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Funkhouser Reviews: “Dark Matter” by Randy Newman

Funkhouser Reviews: “Dark Matter” by Randy Newman

“It’s a Jungle Out There” is a song from Randy Newman’s latest album Dark Matter, which was released August 4th.  Talk about timely.  If the last week/month/year has revealed anything it’s that it is very much a jungle out there.  While that can be intimidating at times, leave it to Randy Newman to deliver an album to call out the big issues of the world today in a charming, satiric manner which is enjoyable even if you don’t necessarily agree with the message.  That’s exactly what Dark Matter is.  It’s an album which starts off with an eight minute track called “The Great Debate” which outlines a debate between people of faith and people of science about dark matter, global warming, and evolution.  If that doesn’t grab you then maybe his song “Putin” or the John Kennedy-Robert Kennedy conversation in the song “Brothers” will be more your style.  Amidst the political and historical references there are several songs which showcase why Randy Newman’s career has spanned over 40 years…his uniquely Randy Newman charm.

Dark Matter contains songs with messages you may not agree with.  “The Great Debate” is essentially about the devolution of mindful debate into a stone-throwing faith versus reason free for all.  Depending on your perspective this song can be interpreted for or against either side represented.  Even Newman himself is represented and disparaged within the song.  The joke in this song isn’t on one particular group, but on all of us because when we lose the ability to talk sensibly, things just unravel.  What makes the song entertaining is that it is absolutely right.  The beauty of Newman’s satire, especially as it relates to politics, science, and religion, is that regardless of your personal viewpoint, it forces you to think about the other side.  Too often we dismiss other points of view simply because it comes from a different perspective than our own.  When we do that we ultimately lose the ability to reasonably debate and just spew talking points which doesn’t help anybody get anywhere.

Newman doesn’t stop his current event narrations with “The Great Debate”.  Another song, and my personal favorite from the album, is simply titled “Putin”.  Again, the current political landscape and the listener’s perspective will probably lead to different interpretations of the song.  As for me, I just think it’s funny.  The song explores various aspects of Russian President Vladimir Putin.  Newman paints quite a picture for the listener, covering everything from Putin’s shirtless photo shoots to the notion of Putin wanting a war for better sea-front resorts on the Mediterranean; and, of course, the ultimate goal to propel Russia to its greatest heights.  There’s even a mention of the state of Kentucky in the song, which was a pleasant surprise.  I think.  Much like how his other geopolitical masterpiece, “Political Science”, makes light of preemptive nuclear war, “Putin” uses extravagant humor to draw serious attention to how much of an egomaniac Putin appears to be.

(Minor NSFWish warning for language)

Maybe political satire isn’t your cup of tea.  Of the nine tracks on the album the two previously mentioned are the most directly political.  The rest of the album is primarily the Randy Newman most people know from his movie work and Family Guy cameo.  His dopey charm really shines through on “She Chose Me” and “On the Beach”.  Meanwhile, “Lost Without You” and “Wandering Boy” are emotional, heavy stories of loss that, when partnered with Newman’s voice, are so sweetly sad that it makes you just want to go hug a loved one.  “Sonny Boy” is a historical account of musician “Sonny Boy” Williamson’s career and murder, while “Brothers” is a musical conversation between the Kennedy brothers about Washington Redskins football and the Cuban Revolution.   See, there’s something for everyone to enjoy!

Ultimately Dark Matter is an all-encompassing roller coaster which will make you feel a lot of different things.  The first time I listened to the album was while I was running and I got so into it I forgot how much I hate running (especially on hills).  The second listen was a much more thoughtful experience, but that’s ultimately the real beauty of this album.  Newman is a great musician and lyricist, which is why he’s been around for so long.  Dark Matter is 100% worth a listen, and if we can’t all agree to laugh at Putin, what can we agree on?


Gen Con 50 Preview – August 17-20 – Indianapolis, IN

Gen Con 50 Preview – August 17-20 – Indianapolis, IN

In just two days, Indianapolis is about to have a huge gaming problem on its hands.  On August 17, Gen Con 50 descends on Indianapolis and with it comes possibly the largest crowd in Gen Con history. Over a month before the largest and longest-running gaming convention in North America, Gen Con sold out of four-day badges in July. Yesterday, it was announced that ALL badges for Gen Con 50 have been completely sold out.  Last year, the turnstile numbers for 2016 reached over 200,000 vistors, with the number of unique attendees was over 60,000. Now imagine that that number may possibly go up to almost 75,000 people, and Indy could become a very crowded place for tabletop gaming and role-playing games.

So as (recently hospitalized, hopefully recovering) Ric Flair would say, “What’s causing all this?” The hobby gaming market has been rising year after year, and according to Icv2reached nearly $1.2 billion in sales in 2016. Hobby board, card, and dice games combined for over $350 million of that total. So, it’s no wonder that Gen Con 50 is looking to be the biggest in its half-century history.


Games

I am not exaggerating when I say that there will over 500 games being demoed or sold at Gen Con this year, so it is impossible to talk about all the exciting things coming out this year. I previewed three of the games in my Origins Recap, including The Climbers, Summit and Rhino Hero: Super Battle.  All three of those games will be on sale at Gen Con, so check out my previous post to know more about them. Below, however, I have listed a few more games that I am personally excited to play/get my hands on. (You can see all of the games at Gen Con in this handy BoardGameGeek.com preview list)

Restoration Games Suite

Restoration Games debuted as a company during Gen Con 2016, where they announced that the basis behind their business plan was to take games from the past that were solid, and update them for modern times. Their first announced game was Stop Thief!, a game about using an electronic squawk-box to use audio clues to track down a thief and capture them. The game has been updated with new movement mechanics and has replaced the squawk box with an iPhone app that makes all of the appropriate audio clues. On Kickstarter, Restoration Games raised over $100k in their campaign and Stop Thief! should be in the hands of U.S. backers, hopefully this week.

Since then, Restoration Games announced two other games: Downforce and Indulgence. Downforce is a racing game, where players manage the cards in their hand to move the race cars across the finish line. There are betting and auction mechanics in the game as well, and the person with the most money at the end of the game wins. Downforce seems to have the most excitement behind it in the Restoration Games’ line. Indulgence is a trick taking card game, based off of 1981 game Dragonmaster. In the game, players will choose a rule for the round (take none of one suit), but other players have the option to ‘sin’ and choose the opposite (take all of one suit) and potentially score a lot of points. All three of these games are intriguing to me. You can get all three at Gen Con for $80, but if you backed Stop Thief! on Kickstarter, you can get both Downforce & Indulgence for $10 off the MSRP. Restoration Games will also make an announcement at the Dice Tower Live panel on Friday, on what their next game (or games) will be.

Codenames Duet

via Rodney Smith (@watchitplayed on Twitter)

If I’m not mistaken, some version of Codenames has ended up on my list each of the past three years for GenCon (this one included). In 2015, it was Codenames.  In 2016, it was Codenames Pictures.  Finally, in 2017, we have Codenames Duet. Codenames Duet is a two-player cooperative version of the word guessing game. In traditional Codenames, teams go back and forth trying to guess 8-9 secret words that one member of their team is leading them towards via one-word clues. A grid of 25 words is set out on the table, and the clue-givers will have an answer key with their words in either Red or Blue. In Codenames Duet, two players will sit across from each other and see different sides of a the same color coded answer key, with the squares marked in green represent the words they are trying to get their partner to guess. Each side will have nine green squares, but three of those squares are the same on both sides, meaning the team is going for 15 total words. Three other words are marked in black (assassins), and if your partner guesses those words, the game is automatically over.

I’ve always been a fan of Codenames, and in a time where I thought we were about to hit peak Codenames, Duet levels things out a little bit. This will be a great game to take to a coffee shop on a Saturday or Sunday morning to play with your friend, significant-other, spouse, etc., while chatting over whatever else. From what I understand, it is a bit of a brain-burner and much more difficult than you would imagine, which is what Codenames really needs.

Go Nuts for Donuts

Sushi Go! was a big game for introducing friends to playing tabletop/card games. I feel like Gamewright’s Go Nuts for Donuts might have that same ability with a differing play style. In Go Nuts for Donuts, players will hold cards in their hands for the number of players in the game (plus one). So, if there are five players, they will hold the numbers 1-6 in their hand. Six cards will be drawn off the top of the deck and laid out, numbered 1-6.  At the same time, players will decide which donut they want from the table, choose its number, and lay that face down on the table. Upon reveal, players will take the donut they chose – UNLESS – two players pick the same donut, in which case that donut will go in the discard pile and no one gets it. Each donut has a differing point value or power, some requiring you to get sets of the same donut to score more points. The scoring will be familiar for those who played Sushi Go!, but the actual picking mechanic changes everything up and makes for a fresh game. Who doesn’t love donuts?

Whistle Stop

Train games have served for the basis for many popular board games, with Ticket To Ride quite possibly being the most popular/well known. Well, Bezier Games and Scott Caputo is coming out with Whistle Stop, a pick-up and delivery train game that looks pretty interesting and people seem to be buzzing about it. Unlike most train games, where the board is already a map with pre-determined routes, Whistle Stop gives you the framework for the map, and over the course of the game, you fill out the tracks and routes with tiles from your hand. The goal of the game is to get your trains from the east coast to the west coast, picking up and delivering goods to get points and railroad shares. You need to be able to pick up goods and take them to specific cities, because if you do not have the goods a city wants, you will lose points. Players can upgrade their train to do special actions, all in an effort to have the most fame points at the end of the game.

I wasn’t initially sold on the game, but after seeing it at Origins and hearing an overwhelmingly positive reaction from board game media, I will definitely check this out, and potentially pick this up.

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Again, there are 500+ games coming out or being demoed at Gen Con, so there is going to be plenty to see, as well plenty of surprises that are sure to come later this week. There is going to be some sort of demo for Pandemic Legacy: Season 2 (which I still need to finish season 1). There is so much going on, that it’s impossible to talk about every thing.


Events

Summit Charity Event | Thursday, August 17 @ 9pm

In my recap following Origins, I mentioned that one of the games that I was looking forward to playing was Summit from Inside Up Games.  The “Mountain Survival” game plays both as a Solo, Co-operative, and competitive game.  Since Origins, I have played Summit multiple times and I have been very happy with what the game provides both in the Co-Op and competitive modes.  Undoubtedly, competitive play serves as one of the most brutal challenges, as you have many other players trying to stab you in the back to keep you from getting to the top of the mountain and back.  So, why not put together a competitive game with five of the most entertaining board game media personalities for charity?

That’s exactly what Friend of Funkhouser and Inside Up Games’ Conor McGoey has done. On Thursday Night at 9pm, five people will go head to head in a brutal game of Summit. Playing the game will be Marty Connell (Rolling Dice & Taking Names), Chris Miller (Secret Cabal Gaming Podcast), Brandon Nall (Brawling Brothers), Christina Rouse (Blue Peg, Pink Peg), and Stephanie Straw (BGG & general gaming awesomeness).  Commentary will be provided by Robb Rouse (Blue Peg, Pink Peg) and Tony McRee (Rolling Dice & Taking Names).  All tickets sold to watch the event will go to Gen Con’s charity, McGoey and Inside Up Games will donate money to the charity of the winner’s choice.  For full disclosure, I’m Team Christina (unless she get’s eliminated then I’m Team Brandon, unless…)

Rolling Dice & Taking Names Strike Tournament | Friday, August 18 @ 7pm

I’m not going to lie and say I know exactly where the fascination with popular convention game Strike came from. It most likely has something to do with Rodney Smith of Watch it Played, as he has been championing the game for the last few years. In it’s simplest explanation, in Strike, each player gets a number of gladiator (dice) and they will throw a die one at a time into the Arena (game box). After rolling, if your dice match any other dice, you remove all matching dice into your stock, and the next player goes.  If after removing your gladiators, none remain in the bowl, the next player has to throw all of their dice in. Players are eliminated if they have  no dice remaining, with the final person standing winning the game.

Rolling Dice and Taking Names Podcast is having a meet-up on Friday night at 7:00pm in the Omni Hotel Bar, in which there will be a Strike Tournament. Team Tony suggests that the game is about Gladiators in an Arena, while team Marty feels that the game is nothing more than dice in a bowl. The players who reach the finals will battle to get to determine how the game will be referred to for the coming year. I plan on being there, and I may have a surprise up my sleeve for the Strike Tournament.

The Secret Cabal Gaming Podcast Meetup | Saturday, August 19 @ 8pm

The Secret Cabal Gaming Podcast might have one of the strongest followings of board game related podcasts.  I was able to go to their meet-up at Origins this year, and the huge crowd nearly brought the restaurant to its knees. There were so many people at the event, that the sound system wasn’t loud enough to reach everyone, so everyone started chanting the raffle numbers until the winner was found. It definitely weirded out the non-gamers at the restaurant, but that made it even more enjoyable.

The event, which will be held at Tow Yard Brewing on Saturday night, will be one of the biggest events of the weekend.  There are going to be about 500 swag bags given out, a huge raffle where each winner (I think there were 25-30 at Origins) takes home a giant stack of games. Tow Yard is even brewing a special beer for the Cabalists, called Full Froth, which you will only be able to get at the meet-up. I can’t make it to this one, which is probably for the best, but if you’re around, you should definitely go and hang out at one of the wildest events in Indy on Saturday night.


If you are going to be at Gen Con 50, please come find me and say hello. Send any cool pictures you might take to @FunkhouserKSR on Twitter, and I’ll retweet them as well. Hope to see you all there, this is going to be a fun week!


Kentucky Thrones Radio: Season 7, Episode 5

 

The KTR crew has a lot to discuss after an extremely eventful Game of Thrones episode.  “Eastwatch” picked up after a battle of fire and left off in the icy tundra north of The Wall.  Nick and T.J. talk about everything that happened, starting with…

—  Is the show moving too fast?

—  Gilly’s shocking revelation and its implications.

—  The confusing connections between Bran and the Night King and a bold theory.

—  The Baratheons are back and T.J. can’t contain his emotions.

—  It’s a cat-and-mouse game between Littlefinger and Arya, but who is in control?

—  Two BOLD predictions from Nick for next week’s episode.

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.


Get Discounted Moontower Music Festival Tickets with KSR’s Funkhouser

Get Discounted Moontower Music Festival Tickets with KSR’s Funkhouser

On August 26, MoonTower Music Festival returns to Masterson Station for its fourth year.  MoonTower has been the host to BBN favorites Sundy Best and this year promises to have its biggest show.  Along with headline acts Umphrey’s McGee, Benjamin Booker, Cherub, and Todd Snider & The Eastside Bulldogs, the festival will feature music from many different genres like rock, jazz, bluegrass, alternative, and more.  If you’re looking for a day to hang out with friends, drink a cold beer, eat some delicious local food, and listen to some good music then Moontower is the place you want to be.  General admission tickets are $45 ($49 after August 15), but if you order online using KSR Funkhouser’s own special promo code “KSR40” here you’ll land tix for only $40!

Doors open at 11:00 and you can bring your kids (and dogs).  There will be a beer garden with West 6th and Rhinegeist, as well as a bourbon and wine bar!  Be sure to come out hang out with the Funkhouser crew and be a part of the fun!


August Movie Preview

August Movie Preview

With summer wrapping up and Game of Thrones winding down (which is almost worse than summer being over tbh), I thought it’d be great to look ahead at the movies coming out in August and September. The summer was a down year for movie studios, taking in less money than in the last decade. Yes, you’ve heard about the blockbusters; Wonder Woman, Spider-Man:Homecoming, and Dunkirk are a few. However there are also the major flops; Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets and The Dark Tower. Movies that cost millions to make, market, and distribute have brought along a depressing summer for movie studios. Looking ahead there is still time to make up for these losses with a decent slate of flicks coming out.

Logan Lucky (August 18th)

Starring Channing Tatum, Adam Driver, and Daniel Craig, this looks to be a low tech version of Ocean’s Eleven. Set around a heist at the Charlotte Motor Speedway, the movie shows Daniel Craig like we’ve never seen him before. The cast goes beyond the three actors I’ve already mentioned, and appears to be a good popcorn movie. With all the thought provoking Oscar contenders coming up later in the fall, it’ll be nice to sit back and laugh without having to worry about simple things like plot.

It (September 8th)

Do you remember the 1990 TV miniseries? If you answered yes, believe that it was scary, and don’t see a reason for this movie, I feel sorry for you. The Stephen King novel is the stuff of nightmares (namely mine as a teenager), that was done lip service by TV. I realize it had some very popular actors in it at the time, especially John Ritter and Tim Curry, but the miniseries hasn’t aged well. With no constraints for the horror, It promises to be the reason for your new nightmares. It doubles down on modern horror with placing the younger Loser’s Club in the mid 80’s, or right around the time I was in my early teens. While The Dark Tower had a Herculean task before it, It can draw directly from the novel and scare us all into next year.

American Assassin (September 15th)

Based off the novels of Vince Flynn, who passed away from cancer in 2013, the adventures of Mitch Rapp get the big screen treatment. Working as a CIA operative after the death of his girlfriend by terrorists, this is the origin story of how Rapp began his career with the CIA. Flynn’s influence includes such acclaimed writers as Tolkien, Hemingway, and Clancy. I have devoured all of the novels with growing interest as to what they can become. A good mix of James Bond, Jason Bourne, and Jack Ryan, Mitch Rapp has the potential to place his name into the archives of kick butt government spooks. Worth a chance.

Kingsmen: The Golden Cirlce (September 29th)

And finally, the continuing adventures of Eggsy and the Kingsmen. A breakout hit in 2014, the modern knights of the round table are forced to join forces with their American cousins, the Statesmen. The Kingsmen use names such as Galahad, Merlin, and Arthur, which gives me a smile when I heard what some of the Statesmen code names are: Tequila, Whiskey, and Champagne. One high point for all Kentuckians to be on the lookout for is the bluegrass tie in to the Golden Circle, bourbon. It has been featured in several of the promos for the film, and looks to be a major plot point in the movie. That is an idea we can all get behind. Bottoms up to this film.

That’s all I have for now. Football, changing leaves, cooler nights, and the Walking Dead will be here in a few short weeks. Until then grab a ticket and some popcorn at your local theater. Cheers.


The Entertation Index: Aug 7-11

The Entertation Index: Aug 7-11

As always, each week KSR’s Funkhouser collects the best of pop culture. And as always, The Entertation Index collects the best of the week for your consumption.

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Bros., Coen — Good news for people who love the Coen Brothers (me included); the minds behind The Big Lebowski, Raising Arizona, No Country for Old Men and other classics will be taking their writing and directing sensibilities to a Netflix anthology series about the Old West. This great news can only mean a cast of diverse characters is on the way including the quirky blacksmith, the quirky gunslinger, the quirky apothecarian, the quirky brothel madame and the quirky sheriff, among others.
Link: The Coen Bros. “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs” is headed to Netflix

Burton, LeVar — Buffalo, New York public broadcasting station WNED, which once produced LeVar Burton’s Reading Rainbow series, has filed suit against the show’s former host for using the catchphrase “You don’t have to take my word for it” in his new podcast LeVar Burton Reads, proving once again that if for anything nice and good in the world there’s someone who’ll try to find a way to make it go away because they’re not making enough money from it. But you don’t have to take my word for it. (PLEASE DON’T SUE ME.)
Link: LeVar Burton Sued for Using Reading Rainbow Catchphrase in Podcast

Campbell, Glen — Yesterday saw country singer and American songwriting legend Glen Campbell sadly passed away on Tuesday following a long battle with Alzheimers. In honor of the Campbell’s classic-filled career I’d like to suggest we all listen to “Wichita Lineman” today and excuse me I have something in my eye.

Cyrus, Billy Ray — The Kentucky Music Hall of Fame announced its 2018 class on Wednesday, with “Achy Breaky Heart” singer Billy Ray Cyrus at the head of the list. “We’d like to recognize Mr. Cyrus for his achievements in songwriting and performing,” said a spokesperson for the Hall of Fame, “and humbly hope that with this induction Mr. Cyrus will stop calling us.”
Link: Billy Ray Cyrus Tops 2018 Kentucky Music Hall of Fame Class 

Gallagher, Liam — We all know that former Oasis co-founder Liam Gallagher, is, like, a super nice guy, so I’m sure it will really shock you to read the following ranked list of things Liam Gallagher has crapped on, which include his brother, of course, but also cars and the ocean. Great dude, that dude.
Link: Liam Gallagher’s Latest Slew of Insults, Ranked from Least to Most Absurd

Letterman, David — Rejoice, rejoice; David Letterman is returning to us. The former Late Show host has inked a deal with Netflix to do a six-episode series of long form segments, in-depth interviews and field pieces. He’s even talking with Paul Schaeffer to be involved in some way. He also, it should be noted, closes the following Entertainment Weekly piece in classic Letterman fashion, noting “We’re negotiating with the beard right now.
Link: David Letterman on Netflix Comeback – I’ll Ask “Whatever I Want”

Thrones, Game of — Leave it to a bunch of Redditors to exaggerate the latest bizarre Game of Thrones theory — that during the Arya/Brienne duel on Sunday the ghost of Catelyn Stark was seen crossing through a doorway in the background. It could be real, or it could be a bizarre coincidence, but either way, if it’s something you want to spend 35 minutes telling me about at a party I’d thank you to leave me alone.
Link: Fans Spotted Something Creepy as Hell in a Scene from Game of Thrones


Getting to Know the Chefs from the Bourbon and Beyond Festival

Getting to Know the Chefs from the Bourbon and Beyond Festival

September 23rd and 24th is the first ever Bourbon and Beyond Festival.  Set on the Louisville waterfront, festivalgoers will be able to hear from musical acts and taste food from notable chefs.   The list of artists includes Stevie Nicks, Eddie Vedder, Gary Clark Jr. and Steve Miller Band. While I’m excited to hear Stevie Nicks and see all of her flowy clothing, I’m more excited about the food.  Obviously, there’s a difference between how we enjoy music and food. Falling in love with a band is easy.  You hear the song.  It worms its way into your brain and you are forever connected to those chords and that melody.  Food is different.  Although television has developed ways to suggest how food would taste, you still need to be present to savor the meal. Below are some of the chefs that you will definitely want to be present to taste their dishes at the Bourbon and Beyond Festival.

Tom Colicchio

You probably know Tom Colicchio as the head judge on Bravo’s Top Chef.  Colicchio is one of the more intimidating judges. One of my favorite moments from all the seasons is when he cooked a meal for the remaining contestants but first had to put on his weird little glasses that snapped in the front.  It’s a small crack, but it was a humanizing moment for such an intimidating judge.

Colicchio’s Instagram is far less intimidating than his onscreen persona.  You can find his feed riddled with dad jokes and appetizing shots of colorful meals.

I'm losing my marbles over this steak #craftrestaurant

A post shared by Tom Colicchio (@tomcolicchio) on

 Carla Hall

Carla Hall warms my heart.  As a contestant on Top Chef, I resisted her charm because I thought I was too good for a chef whose catchphrase was “Hootie Hoo!” But as the season wore on, she won me over with her authenticity and her talents as a chef. Today, you can find her sandwiched between Mario Batali and Clinton Kelly on The Chew. Hall focuses on Southern Home cooking that leans toward health and wellness. As one of her more recent Instagram posts shows, Hall is always seen with her signature quirky glasses, trendy top and infectious smile.

A whole case of English peas in the @abcthechew kitchen…yes, please! #ilovepeas

A post shared by Carla Hall (@carlaphall) on

Edward Lee

Lee is the chef with the home team advantage.   His restaurants 610 Magnolia, The Wine Studio, MilkWood, and Whiskey Dry are all located in Louisville.   His food goes in the category of dishes that you don’t need to eat to appreciate. As a rule, his creations seem thoughtfully prepared and responsibly sourced.

Amanda Freitag

Freitag’s most visible gig is as a judge on Food Network’s Chopped.  I have a love/hate relationship with Chopped.  I go through spells where just looking at Ted Allen lift up a cloche makes me angry.  Even through unreasonable anger I find that if Amanda Freitag is on the panel I can appreciate her sound reasoning and judgment. She is a woman who can promptly put the cockiest chef in their place without being disrespectful.  The Bourbon and Beyond festival is another opportunity to audiences to judge Freitag’s food for themselves.

Y’all.  I’m Bourbon and Beyond excited to finally get to try some of these chefs dishes in person.   For the longest time I’ve been sentenced to sitting and imagining what their food tastes like.  I hope to see you on September 23 and 24 when the food transforms from something we like on Instagram to something we actually get to eat.

Website: www.bourbonandbeyond.com  

 

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Kentucky Thrones Radio: Season 7, Episode 4

The “Spoils of War” may have been spoiled by some who watched the leaked episode early.  For those who waited, you were treated to one of the most action-packed finales in the show’s history.  Nick and T.J. waste no time to get to the fiery Targaryen attack on Jaime Lannister’s army before discussing…

—  Will Jaime die or surrender (or neither)?

—  Don’t let your girlfriend go into a cave with John Snow.

—  The meaning of the phrase Bran said to Littlefinger.

—  Arya is back in Winterfell and she shows Brienne she’s a badass.

—  Sansa gets T.J. in trouble.

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: July 31 – Aug 4

The Entertation Index: July 31 – Aug 4

As always, each week KSR’s Funkhouser collects the best of pop culture. And as always, The Entertation Index collects the best of the week for your consumption.

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20, Matchbox — A Matchbox 20 concert in Tucson, Arizona had to be delayed 75 minutes after a swarm of several thousand bees invaded a casino amphitheater. At least this is what authorities are surmising from concertgoers vehement complaints that it felt as though “thousands of bees were stinging their ears.”
Link: Matchbox 20 Concert Delayed By Thousands of Aggressive Bees

Barker, Bob — Despite a viral hoax which captured social media this week, representatives for Bob Barker insist that the 93 year-old Price is Right host is NOT dead from a fall at his Hollywood home. A spokesman for Barker says he is on the mend and would like to remind everyone to control the pet population and have your pet spayed or neutered.
Link: Is Bob Barker Dead?

King, Stephen — With The Dark Tower hitting theaters this weekend Rolling Stone has published its ranking of the top thirty movies adapted from author Stephen King’s works. I’d warn of a spoiler alert but it should surprise no one that Maximum Overdrive is number one.
Link: Top 30 Stephen King Movies, Ranked

Summer, Wet Hot American — On the heels of my quarterly viewing of the comedy Wet Hot American Summer comes the second Netflix series to star the characters from Camp Firewood today. To me, WHAS is one of the greatest and underseen comedies ever made and I’d recommend that Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later be on your binge list this weekend.

Thrones, Game of — As was seen coming, last week’s hack of HBO may be connected to the leaking of the fourth episode of Game of Thrones, which reportedly was absconded from Star India, an international HBO partner. The hack is striking fear in HBO that spoilers may ruin the end of season 8, notably the realization that the entire movie is just a dream by Hot Pie.
Link: Game of Thrones Episode 4 Leaks Online

Tomatoes, Rotten — Here’s an interesting read for you: Hollywood executives in 2017 are petrified of Rotten Tomatoes scores. This shouldn’t be surprising, since the site amasses countless reviews into one big “thumbs up” or thumbs down.” It makes a good point. Still, it’s disheartening that film executives are upset that you might find out The Space Between Us is garbage BEFORE paying $14.25 for it.
Link:Rotten Tomatoes is Causing Hollywood’s Latest Existential Crisis

Web, Charlotte’s — The Maine farm which served as the inspiration for Zuckerman’s farm in the beloved children’s novel Charlotte’s Web is reportedly up for sale for $3.7 million dollars. Negotiating with the current owners to rid the property of its talking rat infestation could be worked out; please call with inquiries.
Link: E.B. White’s Charlotte’s Web Farm Up for Sale for $3.7 Million


Siesta Key’s Bad First Impression

Siesta Key’s Bad First Impression

In 2004 we were introduced to Laguna Beach, a show about good-looking people with mediocre personalities dealing with low stakes problems.  In 2017, MTV introduced Siesta Key, a show about good-looking people* with mediocre personalities dealing, once again, with low stakes problems.  The original begins with Hilary Duff’s proclamation of coming “clean.” The newest iteration begins with Carly Rae Jepsen cutting to the “feeling.”  Both are amazing theme songs and both shows have the goal of becoming a pop culture phenomenon.

The intent of Siesta Key is noble, a revival of all the things we love about Laguna Beach.  In reality, Siesta Key proves that once an audience is thirteen years removed from this type of story, you realize these people aren’t what you thought they were.  In retrospect, Justin Bobby, LC and Lo were witty, quirky and cute.  But now, the same types of people are intolerable.   It’s like returning to a bar that you used to frequent and realizing it wasn’t as cool as you thought it was.  When watching Siesta Key, the realization comes in the first two minutes. This is not Laguna Beach.  These are not the type of people you wish were your friends.

Below is the entire introduction to Siesta Key.  It reads like the world’s worst travel brochure, but it gives all the information needed to realize we aren’t dealing with super cool people.

Juliette: Welcome to Siesta Key, our secret paradise.  The island is small and our crew is tight.  The kids here are wild.  There’s a lot of money and more drama.

The narrator is quick to identify the incestuous nature of the island as well as their feral children problem.   “There’s a lot of money and more drama” is both vague and enough information to tell me that I am uninterested in this “secret paradise” that is no longer a secret.

Juliette: That’s Alex, he can pretty much date anyone he wants and now, he’s with me.  

At this point, Alex makes his debut on screen.  He suffers from what is called “bean teeth.”   Although he can have “any girl he wants” he can’t not have teeth shaped like shelled fava beans.  I truly dislike Alex.  Juliette is really going to regret these statements years from now when Alex is a dead-ringer for Shrek and his teeth placement.

Juliette: That’s Maddison Alex’s ex.  They were high school sweethearts and they broke up when they went to college, but she just can’t seem to let go.

Maddison seems like a sweet girl (aside from the extra “D” in her name.)  She too could benefit from lusting after literally anyone else other than Alex.

Juliette: Chloe is Alex’s best friend.  I guess you could call her the alpha female of the group. You definitely don’t want to be on her bad side. Chloe has a huge crush on Brandon.  He’s super chill and so hard to read.

If anyone calls you “super chill and so hard to read” what they actually mean is “you’re stupid.” In this case, the interpretation applies.  Brandon has a lengthy discussion with his mother about a girl’s butt.  You can see it in her eyes that she wants to be disappointed, but knows this is the only conversation that Brandon can carry.  It’s sad, but he’s super chill and so hard to read.

Juliette: Kelsey is the new girl in town.  She’s a fashion model who just moved to Siesta Key to take care of her sick mom.  She jumped right into a relationship with Garrett.

I like Kelsey.  Kelsey needs to leave this secret island, find a new secret island and create a new show called Fiesta Key.

Juliette: He’s never really been a part of our clique.  But he does have abs for days.  We’ll see if that’s enough to keep Kelsey interested.

Spoiler Alert: It doesn’t

Juliette: As for me and Alex, I’m not sure what’s going to happen now that I’m back from school.  Last summer, I fell hard for him and he cheated on me with, yea you guessed it…Maddison.
I still really like him, but I don’t trust him and I’m not going to get burned again.  

Spoiler Alert: She will.

Siesta Key may look perfect, but trust me paradise is never what it seems. And none of us could have predicted how crazy this summer was going to get.

The intro is the most obnoxious two minutes in television. The phrase “abs for days” is painful.  Alex’s gold Shark-chain necklace is problematic for many reasons.   Unfortunately, Siesta Key did not turn out to be what it seemed from the previews.  We all could predict just how intolerable these super chill and hard to read people would be.


“Up and Vanished”: The Murder Mystery Podcast You’ve Been Waiting For

“Up and Vanished”: The Murder Mystery Podcast You’ve Been Waiting For

America loves a mystery.  Throw in small town suspicions, no body, and no leads and you have a bonafide murder mystery on your hands.  In the last few years we’ve been treated to some excellent real-life murder mystery stories.  The O.J. miniseries and 30 for 30, Serial, Making a Murderer, and S-Town are all examples of the pinnacle of non-fiction murder mysteries we’ve been able to experience recently.  Last August, the podcast Up and Vanished premiered.  Host Payne Lindsey introduces us to the missing person case of Tara Grinstead, a Georgia teacher who went missing in October, 2005.  What separates Up and Vanished from the previously mentioned murder-mystery stories is that it explores a case that is ongoing as opposed to examining a previously concluded case.  Basically, Up and Vanished allows you to come up with theories and explanations as the investigation unfolds…and then you find out if your sleuthing skills are up to par!

Season one, which just aired part one of its season finale on July 31st, consists of 25 episodes and several bonus episodes which feature Q and A’s with the host and various evidence experts.  There are also case evidence episodes which further examine the previous episode’s evidence material.  Listeners are able to call in to a voicemail line or send twitter messages to ask questions that come up throughout the podcast.  Imagine being able to ask the host of Serial or Johnny Cochran a question during their respective cases, you can actually do that here.  I would be lying if I said I didn’t put on my Sherlock Holmes hat and tried to fit all the pieces together into a working theory.  I’ve done that many times.  I’ve also been wrong quite a few times as well, but that’s part of the fun!

One of the best aspects of the show is the host, Payne Lindsey.  It’s easy as a listener to get caught up in the case, especially once the new evidence starts coming out.  Lindsey admits about halfway through the season that he has become emotionally invested in trying to see this case to the end.  Despite his personal attachment, Lindsey does a really good job avoiding a particular narrative and just goes where the evidence leads.  As the case branches out into different areas, Lindsey brings in various experts to address new evidence and theories as they emerge.  These experts include a private investigator, lawyer, Nancy Grace, and others.  The best interviews we get, however. are the interviews with local people directly and indirectly tied to the case.

Up and Vanished really gives you a good feeling what this case is like in rural, southern Georgia.  The interviews with local residents paint a picture of what people thought during the initial investigation and their reaction to case updates.  The town of Ocilla is initially very hesitant to open up to Lindsey, treating him like an outsider and shutting him out.  After a couple people give him a break and talk to him, the flood gates start to open and people start talking left and right.  I feel like I could go to Ocilla right now and be among friends.

There are a lot of unique aspects of Up and Vanished.  In addition to the ongoing nature of the investigation, there is also a community message board where you can interact with other fans and there is occasionally an appearance by people involved in the case on the board.  Overall the feeling you get from the podcast is that you’re involved, even if indirectly.  America loves a good murder mystery, so start the podcast and enjoy the ride.

Got a theory on what happened or just want to discuss the podcast so far?  Put your thoughts in the comments below!


Lexington’s Crossfit Maximus to Compete in the 2017 Reebok Crossfit Games, August 3-6

Lexington’s Crossfit Maximus to Compete in the 2017 Reebok Crossfit Games, August 3-6

There have been some changes in the scenery as of late when it comes to the Reebok Crossfit Games.  The 11th year of the fitness competition is moving from it’s previous home at the StubHub Center in Carson, CA, and moving north to the Alliant Energy Center in Madison, Wisconsin.  What is not changing, is the fact that Lexington’s Crossfit Maximus team will be competing in the Crossfit Games once again, their fifth trip to the Games.

The Crossfit Maximus team, which is comprised of eight members (six of which will be in competition) includes Marilyn Hopkins, Erica Spitz, Celene Steele, Bianca Savaresse, Dex Hopkins, Alex Kowalewski, Darwin Perez and Chris Walker.  The squad finished fifth in the 2017 Crossfit Games Central Regional competition, which earned them a berth into the 2017 Crossfit Games in Madison.  Maximus had their best finish in the Games in 2015, when they took seventh place, however they missed out on the opportunity to return the following year due to their placement in the 2016 Regionals.  Maximus will be one of 38 teams working out over the course of the four day competition which runs Thursday, August 3rd through Sunday, August 6th.

So, what will their week consist of?  Well, not much is known at this point.  As you can see in the schedule below, only the first two days are laid out for the teams with many surprises in store.  In 2016, there were 19 different scoring events (some as different heats of the same event), but if 2017 is to match up with last year, there are many things that Director of the Crossfit Games, Dave Castro, still has to announce.

 

What has been getting the most attention out of the events that have already been announced is the Team Obstacle Course, which Maximus will get to try their hands at on Friday morning.  This is what they’re up against in the event:

We will continue to keep you updated throughout the week on Crossfit Maximus’ progress through the 2017 Reebok Crossfit Games. They start with the Run/Swim/Run event at 9:00 AM (Central Time) on Thursday, August 3rd. On that same day, they have a yet to be announced event at 1:55 PM (Central) as well.  You can watch the games on Crossfit’s Facebook page or on Games.Crossfit.Com.  Conventional wisdom would also say that streams will be available on Crossfit’s YouTube page, as that has been the standard in the past.  Good luck Maximus.


Kentucky Thrones Radio: Season 7, Episode 3

After a lackluster second episode, Game of Thrones bounced back in “The Queen’s Justice” and Nick and T.J. can hardly contain their excitement.  So much happened in one episode, it’s hard to pack the podcast into an hour, but they succeeded.  Highlighted by the historic meeting between Daenerys Targaryen and John Snow, John’s reunion with Tyrion and…

—  Cersei takes a page from King Jong Il.

—  Why are people hesitant to believe Jon Snow and why is he hiding his previous death?

—  Was it okay to simulate through two battles like a game of Madden?

—  T.J. learns why you don’t pour tall glasses of wine.

—  Who’s death by poison is better, the Sands or Tyrells?

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.