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The Dark Underbelly of Star Trek: The Next Generation

Death, Life and Suicide in an "Optimistic" World

By Jason Kettinger | May 06, 2021 at 8:37 PM

I should say firstly that it is perhaps my favorite television show. It’s one of the best regarded shows in the history of American television, and that is not an exaggeration. It also was able to transcend the somewhat niche quality of Star Trek, and of science fiction more generally. It still has one glaring flaw.

An Old Quiz Show Might Underline What's Wrong with Today's Higher Education

By Dennis E. Powell | May 05, 2021 at 11:10 PM

It’s not nostalgia that leads me to think of a television show that all but disappeared more than 50 years ago. I bring up the once-famous “GE College Bowl” for an entirely different reason.

We Once Knew the Theme Songs to Even Ordinary Television Shows

By Dennis E. Powell | Apr 28, 2021 at 11:10 PM

In March 1981 a moderately successful television program premiered on ABC. “The Greatest American Hero” was a semi-spoof superhero show that ran for three seasons, neither a huge hit nor a bomb.

A Love Story for the Ages Enters its Next and Final Chapter

By Dennis E. Powell | Apr 21, 2021 at 11:36 AM

We’re not supposed to be surprised that Ernest Elbert Midkiff has died, which he did last Wednesday. He was, after all, 99 years old. He would have turned 100 on Veterans Day.

Spring is Loveliest When You Hit the Woods and Crawl Around a Little

By Dennis E. Powell | Apr 16, 2021 at 2:29 PM

Though it’s not true all over the country, here in southeastern Ohio we are enjoying an early spring. As I write this, the forecast for today, Wednesday, has a high of 63 degrees, with plenty of recent days having reached 70 and above. A year ago today it only got to 46 degrees here.

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.

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