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Sean's Ramblings



Thoughts and comments by a guy named Sean.



Updated: 2017-12-12T10:35:21.549-05:00

 



JuJu Claus Is Coming To Town (Assuming Your Town Is Pittsburgh)

2017-12-12T10:35:21.592-05:00

JuJu Smith-Schuster may be one of the most fun people in sports. He is the youngest player in the NFL and has been part of some epic touchdown celebrations.

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JuJu only recently got his driver's license, so prior to this, he rode a bike quite frequently. It was national news when his bike got stolen, but after it was recovered, he made sure everyone knew that his bike would not be stolen again.

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JuJu is also helping to give back to the community.

The jolly and giving man in the traditional red suit has been replaced! This Tuesday, December 12 at 6 p.m. at the Mall at Robinson expect a wide receiver in a chic, tailored red suit for a photo opportunity in the spirit of the season of giving. Yep, JuJu Claus is coming and all proceeds of the photo opportunity benefit the Homeless Children’s Education Fund.


The center court of the Mall at Robinson will be the headquarters for JuJu Smith-Schuster to be JuJu Claus in his David Alan custom-designed suit. Total Sports Enterprises will present the photos only opportunity for $19 per photo, which benefits the Homeless Children's Education Fund, along with the sale of #Team JuJu laces. Total Sports Enterprises will sell the laces in-store at the Mall at Robinson and online at tseshop.com for $7.99 youth, and $9.99 adult. To further support the cause, each purchaser of #TeamJUJU laces receives a ticket for a drawing to win a pair of authentic Adidas JuJu cleats.

For more information concerning JuJu Claus coming to the Mall at Robinson tonight, visit www.tseshop.com.




Potato Pancakes For Breakfast?

2017-12-08T10:49:36.122-05:00

Potatoes can be a big part of any breakfast. You regularly see hash browns or home fries on any breakfast menu. At Waffle House alone, you can get hash browns covered, smothered, chunked, diced, capped, topped, and/or peppered or some type of combination of any or all of these.

With Hanukkah starting next week, Safeway is selling potato pancakes at these discounted prices:


The only problem is that the potato pancakes are in the "Breakfast & Cereal" portion category on the Safeway app. Despite the fact that potato and pancake are in the food's name, I've never seen or heard of people eating potato pancakes for breakfast. Have you?

(Please don't mind my terrible attempt at crossing off the address of my local Safeway.)



Actual Video of Sean on Stage

2017-12-04T10:49:07.716-05:00

Woodland Hills High School, just outside the Pittsburgh's city limits, is probably best known for two things: football where the team has been to the WPIAL playoffs for 22 consecutive years and produced nearly a dozen NFL players including Jason Taylor, Rob Gronkowski, and Steve Breaston and musical theater where the school has won countless Gene Kelly Awards for Excellence in High School Musical Theater. About 7 years ago, someone who graduated from Montour High School started working at my organization. Upon learning that I went to Woodland Hills, he bitterly conceded that Woodland Hills always won at the Gene Kelly Awards.

Anyway, during my sophomore year of high school, I was on the stage crew for the production of Guys and Dolls. The fact that I actually helped build a set is funny since I have no building or repair skills whatsoever. (As a tangent, I really need to replace the fluorescent light bulb in the laundry room. I'm going to have to make a Home Depot trip, aren't I? Ugh.) During my junior year, I decided that I wanted to be on stage and not be behind the scenes. Although my singing audition probably went poorly since I have an awful voice, I killed in my dancing audition. Probably more importantly, the show needed a few more male cast members, so I earned the role of Government Man and part of the chorus in the production of Lil' Abner.

Recently, videos of the (gulp) 1992 production of Lil' Abner were posted on YouTube. While it's interesting (at least to me) to check out the videos, I wanted to share a few today.

The first is a scene before, during, and after the song Unnecessary Town. I'm wearing a suit and hat seated at the U.S. Army table. The last 30 seconds or so of the video shows my true acting range.

Oh, feel free to enjoy a Pittsburgh Steelers joke around the 1:10 mark. (The Steelers were coming off of a 7-9 season.)

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There are/were some really, really talented people involved in this musical. Fortunately, they carried me!

The second video shows the cast dancing/singing to Rag Offen The Bush. Again, I'm wearing a hat and tie, and you can find me at the front right (scene left).


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You can see all of the videos here. 25 years later, seeing the Confederate flag displayed so prominently is a little creepy. I guess that's part of the art of the show. Overall, though, this brought back some fun memories, and I think The Moose enjoyed watching me perform.



The Vasectomy

2017-11-30T12:40:58.154-05:00

Let me preface this post by writing that this is TV-14 or TV-MA for content that may be unsuitable for children under 14, 17, or even 35. Viewer discretion is advised.Nearly three months ago, we welcomed Luigi to our family. We also decided that Luigi would not be an older brother, in part due to some of my concerns already being a father of three. So on Wednesday, I did my part to take one for the team. And by my part, I mean I put on a hospital gown and went to sleep, but more on that later.I asked multiple people for recommendations for a urologist. When two people, a friend and my wife's OB-GYN, both suggested the same doctor, we had a winner. While the doctor clearly explained the procedure, what I remember most from my consultation was a picture of him with NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Montana from probably 20 years ago hanging in the lobby. Although I didn't ask the doctor, I wondered if Montana was a previous patient. We'll get back to Montana momentarily.Prior to the surgery, I needed to complete an online registration. Everything was fine except for the question about the reason for the procedure. I initially skipped this question, but since it was required, this is what I entered:I mean are there any other answers?I was also instructed to wear loose fitting clothes. It seems like I had no other options than to wear this:The MC Hammer shirt was actually somewhat tight, so I wore a long-sleeve T-shirt instead.Even though I didn't have a chance to start reading, I brought the book Emily Alone by Stewart O'Nan with me. I received this book recommendation by listening to Rick Sebak on a Ya Jagoff! podcast. How Pittsburgh is that last sentence?To the procedure itself, I've had anesthetic only 2 or 3 times in my life when I got my tonsils out at age 4 or 5, possibly when my wisdom teeth were removed in high school, and now for this vasectomy. I was given an IV and then had a mask put over my mouth. I was out in seconds after the mask was put on. Though I planned on writing everything that happened during the vasectomy, all that I remember is that a Flo Rida song was being played in the operating room. Why Flo Rida? Other than that, I have no idea what happened and how I woke up wearing a jock strap. (On a completely different subject, how did former Pittsburgh Penguin Jock Callander never do endorsement for a jock strap company?)As expected, when I woke up from the anesthetic, I was a little loopy. My wife dropped me off for the procedure to be home with Luigi. The surgical center called her to pick me up, and over the course of the next few hours, I asked her on three separate occasions what time they called her. Otherwise, I enjoyed the Teddy Grahams the surgical center had for me. Then, I went home and spent much of the day in bed and placing an ice pack on the, um, operated area.I'm supposed to be sore for several days and must refrain from physical activity. My doctor said that I shouldn't be in a rodeo and do any alligator wrestling. Fortunately, I did both last weekend. (What, that's not part of your Thanksgiving tradition?) I almost forgot that I received these socks for getting the vasectomy. This really should be a selling point. Have surgery and get a free pair of socks!I'll try to be delicate here, but this is where the mature audience piece comes in. Despite getting a vasectomy, there are still some, um, rounds in the chamber. The doctor said that I need to be the master of my domain 20 times over the next 10 weeks before I'm sterile. He said that it's both 20 times and 10 weeks, so 20 times in less that 10 weeks isn't enough, apparently. So now, I wonder if Joe Montana had a vasectomy and, like the Saturday Night Live skit, told his family that he needed to go upstairs to be master of his domain. src="https://player.vimeo.com/video/119808091" width="440" height="360" frameborder="0" webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen allowfullscreen>[...]



Post-Thanksgiving Random Ramblings

2017-11-27T11:29:01.661-05:00

More and more, I'm finding that I have interesting things that I'd like to share, but they alone are not enough for a blog post. That's going to change in the near future, but in the meantime, here are some random thoughts from the Thanksgiving weekend.1. Luigi (now almost 3 months) has started to smile and it's a game changer. Previously, he basically cried, stared blankly, or slept, but his smile more than makes up for the countless diaper changes and over two months of limited sleep.2. During Thanksgiving, my brother showed me a knife he was using to cut the turkey. When I replied, "That's not a knife. This is a knife," he had no idea what I was talking about. My wife and sister-in-law were equally confused. I always thought this was a classic movie line, but it seems like it's not. Do you know where this line is from? This picture should help.3. One of the cool things about Pedro Tulo's preschool is that they have animals. The kids have weekly pony rides (Pedro Tulo isn't interested in this), they have chickens (the kids eat eggs produced by the chickens), and there is a horse and donkey. I have certainly taken the kids to visit the animals during pick up. Last night, I received the following email:On Thanksgiving night and the next night, something got into the chicken coop somehow and killed all of our chickens, most likely a raccoon. Despite hours of re-enforcing the enclosure on Thanksgiving Day, something still got in and killed the remaining 4 the next night.Now, we as parents and/or the teachers are going to have to explain to kids ages 2-5 why there are no more chickens.Raccoons are the absolute worst. 4. I was recently introduced to HQ, the daily trivia app, which I've started to play in the futile attempt to answer 12 questions correctly and win money. The Daily Beast recently published this story, and the app's founder seems like quite a jerk. I still don't understand how this app makes any money. (h/t @Captain Easychord)5. There's still a chance to get a $5 MasterCard gift card when you upload receipts for participating SC Johnson products. Plus, five winners each day up until November 30th will be selected to win a year’s worth of SC Johnson products. Please register at Daily Break by clicking on this link. 6. While watching the Steelers-Packers game last night, I wondered when the NBC broadcast would mention that Green Bay coach Mike McCarthy was from Pittsburgh. It took about two minutes. A little later, NBC showed the Pittsburgh neighborhood of Greenfield and McCarthy's picture when he played on a youth basketball team. NBC missed out on a perfect opportunity to also show my aunt's house and the Greenfield Bridge explosion. width="440" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/mv7dJx7iJS0" frameborder="0" gesture="media" allowfullscreen>7. I don't want to get my hopes up, but there's a decent chance that I'm going to be able to share a very special video here soon. It will definitely get its own post![...]



Thanksgiving Message 2017

2017-11-23T11:15:01.438-05:00

Turkey for me
Turkey for you
Let's eat the turkey
In my big brown shoe


I'll have turkey on a plate, but you do you.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!



Turk-ify Your Thanksgiving

2017-11-17T10:12:44.487-05:00

You've heard of SC Johnson, right? They are the company that makes stuff that you use and need around the house like Pledge, Windex, Drano, and Ziploc bags. (We go through way too many Ziploc bags in my house as my oldest son, The Moose, needs several per day for his lunch.) Anyway, SC Johnson is partnering with Dailybreak for everything you need to know about Thanksgiving.

Well, everything might be a bit of a stretch, but as a tangent, you know that I love trivia. Well, you can test your Thanksgiving knowledge with a brief quiz. Then, you can get a $5 MasterCard gift card when you upload a receipt for participating SC Johnson products. Plus, five winners each day up until November 30th will be selected to win a year’s worth of SC Johnson products. (Ziploc bags for me, please!)

While registration is required (feel free to use the e-mail address you use just for mailing lists and offers), please take the short quiz by clicking on this link.


You can use some answers to impress your family during Thanksgiving dinner!

Basically, please click on the link and take the quiz. What else do you have going on right now? :)

Thank you!



Random Ramblings & Links

2017-11-16T13:30:25.015-05:00

* Someone I've known for over 39 years, who is just like a brother to me, is growing an awesome mustache for Movember. Please support him!* I've been taking fish oil pills for over a decade to help my cholesterol and recently bought a bottle containing 400 pills. It's somewhat amazing to think that since I take one pill per day, I'll probably have to buy a new bottle at the beginning of 2019. * Why do I have significantly more gray hair in my right sideburn than my left sideburn? Shouldn't it be about the same?* James Santelli, a news producer for KDKA in Pittsburgh, created a tournament bracket including times and locations for an American Invitational Tournament, also known as, the Soccer NIT. The idea is that teams that didn't qualify for the 2018 World Cup, like the US, Italy, Chile, and Ireland, would play a separate soccer tournament. James also brilliantly made the schedule so that there would be no overlap between the World Cup and American Invitational Tournament matches. I hope this happens!* I wrote a letter to the editor to my local community newspaper based on last week's blog post about Jerry Falwell, Jr. I'm definitely approaching old man territory.* I don't understand how my two older kids can sleep just fine with no blankets or covers while I need a top sheet, comforter, and a blanket or two to keep my feet warm or else I don't sleep well.* Not cool, Dole bananas, not cool. Why are the peels opening?* Kristen Bell is helping create (and hosting?) a TV series where former high school classmates will perform their high school musical one more time. My Facebook messages were blowing up (is that term still used?) yesterday with friends and classmates wanting to enter. I know that the world has been waiting 25 years for me to revise my role as Government Man in Lil' Abner, so let's do this Kristen Bell!* Finally, two Pittsburgh related things.1. If you live in Pittsburgh's Eastern suburbs, please support the non-profit Lost and Found Pharmacy. Shannon and her husband Sean (who I've met) do really good work and were recently featured in the Post-Gazette.2. It seems too early to think about, but if you're in Pittsburgh or want to give a Pittsburgh-related gift, check out Heidi's 2017 Holiday Shopping Guide.[...]



Jerry Falwell Jr.: Sore Loser

2017-11-09T10:38:01.432-05:00

I planned on writing a detailed post about Tuesday's election results in Virginia with voter statistics, exit poll data, and more. While I still have a few notes about the results below, this tweet by Jerry Falwell Jr. deserves its own post.DC should annex NOVA and return the governance of VA to Virginians! The founders intended DC to include all fed employees who are conflicted— Jerry Falwell (@JerryFalwellJr) November 8, 2017 There are certainly some cultural and economic differences between Northern Virginia and the rest of the state. The proximity to Washington gives Northern Virginia a much more diverse population with residents from all over the world, and, as my child care bills can prove, a higher cost of living than the rest of Virginia. For example, I think I once read that there are 70 languages spoken at home for kids at my son's public elementary school. Although I was born and raised in Pittsburgh and will always consider myself a Pittsburgher, I've now lived in Virginia (specifically Northern Virginia) for 16 years, nearly as long as I lived in Pittsburgh. My children were all born in Virginia. I pay local and state taxes in Virginia. I have a (nominal) position on the PTA board and volunteer at Celebrate Fairfax each year. I also coached my son's community soccer team and been a referee for youth soccer across Northern Virginia for well over a decade. I am a member of a synagogue, root for the George Mason University basketball team, and have Virginia 529 plans for my kids. Sure, I would like to do more in the community, particularly volunteering, but I have limited time with three young kids and a job. My point is that I'm a Virginian and you have no right, Mr. Falwell, to think that I'm not based on the area of Virginia where I live.So are people in Northern Virginia not Virginians because there may be differing political viewpoints? Falwell must know that the majority of money to fund and govern the state comes from Northern Virginia, right? Let's go back in history a bit. There have been 8 presidents from Virginia. Perhaps Falwell heard of one of them named George Washington who lived much of his life at Mount Vernon located in Alexandria, part of Northern Virginia.You know what else is in Northern Virginia? Arlington National Cemetery, a hallowed place to honor and remember those who served our country. Falwell may have also forgotten that residents of Northern Virginia lost their lives on 9-11 at the Pentagon.I guess in Falwell's mind, real Virginians need millions of dollars to get their schools out of debt. And you're going to tell me that none of the contributions came from people in Northern Virginia? I'm sure real Virginians also get life insurance payouts of $34 million when their fathers pass away to save their school.Maybe I'm being too hard on Falwell. As someone from a religious family, perhaps he was devastated by the recent Sutherland Springs, Texas church shooting and finally decided that there needs to be some gun control measures in this country. Due to this stance, maybe he wants the NRA, headquartered in Fairfax in Northern Virginia, to disassociate itself from the governance of Virginia. In that case, my apologies to Mr. Falwell.Or maybe Falwell decided that it is unfair that nearly 680,000 residents of Washington DC have no representation in Congress and feels like the best way for this to occur is to have Northern Virginia merge with DC. It's not practical and there's no interest from either side to make this happen, but maybe Falwell is trying to bring some attention to this injustice. Probably not. As someone from a religious family and the leader of an institute of higher education, Falwell should set an example of working together, not helping to spread divisiveness. Two more election notes:1. Arguably the biggest election result was Danica Roem becoming [...]



This Blog Is Old (Random Ramblings)

2017-11-06T22:55:25.118-05:00

When you write over 2,800 blog posts in nearly 13 years, you tend to have some overlapping topics. Therefore, some of this post expands on previous posts though I have some thoughts/notes on fatherhood, Pittsburgh sports media, and Ithaca College too. 1. Young children completely ignore daylight savings. (I wrote about abolishing daylight savings here.) You know who else has no interest in this outdated and silly ritual? Pets. Your dog and cat aren't setting their clocks forward or back an hour.2. The tooth fairy certainly has an added degree of difficulty when her work involves retrieving a tooth from the top bunk of a bunk bed. Even The Rock didn't have to deal with this!3. Last week, eight people were killed in New York City when a terrorist drove a truck through a bike path. Immediately after the incident, there were calls to more thoroughly vet immigrants and New York added barriers to prevent cars from accessing the bike path. Meanwhile, there was another major shooting spree in America on Sunday where 26 people were killed at a Sutherland Springs, Texas church. Yet, all you see from our political leaders in power are thoughts and prayers and no action. President Trump in Japan said "I think that mental health is your problem here. Based on preliminary reports, a very deranged individual, a lot of problems for a long period of time." He also added that "this isn’t a guns situation." If this isn't a "guns situation," I expect that the President and Congress will introduce immediate legislation to ensure that more resources go towards mental health, right? Please let me know when that happens. And yes, I wrote about gun legislation and frustration that there won't be any gun legislation last month. 4. Luigi makes squeaking sounds sometimes when he's in a state between being awake and asleep and even sometimes when he is awake. He sounds like he could be from the Upside Down of Stranger Things!5. While I didn't attend my 20th year college reunion this weekend, a friend took a picture of the building where I lived for two years. The room was so small, but I loved it for those two years.6. Finally, I was an early subscriber to DK Pittsburgh Sports since I enjoyed Dejan Kovacevic's work, particularly on the Pittsburgh Pirates beat with the Post-Gazette. I re-upped to the "Lunatic Level" because of his work and the addition of really good writers like Josh Yohe and Matt Gajtka. With that written, there's something not right there. I get that Josh Yohe and Mark Kaboly left for more money at The Athletic. However, the site has gone through so many writers/staff (Neal Coolong, Alan Saunders, Dustin Dopirak, Tim Benz, etc.) in its short history* that there are certainly some red flags, particularly regarding the allegations by Alan earlier this year of the site accessing his Twitter direct messages. (I'm Team Alan in this case as I don't see any reason for him to make this up and he has always been straightforward with me in any correspondence.) Over the weekend, Sara Civian and DK apparently parted ways as her profile has been scrubbed from the website after only a few months there. I'm still a subscriber and I feel like I get my money's worth (and for a whole lot less than if I subscribed to the P-G online), but again something is not right there.* The Pittsburgh Steelers beat writer position in particular is like the Defense Against the Dark Arts professor position in the Harry Potter books. There's a new one every year![...]



Happy Halloween

2017-10-31T10:50:59.263-04:00

On Sunday, Pedro Tulo (age 3) went to a birthday party for one of his preschool classmates at a MyGym/Little Gym type place. Since the birthday girl's birthday is on Halloween, she (or her parents) also wanted to make it a costume party. Pedro Tulo went as a firefighter but ditched his costume as soon as we arrived. His costume (particularly his hat) really wasn't conducive for running, jumping, and climbing. Clearly the costume was not the same quality material used by actual firefighters.

After the party ended, Pedro Tulo put his costume back on because why not. Since the gym was in a shopping center, we walked over to a grocery store. There was a sale on orange juice and Rold Gold pretzels, people! While walking to the store, a car seemed to honk at us. We turned around and saw a fire truck with the firefighters waving to Pedro Tulo. He looked a little confused, but after a few seconds waived back. It was all very sweet.

Nice job, members of the Fairfax County Fire & Rescue Department!




Should The Steelers Trade Martavis Bryant for Terrelle Pryor?

2017-10-26T10:57:22.814-04:00

Let me preface this post by writing that trades between players (as opposed to a player for a draft pick) rarely happen in the NFL. Now that that's out of the way, on to the hypothetical scenario!Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Martavis Bryant is a talented player who has made some poor decisions and/or has received some bad advice. He was suspended for the entire 2016 season for violating the league's substance abuse policy, and now, he will not play in Sunday's game against the Detroit Lions due to "social media."From Behind the Steel Curtain:This stems, of course, from Bryant's outburst on the social media platform Instagram Sunday night when chided by a fellow Instagram user. A week after repeatedly refuting that he has asked the Steelers for a trade, he has openly indicated that to be his desire if his playing time and targets don't increase.It didn't help that Bryant was "sick" and missed practice on Monday following his social media outburst on Sunday and according to Dale Lolley now of DK Pittsburgh Sports, Bryant has called off sick "for the fourth time in the past month."That's not good in any job.Meanwhile, Terrelle Pryor signed a one-year contract with the Washington Redskins after having over 1,000 receiving yards with the Cleveland Browns last season, his first as a wide receiver after converting from being a quarterback. It has not gone well for Pryor. From The Washington Post's DC Sports Bog:Here’s the best way to describe Terrelle Pryor Sr.’s current status in the Washington Redskins’ offense: When Kirk Cousins was asked specifically about his outside receivers following Washington’s limp loss to the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday night, the quarterback mentioned six names, including two tight ends and a running back. Pryor’s name didn’t come up.And here’s the best way Pryor summarized his own status, when asked whether his first-half benching against the Eagles might be repeated Sunday against Dallas.“I’m not sure,” he said. “I mean, that’s a good question. I don’t know.”As you can probably guess (the blog post title gives this away), I'm wondering if there should be a Bryant for Pryor trade. There may be salary cap ramifications, but let's pretend that there are not. Both are free agents at the end of the season.Washington is missing a speedy receiver who can spread the field after DeSean Jackson left for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Pittsburgh may want someone dependable who shows up to work and doesn't ask for a trade. The biggest issue for Pittsburgh is Pryor's seeming inability to catch the ball over the middle or in traffic (meaning around other players and not on the Parkway East outside the Squirrel Hill Tunnel where even Antonio Brown would have difficulty catching the ball). However, maybe Antonio Brown's work ethic will rub off on Pryor to become a better receiver. He's never been around a #1 type receiver in Cleveland or Oakland. Plus, perhaps Pryor will be energized returning to his hometown team. It doesn't hurt that Pryor played with Cameron Heyward for three years at The Ohio State University, so that should alleviate any concerns about how Pryor would fit in with his new teammates.We all saw Pryor do this against the Steelers a few years ago. Wouldn't it be fun to have a few plays designed where Pryor could do that FOR the Steelers? width="440" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/cVY3_poRWWo" frameborder="0" gesture="media" allowfullscreen>[...]



Life As A New Father

2017-10-24T12:33:54.352-04:00

Last week, I introduced my third son, Luigi, to the world (or at least to the people that read Sean's Ramblings). Today, I'm writing about my worries and challenges. I am 42 years old. I know that I seem quite hip and knowledgeable about pop culture, but it's true that I'm 42. I have friends my age with kids in junior high and high school and there are plenty of others my age with kids in college. When Luigi graduates from high school, I will be 60 or 61. We're probably looking at 65 or so when he graduates from college.* Basically, there's not going to be an early retirement and I'm going to be working for many years to come. Speaking of college, how does one expect to pay for college for three kids? Yes, I already started putting money into 529 plans, but tuition will probably be about $75K per year at the current pace. Athletic scholarships seem unlikely at best. Maybe academic scholarships? That's certainly not something I can count on. Even in the short term, I'm astonished at the costs of preschool, daycare, and before/after school programs. Let's just say that it's more than rent.(I don't know why this stock photo makes me smile.)I'm writing much of this post at 4:00 AM, so the tone may be different than much of my other writing. Tired writing is probably not my best writing though I did get a compliment from a college professor who once told me that he doesn't recommend writing a paper in one night and then handed me back the paper with an A- or B+ grade. Luigi has been awake for most of the past 2.5 hours. The doctors say he is a "fussy" baby. It seems like he is hungry all the time, and he freaks out when he wants to eat. Of course, then he is fussy if he doesn't burp and ends up spitting up which is unpleasant for all involved. I worry that something is wrong, but I have no idea what it could be. He's going to need surgery for a hernia in a few months once he gets a little bigger and stronger, but the doctors say that doesn't seem to impact the fussiness. So I worry about that too. He's too little for surgery even though it's apparently fairly common. I don't remember if the older boys were fussy or when they started to sleep more regularly at night. I may have been in the exact same position and mindset 6 and 3 years ago and blocked this out. The difference now is with the new baby, there's not enough time or attention to go around. After Pedro Tulo was born, one of us could be with him while the other could be with The Moose. Zone defense (2 adults on 3 kids) is not nearly as effective as man-to-man. I know I'm always tired and not as patient as I should be. The Moose hasn't done a great job of listening at times and Pedro Tulo has had several accidents the last few weeks even though he's been potty trained for months. (No accidents in a week, knock on wood. Take that The Mighty, Mighty Bosstones!) width="440" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/NIGMUAMevH0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen>Weekends are so much harder than weekdays. During the week, the older boys are at school for 10 hours. The weekends can be challenging in finding things to do and keeping everyone happy especially since Luigi still isn't venturing outside the house. Pedro Tulo is attending a classmate's birthday party this weekend. We have no idea who this kid is, but we figure it's 2-3 hours where he can run around and play with others his age.I understand that we're not the first to go through this. Most of this is probably first-world problem stuff as people have had three or more kids for generations with much fewer means. My grandparents and great-grandparents were immigrants or children of immigrants and didn't have much. I know I need to keep things in perspective. I also try to have the mindset o[...]



Introducing Luigi

2017-10-19T11:03:30.970-04:00

Long-running television sitcoms often introduce a new character, such as a baby, to create new storylines. Ross and Rachel had a child together near the end of Friends. Despite already having Kirk Cameron, Tracey Gold, and (looks up name) Jeremy Miller, Alan Thicke (RIP) and Joanna Kerns had another child on Growing Pains late in its run. Leonardo DiCaprio also appeared as a series regular for some reason too even though they could have given more time to Boner (RIP). Anyway, after almost 13 years of writing this blog, I needed some new topics. Ziggy is now a 9 year-old "senior" cat that doesn't do much. The Moose is in first grade, and still several years away from fully creating his own storylines. While Pedro Tulo provided excellent content back in June, there hasn't been much blog-worthy content to share lately. With the school year underway, life was becoming routine. There's good in stability, but it doesn't help Sean's Ramblings since I know that you, the readers, expect fascinating stories. Therefore, it was time to introduce a brand new character, and I'm proud to present Luigi, born last month at 6 pounds, 13 ounces. Luigi's due date was October 9th though we expected him to arrive a week or two early like his older brothers. I actually joked that he would arrive either during a conference I was attending or during Yom Kippur services. Now the latter would have been interesting. Instead, Luigi shocked everyone by arriving five weeks early. The 6 pound, 13 ounce weight was a bit deceiving as he looked like a full-term baby, but he was still a preemie and went straight to the NICU. His breathing wasn't great upon his debut, but fortunately, he was always able to breathe on his own without assistance. Eating was the bigger issue, so he had an IV for the first 3-4 days of his life. Then, he was jaundice like his brothers since apparently we create jaundice babies. I've found that if you pretend that your baby is in some futuristic space machine that gives him or her superpowers (like, um, fighting high bilirubin levels), it makes the process go better.After 7 days, Luigi was able to come home. I didn't write much about the hospital experience for The Moose or Pedro Tulo (though I did write some), so I wanted to share some early life moments surrounding Luigi. - Actually, before we continue, in case you're wondering, Luigi is not my son's actual name. We had a first name all picked out but were struggling coming up with a middle name, knowing that we wanted it to start with L. While brainstorming, Luigi was thrown out as a suggestion. We both loved it, though again not for his actual middle name. Hence, Luigi is now his stage (well, blog) name.- I should also probably mention that The Moose (age 6) and Pedro Tulo (3) had no idea that we went to the hospital. My wife's water broke at night after they went to sleep (and while I fell asleep watching TV on the couch), we called a neighbor to come over to "watch" the kids, Luigi arrived at 2:48 AM, and I came back home around 6:00 AM to get them up and ready for school.- Luigi was brought into this world with the help of probably my favorite doctor who also delivered Pedro Tulo. I find that she is straightforward and has a positive bedside manner with a great sense of humor. It also helps that she grew up close to where I grew up and is a fellow Steelers fan. All of these characteristics are equally important for an OB-GYN!- I'm not a doctor and I don't play one on the internet. However, I have the hand-washing routine for any medical professional involved in surgery completely down pat. This was posted in the NICU, and I followed it religiously.- For a few days, my son was in the NICU while my wife was in the "Family Cent[...]



Postcard to Canada

2017-10-16T13:28:12.661-04:00

We recently bought a new stroller and being the responsible parents that we are, completed the registration information to return to the company in case there are any product recalls in the future. When I went to mail the postcard, however, I noticed that the mailing address was in Nova Scotia, Canada, and it said free postage in Canada. While I was certainly fine with sending a postcard to Sidney Crosby's home province, since I don't live in Canada and have no plans on driving or flying across the border, I had to buy a stamp. Do you know how much it costs to send a postcard to Canada? $1.15!! No wonder I don't write letters to Canada!


This got me thinking though. The company that made the stroller is Britax, a pretty big player in the car seat and stroller market. No offense to my Canadian neighbors, but I was surprised that Britax didn't have an American address to send this. Maybe they are unhappy with all of the discussions about renegotiating NAFTA and want to take more money from its American customers from us buying stamps from, um, the US Postal Service?

Anyway, it turns out that there was also a product registration postcard that we can send to Allentown, where they may or may not be closing all the factories down. Britax was so prepared that they had registration postcards available for BOTH American and Canadian customers. We just only noticed the first one. I guess we'll fill out the second postcard and mail it for free.

Well, I know who to blame for all of this! (This video is NSFW!)

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Sean Sends Angry Email

2017-10-10T13:15:53.948-04:00

I like to think of myself as a fairly calm person. It takes a lot to get me angry, yet that's where I am right now courtesy of my mortgage company. I'll get to my complaint below, but here's some mortgage information. Please feel free to skip this part. When we got our mortgage, since we did not put 20% down, we had to get private mortgage insurance (PMI). Basically, PMI protects the lender if you stop making payments on your home loan. This was extremely common at the time we got the mortgage and may still be today if you don't have a specific amount as a down payment. Anyway, once the loan-to-value (LTV) ratio gets to 80% (or 78%), the PMI goes away.On to my angry e-mail!Dear Mortgage Company,I am writing today to share my displeasure and frustration with your company. We have had a mortgage through you since January 2010 and refinanced in 2012. As part of the mortgage, we've had to pay PMI each month. Earlier this year, I requested an appraisal and learned that the loan to value ratio was around 71%, meaning that I've probably paid PMI unnecessarily for at least 1-2 years. While PMI is now removed from the monthly payment, I feel like we should either receive a refund for the extra PMI payments or a credit towards the principle mortgage balance. After numerous conversations with you about this starting in mid-August, I finally learned today that there will be no refund. Besides the probably year or two of PMI payments that I didn't need to pay, I had to constantly call you for updates. I was given multiple dates when the review would occur and be completed and left messages with a supervisor without ever receiving a response. Even learning that there was no refund was because I called you, not from you contacting me.During my conversation today, I was told that you would make it up to me if I ever had a late fee or document request. This is unacceptable particularly since I've never had a late payment in the over seven years as a customer and do not need any documents.I am currently looking at options to stop being a customer. I don't have funds available to pay off the mortgage, so I may try to refinance with another company. There was never any consideration by you to let me know that perhaps the PMI payment could be removed, yet, I've received three escrow shortage letters within the past year. It is clear to me that your company puts profits above helping its customers. Plus, I've spent countless hours trying to get an answer regarding my question over a 2-month period. You seem to have a culture of providing poor customer service as I talked with at least 5 people over this period without ever receiving a call or letter with an answer.Based on my experience, I'm sure that this email will be discarded or ignored. If someone does happen to read this, perhaps you can help current and future customers by retuning a phone call or replying to a customer when you say that you will.Sincerely,SeanI doubt that I'll get a reply.[...]



Friday Video: Feels

2017-10-06T13:37:16.390-04:00

Today's video is Feels by Calvin Harris featuring Pharrell Williams, Katy Perry, and Big Sean. A few things here. Pharrell may be one of the coolest people on the planet. It just seems like you're going to have an amazing time hanging out with him. I mean, he even looked cool wearing the Arby's hat a few years ago. Not many people could pull this off.


I'm also a big Katy Perry fan, though she is underutilized in this song. If I was a rapper, I would go by either Big Sean or DJ Seany Sean. I guess Big Sean made the choice for me. Finally, I like the guitar by Calvin Harris on this song. You really can't go wrong with Feels for a Friday video.

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Mad, Mad World

2017-10-03T15:33:05.144-04:00

These are depressing times. In the past month, hurricanes Harvey and Irma devastated Texas and Florida respectively. Then, Hurricane Maria absolutely destroyed much of Puerto Rico. I've been unsuccessful in trying to reach a friend who lives in San Juan (since she doesn't have power, she's obviously not checking Facebook), but a mutual friend let me know that she is okay since she evacuated and has access to water. Think about how insane this statement is. There's still little or no electricity and roads are impassable, but she's okay because she has access to water where that is not the standard or a given right now. So much of Caribbean is in ruins, and it's going to take months if not years to recover.Meanwhile, Sunday featured the worst shooting in American history at a concert in Las Vegas with least 59 people dead and over 500 people injured. What an awful and sad tragedy. Much of the news now seems to be the motives of the shooter and whether or not this was a terrorist act. You know what? I don't care about the motives. I don't want to know anything about he shooter. I don't care about his background, and I certainly don't want to see profiles about him. He's a monster that took and impacted hundreds of lives. Don't give him publicity, news organizations. Talk about the victims and the good that they did. I'm trying not to get too political in this post, but it is inevitable. I wrote about how the NRA can be a force for good several years ago, and I hope that it could, even though it seems unlikely. Any type of change to gun culture and guns in this country must happen within the organization. Outside pressure, even from Congress, won't have an impact since the NRA has so many allies in Congress and the White House. They aren't going to change unless they change themselves.Back to Congress and our current political state. This is another tragic shooting and nothing is going to change. You can blame the NRA, but the political leaders only seem interested in staying in power. There is no bipartisanship and no desire to work together to get things done. Only victory seems to matter. It's my way or I'm taking the football and going home. Healthcare (Obamacare) is the perfect example. Both sides agree that it can be better, but no one is interested in actually sitting down and crafting legislation to do so. Working with the other side will get you kicked out of office by those more left or more right.This is a depressing post during a depressing time, so I'll try to end on a positive. Even if we can't change things politically, we can still do things for good. Donate blood. Find organizations that are helping the hurricane victims and see what they need whether it is money, clothing, etc. Hug your family members. Say hi to your neighbors. Volunteer. Do what you can to help what's around you. width="440" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/M9BNoNFKCBI" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen>[...]



The Library Book

2017-09-28T13:01:47.271-04:00

You are reading the blog written by a proud owner of an Arlington Public Library book! Actually, proud is not the correct word here. I recently checked out a book titled The Arena: Inside the Tailgating, Ticket-Scalping, Mascot-Racing, Dubiously Funded, and Possibly Haunted Monuments of American Sport by Rafi Kohan.


The book covers everything around stadiums and arenas from public financing to ticket scalping and stadium operations to mascots. While I haven't finished reading the book yet, there doesn't seem to be an overall theme or message, but rather a closer look at things associated with sports and entertainment venues that you probably don't give much thought. This isn't a book review though. This is how I now own this book since my three year old (Pedro Tulo) decided to do this:


In case it's not clear by the picture, pages 33-36 are now no longer attached to the book. Ripping pages of books are generally frowned on, especially when it's a library book. I showed the results of Pedro Tulo's work to the librarian, and he asked if I checked it out in this condition. While I could have said yes and been in the clear, first that would have been a lie and second, I was the first person to check out this book, so any investigation would have found that it was me. I don't think I could interrogation by a library detective!

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So I now own this book and have to buy a new hardcover version so that other Arlington, Virginia residents and community members can enjoy it. Any suggestions on where to buy a copy or is Amazon the best source?



Party Like It's 5778

2017-09-20T11:37:06.175-04:00

Rosh Hashanah begins at sundown on Wednesday and thus begins year 5778 in the Hebrew calendar. Happy New Year! Like previous years, I thought I would share some Rosh Hashanah videos to help you celebrate.

The Maccabeats - This Is the New Year (originally performed by A Great Big World)

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The Maccabeats have been a staple of Sean's Ramblings as they perform new songs for seemingly every Jewish holiday and I always post them. Random question: Is acapella out? With Glee and Pitch Perfect, it appeared that acapella music was the in thing a few years ago. Has acapella lost its audience?

Rosh Hashanah Robot Party

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There ain't no party like a Technion-Israel Institute of Technology's Cognitive Robotics Lab in the Davidson Faculty of Industrial Engineering and Management party!

4 Things Jews Do on Rosh Hashanah by Mayim Bialik

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I love Mayim Bialik. I'm sure that I mentioned this before (since I tend to repeat myself after writing this blog for well over a decade), but when I worked at San Diego State University many years ago, Bialik called our office to talk to one of my colleagues about a similar program she was coordinating at UCLA. I remember being really excited and may or may not have screamed, Blossom is on the phone! Blossom is on the phone!

Rapture

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Several things here. Rosh Hashanah is the hidden day? I just went to Google and found out that Rosh Hashanah is on September 7th in the year 2097. Not so hidden. In addition, this woman is praying for the rapture? Maybe pray for Hurricane Maria not to cause any destruction or death instead. Let's say that there is a 0.000001% chance that the rapture occurs over the next few on Rosh Hashanah. I'll take the under.

Meanwhile, I prefer this Rapture.

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Have a Happy New Year!



Midre Cummings, Orlando Merced, Denny Neagle and the Future of the Pittsburgh Pirates

2017-09-19T14:58:16.748-04:00

My son (The Moose) recently checked out this Pittsburgh Pirates book from his school library.


Published in March 1997, the book details the history of the team from Honus Wagner and Pie Traynor to the 1960, 1971, and 1979 World Series Championships. The book's final page seemed optimistic about the team's future.


I guess the team did sail onward. It wasn't until 2013 that the Pirates had a winning record, and they haven't been very good in the 2016 and 2017 seasons. Orlando Merced, Midre Cummings, and Denny Neagle (not Naegle) may have been looked to for leadership in the mid-90s, but they didn't bring a lot of wins. I just hope that if we read a 2017 version of a Pittsburgh Pirates book in 2037, we're in a good place.



Fantasy Football

2017-09-12T19:02:15.560-04:00

I've written about fantasy sports many times over the course of this blog's history. I went more than 20 years before winning a fantasy/rotisserie baseball title, and I had a long run of disappointing fantasy football seasons until fairly recently. I won't even mention the fantasy league I created based on VH1's Rock of Love with Bret Michaels (though I guess I did just mention it). Regarding fantasy football, I first started in 1991. There were no online drafts or automatic scoring. The draft was at someone's house, and we figured out who won by looking at the box scores the day after the game. With the #5 draft pick, I selected Jerry Rice, only the greatest wide receiver in NFL history. Unfortunately, it seemed like you needed a good quarterback to win the league, and John Friesz of the San Diego Chargers was did not meet this description. 

There was a time not so long ago that I was obsessed with fantasy football. I was in six leagues at once and was even part of a CNN article about fantasy football. (You can find it via a Google search.) Now, with kids, I don't have nearly the time or energy to devote to fantasy football. I mean, I'm still in 3 leagues, and I won all 3 leagues last year, so fantasy football is still part of my life, but not as much as it used to be. Fantasy football is big business, and there are daily, weekly, and season-long leagues, so you can participate in a Fantasy Draft right now. I just suggest not drafting John Friesz..


Good luck to everyone playing!



Friday Video: Taylor Swift

2017-09-01T11:20:08.022-04:00

In the Taylor Swift-Katy Perry rivalry, I'm Team Katy. Despite the fact that she was awful hosting Sunday's MTV Video Music Awards (we can blame the writers, right?), I think we can all agree that it would be much more fun to hang out with Perry over Swift. Plus, Perry has a car named Kitty Purry. How adorable!

With that written, I really, really like several of Taylor Swift's songs. I've actually written about them once or twice. While I've now heard Swift's new song, Look What You Made Me Do, several times and it's starting to grow on me, this is definitely not her best work. Hearing it the first time, I didn't think it was good at all.

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A few years ago, Swift wrote an amazingly catchy and fun song, Shake It Off. How did she go from that mindset to Look What You Made Me Do, where she is now no longer able to, well, shake it off? If she isn't the biggest pop star in America, Taylor is in the top 2. (Hi Beyoncé!) She has plenty of money and fame filled with commercial and critical success. Look what you made me do? No one is making her do anything. Yet, she still holds these grudges against Perry and/or Kanye West.

As a tangent, the new song features a line that the old Taylor is dead. Upon hearing this on the radio, The Moose (age 6) asked how old she was when she died and how old is the new Taylor. (He is obsessed with people's ages. During every song, he asks the age of the singer. I think I tell him that every current pop star is about 25 with the exception of Shawn Mendes who is probably 13.) Anyway, I tried to explain that Swift didn't really die and that this is her new mindset or something. I don't get it and he clearly doesn't either.

It's a holiday weekend, so I'll leave you with something happy. Here's Shake It Off:

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Random Ramblings

2017-08-30T12:44:49.078-04:00

- The Moose, who just started first grade, is interested in US Presidents and has a couple books about Presidents and likes a few YouTube videos with songs about the Presidents. Because of this, he can now list all of the American Presidents in order. It is really, really amazing, and I felt a little dumb as I needed to double-check if he was right. Do you know that the 11th-14th Presidents in order are Polk, Taylor, Fillmore, and Pierce without looking it up?- As a bit of a tangent, you don't hear about many (any?) kids named Rutherford or Millard. These could be ideas for names for boy #3.- Last week, I received a phone call, a text message, and an e-mail all at the same time with my child's bus information. That's efficiency! Of course, he doesn't take the bus to school, but we know the bus number and times if he did.- The Moose's school had an open house along with a carnival last week. Near the end of the event, Pedro Tulo (age 3) decided that he wanted to climb up one of the giant inflatables. The only problem: he was a little scared about coming down, so I had to climb up and slide down with him. - Over the weekend, I participated in an auction fantasy football draft via a video conference. At the same time, I was at my niece's birthday party with my The Moose at a trampoline/bounce house place. As expected, both when poorly. I didn't do a very good job with the draft, and I basically ignored my son during the entire party. (He was busy jumping and then eating, so he was fine...I hope.)- Five years ago, I spent $64 on quarterbacks Cam Newton and Matthew Stafford as part of the auction draft. This year, I got the same two quarterbacks for a combined $6.- Thanks to a free trial of Showtime, I'm finally watching Homeland. I just finished the amazing first season, but I'm not sure if I should continue. While I've enjoyed the first two episodes of season two, I heard that the show goes downhill after the first season. I guess I'll stick with it.- I also watched a show called Search Party that aired in late 2016 on USA. Search Party stars Arrested Development's Alia Shawkat and is a "single-camera dark comedy about four self-absorbed twenty-somethings who become entangled in an ominous mystery when a former college acquaintance suddenly disappears." It's an odd show with several unlikeable characters but strangely worth watching because of Shawkat and guest appearances by Ron Livingston and Rosie Perez. The show actually had a really cool ending, and I'm curious to see if there's a season two. I don't know where the show would go from the end of season one, but I would tune it.- On Tuesday night, 19 year-old Frances Tiafoe took arguably the greatest men's tennis player of all time to a 5th set in the first round of the US Open. I really wanted Tiafoe to win. If you've never heard of him (which is likely unless you really follow tennis), this Washington Post profile about him is definitely worth a read.- Finally, here's something very random. Someone I know wrote an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal about North Korea. I definitely wasn't expecting to see this on my Facebook feed![...]



Friday Video: Betty Dreams Of Green Men

2017-08-25T10:30:28.996-04:00

Back in June, my brother mentioned that Celebrate Fairfax was mentioned in an episode of NPR's All Songs Considered. I was curious as to why, but we'll get to that momentarily. I regularly listen to NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour podcast (my best podcast of 2016), so I thought that PCHH's Stephen Thompson, an editor and reviewer for NPR Music, would be discussing music. While it seems that Thompson often appears on All Songs Considered, he was not on this particular podcast.

At around the 36 minute mark of the June 13th episode, NPR Music's Lars Gotrich comes in and mentions that he saw Bush at the "Fairfax County Fair." The two other hosts were really dismissive of county fairs and a little of Bush. Clearly, they have never been to Celebrate Fairfax which features dozens and dozens of live bands every year. Anyway, here are the bands/musicians that were featured on this particular episode of All Songs Considered:

Guerilla Toss
Chastity Belt
Emily Haines & The Soft Skeleton
Mt. Wolf
Gordi
Thoughts Of Ionesco

None of these bands/musicians will ever be big enough to headline a county fair. And maybe they don't want to headline a county fair, but just how dismissive the hosts were of "county fair" turned me off.

Anyway, the first song featured on All Songs Considered is Betty Dreams of Green Men by Guerilla Toss. The song was inspired by the "alien abduction" of Betty & Barney Hill in New Hampshire. It's such an interesting and unique song that I felt the need to share. I dig it.

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