The “Friday Five” is a weekly list of five things I’m interested and want to make you aware of–whether they be serious or silly. Think of it as a list of stuff I like that I think you might like, too.
A Prairie Home Companion. My dad first introduced me to the work of Garrison Keillor and A Prairie Home Companion about 15-20 years ago. While I didn’t appreciate it at first, I grew to understand how unique and special APHC has become in a culture that is video-obsessed. There’s something about the slower pace and subtle humor of this “old-timey” radio variety show that sets it apart from other forms of entertainment on offer.
Last season was the final season with Garrison Keillor as the host. Since APHC had become virtually synoymous with Keillor’s grandfatherly baritone, I wasn’t sure the show could or even should go on. I’m pleased to say that I was wrong. Chris Thile, the singer and mandolinist behind the bands Nickel Creek and Punch Brothers has stepped up to the microphone, and in doing so has really breathed new life into the program. Thile and company perform a new original song in lieu of an opening monologue each week. The musical tone of the show has been updated to a more modern sensibility; the first three episodes have featured performances by Jack White, Dawes, and Esperanza Spaulding, and have featured winking references/covers of the likes of Snoop Dogg and Michael Jackson.
If you have never listened to APHC, or if (like me) you worried about its new direction, I recommend checking out the first 2-3 episodes. (Disclosure #1: The politics have not changed and are still left-leaning, if that’s a deal-breaker. Disclosure #2: The third episode has the first “miss” of the season, with a rather unfunny comedian.)
Board game cafes. One of my more-recently-discovered loves is tabletop gaming. If your familiarity with board games is limited to Monopoly and Risk, I would invite you to begin exploring the wide, wide world of gaming, because there are literally hundreds if not thousands of new games to try.
One *great* way to do that is by visiting a board game cafe. Usually, board game cafes serve coffee (or something stronger) and snacks, and have free games available to play; sometimes, they host events where gamers can meet up and play together. And this isn’t just limited to the more…we’ll say “insular,” types of games like Warcraft and D&D and the games with those crazy-expensive miniatures, so don’t let that scare you off. Thanks to the folks at BoardGameGeek, we have this map of known board game cafes around the world. If you’re anywhere near one, take a couple of friends, and go check it out this weekend.
As for folks down here on the Texas coast, I would strongly encourage you to check out Board Game Island in Galveston. It’s currently under renovations (and new management) and won’t be open for a few weeks, but my wife and I have visited several times and look forward to going back. They have hundreds of games for varying levels of players, and it is just a blast to walk in, grab some food and a few games off the shelf, and hang out for a few hours.
Pandemic. One of my current favorite board games is Pandemic, a cooperative game where each player is assigned a “role” on a team of researchers and scientists trying to race against the clock to stop global disease outbreaks. This game has spawned a host of expansions, variations, and even an IOS version that can be played on your Apple devices. The version I’m most looking forward to playing is Pandemic: Legacy, part of the “Legacy” series of board games, in which the actions of one playthrough influence all subsequent playthroughs. If you want to try a co-op game that is strategic and intense, Pandemic is worth checking out.
Voting Third-Party. The election is almost over, and if you haven’t taken the time to make your voice heard (and you’re an American citizen who is legally eligible to vote), I would encourage you to do so in a thoughtful manner. Vote your conscience. Vote for a candidate instead of just against one.
If you don’t like either major-party candidates, I would encourage you not to settle for the one you hate least. Look at the other options on the ballot, or the write-in presidential candidates available in your state. I haven’t done an official “endorsement” post on my blog (mostly because I don’t think it will matter much), but on Tuesday, I’m writing in Evan McMullin for president. I’ve never voted third-party before on any primary or general election, but 2016 is a singular year, and I think this is the best decision I can make.
McMullin reflects my values and ideological positions better than any other candidate on the ballot. While I don’t agree with him on everything, I believe McMullin will act with integrity, courage, and a commitment to conservative ideas. He believes in the sanctity of human life and is committed to limiting the scope and control of federal government. I think the platform McMullin is proposing would be the best thing for the future of the United States, so he gets my vote. If you haven’t voted yet, and McMullin is available in your state as a ballot vote or write-in, I would ask you to consider Evan McMullin for president.
The Chicago Cubs. I already posted my story. But man oh man, I’m still happy about this. So I give you this compilation. Tears. Chills. So good.
Your Turn: What’s good, fam? Share some of your favorite recent discoveries in the comments.