Archive for popular culture

My Life in Song

I’ve seen this musical meme making the rounds on Facebook and thought I’d give it a go. Using only song titles from one band, answer the following questions:

My band: The Beatles

1. Are you a male or female: She’s A Woman 

2. Describe yourself: I’m Only Sleeping 

3. How do you feel about yourself: I Feel Fine 

4. Describe your ex boyfriend/girlfriend: The Fool on the Hill 

5. Describe your current boy/girl situation: Two of Us

6. Describe your current location: It’s Only a Northern Song 

7. Describe where you want to be: Across the Universe 

8. Your best friend is: This Boy 

9. Your favorite color is: Yellow Submarine  

10. You know that: Tomorrow Never Knows 

11. What’s the weather like: Here Comes the Sun 

12. If your life was a television show what would it be called: You Never Give Me Your Money 

13. What is life to you: The Long and Winding Road 

14. What is the best advice you have to give: Think For Yourself 

15. If you could change your name what would you change it to: Dear Prudence 


Rest in Peace, Harry the K

Harry KalasSwing and a long drive … watch … this … baby! … OUTTA HERE!” 

Harry Kalas started calling Philadelphia Phillies’ games in 1971, the year that I was born. Today he died in the broadcast booth, a couple hours before the game against the Washington Nationals. 

Back in the days before cable TV, most home games weren’t televised. (OK, if that first sentence didn’t make me old, that last one did.) I grew up listening to games on the radio. I still do today, only now the radio travels over the Internet as opposed to the literal airwaves. 

Kalas had a way — especially clear on the radio — of speaking more slowly and deliberately the more exciting the action got on the field. He was a low-key guy who was a master of building drama. 

Everyone over the age of nine in Philadelphia can do an impression of Harry Kalas. And everyone from age nine to 99 will miss The Voice. 


Harry Kalas leads the crowd in singing High Hopes, a Phillies and Kalas tradition.


Sunday Snapshot

My only tradition for Easter Sunday is to make a rogan josh, and this year I found this particularly tasty recipe. 

Happy Curry Day!


Three Haisku: Opening Day

No one has lost yet.
The Red Sox and Mariners 
Are tied: for one day

Runs, hits, men on base
Steals, walks, triples, double plays
A poem in stats  

And a favorite from last year:

April’s still chilled air
Is the prefect medium
For a hanging curve. 

The World Champion Philadelphia Phillies opened baseball’s 2009 season yesterday. They lost, 4-1, against the Braves. To quote Phillies outfielder Shane Victorino, “It’s Game 1. Geez, we’ve got 161 left.”


Sunday Snapshot

pastrami on try

It looks like they lopped off somebody’s arm and stuck it between two slices of toasted rye. 

—Mr Goddess, upon delivery of my pastrami sandwich at Maxie’s Deli in Times Square. 

I think I’ve slipped into a meat coma.

—Me, upon finishing my pastrami sandwich.


The Goddess Watches the Oscars
(so you don’t have to)

I have several holes in my Oscar-movie viewing this year, the biggest of which is Milk, but Mr. Goddess and I have gamely filled out our ballots regardless, and are sitting here live from our perch in Goddess Attic Central — bottle of shiraz at the ready — for the 81st Academy Awards.

7:20 — I think Ryan Seacrest is wearing more make-up than Evan Rachel Wood. He’s attempting to interview the kids from Slumdog Millionaire, holds up a card listing their names because he can’t pronounce them, and slams an eight-year-old for not speaking English. Classy. Mute button, please!

8:05 — I’ve avoided the Seacrest Fest over on E! and have limited my pre-game viewing to ABC, where the absolutely lovely Tim Gunn is working the red carpet. Seacrest, I hope you’re taking notes. 

8:25 — Tim Gunn begins every question with, “I have to ask you … ” But I still love him.

8:30 – They keep saying that this Oscar telecast will be “like no other.” That the awards presentations themselves will “tell a story.” Whatever. I’m just hoping for some tight acceptance speeches and a 11:30 bedtime. 

8:40 — “From a Slumdog with nothing, I’ve Milk-ed my Button, I’ve Frost-ed my Nixon …” OK, Hugh Jackman kicks some major ass. “Color me impressed,” says the not-easily-impressed Mr. Goddess. 

8:43 –OK, so … wow! The award for Best Supporting Actress is presented by five past winners, who each make personal remarks to the nominees, in place of clips from the films. This “ceremony like no other” had me at hello. I’m loving this! 

8:48 — And the winner is Penelope Cruz. Apparently the winners only have 45 seconds for their speeches, and Cruz makes a nice one, in two languages.

8:52 — The screenplay awards are presented by Steve Martin and Tina Fey. Fantastic! The winner is Milk, and we’re now both two for two. Dustin Lance Black gives an amazing speech:

If Harvey had not been taken from us 30 years ago, I think he’d want me to say to all of the gay and lesbian kids out there tonight who have been told they are less than by their churches, or by the government, or by their families, that you are beautiful, wonderful creatures of value. And that no matter what everyone tells you, God does love you, and that very soon, I promise you, you will have equal rights federally across this great nation of ours.

9:01 — Moving on to Best Adapted Screenplay, the award goes to Slumdog Millionaire. Mr. Goddess and I are still in lock step, now at three for three. By the way, Tina Fey for Oscar Host, 2010! 

9:02 –And here are Jennifer Aniston and Jack Black. Interesting pairing. Unfortunately, the “2008 Movie Yearbook” they’re introducing strikes the first clunker of the evening, with an old school Oscar montage. Everything until this point has been watchable; this is disposable. At least Black and Aniston go on to present the award for Best Animated Feature. The Oscar goes to Wall-E. That brings our tally to four for four.

9:10 — “Domo arrigato, Mr. Roboto!” Even the non-English speaking award winners are giving kick-ass acceptance speeches, this one for Best Animated Short. Mr. Goddess and I both went with the “vote for the only one we’ve seen” strategy on this one and picked Presto, for our first loss up in the attic. 

9:15 – Out to present the award for Art Direction are Sarah Jessica Parker and Daniel “Yummy with a Spoon” Craig. And the winner is Benjamin Button. And we’re still in lockstep, with another double win. 

9:19 – Moving on, The Duchess takes home the award for Most — I mean, Best — Costume Design. Mr. Goddess and I stay locked at six-out-of-seven. 

9:22 — For makeup, the winner is Benjamin Button. Make that seven-out-of-eight. 

9:25 — The vampire from Twilight and the young woman from Mama Mia add some youth appeal to the proceedings while introducing another boring yearbook montage about romance. Everything is awesome so far, except for these decidedly old-school clip-fests. 

9:31 — Moving on from pre-production to filming with Best Cinematography, presented by Ben Stiller and Natalie Portman. Stiller is wearing his best  Joaquin Phoenix beard and unfocused expression, which leads me to believe that the whole Phoenix “I’m retiring from acting to become a rapper” goof is some kind of elaborate Andy Kaufmann-esque performance piece. Stiller’s shenanigans aside, the winner is Slumdog, bringing our mutual tally up to eight out of nine (we do have some difference in the bigger awards, I promise). 

9:40 – Jessica Biel wore her best bath towel to the Oscars to present the technical awards. 

9:42 — The montage for comedy is actually funny, thanks to James Franco, cinematographer Janusz Kaminski and Seth Rogan. The whole gang is out to present Best Live Action Short. Another double loss, since both Mr. Goddess and I couldn’t bring ourselves to vote for yet another Holocaust film. But the Holocaust will not be denied. ”I spent four years of my life on this 14-minute movie,” says the director. So any joke I may make here at his expense would be absolutely pointless. 

9:52 — Yea!  More Jackman dancing, this time in a salute to musicals. The musical is back! I love musicals!

10:03 — Time for Best Supporting Actor. Rochester’s Own Philip Seymour Hoffman is wearing a knit cap at the Oscars. He must always think it’s snowing. The Oscar goes to Heath Ledger. His parents and sister accept the award and there is not a dry eye in the house. 

10:12 — The Best Supporting Actor award brought our tied score up to  nine out of eleven, and with Best Documentary Feature, we have our first split vote of the night. Bill Maher is out to present the award, and the winner is Man on Wire! Yes, I’ve taken the lead, 10 Oscars to nine. Hey, the French high-wire artist from the film makes a coin disappear and balances the Oscar statue on his chin. Now that’s entertainment!

10:17 – On to Best Documentary Short Subject. And the upset win goes to Smile Pinki, and the director is wearing a killer dress. I love it  when the documentarians rock the fashion. (So far, my only misses have been in all three shorts categories.)

10:22 — The montage devoted to post-production is heavy on the car chases and comic book heros. 

10:26 – Will Smith, himself a visual effect, presents Best Visual Effects. The winner is Benjamin Button, for another double win (and the third win for the Button Boys). I’m still in the lead, 11 wins to 10.

10:30 – So, The Dark Knight wins Sound Editing and Slumdog wins Sound Mixing. Could someone now please tell me the difference between the two? We both get Editing and both miss Mixing, and the score now stands at 12-11.

10:35 – Will Smith is still out to present Film Editing. And the winner is Slumdog Millionaire. Make that 13-12.

10:41 – What’s Eddie Murphy doing here? Oh, he’s presenting the humanitarian award to Jerry Lewis, the man whose “Nutty Professor” character he stole.  The Jerry Lewis telethon was required viewing in my house when I was a kid, and Lewis gives a gracious — and short — acceptance speech.

10:50 — The Best Score medley is really lovely. Honestly, there is nothing I am not liking so far about this show. The winner is Slumdog, for another two-fer at 14-13.

10:55 — The guy who just won for Best Score is out singing ”O Saya,” the first on the Best Original Song medley (Springsteen was robbed!) And the Oscar goes to … that same guy, but for “Jai Ho.” He mentions love a lot, and it seems to be working for him. Make the score 15-14.

11:05 — Liam Neeson and Frida Pinto present the award for Best Foreign Language Film, and the Oscar goes to — whoa, from out of nowhere — Japan with Departure. I had gone with the French film The Class, and Mr. Goddess with the Israeli film Waltzing with Bashir.

11:09 — 20 minutes and four awards left. By george, they may just pull this off! 

11:14 – Even the Death Reel is better this year, with Queen Latifa singing a tribute to those the industry has lost. 

11:18 — Reese Witherspoon presents the award for Best Director. And the winner is Danny Boyle for Slumdog Millionaire, bringing our score to 16-15. Danny Boyle actually thanks the producer of the tonight’s telecast! I don’t think that’s ever happened before. 

11:27 – Now five former best actress winners our out to present the award for Best Actress. As the personal tributes to their greatness roll in, every nominee is reduced to a puddle before she even makes it to the stage. And the winner is Kate Winslet. Mr. Goddess informs me that Kate Winslet is what is known on the other side of the pond as “Jolly Hockeysticks.” I think that’s a good thing, but I’m not sure.

11:36 — Next up is Best Actor and this is the last split decision in the Goddess Attic. Mr. Goddess went for Sean Penn, and I went for Mickey Rourke. And the winner is … Sean Penn! Well, knock me over with a feather boa! We’re tied at 16 all. 

11:47 — Steven Speilberg presents the award for Best Picture. And the winner is Slumdog Millionaire. The entire population of Mumbai joins the overflowing producer up on the stage, and here in the Goddess Attic, we celebrate our first ever Oscars poll tie. 

11:55 – Twenty-five minutes over time, but who the hell cares?! What a great show. Goodnight, Hollywood!


The Goddess Watches the Superbowl
(so you don’t have to)

The neighbors down the street are Steeler fans and I’d hoped to have an intra-Pennsylvania smackdown come Superbowl Sunday. But since the Eagles were pecked to death by the Cardinals in the NFC Championship, I’m just rooting for one thing: a good game. And some funny ads. And some tasty wings. And a kick-ass halftime show. Just four things. 

6:10 — Our hosts have put on an impressive spread, if you look past the yellow and black tablecloth, balloons, napkins, plates, and plastic forks. 

6:18 — Pre-game is in full swing. Sully and the crew from the flight that landed in the Hudson River are followed by singer Jennifer Hudson. It’s a good thing they didn’t crash into a Faith Hill.

6:22 — Whoa, there’s a GI JOE movie coming out?! Starring Christopher Eccleston?!!?  Superbowl ads are fun and educational!

6:38 — Pittsburgh marches down the field for a too-easy touchdown. Please don’t let this be a blowout.

6:39 — Nope, spoke too soon. Touchdown’s called back and Steelers settle for a field goal.

6:42 – First ad after the kickoff is for Bud Light (as usual)  and (as usual) it’s not very funny. Throwing an office worker out the window for suggesting that they stop having beer at every meeting?  Is that supposed to be down with the recessionary zeitgeist?

7:10 — A sad set of downs for the Cardinals, followed by another too-easy Steelers touchdown. Someone should wake up the Cardinals defense; they’re missing a heck of a game. 

7:36 — The talking baby from eTrade now has a friend. Babies acting like adults creep me out. And if there is anything creepier than a talking baby it’s two talking babies. 

7:52 — Pittsburgh’s James Harrison intercepts the ball in the end zone and runs it back 100 yards, sliding into the endzone on his neck for the touchdown. I think he might be dead.

7:54 — Nope, he’s fine; sucking down oxygen on the sidelines. 

8:00 — There were 3-D ads? Who knew? Those of us without the special glasses just saw a whole lot of blurry. I hope the Sobe Water people feel this experience was worth the $12 million.

8:10 — Bruce Springsteen power slides across the stage and smashes his crotch into America’s living rooms. Where are the 3-D glasses when you need them?

8:11 — I lose my first $1 bet of the night. I went with “The Rising” as the first Springsteen song.

8:19 — Second half. Transitioning from wings and beer to cupcakes and wine. I haven’t had a cupcake in years.

8:25 – Greg bets $1 he can pick three black M&Ms out of the yellow and black M&M bowl with his eyes closed. He scores!

8:57 — In other news, after a field goal the Steelers are up 20-7.

8:59 — ad elicits the loudest laughter of the night from all assembled. There is just something unambiguously funny about punching a koala in the face.

9:25 — Big Ben gets sacked, Steelers punt, Warner slings a touchdown to Larry Fitzgerald. It’s now 20-14 Steelers, and the Cardinals have some life in them yet.

9:40 — Greg picks up another $2 for betting there would be a safety during the game. Now it’s 20-16 Steelers.

9:50 — We’ve hit the local ads, and a Rochester pizza joint airs several featuring a grown man wearing nothing but a diaper and a knit cap. I’m not sure why, but I am sure that I no longer wish to eat their pizza. 

9:58 – Whoa! Another Warner-to-Fitzgerald touchdown reception, and the Cardinals take the lead with less than three minutes to go. Our hostess, who has decorated her mantle with pictures of herself at the age of two wearing a Steelers jersey, is now swearing at the television.

10:00 — Greg wins another $1 for betting that we’d see a woman in a bra during the second half. are always there when you need them.

10:03 — With 35 seconds left, Steelers score on a tippy-toe catch from 40 yards out. 

10:10 — Two plays, two timeouts, then the Cardinals fumble the ball. It’s over. Steelers FTW! 


Scared of Santa

I’m not sure why parents believe that plopping their toddler onto the lap of a large, hairy stranger is a recipe for holiday magic. On the contrary, based on the Sun Sentinel newspaper’s ability to put together an entire gallery of “Scared of Santa” photos every year, we can only conclude one thing: Santa is scary.

Some favorites:

scary santa

Twin trauma for double the terror.

scary santa

Mom? Dad? If you ever loved me, get this weirdo off me!”

scary Santa

“His eye shadow, how it sparkled! His breath, how it stunky!
His cheeks were like sunburn, his nose like a drunky!”


Three Haisku: Cranberry Sauce

cranberry sauceThanksgiving jelly
Ruby-red ring-rimmed relish
Who needs a turkey?

Fresh from your tin can
Your thin, round slices shimmer
In your crystal dish.

Tangy solid sauce –
You are no mere condiment.
Eat you with a spoon.

PS — Check out this cool photostream for more images of food that takes the shape of its container.


Trick or Treat!

It was a lot quieter at the house this year, which is odd because the weather was tailor made for trick-or-treating. Our house doesn’t get much Halloween love to begin with, being located uphill from the main drag and across the street from a hospital. Oh well, more miniature Clark bars for me I guess.

Princesses still rule the day, but there was also some old-school creativity afoot this year!

7:40[first trick-or-treaters at 7:40?!] Two princesses, a Pocohantas, and a girl wearing a kimono

7:50 — robot in a tin-foil covered box (the poor kid dropped his Twix bar and got stuck trying to pick it up), a princess, and a Star Wars storm trooper. I like it when geeks start out young.

8:05 – A giant traffic cone (!) and a Barbie. I feel bad because I neglected to compliment the Barbie’s outfit because I was so impressed by the traffic cone. The traffic cone was impressive. His little arms barely stuck out the holes cut in the sides.  

8:15 — Skelator and cheerleader, followed by the first teenagers of the night. There was a guy in a cool Egyptian pharoah costume, Snow White,  then a couple of kinda sad teenage costumes: guy in baseball hat with white makeup and a girl in miniskirt and ponytail. Dudes, make an effort!

8:20Two cheerleaders, another princess (a tiny one, awww) and I think it was a pirate. 

9:05 — Tigger of Winnie-the-Pooh fame, and girl in a “this is my Halloween costume” t-shirt.

And that was it, kiddies. Then it was off for some grown-up trick-or-treating at Elixr to see a friend-of-a-friend’s band. There were some cool grown-up costumes in effect, and not just of the “hey, it’s Halloween! I’m going to dress like a whore!” variety. When did Halloween become slutty? Halloween is scary or funny, not slutty.

Some highlights: Bert from Sesame Street, a totally creepy looking Joker in a nurse’s outfit from Dark Knight, Jesus Christ, the mandatory guy-in-gorilla-suit, a green fairy, and Michael Phelps (guy wearing speedo, cap, and many gold medals — and nothing else.) That last costume was definitely weather dependent.