Tag #82: The Television Tag

The Television Tag

I wasn’t tagged for this, but I love Sara’s blog so much, I wanted to support her by doing this one. Plus, I love talking about television in general!

Here’s the link to Sara’s post:

Favorite Shows?

  • Forensic Files
  • Law and Order: SVU
  • Glee
  • Castle
  • Full House
  • Stranger Things
  • The Toys That Made Us
  • Wheel of Fortune
  • Jeopardy!
  • Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?
  • Where in Time is Carmen Sandiego?
  • Wishbone
  • Sesame Street
  • Unsolved Mysteries
  • Frontline
  • CSI: NY
  • Parks and Recreation
  • 30 Rock
  • Growing Pains
  • The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina
  • Black Mirror
  • Community
  • The Good Place
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Favorite Genre?

  • Sitcoms!

Least Favorite Show?

  • Like the others, I really don’t like reality TV anymore.

Most Re-Watched Show / Favorite Show to Binge-Watch?

  • Forensic Files. I’ve seen every single episode.

Do You Prefer Watching Things Week-By-Week or Binge-Watching?

  • Currently, binge-watching. However, some of the series are current, so we have to wait a week for new episodes of The Orville and The Passage.

Favorite Television Characters?

  • April and Andy from Parks and Rec
  • Troy and Abed from Community
  • Olivia Benson from Law and Order: SVU
  • D.J. and Stephanie from Full House
  • Liz Lemon from 30 Rock
  • The entire cast of Stranger Things

Favorite Television Ships?

  • Benson and Stabler from Law and Order: SVU

Show You Could Never Get Into?

  • Gossip Girl – Not my thing!

Show You Fell Out of Love With?

  • The Flash
  • Fuller House
  • The Runaways

Cancelled Too Soon?

  • Freaks and Geeks
  • Firefly!!
  • Pushing Daisies
  • Better Off Ted

Guilty Pleasure Show?

  • Currently, a tie between Forensic Files and Law and Order: SVU.

What Are You Currently Watching?

  • The Orville
  • The Passage
  • Law and Order: SVU
  • Unsolved Mysteries (re-watching through YouTube!)
  • Carmen Sandiego (Netflix)

I’m not tagging anyone in particular, but please feel free to do this tag if you like! I had fun with this one.

Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Commentary #83: “Sunny Days on ‘Sesame Street'”

Sesame Street

Image Credit: The Wrap

My dad sent this hot link to me in an email recently, with the exclamation of “Big Bird!”

A little background on Big Bird first. Big Bird has been one of my favorite characters for as long as I can remember. I had such love for “Sesame Street” as a child, and I still do as an adult.

Seeing Big Bird in the video with Jane Pauley made my heart soar and brought a huge smile to my face. And, if we’re being completely honest, it made me tear up a bit, too. Big Bird has brought such joy to my life. And he’s been a part of a wonderful show that is celebrating it’s 50th season in 2019!

Big Bird said that Sesame Street “is the kindest place, where everyone’s welcome.”

I had three stuffed versions of Big Bird as a kid – A small one, a medium one, and a big one with a pull string where he talked. There are many photos that feature a version of him from my childhood. He was definitely a “lovey” for me.

I recently shared this throwback photo on Facebook. This is framed in my parents’ house. We went on two cruises as a family with my dad’s parents. This was on “The Big Red Boat” in the mid-1990s, when we went to Cozumel and Cancun. You can see my dad holding my big Big Bird at the bottom.

I also wrote a comparison-contract research paper on the educational effectiveness of Sesame Street versus Barney & Friends in my first college English class in the fall of 2007. One of my friends who was in that class, Adam, mentioned it recently when we reconnected via Facebook. It was so cool! I need to see it I still have it in my files. I know I used the book Sesame Street Unpaved: Scripts, Stories, Secrets and Songs (1998) as a reference source.

Sesame Street Characters

Image Credit: Celebrity Access

Started by TV producer Joan Ganz Cooney and Carnegie Corporation executive Lloyd Morrisett, Sesame Street is truly a cultural revolution. It’s now broadcast in 150 countries around the world.

CEO of Sesame Street, Jeff Dunn, said, “Our co-founders had the wonderful idea, ‘Could you use the power of television to help teach less advantaged kids and get them ready for school?’ And what they knew was that kids who arrived to kindergarten knowing their ABCs and their 123s, were ahead of kids that didn’t. So, if we could figure out a way to help kids arrive at school ready to learn, that would be a big contribution.”

Don't Eat the Pictures: Sesame Street at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (1983)

Don’t Eat the Pictures (1983) was one of my favorite Sesame Street videos growing up. Image Credit: IMDb

Image result for there's a monster at the end of this book

The cover of The Monster at the End of this Book: Starring Lovable, Furry Old Grover (1971). This is one of my favorite Sesame Street books! Image Credit: Wikipedia

They partnered with Jim Henson and his Muppets. It’s true – Kids are captivated by Muppets. I know I was, and I still am. If you see my Facebook page, I regularly share things related to Kermit The Frog, Miss Piggy, Beaker, Cookie Monster, and Big Bird, of course.

Image result for muppet videos lip sync

Image Credit: Muppets Wiki

Sesame Street Poster

Image Credit: IMDb

To celebrate its 50th anniversary, Sesame Street is producing a new TV special and embarking on a 10-city tour. Also, a Manhattan street will be named after it.

Now four years into its five-year-deal with HBO, Sesame Street has had quite a history. It’s home for decades was PBS, which I watched exclusively during my childhood (See Commentary #44: My Life as a PBS Kid from October 2016). In addition, Sesame Workshop signed a deal with Apple last year – The financial terms were not disclosed, by the way – to have “multiple live-action and animated series as well as a new puppet show for its planned video service.” Also, PBS still airs new episodes, but the deal with HBO stipulates new episodes are aired nine months after their original release on HBO and their HBO Now on-demand library.

There have been more than 4,500 episodes! It’s YouTube channel boasts more than five million subscribers. That’s incredible! Roughly 80 percent of parents watch Sesame Street with their children. I know my parents did.


Do you have a favorite Sesame Street character?

Do you have a favorite Muppet?

Did you watch Sesame Street growing up?

Let me know in the comments!

Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Getting Personal #152: My Favorite Things of 2018

Favorite Things - Quote Master

Image Credit: Quote Master

I’ve seen several blog posts like this pop up in the last week or so. I wanted to do my own!

Also, I wanted to capture how many books I actually read in 2018. Several blog posts mentioned this, and I wanted to tally mine. One young lady read 110 books this year. That’s incredible!

So, before starting the lists of favorites, here’s my tally for books and Book Reviews for 2018:

Ratings Tally

  • 5 stars: 2
  • 4 1/2 stars: 8
  • 4 stars: 5
  • 3 1/2 stars: 1
  • 3 stars: 1
  • 2 1/2 stars: 0
  • 2 stars: 0
  • 1 1/2 stars: 0
  • 1 star: 0

ARC Reviews (First year ever!)

I really enjoyed reading these two books. I hope to read more ARCs in 2019!

Now, on to my favorites!

Favorite Books

Favorite Movies

  • Ant-Man and the Wasp
  • Aquaman
  • Avengers: Infinity War
  • Black Panther
  • Blockers
  • Bohemian Rhapsody
  • Christopher Robin
  • First Man
  • Game Night
  • Incredibles 2
  • Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
  • Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again
  • Maze Runner: The Death Cure
  • Mission: Impossible – Fallout 
  • Ready Player One
  • Solo: A Star Wars Story
  • Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

Favorite TV Shows

Favorite Podcasts

  • Assassinations (Parcast)
  • Conspiracy Theories (Parcast)
  • Female Criminals (Parcast)
  • Hostage (Parcast)
  • Kingpins (Parcast)
  • Small Town Dicks
  • The Adventure Zone – “Amnesty” (Maximum Fun)

Well, that wraps up my favorite things for 2018!

What about you? What were some of your favorite things of the year?

Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Commentary #73: Thoughts on “Evil Genius: The True Story of America’s Most Diabolical Bank Heist”

Evil Genius

Image Credit: Rama’s Screen

It’s time for another diatribe on a Netflix original series!

If you’re interested in other Commentaries I’ve published on other Netflix original series, here are the links:

“Evil Genius: The True Story of America’s Most Diabolical Bank Heist” explores the case of Brian Wells, a 46-year-old pizza delivery driver, in Erie, Pennsylvania. Wells was the unfortunate pawn who was forced to rob a PNC Bank in Erie on August 28, 2003. He had extremely detailed notes for the bank employees, demanding $250,000. He walked out with a little over $8,000.

The police spotted him standing outside his Geo Metro, in the parking lot of an Eyeglass World retail store near the bank, and placed him under arrest. As police were calling the bomb squad and assessing the situation, Wells indicated that he didn’t have much time, as a timer was beeping on the bomb.

The bomb was locked around his neck.

In this four-part series, documentary filmmakers interview almost all of the parties involved, from the local police, state police, FBI, ATF, friends of Wells, and several alleged co-conspirators.

Unfortunately, Brian Wells was not available to be interviewed.

As we started watching Part One, I looked at Al and I said that I remembered seeing the news coverage about this case. At the time, in August 2003, it was the last week or so of summer break, right before I started my freshman year of high school.

I remember the “pizza bomber” case.

The reason why Brian Wells wasn’t available to be interviewed for this documentary, 15 years later? While handcuffed, sitting on the pavement in the Eyeglass World parking lot, police could only watch as the bomb around his neck exploded.

The documentary, in the span of about four hours, dives deep into the complicated world of mental illness, and Marjorie Diehl-Armstrong. Once a striking woman in the town, Diehl-Armstrong was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, among other illnesses.

For years, Diehl-Armstrong professed her innocence. She vehemently denied she was involved in any bank robbery, or murder plot. She claimed she’d never met Brian Wells. She blamed Wells’ unfortunate demise on several others.

But, evidence doesn’t lie. In the middle of the Wells investigation, another party, William “Bill” Rothstein, called police and told them he found a body in the freezer, and Marjorie (or Marge, as the documentary filmmaker calls her) killed him.

Unlike Making A Murderer and The Keepers, I appreciated how concise Evil Genius was. I think dividing it into four episodes was the right choice. It was well-planned, and well-executed.

Along the way, the interviews conducted were well-done, accurate, and simply fascinating. This is one of those cases where it’s hard to delineate who is and should be involved, law enforcement wise, and how those jurisdictional arguments can hinder an investigation. It shows the need for constant communication between agencies, something that was sorely lacking in several areas with this particular case.

The series also heavily focuses on mental illness, hoarding, and narcissism. Diehl-Armstrong made me sick from the very beginning. To me, she is an evil individual, who is a true narcissist. She only cares about herself, and will place blame on someone else within seconds. She’s angry, combative, and definitely not a nice woman.

It’s sad, really. They interviewed her father, and showed photos of her when she was younger. Back then, she showed immense beauty and immense promise. She’s extremely intelligent, and that’s ultimately part of the issue. She was called a mastermind, and I believe it.

Personally, I believe Wells was an innocent victim. I believe he was simply delivering pizzas, doing his job, and was caught up in an unfortunate series of events that led to his murder that day in August 2003.

However, the documentary looks at both sides – Was Wells a true victim, or was he involved in the plot?

You decide.

At the end of the series, I felt like all my questions had been answered. The right people, I believe, were arrested and prosecuted accordingly. The law enforcement agencies have learned, at least I hope they have learned, that constant communication and cooperation is key. Justice delayed is justice denied.

I thought it was a fascinating subject to explore and discover, especially since it’s been nearly 15 years since Brian Wells was killed. I applaud the filmmakers for choosing to focus on this case, their research, their interviews, and being as unbiased as possible. It’s not easy to do, especially with a case like this, one that got more complicated and convoluted.

Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Commentary #52: Thoughts on “The Keepers”

The Keepers - imdb

Image Credit: IMDb

Al mentioned this new Netflix Original series to me a couple weeks ago.

I watched the first two episodes, out of seven, alone. In retrospect, I’m glad that I re-watched them with Al this past week. We just finished the last one today. I don’t think I could have handled it alone.

Much like my Making A Murderer post from last October, I want to try to summarize the series here, and give my thoughts and feelings about it. I will do my best to limit any spoilers!

In November 1969, Sister Catherine (Cathy) Cesnik mysteriously vanished near Baltimore, Maryland. There had been an experiment where she and another nun were allowed to leave their convent and become public school teachers at the all-girls Catholic Archbishop Keough High School.

At the time of her disappearance, Cathy was going shopping for some bakery buns, and an engagement gift for her sister. When her roommate, Sister Russell Phillips, discovered that Cathy had not returned to the apartment, she notified two friends, one of whom was a priest. A few hours later, the police were called and an investigation began.

Sadly, just three days into the year 1970, Sister Cathy’s body was found in a local garbage dump, in nearby Lansdowne, Maryland. The initial investigation concluded that her skull had been fractured at the left temple, but little other evidence was found. The case remains open and unsolved.

The Keepers follows several of Sister Cathy’s students, in the present day, trying to solve her murder, and untangle the web that surrounded their beloved teacher.

Throughout the seven episodes, we learn that Father A. Joseph Maskell was the chaplain at Archbishop Keough, as well as the Baltimore Police Department, and the Maryland State Police. Prior to his arrival at Keough in 1967, Maskell was a priest at multiple churches/parishes in Maryland. Maskell stayed at Keough through 1975.

Gemma and Abbie are the primary amateur investigators in the case. They simply wanted to see Cathy’s murder solved, and to figure out what really happened. Along the way, they begin to discover the secret world that was surrounding their school, and the potential scandal that Cathy knew about.

Without going into gory detail, it was alleged that Father Maskell was committing acts of sexual abuse in his office in the school. In the episodes, several women (Jane Doe, Jane Roe, Mary, Donna, and others) describe what Maskell was doing to them. One woman, Lil, recounted how Maskell asked her to type the transcripts of the “counseling sessions” and “psychological reports” of the girls. Almost all of the reports were sexual in nature.

Gemma and Abbie, among others, start to realize that Cathy knew what was going on, and she was likely murdered to keep the scandal quiet.

Watching the first two episodes alone, I was absolutely horrified. I almost didn’t want to keep watching. What these women were saying that this man did to them made me sick.

When Al and I watched them together, there were several moments where we paused it, and said, together, “What on Earth is happening? Why? Holy freaking cow! This is absolutely nuts!”

We found that our profanity increased as the episodes went over. We could not believe that Maskell, and several others, got away with these terrible acts for so many years.

We noticed that, unfortunately, there are deep ties between the Archdiocese and the police. We’re convinced that there’s money involved, as well as rampant corruption. And this is just in Baltimore!

According to Wikipedia, there are 197 particular churches in the U.S. and the U.S. Virgin Islands. That’s a lot!

To summarize, The Keepers is a decent series. It could have been told in five episodes, rather than seven. But, it’s an important story to be told. When we were watching, we were reminded of the movie Spotlight from 2015. It’s an incredible movie, and it follows similar veins from Boston.

In talking with others on Facebook, my hope is that series and movies like these will help victims to gather the courage to come forward, to tell their stories. Abuse is not acceptable or okay in any form, but against children is especially heinous. These men (and women) should be punished accordingly. The church needs to stop “transferring” priests and others that are accused of abuse and other crimes. They need to be prosecuted. More importantly, these victims need to be believed. They need to be respected and applauded for their courage.

There needs to be justice for Sister Cathy.

Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Commentary #47: “Young Man On A Mission To Honor World War II Veterans Before It’s Too Late”


Image Credit: QuoteHD.com

I want to introduce you to one of my favorite news segments. It’s called “On The Road with Steve Hartman,” and it airs every Friday night on the CBS Evening News.


Image Credit: CBS News

When I was younger, my parents would record it and we would gather to watch it together. It was a great family bonding activity. Steve’s stories are something we continue to share with each other, our families, and our friends.

Now, since I’ve gotten married and have a house of my own, I don’t often get to watch it every week. Luckily, CBS News has a whole page dedicated to Steve’s stories – On The Road. You can read the written articles / transcripts, or you can watch the videos.

I almost always watch the videos.

Yesterday, I realized that I hadn’t seen several of the most recent segments. I spent nearly 45 minutes going through the page. Each story is roughly three minutes in length, and I guarantee you just watching or reading one will make your day a little bit brighter.

Yesterday, with each story, I smiled, I thought reflectively, and tears came to my eyes several times.

And then, I came upon this story:

Seconds after finishing the video, only two minutes and fifty-five seconds long, I knew I wanted to – No, I needed to – write a blog post about it.


Image Credit: Heroes of the Second World War

Rishi, at right in the photo above, is only 19-years-old, but he’s already made a huge impact. He started this project in 2014, and just the short time since then, he’s worked so hard and changed so many lives.

The full website is coming soon, but here’s what Rishi has so far:

This story reminded me of NPR’s StoryCorps, but Rishi is just one young man. And what he’s doing, having skipped days of high school to interview these incredible men, plus delaying college to continue this work, is so significant and important.

According to various sources, there were 16,112,566 members of the U.S. Armed Forces during World War II. Of those 16.1 million service members, there were 291,557 battle deaths, 113,842 other deaths in service (non-theater), and 670,846 non-mortal wounded.

As of this writing, it’s estimated that about 620,000 World War II veterans are still alive. Sadly, we lose roughly 375 veterans every day.

If that number remains accurate, we have about 1,653 days left until no survivors remain. Divide that by 365 days in a year – It means, that most, if not all of these brave people, will be gone in 4.5 years. By 2021, this generation will very likely, literally, be history.

That gives me chills. Rishi couldn’t have started this mission at a better time. I’m inspired by him.

For him to also take the time every single day to call these veterans – Calling them to say “thank you” – makes me want to pick up the phone, too. I mean, can’t we all make the effort to pick up the phone and call someone? Make that connection? It doesn’t have to be a veteran – It can be your grandparents. Someone else in your family. A friend who lives far away.

I can’t wait to see what he accomplishes.

Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Commentary #44: My Life as a PBS Kid


Image Credit: quotesgram.com

As a child, my parents didn’t pay for cable TV.

They still don’t have it.


Image Credit: HD Guru

So, my main source of entertainment, in terms of television, was PBS.


Image Credit: pbskids.org

There are so many shows that came to mind when I was creating this post. I wanted to share a few of them with you, and how these shows have impacted my life.

Arthur (1996-present)


Image Credit: en.wikipedia.org

I read the Arthur books in school and from the library. Reading Rainbow featured one of the books as well. When the show premiered in September 1996, I watched it every day, like clockwork. In the beginning, it was on after school, paired with Wishbone.

Many of these shows have found new life on YouTube and other streaming services (Netflix, etc.) It’s exciting to be able to watch them again.

It’s interesting to watch some of these shows as an adult. With Arthur, I learned about friendship, families, school, reading, and being a kid.

This is one of the few shows for kids that has explored tougher / more adult topics as well – Divorce, bullies, lying, cancer, and even a touch of religion since Francine’s family is Jewish.

Barney & Friends (1992-2009)


Image Credit: en.wikipedia.org

I almost hate to admit it, but I loved the purple dinosaur and all his friends when I was little. There’s a picture of me on the porch of my parents’ house dressed as Barney for one Halloween – It must have been 1992 or 1993.

However, thinking back, the show taught me a lot of good things – Friendship, sharing, kindness, helping others, and so on.

Will you find me showing it to my kids? Not likely. It didn’t take long for the voices, and especially the songs, to get very annoying and corny!

Ghostwriter (1992-1995)


Image Credit: en.wikipedia.org

When I was old enough to watch Ghostwriter, it was in its later seasons. However, I loved the show. It’s set in New York (Brooklyn, specifically), and I loved seeing the team work together to solve the mystery at hand. I remember finding an old composition notebook and creating my own “casebook” to follow along with the show.

This show made me want to put together my own group of friends to solve cases. It also teaches about reading, writing, friendship, family, struggles in middle school, and diversity. I loved that every member of the team was an individual, but they also worked as an awesome team.

The entire series is on YouTube, and I find myself re-watching it once or twice a year. I’ve also dreamed up a little bit of fan fiction from time to time.

Reading Rainbow (1983-2006)


Image Credit: en.wikipedia.org

Reading Rainbow has always been one of my favorites. I’ve always loved LeVar Burton’s personality, and I figured out pretty quickly that he played Geordi on Star Trek: The Next Generation.

I’ve always loved reading, and this show made want to read all of the books that were featured – The books that were the centerpieces of the show, and the books that the kids profiled at the end. I wanted to be one of those kids!

I still remember the Russell Memorial Library having special Reading Rainbow stickers on the book covers. The show was funny, entertaining, and showed how reading show literally show you the world.

I haven’t found many full episodes by way of YouTube, but Netflix has the first full season. I hope they’ll add more!

Sesame Street (1969-present, now partnered with HBO)


Image Credit: en.wikipedia.org

Sesame Street has been my long-standing favorite show. Big Bird was my favorite when I was younger. I even had three stuffed versions of him – A small, a medium, and a large that talked with a pull string.

Seeing a mix of new and classic episodes, songs, and shorts on YouTube, it’s fascinating to see how this show has stood the test of time. There was a lot of flack last year when the partnership with HBO was announced. Initially, I didn’t agree with it. But, having researched it, I see why PBS did what they did. I’m still not 100 percent okay with it, but I see the strategy behind it.

This show has so many life lessons mixed in with shapes, colors, and counting. I learned about friendship, family, helping others, good manners, patience, problem solving, and more.

Though not a major character on Sesame Street, Kermit the Frog has been my new favorite Muppet for a while now. Big Bird is a very close second. Cookie Monster, Grover, and Telly round out my top five.

There’s even a fun spin-off series on YouTube called The Furchester Hotel that takes Elmo and Cookie Monster across the pond! It’s adorable and I think it’s great.

Where in Time is Carmen Sandiego? (1996-1997)


Image Credit: en.wikipedia.org

I had almost all of the computer games, and I remember eagerly watching the kids travel through time to catch Carmen. I found myself applying some of the history I learned from the show in middle school, high school, and even college!

In college, I was so excited to discover that most of the Time episodes, and almost all of the Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? episodes (1991-1995) are in full on YouTube.

It’s amazing how I subtly learned geography and history with these two shows. I remember watching more of Time than World, since World was ending around the same time as Ghostwriter. Like Arthur, Wishbone, and ZOOM, this one was a daily after-school show for me if I was able to. 

I dreamed of being a contestant, but I was too young to try out, and it ended before I turned 10. I loved the concept. Recently, I found myself dreaming up some fan fiction about both shows, so I may put those on paper here soon.

Re-watching a lot of the episodes as an adult, I’ve learned a few new things. It’s been awesome to keep learning after all these years. World just celebrated its 25th anniversary!

Plus, I’ve marveled at how crazy the 1990s were – That multi-media computer system!

Wishbone (1995-1998)


Image Credit: sidereel.com

This is another show that focused on reading, but it has an adorable Jack Russell terrier that dresses up as the characters and takes you through the book! Awesome!

I wanted to be Samantha, and have best friends like Joe and David. I even wrote an extensive fiction work for my first-ever creative writing class in college that was basically extended fan fiction of these characters, after the show ended and they started high school.

Like some of the other shows mentioned, the entire series is on YouTube, and I’ve loved re-watching them over the last few years.

ZOOM (1999-2005)


Image Credit: en.wikipedia.org

This was such a cool show. I was a super-fan for the longest time. I even printed everyone’s photos from their website and made my own posters. Yeah, I was that kid.

I loved that it had real kids doing awesome things. I remember making a lot of the crafts, and some of the food. I didn’t have a big group of friends to play a lot of the games, but it was fun to think about.

Some of the seasons are on YouTube, but not all. I’ve found parts and pieces of the first three seasons, and I hope that all of them will eventually be posted. It’s been fun to travel down memory lane!

This was another show that I really wanted to audition for, but then my mom helped me realize that Boston was a long way away from Chesapeake. That was a big bummer!

Regardless, I loved this show. It ended when I was a junior in high school, but I still watched it religiously. I didn’t tell many of my friends, but I still thought it was cool.

That’s all I have! This was such a fun post.

Did you watch PBS?

Did you watch any of these shows?

Do you have any favorite memories of these shows?

Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂