Category Archives: Entertainment

One Celebrity for Dinner

If you could have one celebrity for dinner, who would it be?

Shoot, I’m hungry – let’s just pick as many as we can think of who sound delicious. In fact, let’s go ahead and write up the menu now.

We’ll start with drinks. You can have a glass of Harvey Milk, or you can try the Ice-T. Of course, if you’re prepared to cough up the cash, you can also have a shot of Barry Goldwater.

Okay then, tea it is – will that be with or without Jack Lemmon?

Now it’s time for some grub. Your options for a main course are two kinds of Hamm (Jon or Mia), or you can opt for a plate of Kevin Bacon (also available in ice cream, served at a maximum of 6 degrees). All meats are served with a Sean Bean (yes, just one; it’s a much larger Bean than what you’re used to) and a helping of Jerry Rice, and are seasoned with a terrifying amount of Tim Curry.

Moving on to dessert, you have the option of going the healthy route, which includes slices of Fiona Apple served with mixed Berrys (Halle and Chuck, as well as Darryl Strawberry when in season). And, of course, the Kevin Bacon ice cream mentioned above is always a hit with the foodie crowd.

Or you can go with a bit of never-disappointing John Candy.

No promises that any of these options are local, farm-raised, or even organic. Especially organic. In fact, they are probably mostly made of artificial ingredients.

But think about it: we could have eaten a big, old, dried up Meat Loaf.

Special honorable mention to Joyce Carol Oates, whom I just couldn’t seem to work into the menu. You’re a pantry staple.

* * * * *

If you want to know more about these delectable celebs, here’s a morsel about each one (or just click their names to link to more information; my apologies for resorting to Wikipedia on several of these):

Harvey Milk was the first openly gay person to gain elected public office in California. He championed causes that benefited the gay community and emphasized the importance of neighborhoods for promoting unity and providing services to citizens. He was on the SF Board of Supervisors when he and the mayor were assassinated by another city supervisor. Obama awarded Milk a posthumous Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2009.

Ice-T, or Tracy Marrow (which I hear is also scrumptious), began his formal career as a musician, starting out as a rapper and then forming a heavy metal band called Body Count. He’s acted in various television shows and movies and for over ten years has had a regular role on Law & Order: SVU.

Barry Goldwater, nicknamed Mr. Conservative, served five terms as a United States senator for Arizona. In 1964, he ran for the office of president against Lyndon B. Johnson. He was instrumental in the resurgence of the conservative movement in the 1960s and continued to be a stalwart in the GOP until the increasing influence of the religious right in the 80s. He died in 1998.

Jack Lemmon was an Oscar-winning American actor. He also started a production company and recorded music. He is widely known for his multiple comedy collaborations with Walter Matthau. Lemmon died in 2001.

Jon Hamm is an actor whose career was crystallized by his starring role on HBO’s Mad Men.

Mia Hamm is an American soccer player who was a star on the U.S. National and Olympic teams. At age 15, she was the youngest person ever to play for the National Team.

Kevin Bacon is an American movie actor and the inexplicable choice for recognizing our universal connectedness in the game Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon. His wife Kyra Sedgwick recently removed a portion of her fingertip while slicing kale. Why is this in the news?

Sean Bean is a British actor who claimed his spot in the limelight as Boromir in the Lord of the Rings movies and maintains it with a starring role on the HBO series Game of Thrones.

Jerry Rice played 20 seasons in the NFL and is widely regarded as one of the best wide receivers of all time in American football. He began his career with the San Francisco 49ers and also played for the Oakland Raiders and the Seattle Seahawks.

Tim Curry, a British actor, rose to fame with his role in The Rocky Horror Picture Show in 1975. Apparently seeing him on the silver screen didn’t frighten enough children; he has broken out of film to expand his career into theatre, television, voice acting, and music.

Fiona Apple is an American singer/songwriter, the title of whose debut album contained 90 words.

Halle Berry is an American actress. She was the first black woman to receive an Oscar for Best Actress.

Chuck Berry is an American musician whose string of hits in the 1950s and 60s – as well as his devotion to showmanship – led him to become known as one of the fathers of rock and roll. He was in the first group of inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986. And he’s frickin’ inspiring. Let’s do whole post on Chuck Berry sometime soon, how about that?

Darryl Strawberry played baseball in the American League, leading two teams (the Mets and the Yankees) to a total of four World Series titles. His most recent career, however, is as a pastor.

John Candy was an American actor and comedian. He began his comedy career with Second City as a writer and performer and starred in several hit comedy movies before his premature death in 2004. He was an ace at impersonations.

Meat Loaf is a Grammy-award winning singer, most known for his Bat Out of Hell trilogy of albums, the second of which included his greatest hit, “I’d Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That).” (I love this, from the top of the Wikipedia page: “This article is about the singer. For the prepared food, see meatloaf.”)

Joyce Carol Oates is an American writer with over forty novels to her name, as well as short story collections, plays, poetry, novellas, and nonfiction.

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Celebrity Babe of the Month: June

Sorry for the long hiatus; but let’s be honest, did any of you really notice?

And now, for the conclusion of our Celebrity Babe of the Month series…

Babe the Gallant Pig

One of four dozen piglets who played Babe in the 1995 movie

One of four dozen piglets who played Babe in the 1995 movie

Real name: Babe (known in sheepdog trials as Pig)

Babe-ification story:

When Farmer Hogget wins an infant pig at a fair and brings it back to the farm, the dog who takes care of the piglet asks its name. It responds that its mother called all her children Babe.

An illustration by Mary Rayner from the original book

An illustration by Mary Rayner from the original book

Celebrification story:

Mary Rayner illustration

Mary Rayner illustration

Just an orphan pig on a farm, Babe unknowingly avoids becoming Christmas dinner by proving himself a skilled herder of the other farm animals. He has learned from Fly, the friendly sheepdog who adopts the piglet as her own, but he eventually becomes the most efficient herder on the farm when he comes up with the idea to ask the sheep nicely if they wouldn’t mind going into the pen. Babe even saves the sheep from rustlers.

Farmer Hogget notices the pig’s uncanny talents and decides to enter him into the county sheep dog trials. They begin training, interrupted only by the brief suspicion that Babe has killed a sheep (turns out it was the only sheep he wasn’t able to save from wild dogs). Babe enters the trials armed with a password given to him by the farm sheep that will allow him to talk to the unfamiliar sheep he is herding in the competition. He does so well that the judges award him and Farmer Hogget the highest possible score.

Meta-celebrification story:

Babe book cover   Babe movie poster

In 1983, children’s author Dick King-Smith penned The Sheep-Pig (Babe, the Gallant Pig in the U.S.). In 1995, the book was turned into a movie called Babe, which was nominated for seven Oscars, including Best Picture. It won the Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture (Musical or Comedy) and did extremely well at the box office, solidifying Babe’s place in history and canonizing Farmer Hogget’s sweet post-competition praise: “That’ll do, Pig. That’ll do.”

That'll do, Pig. That'll do.

That’ll do, Pig. That’ll do.

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Celebrity Babe of the Month: December

Congratulations, you survived the end of the world!

BUT. Survival skills are still essential for…er, survival. If you ever find yourself in a situation requiring you to obtain your own food from the wild, there’s a man you need to know about.

Babe Winkelman

Al...? Al Borland? No, that's Babe Winkelman, king of the outdoors.

Al…? Al Borland? No, that’s Babe Winkelman, king of the outdoors.

Real Name: None ‘a ya business (Seriously, the man deserves his privacy.)

(not Babe Winkelman)

(not Babe Winkelman)

Babe-ification Story:

When The-child-who-would-be-known-as-Babe was a year and a half, his father bestowed upon him his first baseball and bat. He dragged them around with him everywhere he went and played with them constantly, so his dad started calling him Babe (after the Great Bambino, of course).

For a guy who’s 6’3” and 250 pounds, a nickname like Babe works out just fine. But growing up, Babe had to issue a few forceful reminders that he was not, in fact, named after Baby Huey

Celebrification Story:

Babe Branches Out

Although he started out constructing buildings, Babe’s heart was always in the outdoors. Growing up on a farm, he was in constant contact with nature and taught himself to fish. Six years after starting the Winkelman Building Corporation with his father, he sold his shares in the company and pursued a career in two seemingly disparate media: television, and the wild.

winkelman fish

Hey! Good Fishing!

Babe Winkelman Productions formed in the early 1970s, and by 1980 he had started hosting “Good Fishing” – tagline: “Until then…hey! Good fishing!”  The show was picked up for syndication in ‘85 and is still America’s most-washed fishing show. He also brought hunting back to television in the late ‘80s with “Outdoor Secrets” – tagline: “Master the patterns of nature.”

That deer’s like, “Oh. Em. Gee. Seriously? Just after being shot? Do. Not. Tag me. In that photo.”

The Patterns of Nature

Babe credits his outdoor prowess (and, consequently, his television success) to his early discovery that wildlife operates in predictable cause-and-effect patterns. His mastery of the patterns of human nature may be a bit more dubious; he’s currently on marriage #3 (although with five daughters, it seems like by now he ought to be pretty good at predicting the cause-and-effect patterns of women).

More Babe Stuff:

  • Babe’s television shows are a family affair. Some of his daughters have hunted with him, his wife Kris does a cooking segment, and his brother wrote and performed the original theme song for “Outdoor Secrets.”
  • The Winkelmans live on 260+ acres of woodland in Minnesota, where Babe has established a bird sanctuary and is working on a native tallgrass prairie.
  • Watch Babe wrestle a massive sturgeon on an episode of “Good Fishing.”
Master of camouflage.Kidding. This is actually Babe with one of the thousands of trees he has planted.

Master of camouflage!
Kidding. This is actually Babe with one of the thousands of trees he has planted.

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Peculiar Play & Peripheral Pastimes

People are perpetually at play. Here are a few pretty pleasing pastimes, from the plain and prosaic to the positively peregrine.

Planking

The point of planking is to lie horizontally, face-down, with both hands by your sides and legs out straight, on random surfaces. Actually, technically that’s the method of planking. The point is…well, no one really knows what the point is. But apparently a lot of people find it a worthwhile way to pass the time. See?

Paragliding

Paragliding is very similar to hang gliding, except that the glider has a parachute-type wing called a canopy instead of the stiff, structured wing of a hang glider. Both types of gliders are motorless. Paragliders move more slowly than hang gliders.

To go paragliding, a pilot sits in a harness that is connected to the nylon canopy by a series of cables (lines) and carabiners. Takeoff occurs when an updraft inflates the canopy (very dramatically named the ram effect) and allows the glider to ride on the wind. The pilot tugs on control lines to brake and shifts his/her weight in the harness to steer.

Puddle-jumpers

Remember those T-shaped wooden propellers you twist between your palms and let fly? Those are puddle jumpers. You can still get them here.

Also? There’s actual jumping in actual puddles.

Punch Buggy

A popular game for the road, Punch Buggy is simple and delightfully obnoxious. When you spot a Volkswagen Beetle, shout “Punch buggy!” and punch your seat mate in the arm. Add “No punchbacks!” to avoid a retaliatory punch, at least until the victim spots another Beetle. Some people also shout the color of the car, for example, “Punchbuggy yellow, no punchbacks!” or “Punchbuggy pale-spring-green, no punchbacks!” (What are those new Beetle colors, anyway? They all look like they were birthed by the Easter Bunny. Er, Easter Buggy…)

Paper Football

This game was designed to make middle school bearable. Creating the paper football is just as much a part of this game as the actual playing, and most school cafeteria tables are the perfect width for use as a paper football field.

One sheet of notebook paper folded into a tight triangular packet serves as the ball. Two players sit across the table from each other with the ball in the middle. Players take turns giving the ball one scoot toward the other player.

A touchdown occurs when a player’s scoot lands the ball so that part of it extends over the opposite edge of the table. (If the ball falls off the table, it returns to the middle for the other player to scoot.)

After a touchdown, the defending player creates uprights with his/her fingers at the edge of the table, and the other player attempts the extra point by propping the ball up on its corner with one finger and flicking it toward the goal.

Play ends when the lunch bell rings.

Postman’s Knock

This party game seems like an early version of Spin the Bottle. A group of people (teenagers, presumably) sends one person out of the room. That person then knocks on the door. The group chooses someone to answer the door and pay for the delivery of a “letter” (i.e., nothing) with a kiss.

Postman’s Knock is also a stick dance in the Morris style, a form of English folk dance that may date back as early as the late 15th century. Nothing can put on smile on my face quite like a bunch of grown men in costume dancing with unbridled exuberance.  Wanna see?

Pankration

Boxing meets wrestling in pankration, a sport that sprung from the combat styles of original nearly-Olympians Heracles and Theseus. In what might be compared to modern-day mixed martial arts, opponents used a combination of striking, holds, joint locks, and takedowns to achieve a win. (Also, you were considered the winner if your opponent died.)

Incidentally, pankration is still around. From what I can tell, the only requirement for participation is that you have more abdominal muscles than danger receptors.

(P.S. My favorite thing about researching pankration was coming across a website for “Pankration, Grappling, and Mixed Martial Arts.” Didn’t know grappling was actually an organized…you know…thing. Apparently you can get really hooked.)

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