Category Archives: Article Categories

9 Shows Worth Binge-Watching

michael putthoff block

With the winter months right around the corner, it’ll be time to pull out the fleece blanket, put on some hot chocolate, and curl up with your best friend: Netflix.  The chilly months ahead are perfect for binge-watching great shows, and with the colder weather setting in, it’ll be harder to work up the courage to leave the warmth of your home anyway.  To help you decide what you should devote your precious time to, here’s a list of shows that are worth your weekend (or life).  With a mix of titles you have (and maybe haven’t) heard of, and spanning about 450 hours, it should be enough to get you through to the thaw of spring.  Happy bingeing.

 

 

9. Dexter (2006 – 2013)

No. of Seasons: 8; No. of Episodes: 96

Dexter
Source: IMBD.com/showtime network

Originally airing on the Showtime Network in 2006, “Dexter” follows the life of Dexter Morgan, a Miami Police blood splatter analyst by day, and a serial killer by night.  When Dexter is adopted at a young age by Harry Morgan, Dexter and his adopted father realize there is something different about Dexter.  Dexter loves to kill, but only does so by a code set by his adoptive father.  Targeting only the worst of criminals that escape the justice system, Dexter must keep his ‘hobby’ from his sister, and the rest of the Miami Police Department.

Dexter2
Source: televisionwithoutpity.tumblr.com/Showtime Network

I won’t lie, this one takes an episode or two to get going, but when it does, it really takes off. Watching Dexter juggle work, his ‘hobby,’ and a girlfriend makes for an interesting hour of television.  Warning: the show is very graphic, and very full of blood.  I mean, there is a lot of blood.  If you’re squeamish, move onto the next show on the list.  With the main story spanning entire seasons, you’ll be wanting to move onto the next episode when the credits roll.  Starring Michael Hall, Jennifer Carpenter and more, it’s a show that’s hard to pull away from.

 

 

8. House M.D. (2004 – 2012)

No. of Seasons: 8; No. of Episodes: 177

House
Source: imdb.com/FOX

First aired on Fox in 2004, ‘House M.D.’ is medical drama that follows Dr. Gregory House, a Vicodin-addicted, puzzle-solving medical genius who isn’t afraid to break the rules.  Working with his team at Princeton-Plainsboro Hospital, House takes on cases that other doctors can’t solve.  With the help of Dr. Foreman, Dr. Chase, Dr. Cameron, and Dr. Wilson, they push the bounds of traditional medicine to save their patients’ lives before time runs out.  Dr. House often clashes with Dean of Medicine, Dr. Lisa Cuddy, who desperately tries to keep House in check, and the hospital out of trouble.

House2
Source: reddit.com/FOX

“House” is one of the greatest medical dramas out there, “Grey’s Anatomy” doesn’t even come close.  Every episode has you sucked in from the beginning and on the edge of your seat, and when you think you know what will happen next, you get hit with a curveball.  With the most episodes on the list, make sure you chuck out a few weeks to get through this one.  Starring Hugh Laurie, Omar Epps, Lisa Edelstein, Robert Leonard, Jennifer Morrison, and many more, “House” is an amazing show for all the drama lovers out there.

 

 

7. Community (2009 – )

No. of Seasons: 1-5 (NBC), 6 (Yahoo!); No. of Episodes: 110

Community
Source: imdb.com/NBC Universal

Premiering in 2009 on NBC, “Community” follows a group of outcasts at a fictitious community college known as Greendale.  Jeff Winger, a disgraced lawyer who faked his bachelor’s degree, goes back to community college to graduate in order to reclaim his former life.  Wanting to get through it as quickly and as easily as possible, Jeff forms a study group.  Complete with a know-it-all psychology major, a former high school football player, a single mom, a girl formerly addicted to Adderall, a man trapped in a world of alternate reality, and a baby boomer trying to finish finally finish school, the group makes for an interesting show.

Community2
Source: http://www.reactiongifs.com/NBCUniversal

‘Community’ is a great show.  It’s full of comedy and so many references to so many different things in pop culture.  It’s hard not to fall in love with this gang of misfits.  I recommend only watching seasons 1-5 from NBC, as season 6 by Yahoo! doesn’t really live up to the standards set by creator Dan Harmon.  Starring Joel McHale, Alison Brie, Donald Glover and more, it’s the show that makes you wonder why your college years weren’t this awesome.

 

 

6. The IT Crowd (2006 – 2013)

No. of Seasons: 4; No. of Episodes: 24 (+1 Special)

The IT Crowd
Source: imdb.com/Channel 4 [UK]
Originally airing in 2006 in the UK, ‘The IT Crowd’ follows two computer geeks and their technically illiterate Manager of the IT Department at Reynholm Industries.  Led by their manager Jen Barber, who lied her way into the position, Roy Trenneman and Maurice Moss solve the company’s computer crises in a lethargic manner.  The show also focuses on the father and son who run the company.  Finding themselves in typical British problems, the three awkwardly stumble through work and life.

The IT Crowd2
Source: http://www.gifbay.com/Channel 4 [UK]
‘The IT Crowd’ is a British workplace comedy that is funny from beginning to end. From the lazy Roy Trenneman to the socially-awkward Maurice Moss, this show will have you busting a gut minutes into every episode.  Last time I checked, the special was only available on Hulu, but it’s available for free.  Starring Chris O’Dowd, Richard Ayoade, and Katherine Parkinson, this show is a treasure trove for the comedy-seeker.

 

 

5. An Idiot Abroad (2010 – 2012)

No. of Seasons: 3; No. of Episodes: 19

An Idiot Abroad
Source: imdb.com/Sky 1

Follow British traveler Karl Pilkington as he travels the world.  From India to China to Route 66, Karl is on a mission to find out what makes the world so great. Thinking it’s going to be an easy trip, Karl’s friends Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant make it their mission to make Karl as miserable as possible.

 

An Idiot Abroad2
Source: peculiargroove.tumblr.com/Channel 4 [UK]
If you love to travel, or love travel shows, this program is right up your alley.  Karl Pilkington is a moaning, hilarious host who will have you laughing as he stumbles his way through the world.  This is the only travel show I have ever seen that had me laughing from start to finish.  Starring Karl Pilkington, Ricky Gervais, and Stephen Merchant, this is one round the world adventure you don’t want to miss.

 

 

4. Raising Hope (2010 – 2014)

No. of Seasons: 4; No. of Episodes: 88

Raising Hope
Source: play.google.com/FOX

‘Raising Hope’ first aired on Fox back in 2010.  The show sees James ‘Jimmy’ Chance, an underachieving high school dropout, try to raise his daughter, whose mother happens to be a serial killer.  After a one-night stand with Lucy, the serial killer, Jimmy learns she is pregnant before her date with death row.  Jimmy brings his daughter, Princess Beyonce, who is renamed Hope, home to his equally underachieving family.  Along with her grandma, Virginia (Jimmy’s mom) and her husband Burt will help Jimmy raise the little girl, along with the help of his crush Sabrina.

Raising Hope2
Source: tumblr.com/FOX

When I first heard of this show I didn’t think I would get into it, but after the first episode I was hooked.  “Raising Hope” is your typical sitcom: the Chances find themselves in stupid situations every week, and they have 22 minutes to right everything before the credits roll.  Maybe it’s the ridiculous situations we find them in, maybe it’s how relatable they are to average families, or maybe it’s just the odd, but loveable cast.  Whatever it may be, this show is one for the books. Starring Lucas Neff, Martha Plimpton, Garret Dillahunt, this show is a romping good time.

 

3. Parks and Recreation (2009 – 2015)

No. of Seasons: 7; No. of Episodes: 125

Parks and Rec
Source: imdb.com/NBC Universal

Premiering in 2009 on NBC, ‘Parks and Recreation’ follows Leslie Knope, Deputy Director of the Parks and Rec. department in the fictitious town of Pawnee, IN.  The show is a mockumentary  type show, much like ‘The Office.’  The show follows Leslie through her life in politics, friendship, and romance. She is a driven, hard-working government employee who will do anything to get the job done.  Leslie isn’t alone; with the help of her Parks and Rec crew, Ron, April, Donna, Jerry, Andy, and her best friend Ann, nothing will stop her.

Parks and Rec2
Source: giphy.com/NBC Universal

NBC comes out with a lot of hit or miss shows, but this one is a home run.  “Parks and Recreation” is a clever, funny, and all-around fun show.  This is show that I looked forward to every week.  The writing is amazing, the cast is hilarious, and it has Chris Pratt in it.  It’s a delightful show that you can easily fall in love with, and it’s one I highly recommend.  Starring a whole slew of incredible people, including: Amy Poehler, Nick Offerman, Rashida Jones, and many more, “Parks and Recreation” will have you grinning from ear to ear from beginning to the end.

 

 

2. Archer (2009 – )

No. of Seasons: 6 and counting; No of Episodes: 75

Archer
Source: imdb.com/FX Network

‘Archer’ premiered in 2009 on FX.  This spy spoof animated comedy centers around Sterling Archer, codename: Duchess.  If you’re having trouble picturing Archer, just imagine James Bond, but 100x more awesome, drunk, and horny.  Archer is an agent of ISIS (The agency name has since changed because terrorists have to ruin everything), whose boss just happens to be his mother, Malory Archer.  Each week Archer humps and fights his way out of difficult situations with the help of Lana Kane and the bumbling buffoon, Cyril Figgis.

 

Archer2
Source: giphy.com/FX Network

‘Archer’ is a great show for binge-watching, and with 10 to 13 episodes a season it is the perfect show for a one weekend binge-watch.  The writing is amazing, the voice acting is spot on, and this show will have you rolling on the ground.  If you love inappropriate comedy as much as I do, this show is for you.  Featuring the voices of H. Jon Benjamin, Aisha Tyler, Chris Parnell, and more, this is one show you’ll be glad you watched.

 

 

1. Chuck (2007 – 2012)

No. of Seasons: 5 No. of Episodes: 91

Chuck
Source: imdb.com/NBC Universal

‘Chuck’ is a show that premiered on NBC back in 2007.  It’s an amazing spy comedy that centers around an underachieving ‘Nerd Herder,’ Chuck Bartowski.  When Chuck is emailed secret information from a government project, known as the ‘Intersect’, he accidentally downloads all the information to his brain.  Two agents, Sarah Walker from the CIA, and John Casey from the NSA, are sent to protect Chuck, who uses the Intersect to save the day.

Chuck2
Source: pavka5.tumblr.com/NBC Universal

This is a show I had heard of when it was running on NBC, but back then I didn’t make much time for television.  I won’t lie, I consider this to be one of the best shows to ever grace television.  ‘Chuck’ is an amazing show that packs comedy, action, romance, and drama into a tight 45 minutes.  If you pick one show to watch this winter, make it this one, as it will not disappoint.  Starring Zachary Levi, Yvonne Strahovski, and Adam Baldwin, this show is a can’t miss. Spoiler, make sure you have some tissues handy from the last episode, it’s a doozy.


michaelbio

United Nations Declares the “International Decade for People of African Descent”

dj bart plange blocklogo

The United Nations has declared 2015-2024 as the International Decade for People of African Descent. December 10th marked the kickoff day for this decade dedicated to the eradication of the widespread racism and discrimination that is deeply ingrained in society and continues to negatively affect people of African descent worldwide. The resolution for the decade was accepted by the General Assembly of the UN in December of 2013, with the theme “People of African descent: recognition, justice and development”. The decade will focus on calls for governments around the world to implement anti-discrimination laws to end rampant racial profiling and offering equal protection under the law, as well as focusing on health, education, economic development, and employment disparities that people of African descent continue to experience around the globe, as well as revisiting policies and laws that have had negative effects for people of African descent.

child

President of the General Assembly of the United Nations, Sam Kutesa, proclaimed during the kickoff that “The Decade will allow us to explore the challenges faced by people of African descent due to pervasive racism and racial discrimination ingrained in our society today.” Kutesa also spoke on the topics of justice and development, noting the discrimination Africans and the diaspora face when pursuing legal recompense when they are often victims of violence and crime, the correlation between poverty and racism, and the marginalization of people of African descent despite their contributions to society. The event took place at the Schomburg center, which Deputy UN Secretary General Jan Eliasson pronounced as “a great partner with us in the UN for a long time, organizing exhibits on ending racial discrimination and remembering also the shame of the transatlantic slave trade…. It’s a towering presence, filled with art and information about African Americans, the African diaspora and African experiences.” Joined by ambassadors, dignitaries, staff, and students, the kickoff event featured speakers and performances by African musicians.

african descent

 

In the midst of existing racial tension and discrimination being pushed to the forefront of the conversations taking place in America today, strivers for racial equality not only in the United States but all over the world can cheer for this historic achievement for the full liberation and betterment of lives for Africans and the diaspora. Justifications for the inferior treatment of black people in the United States are fiercely and widely held, ranging from blatant racism to color-blind rhetoric that perpetuates the pervasiveness of racism by ignoring its existence. Though 56% of blacks in America believe there is significant discrimination against black people, only 16% of whites agree, and a majority believe that whites are just as likely if not more likely than blacks to be discriminated against. With the emergence of widespread protests on police brutality disproportionately targeting black lives, which has been the second longest American Civil Rights protest since the Montgomery Boy Boycott of 1955, these vast differences of how African-Americans and white Americans experience life in the U.S. can no longer be ignored. To add some perspective, beginning from when the first ship of African captives hit American soil in 1619, there has been over 200 years of slavery. Ingraining the idea that Africans were less than animals and asserting biological racism was essential to justifying their enslavement. Afterward, roughly 100 years of Jim Crow were used to terrorize blacks, teaching them that there were no rights they had that whites had to respect, and they were still lesser beings. The presumed “post-racial” period of America has been going on for the past 50 years: a relatively short period of time still filled with (but routinely glossed over) housing discrimination, racial profiling, micro-aggressions, and continued employment, health, and education discrimination.

Personal Photo/ Diane-Jo Bart-Plange
Personal Photo/ Diane-Jo Bart-Plange

 

Over 400 years of deeply ingrained racism has not and cannot disappear so quickly; the change needed in society requires continued and conscious efforts of anti-racism ideology to combat the systemic racism our country was built on. The Decade for People of African Descent may not be a long enough period of time to completely eradicate discrimination around the world, but it is a huge step forward and a shining light of hope for the years ahead.

References:

Diouf, Sylviane A. “A Decade for People of African Descent.” A Decade for People of African Descent. New York Public Library, 15 Dec. 2014. Web. 30 Dec. 2014.

“Spotlighting Racism, Stigma, UN Launches International Decade of People of African Descent.” UN News Center. United Nations 2014, 10 Dec. 2014. Web. 30 Dec. 2014.

Blake, John. “The New Threat: ‘Racism without Racists'” CNN. Cable News Network, 27 Nov. 2014. Web. 29 Dec. 2014.


 dianejobio

America: The Nosy Suburban Mom of the World

brit twenter block

Between the cries of “mind your own business!” and “help those less fortunate!”, citizens of the United States have historically been torn in different directions in regards to international issues.

The country has a reputation for being war-hungry, like a soccer mom peering over her fence, ravenous for gossip while her toddler comically trips and falls in the background.  Why does the U.S. get involved in other countries’ affairs when she has so much going on in her own backyard?

It’s simple.  When America was young, before she was even America, she rebelled.  She no longer wanted to be told what to do by her distant father.  She fought viciously until she was free to make her own rules and decisions, changing the game for the rest of the world.  She borrowed bits and pieces of ideas from her neighbors, put her own spin on things, and put on a fresh, victorious face.

 

Mindy

 

As America grew, battle was imminent.  This was a new place with the idea that the people could choose.  With choices, with free will, there comes opposition.  The United States has been a country divided since she released Daddy’s hand and went out west to find herself.

In the country’s early years, the only solidified reason for war was to ensure that America was indeed its own country; pushing Mexico out of Texas, Canadian rebels into submission, and its own native inhabitants into hiding.  Though blood-thirsty and seemingly arrogant, the States got her message across: “I am my own country, and I will not be touched.”

OITNB

 

The United States stayed in her own home, only really leaving to acquire more land until the Cuban War for Independence. The majority of Cuban exports were going towards America, who had previously shown interest in claiming the country as a territory.  This didn’t settle too well with Spain, who at the time held political reign over Cuba.  As Cuba and Spain squabbled disastrously, America began to get nervous.   She was getting a lot out of her flirtation with Cuba, and Spain was ripping up their love letters.  The U.S. begged for stability, not war.  And eventually, America began to see herself in Cuba; a struggling colony trying to break free of an oppressive father.

After much back-and-forth, an agreement that Spain backed out on, and thousands of casualties on every front, the Spanish Empire collapsed.  With the Treaty of Paris now in place and more territory being handed over to her, America was now considered to be an absolute powerhouse.

 

Americaaa

 

With her new reputation securing a front-row seat to all of the world’s major events, the U.S. was now privy to all sorts of “insider information” that hadn’t been her business before.  She wasn’t at the top of the cheerleaders’ pyramid, but she was at least sitting with the cool kids at lunch now.

At the start of World War I, America was determined to stay neutral.  She was happy to keep her head down for now; America was a fiercely proud, young country, desperate to be well-liked by the rest of the “in” crowd.  When German U-Boats sank a ship with United States citizens on board late in the war, America finally realized that unless she dove head-first into battle, there would not be peace.  She decided that staying neutral was no longer an option, especially if she wanted to keep her dignity intact.  This shift in attitude was the spark that made this country what it is today: without war, can there be peace?

 

Neville

 

Two decades and a Depression later, a slightly more worn-down America quietly dealt with her debt.  Until, of course, the fireworks of World War II began.  Once more, America kept to herself until her people were harmed, this time from the infamous attack by Japan on Pearl Harbor.  The shock of citizens being attacked, seemingly unprovoked on her own land, summoned a fury unlike anything the country had seen in a long time.  When Congress was asked to declare war against Japan and his allies, a resounding “yes” rang throughout the country.  America and her citizens rose up to the challenge with vigor.  Both human and material resources were offered up handsomely towards the war efforts.  The war pulled America back on track financially, and gave her a reason to be proud once more…  She was rich, popular, and dating the quarterback-turned-lawyer.

Paris

Throughout every war and in the midst of every international issue, the United States has walked the line between minding her own business and barging in unannounced.  To this day, America has more military personnel in foreign countries than any other country.  Why is this considered to be acceptable by so many citizens?

Because America has been that teenager wanting to get away from her parents.

America has been that country who kept to herself, only to be bombed by a country with more resources and money.

America wants to know what’s going on in the neighborhood, because she wants not only her own children to be safe, but she wants all of the neighborhood children to play nice.

Through her experiences, she firmly believes that she is empathizing with other countries, regardless of how said other countries may feel about it.

Does the United States have the right to be so nosy?  Does this country have the right to stick herself in other countries?  Maybe it would be better to just let the Afghani and Korean military and police forces train themselves.  Maybe it would be better if America didn’t reach out to donate money and time to people dying in Africa.  It’s possible that things would be better in her own backyard if she just stayed there.

But the American mentality is that of a suburban mom.  Things are going to happen in the neighborhood regardless of what America does, and it’s her decision to either lock herself inside and ignore cries for help, or to peek over her fence to make sure everything is okay.

Mean Girls


britbio