Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Matt and Al Dancing

It's no secret that I love the "Today Show." Well the other day, Matt and Al did a rhythmic dancing routine that was quite endearing. I love the mix of serious stories and fluff on "Today." It really makes my mornings go smoothly.

The video had decent choreography and more importantly, it featured a cameo by a ribbon twirling Brian Williams around the 4:52 mark. Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Olympic athlete of the day

I was going to write a little ditty about Jonathan Horton and his fantastic, consistent performance yesterday but then I saw this:

While I was not going to call him the stud of the day, I feel like this gives the man his props. It even applauds Justin Spring.

James Franco: It's Complicated

"GQ" is a magazine that I often dismiss as men's fashion fluff and a showcase for beefcake covers under the guise of class, but I must say sometimes they write amazing interviews. This current profile of James Franco is particularly fascinating as he is a complex man of many interests and extremely introspective. He's funny yet serious and very driven.

Here were 2 of my favorite bits from the article:

During the show’s run, three of the freaks—Franco, Seth Rogen, and Jason Segel—would meet at Segel’s house on Saturday mornings for extra, unofficial rehearsals. “I mean, they weren’t the most rigorous rehearsals,” says Franco. “For the most part we just liked hanging out.” In the end, he says, it was Rogen and Segel who became really good friends. At the time, Segel was dating Linda Cardellini, who was friends with Franco’s on-screen girlfriend, Busy Philipps, who had a problem with Franco. “And so I think Jason took her side and thought I was a jerk,” he says. “I’ll admit I was not a team player. A lot of it, I think, just had to do with being obnoxious when the camera was on someone else. Maybe I’d eat a banana in the background that would take focus away from other actors. I didn’t think about it that way, but now I could say, ‘Look, the scene’s not about me, it’s about them, just chill out, James. Don’t eat a fucking banana.’ ”

In the e-mail, Franco also expresses regret over the things we didn’t have a chance to discuss: “I felt like we didn’t talk about writing or art as much as I would have liked, as those are what take up most of my life now. But if we didn’t it’s because I closed those subjects because I was uncomfortable about this forum as a place to discuss those things. Who wants to hear an actor talk about books or art? No one. I just hope my interest in those areas, and my dedication to them, was apparent. But I know as an actor I’m not supposed to show interest in anything except charities and the environment. I don’t know. I don’t know what I’m supposed to show interest in. (By the way, we didn’t talk about the work I do with orphans, but that’s OK. Maybe the next article.)” He closes with the words “I am just rambling. Thanks.”

Here is the full article:

Monday, August 11, 2008

Olympic Fever: Catch it!

I'm simply mad about the Olympics. It has consumed my life already and it's only day 3. It's even more thrilling than I remember. The opening ceremony was spectacular. The boxes as waves, characters, and flowers were pretty amazing and even moreso when it was revealed that it was controlled by people! The Chinese really know how to turn it out. Their emphasis on the collective really came in handy during the choreography for the opening ceremony.

This year, I find that I'm watching all the events. Usually I favor swimming, gymnastics, and the key track and field events, but now I'm watching synchronized diving and even volleyball as well (not just women's beach but also the less glamorous indoor team volleyball). Granted NBC is really stretching with some of their human interest stories this year (the French swimmer who fell in love with the Italian swimmer who now dates a competitive female Italian swimmer, Michael Phelps had ADHD, Natalie Coughlin loves to shop at Farmer's Markets). But for every story that sounds like a Facebook profile, there are some good ones (the 33 year old gymnast formerly of the Soviet Union who went to Germany because she need healthcare for her son who had leukemia). And last night's 4X100 freestyle relay was out of this world. I became so enraptured and excited that I almost screamed out loud. I could not believe the way Jason Lezak passed France at the end. It was an incredible nail biter! Although this almost didn't happen thanks to the lackluster efforts of Cullen Jones. Ugh, swim faster dude! Even Garrett Weber-Gale did better than you and he's a rookie.

Below are some more Olympic related musings and links.

Olympic Highlights:

Michael Phelps: Hot or Not? This is actually a pressing topic. As many have noted, Michael Phelps has a hot body. That is an undisputed fact. However, the face leads to debate. Some think it's adorable goofy. Some think it's just goofy. Some hate the teeth. Some think he looks awkward out of the water. Well, cast your vote here and decide.

My pick for "Most likely to replace Tom Dolan in my heart" award goes to:
Ryan Lochte (USA-swimming)
-He's attractive, laid back, a great swimmer, and is only 2 years younger than me. Granted he may not be as successful in attaining golds but he's on my radar.

My pick for least appealing Olympian goes to:

Bridget Sloan (USA-gymnastics)
-She stumbled on the floor exercise when all scores were going to count for the qualifier. She has eyes that clearly indicate she cannot handle pressure and has low self-esteem. For someone so "consistent" and "solid", I expected more.

Honorable mention for being punished for being young, attractive and famous by the Chinese government:
Guo Jingjing (China-synchronized diving)

Olympic rant:
I am annoyed at George W. Bush's presence at the games. He can claim it's to foster a peaceful relationship with China, but I think he just wants to hang out. And I would bet money he wasn't whispering with Putin on Friday about what was going on between Russia and Georgia but rather it was focused on "Hey, wow didja see those lights?" Bush - you suck worse than Edwards!

John Edwards=major disappointment

John Edwards you suck! When the news first broke on Friday (and oddly enough it broke for me while watching "Entertainment Tonight"), I was shocked. I had heard the rumors and the "National Enquirer" allegations of Edwards fathering a love child, but I dismissed them. After all, his love with Elizabeth was solid (They still go to Wendy's for their anniversary! He thinks she's sexy!) and the "National Enquirer" is a tabloid. But to hear him confess to infidelity after he's gone on and on about family values and while Elizabeth has incurable cancer is so unforgivable. His political career is toast. I don't understand why he confessed. No one was paying attention to this story but the tabloids. He could have ignored the story until perhaps it went away and who knows, he might have ended up with a cabinet position. But now that he's public with the affair, he's lost all his credibility and the respect of a lot of Americans.

It's a good thing the Olympic opening ceremony was the same day because otherwise I would have been so distraught I wouldn't have been able to snap out of my funk. In conclusion, John Edwards as a man: D and John Edwards work with poverty and universal healthcare: B+.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Will Kill for Fried Chicken

One of the Yahoo! news stories today involved a man who pleaded guilty to murder in exchange for fried chicken, calzones, and pizza. Apparently, this man was so sick of jail food that he was willing to go to prison with only a chance at parole after 30 years just for some outside food. As crazy as this story is, I'm more surprised at the fact that this man is from NYC which has an overabundance of quality, diverse cuisine and he sells himself out for KFC and Popeye's in Oregon. If I were going to make such a silly legal arrangement, I would at least negotiate for some foie gras, oysters, lobster, etc. - you know food that can't be found on a dollar menu. And I would insist that Chef Eric Ripert cook the food personally for me. And then have tea with me. And then whisper sweet nothings in my ear with his French accent.

I mean how bad was the food in prison? Even if it was Oliver Twist style gruel, as long as it didn't have pins in it, I wouldn't confess to murder over some bad food. Unless it was gruel with spam in it. That would prob make me confess. Maybe this criminal was listening to Nas's "Fried Chicken" song on a loop in jail and he felt the craving for "fried chicken, fly vixen, give me heart disease but I need you in my kitchen." Damn, that's a good song.

Here's the article on the criminal:

Nas's "Fried Chicken":

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Blueberry Boy Bait

For those of you who like old school, country style simple desserts, you are going to love this one. I first had it at my friend’s farm house in PA. When his mom said it was called “Blueberry Boy Bait”, my first reaction was “blueberry boy what?” But essentially, the story was that if you bake this blueberry cake, the boys will come running. Now, we live in modern times so I’m not sure if this is really as potent for boy baiting purposes as it once was in Amish country but it’s certainly a crowd pleaser. The cake is moist and rich and a cross between a coffee cake and a dessert cake. My friend’s mom said she didn’t understand how to email her recipe, so I used a recipe that I found off of and then just tweaked it to my desires (more blueberries, coffee cake topping). I haven’t actually baked this with the coffee crumb topping (I stuck closely to the recipe the first time) but I’m assuming these proportions will work.

Blueberry Boy Bait

Serves 12 with small pieces



cups all-purpose flour plus 1 teaspoon


tablespoon baking powder


teaspoon table salt


tablespoons unsalted butter (2 sticks), softened


cup packed light brown sugar


cup granulated sugar


large eggs


cup whole milk


heaping cup blueberries , must be fresh



cup blueberries , must be fresh


cup granulated sugar


teaspoon ground cinnamon


cup flour


cup butter

1. For the cake: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 13 by 9-inch baking pan.

2. Whisk 2 cups flour, baking powder, and salt together in medium bowl. With electric mixer, beat butter and sugars on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until just incorporated. Reduce speed to medium and beat in one-third of flour mixture until incorporated; beat in half of milk. Beat in half of remaining flour mixture, then remaining milk, and finally remaining flour mixture. Toss blueberries with remaining 1 teaspoon flour. Using rubber spatula, gently fold in blueberries. Spread batter into prepared pan.

3. For the topping: Scatter blueberries over top of batter. Combine sugar, cinnamon, flour, and butter in a small bowl and blend with a fork until crumbly. Sprinkle crumb mixture over batter. Bake until toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean, 40 to 50 minutes (depending on your oven’s strength). Cool in pan 20-30 minutes, then cut and serve. Serve warm or at room temperature. (Cake can be stored in airtight container at room temperature up to 3 days.)


Feist performed a version of her hit song 1234 on "Sesame Street" and it's pretty darn adorable. And the song works very well from a kid's educational perspective even though the counting stalls at 4 and children should really be aware of all the numbers that come after 4.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Olympic Fever

So the Olympics are coming up and I was struck by one thought - the thought that pops into my head every year since 2000: what is Tom Dolan up to? Now for the uneducated, Tom Dolan is an amazing Olympic swimmer who went to the University of Michigan. He won gold in 1996 in the 400 meter and then won gold again in 2000 in the 400 meter and a silver medal in the 200 meter. He broke many records and drew a lot of attention due to his tall lanky frame, University of Michigan hip tattoo and the fact that he battled asthma, chronic fatigue, and lung viruses and still persevered. Basically, he was my childhood Olympic crush and I loved him. Sure other famous Olympic swimmers with big personalities have come and gone since (Gary Hall Jr, Ian Thorpe, Michael Phelps) but no one captured my loyalty like Tom Dolan. So I decided to google Tom Dolan to see what he is up to and learned the following things (assuming these links had correct up-to-date information):

-He is 6'6" tall and at his heyday had 3% body fat.
-He worked as a sales trader at an investment bank in DC after college.
-He was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame (ISHOF) in2006.
-He is working with Carlile Swimming in Australia to help bring their swim school model to the US.
-I still love Tom Dolan.

So for all the Tom Dolan fans out there, feel free to reminisce about our golden boy and be comforted by the fact that it sounds like he is doing well and isn't some drug addict who can't hold onto a steady job and tries to pick up women at a bar with the line "hey, I was once on a Wheaties box."