KSR’s take on recent non sports related happenings
Zumbo’s Just Desserts is like the Great British Baking Show but on acid. The Netflix show, set in Australia, uses Zumbo’s fanciful desserts as inspiration for baking challenges. Presumably, Zumbo is some sort of household name in the land down under. Since there are so many baking and cooking shows on TV it’s hard to be shocked by something innovative. The Great British Baking Show, Holiday Baking Challenge, Top Chef, Food Network Star and Chopped have all settled their own corner on the market. But, Zumbo’s Just Desserts has managed to craft something unique and different. The recipe for a Zumbo’s Just Desserts episode is as follows:
- 1 cup Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory
- 20 lbs of dry ice for dramatic effect
- A pinch of obscure Australian references
- Two heaping spoonful’s of slow motion photography
- Stir counterclockwise (Cause, Australia) till well mixed!
Zumbo embraces all things quirky and whimsical. The participant’s professions seem to embody this commitment to all things odd. Here are some of the amateur baker’s professions:
- Brogen (a stay at home mum)
- Michael (Brickie)
- Ashley (airline crewing)
- Wendy (art lover)
- Daniel (Bouncer)
- Peter (Car Salesman)
- Kate (No-nonsense Mum)
- Patricia (Eternal Optimist)
The bakers are a ragtag group of dessert-enthusiasts who say things like “I like the feel of flour on my skin” or seem slightly unhinged.
The show culminates with the Zumbo Test. The test, while tragically named, is perfectly designed. The bottom two contestants are given a dessert, created by Zumbo, to recreate. The dessert is presented under a dome veiled by dry ice clouds. The presentation is overly dramatic because the moment is dramatic. The bottom two contestants have to sweat under the lights for four hours while trying to imitate Zumbo’s masterpiece. The rest of the contestants get to sit for four hours and silently judge their competitors skills. It is deliciously satisfying to watch amateurs mimic the techniques of master Pastry chefs. The glorious catastrophe of watching regular people attempts gels, sablees, salted caramel curd, mirror glaze, and 1,000 other techniques is exactly what Zumbo’s Just Desserts is about.
In the end, the contestants made two mirror glazed raisins that looked like deflated examples of Zumbo’s creation. The end results are pitiful creations made with good intentions and inexperience.
Overall, Zumbo’s personality is bland, but what he lacks in personality he makes up in creativity, pizzazz and showmanship. Similarly, his contestants are amateur bakers, but what they lack in skills they make up in quirky personalities and determination.
It’s the best.
Welcome back viewers! It has been an unusual start to Season 8 of TWD so far. We talked about the problems in the first episode 2 weeks ago. Last week was so off kilter I couldn’t come up with a review that felt halfway right, so after a week off, let’s talk about the characters and ongoings of Rick and his war on the Saviors. Negan is still trapped by Walkers at The Sanctuary with his gang and Gabriel. That leaves the frontal assault on the alleged gun hideout and other outposts. There are 3 main groups that have split the team up, bogging each of them down in different ways. Here is a look at what each one is dealing with.
The Kingdom: Ezekiel, Carol, good guy Jerry, random warriors, and Shiva
The King has led his group, along with ass kicking Carol, to fight against outposts that have been warned of their approach. Ezekiel has been his Shakespearean best before these conflicts which arise beyond the horizon! Sorry, got carried away. Which I think is the point for Ezekiel. His bravado shown to his troops has truly put their fears to rest as they attempt to take the fight to the Saviors. Waving his sword around, chatting with Carol along the way, even the little conflict last week with the grenade throwing Savior have placed his group in a battle frame of mind. The strategy Carol comes up with works out for the Kingdom, saving them from an ambush. Their first battle appears to be won, but alas! Hark! Scatter! They have a… Yeah, moving across an open field is never a good choice in war. In Carol and Ezekiel’s defense, they believed the big gun was at another outpost. Watching the warriors jumping on top of Ezekiel shows how much he means to them in a weird Save The King! way. We shall see if Carol can save the group by infiltrating the compound all by herself.
The Hilltop: Jesus, Morgan, Tara, group fighters, and lots of prisoners
This is the group of the show that had Twitter in a tizzy last night. I’ll discuss Twitter at the end to not get side tracked, but this was a difficult portion of the show. I don’t understand how people can watch a moral debate and crap on it so much. I’ll give you some of the dialogue was pretty cheesy, which seems to be an unfortunate theme this season. However, this has always been a part of the show. The debate between Tara, Jesus, and Morgan of what to do with the captured Saviors is the context of this groups portion of the show. Walkers falling down the hill was entertaining. Morgan’s insistence on taking out the prisoners led to a fight with Jesus. The fight was actually well done, even with the eventual Morgan leaving the group. His demons have been unleashed again, not in a good way. This group is walking that fine line of morality of kill or be compassionate to your enemy. It really isn’t until Jesus says, “We have to live with these people after its all over.” that the main point is made. The Apocalypse is a civil war in a way. Every one of these people are ‘Muricans by God! With so few people left, every one of them means something for the way forward. Let us just hope Morgan comes back quicker than his 5 seasons between appearances this time.
Alexandrians: Rick, Daryl, Aaron, Eric, Tobin, and fighters
To someone who has watched the show from the beginning, to have an original season 1 character pop up was cool. Hey Morales! How’s it been going? Oh, your whole family died and you suck now. It was a great, quick chat Rick and Morales have. It shows you the that no matter what group you belong to, you can be seen as a monster from a certain point of view. Daryl’s thoughts on the whole kill or be kind debate is easily answered. Aaron losing Eric is heart breaking. We should all be that upset over the loss of your partner in life. Aaron clearly has plenty of guilt over the death, especially since it was his idea to join the fight. Taking over care of the discovered baby at the end of the episode was odd, yet it could show his heart is in the fight fo all the right reasons. Rick and Daryl appear to be headed off to save Ezekiel and Carol with the knowledge the guns they believed they were going after are actually at the outpost the Kingdom is attacking.
Loose Ends and Random Thoughts
The brief scenes with Maggie and Gregory worked well. Maggie has shown she is the true leader of the Hilltop now. I had no idea pancakes were such a hot commidity at the Hilltop. The Walker eating someone’s bald head was the kill of the week. Where are the Heapsters? After being heavily involved at the end of season 7, not a bad haircut has been spotted so far this year. Morales showing up, while brief, was a nice nod to the earlier incarnation of the show. I think he talked more in this episode than all of season 1.
Twitter and Trolls
Finally, a quick thought on Twitter and trolls. I know this season hasn’t gotten off to the best start for viewers, and something that has become a trend is to totally crap on a show when people think it has jumped the shark. Granted I like having informed discussion about TWD, but last night was a quagmire of hate. To be honest, I didn’t watch until this morning, yet I followed on Twitter to see reactions. This may become the new normal for this post, to say I can stay outside of the mob mentality. Was Monsters the best episode? No it wasn’t. Was it total crap that viewers said it was? I disagree. There was plenty of action, much better context, and some moral dilemas to hash out. For anyone still sticking with the show, this post will return every Monday! Let me know your thoughts in the comments. We can follow all the differences that we have as fans. Until next Monday, ta ta.
You can follow me on Twitter @BradTheMedic02
I saw an ad this week for Denzel Washington’s new movie Roman J. Israel, Esq. It got me thinking.
In the last couple of years, I’ve read a lot of books about the way the human brain works. For one thing, I hope that understanding the brain will help me assess my own biases and behaviors more accurately so that I can be more aware of potential flaws in my thinking. For another thing, it’s fun to read about how predictably, demonstrably stupid most of us are.
Our idiocy has a whole lot of troubling and important side effects, and those deserve all of the attention that social scientists can give them. But the brain’s hidden workings also impact a whole bunch of innocuous parts of life, at least one of which I feel qualified to say something about.
A quick lesson: people are hugely susceptible to a phenomenon called priming. Basically, priming is when one seemingly unrelated action changes our behavior through the power of suggestion.
For example, people who read a passage filled with words associated with old age or decrepitude tend to walk more slowly afterwards than people who read a passage filled with more neutral language.
The entertainment industry knows that priming works. That’s why so much thought goes into designing movie posters and creating trailers: studios want to prime our brains so that anticipation is maximized and we convince ourselves (with minimal evidence) that we’re going to enjoy their product. It doesn’t always work, but by the time you realize you’ve been misled, you’ve probably already bought a ticket.
The people who market movies and TV shows to us are exceedingly good at leveraging what they know about priming to generate buzz and get people’s eyeballs pointed where they want them to go.
Except when they’re not. Because here’s the thing: priming works both ways, and the history of film and TV is littered with instances of poor priming sabotaging any chance that a particular work had of success, or, at the very least, putting them at a tremendous disadvantage.
The most obvious priming-related sin a movie (for example) can commit, of course, is having a bad title. Or, more specifically, having a character’s name as the title, which is the worst kind of bad title a movie can have. You know what’s a great movie? Michael Clayton. It’s a George Clooney vehicle about an attorney who uncovers a massive corporate conspiracy and goes to war with the people who’ve orchestrated it. It got great reviews, starred one of the biggest names in the industry, and was directed by the guy who wrote the first three Bourne movies, yet I’m not sure I’ve ever talked to another human who’s seen it.
I remember recommending it to one of my biggest film buff friends shortly after it came out, but he said he didn’t have much interest in it. His reasoning? The title. Michael Clayton gave him no sense of what the movie might be about, and no real reason to care. It provided no context, and so it just sort of drifted from his mind whenever he thought about what he might want to see next. You might not buy this. You might argue that all he would have to do is watch one trailer for the movie to overcome whatever damage the blah title had done. But we can’t control the effect that priming has on us. That’s the whole point of studying it. Its impact is almost entirely unconscious, and, all else being equal, it can be the thing that tips the scales of our behavior.
Even titles that don’t seem to have much to do with their movies are better than just using a character’s name, because they can at least be suggestive and give our brains room to fill in blanks. Something like Zero Dark Thirty might mean nothing to a prospective viewer, but at least it makes us say, “What a weird title. What does that mean?” But a movie named after one of its characters? Unless it’s a biopic about a very famous person (Ray, Ali, Patton), you’re priming your audience to ignore your movie.
Which brings me, belatedly, back to Denzel Washington’s new movie, Roman J. Israel, Esq. I have to refer to it this way, in case you were wondering, because there’s a decent chance that unless I include its star’s name when describing it, you will have already forgotten that Roman J. Israel, Esq. is a movie. And despite what you might assume, it doesn’t help at all that the name is slightly quirky. If anything, it just makes things worse. Not only does it provide no context (except that the character is a lawyer), but it’s strange enough to not come easily to mind. I’ve had to look the title up twice just while writing this. I’ve seen the trailer three times and am still having a hard time recalling much about it, other than Denzel’s changing hairstyle/glasses combinations.
Now, none of this is to say that movies named after characters are bad, or that I have no interest in seeing them. But in an age when movies have to compete more fiercely than ever with streaming, VOD, and the easy distraction of smart phones, you’d think that studios would want to give their product every advantage.
Instead, they’re priming their audiences to ignore the very thing they’re trying to promote.
You hear that? It sounds like another amazing episode of The Funkhouser Situation. This week, LEX18’s Hayley Harmon makes a special guest appearance that leads Chris and Lee to a discussion about all of the exciting things that happened in pop culture from 2003. Other highlights include…
— Lee Cruse is a Halloween curmudgeon.
— Another ridiculous update on Kevin James’ sitcom.
— The dynamic duo’s favorite players in the World Series.
— What is Tomlin’s problem with Steely Dan?
— Lee shares his love for Pirates of the Caribbean.
You can easily listen on the KSR App, available on iTunes and Google Play. Streaming online is simple through Pod Paradise. You can also get it directly to your phone by subscribing to “Kentucky Sports Radio” on iTunes or via Android’s Podcast Addict app.
By Megan Suttles on ©November 01st, 2017 @ 9:00am
They say you should write what you know. I know that on November 5th, 2017, I will be using my extra daylight saving time hour by purchasing Hearth & Hand items. H&H, the Magnolia Homes/Fixer Upper/Joanna Gaines brand for Target, has items available for preview, but won’t be available for purchase till this Sunday. The preview allows consumers to pre-game their strategy for the upcoming release date. How early should I begin my camp out in front of Target? Does the lady in line in front of me look like a fast sprinter? How aggressive do I want to be for a name card holder? In short, is the Hearth & Home brand worth the hassle?
Verdict: A Mild Disappointment
Not all the items available at Target are home runs. There are a few pieces that the world could live without. For example, Joanna Gaines may have overestimated America’s love for goat-centric decorations. Also, the collection uses a consistent color-scheme of black and white stripes with hunter green accents. The overall effect is a Starbucks/Prison work release vibe. Regardless, the main concern with the Hearth & Hand experiment is that the brand would be too much exposure for the Gaines. With the news that this will be the last season of Fixer Upper, I’ll take whatever exposure I can get.
Verdict: A Guilty Pleasure
In reality, none of these items are necessary, but what is fascinating is how cute frivolous items can be. Wreaths that are 75% complete = delightful! House shaped cookie cutters = need. Malformed dinner plates = manufactured artistry! The collection even has a category called, “giftables.” I wasn’t aware that there was a word fancier than gifts and presents combined. (In theory, I believe that all things can be “giftables”) However you wrap it, each piece of Hearth & Hand has the potential to brighten someone’s day.
Verdict: Worth It
A fortune cookie once told me, “Sometimes the anticipation of a big thing makes the actual thing seem small.” Overall, the anticipation of Hearth & Hand looks like it will be worth the wait. The collection promises to “add some nostalgia to your child’s playthings” with a vintage dollhouse. And even though I desperately want to hate on a toy that brings “nostalgia” to toddlers, the result is so sweet it’s impossible to hate.
Along with the Starbucks/Prison Work Release vibe, H&H also continues with a simple house motif. The simplistic look, perfected by the Shakers, is clean. The minimalist construction of one square house with one triangle roof is calming. The clean lines remind me of when I used to draw one square house with one triangle roof. The house motif adds some nostalgia to remind me of my child playthings.
Oh I see what they did there.
It’s hard to properly judge these pieces before you can actually get your hands on them. Sometimes you need to feel the heft of a good giftable before you gauge if they were worth all the hype. If you need me, on Sunday morning, I’ll be doing just that.
It’s that time of year again! It’s the time for people to pair their love of dress up with their favorite piece of pop culture. Over the year, I’ve saved all of the best trends, characters and iconic moments from 2017, just so you can have the most perfectly relevant costume at whichever monster mash you attend! I’m sure you’ll win the Most Original Costume trophy while everyone else is dressed as Wonder Woman or Sexy Pennywise. (It’s a thing!)
Best Costume For Infants – Literal Baby Driver
Items Needed: A baby, A baby carrier, Baby Steering Wheel, Cool Ray Bans, Iphone headphones, The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion Blaring.
This costume will help you weed out who you actually want to talk to at the party. If they haven’t seen Baby Driver, then they can go talk to the twelve other people dressed as Eleven in the corner. Be sure to perfect the perfect Baby Driver snarl to complete your look.
Best Couples Costume – BBC Interview Girl
Items Needed: A man who is all business, a charming girl (or lady for couples!) in yellow
Nothing brings me more joy than this viral video. I love the dad who just wants to talk about South Korean politics. I love girl #1 who strolls in with the most confidence ever seen. I love girl #2 who’s gone rogue in a stroller. I love the Mom who tries to casually crawl behind the husband to protect his stodgy reputation.
I need this costume to happen. We must not allow ourselves to forget.
Most Regional Specific – Ellen Calipari
Items Needed: A tasteful turtleneck, A Brad Calipari jersey, A fresh Mom Cut, Dangling Silver Earrings, the quiet confidence that you possess the greatest brownie recipe ever known.
Most likely, the first woman of UK would not be recognizable outside of the tri-state area. It’s best to keep this costume confined to the Bluegrass state, otherwise you might be confused with someone’s aunt who has earned, not given.
Most Fabulous – Beyonce’s Pregnancy Announcement
Items Needed: An elaborate floral arrangement, a mossy green veil, maroon undergarments
Although it seems like years ago since Beyonce dropped her iconic pregnancy announcement, the actual post came in February. Which means, it’s fair game for Halloween 2017! Pregnant women will probably have a better time being recognized with this costume.
Most Likely to Make Others Uncomfortable – Sexy Mr. Clean
Items Needed: white eyebrows, piercing blue eyes, a single gold earring, fitted white tee, a mop (obviously.)
Sexy Mr. Clean makes everyone around him uncomfortable. Perhaps that’s how he gets rid of germs. When Mr. Clean 2.0 was released in 2017, I knew he was bound to be the inspiration for many costumes.
Most Basic/Horrifying – Unicorn Frappuccino
Items Needed: Unicorn Head, glitter, basic Starbucks costume, more glitter, pink feather boa.
In April 2017, if you were honest with yourself, you considered getting a Unicorn Frappuccino. Whether your motives were ironic or good-intentioned, the Frappuccino was a sweet symbol of fantasy, prediabetes and over priced drinks. Although the drink is gone, but not forgotten, the Unicorn Frappuccino Costume will help the dream live on for one more night.
Most 2017 – Snapchat Hot dog Man
Items Needed: Hot dog costume, green headphones, hot dog eyebrows(!?)
No one asked for a Hot dog wearing headphones with weird little wiener joints, but we got one anyway. Snapchat’s most exciting protein would make a great addition to your Halloween wardrobe.
Least Recognizable – The Distracted Boyfriend Meme
Items Needed: Three participants, red tank top, plaid short sleeve button up, creepy whistle/cat call, light blue tank top, a look of utter disgust
No one will guess what your costume is, but as long as you know that going in, it will be fun to watch people flounder. It’s also a conversation starter. People will love explaining their favorite version to you! Here’s mine!
Most Open to Interpretation – Covfefe
Items Needed: Coffee with fefe?, negative press?, IDK
The is a huge amount of artistic license for those who want to be, wear or embody covfefe. At the very least, a “Hello, my name is Covfefe” name tag will suffice.
Most Intrusive – Solar Eclipse
Items Needed: eclipse glasses, all black attire, commitment to standing in front “the sun.”
Where were you when the great eclipse of 2017 happened? Probably standing outside wondering, “is this it?” Regardless of your geographical location, this costume should get you a path of totality right to the Best Costume Award. The key is “eclipsing” others throughout the night (i.e. standing directly in front of others.)
Happy Haunting Y’All!
By C.M. Tomlin on ©October 28th, 2017 @ 10:43pm
If you’re like me, you only know enough about what is fondly considered “nerd culture” to make conversation for a little while before it’s very clear that you don’t know a lot about what you’re talking about. It’s a good thing I have wonderful friends who do, and they’re very patient with me. Now they’re willing to do the same for you.
You all know Cameraman Daniel, who works with Hey Kentucky! and who has been dragged around the country with Matt, Drew and Ryan. On Friday, Daniel launched his new podcast Nerds for Normal People, which helps filter through the fanboyism to present deep cuts from comic books, film, fantasy, sci-fi and more in a way those who don’t devour the extra source material can learn from.
Check out the first episode, “Of Mustaches and Supermen” at iTunes here and give it a whirl. If you like it, get a subscription. And then start wowing your friends and neighbors with references to people like “Darkseid” and complain about Suicide Squad like a professional.
In his excellent book Killing Yourself to Live, the writer Chuck Klosterman argues that “every straight man born after the year 1958 has at least one transitory period in his life when he believes Led Zeppelin is the only good band that ever existed.” I’m not sure how well this generalization holds up in the wider sense, but I do know that it describes me with alarming accuracy. For about eight months during my senior year of high school, I listened to Led Zeppelin’s first six albums on what amounted to a constant loop, and for those eight months, I was Klosterman’s stereotype.
I still love Zeppelin, in fact, though I listen to their music only occasionally now. When I do, I’m quickly reminded of why my 17 year-old ears were so enthralled by them all those years ago. The virtuosity and raw force of their best stuff is still astounding. And like most Zeppelin fans my age, I’ve spent my fair share of time hoping for a reunion tour.
Since the band broke up following drummer John Bonham’s death in 1980, fans, concert promoters, record companies, and even members of Led Zeppelin itself have publicly called for their reformation. At one point, I counted myself among those clamoring for the band to pull it together, install John Bonham’s son Jason behind the kit, and go about the business of getting the Led out once again.
And what a booming business it would be. Billionaire Richard Branson apparently offered the band $800 million dollars to reunite for 35 shows in 2014, and lead singer Robert Plant literally tore up the contract. Apparently, Plant – who has always been openly reluctant to such a reunion – said the timing just wasn’t right. This seems like a flimsy excuse, given that the three surviving original band members are a combined 213 years old, making the timing look worse literally every second. In any case, the gesture took whatever writing was on the wall and chiseled it into stone: Led Zeppelin ain’t getting back together.
Which is probably for the best, all things considered. Because even though those shows would’ve (probably) been great and (definitely) made a boatload of money, I’m now convinced that Robert Plant was right to tear up that offer (and any of the others that no doubt came his way over the years).
Why the about face? How could I suddenly decide that I’d rather not see one of my favorite bands of all-time play live?
Simple, really: I listened to all the music Robert Plant made while the outside world begged him to shut up and play the hits. This is where you might expect me to tell you that, even though it’s not quite Led Zeppelin, Plant’s solo work has its own richness and depth that rewards the dedicated listener in profound ways. And that’s true, in some cases. For example, his latest record, Carry Fire, is a strong entry in the Aging Legend Makes a Better-Than-You’d-Expect Record tradition, which also includes some of Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, Loretta Lynn, and Leonard Cohen’s late-career albums.
But in a lot of ways, Plant’s solo catalogue can’t get out of its own way, landing squarely on the folkier end of the Led Zeppelin spectrum but failing to reach his old band’s towering peaks. Not that failing to make music as good as the stuff Zeppelin was putting out during their six year peak (1969-1975) is a crime. But even good stuff like Carry Fire falls into a kind of musical uncanny valley, where sounding a lot like Led Zeppelin without actually being Led Zeppelin draws even more negative attention to the contrast than if it were something else entirely.
I’m sure Robert Plant knows this. I’m equally sure that he’s ok with this. And ultimately, that’s what made me so much less bitter about his reluctance to reform one of the loves of my musical life.
Most music fans are pretty selfish. We fall in love with a band or an album, and then we set about crafting expectations for how the next song or next album should sound. And we often use those expectations as whips with which we later excoriate our once-beloved artists when they don’t do what we want. We’ll root for heartache and addiction if we think it’ll generate the raw emotion necessary to make a great record. We’ll root for a band whose members loathe each other to reunite for our pleasure. We’ll moan for years that an artist is taking too long to make an album and then moan some more when it doesn’t sound like the imaginary record we’d been making for them in our heads.
Being angry at Robert Plant for not reuniting Led Zeppelin is just as selfish. From the outside, it looked like every potential barrier had been removed, and it felt like a personal affront that Plant would dare deny his legions of adoring fans the tour they’d been waiting decades for. But if we really want to show appreciation for the music that Plant and his bandmates gave us all those years ago, we should accept his decision and be glad that he’s spent the time since Zeppelin’s heyday trying to build something that exists apart from the thing that will be the first line of his obituary no matter what else his career holds in store. No, his solo work is never going to outshine “When the Levee Breaks” or “The Ocean,” but it’s obvious that endlessly replaying his youthful glory years on stage wasn’t going to bring him the satisfaction he’s found in those records post 1980.
So if I’m truly thankful for all that time I spent blaring Zeppelin’s best albums from my car speakers in high school and college, I shouldn’t begrudge Robert Plant his solo dalliances. For the first time in a decade and a half, I don’t.
Just in time for Halloween, The Funkhouser Situation dives into horror films to discuss the best the genre has to offer. Chris Tomlin and Lee Cruse dish on the 25 highest-grossing horror flicks of all-time to help you get in the mood for Halloween. Highlights:
— What makes a horror movie scary?
— An update on Kevin James’ ridiculous sitcom plot.
— A critically-acclaimed Netflix horror-flick about a haunted STD.
— Does Lee like Tomlin’s Mindhunter recommendation?
— What the Ghostbusters reboot did wrong.
You can easily listen on the KSR App, available on iTunes and Google Play. Streaming online is simple through Pod Paradise. You can also get it directly to your phone by subscribing to “Kentucky Sports Radio” on iTunes or via Android’s Podcast Addict app.
By Megan Suttles on ©October 25th, 2017 @ 9:00am
Even though it’s October, it’s not too soon to start planning your Hallmark Christmas movie lineup. Last Friday, the king of holiday movies unveiled thirty-three new Christmas titles. I would be lying if I said I didn’t immediately comb through the gallery of movies while silently judging their premises. In an attempt to make this idle time more productive, I’ve ranked the given professions of the female main characters. Occupations were judged on their desirability, profitability and charm. While I maintain that all Hallmark Christmas Movie proposals come from mad libs, the quirky careers will provide all the whimsy needed for a predictable meet cute, adorable courtship and inevitable happy ending.
Here are all of the available Christmas movie professions, ranked.
The legal profession is too real for my Christmas movie heroines. In Christmas Festival of Ice, Emma finds out that there is “more to life than legal briefs.” Emma will shuffle through manila folders, have a tight up-do and wear the entire collection from Ann Taylor. There is zero whimsy and charm in the legal profession.
13. National Christmas Tree Hunter
It’s unclear if Holly Kuhn’s (terrible name) actual profession is a Christmas tree hunter, but we’re going with it. Holly the Tree Hunter, from Miss Christmas, has no job security. She profits from destroying forests and she doesn’t even have a cool reality series like Dog the Bounty Hunter.
12. NYC Real Estate Developer
Anna, in The Christmas Shop, takes the worst land in the best neighborhood and flips it for profit. By the sounds of the summary, she is grinding it out in NYC. Boring. Give me a cute couple working together to flip houses in a quaint town in Texas and I’m game.
11. Town Veterinarian
While being a doctor is lucrative and respectable, I’ve seen how my pets act at the vet office. There is nothing romantic about fleas, rashes and anal gland expressions. Christmas in Evergreen is set in Vermont, so the good doctor’s problems probably involve weird goat afflictions and dairy cow disasters. Bah Humbug.
10.Santa Fe Interior Designer
There have been plenty of designers in Hallmark holiday movies, but has there ever been a Santa Fe Interior Designer? Enchanted Christmas plans to right this wrong. Laura’s day-to-day life is rough. Probably from having to decorate homes with this image all day:
Laura, crippled from the arid desert air, has to turn to salsa dancing as a release. From there, in the least festive setup ever, Laura gets in the Christmas spirit.
9. House Manager for an Exquisite Estate
Coming Home for Christmas explores how fulfilling it can be to plan galas and events for people who own an exquisite estate. While planning fancy parties with other people’s money sounds nice, I’d prefer to attend the parties rather than plan the party.
8. Struggling Broadway Actress
Christmas Encore is a “modern take” on A Christmas Carol. The struggling Broadway actress isn’t played by Sutton Foster, so I’m not interested.
7. Ski Lodge Owner
Everything I know about ski lodges I learned from that one episode of Boy Meets World. Ski lodges have roaring fires, limitless potential for ankle sprains and infidelities. Owning a ski lodge seems like the perfect way to pair eavesdropping on drama and wearing good flannel.
6. Ad Executive
With Love, Christmas adds a little Mad Men flair to your favorite Hallmark movies, hopefully with less addiction and second hand smoke. Melanie has to find a way to sell the newest phone to the masses. I literally can’t wait to see how horrible this ad campaign is.
5. Sweet Bookshop Worker
In A Gift to Remember, a “sweet bookshop worker” has to help a man get his memories back. I’m not sure of the science behind this story, but what I do like is that the main character doesn’t own the store, she just works in it. Owning a bookstore is so 1998 with You’ve Got Mail. Not owning a store allows for you to restore memories in your freetime, a luxury you could not afford if you were a small business owner.
4. Travel Writer
Emory is a free spirit, but you already knew that because she’s named, Emory. All free spirits are either yoga instructors, kindergarten teachers or travel writers. Emory won the free spirit lottery when she snagged the most exciting of the three. I really look forward to the character development they use by giving Emory a big leather bag to help describe how worldly she is.
3. Aspiring Romance Writer
Being a romance writer is like being a travel writer, but better. Travel writers have to wear jackets with lots of pockets, haul luggage and write accurate reports about places. Romance writers get to wear pajamas, stay at home and make up sassy stories.
Romance writing is the superior profession.
2. Bridal Boutique Owner
Imagine a job where you get to help women prepare for their best day. Imagine a job where you get to observe family dynamics influenced by stress. Imagine a job where you profit from overpriced dresses that will only be worn once. Owning a bridal shop is the trifecta of desirability, profitability and charm in a profession.
1. American Gingerbread Competition Contestant
While I remain loyal to Christmas movies, the Holiday Baking Challenges on Food Network hold a special place in my heart. The Sweetest Christmas is the perfect recipe for a combination between these two sweet treats. Played by Lacey Chabert, the Queen of Christmas movies, a “struggling pastry chef” competes in a competition, but has to use her ex-boyfriend’s pizza oven. While the premise is strained, the result is guaranteed to put you in the Christmas Spirit.
Plus, everyone looks cute in an apron.
Per our time together last season, I’m assuming you watched Sunday’s episode. If not, Don’t Open, Dead Inside.
—–SPOILERS AHEAD——-READ AT OWN RISK——
Welcome back to another season of The Walking Dead! Rick and his group of survivors begin to take back their lives by standing up to the Saviors and Negan, or at least die trying. Last year’s season finale brought the 3 major communities together to fight the oppressors from the Sanctuary. Alexandria, the Kingdom, and the Hilltop joined forces to battle Negan. The season of All Out War has started and there is only one word that comes to mind in describing the opening salvo: disappointing.
Don’t get me wrong, it is cool to have the show back on. There was just something off in Mercy. Was it mood? Too much knowledge I have of the comic? Rick’s brooding? I can’t pinpoint one part of the episode that brought me to the conclusion of disappointment. However the problems can be placed into categories, so let us explore them.
Probably the major issue I had was context. The circle of friends I discuss the show with have a mixed bag of knowledge of TWD. One is a show only watcher. Another one, who actually introduced me to the comic, stopped reading the books awhile ago yet still watches the show. Funkhouser’s own Josh Juckett has kept up to date with both mediums like I have. In discussing last night’s show we all had different issues, with the main one being context. Book readers know about Old Man Rick. Show only fans have no idea what that means. Why bring that glimpse into the show now? It did nothing to forward the story, only confuse people. Also, showing Rick red eyed and asking forgiveness with his wrath while a rainbow danced across his head was completely unnecessary. What the hell was that? It made no sense whatsoever. If they had dropped every scene that was a possible flash forward, or a flashback, the show would have been streamlined better, leaving the main plot less confusing. Last but not least, the scenes with Carl looking for gas, stumbling upon a starving person, leaving him food? I have no idea what good that did for the story going forward. Maybe a tease setup for the Whispers? There is so much time left in the season surely it could’ve been done at a later date. It just lost me.
Writing up a review is always trying for me. I write, delete, write some more, move this paragraph up and down, then reread until my eyes look like bicycle girl from the first episode. In other words, I try to put the best story forward. The editing of Mercy left a lot to be desired. If show runner Scott M. Gimple wanted to give a glimpse into the future, or possible futures, shoe horning the scenes in between Rick’s assault on the Sanctuary was a poor choice. Building tension makes the show great. Who can forget what it felt like when Negan played Eenie Meenie Miney Mo, walking with Lucille in front of the gang, whistling impending doom. In Mercy, we get Negan walking out of his holdout, then a commercial, then a flash back. Any tension built up has escaped us. Placing Carol, Morgan, Daryl, and Tara bringing the herd of Walkers was well done, but without the tension the payoff still seemed lacking.
This turned into a mixed bag. Rick and Negan yelling at each other was great. Old Man Rick wandering through his house casually talking not so much. And the line Negan says to Gabriel at the end? What a waste. I’ve been waiting for that scene for two seasons. In the comics it is delivered in the same time frame, with the fences down and Walkers everywhere. It is meant to convey how much trouble the Saviors are in while drenched in sarcasm. The scene they choose to use “I hope you’ve got your s#@$tting pants on.” falls flat. Jeffery Dean Morgan is made for this role. It felt like his first misstep in his potrayal of Negan. At least we’ve learned from press release Negan will be allowed to say his favorite word at least two forking times this season.
What Did Work
There were bright spots. Carol, Morgan, Daryl, Dwight, Jesus, Maggie, and Ezekiel shined in their brief times. The look on Gabriel’s face when he locked himself in unknowingly with Negan was well done. Daryl’s ride from hell was cool. Starting this battle for the Apocalypse sputtered, yet I still have faith. The next few episodes show the promise of more action. With so many Saviors at different outposts needing to be dealt with, people will die. Will it be major characters? If they make it right, this could work. I just hope the show finds it footing.
Who Will Die?
One thing that didn’t happen was a major character death. Not too surprising given last years onslaught at the start. However, with war comes casualties. Who will they be? I place Carol, Morgan, and Simon on the list. We also didn’t see the Junkyard Dogs, so their leader could be up there. Who do you think will die this year? When will it happen? Let me know what you think in the comments. You can also tweet Josh Juckett @banterjosh, and myself @BradtheMedic02 for further discussion and insight. Until next weeks episode, ta ta.
Chris Tomlin and Lee Cruse are back for another excellent edition of The Funkhouser Situation. KSR’s pop culture podcast touches on a variety of topics from the week, including…
— Are the new Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominees any good?
— Take ’em or leave ’em: which Hollywood celebrities they can live with and without.
— Is Taylor Swift fun to hang out with?
— Netflix series recommendation: Mindhunter.
You can easily listen on the KSR App, available on iTunes and Google Play. Streaming online is simple through Pod Paradise. You can also get it directly to your phone by subscribing to “Kentucky Sports Radio” on iTunes or via Android’s Podcast Addict app.
Fox News commentator Katherine Tempf caused sad white weirdos everywhere to stub out their morning’s fifth cigarette in exasperation when word got out that, on something called The Greg Gutfeld Show, she had claimed that Radiohead would get into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame even though their music was “elaborate moaning and whining for ring tone sounds.”
Here’s the clip:
Radiohead fans (after nearly splitting themselves in two trying to decide whether or not this outrage warranted a public display of emotion of the sort normally reserved only for apathy and/or despair) responded with predictable eye rolls, which is probably the right thing to do, considering some of Fox News commentators’ other recent takes on even more well-established Rock Hall members.
Sean Hannity on The Beatles
“Listen, like everybody else, I got pretty, um, excited, if you know what I mean, every time I heard anyone so much as hum “Happiness is a Warm Gun,” but then it was revealed to me by a very reliable source that John Lennon was engaging in some very typical smug liberal ‘irony’ and was in fact not actually aroused by the mere mention of firearms. I’m sure Stephen Colbert is a huge fan, but you can count me out.”
Ann Coulter on The Rolling Stones
“As much as I like that they stole the blueprint for most of their music from black musicians who never saw a fraction of the money they deserved given the enormous influence they had on Rock and Roll from its inception up to the present day, I can’t help but feeling like most of their fame is down to the tremendous favor Adam Levine did them a few years ago when he also ignored more deserving black performers when he mentioned Mick Jagger in a song about dancing.”
Geraldo Rivera on Aretha Franklin
“Her most well known song is what? “R-E-S-P-E-C-T,” right? Well, not only is that not even her song, but she totally turned the meaning of the original around to serve an obviously hyper-feminist agenda. Real women earn the respect of men in their lives through their compassion, loyalty, and abject sexual depravity.”
Tucker Carlson on James Brown
“What a phony! All that business of collapsing from exhaustion – reminds me of Hillary on the campaign trail – only to pop up and keep right on singing. It’s dishonest, is what it is. And what kind of Black Lives Matter, antifa nonsense is “Say it Loud — I’m Black and I’m Proud?” That propaganda-spewing children’s choir? They’re not even black kids. Just more paid protesters (where was George Soros in 1968?) in the left’s never-ending abuse of the race card.”
Vice President Mike Pence on Queen
“Let me tell you a little story. Two good friends of mine got married recently. Lovely ceremony. And then, at the reception, the bride and groom walked in as the DJ played “You’re My Best Friend” by Queen. I don’t mind telling you that Karen and I walked right out the door. We simply couldn’t support two people who disrespected our marriage by playing the music of a known homosexual as part of their festivities. As the reporters who we’d explicitly told to wait outside the venue for our exit will confirm, we were just surprised and dismayed by the whole thing.”
Newt Gingrich on Bruce Springsteen
“I don’t think the American people realize just how fraudulent Bruce Springsteen’s entire persona really is. He says he’s a friend of the working man, yet he calls himself “The Boss.” His album The Ghost of Tom Joad is basically The Communist Manifesto soundtracked by harmonicas and acoustic guitars. “Born in the U.S.A.” was one of my favorite songs until I actually listened to it and realized that Springsteen was actually criticizing some aspects of American foreign policy. Typical liberal that he is, he hid his message in the words of the song instead of putting it right in the title like Donald Trump would.”
I’m glad Fox News is here to give us the fair and balanced takes on important issues like who deserves to be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. And since musical taste is entirely subjective, they don’t even have to worry about pesky details like “facts” getting in the way of their opinions. Not like that’s ever stopped them, but still.
By Josh Juckett on ©October 17th, 2017 @ 3:00pm
The NBA season starts tonight so here is the final bit of prognosticating before tip off. In case you missed last week’s Eastern Conference preview you can check that out here. Remember, the team predictions are all in honor of Tom Petty and therefore each team’s song will be a Tom Petty song.
Dallas- “Into the Great Wide Open”
“His leather jacket had chains that would jingle
They both met movie stars, partied and mingled
Their A&R man said, “I don’t hear a single.”
The future was wide open”
The Dallas Mavericks have been riding on the Dirk Nowitzki train for a long time. As Nowitzki prepares for his 20th season, the Mavs appear like they’re trying to gear up for one more playoff push. The Mavs will have a veteran team with a potential star in rookie Dennis Smith. Ultimately I think the West is just too tough and probably the Mavs will be staring into the post-Nowitzki void in the near future. From there who knows what to expect for Dallas.
Every Year in September, The Strong National Museum of Play releases its 12 finalists for the National Toy Hall of Fame. Since 1998, the The Strong’s National Toy Hall of Fame “recognizes toys that have inspired creative play and enjoyed popularity over a sustained period.” Selections to the hall are made on the advice of “historians, educators, and other individuals who exemplify learning, creativity and discovery through their lives and careers.” I think that last part should read, “adults who still plays with toys,” which covers most of us here at Funkhouser.
These “historians” have inducted 62 toys to the Hall of fame since 1998, including the Atari 2600, Crayola Crayons, Lincoln Logs, LEGO, Mr. Potato Head, Play-Doh, roller skates, and most recently in 2016, Dungeons & Dragons, Fisher Price Little People, and the Swing. Also, three times in the history of The Hall, an item that wasn’t a “finalist” earned admittance into the Hall of Fame: Cardboard Box (2005), Blanket (2011), and Stick (2008).
Recently, The Strong put out the list of 12 finalists for induction into the Hall of Fame in 2017: Clue, Magic 8 Ball, Matchbox Cars, My Little Pony, Paper Airplane, Pez Despenser, Play Food, Risk, Sand, Transformers, Uno, and the Wiffleball. The expert committee will help select just “two or three” of the 12 toys to enter the hall on the following criteria:
- Icon-status: The toy is widely recognized, respected, and remembered
- Longevity: The toy is more than a passing fad and has enjoyed popularity over multiple generations
- Discovery: The toy fosters learning, creativity, or discovery through play
- Innovation: The toy profoundly changed play or toy design. A toy may be inducted on the basis of this criterion without necessarily having met all of the first three.
While the newest inductees won’t be added to the hall until November 9th, we at Funkhouser thought we’d go ahead and make our vote for who we thought should get in. Our “expert committee” included the entire Funkhouser staff along with Nick Roush, Shannon The Dude, Tyler Thompson, Maria Taustine and Ryan Lemond. Votes were tabulated on a 3-2-1 points system to find our definitive inductees.
#10 (Tie) – Sand (0 Points)
Sand is a Finalist of the Strand Toy Hall of Fame for the first time, earning that status with items like Stick, and Blanket, which prove to be very non-traditional ‘toys’. The idea behind Sand’s nomination is that kids can play in it and unleash their creativity, based on the ability to sculpt and manipulate the substance into whatever they want. It’s always amazing to see people who are able to build incredible sand sculptures at the beach, only to have them washed away by the high tide. Sand doesn’t make our list, but I could see it earning a spot in The Strong’s Hall of Fame.
#10 (Tie) – Play Food (0 Points)
Play Food got no love from our voting committee, mainly because of the much stronger choices listed below. However, play food is an integral part of growing up as a child. Play food teaches a lot of skills to kids: manners, social skills, shopping, and that risotto is just simply not possible in a 30 minute time frame Sally, and that’s why we had to chop you. Toys like Play Food are important to the imagination of children and the world of make believe, which would be a great representation in the Toy Hall of Fame.
#10 (Tie) – My Little Pony (0 Points) – Four Time Finalist
My Little Pony last appeared in the Strong Toy Hall of Fame finalists list in 2014, which is the first year Funkhouser started weighing in. At that time, none of our esteemed panel voted for it either. Maybe it’s because our group has a more collective focus, but My Little Pony has been in the pop culture lexicon for over 35 years. Between the popularity of the toy in the 1980s (where it briefly outsold Barbie), and its resurgence in the 2010s, My Little Pony eventually deserves to make the Strong Toy Hall of Fame.
#9 – Pez Dispenser (2 Points) – Two Time Finalist
Is the Pez Dispenser actually a toy? In reality, probably not, but who are we to ague with the Strong Toy Hall of Fame. I get a Pez Dispenser in my stocking every year, this year being the WWE 3-Pack, with the Rock, John Cena and the Undertaker, but it appears I can only see two of them in the box. There are over 550 various character head Pez dispensers at this point. The Tweety Bird dispenser is famously featured in the Seinfeld episode where he ruins a performance by just simply setting the dispenser on Elaine’s leg. The candy is alright, but Pez will always be well known more for the dispensers.
#6 (Tie) – Magic 8 Ball (5 Points) – Seven Time Finalist
I imagine a lot of poor decisions have been made via Magic 8 Ball over the years. The Magic 8 Ball is a plastic ball filled with liquid and a large die (more or less) with outcomes printed on each face. Ask the Magic 8 Ball a question, shake it up, and your fate will float to the top, sort of, after rattle it a bit so that a side with a response actually comes to the surface. This is the seventh time since 2003 that the Magic 8 Ball has been on the finalist list. Will this be the year for the prognostication toy? All signs point to no…
#6 (Tie) – Risk (5 Points)
Risk makes the Strong Hall of Fame Finalists list for the first time in its illustrious history, and that’s probably because the voting committee just finished their first game. Risk joins the list of games that Just. Never. End. I’ve once played a Risk game where we kept it in a separate room, and gave a neutral party the key so that no one would mess with the board. Risk, The Game Of Strategic Conquest is a war strategy game, in which the goal of the game is to eliminate all players and capture all 42 territories on the board. Attacking, dice rolling, and area control are key factors in the game which has been around for 60 years now. There are various versions of Risk, the most current (I believe) is Risk: Europe, which is available at Target, and is a remaking of Castle Risk from the 80s. If you can get your hands on one Risk Game, make it Risk Legacy, where you get to write on the board, rip up cards, and more, all to make your game different than any other Risk Legacy game in existence.
#6 (Tie) – Paper Airplanes (5 Points) – Three Time Finalist
Granted, none of the paper airplanes we ever made looked like the one pictured above, but Paper Airplanes played to our creativity. Think about it, it took one sheet of paper, but you could try out millions of different variations. The first paper airplane that you made, the one that flew straight into the ground, sparked your interest for trial and error. What went wrong? How do I fix it? You make a change, and it flies a little further. Make another change, and flew in a loop and ended up behind you. Then you bought that book from the Scholastic Book Fair and you made an overly complicated airplane, but it flew 20 feet. Either way, Paper Airplanes have been a toy that has and will surpass the test of time, making it a perfect entry into the Toy Hall of Fame. (In 2014, Funkhouser voted Paper Airplanes into its Toy Hall of Fame, but amongst this collection of toys, Paper Airplanes does not make the cut).
#5 – Matchbox Cars (7 Points)
Outside of LEGOs, Matchbox cars might be the #1 cause for parental swearing in the household based on the level of pain they cause when stepped on with bare feet. This is the first time since 2003 that Matchbox cars have been a finalist in the Strong Toy Hall of Fame, which is quite surprising. Matchbox has been around since 1953, introduced by a British company, and got its name based on the packaging that the cars were originally sold in. Over time, you could find cars based on actual models, service vehicles, and today with replications of cars that existed in television and movies. Combine the cars with plastic track, or street mats, and children could have a blast reimagining car chases, races or everyday situations, and now you have a whole world of creativity for kids.
#4 – Transformers (8 Points)
Drew Franklin recently asked on the radio show, “How many Transformers are there?” Well, when Transformers hit North America in 1984, there were 28 (18 Auto-Bots/10 Decepticons). My response to him was “There’s More Than Meets The Eye”. The concept behind Transformers are that the robots change from cars/vehicles or other objects into robots that fight off the Decepticons. As many a toy property in the 80s, Transformers were greeted with a back-story which was supported by cartoons, movies, video games, cereals, you name it. Transformers are still relevant today as there have been five blockbuster movies made of the series, with a sixth coming out in 2018, which is titled “Bumblebee”. Transformers toys move up from our vote last year, but just don’t crack the top three for the Funkhouser Toy Hall of Fame.
#3 – Uno (11 Points) – Two Time Finalist
Uno hit the scene in 1971 as a game where players try to get every card out of their hand before the other players are able to do so. Play cards to the stack that either match the number or color to rid cards from your hand. The game also saw itself as a way to make children angry at one another, as a game that taught the “Take That” mechanic of board and card games. Also, the key component to the game was that when you were down to one card, you had to say UNO, and if someone said it before you could, you had to draw five cards. Sometimes you can’t get UNO out fast enough before someone jumps all over you. Despite all the bickering this game causes, it is an easy game to learn and teach to kids, and a game they will want to play over and over again. Congrats to UNO, for making it into the Funkhouser Toy Hall of Fame.
#2 – Wiffle Ball (14 Points – 4 First Place Votes) – Five Time Finalist
If someone asked me right now to have a Wiffle Ball game, I would drop everything I’m doing to play. I keep a velcro scoreboard in the trunk of my car, just in case a Wiffle Ball game breaks out (no joke). My senior year May Term at Transy probably suffered because of the Wiffle Ball league I ran in back circle. Needless to say, I love that yellow bat and plastic ball with half holes. Don’t get confused either by any imitation products. If I’m playing Wiffle Ball, I want to see exactly what’s in the picture above. No Junk Ball. No Blitz Ball. There is a skill to throwing curves/slurves/risers/sinkers with the Wiffle Ball, and I hold those to a very high standard. There was always something as a kid, when you could just get a group of kids together in the front yard to play a full game, getting outs by pegging each other from 20 feet away. This is one of the greatest toys of all time, and rightfully earns a spot in Funkhouser’s Toy Hall of Fame
#1 – Clue (15 Points – 3 First Place Votes) – Seven Time Finalist
I’ll go ahead and say it, Clue is my favorite “classic” board game of all time. I’m a Monopoly apologist, but Clue just has a soft spot in my heart. In Clue, players are trying to deduce who murdered Mr. Boddy, based on three cards (person, location, weapon) that are secretly placed in an envelope in the middle of the board. Players must then traverse the mansion to make accusations on who they think did it. If someone is holding a card of something or someone they accused, that person can secretly show the accuser that card, and they’re one step closer to solving the mystery. Also, this is the seventh time Clue has been a finalist for the Toy Hall of Fame, tied for the most of any other toy on this list. Can we finally get justice for this game, and more specifically Mr. Boddy? Well Clue’s about to go in The Hall… Whodunnit? Funkhouser’s Toy Hall of Fame, that’s who…
Which of these toys do you think should make the Strong Toy Hall of Fame? Let us know on Twitter: @FunkhouserKSR