the value of our Roku

About a year ago I wrote that I had bought a Roku device so we could get the CBS All Access streaming service in order to watch Star Trek: Discovery. That series, the first season at least, was an absolute disaster, so bad that I cancelled CBS All Access before the end of the season. (We are hoping for a better season 2 and expect to re-up in January.)

Roku packageThe Roku has been great for other reasons, however. It gives us simple, easy access to Netflix and Hulu. We get access to streaming movies through Fandango, Vudu, and Redbox.

The Roku also provides access to the CBSN streaming news service. I have been watching more news since the democrats won the House of Representatives, and I watch CNN and MSNBC, both of which show a bias against that guy with the orange hair who lives in the White House. That is more than fine with me, but it’s nice to have CBSN for their more down the middle approach.

Then there’s NASA TV. With the excitement around the Mars InSight mission I thought perhaps Roku might offer NASA TV. In fact, they do. How very cool is that?

The Roku was an inexpensive purchase. We are getting more than our money’s worth.


Murphy Brown

Terry and I have been enjoying the reboot of Murphy Brown as we were both big fans of the original series. It’s great fun for us left-liberal types.

Murphy BrownThe first episode was so funny from beginning to end that I had tears in my eyes. The appearance by Hillary Clinton (more than a cameo, really) was priceless. The second episode was a funny story about Murphy, banned from the current White House, finding a way to crash a press briefing. But it had a serious side in that her actions derailed her son, a reporter at a rival network, from being able to ask his planned question. Episode three was a balanced look at the #metoo movement with some funny moments. Last week’s episode in advance of today’s mid-terms was most appropriate and very well done.

I don’t know that we’re going to get more than the initial thirteen episodes as the ratings have been less than stellar, but Terry and I are enjoying it while we have it.


my most popular blog entry

It has been a full year since Marcela Valladolid left The Kitchen on Food Network. I initially wrote here about her departure, saying that she would be missed. When she wrote in some detail in her blog about exiting the show and stated that she regretted not saying goodbye to her fans I wrote “why Marcela didn’t say goodbye.”

The Kitchen logoThis has been far and away my most popular blog entry. It has received over 31,000 views. That is an order of magnitude (or two or three or four) more than any of my other blog posts have received. Seems that it comes up for people doing a Google or Bing search about Marcela leaving the show.

For all those views I haven’t gotten a lot of comments. What surprises me about the comments I do get is how many people are snide and bitter about Marcela and her presence on the program. Those don’t get published. I don’t go for nastiness on my blog.

It’s nice to be read, but I wish some of my other blog entries received more attention.


Just Play

I am not immune to the current streaming phenomenon. We subscribe to both Netflix and Hulu and we can get movies via Amazon Prime as well. (In addition we’ll re-subscribe to CBS All Access when Star Trek: Discovery returns in January.)

Just Watch app screen shotThe problem is that it’s not easy to find out what is available where. I have had to check each service individually to see where a given movie is available. I was looking for a better solution and found one. It’s called Just Play. When I set it up I specified the services to which I subscribe. Now I can search for a movie and it will tell me which services have it available for streaming.

How cool is that?

It’s available for iOS. Google couldn’t find the app, so I don’t know if there’s an Android version.


appreciating PBS

I don’t give enough love to PBS. The PBS stations I get on my cable system are part of my channel surfing rotation, but I haven’t sat down and watched that many complete programs.

That changed recently. I have watched two outstanding series.

PBS logoThe science program Nova Wonders was designed for younger people, but as I approach eligibility for Medicare I was fascinated, Hosted by three scientists, all of them people of color and two of them women, the show looked at biology, genetics, astronomy, communication, and other topics. All fascinating stuff.

Then there is Civilizations (note the plural). Each episode has a different take on art, starting with prehistoric art and moving up to the present day. This is not your classic Western Civilization course. The West gets plenty of attention, but so does China, Japan, India, and the Islamic World. The episode on the renaissance used the plural on its title and covered not only Italy but the Islamic renaissance as well.

There’s lots of good stuff on PBS. It deserves more of my attention.


more on immigrants and food

I hope you saw my blog entry on immigrants and food. If not, please do take a look.

There’s more on television on this topic. PBS has a new program called No Passport Required. It is hosted by chef Marcus Samuelsson. Samuelsson was born in Ethiopia, adopted, and raised in Sweden. He immigrated to the United States where he has become a successful restaurateur, cookbook author, and television personality.

No Passport RequiredThe program is similar to the show Eden Eats, about which I wrote, in that Samuelsson visits a different city in each episode. Unlike that program, however, Samuelsson visits a single ethnic group in each city, and No Passport Required is a full hour rather than half an hour. This gives him time to delve in-depth into each immigrant community.

Well worth watching.

Another PBS program, related to immigrants though not necessarily food, is “Ellis Island” on the Great Performances series. Composer Peter Boyer combines orchestral music, photography, and the spoken word to provide a moving portrayal of immigrants coming to the United States in the early part of the twentieth century. Boyer says he did not have the immigrant situation of 2018 in mind when composing this work, but he certainly sees the relevance.

The program aired on television at the end of June. You can to stream it or watch on demand until July 27.

Make sure you have a Kleenex within reach at the conclusion.


sticking with nostalgia

The options for television viewing these days are overwhelming. On cable we don’t pay for any of the premium movie channels like HBO, Cinemax, and Showtime, but we still have a huge selection. For streaming services we have Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video.

Too many choices.

Netflix logoAdvertising and social media seem to tell me that I really want to watch the new streaming programs such as Glow and Lovers. I’ve tried them. I’m not that impressed.

I prefer the old stuff. I can watch That Seventies Show on Netflix and Family Ties on Amazon Prime.

Those shows are so much more enjoyable to me than the new, seemingly edgy stuff. I hate to think of myself as old-fashioned and stuffy, but gul durn it, that’s what I enjoy.