Questionable Indulgence

Why yes, yes I am eating Twinkies ice-cream. Don’t roll your eyes at me. It’s not nearly as awful as you might think — it actually does taste like Twinkies. Which is good…if you like Twinkies.

Annnd in another few minutes, it’ll be Wednesday. Not as good as Friday, but definitely better than Monday.

 

Sharing Some Laughs

Several years ago, my kids and I took a bus trip with my parents to see a Christmas play in an adjacent state. A great time was had by all which makes me really want to do another trip soon since it’s been so long since the last one, but what I want to talk about today was the entertainment provided on the return trip. For those of us left awake on the ride home, the tour guide played a video of a comedic motivational speaker named Jeanne Robertson, an older, southern lady with a knack for the hilarious.

Dressed to the nines in her well-fitted suits and speaking in a graceful, languid drawl, her stage presence belies her innate talent as a comedian…which makes her performances all the more hysterical. I love stand-up comedy and I like a variety of comedians for very different reasons, but none have made me laugh out loud as consistently and as freely as Ms. Robertson.

Maybe it’s the southern humor to which I can relate thanks to my extended family and friends, or maybe it’s her natural and unpretentious presentation — but whatever it is, to say I was pleasantly surprised to be so thoroughly entertained by such an unexpected comedian is an understatement. I mean, you simply do not look at this woman and think “comedic genius,” and yet, there she is.

It’s not an in-your-face, obscenity laden type of performance…she is a motivational speaker after all. But perhaps her humor is as enjoyable as it is for just that reason. It harks back to another age, one where story-telling was the height of entertainment – stories that were grounded in the simple everyday life and that could be appreciated by everyone, but were no less funny for all that.

 

 

False Advertising

It’s my favorite time of year…okay, one of my favorite times of year. Right up there with Halloween, Christmas, and the two-days after Valentine’s Day 75% off all candy sale day. What is the highly celebrated season do you ask? Is it my birthday? No. Is it the start of pumpkin spice everything season? No, not quite. Okay, I’ll tell you — it’s time for our county fair. Now, I know, I know, a bit of a let down you might say, but hold on.  There are a lot of reasons to like the county fair, even one as small as ours. There are animals. There is cotton candy. There are rides. There is funnel cake. There are games. There’s cotton candy. There is great music usually. There’s funnel cake.

One of the main reasons I make an appearance at our county fair is because our local Girl Scouts extraordinaire have a booth with all sorts of wildly delicious confections available for a nominal fee. You see, I always forget when the ever elusive Girl Scout cookie time is and therefore I often miss the tables at the local grocery store. So the county fair is my chance to catch up on all the calories I missed out on earlier in the year.

However, perhaps the powers that be in the cookie kingdom should rethink my favorite cookie’s name. Re-brand it with something more accurate maybe. Somehow, I feel a little let down.

 

 

 

Netflix and Chaos

Sometimes I feel sorry for Netflix. Well, as sorry as one can feel towards a combination of old style in-home Blockbuster and new-age Artificial Intelligence.

You see, there are three individuals who use Netflix in my house, and we could not be more different. Can you imagine the havoc we must play on the poor program’s algorithms?

First, you have me. I love horror. I’m not ashamed. Love it. “No One Lives” is one of my favorite movies – the name sort of gives away the plot, but hey. Great movie. Classic B movies such as Dead Silence? I am so there, popcorn in hand. BUT. I’m also addicted to British crime and mysteries such as Miss Fisher, Midsomer Murders, and Ripper Street. Throw in period dramas like Pride and Prejudice, Peaky Blinders, The Tudors, Versailles, and The Borgias, along with a smattering of off the wall shows like Psych and Monk, and well…you’ll kind of get a sense of my eclectic taste.

On my chaotic watching alone, Netflix could not be blamed for pulling its hair out when trying to pull together a cohesive list of matching shows.

But then you add in my kids.

There’s the daughter who watches anime along with sitcoms like Always Sunny in Philadelphia, The Office, and Parks and Rec. BUT. She also likes superhero movies and so gets her fix by watching Gotham and Daredevil. Continuing her love for animated movies, she watches those frequently, but only certain ones – namely Megamind, Moana, Emperor’s New Groove, Road to El Dorado, Zootopia and the like – no standard princesses for her. Add in her love for stand-up comedy, especially that of John Mulaney, and movies such as The Way He Looks and Out in the Dark, and you’ve got quite a confusing trend for Netflix to track.

The boy on the other hand, he watches a different kind of anime (I’m told there are MANY varying styles of anime) and Seth Rogen movies (ugh!), and a surprising number of stand-up comedians I’ve never heard of before but that I’m assured are hilarious. BUT. He shares my love of comic book inspired entertainment and watches Iron Fist, among others. So, that’s a good thing.

I can only imagine what Netflix’s algorithms must think about our household. As many of you probably already know, Netflix loves to make recommendations “for your viewing pleasure.” It’s one of the system’s more endearing qualities. Netflix’s complicated programming allows for it to analyze your extensive viewing selections and then based on that analysis, the system generates a list of shows it recommends that should, theoretically, match your past selections.

Well. With the diverse t.v. viewing going on in my household, how on earth can Netflix condense these wide-ranging choices into a coherent recommendations list? One answer. It can’t. And for that, I feel sorry for it. The little man in there must be really scratching his head. Or pulling his hair out. One or the other. I don’t blame the system. I mean, it must truly appear that at times we are simply choosing shows at random. You should see some of the recommendations we get in return. I find it quite amusing myself.

After checking our “top picks for you” list recently, I found that next to Axe Murders of Villisca, is Minions. The Unborn has a place next to That 70s Show. Secret Life of Pets is immediately to the left of Twin Peaks. Chicken Little? It resides beside Doc Martin. Arrested Development was next to Octonauts for god’s sake. Last Airbender is followed by It Follows (a movie about a sexually transmitted curse – I had to check the plot after seeing the name). British comedian Jimmy Carr’s latest stand-up is listed right beside an anime called Mushi-Shi. The odd pairings go on and on.

So yeah, quite the eclectic list of recommendations, I must say. It’s sort of like my bookshelf, I suppose. If anyone wants to come in and go through the list without asking, they get what they deserve.