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Best Albums of 2016

Best Albums of 2016

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Who buys albums anymore?  Hell, who makes them for that matter?  I’m fully aware that I’m probably in the minority, but I’ve always been an unwavering album guy.  Not a one-click-song-and-done or streaming kinda guy.  Regardless, of how you package and spin it—vinyl, cassette tape, cd, digital download, etc.—I like to own it, spend time with it, swish it around a bit, chew on it for a while, decipher it, read the liner notes.  First listening to it the way it was compiled by the artist, from its beginning tracks to the very last cut, then simply randomizing the songs, for days, and weeks on end, eventually shelving it, only to dust it off and rediscover it all over again.  Buying an entire album can be risky—I get it, I’ve been burned before too—thinking one great song is representative of the entire album—but every once in a while the gamble pays off—with dividends.  Every year I encounter a handful of really outstanding and worthy audio companions out of a vast landscape of great music.

So here are my picks for the “best” albums worth owning this year, in no particular order or rank.

Dawes:  We’re All Gonna Die

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Lead singer, Taylor Goldsmith oughta change his last name to Wordsmith, because he sure has a way with them.  This is the LA band’s 5th studio album, and despite having the quintessential travelogues and reverberated guitars, the album has a lot more flavor than previous ones, making it the most non-Dawes sounding album, Dawes has ever recorded.

Beyoncé:  Lemonade

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When life hands you lemons…you’re inspired to craft one of the most critically acclaimed, culturally iconic concept albums ever produced.  Each song is a cathartic anthem—unburdened by genre—for all the betrayed and scorned.  Although, if you’re looking for bitter lamentations here, you’re out of luck:  this album is refreshing and packs a mighty good, self-empowered punch.

Black Mountain:  IV

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In a large bowl, sift together heavy guitar riffs akin to The Black Keys, sprinkle in a dash of dystopian Pink Floyd-esque psychedelia, add vocals reminiscent of Pat Benatar, stir in some synths, now throw some gasoline on your neighbor’s lawn, light a match, start the car, peel out, and crank the volume up as loud as it’ll go.

St. Paul & The Broken Bones:  Sea of Noise

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Blessed with a cavernous soul sound, the sextet creates songs that are fervently brass-infused, gospelly, Staxy…all around divine.  You’re telling me the lead singer, Paul Janeway is white?  I don’t believe it!  The record is nothing but funky, joyful noise.  So if Heaven’s Hammond organs and golden trumpets sound this warm and inviting, then take me now Lord.

Kanye West:  The Life of Pablo

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Say what you will about Kanye—admittedly he’s probably deserving of some of the eye-rolls and disdain—but at the end of the day, Yeezy’s a visionary artist.  TLOP is an living, breathing document—his magnum opus.  Listeners get a peek into Mr. West’s subconscious, and the digitized download is a multi-layered, Auto-Tuned, brain-banging, narcissistic, soulful, egomaniacal, emotional cry for help.

Margo Price:  Midwest Farmer’s Daughter

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Essentially a tattered moleskin notebook’s collection of songs that ink a narrative backstory of Price’s own life journey, her dreams, struggles, hopes, losses, warts and all.  Her debut has the one thing old country possessed, yet modern country music seems to have lost over the years—a soul.

Jim James:  Eternally Even

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It’s the Louisville native’s 3rd solo album, and the sound is densely layered with mixture of soul-funk rhythms and electronic synths.  However, it’s surprisingly spacious with James’ haunting falsetto mantras, threaded with socially and politically relevant lyrics and themes throughout.  While most of James’ work is contemplative in nature, this solo effort shifts his focus outwardly, on a world in need of some introspection, and more importantly—love.

Charles Bradley:  Changes

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Dude’s got more funk and soul in his little pinky toenail than most mere mortals.  He was discovered late in life, while moonlighting as a James Brown impersonator.  While the influence of the Godfather of Soul is undeniable in both his stage presence and to a lesser extent his sound, it’s merely a façade.  Having seen him perform live this year, it’s apparent to me and others, Bradley has found his own voice.  And with vocals that are extremely raw and vulnerable—he’s about as real as it gets.

Dylan LeBlanc:  Cautionary Tale

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Despite creating two critically acclaimed albums, the troubadour, exhausted and disillusioned, turned to all too familiar, destructive vices, to deal with such immediate success, eventually succumbing to the most damaging one of all—self-doubt.  This struggle fueled his latest release, and in forty-five minutes you’d be hard pressed to find the same collection of honest, melodious, soul-searching, and downright gorgeous audio-novellas from any other young singer-songwriter this year.

Case/Lang/Veirs:  Case/Lang/Veirs

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Combining such distinct voices together in one album seems like a no-brainer.  With Neko Case’s forceful, yet beautifully-strangling vocals, layered with the trembly, flinty voice of Laura Veirs, and underscored with the textural crooning of k.d. lang—I’m surprised they waited this long to record one.

A Tribe Called Quest:  We Got It From Here…Thank You 4 Your Service

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Q-Tip and crew felicitously waited nearly two decades to release the most woke album in a pre-apocalyptic, Trump presidential world.  From the earliest samples, until the last repeated shout-outs, it was worth the wait.  RIP Phife Dawg.

Sturgill Simpson:  A Sailor’s Guide to Earth

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Embarking on his darkest and most experimental journey yet, the Kentucky trailblazer takes his musicianship and songwriting gifts into uncharted territory.  The album is a deeply personal message in a bottle to his wife and newborn child.  It’s his best work to date, essentially two middle fingers to the entire so called country music establishment—that for whatever reason—refuses to acknowledge his existence.

Andy Hull & Robert McDowell:  Swiss Army Man Soundtrack

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Despite being a peculiarly crude and controversial film, it’s one of the most profoundly beautiful movies ever made. Sure it’s about a farting corpse, but the soundtrack’s tranquil, necromantic arrangements are haunting and primal.

Michael Kiwanuka:  Love & Hate

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In his sophomore album, British singer-songwriter, Michael Kiwanuka channels his soul and R&B forefathers, creating a velvety-smooth and vintage-sounding album, following in the mnemonic of Otis Redding and Ben E. King.

Andrew Bird:  Are You Serious

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Bird’s wondrously ambiguous wordplay is only matched by an array of eccentric instrumental sounds, some standards including plucky and romantic violins, reechoing guitars, tight percussions, and of course his own unmistakable, redolent whistling.

Anderson .Paak:  Malibu

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Remember when I said earlier that I wasn’t ranking these albums?  Well, that was true.  You’re not going to get a #1, but if there ever was an essential album to buy on this imperfect and shortened list, Malibu might be the one.  Amongst contemporaries like:  Chance the Rapper, Kendrick Lamar, and the Weeknd who all made stellar—yet darker offerings this year—this album could easily get lost on me.  So maybe it was kismet that I found it.  Truthfully, I purchased the album right after watching Paak and his band The Free Nationals perform on an NPR Tiny Desk Concert performance.  Essentially, Paak has conceived the most mellifluous, diverse, nimble, non-genre conforming record this year, courtesy of the artist’s own gritty voice and drumming, the warm soul/R&B riffs and melodies, funky bass licks, jazzy instrumentals, and the hip hop-esque lyrics and cadence, all of which combined make this album so magnetic.

Ultimately, the beauty of these albums lies in the content as well as the listening experience, in that they’re all magnificently-crafted, and yet many, if not all, cannot be easily pigeon-holed into a particular genre.  No single album is greater than the other, they all stand on their own merit.  I know what you’re thinking, “these are fantastic album recommendations my man…let me borrow them.”

Well, unfortunately the answer is “no my brotha—you got to buy your own!”


The Kentucky Deadcast: Episode 6

Producer’s Note: Due to the Thanksgiving holiday travel, last week’s episode did not get posted. You have my sincerest apologies. 

Happy After Thanksgiving Week! If you’re like us you ate way to much and settled down for a nice football coma. Unfortunately for The Walking Dead, “Swear” seemed to have the same effect. Trying to catch up with every single character this season has proven difficult, but we march on.

This week Josh is out of pocket, so I’m joined by Matt Tapia, otherwise known as Mr. Tyler Thompson. We discuss a variety of subjects, including:

—  Tara and her dealings with the Oceanside group
—  Just how far away is the ocean from Alexandria
—  The difficulties of having an actor make it big and trying to get him back on the show
—  Matt is quizzed on Zombie Apocalypse Survivalist guides

To listen, just subscribe to “Kentucky Sports Radio” on iTunes, stream on Podbayor listen on the Podcast Addict app for Android.


The Flawed & Flawless Moments From Gilmore Girls: A Year In The Life

The Flawed & Flawless Moments From Gilmore Girls: A Year In The Life

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There are so many spoilers below! You have been warned. 

Over the holiday weekend, some parts of Gilmore Girls: A Year In The Life felt like a food coma fever dream.  In my tryptophan induced stupor, it was hard to determine if Lorelai’s hats were truly terrible or if the talking ravens were real.  Consuming all of the episodes in such a short time frame felt like an accomplishment. Like Cheryl Strayed, I too set out on a wild, impossible journey and found more clarity and peace in the end.  Though we never got the shot of boot throwing into the canyon, I do believe that there were moments that were just as memorable and flawless as Reese Witherspoon in the wilderness.

There was one scene in the series that was absolutely flawless. But, before I unveil this highly anticipated announcement, let me tell you which scenes are absolutely flawed.

Flawed: Anything involving a Wookiee.

Rory’s one-night stand story line is painful. I truly hope they have another season so that when Rory has her baby, its first words are “UUUHHHRRR AAAHHHHRRR.” That’s a terrible Chewbaccca joke, but apparently in 2016 the standards are lower.

Flawed: Stars Hollow: The Musical

I love a good Stars Hollow ear-worm and Hamilton tribute, but Stars Hollow: The Musical was too long. You cannot have ten minutes of zero plot development (especially, when the series is set up for binge watching.) This should be the first rule in the Netflix bylaws.

Flawed: The Hep Alien Reunion

How Paris feigned interesting during their “I’m a Man” song, I’ll never know. Paris doesn’t suffer fools, but for two minutes, she put up with listening to a sub-par pop song. Impressive.

Flawed: The Life and Death Brigade Shenanigans

Long ago, I went through an Across the Universe phase. I didn’t need to relive it during my Gilmore Girls reunion. Those top hats were terrible. I also went through a Moulin Rouge phase. I don’t need to relive it during my Gilmore Girls salsa dancing scenes. The whole thing is as infuriating as Logan’s stupid face.

Flawed: The Wedding.

I loved it and never wanted it to end.

Flawless: The Paper Delivery Scene

First, there’s something you need to know about me.  I love more than any other cinematic trope the moments when people have to come together and complete a task.  Nothing brings me more joy than to see people problem solve with their collective creative thinking.  For me, nothing beats the “square peg in a round hole” scene in Apollo 13.  Nothing.  Gilmore Girls: A Year In The Life had a “square peg in a round hole” moment.  During the “Summer” episode, Rory needs to deliver the Stars Hollow Gazette (square peg), but she doesn’t have any delivery boys (round hole.). Paired with the perfect Nancy Sinatra song and a few “women-are-directionally-challenged” jokes the scene solidified my approval of the reboot.

The “These Boots Are Made For Walking” scene is flawless.

To begin, the song selection is perfect.  The slow, descending bass line is the embodiment of Rory’s dwindling confidence.  The song is a cultural touchstone. People are born knowing the lyrics and exactly what the boots were made for.

This scene is also perfect because it stars the only unaccredited talent in the series—the town. We get a quick tour of the town. Don’t act like you didn’t enjoy seeing Mrs. Kim’s antique store and learning that their dentist’s name is Dr. Eastside.

It’s flawless.

There is yelling over the gazebo. There is choreographed karate. There was a change in the tone of the show. Before the paper delivery, there were wookiees, love triangles, and heart wrenching funerals. During the paper delivery things seemed a little brighter. It was summer. People were working together to get the square peg to fit in the round hole. The Gilmore Girls were back with a purpose and all felt right again.


The Walking Dead Episode Recap: “Swear”

The Walking Dead Episode Recap: “Swear”

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This recap is written by Funkhouser guest features writer Brad Morris.

What to do, what to do? I “Swear” was both the title of last nights episode, and what I did several times while watching. I didn’t think TWD would ever get back to how slow Season 2 was, but this wasn’t the episode that didn’t just bring back those bad memories, it completely reaffirmed them. So as rough as this can be, let’s slog along like a walker in sand.

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Tara

We haven’t seen Tara for 9 episodes! What are the reasons on the show? She left with Heath to go out into the wilderness for a two week supply run. What are the real reasons? Alanna Masterson was carrying and giving birth to her first child. This episode actually had two actors that have real life scheduling conflicts that forced the show to get creative, but we’ll get to that.

Tara is seen out on the road with Heath when they become separated on the bridge of 1000 sand walkers. What she comes upon is yet another new community, know as “Oceanside”. What’s different about this one? No men. Not a one. At first I theorized that there was some Amazonian power trip going on, however that’s not the case. These poor ladies had all their man folk killed off by the Saviors. Simple as that. The problem with this new Lord of the Flies only female group is their complete distrust and fear of any outsider. They don’t want the Saviors to know where they’re at, to the point of killing anyone that stumbles into their camp. And with the bounty of the sea at their fingertips, who can blame them? Still, pretty harsh.

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With Tara being civil in dealing with them, she’s met with at least a sit down meal before they try to take her into the woods to shoot her in the back. Tara’s resourcefulness allows her to escape, and some help from a sympathetic Oceansider gets her across Sand Walker bridge. Tara does make it back to Alexandria, where she finds out her girlfriend Denise is dead, Abraham and Glen are dead, and all Hell has broken loose. Welcome Home!

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Here’s my biggest misgivings about Tara. I don’t care. That’s harsh, but true. She doesn’t have that much of an interesting backstory to begin with, and no major impact on the main storyline. So this episode was a wash for me. What do y’all think? Having said that, Congratulations to Alanna for her bouncing bundle of joy.

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Heath

This was the more interesting character from last night, but for completely off topic reasons. For most TV actors just starting out, they develop a following for their craft, then get pried away to bigger and better things. George Clooney. Chris Pratt. Countless others. This is where TWD has a different dilemma.

We see Heath at the beginning with Tara, but by commercial two, he gone. Peace out. Got other shows to do!

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Corey Hawkins, the actor portraying Heath, did not have a large body of work when he was cast. When I first saw him on screen as Heath, I was impressed. He seemed to be perfect casting in relation to his graphic novel blueprint. But a funny thing happened on the way to the Zombie Apocalypse. He made a little movie called Straight Outta Compton, where he played Dr. Dre, and he was rightfully praised for his acting chops. After that performance, he was cast as the new lead in 24: Legacy. And also the big budget action flick coming soon, Skull Island. So many choices, so little time.

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So this begs the question. When an actor no longer has the time to serve the TV show, do you try and work around the plot lines, or do you recast the role? Writing around Heath is severely hurting the character on the show. IMHO, they’re going about this the wrong way. We hadn’t seen Heath in so long, he hadn’t made a huge impact on the story yet, why let the show suffer from Corey Hawkins success when giving another actor the chance to play Heath would be easier on everyone. Does anyone care they replaced the mom on Fresh Prince of Bel Air? No. as Tyler Durden would yell at the Narrator “Just let go!”

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I’m sorry TWD fans. This is getting rough. But we’ve been through worse. As I texted with my podcast guest this upcoming week, Mr. Tyler Thompson himself Matt Tapia, this is shaping up to be the equivalent of Game of Thrones season 5. Lots of slog, lots of context, a few surprises along the way, but ultimately setting up the War that’s to come with Negan and the Saviors. If you have any questions or comments about this weeks snooze fest, or any in general, comment below or hit me up on Twitter @Bhmfire. Until then, Ta Ta…


Movie Posters Explained By Kids:  Winter 2016-17 Edition

Movie Posters Explained By Kids: Winter 2016-17 Edition

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In this Funkhouser series, I conduct spontaneous interviews with my daughters, “A” age 10 and “E” age 7, where they are shown an image of a theatrical movie poster and asked to share their insight in an attempt to decipher the forthcoming feature film’s plot.

Welcome to “Movie Posters Explained By Kids”.


Anonymous (December 2016)

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A:   “It’s a movie about a guy who keeps sending scary messages to people, and he gets so involved in it, the computer takes him over and he actually becomes the computer.”
E:   “He makes dare videos, or plays these games on people for a long time, like 99 months or like 100 hours.”

Best and Most Beautiful Things (December 2016)

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A:  “About a girl that’s blind who has a really hard time in life because she’s blind, and she’s really pretty too, but people cant see that.”

Sugar Mountain (December 2016)

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A:  “People who travel up the mountain, but it’s a trick, because it only has gold, jewels, diamonds and gems—not sugar!”
E:  “People that travel together and they all have cavities.  They find gold on Sugar Mountain, and they take it—it’s enough gold to pay to fix their cavities, but they don’t because they’re rotten.  The people…and the teeth.  So they betray each other and at the end everyone died because the mountain was cursed.”

The Brand New Testament (December 2016)

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A:  “Looks like it’s about a family, and they go on a really wild ride and find a gorilla.”
E:  “The family went on a vacation somewhere, but they were really all dead the whole time and they meet a gorilla in Heaven.  Now they can talk to the gorilla in like gorilla talk, but he’s mad because the family starts to get on his nerves because they’re complaining a lot—like about being dead—so he makes them come alive again.”

All We Had (December 2016)

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E:  “She needs a nap.” 
A:  “Girl that lost everything.  Maybe her family, her house, her bed, her car…and all that.”

Three Days in August (December 2016)

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A:  “The three most important days that happened in that month—the third day was special because either something good or bad is going to happen.”
E:  “Someone finds a nest and they get three wishes.  When the eggs hatch—watch out!”

Live By Night (January 2017)

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A:  “A detective movie, and he’s looking for some weird people but he’s kidnapped…”
E:  “It’s about…”
A:  “Hold up!  Dad, is this a remake of that stupid movie you made us watch?  The guy with the yellow hat and coat?  Not the guy that takes care of Curious George, whatever his name is.  He fights all those ugly people?  What was that called?  Ugh, I hated that movie.”

The Bye Bye Man (January 2017)

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A:  “Ooh he’s scary.  About this dead monster guy and like people who dream bad dreams, so he snatches them and writes on them so they remember what they dreamed about.”
E:  “A man who’s a monster who comes only in the morning time and says “bye bye”.  Then you’re dead.  I had a bad dream last night.  There was a great white, hammerheads, tiger sharks, reef sharks, bull sharks…they were all there.  They started chasing me.  It’s ’cause I saw The Shallows trailer!!  Why did you let me watch that?!?”
A:  “Dad, my friends have all seen it—it’s not that scary.  She’s being a baby!”

A Dogs Purpose (January 2017)

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A:  “He loves his owner and how he once saved his owner’s life.  Probably sad.”
E:  “It’s a nice dog, but he poops and pees everywhere.  He’s thinking, this is mine…mine…that’s mine—marking his territory.  That’s his plan.  That’s his purpose.”

Fifty Shades Darker (February 2017)

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E:  “A grown up girl, who’s like fifty years old, and she’s bad.  She dressed up for a costume party and ended up killing someone to stay young.”
A:  “A girl who went to a party and meets someone there.  He’s trying to kill her by making her darker by putting evil into her.”

Cure For Wellness (February 2017)

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A:  “Someone who isn’t very happy and they need a happiness cure.  Oh it’s rated R—that looks good.”
E:  “An old man who sells bad medicine—it’s actually fake—tastes like root-beer.  He puts a live fairy in the bottle.  He caught the fairy with a net because he’s fast—well sort of—I mean he’s an old man—so he’s very slow, but he’s also kinda quick.  Probably ’cause the medicine.  Oh would you like some medicine to cure that?  Oh, I have just the thang!”


Thanksgiving Traditions!

Thanksgiving Traditions!

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Hello, friends. Like me, you’ve probably noticed that today is Thanksgiving, and that many people around you at this very moment are either eating, waiting to eat or have already eaten. Go on, look around. I know; it’s like I just read your mind. You’re probably blown away, right?

Friends, we all have our family Thanksgiving traditions. One tradition at my house, for instance, involves eating turkey while watching Bill Cosby’s Ghost Dad, something we’ve done for the last, oh, I don’t know, number of years since Ghost Dad came out. But that’s just me. I reached out to some of my famous friends this year to see if they’d share some of our own and, on this holiday and I’d like to share them with you, because otherwise it wouldn’t have made any sense for me to do it. Enjoy the day, everyone, and a happy Thanksgiving from the KSR family to your own.

———

John Calipari
“Each year we all go around the table and say what we’re thankful for. It’s a good way to take stock in the blessings we have and enjoy those around us.”
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Avery Johnson
“My family all sits around a table and then I climb up a stack of encyclopedias, take my place at the head of the table and put on my acorn hat. Then I start to carve the turkey, which I do with a thumbtack and a little piece of glass. It takes five hours, and during that time we all think about how grateful we are.”
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Tom Crean
“Everyone enjoys a nice meal at our house, and we invite all of our extended family. Then we watch football. Then later, as each person leaves, I kiss them deeply on the mouth. It’s how our family does things.”
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Kevin Stalling
“Every year I make a big Thanksgiving dinner – a turkey, cranberry sauce, stuffing, potatoes, green beans, two pies – and secretly eat it in the closet while my family thinks I ran to the store for something. Then I hide the plates under a blanket and eat a lame Thanksgiving with my family where I only get, like, two plates of food.”
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Anthony Davis
“My cousin Phillip and I have a great thing worked out for Thanksgiving. I have extremely long arms and Phillip has extremely short arms, so we sit next to one another and I reach everything on the table with my long arms and bring it back to us and then he feeds both himself and me with his short arms. It works perfectly. Family ‘synergy’ in action!”
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Tom Brady
“My family and I invite everyone over to the house and we eat a dinner that my wife Gisele prepared herself – usually pureed ham with raw asparagus, ketchup with cut-up hot dogs mixed into it, some whole wheat bread slices and a pie made of leftover Halloween candy with wrappers she cooked into a pie crust for 45 minutes. We all just eat it and act like it’s delicious. My wife is a beautiful, famous model, not a professional chef.”
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Bobby Knight

“I usually make a delicious turkey and then when everyone in my family sits down to enjoy it I tell them that it’s stuffed with my disappointment in them. Everyone gets sad for a moment, but then they get happy when they taste it. The secret recipe in my disappointment is finely cubed green apples! Ssshhh! Don’t tell!”
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Rick Pitino
“I know everyone thinks the show on Thanksgiving is on the table, but to me the real action is underneath it. See what I’m doing? I’m winking. Do you see my winking? I think you totally get what I’m saying.”


Six Degrees of Separation: Pop Culture & Political Dinner Conversations

Six Degrees of Separation: Pop Culture & Political Dinner Conversations

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It is a scientific fact that all Thanksgiving day dinner conversations will lead to political discussions.  Like Kevin Bacon, political discussions are always less than six degrees of separation away from any conversation topic.  The minefield of political discussion makes the holidays more stressful.  There is always the specter of differing opinions looming over the dinner table.  Just to give you a heads up, here are a few of the potential examples of how good-natured conversations can turn into catastrophes within minutes.

Kardashians :

Kim Kardashian ➡️ Kanye West ➡️ Kanye 2020

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In pop culture, all roads lead to the Kardashians.  Whether the topic is brought up in regards to robberies, interesting baby names or meltdowns, the Kardashians are just three degrees of separation from bold predictions for the 2020 election.  We just closed the books on the 2016 election, but we might as well get started on the heated discussion of the next election.

The Walking Dead:

The Walking Dead ➡️ Negan ➡️ Baseball Bats ➡️ The Cubs ➡️ 3-1 Leads ➡️ Cleveland ➡️ Republican National Convention

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The Walking Dead is also another universal topic of conversation. I gave up on the show long ago, but I will never be able to shake Rick and his gang of goobers. It may seem, if you are trying to avoid WWIII at your dinner table, that this is a perfectly acceptable topic of conversation.  Well, it’s not.  The Walking Dead naturally settles at the Republican National Convention.  It will no longer become a lively conversation about zombies and cool swords, now you’re stuck talking about “borrowed” speeches and promises that we have all forgot.

Sports:

Dallas Cowboys ➡️ Tony Romo ➡️ Tony Roma’s ➡️ Ribs ➡️ “Ribbing” Someone ➡️ SNL’s Alec Baldwin

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Sometimes, sports seem like a no-risk option for polite conversation.  Did you hear that one story about the church that showed the Cowboys game during their morning service? Crazy, right? Well, thanks to that delightful anecdote, now you’re stuck debating whether Alec Baldwin’s “ribbing” of Donald Trump on SNL is appropriate or if it changed to outcome of the election.

Gilmore Girls: 

Gilmore Girls ➡️ Coffee ➡️ Caffeine-induced-fast talking ➡️ Best talkers ➡️ Donald Trump

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If you’re like me, the only conversation worth having this week is counting down the days till Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life.  This is the only topic of conversation that is on my docket.   Naturally, this quick-talking and witty discussion will lead to who is the “best talker,” which will remind everyone at the table of all of Trump’s self-proclaimed accolades.   This conversation  is the the only thing that could make me regret bringing up a conversation about sweet Rory and Loralei. 

She’s All That: 

She’s All That ➡️ “Kiss Me” ➡️ Sixpence None the Richer ➡️ Mike Pence

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As a test, I wanted to try an older piece of pop culture,  to see if the recency bias factored into the six degree rule.   I wanted to see if anything would naturally lend itself to a political diatribe.  So, I went with the cinematic masterpiece, She’s All That.  It was too easy.  And now, not only have you landed on the least desirable topic of conversation, you’ll be singing about the “milky twilight” for days.

Water will naturally find its level and conversation will ultimately land on the topic you least want.  It is a proven fact.  You might as well load up on the turkey and dressing, no one wants to have a political discussion on an empty stomach.


Coaching Change

Coaching Change

On Monday news broke that Jurgen Klinsmann had been fired from his post as USMNT coach.  This news wasn’t surprising given the recent results that the USMNT have suffered and Klinsmann’s increasingly touchy press appearances.  It is disappointing though, considering that there have been some obvious strides made in making U.S. soccer a respectable presence on the international stage.  In the ten years that I’ve considered myself an invested soccer fan there have been some quality moments like beating Spain in the Confederation Cup (2009), beating Mexico in Mexico City for the first time (2012), or my personal favorite: the Landon Donovan goal against Algeria to advance past group stage in the 2010 World Cup.  When Klinsmann took over in 2011 it felt like the US was poised to take the next step.  In the 2014 World Cup the U.S. played well and were a Wondo missed chip shot away from advancing to the quarterfinals.  There has been some other moderate successes in international play, but that next step never really came.

In the last month they’ve lost to Mexico and Costa Rica (whom they beat 4-0 earlier this summer) and the wheels look like they’ve come off a bit so Klinsmann was understandably let go.  The best part of any coach getting fired is the ensuing coaching search.  Though Bruce Arena has been tapped to return to his old post, there are some other coaches which should get a look from U.S. Soccer.  Here are five coaches (not necessarily soccer coaches, but a little unconventional approach can be good) who have proven their ability to take teams from below average to championship caliber:

Danny O’Shea

Little Giants (1994) Directed by Duwayne Dunham Shown: Rick Moranis

Sport: Little League Football

O’Shea was always in the shadow of his brother, football star Kevin.  Danny decided to challenge Kevin’s supremacy as a little league football coach after Kevin refused to let Danny’s daughter Becky “The Icebox” O’Shea on the team despite her obvious talent.  Coaching a team of underwhelming misfits, O’Shea was able to inspire and motivate his Little Giants to the biggest upset in little league football history.  With O’Shea’s ability to motivate and willingness to try unorthodox methods (Annexation of Puerto Rico, anyone?) he could certainly be just what the USMNT needs right now to take the world by storm.

Tom Palmer/Anne Montgomery

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Sport: Little League Soccer

Sheriff Tom and Miss Anne are responsible for one of the biggest turnarounds in soccer history.  They successfully transformed the struggling Big Green from the laughingstock of Elma, TX into a championship team.  This coaching duo succeeds through Miss Anne’s knowledge of the sport (from growing up in England) and Sheriff Tom’s ability to scout local talent (Juan).  This foundation of strategy and scouting is just what the USMNT needs to continue to grow as a soccer program.

Patches O’Houlihan

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Sport: Dodge Ball

Patches is a wily veteran whose advice would surely impact the USMNT.  The seven-time ADAA All-Star’s gruff coaching style serves as motivation not only to succeed but also to stay alive.  Patches only wants winners on his team so he would naturally find the bigger, stronger players and put them through an intense training regimen to churn out ruthless killers on the soccer pitch.  After all, like dodge ball, soccer is a game of violence, exclusion, and degradation.  The turnaround Patches created with Average Joe’s is nothing short of amazing and with actual professional soccer players the potential would be unlimited.

George Knox/ Al the Boss Angel

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Sport: Major League Baseball

Somewhere out in the country a little kid is asking his dad when they will be a family again.  If the guy is a deadbeat who has no interest in their kids then they’ll likely respond with “When the USMNT wins the World Cup”.  Every once in a while, though, miracles do come true.  For the USMNT to get their miracle they need to hire George Knox and the band of angels led by Al.  There isn’t any exceptional coaching or talent required with this combo.  In fact, it’s blatantly cheating to use angels to compensate for lack of skill and talent.  For one magical World Cup though, it’d be nice to see a ball defy the laws of physics and go into a goal because an angel was carrying it or to see an opposing penalty kicker completely whiff on the ball because an angel moved it out of the way.  Then, after the USMNT wins, that previously mentioned kid will still be spurned by their father but end up with a better family anyway.

Gordon Bombay

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Sport: Little League Hockey

Perhaps nobody is better fit to coach the USMNT than Mighty Ducks’ coach Gordon Bombay.  Sure he has a background in hockey, but hockey is just a faster paced soccer except it’s on ice and has fewer people and a smaller playing area.  Still, there’s a goalie and games are typically low-scoring so it’s close enough.  Bombay has a history of turning around underachieving teams on both the domestic and international levels.  He can obviously discover talent, as evidenced by his discovery of the Bash Brothers and Russ Tyler (of knucklepuck fame).  He also is a stickler for finding rules that benefit his teams, like when he learned that the “cake-eater” Adam Banks should be playing for his team instead of the cross-town rivals.  This ability to find advantages when there seemingly are none is another strategic advantage to having Bombay.  Above everything else though is that Bombay instills a strong team unity in his teams.  Despite the egos and clashing personalities, at the end of the day “Ducks fly together” and that’s what the USMNT needs.

 


The Walking Dead Episode Recap: “Go Getters”

The Walking Dead Episode Recap: “Go Getters”

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This recap is written by Funkhouser guest features writer Brad Morris.
I love it when my previous career comes back into my life. Being a firefighter and paramedic for almost 13 years was a fulfilling way to make a living. And with tonight’s show, I got to see some fire, and also hear people spewing medical terms. Having said that, let’s talk about our many characters we got to see on this weeks “Go Getters”.

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Maggie

Maggie looks pretty rough when she wakes up in the medical trailer, but not nearly as bad as when she was leaving the scene of her husbands murder. Dr. Carson, whose location at the Hilltop started this whole storyline, explained that Maggie and the baby were going to be just fine. Maggie’s cramping was due to abruptio placentae, a real medical condition where the placenta becomes separated from the uterus. Potentially a horrible condition, but this doesn’t slow Maggie down. We see her stand up to both the horde of walkers sent into Hilltop, and to Gregory and his male chauvinism. She proclaims for the first time her last name is Rhee, forever connected to Glen. It’s clear from this episode that Maggie will soon take over leadership of this community from…

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Gregory

Gregory is the worst kind of leader in this world, a coward. From not knowing anyone’s name, to trying to kick out good people because they threaten his authority, Gregory exudes trouble waiting to happen. Of course he tried to sell out the refugees, and was met with the loss of his liquor stash. What happens to Gregory from here will be swift and possibly deadly for him. Kudos to Xander Berkeley for his performance, because I really hate his character.

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🙏🏼Jesus🙏🏼

Jesus is a man of action, but Gregory has put the reins on him for some reason. When the Saviors gift the Hilltop with a walker bonfire and loud music, he’s frozen because of his obligations. Thankfully, Maggie snaps him free with her directions. His kung fu is strong. And his sense of loyalty to saving people is on full display when he hides Maggie and Sasha from the Saviors. We’d been waiting for Jesus to show off his skills, and thankfully we got to see that this week. Let’s see what happens on the road trip with…

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Carl

I see that Carl got his driving prowess from his mother. If you can’t hit a dartboard with six shots, you shouldn’t be driving in the zombie apocalypse. We did get to see his budding relationship with Enid grow into a date with several teenage cliches. Holding hands, roller skating, and first kiss. Just not sure jumping in the back of the Sanctuary bound box truck with only a knife is a great idea. But it does bring back a Season 2 question… “Where’s Carl?” “Not in the house.”

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Simon

I like Simon! While he is a Savior, and Negan’s right hand man, he does it with bravado. And he doesn’t seem to be quite as mean spirited as Negan can be. Let’s hope he can stick around for awhile.

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There were other minor going ons in the episode. Sasha asked to stay and pay Maggie’s way into the Hilltop. We did see that Richonne is still strong, even if they’re mad at each other. And A A Ron is going out with Rick on a supply run. After our blast off from the season opener, we’ve slowed down each and every week. Let’s hope we’re rewarded for our patience soon. We’ll see you this week for our Thanksgiving Podcast. Enjoy stuffing yourself. Ta Ta.

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Behind the Glass Curtain:  New PBS Series ‘Soundbreaking’ Underscores the Art of the Record Producer

Behind the Glass Curtain: New PBS Series ‘Soundbreaking’ Underscores the Art of the Record Producer

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“When I first started, the ideal for any recording engineer, was to make the most life-like sound he could possibly do.  To make a photograph that was absolutely accurate to the live version.  Well, the studio changed all that.  Instead of taking a photograph, we were now painting a picture, over a picture, adding layers on top of layers.  You were now, in essence—painting with sound.”

There’s a historic sketch on SNL—you know the one—where music producer Bruce Dickenson, yes, THE Bruce Dickenson, played by Christopher Walken, presides over the recording session of Blue Öyster Cult’s 1976 song “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper”.  Walken, not only looks the part of an eccentric genius, complete with slicked back hair, tinted aviator glasses, and a leather jacket, but also in his attitudes and the unconventional direction he proposes to the band.  “You have got, what appears to be, a dynamite sound”, Dickenson exclaims, but after the band abruptly stops playing multiple times, citing bandmate, Gene Freckle’s (Will Ferrell), incessant and emphatic use of a cowbell, an angry Dickenson barges into the studio demanding answers, and also—strangely enough—“more cowbell”, much to the chagrin of the other bandmates.  While the band, initially resist the producer’s peculiar intuition, they eventually accept his suggestion for the fabled track—complete with the now unabating and prominent sound of a cowbell—making the song the band’s most memorable and biggest commercial success.

Despite being a parody, there’s a lot of truth imbedded in Walken’s portrayal of the idiosyncratic—man behind the curtain—music producer, and the influence and overall impact that these sometimes, larger-than-life characters have on an artist’s work.  Music producers have always been a bit of an enigma.  One third ringmasters, two thirds Willy Wonka-esque Svengali’s—they’re as renowned, as they are reviled. Some of whom are complete with egos just as big as the musical acts they work alongside.  Regardless, from the earliest Edisonian beginnings of recorded sound, there’s been a handful of conduits—musical explorers rather—from across a landscape of distinct and sometimes, nebulous genres, who have fearlessly dared to step beyond the known boundaries of sound, embarking on a journey to discover uncharted territories, through unconventional recording techniques and new technological processes.  Collaborating with artists to turn their dreams into realized artifacts.  Two powerful gravitational forces colliding, creating some of the most indelible songs and albums ever recorded, causing a transformational tear in the sonic universe, forever altering music and history as we know it.  These real-life accounts are captured in Soundbreaking:  Stories From the Cutting Edge of Recorded Music, an engrossing eight-part PBS series which takes audiophiles inside the studio, exploring some of your favorite artists and the influential producers behind the glass.

From musician Les Paul’s innovative multi-track recordings to George Martin’s ground-breaking Frankensteinian collaborations with The Beatles, the show is a virtual tapestry of the recording arts—a history lesson which crosses back-and-forth in time, connecting innovators of the past with contemporary artists and producers like Dr. Dre and Bon Iver.  The personalities are here, and so are their methods: magnetic tape, overdubbing, layering, amplification, distortion, oscillating space, sampling, scratching, electric, acoustic, organic, and yes, even Auto-Tune.  Through a series of intimate interviews and footage, with the singer-songwriters and the producers themselves, the documentary helps audiences understand the how—just enough without exposing the magic—behind some of your favorite or possibly loathsome songs, albums and musical genres.

ADELE • CHRISTINA AGUILERA • AFRIKA BAMBAATAA • THE BEACH BOYS • THE BEASTIE BOYS • THE BEATLES • THE BEE GEES • JEFF BECK• BECK • BEYONCÉ • THE BLACK KEYS • BLONDIE • BON IVER • JAMES BROWN • JOHNNY CASH • NENEH CHERRY • CHER • CHIC • CREAM • ROGER DALTREY • MILES DAVIS • DEVO • DR DRE • SHEILA E. • BRIAN ENO • PAUL EPWORTH • THE EURYTHMICS • FLEETWOOD MAC • MARVIN GAYE • NIGEL GODRICH • THE GRATEFUL DEAD • BEN HARPER • JIMI HENDRIX • MICHAEL JACKSON • ELTON JOHN • QUINCY JONES • LITTLE RICHARD • MADONNA • GEORGE MARTIN • PAUL McCARTNEY• JONI MITCHELL • GIORGIO MORODER • TOM PETTY • PINK FLOYD • PUBLIC ENEMY • BONNIE RAITT • MERRILL GARBUS • LES PAUL • RADIOHEAD • SMOKEY ROBINSON • NILE RODGERS • MARK RONSON • THE ROLLING STONES • RICK RUBIN • RUN D.M.C. • RZA • CARLOS SANTANA • FRANK SINATRA • SLY AND THE FAMILY STONE • PHIL SPECTOR • DONNA SUMMER • RINGO STARR • U2 • SUZANNE VEGA • DON WAS • KANYE WEST • AMY WINEHOUSE • THE WHO • STEVIE WONDER • WU TANG CLAN • YUSUF/CAT STEVENS • STEVEN VAN ZANDT

So whether you’re a music aficionado like me, or simply a person “who puts your pants on, one leg at a time—except, once your pants are on you happen to make gold records”, this show’s for you!

The first episode aired on 11/14/16 and the series will conclude on 11/23/16.  Watch them as they drop here.  Once you do, share your favorite moments, songs or albums featured in the series.

Rock on!


KSR’s Funkhouser is Featured in The Atlantic

There are several things that indicate you’ve made it.  Having your article featured in The Atlantic is definitely one of them.

An article in the latest edition of The Atlantic titled “Finding Meaning in the Mannequin Challenge” prominently features a portion of Megan Suttles’ Funkhouser piece “Why The Mannequin Challenge is the Most 2016 Thing Ever.”

You can go further with the reach for significance if you’re in the mood for a low-stakes Twitter fight. Megan Suttles at Kentucky Sports Radio compares the meme to such attention-seeking millennial pleasures as “going to brunch on Sunday or getting the donuts with the prettier sprinkles,” epitomizing “our dependence on technology and documenting life experiences and not actually experiencing them,” and reminding us of the general crappiness of human beings in the fact that the people in the videos can’t even manage to not blink for a minute.

You do bomb dot com Megan.  As the kids say, Real Recognize Real.


The Entertation Index: November 14-18

The Entertation Index: November 14-18

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Each week KSR’s Funkhouser collects the best of pop culture. The Entertation Index collects the best of the week for your consumption.

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Abrams, J.J. — The Star Wars director and television auteur has decided to branch out into the footlights of Broadway as he’s set to bring London’s West End hit The Play That Goes Wrong to the Great White Way. Presumably this outing will be a bigger hit than Abrams’ last stage play, which was an adaptation of Lost that lasted 95 hours and at the end made everyone get up and walk across the street to a church.
Link: Abrams to Make Broadway Producing Debut on “The Play That Goes Wrong”

Danza, Tony — Like me, many of you were probably wondering what Tony Danza thought of last week’s election. Turns out that, as he tells the New York Daily News, there “needs to be some kind of healing.” Danza then went on to explain that there’s a time for love and a time for living, that we take the chance and face the wind, that there’s an open road and a road that’s hidden and that there’s a brand new life around the bend.
Link: Tony Danza Talks Donald Trump, the American Motto and How the Election Has Divided the US.

Dynasty, Duck — Long-running A&E reality show Duck Dynasty has announced that its upcoming 11th season will be its last, ending a long and successful run for Louisiana’s Robertson family. Presumably the reason for the series’ end is that in 2017 colorful stars Phil and Si Robertson are slated to become a Supreme Court Justice and Secretary of State, respectively.
Link: “Duck Dynasty Calls it a Wrap, Says Current Season Is Its Last”

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Ill, Licensed to — Tuesday marked the thirty-year anniversary of the seminal Beastie Boys debut Licensed to Ill, which became the first rap album to reach the Billboard Top 200 and launched the trio on a path which would land them in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Let’s celebrate with a little Paul Revere, shall we?
Link: Paul Revere — Licensed to Ill

Kepler — Located nearly 5,000 light years from planet earth, scientists at Germany’s Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research published this week in the magazine Science Advances that the star Kepler is, to their knowledge, the roundest object ever discovered in the universe. This discovery bumps Kim Kardashian’s butt, which was previously thought to hold the title. BAM! Big butt joke! Classy stuff.
Link: Scientists Discover Roundest Thing Ever Spotted in the Universe

Music Festival, Stagecoach — California’s hugely popular Lollapalooza-for-Country-Music festival Stagecoach has announced its stacked 2017 lineup, which will next year feature Dierks Bentley, Shania Twain, Willie Nelson, Kenny Chesney and more superstars. Also on the schedule is Kiefer Sutherland, not so much for his recent country album as just in case a vial of deadly chemicals are released on a visiting Bulgarian delegate in the audience during Travis Tritt’s performance on Stage C.
Link: Shania Twain, Dierks Bentley to Headline Stagecoach 2017

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Sandman, Enter — In case you missed it, Metallica visited Late Night with Jimmy Fallon earlier this week and recorded a specialized version of “Enter Sandman” with the roots. Top notch stuff.
Link: Jimmy Fallon, Metallica & The Roots Sing Enter Sandman