Tag: Entertainment

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Culture War in Video Games

 

More than half of American adults — yes, adults — play video games. Many of those “gamers” are playing Mahjong, Sudoku, or crossword puzzles on their phones; so it’s fair to say the statistics are often exaggerated (like calling golf or darts a sport). But since PC and dedicated console gaming picked up in the 1980s and have flourished into an industry rivaling Hollywood revenues and productions (indeed, Hollywood actors now commonly perform in video games), entire generations have grown up with the medium.

Games are just another option beside TV and novels as a way for responsible parents to wind down at night or share entertainment with the kids. And I don’t mean Pac-Man.

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I am determined to go on with my life, whatever virus I might get, so I have engaged in just about every activity that used to be considered normal as soon as I could except… you know… looting. I’ve been on planes, been to stores, gotten a massage, eaten at restaurants, gone to a bar, gone […]

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Jack and Mary and Fred and Portland: The American Magic of Vaudeville

 

I’ll admit right out of the gate that I’ve been on a bit of a nostalgia kick lately, something that can probably be blamed on not having seen home since January, and having been in lockdown alone since March. Things may have occasionally come to the ‘rocking out to metal songs sung by Christopher Lee about Charlemagne at 11 pm while washing dishes in llama pajamas’ point of solitary living. Maybe. Either way, when I’m not working or doing something useful, I find myself more and more seeking out the comfortingly old fashioned. It should be acknowledged that most of the cultural products I associate with nostalgia aren’t ‘personally nostalgic’ for me, in the sense that I had or have a contemporary connection (only post-1999 things could be such). One of the biggest parts of this recent obsession has been old radio comedians, mostly Jack Benny and Fred Allen.

Readers of a certain age will probably have at least some memory of Benny, who dominated radio and television from the ‘30s almost until his death in 1974. My mother absolutely and completely despises him, and threatens homicide if I listen to his ‘40s broadcasts in the car, so he played no great role in my early life. Allen, meanwhile, is a largely forgotten figure, mentioned, if at all, as a “comedian’s comedian” and witty satirist who failed to make the transition to television, a contrast to his arch-nemesis. I could, I think rightfully, laud their comedy chops, their innovativeness, and their lasting impact on American popular culture. These certainly all deserve praise, but what has struck me most in listening to and watching their performances in the last few weeks is who they were and who they became. 

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Member Post

 

Two things: I’ll start with the interesting, and end on the ridiculous. While I cooked dinner tonight for myself and Darling Daughter and then cleaned up afterward, I watched a movie on Amazon Prime, The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley. It’s the Theranos story, the account of a photogenic and superficially charming sociopath […]

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Member Post

 

I write a weekly book review for the Daily News of Galveston County. (It is not the biggest daily newspaper in Texas, but it is the oldest.) After my review appears on Sunday, I post the previous week’s review here on Sunday. More

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. The Bored Board Bored Me

 

I’m not exactly suffering from lack of entertainment–diversions are everywhere. Is it time for the treadmill? Then a glorious period film keeps me company as I take my brisk uphill walk on this technology that exists because I don’t do hard work otherwise. Do I have a Saturday evening free? Then I can browse and “like” to my heart’s content on Ricochet. Am I simply tired and don’t want to think? Then I pop open my iPad cover and idly scroll Facebook. Even while doing daily chores, I’m listening to something: Bible teaching in the morning while my mind is fresh, and a light story narrated by a professional reader in the evenings when merely brushing my teeth can feel burdensome.

I admit, though, that even surrounded by these riches, I am still capable of boredom. Here’s my list of ennui-evoking circumstances–what’s on yours? (And you can’t say “lengthy meditations on what makes the writer yawn.”)

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Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. Playing Evil on Halloween

 

Halloween is not immutable. Common American traditions today bear only the slightest resemblance to druidic rituals and superstitious people casting frightened glances over dimly lit turnips. Trick-or-treating today isn’t even the same today as it was just 30 or 40 years ago. Heck, some families meet in parking lots to distribute candy from car trunks, because walking a neighborhood at sundown is apparently too dangerous for attended kids.

Few today believe in whatever these traditions once stood for. Halloween is not connected to All Hallows’ Day in most minds. It is not about dodging ghosts or nodding to ancestors.

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We live in an age of information overload (however muddled by misinformation). With each decade, the potential for individual persons to learn about distant things improves. Books, radio, telephones, automobiles, television, internet, and many other innovations combine to provide access to pictures, stories, and people around planet Earth. Among the most recent technological advances are […]

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. The Greatest Showman, Great Communicator 2.0?

 

In “Enter Trump,” John Hinderaker points out that President Trump stayed in the wings with Mariano Rivera while “Hail to the Chief” played. Then Metallica’s “Enter Sandman” filled the room and the President walked out with “The Sandman” who put batters to sleep better than anyone else in baseball history. Put this together with his Jamestown speech and his New Mexico rally and there may be an answer to how you overcome a relentless hostile 24/7 propaganda campaign posing as “news reporting.”

If you know boxing and MMA, and President Trump really does, you know the timing he used. Let the formal government riff end. Cue the announcer and bring up the music, walk up through the crowd as your song hits its stride. Showmanship, high level showmanship:

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Even though the car quickly became the most popular form of transportation in the United States shortly after the introduction of the Ford Model T in 1908, the train would remain an important form of transportation, especially transportation over long distances up through the middle of the twentieth century. As such, trains (both passenger and […]

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Many people find semantics boring. But I never did. An ongoing discussion in Ricochet’s Gamers and Geeks group about the definition of roleplaying games (RPGs) reminds me of my philosophy professor’s lesson on semantics. When trying to clearly identify what a thing is, identifying what it is not can be helpful. Our teacher challenged us […]

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. I’m Dumping HBO: Here’s Why

 

We have Direct TV bundled through our local phone company. To keep costs down, I call to see what deals are offered and how I can cut our expenses. Right now, we have a very low rate on movie packages for a year, including HBO. They push HBO all the time. However, I’ve noticed that HBO content has been offering more controversial and explicit material. I’ve flipped through channels of the same old tired movies to “documentaries” and other programming that is actively pushing alternative lifestyles, sex, and drugs. I just read a story that has pushed me to cancel HBO.

Here is the story from Fox News that pushed me over the edge, a show called “Euphoria“:

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Google’s presentation of its impressive new game streaming service began with images of boardgames, arenas, sports stadiums, and concert halls to show how entertainment has provided a social glue throughout history to bring people of different backgrounds and beliefs together in joy. Hence the name, Stadia. “Create + Scale + Connect” are the three goals […]

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Great Character Actors: Ward Bond

 

There’s no real point to this post other than to briefly discuss and celebrate the career of one of the great character actors of all time — Ward Bond (1903-1960). First, I have to admit I don’t know much more about Bond’s life than that presented in his Wikipedia biography.

Let’s see … I did know that he’d played football at the University of Southern California along with John Wayne and that he and Wayne began their acting careers when they and other USC footballers were hired by director John Ford to appear in “Salute,” a 1929 movie about football. I also knew about the drinking and the conservative politics (among other things he was an early and proud member of the Motion Picture Alliance for the Preservation of American Ideals). I didn’t know about the B.S. degree in engineering nor did I know that he suffered from epilepsy.

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. A Bright Spot

 

I read Ricochet and Powerline pretty much every day because that is the kind of nerd I am. One thing that comes from such a habit is an eerie feeling of impending doom. Crikey! Things are bad and getting worse! So here is a story that may help restore your faith in the American people, at least a subset of Americans stashed away in the Midwest.

My youngest son is a Marine and doing a three-year stint of recruiting duty. He alerted us to the fact that The President’s Own, the Marine Corps top band, was doing its annual tour in the upper Midwest and that the concerts were free if you reserved a spot. The President’s Own is descended on a direct line from John Phillip Sousa and staffed by professional musicians, who also happen to be Marines. Needless to say, a retired person should know better than to pass up legitimate free entertainment, so Mrs. Chef and I decided to go. The tickets for the show in Minneapolis were sold out by the time I tried to get some but tickets for the show in Mankato were available. Mankato is just an hour and some south, plus we have relatives to visit, so the trip was on.

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Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America look at generic congressional ballot polls showing the Democratic blue wave might not threaten Republicans as much as was previously thought. They also think Laura Ingraham took the wrong tone during an immigration rant on Wednesday night, and they suggest the immigration discussion focus on policies and beliefs rather than demographics. And they continue to knock Republicans and Democrats for prioritizing celebrities in politics above genuine discussion of ideas, with actor Richard Gere’s name being tossed into the ring for New York’s 18th Congressional District and lawyer Michael Avenatti heading to Iowa to explore a presidential bid.

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Eurovision 2019: The Hip Hop Beat of the Mideast Conflict

 

Two weeks ago, the organizers of the Eurovision Song Contest, made a startling announcement: The contest rules which have been in place for six decades should apply … unless, of course, a singer from Israel wins the contest …. and then, well, we need to rethink the matter.

Because an Israeli singer, Netta Barzilai, did in fact win the contest in Lisbon in mid-May, the European broadcasters had a dilemma: Follow the contest’s long-standing rules, or develop and apply a new, special set of rules that only apply to Israel.

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Short Story: The Beast

 

I looked over the case file again before going in. “How’s it look in there?”

“He’s awake. Looks like he has a hangover. Very quiet, though.” I nodded, and the guard released the first door. I opened it and went in, first hearing the click as the door locked behind me, then hearing the click of the lock ahead. I opened the door and went in. The man sitting on the edge of the bed looked up at me, but I saw no signs of aggression.

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Congratulations to the talented Bruno Mars for six Grammy awards last night. His fun, catchy pop hits, accompanied by his fabulous dance moves have propelled him into a force to be reckoned within the highly competitive world of music. Yet, many are downplaying his successful night with disappointing headlines that he beat out “expected” hip […]

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