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KSR’s take on recent non sports related happenings

Pop Culture Horoscope

Pop Culture Horoscope

Here’s a fun fact, horoscopes are silly. Here’s another fun fact, we read them anyway.  Regardless of whether the moon is in transit or some celestial body is in retrograde, your predicted future is probably easier to foresee through your pop culture diet than a small window of dates on the calendar. With the help of some simple channel surfing and digital/”divine” intervention we’ve identified what the universe has in store for you by reading the signs from what you’ve most recently watched.

The NBA Finals

A wave of entitlement is coming your way.  While others were debating ridiculous hypotheticals, you managed to consistently maintain your correct opinion.   Until the next NBA season, you will reap the benefits of remaining smug while ultimately arguing with those who are basically saying the same thing.  Don’t shy away from the debate, iron sharpens iron and whatnot.

The Bachelorette

You have a firm grasp on your future and the remote! Enjoy these moments of “me time.”  Life can get hectic but finding ways to decompress and center yourself are essential. Mark your calendar for June 12th.  This will be a day when something you’ve been waiting for returns.

The Mummy

Take a moment  to do a post-mummy “audit.” It may be time to “go clear.”  Today, focus on the thousands of past lives that you’ve lived. Feel free to isolate yourself from those you love and embrace the new mate the church has found for you.

Did this horoscope resonate with you? If so, you’ve been Cruised. You’re a Scientologist now. Please see Katie Holmes for any help with canceling your membership.

The Game of Thrones Trailer

Today, you may find that your patience is wearing thin. Anxious anticipation is brewing in your gut. You find yourself reminded of stories from long ago. Eggs in your fridge remind you of hatching dragons and your pet dog seems to understand more than you thought. Now is not the time for looking backwards.  Use this time to get caught up on previously neglected tasks because after July 16th, your agenda may get more full.

Twin Peaks

Things may feel a bit confusing and odd today, as if everything were played backwards on a record player. Every moment might have an ominous and erratic tinge to it. Today, you’ll be reminded how comforting it is to reminisce with old friends and memories.

House of Cards

Embrace your urges to get an asymmetrical dress and smart haircut. Feel free to voice your opinion as an aside during any given conversation. Trust me, this your time to be ruthless and eat a rack of ribs.


Jeff Sessions Testimony 

Heads up!  During this time you will feel extra sensitive. Your mantra for this summer: opinions don’t count unless they are tweeted.  This cycle will be guaranteed to help you attract (and repel!) friends.  Coupling with the House of Cards sign might make an interesting romantic pair!


It’s hard  to imagine that these predictions could be less than 100% accurate at least 50% of the time.

Funkhouser’s Origins Game Fair 2017 Preview

Funkhouser’s Origins Game Fair 2017 Preview

Starting Wednesday, June 14th, Origins Game Fair will be underway in Columbus, Ohio. Origins began in 1975 in Baltimore Maryland, at Johns Hopkins University. Since then it has grown into a destination for gamers, residing in Columbus since 1996. In 2015, 15,480 unique visitors made the trip to Central Ohio to get their game on.

I will be in attendance at Origins 2017 for Funkhouser on Thursday (and possibly Friday night), so if you see me come say hi, or come play a game with me. I’ll be posting some images on our Twitter account: @funkhouserKSRso be on the lookout for those.

As I get prepared for the event, I thought I might showcase some of the games that I’m looking forward to getting a chance to play/get my hands on during the convention this weekend. These are in no particular order:

Codenames: Duet

We’ve always been a big proponent of Codenames here at Funkhouser.  Winner of the 2016 Spiel Des Jahres award, Codenames has become a massive hit over the last year with three different versions (Original, Pictures, Deep Undercover), with three more on the way (Disney, Marvel, and Duet). Codenames has found a prominent spot on the shelves at Target, and is the first game I pull out at a game night with a larger group of friends.

However, Codenames Duet is not for a larger group of friends.  As the name suggests, Codenames Duet is for just two players.  The game works in the similar fashion as its predecessor, in that you lay out a 5×5 grid of words on the table between you.  You are given a single key on a vertical stand that is set between you and your partner, which designates which words you’re trying to get your partner to guess.  Three words on either side of the key match, meaning you and your partner could be giving clues to the exact same word. Each side has an assassin, which if your partner guesses it, you immediately lose the game.  If you can uncover all 15 “agents” (correct words) before time (number of clues) runs out, you win. I’m very interested to see how this version of Codenames works out, as the franchise has been a pretty big success thus far.

Rhino Hero: Super Battle

If you’re looking at this box and thinking, “wow, that sure looks like a kid’s game,” you’d be right.  Rhino Hero: Super Battle has an age range of 5+, but this game is one that has really claimed the hearts of kids and adults alike.  In the original Rhino Hero, each player was given a certain number of floor cards.  On their turn, a player places a floor on the table, then uses bendable cards to make walls on designated spaces on the “floor”.  The next player has to play a floor on top of those walls, and the game continues as this apartment tower gets built higher and higher. The Rhino Hero comes in as some floors had a Rhino logo, meaning you had to place the Rhino Hero figure on that spot when you built that floor.  However, he may have already been on a different floor, so you have to move him from one floor to a higher level without knocking over the tower.  It’s like Jenga, but you built the tower piece by piece too.

In Rhino Hero: Super Battle, there are now four super heroes that will battle, but they will also be battling fearsome spider monkeys. The tower cards have gotten much bigger as well, meaning for taller structures and better collapses.  Really looking forward to getting to try this one out.

The Godfather: Corleone’s Empire

If you are a fan of The Godfather movie franchise, then The Godfather: Corleone’s Empire is shaping up to be a game for you. This is designer Eric M. Lang’s love letter to one of his favorite movies, and of all people to take great care of a franchise, he’d be the one to do it. Lang likens this game to a “dude’s on a map game”, as a “thugs on a map” game.

Each player takes the role of a different family who is trying to shake down different businesses, get illegal goods, and trying to get as much money as possible.  The person with the most money at the end of the game wins, but it’s not about how much cash you have in hand, you need to launder money into your suitcase, and all that money counts as your score at the end of the game.  The laundering is important, as at the end of each of the four acts, you have to discard down to a certain hand size, meaning even if you did a bunch of cool stuff, if you didn’t square away money to your suitcase, you could lose it at the end of each round.

There is area-control involved as well, as you gain bonuses at the end of the game if you control certain areas of turf.  If you control certain areas during the game as well, you may get extra items if people take actions on your turf.  Last thing to touch on is that you can kill other people’s “family members” on the board, and when they die, you actually toss their figure into the river on the board.  C’mon, how cool is that.

Flatline: A FUSE Aftershock Game

FUSE is a dice rolling, bomb defusal game that came out in 2015, where you tried to stop bombs from going off.  In Flatline, some of those bombs went off and now you’re tying to save patients, by rolling dice.

You will have a series of patients that you need to save before the end of the game to be able to win. Each round, players will be rolling dice and making decisions within a one-minute timer to try and meet the needs of the patients and also take on other emergencies that might be happening over the course of that round.  Some items on a patient can only be cured by one player, while others will need the assistance of multiple or all players to put their dice on the patient.  Clearing patients will give you certain benefits, but if you clear a patient while the life support dial in the middle is pointed towards a negative result, you will receive a negative effect.  So the game is all about communication and working together in a hectic time span to treat and cure patients.

I purely like the idea of the full minute of shouting back and forth at one another to try and make the right decisions.  Many co-operative games suffer from a “quarterback” problem, in which one player makes all the decisions for everyone. In a game when you only have one minute to decide your actions, the QB effect is somewhat negated as you don’t have time to tell everyone what to do, so all players get to make very crucial decisions, even if they’re the wrong ones.

Again, there are going to be a lot of games to see this year at Origins Game Fair.  Not as many are for sale, as a lot of releases are coming at GenCon or Essen, but it will be very cool to see some of what’s coming down the pike.  If you’re going, be sure to say hi. I’m sure I’ll be wearing some sort of KSR gear.

Kentucky Thrones Radio: Season 2 Review

Nick Roush and T.J. Walker continue their pre-season six review of the HBO hit show by taking a look back at Season Two of Game of Thrones.  After a traditional storyline in the first season, the second pits five kings against one another in the race for the Iron Throne, culminating at the Battle of the Blackwater.  Highlights:

—  Dany’s Biblical journey in the dessert and foreshadowing from Qarth.

—  Craster’s sick, twisted Wildling mind north of The Wall.

—  Of the five kings vying for the Iron Throne, who’s claim is the most legitimate?

—  Nick likes Margaery Tyrell a little too much, while T.J. explains why he loves Stannis so much.

—  Theon is a turd; how the Greyjoy came to be a ward for the Starks.

—  Edric Storm > Gendry Baratheon

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.

The Entertation Index: June 5-9

The Entertation Index: June 5-9


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


Barney — Move over, friend-of-KSR Fake Barney; the real actor who portrayed Barney the Purple Dinosaur has decided to step forward to answer questions about the role he played for ten years between 1991-2001. David Joyner told TechInsider that the colorful suit weighed 70 pounds and could heat up to 120 degrees inside, also adding that Barney residuals have paid him very well. His biggest regret? That the nine children his character ate in the direct-to-DVD special “Barney Sings Silly Weather Songs” was probably unnecessary and upsetting to the families of those involved.
Link: This Guy Played Barney for 10 Years and Has Some Secrets to Spill

Davis, Anthony — Beloved Kentucky Folk Hero and Pelicans superstar Anthony Davis appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live this week to discuss his first car (a white-on-white Bentley that was “too fast”), his clothing line, and a story about the procuring and handling of his one-time pet monkey. Meanwhile, no one interviewed Daniel Orton at home about his fourteen cats and freezer full of Hagen-Daz.
Link: Morning Monologue – Anthony Davis Discusses Pet Monkey on Jimmy Kimmel

Gambino, Childish — The hip-hop persona Childish Gambino, alter ego of actor and comedian Donald Glover formed through mixtapes in 2008, will be retired by Glover as he’s established the character and music is no longer “necessary.” If you’ve heard Glover’s music as Gambino you’ll know that this is a real shame; there’s nothing safe enough for work that I can post here but look him up on YouTube and get familiar before his final album.
Link: Donald Glover is Retiring Childish Gambino

Kesha — Poor Kesha. Not only is she not really that famous anymore, but now Jerry Seinfeld won’t even let her hug him. During a recent Kennedy Center Honors event, the “Tik Tok” (remember that? Brushing your teeth with Jack Daniels doesn’t sound healthy OR practical) singer approached the comic while he was being interviewed only to be shut down by Seinfeld twice — then remarking to his interviewer “I don’t know who that was. Oh well, I wish her the best.” Seinfeld’s got a point. I mean, what is the deal with Kesha?
Link: Watch Jerry Seinfeld Refuse a Hug from Kesha

Mummy, The — Tom Cruise’s The Mummy has hit theaters this weekend and has been roundly panned by critics, with reviews citing it as “Tom Cruise’s worst movie ever” and “eliciting boos from the audience.” I guess no one wants to go watch a movie about a dusty, creepy old mystical weirdo. OR a Mummy. See what I did there?
Link: Rotten Tomatoes – The Mummy 

Radiohead — A recent Rolling Stone interview with Radiohead revealed a surprising nineteen things the author learned while spending time with Thom Yorke and company, including that the band has never felt cool, they might not show up if they get inducted into the Hall of Fame and Jonny Greenwood hates guitar solos. It would have been twenty things but the writer committed suicide before the interview was finished.
Link: 19 Things We Learned Hanging Out With Radiohead

Kentucky Thrones Radio: Season One Review

We were warned.  Now Winter is finally here.  Before the War of Fire and Ice, Kentucky Thrones Radio returns to help prepare you for the penultimate season of the hit HBO show, Game of Thrones.

Ahead of the July 16 premiere, Nick Roush and T.J. Walker will take you on a journey through the Seven Kingdoms by reviewing the show’s six previous seasons.  Each week they’ll help you remember the finer details and point out pieces of the plot that could impact the final two seasons of the show.  They start the journey today in Winterfell when Ned Stark warns us for the first time, “Winter is Coming.”  Highlights:

—  Nick incorrectly shares the show’s premiere date.

—  What caused the demise of Ned Stark.

—  Littlefinger’s resemblance to Rick Pitino.

—  How Benjen Stark started R + L = J.

—  Daenerys’ transformation from abused little sister to Khaleesi, Mother of Dragons.

—  What if Robb Stark killed Jaime Lannister when he had the chance?

Two additional requests: Your feedback is encouraged.  It’s a little different than what we normally do during the season; your input (@RoushKSR & @TWalkerRivals) will help us put out the best product possible.  Secondly, if you or you company would like to be a part of the show via sponsorship, contact us at or

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.

Morning Monologue – Anthony Davis Discusses Pet Monkey on Jimmy Kimmel

Morning Monologue – Anthony Davis Discusses Pet Monkey on Jimmy Kimmel

We are in the thick of the NBA Finals right now, and if you don’t start paying attention, you might just miss it.  A seven-game NBA Finals is not only beneficial to the NBA’s wallet, but its also beneficial for Jimmy Kimmel who gets the added bonus for seven nights of having Lebron/Steph as his lead-in.  It could also be a positive for Kentucky fans, as Jimmy tends to bring on NBA’s biggest stars on the nights of the NBA Finals.  Enter – Anthony Davis.

Davis is coming off of an outstanding 2016-17 NBA season, having been named First Team All-NBA, alongside LeBron James, James Harden, Russell Westbrook and Kawhi Leonard.  He was second in the NBA in blocks (2.23 BPG), and fourth in points (28 PPG) and ‘player efficiency’.  With those accolades, it is no surprise that Davis turned up on Jimmy Kimmel Live as one of Jimmy’s big time NBA guests.  I had anticipated that maybe he would be involved in playing a game of ‘College Knowledge’ like UConn and Michigan Alums did on Sunday Night.  However, the big man got to sit and chat with Kimmel about various topics, including: rounding down his height to play Power Forward, who he’s rooting for in the NBA Finals, Kyrie Irving being a flat-earther, his clothing line, oh, and once owning a monkey. Why doesn’t AD have a monkey anymore?  One word: POOP.

Anthony Davis discussing his clothing line with Saks Fifth Avenue:

Anthony Davis getting measured up:



Four Haunting Memories From The Keepers

Four Haunting Memories From The Keepers


Recently, I’ve realized that 75% of my pop culture diet is murder mysteries.  Like a couch potato detective, I diligently watch and decipher any mysteries that appear in my queue.  The most recent installment in my great detective series is Netflix’s The Keepers.  The documentary attempts to solve the puzzle of who killed Sister Cathy Cesnik.  The nun was murdered under suspicious circumstances and two of her students have devoted their time in their later years to help solve the case.  The self-proclaimed “Grandma Nancy Drews” have pieced together that Sister Cathy’s death was a cover-up to hide Father Joseph Maskell’s sexual abuse in the high school.  Like most murder mysteries there are odd little details that stick with you.  Here are the moments from The Keepers that will haunt you long after the credits roll.

Gemma & Abbie

I love Gemma Hoskins and Abbie Schaub equally but for different reasons. Hoskins is known as the “bulldog.”  She enjoys meeting people and questioning them.  Hoskins also has a signature look.  Her fiery/disheveled red hair gives her a sense of quiet eccentricity.  Her two mismatched handmade earrings complete her Bohemian look.  They are completely distracting.  You cannot be a good couch potato detective if you didn’t notice the mismatched earrings.

Gemma can’t be reduced to just her eccentric clothing.  She is much more than that.  Hoskins has a gift for connecting with people and asking the important questions.  Abbie on the other hand, would prefer to keep record of these conversations, rather than conduct them.  People like Abbie have a gift that very few people possess–the gift of practical organization.  For two people who are slowly picking at the red tape that surrounds this case, one is required to be organized.  Schaub’s meticulous notes and spreadsheets about when letters were sent and the summaries of their response keeps the two “Grandma Nancy Drews” on their right track.

The Wehners

Jean Wehner, also known as Jane Doe in the legal trial, is one of the victims of Father Joseph Maskell’s abuse.  Her story is difficult to hear but is also one of the most compelling found in the documentary.  What’s most memorable is her relationship with her husband.  The footage of Jean and Mike as they enter a surprise party thrown for them is fascinating to watch.  Their relationship seems solid and genuine.  Throughout the entire series I was suspicious when there weren’t any interviews with Mike.  I was afraid that he and Jean had a falling out.  There are many parts of the series that I will remember that are upsetting grim, but Mike and Jean’s relationship is one piece of hope that I can hold on to.


This is the most used image in the entire documentary.

The audience is continually reminded of the lack of evidence throughout the show.  Somewhere there are boxes and boxes of evidence that Father Maskell buried in the back of a graveyard, but for the documentary, they only have a few small clues at their disposal.  The filmmakers are also in a similar predicament.  It seemed like they only had a few graphics to use to show what life was like at Keough High School.   They need to credit the Keough High School Yearbook staff for providing them with most of their images used in the documentary.  I find it hard to believe that there were only three pictures of Sister Cathy Cesnik floating around that they could use.


The Nun in the Attic

All of the previous moments were memorable, but nothing is seared into my brain more than the Nun in the Attic.  Billy Schmidt, one of the suspects in Sister Cathy Cesnik’s murder, was haunted by the nun’s death.   According to a family member, he kept a mannequin dressed like a nun in the attic.  Out of all the evidence shared in The Keepers, this revelation is the most bizarre.   The information is troubling because it shows how many people had small pieces of information about the case, but didn’t share their part of the story.  For each witness, there are reasons why they wouldn’t want to come forward with their information.  Some people were intimidated by the church.  Some people were trying to protect family members.  Some people felt like their portion was insignificant at the time. The image of the faceless nun is a reminder that all of the pieces of the puzzle have not come together yet.

 Two, I think the film crew just used the same attic that Tom Nugent, the journalist that rustles around in his attic like a varmint, stores all of his files from previous stories.   If true, I’m thankful that his disaster of a storage area finally got organized.

The Keepers focuses on memories.  There is discussion about dissociated memories, disturbing memories of family members and preserving the memory of loved ones lost. Audiences learn that there are keepers of secrets but more importantly, there are keepers of memories.

The Cure for the Summertime Blues

The Cure for the Summertime Blues

Welcome to summer, where baseball is king!  Unfortunately baseball can be an incredible slog until after the All-Star Break.  Summer is also typically one of the most boring times for tv shows.  At least this year we have American Gods and Game of Thrones to get us through, especially if you’ve already breezed through House of Cards.  The summer movie outlook is good so that’s something to look forward to.  As much fun as movies and tv shows are, summer is about being outside and enjoying the great outdoors before we get shut in by the miserable cold of winter.  Sometimes the normal outdoors stuff can become monotonous, so here are some potentially different things you can do to enjoy the great outdoors this summer:

Do an obstacle course race.

This past weekend the Tough Mudder was in Sparta, KY.  I participated in my third one and believe me when I say that if I can do one of these, you can do one.  The training isn’t really that much fun, but once you’re out on the course and start doing the obstacles it becomes a lot of fun.  The feeling you get when you cross the finish line, especially on the first one, is one of the best feelings you’ll get.  Even though Tough Mudder KY has come and gone there are still plenty of opportunities to participate in other mud/obstacle course races.  Here are a few, of varying difficulties and lengths, relatively close to places in Kentucky:

Tough Mudder: Nashville- 5K August 12, Full and Half September 16,17

Spartan Race: Louisville Race- July 22, Nashville Race- September 23

Rugged Maniac: Southern Indiana- September 2

Urban Trials: Louisville, KY-July 22, Cincinnati, OH- August 5

Insane Inflatable 5K: Louisville, KY- June 17, Cininnati, OH-September 2

Go to a music festival.

Music festivals are just great.  Even when the majority of the bands are one you may have never heard of, there are few things better than just hanging out and listening to a day’s (or two or three) worth of good music.  There is usually some pretty good food at these festivals too.  In Kentucky we are fortunately situated near a number of good music festivals.  Here are a few that can help fill up a weekend or two:

W.C. Handy Blues & Barbecue Festival: Henderson, KY June 14-17

Forecastle: Lousville, KY July 14-16

Moontower Music Festival: Lexington, KY August 26

Go for a hike.

Kentucky has, for my money, one of the best state park systems in the country.  Admittedly I’ve only hiked in eight states so my sample size isn’t all-inclusive.  Regardless, I love hiking in Kentucky.  I grew up in the western part of the state so I started hiking the nice flat terrain of the Pennyrile Forest State Park and Land Between the Lakes.  In the central part of the state you have great hiking at Natural Bridge State Park and even locally in Lexington at Raven Run.  Over in the eastern part of the state there are much more hilly areas to hike such as Carter Caves State Park and Pine Mountain State Resort Park.  The point is, there are tons of great places to go hike and it doesn’t cost anything to get out and enjoy the scenery.  While you’re at it, you might want to rent a kayak or canoe and enjoy the water.  To find some good hiking near you check out the Kentucky State Parks site and there’s also a handy app called AllTrails which shows trails near you.

Go to a baseball game

Yeah I know I said earlier that baseball is a slog until after the All-Star Break, but baseball games are enjoyable and reasonably affordable.  Kentucky has some fun minor league teams to check out: Lexington Legends, Louisville Bats, Bowling Green Hot Rods, and Florence Freedom.  There are also two really great ball parks to check out with Great American Ball Park (Cincinnati Reds) and Busch Stadium (St. Louis Cardinals).  Grab some peanuts, cracker jacks, and whatever other snacks you want and head out to enjoy the American pastime.

Food Network Star – Season 13 Power Rankings – Week One

Food Network Star – Season 13 Power Rankings – Week One

It’s that time of year again, where Food Network finds 12 seemingly unknown culinary hopefuls (with one familiar face), and pits them against each other in a set of challenges they’d probably never do on any actual network program.  Food Network Star is entering its 13th season, and one person in this year’s cast of thirteen is hoping to be lucky enough to land a Food Network contract and maybe their own show (which isn’t really guaranteed anymore).

As is tradition, we at Funkhouser seek to give you a definitive ranking of the contestants as they make their way through Bobby and Giada’s world.  Who is the Top Chef (TM) this week?  Take a look at Week One’s Power Rankings.

#13 Blake Baldwin – Eliminated

Blake, seen above looking like a poor man’s Matt Bomer, joins 12 other seasons worth of first eliminations as someone you won’t remember being a part of this series. I’ve now watched this episode twice since Sunday, and still don’t remember anything about him.  So there’s that.

#12 Toya Boudy

Toya gets to start off the season as this year’s waaaay too overconfident cheftestant, who already has a name for her show (and its own time slot).  The cook from New Orleans quickly gets brought down a peg from the judges and her fellow competitors.  During the cooking challenge, having her own POV is no help as she puts out a dish with no backstory, putting her in the bottom three. But most importantly, Toya will probably only be remembered in this episode as the woman that Matthew “whamsauced” while sprinting around the kitchen.


#11 Nancy Manlove

Shew, Nancy.  This grandmother of eight, former NASA employee, competitive cook and culinary school graduate had the hardest time this week staying within the clock.  Being the oldest cook in this competition may say she has the most life experience that she can bring to the table. However, if she can’t gather her point of view into an organized collection of thoughts, Nancy might just continue talking as they push her out the door and close it behind her.

#10 Trace Barnett

Woof.  Trace is what you’d get if you took last year’s first eliminated contestant Havird, and mixed him with fellow contestant Jason and Justin Bieber.  The cook from Alabama calls himself the “Bitter Socialite”, but the ones that should be bitter are the applicants that got denied in order to give Trace a spot.  I mean, for his first cooking challenge, he cooked corn on a stick.  Corn.  On a Stick.  Trace is only this high on the list because he wasn’t in the bottom three, but even then, he may continue to slide down the list if things don’t change.

#9 Suzanne Lossia

There’s a good chance that Suzanne Lossia might be on the wrong show.  She comes off more “Real Housewives of New Jersey” than personal chef from Detroit, Michigan.  The Middle-Eastern mama (not Penny Davidi) has a hard time getting her thoughts out, and is just so extremely timid on screen.  She actually comes off the exact opposite of how you would think she would be, which I would normally hate, but she needs a little overconfidence and attitude to give her a shot in Food Network Kitchen.

#8 Rusty Hamlin

Rusty is like this year’s Rob Burmeister. Big guy who’s pretty rock and roll, considering he travels with the Zac Brown Band.  His point of view is “Off The Cuff” cooking, which seems vague, but tends to work for him.  The one chink in his armor is that he seems unable to cook and talk to others at the same time, which is pretty much a vital part of being a Food Network Star.

#7 David Rose

“Big Swole” as he’s known, is a Jamaican Motorcyclist from Atlanta with a  culinary point of view of “French Southern Jamaican Fusion”.  So, he’s got that going for him.  Look for David to be the first person to get the “you need to pick one point of view” talk from Bobby, but continues to change his POV every week for the next five weeks, until he settles on something like “American Pan-Asian with a twist”.

#6 Addie Gundry

Addie is a former employee of Martha Stewart with the point of view of Easy, Elegant Entertaining.  In some ways she reminds me of a young Melissa d’Arabian, which is a good thing, but I don’t know that she has the boldness to pull off a win in the end.  She does have a good showing in the first cooking challenge, and her best moments come from her talking head segments where she actually does show some humor and personality.  So, maybe there’s hope for Addie in the end.

#5 Cory Bahr

Poor, Poor Cory.  Not the best initial showing from Food & Wine Magazine’s “People’s Best New Chef” and 2011’s “King of Louisiana Seafood”.  Clearly Cory has the cooking chops to have his own show, but kind of blows it on his introduction to Bobby & Giada.  Once he gets in the kitchen, however, his cooking skills are one of a “Top Chef” caliber contestant.  But, that doesn’t necessarily translate to Food Network Star worthy if you don’t have the on-camera ability to back it up.  If he can figure out the presentation part of the job, Cory will be a top contender for the title.  I mean, he even looks like he could host one of those non-descript “Holiday ‘Insert Food Here’ Championships”.

#4 Matthew Grunwald

Ugh. Do we have to do this for the third season in a row? Matthew Grunwald made his first appearance in Season 11, where he was deemed the “Hashtag Guy”, with 10,000 POVs. He’s immature, young, a little too hungry, and possibly your next Food Network Star.  He didn’t make it out of “Comeback Kitchen” last season, but they gave him another shot this year, and he won.  He’s still as obnoxious as before, and I don’t know why Food Network continues to parade him out on our televisions. However, his cooking is way better than anything else that’s ever come out of his mouth. He just needs to make sure he doesn’t decapitate any more contestants while sprinting through the kitchen. Michael Symon would have decked the kid for that mid-kitchen collision.

#3 Amy Pottinger

First off, Amy makes it into the top-three of this week’s power rankings by the mere fact that she finished in the top-three this episode.  That’s not to say that I really have anything against the military spouse from Honolulu, but she’s going to need to do a lot more to stay high-up in Funkhouser’s FNS Power Rankings.  She just doesn’t have the big, bold personality that this competition requires.  Amy puts together one of the best dishes of the week, but her presentation to the judges is scattered, and she even says “I cook what I crave”, which does not sit well with Giada.  Honestly, I wish we just got a show on Food Network of a regular person at home on the couch who goes goes… “you know what I’d like to eat today,” and we go from there.

#2 Caodan Tran

Kao comes off as “too cool for school” in her on stage audition which, at first, puts her at the back of the pack. However, she brings out the big guns when it comes to her second opportunity later in the show.  With a hip-hop vibe and a Vietnamese-American background, she wins over the judges with her unique style.  Anyone who able to get away with saying “I’ve got Fish Sauce in my bag, swag”, definitely rockets to the top ahead of any other contestant.  It’s something different than what you’d hear on Food Network right now, and that’s definitely a good thing.  The only problem for Cao will be making sure her laid-back style doesn’t come off as apathy, but she’s got 11 weeks to prove herself.

#1 Jason Smith

“Lord Honey”, where to start with Jason. First off, the Grayson, Kentucky native is Funkhouser’s hopeful winner of Food Network Star. Between his ridiculous outfits and that eastern Kentucky twang, any opportunity to get two Kentuckians as the winner of FNS is a must have for us. Megan Suttles said it best back in the winter:

The man that calls his fellow contestants “a bunch of drunks” and always has a difficult time opening the oven door needs a thirty minute time slot.” 

The biggest hurdle that Jason, winner of Food Network’s Holiday Baking Championships, is going to have is overcoming the slow pace that his southern drawl naturally brings out.  If he can do that, he’ll make for one heck of a Food Network star.  Let’s hope he never runs out of his “Holy Kentucky Trinity” – Bacon, Butter, and Bourbon.

How do you feel about this week’s Food Network Star Power Rankings?  Let us know below or @FunkhouserKSR on Twitter

Zima:  Don’t Call it a Comeback

Zima: Don’t Call it a Comeback

Have you ever wanted to taste the 90’s?  If so, you may be in luck, assuming you’re over the age of 21 of course.  That’s because Zima, a faddish alcoholic beverage from that cherished era, is being resurrected by MillerCoors for a limited time beginning June 12th.  However, before you start grabbing 6-packs off the shelves and lacing them with your favorite flavored Jolly Rancher, do yourself a favor and reacquaint yourself with the memorable yet polarizing drink.

When you live long enough, you begin to see the same patterns in pop culture emerge.  A rebottling of forgone ideas—unearthed, dusted off, repackaged and sold to unsuspecting younger generations or folks simply too drunk on the schmaltz of the past.  It’s fitting really: the word nostalgia actually derives from two Greek words, nostos, meaning return and algos, meaning suffering.  In case you’re naively curious or consigned the memory of the once bygone beverage to oblivion— Zima is taste bud torture.  I know from experience dude!  Now, you probably won’t believe this, but over a year ago, I pitched a piece about the seemingly abrupt fad of cider drinks, like Redd’s Apple Ale and Angry Orchard, that were being marketed ad nauseam, that eerily paralleled the rise and fall of Zima, and how given time—probably within the next three years—we would eventually witness Zima’s inevitable return from a nearly nine year exile.

Conceived in the late 80’s during the “clear craze”, Zima, preceded by Smirnoff Ice, also birthed Bacardi Breezers, Hooper’s Hooch, as well as a number of hard lemonades.  Zima ushered in a new wave of Frankensteinian alt-beers, coined alcopop, malted beverages spliced with fermented fruit juices that pack somewhere between 3 to 7% alcohol per volume.  Mmm, mmm, it’ll get ya drunk!  Zima which contains close to 5% apv was part semi-carbonated soda, part wine cooler, and all around, well, not something you’d write home about, but one your palette would surely never forget.  Their marketing was equally banal, featuring an unremarkable schmuck coined The Zima Guy, known less for his floppy hat, and more for the way he substituted his S’s for Z’s like when he would utter the malternative’s tag line: “Try Zomething Different!”

Zima peaked in the pop culture zeitgeist in 1994 for a couple of reasons.  Their marketing was effective, especially when you’re heavily targeting a younger (under 21) demographic—something it was later accused of doing—looking for a quick buzz, who shunned beer, and also didn’t want to get caught pillaging their parents liquor cabinet.  There was also an urban legend that began circulating too, falsely claiming Zima was virtually undetectable to breathalyzers.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Despite its meteoric rise, Zima began losing ground, and no more than two years later faced a dramatic drop in sales.  Some attribute this to Zima foolishly being stereotyped as a girly drink—whatever that means.  While this can’t be disputed, the fact that it tasted obnoxiously dreadful is the more logical conclusion, and Zima finally fizzled out and disappeared altogether in 2008.

Zima is to beer as Chuck E. Cheese is to Pizza.  An afterthought, and a regrettable one at that.  It’s the alcohol equivalent to wearing socks with Crocs.  Zima is the Real Housewives of {insert whatever town} —you’ll watch it every once in a while, maybe even enjoying an entire season, but you’d never admit that you do in front of a group of respectable people.  Catch my drift?  When I saw the news that it was returning, the reaction I received when I asked people about it was mostly mixed. Everybody remembers it, but when asked if they would try it again, the responses were more tight-lipped.  I assume this is because of Zima’s unforgettably a-meh-zing taste, or perhaps some skeletons in the closets of those I polled.  I predict newcomers, devotees, and thrill seekers will agree, once they resample it.  Twisting off the cap, their nostrils will detect a faint whiff of an oddly metallic smell reminiscent of Alka Seltzer.  When the glass bottle finally reaches their lips the fight or flight responses kick in and if it’s not immediately spit out, they’ll taste a sweetened liquid akin to mineral water mixed with 7-Up, which has leechings of silicone plastic, and an aftertaste comparable to Juicy Fruit chewing gum.  A taste so vile—similar to sucking on a stainless-steel screw—someone somewhere suggested that dropping a Jolly Rancher into the drink, would thereby alter (but not improve) the overall flavor.

Despite how I feel about it, Zima is worth the try, for sentimental reasons if nothing else.  You participated in martini mania, had a fetish for oyster shooters, fell for lower calorie suds, and partook in the moonshine revival after all.  And hey, summer is here right?!?  Will Zima ever achieve its time in the sun like back in ’94?  Probably not, and I imagine this is why MillerCoors is only doing a limited release.  And if we’re doing this, why not rerelease Red Dog beer while you’re at it?  And why now?  Wait, Zima means “winter” in Russian…is it the Russia thing?!?  Oh, it’s 2017, that’s right.  So predictable. Nothing makes sense or matters anymore.  Or maybe Zima is a sign, and this is truly the End of Days.  Was this foretold?  Somebody look that up.  Oh well.  Regardless, after you’ve pounded a few Zimas and the buzz suddenly hits you like a freight train, just remember who anticipated all this, and therefore when you’re bursting with nostalgia, don’t expect me to hold your hair back.

FILE - In this April 11, 2005, file photo, New York Mets mascot Mr. Met reacts with the crowd during the Mets home opener against the Houston Astros at Shea Stadium in New York. Even Mr. Met is frustrated with the team's start. New York's beloved mascot flashed an upraised middle finger at a fan during Wednesday night's, May 31, 2017, 7-1 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers, and the employee will not work for the Mets again. A Mets official told The Associated Press more than one person wears the Mr. Met costume during each season, and the person who donned it Wednesday night will not do so again. The Mets official spoke on condition of anonymity because the statement from the organization was the team's only authorized comment. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull, File) ORG XMIT: NY154A

The Entertation Index: May 29-June 2

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


Cocktail, Virtual Reality — A whisky-based cocktail called the Origin at the One Aldwych bar in London’s West End is prefaced with a strapped-on virtual reality program designed to take you to the Scottish Highlands and forget where you are before returning you to the bar interior and serving the drink. Or you can do what I do, drink five Origins and THEN forget where you are. I know you didn’t see that joke coming (you totally saw that joke coming).
Link: What’s It Like to Drink a Virtual Cocktail? 

Court, Night — 25 years ago this week the great Night Court aired its series finale and began its long, weird, unexplainable trip into being totally forgotten. The AV Club delves into its history and looked at the classic courtroom comedy’s early beginnings and fading later years. Still, there are a lot of us who still love Night Court. Wherever it is now.
Link: Night Court Was the Black Sheep of NBC’s Sitcom Dynasty

Griffin, Kathy — Comedienne and professional New Year’s Eve Ruiner for CNN Kathy Griffin made a severe misstep this week when she tweeted a picture of herself holding a bloodied mask of Donald Trump, a move which drew the ire of both sides of the aisle. Clearly, however, the move was just Griffin doing something she thought would be funny just to find no one thought it was funny, which sums up Kathy Griffin’s entire career. Bam! Me:1, Kathy Griffin 0.
Link: Venues Cancel Kathy Griffin Appearances In Wake of Trump Dust-Up

Met, Mr. — During the New York Mets’ recent loss to the Milwaukee Brewers at Citi Field, longstanding mascot Mr. Met — subjected to allegedly some abusive comments about his mother — left the stadium early and flipped off fans on his way out. I’d say he needs a thicker skin but horsehide is already pretty thick;  I will say it’s sad that certain Mets fans chose to exploit Mr. Met’s current family tragedy, when his mother was foul-tipped off a Bronx pick-up game and bounced into some bushes. Her body has not yet been recovered.
Link: Fan Says Mr. Met Showered with Profane Heckles Before Bird-Flip

One-Liners, Hip Hop — For your reading pleasure this weekend I present, via Rolling Stone, the twenty greatest one-liners in hip hop music, from Lil’ Wayne’s “Real G’s move in silence like lasagna” to Big Daddy Kane’s “If you are what you eat/Then feed me dope.” Some good lit here. Enjoy.
Link: 20 Great Hip-Hop One-Liners

Woman, Wonder — Don’t look now but the struggling comics-to-movies universe of DC may have just found its white knight in Wonder Woman, which is currently sitting at 93% on Rotten Tomatoes. That’s a good sign for the film, which held special all-female screenings last weekend that as a man I’m not sure what I’m allowed to say about so I’ll just leave it at Great Job, Wonder Woman!
Link: With Wonder Woman, DC Comics Finally Gets It Right

Zardulu — If you want my two cents on the most interesting read of the week, here it is: Vox’s feature piece on Zardulu. Who’s Zardulu? She’s only the wizard-mask-wearing, platitude-imparting secret art figure behind some of the most viral videos of all time (including pizza rat, raccoon riding an alligator and more). She believes that creating things in the world that make you wonder and believe crazy things is more important than ever and, quite frankly, I’m fascinated by her. Check it out for yourself.
Link: Where Pizza Rat, Fake News and Art Collide, There’s a Wizard Named Zardulu

2017 Scripps National Spelling Bee – Singh of Louisville Advances To Finals

After 291 spellers took to the stage over the course of Wednesday morning and afternoon, the field has been whittled down to 40 finalists.  Among that group, Kentucky’s Tara Singh remains in the competition to try and take home spelling’s biggest (and maybe only) prize.

Tara Singh

This is Tara Singh’s fourth appearance at the Scripps National Spelling Bee, having previously competed in 2013, 2015 and 2016.  She took to the stage twice today, spelling both ‘Miniver’ (plain white fur for lining clothes) and Guamanian (relating to Guam) correctly.  She performed well enough on her written test on Tuesday to advance to become one of the top-40 spellers in Thursday’s final round.  The finals will begin at 10am on ESPN2.

Kentucky’s two other contestants were not as lucky during today’s competition.  Florence native, Tanvi Rakesh spelled her morning word (parkour) correctly, but was dinged out of the Bee after misspelling the word ‘Appellation’.  Lexington’s Joey Ilagan was able to spell both Nephrotoxic and Vespertine on the stage on Wednesday, but did not advance to the finals based on Tuesday’s written test. Congrats to both Joey and Tanvi for making it to the big stage, that’s a huge accomplishment!

We will continue to keep you posted on Tara’s progress through the finals tomorrow, hopefully leading to the prime-time Bee finals on ESPN at 8:30 Thursday night!  Follow @funkhouserKSR on Twitter for all the updates!

2017 Scripps National Spelling Bee – Kentucky Speller Update

Day two underway for our three Kentucky spellers in the 2017 Scripps National Spelling Bee, taking place in Washington D.C.  Tara Singh, Tanvi Rakesh and Joey Ilagan have all had the opportunity to face Dr. Jacques Bailly and his dreaded bell of doom.  Round Two took place this morning on ESPN3, with Round Three coming up this afternoon at 3:45pm on ESPN3.  Take a look at how our linguists have fared up to this point in the competition:

Name Tara Singh Tanvi Rakesh Joey Ilagan
Speller Number #207 #218 #230
Hometown Louisville, KY Florence, KY Lexington, KY
Round Two  Miniver Parkour  Nephrotoxic
Round Three Guamanian  Appellation

Spellers that remain after the end of round three (round one was a written test on Tuesday) will have their written tests factored into their total ranking, and no more than 50 spellers will move on to the finals on Thursday morning.  We will have to wait and see which of our remaining Kentucky spellers will advance to the Thursday Finals on ESPN 2 at 10AM.

This page will continue to be updated over the course of the competition with the results of each speller’s attempted spell.