Steel Curtain & Tim Williams of Pirates Prospects. [PSDB]

The end of Steely McGnome. [Steely McGnome]

Finally, Yakkin' With Ya Jagoff! featured an interview with Norman Childs of Eyetique. I babysat for Mr. Childs many, many years ago. [Ya Jagoff]

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Found In My Basement: Al Gore's Family

Al Gore invented the internet just for this blog post!

With a second child on the way, we started clearing out the guest bedroom to convert into a kid's room. As part of this clean-up, I came across a box of cards and letters I received over the years.* For 2-3 years in the late 1990s, I received holiday cards from Vice President Al Gore and his family including this card from 1998.

While I'm still not sure how I ended up on this list, I enjoyed receiving these seasons greetings cards. Plus, Al Gore was and still is the most famous person who sent me a happy holiday card.

I wonder if he'll see this post and start sending me holiday cards again.

* Yes, technically I found the cards in the guest bedroom, but they are now in the basement, so I consider this close enough.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Sorry Cleveland Browns Fans

I feel bad for Cleveland Browns fans. I really do. Sure I want the Browns to lose to the Steelers, but the team has been so terrible for so long that you feel for the passionate and devoted fans. This week's Parade cover seems to rub salt in the wounds for Browns fans.* Take a look:

On the left, you'll notice Michael Symon wearing a Browns shirt and the words "Super Bowl Smack-Down" on the top of the page. Meanwhile, Mario Batali has a Seattle Seahawks jersey which looks terrible with orange shorts and Crocs. (Sean on Fashion!) While the Seahawks are in next week's Super Bowl, Cleveland is not. However, if you don't follow football, simply seeing this cover would make you think that the Browns really are in the Super Bowl. Of course, Cleveland has never made the Super Bowl and haven't come close since the Bernie Kosar days.

I think that Parade owes Cleveland Browns fans an apology.

For shame Parade. For shame.

* Does this expression make sense when Epson Salt is designed to help? Actually, you probably aren't supposed to rub Epson Salt on wounds, so nevermind.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Friday Video: Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings

Although I've heard of Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings for years, I don't think that I ever heard one of their songs. While watching VH1 recently, the network showed a video for their latest song, Stranger to My Happiness. I like the sound.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

My Trip To The Podiatrist

Before Monday, I had never been to a podiatrist. I'm not going to share the reason why I went or what happened because it is not very pleasant particularly if you're squeamish. Well, I can confirm that I did not have a foot amputated and did not start growing extra toes. Therefore, you cannot call me Sixto Lezcano.

Anyway, since I haven't written anything in nearly a week, I felt the need to share some notes about the appointment.

When the doctor recommended getting a procedure done in the office that day, the assistant asked me if I wanted a divider so I wouldn't see what was happening. Since I wasn't having a C-section, I declined though I did ask for a magazine. She returned with two choices, a golf magazine and a runners magazine. I chose the runners magazine since the woman on the cover was more attractive than Phil Mickelson.

Runner's World (I think that was the magazine's name) included a profile of a female teacher in her 20s who is in the Guinness Book of World Records for being the youngest person to run the most marathons. The article didn't mention that she is too busy running to create adequate lesson plans for her students.

After the doctor completed the procedure, he said that I shouldn't go to the gym that evening. No concerns on that one. Then he clarified that I could still go to the gym, but that I shouldn't do any running. I guess he thought I was a runner since I was reading Runner's World.

Several days later, I'm walking around with a bit of a limp. I've been referring to myself as 50 Cent since I thought "In Da Club" included a line that he walks with a limp. I discovered that the actual line is "Been hit wit a few shells but I don't walk wit a limp." You learn something every day!

Meanwhile, perhaps I'll start to refer to myself as Martin Crane.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Friday Videos

Happy Friday! Today, we have not one, not two, not four, but three videos for you! The first is the talented chorus at PS22 Elementary School in Staten Island teaming up with Ithacappella to perform OneRepublic's Counting Stars.

Next, your may remember Susie Meister of MTV's Road Rules and many of the Real World/Road Rules challenge shows. Did you also know that she's earning a doctorate in Religious Studies at the University of Pittsburgh? Meister was part of a recent “Yakkin’ With Ya Jagoff!” She's a Pittsburgh megastar!

I generally watch handball for about 20 minutes every four years during the summer Olympics. Well, I can now say that I watched handball during a non-Summer Olympics year. Can someone explain the physics of this shot? (h/t Deadspin)

This has to be the only blog that has one post about Susie Meister, handball and an acappella/elementary school chorus.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Where Can You Find Cherikee Red?

As a child, I often went to Rhoda's in Squirrel Hill with my aunt and uncle and had matzah ball soup, a hot dog or sandwich and a can of Cherikee Red pop (yes, I said pop). I'm not sure how well these items went together, but I really enjoyed these meals. Anyway, if you're not familiar with Cherikee Red, you're missing out on this cherry pop magical deliciousness. I haven't seen Cherikee Red in years, so I turned to the internet* to see if the product still exists.

Last February, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette published an article by Andrew Seder (why is the writer different than all other writers?) titled "Cherikee Red: Rediscovered Soft Drink From Scranton Makes Comeback But Still Is Scarce." Essentially, Cherikee Red's back. All right! However, where can you find this refreshing and probably low-calorie soft drink? There's a Bring Back Cherikee Red Facebook group that shows some businesses that carry Cherikee Red, but this page hasn't been updated in nearly a year. More importantly, I don't see the product carried anywhere outside Pennsylvania.

Here's my challenge to you. If you see Cherikee Red, post a comment here about where you found it. Bonus points if you see Cherikee Red anywhere in the DC area. Maybe I should ask my local Wegmans to carry Cherikee Red.

As a bit of a tangent, the Washington Redskins should really sell Cherikee Red at FedEx Field. Seems like a perfect match.

* Where I quickly discovered that Cherikee Red is Cherikee Red and not Cherokee Red if that makes sense.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Not Lost In Translation

This is a blog post I plan on sharing with my son in about five years. And then maybe again during his wedding. My son is only two years old, and clearly, he has not mastered the English language. (Of course, if you're reading this blog, you discovered that I have not mastered the English language either.)

Here are some of my favorite words my son uses and their definitions:

Lala = Banana

Hot sauce = Apple sauce. To my knowledge, GoGo Squeez does not make a Tabasco-flavored apple sauce.

Zeba = Zebra

Cheetos = Cheerios. Just wait until he discovers Cheetos and that they are a must tastier snack.

Dinotaur = Dinosaur

Bollypop = Lollipop. Maybe my son watches Indian movies at school.

For the letter H, my son says the name of a former teacher with a first name that starts with H. While it is still cute, I really hope he starts saying H by kindergarten.

Chips = Chips, pretzels, popcorn or any other salty snack.

Cake = Cookies, chocolate, muffins or any other sweet snack.

Daddy's bus = Bus. Every bus is Daddy's bus. You didn't know that I own the Blue Bird bus manufacturing company, did you?

Friday, January 10, 2014

State Of The Ramblings

Wednesday marked the 9th anniversary (yes 9th!) of Sean's Ramblings, so it's time for my annual State of the Ramblings. Although I had fewer posts in 2013 compared to any other year of this blog, I still averaged slightly more than a blog post every other day. Not too shabby.

(Get it? For 9 years of Sean's Ramblings.)

A big part of this blog over the past year was community. I got more involved with the Pittsburgh blogger community by participating in a Pittsburgh Guest Blogger event, becoming the Commissioner of the Pittsburgh Blogger fantasy football league, and I was encouraged to do NaBloPoMo in November from some Pittsburgh bloggers. Meanwhile, while I didn't hold the Best Pittsburgh Sports Blog tournament this year, the Pittsburgh Sports Blogger Interview Series was fun and something that I'm proud of. I plan on continuing the series in 2013. Meanwhile, I attended my first ever Northern Virginia blogger event (since I don't actually live in Pittsburgh anymore), and I questioned if the DC blogging community is dead.

Fatherhood posts continue to be a big part of my blog and with a second child on the way (let's call the baby Jim Paek or Jack Wilson for #2), there's a good chance that there will be more fatherhood posts in 2014. Of course, with a second child there may be fewer posts in 2014 since I expect to be a little busy and a lot tired.

2013 was the year of famous visitors. Sally Wiggin, Edgar Snyder, John Ross Bowie (aka Kripke on The Big Bang Theory) and at least one of The Birthday Boys all read a post on Sean's Ramblings. This was confirmed based on Twitter correspondence. Unconfirmed visitors to my blog last year included President Obama, Mike Tomlin, Mila Kunis and Kevin Pittsnogle's mom.

On a completely different topic, these are some of my favorite blog posts of 2013:

Paul McCartney Concert Review
Return to Pittsburgh
Hockey Road Trip

So what will 2014 bring? Besides fatherhood posts, I hope to have entertaining posts about the Olympics and World Cup. I also hope to write all about winning my fantasy baseball league for the first time in the 20+ years I have been in the league.

I'm also contemplating making Sean's Ramblings its own site instead of using the Blogspot address. However, I want to make sure that I keep my archives and I don't really want to pay for a domain. Plus, I feel like making a new site could be a lot of work. Basically, I probably won't do anything about this.

Finally, I want to thank you for reading and for commenting over the past year and past 9 years. I really appreciate your support, feedback and encouragement!

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

You Know How I Know You're Gay? You Like Coldplay

Monday's Washington Post included a story that The Advocate named Washington D.C. the gayest city in America. Among the criteria to select the gayest cities in America, The Advocate looked at such things as lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender elected officials; bars on Out magazine’s list of the 200 greatest gay bars in the world (the Duplex Diner and JR’s both showed up on that list); and concerts performed by Mariah Carey, Pink, Lady Gaga or the Jonas Brothers.

I'm a little confused by the last sentence. How does concerts performed by Mariah Carey, Pink, Lady Gaga and the Jonas Brothers make a city more gay than other cities? When Lady Gaga organizes an American tour, she goes to big cities with arenas. Basically, she's not going to play shows in Punxsutawney, Paducah, or Poughkeepsie even though they could be just as gay as the cities that made the list like DC, San Francisco and Atlanta. Besides, wouldn't a bigger indicator of a gay city be concerts performed by Elton John, Melissa Etheridge, The Indigo Girls or Right Said Fred?

Should I have posted the video for Come to My Window instead?

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Pittsburgh Pirates Hat Goes To North Korea

Dennis Rodman is returning to North Korea and is bringing former NBA players with him. According to the AP story, Rodman's squad — featuring ex-All Stars Kenny Anderson, Cliff Robinson and Vin Baker — will play against a team of North Koreans on Wednesday, which is believed to be Kim's birthday. The former NBA players, who arrived in Pyongyang on Monday, also include Eric "Sleepy" Floyd, guard Doug Christie and Charles D. Smith, who played for the New York Knicks. Craig Hodges and four streetball players are also on Rodman's roster.

Deadspin included a picture or Rodman's team (at an airport?), and the guy on the left is wearing a Pittsburgh Pirates hat.

Unfortunately, I'm not sure of the identity of this individual wearing the Pirates hat along with the very stylish pink pants and purse. Charles Smith has ties to Pittsburgh from his time at the University of Pittsburgh, but that's definitely not Smith.

Regardless, is this the first time a Pittsburgh Pirates hat has traveled to North Korea in the past 25 years? I wonder if Kim Jong Un follows the Pirates and has some insight about whether A.J. Burnett will return to the team next season or who will play first base.

Monday, January 06, 2014

Sean's Best & Worst of 2013

Many television shows, magazines, websites and newspapers have best and worst of 2013 lists. What makes my list different is that I'm posting this in January 2014, well after everyone else.

Best Movie I Saw In The Theater: Most lists will have 12 Years a Slave, Gravity, American Hustle or Captain Phillips at the top of the list. Unfortunately, I only saw two movies in the theater in 2013. Therefore, my vote goes to This Is The End starring Seth Rogan, James Franco and Jonah Hill.

Worst Movie I Saw In The Theater: The Heat. I enjoyed this movie, but not as much as This Is The End.

If you think my list so far is a bit ridiculous, I encourage you to stay here. It gets better.

Best Sports Moment: Pirates Wild Card win over the Reds

The first Pirates playoff game since 1992 was incredible. My brother and I drove to Pittsburgh on the evening of the Wild Card game for a funeral the following day. We listened to the first few innings in the car including hearing the "Cueto" chant, him dropping the ball, and Russell Martin's home run. Then, we watched most of the rest of the game with my parents at a Quaker Steak & Lube by the airport and saw the 9th inning and highlights in a small hotel room that we shared as an entire family.

I still get goosebumps watching these videos.

Worst Sports Moment: The entire Penguins-Bruins Eastern conference finals.

Best TV Show: Breaking Bad. In other news, the Earth is round. Honorable mention to Orphan Black, Parks & Recreation, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, and Happy Endings.

Worst TV Show: Oh Sit! CW still hasn't cancelled this show!

Best Book I Read: While Midnight Rising: John Brown and The Raid That Sparked The Civil War by Tony Horwitz was fascinating and Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn was captivating and had the most unexpected twist I experienced in a book in years, I'm going with Someone Could Get Hurt: A Memoir of Twenty-First Century Parenthood by Drew Magary. I really enjoy Magary's writing, and I guess this book seemed to speak to me at this point in my life.

Worst Book I Read: The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Okay, this may not be the worst book I read, but it definitely did not live up to my expectations. The Great Gatsby is supposed to be known as an American classic, but I didn't get it. I disliked every character, who had no redeeming values, and really don't understand why the book has the status that it does. I already know that Mr. Brame is going to completely disagree with my choice.

Best Song: I Knew You Were Trouble by Taylor Swift. Yes, I've lost any street cred I may have had. I listen to pop music regularly as background noise, and I never got tired of this song. In the middle of writing this, I found that I first wrote a blog post about this song in December 2012. I guess this song isn't eligible for 2013. In that case, I'll go with Macklemore & Ryan Lewis for Thrift Shop and Can't Hold Us.

Worst Song: This was a tough decision. We Can't Stop by Miley Cyrus get an honorable mention, but the winner goes to Perfume by Britney Spears. I just think this is a terrible song.

Best Blog Post: I'm cheating and going with every post of the Pittsburgh Sports Blogger Interview Series.

Worst Blog Post: So many choices. Let's go with Sisqo Coming to Fairfax.

Friday, January 03, 2014

2013 Sean's Ramblings Visitors

Welcome to my annual post where I share data about Sean's Ramblings visitors and how people find this blog. I find this fascinating, and I hope you do too. Here are the top ten number of visitors according to Google Analytics by city for 2013.

1. New York, NY

2. Washington, DC

3. Pittsburgh, PA

4. Arlington, VA

5. Chantilly, VA

6. Los Angeles, CA

7. London

8. Charlotte, NC

9. Deerfield Beach, FL

10. Chicago, IL

Pittsburgh, New York & DC have finished in the top three in that order in 2010-2012 and Pittsburgh finished in the top spot since I started tracking these figures in 2009. However, both New York and DC passed my hometown in 2013. What's going on, Pittsburgh? I expect you to step up in 2014. Meanwhile, if your city is not in the top 10, visit my blog from multiple computers or mobile devices this year early and often!

Just for fun, here are the top 10 number of visitors of Sean's Ramblings by country:

1. United States

2. United Kingdom

3. Canada

4. Australia

5. Germany

6. India

7. Philippines

8. France

9. Netherlands

10. Mexico

I always find it fascinating when people outside of the United States and even Canada discover my blog. With the Winter Olympics and World Cup coming up over the next few months, I expect Russia and Brazil to reach the top 10 in 2014 as journalists utilize Sean's Ramblings for their own research and stories.

Finally, here are the top 10 keywords used in 2013 to find Sean's Ramblings.

1. Sun Refining and Marketing

2. Who is TJR

3. Flavor Flav

4. Fleetwood Mac Concert Reviews

5. Steelers 2013 Schedule

6. Sid Bream Curse

7. Rice Oriental Hamburger Helper Still Available

8. How Could You Leave on Yom Kippur

9. Pitbull Kodak Rhyme

10. Songs with Alcohol in the Title

Some variation of Sun Refining and Marketing (that is what you will see on your credit card and bank account statements when you get gas at Sunoco) was by far the most common way people found my blog in 2013 and would have finished in the #1, #2, #4, #5 & #10 spots. Of the top ten search terms, there is only one repeat from 2012 where "songs with alcohol in the title" finished in 8th.

Thanks to all of you for visiting my blog over the year(s)!

Thursday, January 02, 2014

Paparazzi Picture of Joe Manganiello Wearing Steelers Gear

Happy New Year everyone! Anytime that a picture of someone wearing a Pittsburgh sports logo or discussion of Pittsburgh appears in a major magazine, I'm going to blog about it (see Emma Watson and the New Girl cast). Therefore, here is actor Joe Manganiello featured in People a few days ago wearing both a Steelers shirt and hat.

Manganiello was born in Pittsburgh and attended Mount Lebanon High School and Carnegie Mellon University so he certainly has Pittsburgh roots. For me, Manganiello is best known for his roles in True Blood and a guest-starring stint on How I Met Your Mother. He also appeared in several Spider-Man films (though I don't remember him in them) as well as Magic Mike, One Tree Hill and ER. In addition, Joe produced and directed this 2007 short documentary titled DieHardz, about Steelers fans at a Los Angeles bar.

Nice job representing the 'Burgh and the Steelers, Joe!