After twenty years…

First off, a gold medal game between two elite, evenly matched teams should not be decided by a shootout. Shootouts don’t reflect most on-ice play, and depend on too many variables. So, they aren’t a true display of a squad’s skill. (The Stanley Cup playoffs use multiple sudden death rounds, which, while exhausting for athletes and viewers alike, would be fairer.)

That said, this one was pretty mesmerizing.

I doff my cap to silver medal-winning Team Canada, the measuring stick
against which all hockey teams are judged. Your play throughout the whole
tournament was amazing, and this game was no exception.

Congratulations, Team USA. At a time when no one’s felt like cheering, your camaraderie makes the gold medal all the more deserved and inspiring. I’m pretty sure a lot of little girls want to be Maddie Rooney and Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson when they grow up. (Hey, I do, too.)

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Song In My Head #92: “A F—ton of Cats” featuring Rachel Bloom

Since I’m a big fan of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend star Rachel Bloom (her San Francisco Sketchfest show was downright epic!) and show composer/Fountains of Wayne tunesmith Adam Schlesinger, it was guaranteed that a number from the series would appear here one day. A big part of me is shocked that it turned out to be this one. I’ve always had a tortured relationship with Muppet homage puppets, and worldly-wise puppet characters in general. I still haven’t seen Avenue Q, for example, even though my Stanford classmate Jordan Gelber starred in the original Broadway cast. (One of my favorite college memories involves an improv class where the suggestion was “A Yellow Christmas.” I narrated the story involving newts yearning to experience Christmas on the sand dunes, while Gelber ended up playing Santa Claus. That’s another post altogether.) Then there was the time my friend Jeanette visited from Chicago, and we were staying in San Francisco. For several nights, we debated going to a Puppet Up! performance, finally admitting to each other that we didn’t think we could handle watching dirty Muppets on stage. (Near-tearful hugs followed.) That said, the cat chorus (charmingly voiced by Schlesinger, Steven Gold, and Nina Zeitlin) adds the perfect touch to the incredibly catchy song, and James Hayes’ cat puppets are downright irresistible. (After all, there are no iconic cats in the Muppet canon, unless someone out there can correct me. I only remember short-lived Sesame Street characters Chip and Dip, who weren’t too cute and didn’t have speaking roles.) Note the authentic Muppet headbanging the cats do (side-to-side, not back and forth as in heavy metal), and the visible arm rods! (While puppetry has obviously become more technologically advanced, I really miss the old-school ways. I remember bellowing “The world has gone to hell in a handbasket!” the first time I saw CGI Twiddlebugs.)

As for spelling out the title with dashes, what can I say? I always choose the unexpurgated version of any song, but I’m still lame enough to worry that my grade-school nuns will stumble onto my blog one day. I’m just a bundle of contradictions!

And the winners are…

You may remember that I volunteered to help set up at the Good Food Awards chocolate tasting last September. While judges sampled and evaluated products (for taste and ethical practices) all day, the winners were not to be known for months. Last week, the winners were revealed! Even if I hadn’t had a small part in the proceedings, I’d find the results fascinating. (The Creo Brown Butter Bar I’d enjoyed won a prize in the chocolate category, while Patric’s legendarily crowd-pleasing Browned Butter Bar won in the confectionery category. I’m not sure why two browned-butter bars would be in different categories…perhaps it had to do with eligibility from previous competitions? Just a guess.) I recognized a few old favorites, as well as some potent potables from Santa Cruz-based Venus Spirits that I’ve yet to try. If you’re curious, the list is here. Congratulations, everyone!

Coffee Chat interview on author D L Richardson’s blog!

Awe-inspiring literary dynamo D L Richardson graciously hosted me on her author blog this week for a fun and freewheeling Coffee Chat. We discussed many topics close to my heart, including coffee, cookies, baking secrets, and the inspiration behind Going Coastal. We even found time to dish about the music scenes in Santa Cruz County and Richardson’s home of Australia. (I’m downright touched that she provided a definitive answer to the burning AC/DC question posed here.) Check it out and enjoy!

2017 San Jose Sharks Holiday Video

The San Jose Sharks’ annual video has become a holiday tradition, and this year’s model is entirely animated. (It took me a while to recognize defenseman Brenden Dillon, but I admire the accurate rendering of Joe Pavelski’s slightly red beard.) The tone is gently amusing rather than hilarious. Nevertheless, highlights include a sly nod to Herb Brooks, a cameo by Marc-Edouard Vlasic’s rescue dogs, and Tomas Hertl’s sweetly believable turn as an enthusiastic cartoon sidekick: