Movies&television22 Oct 2015 11:50 am

One could argue that the success of the What’s in the Bible DVD series paved the way for The Muppets to return to pop culture prominence in the last five years. It would be a short argument, but one could try. However, despite a lack of formal relationship between the two, the timing doesn’t hurt.


Phil Vischer, a creative kid-at-heart, continues to produce wholesome, thoughtful, and whimsical entertainment for the family to enjoy. galaxybuckHe did it through VeggieTales, 3-2-1 Penguins, and the aforementioned What’s in the Bible series. Now, Vischer casts his latest lead, Buck Denver, as an average guy with an above average calling: Save the Galaxy. And this time it’s personal. (More on that in a bit).

First, the details. Buck answers phone calls for Pastor Paul and dreams of impacting the world in a big way. Bigger than making sure channel subscribers receive their free tote bag. Buck is easily relatable since every job has its share of doldrums and everyone wants to achieve greatness and leave our mark on the world. This leaves us in an internal struggle between chasing our dreams and chasing after God. The two goals are not always in conflict, but the key is remembering who deserves the honor and glory. Buck’s journey in the story helps him confront this head on as he travels to the farthest reaches of the galaxy and the deepest corners of his heart and soul.
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general&MUSIC&My5&pop culture&SPORTS&television25 Sep 2015 04:23 pm

My5 today is a random mix of things I’ve been meaning to write about… should be fun.

The Muppets are back and Miss Piggy has a late-night show. These are more “adult” muppets apparently and the broken relationship between Piggy and Kermit is at the “heart” of storylines. I’m okay with that, I guess. The move to a late-night show makes sense because there aren’t any variety shows on the air these days. In that sense, it’s a smart decision. It’s hard to say whether this will work or be funny in the long run because, for the pilot, all the funny moments were already in the trailers. What’s missing? Puns. The Muppets are supposed to be fraught with puns. Just saying.

bills helmetIncreased concern about concussions, but 2 plays in week one featured players getting stripped of their helmets. Ndamukong Suh tackled Redskins running back Alfred Morris and then kicked his helmet off of his head while Morris still lay on the field. No penalty. No fine. On the west coast, Adam Jones tackled Amari Cooper and proceeded to rip off Cooper’s helmet and slam Cooper’s head into the helmet. He was fined at least. Seems like mixed messages being sent by the league.
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My5&pop culture&television02 Sep 2015 05:11 pm

I have a bit of a toss-up today for “My5”. I have a couple things I’d like to write about and can’t decide which to actually write about. You’d think this is a good thing, but technically speaking, coming up with the topic isn’t usually my dilemma. It’s the actual writing part that hangs me up – so I’ve already won that battle. The two big topics I have in mind are Mr. Robot and RGIII. I’m going with Mr. Robot because the finale is tonight and that makes it more timely than RGIII which will likely drag on for the entire NFL season…

MRROBOTSo, Mr. Robot. Have you been watching this show? I wasn’t sure what to make of it initially, because I assumed it would be something like Halt and Catch Fire, which wasn’t bad, but wasn’t all that I had hoped. That’s for another time. Today it’s about Mr. Robot – a dark, psychological drama that discusses the underbelly of hacking, drugs, and corporate greed. The terms “dark” and “psychological” are understatements as the show’s production is gritty, the language is salty, and the writing is gutsy.

Your introduction to the protagonist (Elliott) places him in a coffee shop, awkwardly staring down the owner, who has been running a child pornography ring behind the cover of his business. To avoid exposure, “Ron” of Ron’s Coffee offers Elliott money to leave him alone. As the sounds of sirens nears the coffee shop, Elliott dons his hoodie and walks out stating that he doesn’t care about money. Elliott wants to make the world a better place and he’s certain that leveraging his hacking skills is the way to go about it.

Of course, it’s much more complicated than that and the remainder of the season unfolds a long con designed to utilize Elliot’s talents as part of an underground community known as “fsociety.” It’s not for everyone, but it is a fascinating character study and a rather accurate portrayal of digital security. Now, before I continue, there are spoilers ahead. Don’t click the “continue” link or stop reading if you don’t want any spoilers. I have some finale predictions and will try to limit spoilers, but need to include some for background.
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Movies&television&videos04 Dec 2014 11:14 am

I’ve mentioned at least once or twice that I like VeggieTales. And while the jury is still out on the new Veggies in the House Netflix series, one thing I can count on is the quality of products put out by the creator of Bob and Larry – and the voice of many vegetables among other characters. Case in point: What’s in the Bible, Phil Vischer’s latest project.

Imagine if you will, a variety show of sorts that strives to discuss the Bible – book-by-book – in a way that engages and entertains children. This series is even better than that. (You need a better imagination – just kidding, calm down). Puppets, animation, songs, speaking, and more characters than you can shake a stick at make this a show that’s quite fun to watch. Beyond that, it’s chock full of informative and interesting content that will actually enrich the lives of the viewer, be it a child or adult (for example, me).
Volume ten kicks off the New Testament and I simply love the general thought presented here that the Old Testament is a story without an ending and the New Testament is a story without a beginning, but when they’re taken together, it’s a wonderful and amazingly complete picture. Such a nice thought.

Now, my kids still show interest in this series even though they are probably out of the target audience, so I’d say it’s most appropriate for 10 and under, will hold the attention of maybe 14 and under, but will benefit all – even the barely paying attention overhearers. So, if you haven’t checked this series out and you have anyone near the target audience, do check it out. It looks like a lot of them are on sale right now, too.

peace… love… bdg…

reviews&television08 Aug 2014 03:45 pm

VeggieTales presents Celery Night Fever

My kids have never known a world that didn’t include the comic stylings of a certain tomato and cucumber duo. And I’ve seen these two characters endure many ups and downs and hardships and struggles that made it seem like they were headed to the juicer (so to speak). Fortunately, they’ve survived and continue to star in highly enjoyable films that find the funny bone of both young and old.

And though this particular episode deals with disco and an era that pre-dates my boys, the jokes and the quality of entertainment aren’t tied to the time period. So, the references that go over their heads are funny to me and the simultaneous antics are funny to them (and me). In short, Celery Night Fever is a story about relationships and exclusion, revenge and forgiveness. It’s poignant and offers a great illustration. Plus, it features the voice of Terry Crews, the Old Spice guy. Well, one of the Old Spice guys.

I keep hearing rumors of good things coming down the pike for the VeggieTales brand and this release is a prime example of why these veggies have stood the test of time. I can’t wait to see what else is in store going forward.

peace… love… bdg…

MUSIC&news&pop culture&television&web30 Jan 2014 04:31 pm

Okay. Enough dragging my feet. I’ve been tossing around the idea of a new format for this blog for a while. One that involves, you know, blogging once in a while. I know, it’s a crazy idea, but we’ll give it a shot, right?

So here’s how this might work. Each day, I’m going to try to talk about something that grabbed my attention in the news or pop culture (assuming there’s a difference anymore), something I’m listening to, reading, and/or watching, and something outside of categories that seems worth sharing or talking about. Then, I might sum it up and let you know what to expect next time. And, I’ll try to keep it short and sweet. This won’t replace the occasional book, music, movie or TV reviews, but will be passing mentions for the most part.

You can still expect reviews, commentary, and other features as time allows. I’m hoping that by forcing myself to write more often it will start a snowball effect. Let’s see how it shakes out.
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americanidol&MUSIC&pop culture&television16 May 2013 11:54 am

Okay, to be honest, I forgot this was on at least five times. Part of that is because I didn’t think Angie should’ve left last week (though I did pick her to finish 3rd at the beginning of the top 10). Part of it is because I haven’t been watching live. But most of it is because, every year by this point in the competition it really stops mattering. The contestants that make it to the final rounds look, sound, and talk nothing like they did when they started the show.


This week is it, though. The grand cage match. Kree vs. Candice. Three songs each. One winner will emerge. Then we can all focus on what really still matters when it comes to American Idol… who will be judging next season? Anyway, this is something we must go through first. The first song is picked by Simon Fuller. The second is their potential lead single (presumably ALSO picked by Simon Fuller). And the final song is their favorite from earlier in the season. Then, the votes, which will have absolutely nothing to do with the performances tonight. Off we go…

Kree opens the night with Angel, which makes me think of abused puppies. Not that I think Kree mistreats animals or anything. I just don’t like this song. She did a fine job with it, though. Great vocal tone. No judge’s commentary.
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americanidol&MUSIC&pop culture&television09 May 2013 02:43 pm

With three contestants left, we get a glimpse at who’s really “in it to win it” and we can really see the light at the end of this never-ending tunnel. Next week is the finale and in two weeks, we’ll start forgetting all of this year’s contenders. After all, The Voice is just ramping up with their elimination rounds. And there’s always a new squirrel to distract us. But for now, American Idol is the squirrel and we have three contestants left.

This week, the three finalists get a taste of how their recording sessions will go. They each sing three songs, and they didn’t get to choose any of them. The first round are songs picked by Jimmy Iovine, the second round songs are picked by the judges, and the Idol producers picked songs for the last round. Don’t expect any particular connection between artist and song this week. (And don’t scratch your head as to why Idol winners sell less each year). One more cynical aside: This is the week when the judges and producers totally tip their hands and show who they want to advance. Song choice is everything. Anyway, off we go…


Kree opens the show with Perfect, by P!nk. Because that’s a country, blues song that fits right in her wheelhouse and core audience. Except not at all, really. She seems spacey and almost lifeless as she performs and wanders around the stage. Good vocal. Not a good song choice. Keith says it reminded him that she’s a country girl. Nicki starts in with a British accent, which is never a good sign. She says her vocal was great, but it felt short and apparently Kree was too tall; she should wear flat boots instead of heels. Randy didn’t love that song for her. She can sing anything, but this fell flat and lacked pizzazz. Mariah says it’s hard to let someone else pick your songs for you and she’s sure Kree will be better later on tonight (translation: it wasn’t good, darling).
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americanidol&MUSIC&pop culture&television02 May 2013 12:16 pm

So, this week is a rerun. Sort of. With new songs. And best of all, Harry Connick, Jr. I’ve been lobbying for Harry to be a permanent judge for years now. I would love to see Randy, Neil Patrick Harris, Kristin Chenoweth, and Harry Connick Jr as the judges, but that would never happen. Anyway, on to today’s show. Two songs each – one from 2013 and one from a long time ago – and no duets, as far as I can tell.

Angie begins with Rihanna’s Diamonds from behind the piano. The spotlights look like harp strings behind her. I like this arrangement, but she’s totally biffed some of these big notes and it’s unfortunately fallen apart for her at the end. Keith loves a lot of songs, but he didn’t like the arrangement of that song. Nicki says she worked the body more than the heart and it was bland; she can do better. Randy agrees with Keith and the arrangement wasn’t great, but he likes her leather shorts. Mariah appreciated the risk of re-arranging the song, but agreed that it seemed she played up to the camera more than she should have.

Amber will apparently be humming and snapping to Just Give Me a Reason because she can’t remember the words. I’m not familiar with this song, but again, even if she was singing it flawlessly (she’s not), there is very little connection emotionally. Ah, this is Jessica Sanchez all over again. I didn’t like it. Nicki says she didn’t see the same, charming girl from rehearsals on stage tonight; no connection. Randy agrees that she didn’t seem to have any fun and it was not stellar. Mariah apologizes on Amber’s behalf for not learning the lyrics and encourages her to remain confident. Keith uses the word phenomenal twice, but he’s describing P!nk, not Amber.
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americanidol&MUSIC&pop culture&television25 Apr 2013 12:18 pm

So now we’re down to the final four and no one has been saved and the show may end a week early and there are rumors that I’m not the only one annoyed with Mariah and oh, what a season it has been. I think it’s safe to say we’re all happy that Lazaro isn’t singing…

Okay, I’m firing up the old video playlist and we’re going to find out what’s what. My understanding is that the girls picked their first song and their second song (as voted on by fans like you – I didn’t vote) is a one-hit wonder. Let’s get to it.

Amber opens the night with Power of Love. I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this before, but I really don’t like Celine Dion songs. Woah! Amber’s hair exploded! She starts it off with no music and does a great job, then stumbles on the chorus. There is zero connection between her and the song, but she emits a powerful vocal that will surely overcome the bored body language. Keith says it was an amazingly perfect song choice and she was confident. Nicki says she doesn’t even feel like a contestant anymore, it’s like they’re at her show. Randy says she’s came in as a baby, now she’s a pro. Mariah says she opened up the notes like hashtag POW. (Meanwhile Kobe tries not to be like hashtag PAU!).
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