Throwback Thursday: Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me! (1998 to Present)

The news doesn’t always have to be serious. Sometimes it can be funny.

Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me has been part of the WNYC and NPR schedules since 1998. Currently hosted by Peter Sagal, it is part interview show and part comedic news program. Both panelists and contestants are quizzed about the latest headlines while laughing along the way.

I’ve listened to the show a couple of times. It’s entertaining, but not enough to keep me coming back for more.

Do I recommend it? Maybe.

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Throwback Thursday: Money Monster (2016)

In our world, currency of any kind is a necessity. Without it, we cannot provide for ourselves and our families. But it also has the power to corrupt.

In the 2016 film, Money Monster, Lee Gates (George Clooney) is the host of a financial television program. The set is hijacked by Kyle Budwell (Jack O’Connell), an irate investor. Lee and his producer, Patty Fenn (Julia Roberts), have a limited amount of time to unravel a conspiracy in front of millions of viewers before it is too late.

Directed by Jodie Foster, this film is fantastic. Roberts and Clooney, as usual, have fantastic chemistry. There is an unspoken knowledge of each other that makes their characters click perfectly as host and producer. Though O’Connell may seem like the typical unhinged antagonist, the motives behind his actions, unfortunately, make sense.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

Throwback Thursday: The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor (2008)

The beauty of a sequel is that it is an opportunity to expand a previously existing narrative. The problem is that there are too many opportunities for it to fail.

The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor (2008) is the third film in The Mummy trilogy. Years after the events of The Mummy (1999) and The Mummy Returns (2001), the O’Connells are on a new adventure. Rick (Brendan Fraser) and Evelyn (Maria Bello, replacing Rachel Weisz) are on the trail of a new mummy. With their now-grown son Alex (Luke Ford), they locate the body of the Emperor of Qin (Jet Li). Centuries ago, this shape-shifting creature was cursed by a witch, Zi Yuan (Michelle Yoeh).

Once again, they must do everything they can to send him back to the netherworld.

I tried to go into this film with an open mind. The key word here is “tried”. After a few minutes, I had to turn it off. Whatever movie magic the previous movies had is non-existent in this one.

Do I recommend it? No.

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Throwback Thursday: Secrets of New York (2005 to Present)

History (at least from my perspective) is fascinating. For every piece of information that is uncovered, there is more that remains in the shadows.

Secrets of New York has been on the air since 2005. Hosted by Kelly Choi, each episode dives into an aspect of the city’s history that has been buried, forgotten, or ignored.

I enjoy this program when I watch it. The nooks and crannies that they are somehow able to find amaze me. Every episode is a learning experience without being hit over the head via a dry academic textbook.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

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Throwback Thursday: Sierra Burgess Is a Loser (2018)

The pyramid that is the social structure of the high school experience is a difficult one. Where one lands sometimes determine how they are treated by their peers.

The 2018 Netflix film, Sierra Burgess Is a Loser is based on Cyrano de Bergerac. Sierra (Shannon Purser) is a band nerd who is looked down on by her classmates. Veronica (Kristine Froseth) is a popular girl who uses Sierra as verbal target practice. In order to avoid speaking to Jamey (Noah Centineo), a football player from another high school, Veronica gives him Sierra’s number.

But Jamey does not know that he is talking not talking to Veronica. Nor does he know that in return for tutoring Veronica, Sierra agrees to continue the conversation. As Jamey and Sierra begin to talk, they develop a connection.

Both girls know that the truth will have to come out eventually. The question is, when will it be brought to light and what will be the consequences?

Though the narrative is built on cliches, there is still room for the story to breathe. This tale has been seen before: the plus-sized protagonist who is smart and determined, but not seen for who they are; the conventionally attractive love interest, and the thin and bitchy antagonist who is basically a Regina George copycat.

It’s cute, funny, and skillfully blends the original text with the high school movie genre.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

Sierra Burgess Is a Loser is available for streaming on Netflix.

Throwback Thursday: Venom (2018)

The antihero is an interesting character type. Though this person does eventually save the day, their motives and actions do not match what is expected of a heroic protagonist.

In the 2018 film Venom (based on the comic book character of the same name), Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy) is a former reporter whose career is in shambles after an interview does not go as planned. Six months later, he discovers a symbiote from outer space named Venom and becomes bonded with it. Among the things that are ruined by this new “relationship” is his attempt to get back with his ex-fiance, Anne Weying (Michelle Williams). Anne was employed as a lawyer before Eddie’s mishap ended her employment and their engagement.

Before this movie, I was vaguely aware that Venom existed within the world of Spider-Man. I tried to watch it, mainly because of the lead actors. Hardy and Williams are two of the finest actors of their generation. The problem is that I was quickly bored and lost interest in the narrative.

Do I recommend it? No.

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Throwback Thursday: Dr. Pimple Popper (2018 to Present)

We all know, that in spite of ourselves, we still judge a person based on outward appearances. The question is, what do we do when our looks do not match what is expected or normal?

Dr. Pimple Popper has been on TLC since 2018. In this reality show, Dr. Sandra Lee helps patients with extreme skin conditions. Once the procedure is done, the hope is that they will be free of the anxiety that kept them from living a full life.

I have mixed feelings about this show. It has a carnival-esque quality to it, almost a way of using the “freaks” as a form of entertainment. Which is exactly what reality television is. But at the same time, these people want to live a normal life and are willing to expose themselves to millions of viewers to do so.

Do I recommend it? Maybe.

Throwback Thursday: Mysteries of the Abandoned (2017 to Present)

A building, regardless of what it was used for, speaks volumes. It can tell us about the epoch it was completed in, the reason it exists, and the people who stood within its walls.

Mysteries of the Abandoned has been on the Discovery Channel since 2017. Each episode tells the story of a property that was once used by humans and has since been abandoned. The program explores the purpose of its existence, and why it has been left idle.

I find the series to be fascinating. Each location is a time capsule of a place and era that has been lost to history. By answering these questions, it allows the audience to have a greater understanding of our world and what it means to be a human being.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

Throwback Thursday: Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern (2007 to 2015)

Part of the pleasure of traveling is trying new foods. While that idea may seem fine on paper, it may not pan out in real life.

Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern aired on The Travel Channel from 2007 to 2015. It followed chef Andrew Zimmern as he visited various countries around the world and tried the local cuisine. Some of the dishes he tasted brought out the sensitive stomachs of viewers.

What was interesting was the opportunity to vicariously experience the world and the various cuisines via the program. But the food is another story. Some of the meals, well, I’ll pass on.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

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Thoughts On the Former Guy’s Tax Returns

The only thing that is guaranteed in life (as we all know) is death and taxes. Everything else is up in the air.

Last week, after multiple years of BS, the former guy’s tax returns were finally made public. In a nutshell, he lied. He cheated and told numerous untruths. This, as expected, was for his benefit, and not for the voters. For more details, I highly recommend a recent episode of the MeidasTouch podcast.

What gets me angry is that there are millions of Americans who pay their taxes on time and whose income is far beneath what he claimed it was. Who does he think he is that he does not have to pay his taxes?

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This money that we all pay in is not for nothing. It pays for schools, libraries, hospitals, the upkeep of infrastructure, and other important public works. I can only imagine how much better this nation would be if we all paid our fair share.

P.S. Did you hear that Kevin McCarthy was not voted in as Speaker of the House earlier today? I saw that coming a mile away. The way the Republicans are acting these days, it’s no wonder that they are infighting. Let them, the Democrats will actually do the job the voters hired them to do.

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