7 places to explore in Minnesota

By Maddie Baggenstoss and Daniela Fernandez

Minnesota is a great place to be during the summer. Here are some of the best places to explore this summer!

Grand Marais is a great place to go in Northern Minnesota. It’s a small town on the waterfront of Lake Superior. There are many small restaurants, stores, museums, and trails to go on while you visit. Some of these places are the Cook County Museum, Pincushion Mountain Trail, and the Grand Marais Harbour point according to Google. Not to mention the beautiful view of Lake Superior, which you can go on.

The Boundary Waters is another amazing place to go in Minnesota. While there you can canoe and kayak in Lake Superior. As you travel the lake you can also look at the amazing sights and views of nature. You can even look at the amazing and beautiful wildlife all around the Lake as you camp there according to Google.

Gooseberry Falls State Park is another beautiful place to visit. Located in northern Minnesota you can walk the trails and see the falls. While there you can take a hike through the park and see all the falls the park has to offer according to Google.

Split Rock Lighthouse in Two Harbors, Minnesota is a great place to go. While there you a tour the lighthouse and see the view from the top of Lake Superior, and visit the State Park. You can also visit the museum and the lighthouse’s history according to Google.

Taylors Falls is a fun place to go with family. While there you can canoe and kayak the St. Croix River, and take a boat tour. Another fun thing to do is go hiking through the park and camp. While hiking you can see ancient lava flow traces and glacial holes according to Explore Minnesota.

Itasca State Park is Minnesota’s oldest state park, and it is located right at the beginning of the Mississippi river. It has over 30,000 acres of land and over 100 lakes. It offers many beautiful views and several dozen campsites.

Don’t forget the local stuff. The twin cities has a lot to offer on a warm summer day! A quick search will reveal seemingly endless options. Some of our favorites include art museums, local coffee shops and restaurants, and bike trails. Did you know that Minneapolis has over 200 miles of bike trails? If you don’t have your own bike, try renting a lime green bike from Nice Ride Minnesota.

Have fun this summer, and see you all next year!

The official fast food tier list

Image via debatewise.org

As long as American’s have had a public health crisis, one thing’s been for sure: We do love our fast food. From Burger King to Dairy Queen (I’m too clever, I know), there’s plenty to chose from, and how would any reasonable person be able to pick the best option?

Well, since you’re desperate enough to click an internet article called “The official fast food tier list,” I’ll be kind enough to show you my official ranking system for every fast food place that matters, and I’ll also advise you to please consider immediate therapy.

The rules for the rankings below are simple: the higher tier on the list, the better, the furthest to the left on a tier, is the best place, and the furthest to the right is the worst. Now that you spent actual time in your life, that you could’ve used doing something productive, by making an attempt to sincerely understand how this works, I present to you, the official tier list (now if this isn’t the most exciting moment in your life, you’re an actual liar):

Now you may be looking at this image with shock, or be frighted in some way. But don’t worry, it’s just the truth you’re looking at. It’s glory is truly one to behold. Now, this is based off of taste, restaurant quality, and objective facts. I’m essentially coming down from fast food heaven giving the world its ten commandments on which paper bags filled with grease and meat, that we like to call food, is worth delightfully shortening your lifespan with the most.

First of all, Olive Garden is in fast food purgatory at the very bottom of the F tier, as even though it’s more of a restaurant than a fast food chain, it’s food is pretty much equal in quality to fast food, and it’s the worst at that even.

It’s sharing the room with Starbucks because, well… nobody really likes Starbucks, we just kinda…go there. I mean there’s frappachinos, aka milkshakes, that are placebo’d to make your mind trick you into thinking it tastes like coffee, but even then, you could just get the same quality at a coffee shop where you have to sacrifice the chance of possibly seeing a B-list celebrity in order to get slightly above decent food.

Also, KFC is there because the quality really speaks for itself over there. (It’s not like I wouldn’t eat at any of these places if given the chance, I mean hey if it’s deep fried, how bad could paper towels really taste?)

D tier really is nothing particularly interesting, as they are just equally abysmal restaurants, but their food isn’t as inedible. And as you know from reading this article, I definitely appreciate quality exquisite fine dining™ as I’ve been quoted by saying my favorite food is Pringles.

The pinnacle of capitalism known as the Double Down Dog via foodbeast.com

Coming in at C tier we have food that’s just starting to be palatable, and taking baby steps into my fast food hall of fame. Now, as a person who’s lived in the “Whole Foods” of countries, known as Canada, I’ve been to a place known as Tim Horton’s, and man it’s really…. average, I guess. It’s pretty much Dunkin’ Doughnuts, but with sandwiches, and less doughnuts. But it’s better in quality than all the other places I’ve named so far because, I said so, and most Americans who’ll read this probably don’t know this but, Justin Trudeau has an explosive microchip implanted in the brain of every Canadian citizen, and I can’t risk giving Tim Horton’s that bad of a score at this point.

Other than that, Subway is pretty much just a dream come true for 3rd graders who’ve always wondered what it would be like if they made the food from Lunchables mystery meat sandwich packs into a restaurant.

Also, Mac and Don’s, as your 46-year-old uncle calls it, is pretty much the same as Burger King food wise, except for the fact that you don’t have to hide your shame as much when eating at Burger King, so it’s slightly higher on the list.

Now, at number B (number B?) we have Wendy’s. Now, Wendy’s being the only corporation in human history to successfully appeal to teenagers using advertising, is pretty good. I mean, it’s a solid fast food place, that doesn’t make me have to use one of my sick days after eating it. But personally, I would put Jack in the Box above it, but I won’t because it kinda sorta um…gave near 750 people E. coli in the 90’s…sooo…it gets docked a point in my book.

But A&W is a better burger place than both (I’m pretty sure they aren’t in America, so just take my word for it), and Little Caeser’s is the best fast food pizza place by far. I am willing to fight you on this in a wild western style duel in which one of us shoots after walking ten paces in the opposing directions. I am 100% serious, this is completely not a joke, meet me during High Noon at Town Square you Pizza Hut lovin’ scoundrel.

Zupas logo, via cafezupas.com

Now we’re in the big leagues, the big zone, rookies keep out, this is professional football here. This article is getting too long for me to sound like a human being with sanity, so let’s keep the highlights brief. Jimmy Johns essentially succeeds everywhere that Subway fails. It’s like somebody tried Subway and was like “Hey, this would be pretty good if it were made out of actual ingredients instead of paper mache.”

And now for my most controversial opinion yet: Taco Bell is, and will always be, better than Chipotle. You heard it here first folks. Now, before you execute me like French Royalty in the 1700s, let me speak my piece: Taco Bell will always be there for you, Chipotle will not. At three in the morning, with only five bucks to spare, and your life is spiralling out of control, Taco Bell will embrace you with admittedly gross warm open arms. And unlike Chipotle, Taco Bell takes risks.

Chipotle is good for when you want actual cuisine which at least mildly resembles Mexican food. But Taco Bell is different. Taco Bell triumphs over all the rest and are like “Hey, what if instead of a taco shell, we use a waffle covered in maple syrup for a taco? Or what if we just use a breaded piece of Dorito crusted chicken for a taco shell, and call it a Chalupa?” They say this as every Mexican that ever died does an Olympic triathlon in their grave. Which is bold of Taco Bell, like you gotta just look at it from the angle of, not a Mexican place, but an American place which parodies Mexican food. And if you do, it gets a whole lot better.

Not like any of that matters, because Naf-Naf is like a pick your own ingredients thing, but it’s with really good Middle Eastern food, so it’s like infinitely better in every way.

Okay, so finally, this article is coming to a close, and you’ll be free from reading this excuse for journalism I call an article. But before that, we must discuss the top tiers. The alpha wolves of the pack, I’m talking – Five Guys, and Panda Express. First of all. Five guys is the Ace of the burger restaurants. It triumphs over every other one, in every argument, no matter what. It’s just too powerful…the Cajun style fries have a level of sodium that just can’t be beat. Five Guys is pretty much the fast food equivalent to the gates of heaven.

But heaven itself? Well young reader, that’s what we call the Holy Land: Panda Express (Pandrusalem). My young and naive reader, you’ve come so far, you’ve read this entire article for some reason, and finally, you’ve reached the truth; there is no other truth but Panda Express (yes this is a cult now just go with it). For those who’ve had the devastating misfortune of never attending one of the SACRED locations of the divine Panda, it is an American Chinese food restaurant which shall not be compared to a mere mortal such as Leean Chin. It had FOUNDED the very staple dish known as Orange Chicken. It has built its empire only upon the foundation of Honey Walnut Shrimp, and I PITY the mere fool who doubts the power of the Sweetfire Chicken, all delicately placed upon a bed of chow mien fit for an Emperor on thy throne. No other restaurants matter; it’s all Panda Express now. Panda Express is the Kendrick Lamar of restaurants; it is the GOAT of eatery. Need I say more?

And, I’d like to sincerely apologize for having anybody read this, as you can tell I have too much time on my hands to be healthy.

‘The Fourth Turning’

A generation is a group of people that are born and live around the same time. Each generation shapes itself by the people who choose their beliefs, behaviors, and basic attitudes. Being born around the same time, and growing up with similar childhoods, a generation begins to develop similar personas.

According to https://www.fourthturning.com/, generations are identified with specific archetypes that defines similar patterns in individuals. Over the course of centuries, there has been a recurring pattern of the four archetypes. There are four different archetypes: the hero, the artist, the prophet and the nomad. The hero are born after a spiritual awakening, where on the other hand, the nomad is born during a spiritual awakening. The artist archetype is born during a great war or historical crisis, while the prophet is born after a great war or crisis. For further information on each archetype visit www.lifecourse.com.

It was hypothesized by Talcott Parsons that society moves on when an availability and demand for social order rises or falls. This created a theory of having different phases in an era that counts up to four. These phases note the mood of the era and how a generation came of age. Each phase is named after an ordinal number with the word turing as its following.

According to www.lifecourse.com, each turning has its own description and a main generation archetype. The First Turning is time when individualism is weak, institutions are strong, and when the society is confident where they want to go. The most recent example of this turning would be post World War II. The main archetype of this turning was the artist archetype, and the group is also known as the Silent Generation, if born from 1925-1942.

The Second Turning is when institutions begin to be attacked due to the new personal and spiritual autonomy. People become tired from the high of social discipline and begin to seek personal authenticity. The most recent example would be the Consciousness Revolution during 1964-1984. The prophet is the main archetype for this turning because of their passionate idealism.

The Third Turning is the opposite of what the First Turning is: having weak and distrusted institutions and strong individualism. In this turning, society learns that they must change to enjoy life. The most recent event of the Third turning is the Long Boom and Culture Wars. The nomad is the main archetype of this turning, and they were also known as Generation X.

The Fourth Turning has been known for becoming new founding moments by redefining the national identity. The most recent event in America that can be defined as being apart of the Fourth Turning is the Great Recession of the 2000s. The main archetype of this turning is the hero archetype, and is also known in present time as the Millennial Generation.

If you are interested in further knowledge about this topic, you can read the book The Fourth Turning: An American Prophecy – What the Cycles of History Tell Us About America’s Next Rendezvous with Destiny, by William Strauss and Neil Howe.                

Top five places to go in the summer

Looking for something to do this summer? Here are a places you can go for fun:

Como Zoo: The Como Zoo and Conservatory offers free admission to the public. You can go visit lions and tigers and polar bears. You can enjoy the day with your family and friends, and you can walk around and see the animals and observe things that they do. Then you can go over to the Como amusement park for the rides, games and food.

Disneyland: Disneyland is one of the first two theme parks built at the Disneyland resort in California. The $17 million theme park was built on 160 acres. Its creator, Walt Disney, was born Chicago in 1901, and he worked as a commercial artist before he set up a small studio in Los Angeles to produce animated cartoons.

Minnesota State Fair: The great Minnesota get together is for families, and this year it’s on Aug. 22, to Labor Day, Sept. 2. It is one of the largest state fairs in the United States. It was founded in 1854, and its mission was to promote Minnesota agriculture. The first one was held in Minneapolis in 1855.

Fort Snelling State Park: The park is operated by Minnesota Historical Society, and requires that you have a separate entrance fee. The park offers activities like: fishing, hiking, bike trails, and cross country skiing.

Minnehaha Park: This parkis a pearl located in Minneapolis. It is home to Minnehaha falls, and the lower reaches of Minnehaha Creek. The park offers many events like: a biking path, disc golf course, public art, volleyball court, garden, and picnic area. The park was purchased by Minneapolis for the state of Minnesota in 1889.

For more information, please visit these sites:

https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/disneyland-opens

https://www.mnstatefair.org/

https://www.dnr.state.mn.us/state_parks/park.html?id=spk00154#homepage

Tyler the Creator: A discography

Image via rollingstone.com

(I just want to preface this with the fact that Tyler the Creator’s music isn’t super “PG friendly,” so um… keep that in mind before giving him a listen).

Tyler Gregory Okonma, more professionally known as Tyler the Creator, is an American rapper, producer (like actually a producer, he makes all the instrumentals he sings over) from the musical conglomerate known as Odd Future, will have released his fifth studio album by the time this article is published, and his fans are undoubtedly pumped. But, for all you new fans out there (or even potentially new fans judging how good this album will be), where do you go from here? Whether you just finished listening to the album, or you’ve just overheard your peers talking about him, if you want to know more, you’ve come to the right place. So, here’s a little bit of a timeline of his musical career. (I’m not going to do anything about his personal life, because this article is more about the art, rather than the artist).

In 2009, Tyler released his his first debut project, known as Bastard, it was almost entirely produced on FL studio, and so it is not necessarily considered a real “studio” album; some simply consider it a mixtape. It went on to become critically acclaimed, ranking at 32 on Pitchforks top 50 albums of 2010. It was also very popular for it’s single “French.” The album followed Tyler going through somewhat of a therapy session with his therapist character known as Dr. T.C. (wonder what that stands for), sometimes intervening, and asking Tyler concept questions in order to start off a song. It contains noticeably intense lyrics with lots of devotion to shocking subjects. It also contained many samples from various songs from artists such as Dexter Wansel, Cortex, and Jay-Z.

While the album was very popular at the time, Tyler really did not jump into the mainstream until he signed a record deal with XL Recordings. He then announced his new album Goblin, then promptly released his first single from the album “Yonkers,” on radio, (which came along with a music video where he iconically pretended to eat a cockroach).

Album art to Goblin Tyler’s first studio album via pitchfork.com

When Goblin released, it was noticeably similar to Bastard in a few ways (while also being wildly different, if that makes any sense). First off, it again starts off with a therapy session with Dr. T.C., but this time, instead of Tyler starting off by talking about his depression, or other negative aspects of his life, he talks about how he had gotten famous, and how his newfound fame is now affecting him.

But on the final track “Golden” (fittingly after a song called “Au79”), it’s revealed that Dr. T.C. is simply Tyler’s conscience, along with everyone he had been conversing, and interacting with, throughout the entirety of the past albums. The album goes on to have graphic imagery, and intense language just like last time, but with a slightly more desolate, or moody overall feel to them. And similar to Bastard, his lyrics contain an excessive amount of violence, and well… not PG themes, having songs like “She” which details him being a stalker, to lyrics where he details stabbing Bruno Mars… for some… reason…

The production value is much increased this time around, and again, it was somewhat mixed in reception, as there was a larger audience Tyler now had to deal with, people comparing his dark demeanor to what Emenim had done years before. But nevertheless, his loyal fans loved it, and still continue to enjoy his album to this day. But things started to radically change when he released his second studio album; Wolf.

One of the many album arts for WOLF via
sidewalkhustle.com

Wolf was an intense change in tune for Tyler the Creator, as his music had much less intense synths. He also displayed a vast shift in lyrical themes, with making music with a more relaxed aesthetic along with shifting away from the horror core genre he previously established for himself in his previous two albums. The album also accompanied the single “Domo23.”

This album also uses a very similar, and unique synth throughout every song on the album, which makes for a very positive consistency throughout the album (it’s not used as much on “Trashwang,” but my point still stands). Though there is a lot more calmed down nature to the album, he does in fact still have a little bit of his trap influenced hard lyricism, and background drum kits.

It had received very positive reviews, and generally positive reviews from critics. Craig Jenkins from Pitchfork said, “With Wolf, Tyler, the Creator displays a radical growth as a producer, composer and arranger, even if, as a rapper, he’s still up to some of the same antics. Still, the album contains a few of the best songs he’s ever written.” (Personally, this album is the best album he’s released so far in my opinion – given this was written before Igor comes out, and from the writing of this article Igor has only gotton brief teasers, so I can’t really form an opinion on it yet).

One of the album arts from Tyler’s album Cherry Bomb via genius.com

Tyler then went on to release his third studio album of his, known as Cherry Bomb. It featured a very unique sound, which elevated itself throughout all of the songs of the album, in a kind of similar way to Wolf. But the certain sound was this very intense grainy bass, as opposed to this rhythmic dreamlike synth (okay I’ll stop praising Wolf for a sec). This grainy bass was very consistent throughout all of the tracks, which made this album very unique in nature, and very different from everything Tyler had produced up until this point, as he somewhat refrained from using raw noise like this (which I do commemorate him for on that, and for taking such a risk).

The album did indeed get mostly positive reviews, by critics, but it wasn’t enjoyed as much by the fans as his other works, as it’s never really listed as one of the more popular albums of his, unlike Goblin or Wolf. Tyler even said in an interview that he didn’t really like how poor the reception was of the album by fans, and how he wanted to try something different for his next album (I mean, I liked “Buffalo,” and the song with ScHoolboy Q, but to each his own I guess).

But again on the note of critics enjoying it, Angel Diaz of Complex said in a review that Cherry Bomb is Tyler greatest creation to date. However, the album is bit of a mess in the beginning, and while Tyler’s grown immensely as a producer, his rapping isn’t consistently up to par.” (I actually think that the album gets weaker as it goes on, and the beginning songs are some of the best parts, but alright then).

But things really started to pick up in 2017, with his newest album (of writing this article) Flower Boy.

Album art from Tyler’s Album Flower Boy via genius.com

Flower Boy is (as before IGOR drops) Tyler’s newest (released in 2017), and seemingly most mainstream album. It is VASTLY different from any of his other works and I don’t just mean it uses a unique sound kit, I mean it’s almost as if he’s a different artist entirely. The lyrics feature an infinitely less violent tone, and more of an introspective or “deep” thoughts to them.

And the production, don’t even get me started on the production, because you don’t need to… I’m doing it anyways. The production is unlike anything we’ve seen from Tyler. It is very detailed in instrumental design, as songs could be heavily described as grandiose, and orchestral, accompanied by his revolutionized hip hop drum beat, which is while traditional to his work, brings an entirely new feeling to his songs.

His lyrics also have been intensely diverged from the traditional, going from messing around to a point where his friend Taco just starts eating chips in the middle of “Tina” on Bastard, to having the line “How many riots can it be until them black lives matter” on “Foreword.” That is just one of many examples on this album.

Another thing with Flower Boy, and I believe that some change is kind of good, I mean this isn’t really my favorite album of his (in fact I think it might be the weakest of his in Tyler’s discography), but I enjoy him doing new things. There were a couple songs that I did in fact like, and while I do appreciate the production, and effort put into the songs, I just couldnt really enjoy some of them, such as “Pothole”, which featured Jalen Smith, whose presence, and musical style is well… unexpected to say the least.

But nonetheless, the reception was EXTREMELY well, as for one example, Av Club has said that  Flower Boy is the first time he’s been equally as forthcoming in his actual music. His flow has tightened up, and for a man whose voice basically destined him for rap stardom, he’s become even better at stretching his booming baritone into novel shapes, employing a plethora of flows.”

One of the album arts to Tyler’s upcoming album IGOR, via complex.com

So yeah, that’s basically it. Since then, he’s released a couple singles, but nothing really of note (I mean he did the soundtrack for that new Grinch movie, but I don’t really think that’s worth my time, or yours for that matter). But on May 17th, he will have released his newest album IGOR, and from what I’ve seen from the kind of odd, but not very futuristic (pun fully intended) teasers, he’s uploaded to his youtube channel, its gonna be pretty good.

So yeah, if you wanna get into Tyler the Creator, I suggest starting with Wolf, but that’s just my preference, and try not to get put off by his extremely “arty” music videos. They’re um… kinda weird. So if you don’t mind me, I’ll be listening to his entire discography while vapidly refreshing my twitter feed to see if the album has dropped yet. Bye.

Summer road trip destinations

By: Daniela Fernandez and Maddie Baggenstoss

As summer approaches, we are all tasked with finding fun and interesting ways to spend our precious summer months. If you don’t want to or can’t go on a long and expensive overseas trip, these road trip destinations are the way to go – literally.

South Dakota is a very common and enjoyable road trip. It is very easy for Minnesotans, especially those of us in the Twin Cities area. Some of the most popular stops along the way include: the Badlands, Mount Rushmore, Custer State Park, Crazy Horse, and strange tourist attractions such as Wall Drug and the Corn Palace. Overall, South Dakota is a good option if you enjoy beautiful trails and outdoors.

Duluth, Minnesota is also a fun destination (although it isn’t exactly a road trip, it is only a two hour drive away from the Twin Cities). Canal Park has many hotels and restaurants along the shore of Lake Superior, and if you’re brave enough you can swim in the frigid water. You can also shop local businesses, try new foods, and explore historical sites including Split Rock Lighthouse and the Glensheen mansion. Remember to pack extra layers – it can get chilly!

Chicago, Illinois is another popular drive for many Minnesotans. In the city, there are a lot of cool things to do, many of them in the water. There are boat rides in lakes and rivers as well as Navy Pier. There are also many beautiful parks and museums. Chicago is also home to Wrigley Field, where the Chicago Cubs play. It is the second oldest ballpark in the Major League.

St. Louis, Missouri is a cool place to go. It’s known for the Gateway Arch, which is a very popular place to visit. Standing 630 ft tall, you can view the entire city from the top. While at the Gateway Arch they offer riverboat tours that take you along St. Louis to look at many different sights the city has to offer. In St. Louis you can also visit the beautiful Missouri Botanical Garden and Forest Park.

Another fun place to visit while on a road trip is Cleveland, Ohio. While in Cleveland you can visit the iconic Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Glass Pyramid, with signed artifacts from your favorite rock stars. What’s not to love? While there you can take a tour of the museum looking at iconic artifacts from bands  and artists like: the Beatles, Pink Floyd, Stevie Nicks, Aretha Franklin, and many more. While there you can also explore Lake Erie, and the International Women’s Air and Space Museum.

Road trips are always fun. Getting to discover new places and having adventures. These road trip destinations are just a fraction of what’s out there to do. Whatever you choose to do, the important things is to have fun!

Teen Summer Spark

By: Vivian S

Do any of you remember participating in the Summer Spark program at the library before? Reading some books and then going to library and getting a prize? Well, this year there is another Teen Summer Spark with a new list of books to read.

There is With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo, which is about a teen mother who is trying to balance completing high school and her dream of being a chef.

Then there is The Weight of Our Sky by Hanna Alkaf. The story takes place during the 1969 race riots in Malaysia, which I have only quickly researched. It seems to be that the Malay and Chinese populations there have always had tensions, but after an election, which afterwards, many Malays marched in Kuala Lumpur (a predominantly Chinese city and where our story takes place), and that march devolved into violence. During this, a sixteen-year old teenager is trying to find her mother, but must first get through prejudice, violence, and her own OCD.

Another is Lovely War by Julie Berry. This story is told by the Greek goddess Aphrodite, and it’s about 4 people who fall in love during the First World War, and the challenges they face.

There is Hey, Kiddo by Jarrett Krosoczka. This book is a graphic novel, and it is all about the author’s life. It is about his mom, who is an addict, his grandparents, who he lives with, and his father, who he does not know.

Also, there is On the Come Up by Angie Thomas. A follow-up to The Hate U Give, this book tells the story of a sixteen-year old rapper, who pours her emotions into her first song, and ends up in the center of a controversy.

There is Genesis Begins Again by Alicia Williams. About a thirteen-year old girl who tries to lighten her skin many times, thinking that her dark skin is the source of all her family’s problems, before she finds reasons to love herself as she is.

Finally, there is We Are Displaced by Malala Yousafzai. This not only tells the story of Malala Yousafzai herself, but also of many other people she met in refugee camps and other places during her journeys.

You can read and rate any of these books, or your own choice books, and by filling out a slip, you can a win a book, a journal, and an opportunity to spin a prize wheel (which you can only do in August).

To find out more, please go to: https://sppl.bibliocommons.com/list/share/1165043747_sppl_teens/1397988357_teen_summer_spark_2019?_ga=2.67466577.1190286460.1556283232-6556837.1536076982.

Detective Pikachu review

Detective Pikachu was released May 10th, and oh boy was it a mess. A fun mess, but still a mess. Beware of light spoilers if you haven’t seen the movie yet.

Let’s talk about the first scene. It was very sloppy. Our main character, Tim, is walking through the woods with his friend when they run into a Cubone. Tim gets upset that he’s friend set this up so Tim could catch it, and finally get a Pokemon partner. It was like they wrote the movie but then went “Oh shoot, we have to address that Tim doesn’t want a partner,” and sloppily threw it in. They immediately transition to Tim getting an awkwardly written and preformed phone call telling him that his dad was in an accident and. . . dead.

Tim goes to Ryme City. This is where his dad was stationed as a police officer, and in this city, catching Pokemon and battling them is a thing of the past. Here, Pokemon and humans are friends, much like dogs and humans in our world. The whole city design is well done, and really beautiful. The neon colors and tall glass buildings are amazing visuals.

Tim goes to his dad’s apartment, and eventually runs into Pikachu, played by Ryan Reynolds. Pikachu’s character is. . . tricky. Before this moment, it was pretty obvious that this was a kid’s movie, but with the introduction of Reynold’s character, the line between kid’s and teen movie becomes extremely blurred.

One big problem is that Ryan Reynold’s starred in the 2016 film Deadpool. Deadpool is rated R, but yet Deadpool’s character, and Pikachu’s, is very similar. A lot of the jokes in the first half hour of the film are adult. Adult jokes in kid movies are nothing new, and are totally fine, and can add charm to your film, but it does not work for Detective Pikachu. It leaves so much to be desired. The movie steps so close to the edge of PG-13 territory that it leaves you wondering why they just didn’t take it.

When you realize this, it makes you realize another problem this film has. Why is it for kids? I went opening weekend to this movie, and saw maybe only five kids. The Pokemon franchise is for kids obviously, but this movie was mostly appealing to adults and teens who played the games growing up. It seems the writers knew this too, since there were so many jokes aimed at adults. The movie just seems so empty, and pulling towards something it wanted to do but couldn’t.

After you meet Pikachu, you get introduced to the next character. I honestly forgot her name, she was so forgettable, but after a quick Google search, I found out her name was Lucy. She was written as a fun sidekick/love interest, and that’s it, despite the fact that she solved most of the mystery. She is still written off as a sidekick just because Tim got to fight the big bad super villain at the end. It was a pretty disgusting treatment of a character, and even though I did not find her very appealing, she deserved so much better.

Speaking of the film’s mystery, it was terrible. You could see almost all the twists and turns from a mile away, and the ones you couldn’t where just so bad that you didn’t expect the movie to take that turn.

Okay, I’ve gotten most of the negative out of the way. One last positive thing about this film is the Pokemon designs were phenomenally done. They adapted each and every one that appeared in this movie very well.

I gave this movie a 4/10. I think it’s a fun movie, but once the first hour is done, it becomes very tiring to sit through.

Top 5 smart speakers 2019

With new smart home speakers coming out frequently, the public needs a guide to the pros and cons of the different brands. You’ve probably seen ads for these speakers (Alexa, Google Home, Apple HomePod, and many more), but which one is actually the best?

Coming in at 5th place is the Amazon Echo Plus. It has an attractive fabric design, and has good audio drivers. It also has a temperature sensor. This speaker does have some cons, like it sometimes doesn’t work with Fire TV commands, and it has a premium price of $150.

The next best smart speaker is the classic Google Home. This speaker is great for music lovers, with it being connected to YouTube’s massive song library. It also has a customizable base, along with an affordable price of $99. A few downsides to this speaker are it misses some of Google’s own services and it sometimes requires precise phrasing for the speaker to pick up what you’re saying.

In 3rd place, the Amazon Echo has a great new look and a cheap price. It also has some new Alexa features, but it is pretty close to the old generations. Customers also have said that the Alexa app could be better, with some features being slow or sometimes not working.

The 2nd best speaker is the Apple HomePod. It’s compact, has spectacular sound quality, and has built in Siri (which is very responsive). There are a few cons though, including no Bluetooth feature, no Apple Music support, and a high price tag of $350 (or more, depending on where you go to purchase it).

The first place spot goes to the Sonos One, with a clean look, fantastic sound quality, built in Alexa, and an affordable price tag of $150. The only con that I found was there’s no Google assistant support.

All pictures taken from: https://www.techradar.com/news/best-smart-speakers

The hidden genius of ‘The Eric Andre Show’

Image via screenrant.com

The Eric Andre Show is a satirical comedy following a talk show host known as Eric Andre. It is a high energy parody of most, if not all, late night television shows such as Jimmy Kimmel, James Corbin, Jimmy Fallon, Conan, Trevor Noah, you get the idea.

On the surface, most episodes consist of Eric “““Interviewing””” any celebrity he can find, and by interviewing, I mean the Eric Andre interpretation of what an interview is. Basically his main purpose seems to be as to make the guest as comedically uncomfortable as possible. Many guests such as Jack Black, to Jimmy Fallon to even Wiz Khalifa, suffer the consequences of going on a show where a bad Hulk impersonator would try and start a fight with the guest, as the host sits back and pretends to burn his mouth on a hot pocket.

But you may be thinking to yourself, “What sets this apart from other shows were they mess with, and prank celebrities?” I think I have the answer as to what makes this show so special, and what caused this show to go on for four individual seasons, and still get raving reviews from critics and fans alike.

Screen cap of a “cold opening monologue” segment in the show with Eric’s co host Hannibal Buress via tvguide.com

I believe that one of the things that makes The Eric Andre Show unique, is how Eric purely dissects the comedic process. Many times throughout the show, you’ll notice that Eric makes a mockery of typical tropes that are supposed to be sincerely funny in other shows. A good example of this, is his satirical bit he does at the beginning of every episode, in which Eric gives an opening typical comedic monologue to the likes of the everyday late night talk show host, except for the twist of it getting derailed. He intentionally screws up punchlines, and tells all around poor taste jokes so that his co-host Hannibal Buress can just call him out, or he has an an outrageous visual gag (such as an attempted assassination, or a Scientologist take over) derail his efforts to preform stand up comedy. I think because of how we are conditioned to just see all jokes be well… jokes, that have a traditional setup, then punchline, I think that immense diversion from the normal comic setup is what makes Eric Andre unique.

So, along with this, it seems as Eric possesses a complete, and utter disregard for how comedy is handled in the mainstream industry, as instead of doing a sketch, or a comedic bit for the sake of his audience, he pulls ridiculous stunts and gags, just for what seems like his own enjoyment.

Sometimes, Eric will just bring his insanity out into the streets of New York City, where he does quite literally anything to get a reaction out of people, which surprisingly shows his range as a comedian, as they will ABSOLUTELY NOT stop filming until he does all he can to disorient the people around him.

A really good example of this is from season four, episode five, in which Eric just starts off by going to a car repair shop, and asking the owners how much it would cost to fit a busted up part of his vehicle. While they are explaining this to him, he just starts destroying the car with a crowbar, asking how much it would cost to repair now, with each additional strike he takes to it. And he just keeps going until he gathers a big enough crowd to further the joke, by instead of attempting a payoff to the end of it, he just flips the entire thing, and furthers it into even more insanity, and he strangely acts like he had no idea that this was even happening, and pretends to desperately call for help as “some rough teenagers” destroyed his car.

But even after that he decides to further it EVEN MORE, by asking people why they aren’t helping him with the whole situation, inferring that they’re weirdly prejudiced against him as he says “Hey, I’m a car too ya know!” and just starts drinking gasoline directly from the tank in awe of the enormous crowd he had already gathered. (You can view the clip here).

Now, it may not be for everyone, but you have to appropriate his immense effort, and complete disregard for his surroundings, and for the social embarrassment he gains in his intense commitment to the joke here.

Image via common sense media

One last note here before I send off and finish this article, to rewatch clips of this show ad infinitum on Youtube, as I drift off to sleep tonight; it’s just that this show has a very different energy from what you’d just think at first glance. At first glance, it seems like Eric has essentially gone insane, and had gotten a camera crew to film his raving lunacy. But there’s something weirdly controlled about this insanity. As I’ve mentioned, Eric has this co-host, who is comedian Hannibal Buress, who is somewhat of the really-not-really voice of reason throughout the show. As in, while retaining the same spontaneous humor as Eric, Hannibal has a more “chill” or “subtle” energy to him, as sort of a counter contrast to Eric Andre’s constant energetic actions.

He is the polar opposite, yet ties the entire show together. This is shown in its purest form by one scene, and one scene alone, which was during the time when Eric was giving one of his “interviews” to an unsuspecting guest, Lauren Conrad, and at a specifically, lets just say “tense” moment, when Eric was pretty much making the poor woman feel like she’s going insane, she looks to her side to find any sanity in the one other guy in the room, just to see Hannibal, standing there, completely unphased by the entire situation, and world around him, just chomping at an entire head of lettuce while standing up. Lauren looks to Hannibal, and all he says in his most dazed fashion is “Man you gotta eat the lettuce… it’s like straight up… it’s lettuce.”

And moments like that, to me at least, make the entire show. You might not think it’s funny, you might think it’s too vulgar, or shocking, and you might even consider it the lowest of the low brow, but you’ve gotta admit, it has something special to it that no other show can emulate. And I think that’s what more media these days need.