Beards and Smiles: Year 3



I don’t know if you know this about me…but I love hockey.


Especially the Penguins and the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

For a few years, now, the NHL has had their “Beard-A-Thon” campaign in which it asks fans to grow their beards out in support of their favorite team and to raise money for whichever charity their favorite team chooses.

I grow a playoff beard every spring.

I’m good at it.

And a couple of years ago I decided to raise money for an organization that’s very special to me, Operation Smile.

See, I was born with a cleft lip and palate.

Jamie 5 wks old 001
















I know how difficult it was dealing with those things growing up, and I had some of the best doctors in the world working on me to fix me up.

Jamie 9 months 001

I know. I was freaking adorable. Tell me something I don’t know.

I couldn’t imagine the hardships these kids would incur without the very simple and inexpensive procedure that Operation Smile provides to fix them up.

So that’s what this is all about. Me growing a beard, rooting for the Penguins, spreading awareness, and raising money for this awesome cause.


I’m not alone this year.
















Look at this handsome devil!

That’s my buddy Tom Cobaugh. I’ve known him since the first grade.

It took him upwards of 17 months to grow out THAT monstrosity.

But he recently shaved it off to grow anew and help me raise money for Operation Smile this NHL Playoff season.

If you want to see what he looks like now…you’ll have to head on over to our Facebook Page. Give us a “like” while you’re there.

And definitely DONATE. Our goal is $1,000 this year…and every little bit helps.

To donate, go here:

And check out the stuff my “big sister” wrote about me the past couple of years on her blog, Still Playing SchoolHERE and HERE!



What I’m listening to…


I can’t remember exactly why I all of a sudden remembered Audiovent, but a couple of months ago I did…and I subsequently downloaded their one and only album.

And you know what? It’s way better than I remembered.

“The Energy” was a track on either Madden ’03 or ’04…whichever one Marshall Faulk was on the cover of, and there were copious amounts of time playing that particular game at Marino’s apartment in Indiana, PA while we were in college.

That song stuck out.

Marino and I saw them live at IUP, too, actually…for $5 at the HUB in a tiny room. There were probably only 100 or so people there, too. Really cool show.

I really like “Looking Down” and “Stalker” too.

If you’ve never heard of them,  you should check ’em out. Fun tunes for the spring weather.

…oh and also, the singer is the singer for Incubus’ brother.


Why do I love hockey?


This is why.

Just a classy send off to the great Teemu Selanne, one of the classiest (and most talented) players hockey has ever seen.

It wasn’t an self-indulgent, year-long, over-the-top, ego-filled goodbye tour where every team gave him a goodbye present like the New York Yankees Mariano Rivera got last year or the treatment Derek Jeter is sure to get this year.

And that’s what makes it so special.

For 15 of Selanne’s 23 years in the league, he was Anaheim’s.

Ducks fans deserved to give him this sendoff. The one and only sendoff he got this season and the only one he will get unless the Ducks win the Cup in June (which could very well happen). But even that would be different than this.

That’s a Mark Recchi sendoff, and there’s no guarantee of that happening.

But Anaheim being able to do that and be the only ones to do it?

Not ego-filled. Not over-the-top. Not self-indulgent.

Just a fanbase saying goodbye to one of theirs and possibly the best player that will ever play for their franchise.

That…THAT is what it’s all about.

Well, that…and Teemu being able to pull J.S. Giguere into the fray with him.

Pretty cool moment and a classy move by the Finnish Flash.

Thanks for the memories, #8.

Layne Staley was pretty amazing.


On my way to see what was on the NHL Network the other day, I saw that Palladia was going to be airing a live Mad Season show.

So I DVR’d it to watch while I was running on the treadmill.

Man, it didn’t disappoint.

His voice…just so powerful with so little effort.

I’ve thought that since watching Alice In Chains’ MTV Unplugged. Huge sound.

(I honestly can’t believe that I just found that entire Unplugged set on YouTube…watch it if you have 72 minutes with nothing to do. You WON’T be disappointed).

Layne Staley has been a favorite of mine for a long, long time. And if he’s not the best hard rock vocalist ever, he’s certainly in the top two or three. Really, there’s never been anyone quite like him.

I bought the Mad Season album not too long ago because I recognized some of the songs and because, well, because it’s a Layne Staley-fronted band.

I haven’t really listened to it, though, so that’s going to change very soon.

Like, now, actually.

Hey Chiefs…please sign DeSean Jackson, okay?


The Eagles cut DeSean Jackson today, apparently because he has ties to a gang in California.

I really hope he’s in a Kansas City Chiefs uniform in 2014.

Listen, it’s never a good thing to hear that a player may have ties to a gang. Just look at what happened to the Patriots and Aaron Hernandez.

But I’m a big believer at looking at a guy’s track record. Unlike Hernandez, DeSean has never been in any sort of legal trouble.

The only part of his character that’s ever been called into question is on the field, where he did this: Continue reading

Why does Europe get all the good shows?


Scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed the other day, I stumbled upon this:

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Black Sabbath. Alice in Chains. Black Label Society.

For a second, I got pretty excited.

“Whoa,” I thought to myself, “I wonder if that tour will come somewhere around Connecticut…”

But even before I scrolled down to see the date and location…I knew in my heart that first of all it wouldn’t be a tour and secondly it wouldn’t even be in the United States, let alone anywhere near Connecticut.

This would be a dream show for me, too.

I’m not the biggest Sabbath fan, but seeing them (especially Ozzy) live is something that’s been on my “must do” list for a long time.

Alice in Chains and Black Label are two of my favorite bands of all time, though. Having them on the same card? Get real.

The only thing that could possibly make this show any better for me is if Fozzy was on the bill, too.

Because I love me some Chris Jericho.

Oh well. Hopefully we’ll have some cool shows or festivals up this way during the summer.

Here’s a video of Zakk Wylde being hilarious that cheered me up today:

He’s the best.