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A Normie's Haphazardly Ordered Guide to an Often-Overlooked Art Form

By Dennis E. Powell | Apr 08, 2021 at 12:29 PM

For the last little while I've been watching a remarkable program, "Wonder Egg Priority," that adopts an unconventional fantasy approach in considering the tragedy of child suicides. Before that, I watched and very much enjoyed a series, "Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai," which despite the weird title takes a metaphysical view of adolescent issues. My favorite movie is the highly praised "Your Name," a comedy-romance-thriller-mystery.

Requiem for a Microwave

It May Want to Kill Me, But... Burritos.

By Jason Kettinger | Apr 05, 2021 at 10:57 AM

I don’t want to step on Mr. Powell’s toes, or encroach upon his territory as OFB’s crackpot-at-large, but I’ve got a splinter in my brain, and we’re going to talk about it. I’ve had one of those 1200-watt microwaves for ages. I used to call it “Satan’s microwave,” because if I followed the instructions on any package of food, I would be waiting 5 to 7 minutes minimum before I could reasonably attempt to eat whatever I put in there. You can adjust the cooking time, as is often advised, but you are playing with fire, or ice, as the case may be.

The Music Files: “folklore”

Swift's Genius Hits a New, Contemplative High Point

By Jason Kettinger | Mar 27, 2021 at 1:00 PM

I am not a music critic, nor am I educated in the science of making music. I am just a guy who likes popular music. The genius of Taylor Swift is in putting words to intense feelings and experiences, even if other people think those feelings and experiences are silly or insignificant. I guess the knock on her was that she always wrote songs about romantic relationships, but listen, my friends: we wouldn’t even have popular music of any sort, if we didn’t have romantic relationships.

WandaVision's Power was in the Human, not the Superhuman

By Timothy R. Butler | Mar 13, 2021 at 6:19 PM

What is grief, but love persevering? Disney+’s WandaVision is one of the best series I can recall gracing the small screen in decades and that question posed by the Vision (Paul Bettany) captures so much about what allows the show to be profound beyond the strictures of either of its roots: classic sitcoms and Marvel Cinematic Universe.

The Seventh Seal

Looking Back at Bergman's Classic and Questions of Existence

By Jason Kettinger | Mar 09, 2021 at 5:48 PM

I watched this film for the first time on Ash Wednesday. In the context of the present pandemic and its deadly effect on our lives, it is all the more compelling to view this film at this time. Also, as any good Catholic on that day, I was hungry, hoping to kill time until I could eat a hamburger or something. The Black Death served as part of the setting, and even as we are thankful that the present crisis is not of the magnitude as that, it was hard not to notice the existential dread, and to recognize that we are living with it, just as these characters were.

Robin Williams Was an Underrated Actor

By Jason Kettinger | Dec 13, 2020 at 2:38 PM

On the release anniversary of one of my favorite Robin Williams films, I want to revisit that film and two other underappreciated films in his career. These films may have been missed by large portions of the viewing audience and so I commend them to your viewing.

NYT Tracks the President Using Publicly Available Info

By Timothy R. Butler | Dec 20, 2019 at 8:52 PM

Stuart A. Thompson and Charlie Warzel write for the New York Times:

If you own a mobile phone, its every move is logged and tracked by dozens of companies. No one is beyond the reach of this constant digital surveillance. Not even the president of the United States.

The interactive graphic at the top of the article is enough to show just how alarmingly accurate tracking data on cell phones can be. If the president can be tracked this easily, it should be a sober reminder to all of us to care more about electronic privacy.

Start Christmas Sentimentally

By Timothy R. Butler | Nov 29, 2019 at 9:33 PM

A couple of holiday commercials released this week pull all the right levers to make them tear-worthy and, really, almost mini-Christmas specials. If you are looking for a short break from the hustle and bustle this weekend, check out these two instant classics from Comcast and Apple.

The Quiet Liturgy of Mister Rogers

By Timothy R. Butler | Nov 27, 2019 at 5:32 PM

Ryan J. Pemberton writes:

Enter Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. “We had a director who once said to me, ”˜If you take all of the elements that make good television, [and] you do the opposite, you have Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood,’” Margaret Whitmer, one of the show’s producers, shares in the 2018 documentary. “Low production value, simple set, unlikely star. Yet, it worked. Because he was saying something really important.”

Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood is so counter to almost everything we would say a children’s television program — much less TV in general — “should” be. The resurgence of interest over the course of the last two years via last year’s documentary and this year’s Tom Hanks-starring drama show that we often have a pretty poor sense of what “should” be.

The Procrastinator's Last Minute Gift Guide

By Timothy R. Butler | Dec 24, 2012 at 5:27 PM

So, the time for shopping is quickly coming to an end. Even if you are headed to a Christmas party later in the week, it still may be hard to order something online. Here are some great last minute ideas that you can pick up at many retailers and will not feel very last minute at all.

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