Tuesday, December 27

FX Brings 19th Century London to Television with the Premiere of Taboo

Tom Hardy and Ridley Scott are teaming up to produce Taboo, a new dark and gritty miniseries debuting on FX Networks in January. 

Set in 1814, Taboo follows James Keziah Delaney, a man who has been to the ends of the earth and comes back irrevocably changed. Believed to be long dead, he returns home to London from Africa to inherit what is left of his father's shipping empire and rebuild a life for himself. But his father's legacy is a poisoned chalice, and with enemies lurking in every dark corner, James must navigate increasingly complex territories to avoid his own death sentence. Encircled by conspiracy, murder and betrayal, a dark family mystery unfolds in a combustible tale of love and treachery.

As the show kicks off, FX Networks is giving away three separate secret collections of diamonds worth $3,000 apiece. And you don't have to come back from the dead or risk life and limb in order to snag them, either. Learn more and enter the giveaway here.

You can also follow along with the contest and show on social media using the hashtag #TabooFX. Winter TV shows are the perfect way to keep warm during the icy months, and the intrigue of Delaney – both his past and future – should prove to be gripping to all audience members. 

Taboo is intended for adults 21 and up. It premieres on FX Networks on January 10.

Merry Christmas: Richard Jefferson Dunks All Over Klay Thompson

Time to relive a little magic. Richard Jefferson is 36 years old. He should not be able to do things like this. Thanks, Cleveland and Golden State, for a very entertaining Christmas Day game. See you in June.

Monday, December 12

OK Go Has Done It Again With Another Crazy Music Video

At this point, it shouldn't surprise anyone that OK Go is capable of fantastic music videos. Their latest tune, "The One Moment," is right up on par with anything else they've done, but if you blink, you might miss it entirely.

That's because "The One Moment" uses the shortest amount of time ever filmed for a music video – just 4.2 seconds. 325 events happen in that timeframe, whether it's guitars exploding, water balloons being tossed, or a large flipbook being...well, flipped. The footage is then slowed down to stretch over the full length of the song, sometimes at a slowdown rate of 20,000 percent. The result is something that looks majestic and serves as the perfect backdrop for the dreamlike melodies of the song. Enjoy!

Sunday, December 11

This Commercial From Poland Is Incredibly Cute and Sweet

Well, it looks like somebody's been chopping onions again. Online auction website Allegro shows an old Polish fella learning English by himself, with only his loyal pup by his side. He's studying everywhere, reciting words on his bed, on the bus, and even while enjoying a bath. All the while, you're wondering what in the world he's practicing for.

When the ending is finally revealed, it is REAL cute. Good luck not getting a little weepy, or at least having a lump in your throat. Learning a new language is tough at any age, but when there's special meaning behind it, that makes it that much sweeter.

Saturday, December 10

A Hot Cup Of Joey Ultimate Gift Guide 2016

Well, I can officially see my breath in the air, so that must mean the holiday season is upon us. Some people are incredibly meticulous about their wish lists, down to the exact amount of stitching in the luxury handbags they've requested.

For most of us, though, we'll be happy with anything, so long as it's entertaining or provides value in some other way. If you're stumped for gift and stocking stuffer ideas this holiday season, I hope this guide makes you the real MVP when it's time to open presents.

If you've ever been to a sporting event, you know there's something magical about the atmosphere. Sharing an experience with other people who all want the same outcome as you, seeing players up close and personal, and even just enjoying the sights and sounds...it all adds up to something really cool.

Sports broadcasters, writers, and journalists get to experience this regularly. As a result, they've gotten to see some amazing games and performances. Author Eric Mirlis has compiled the stories of these broadcasters, writers, and journalists into I Was There!, which is a terrific read for anyone who even remotely likes sports. It's cool when an entry is a game I remember vividly, but just as enjoyable are the stories about a lesser known athlete or event, such as a special story from the Olympics. It hits you right in the feels. In addition, I chatted with Eric about his book and some of his favorite sports moments, so feel free to take a listen.

Music history in general is pretty interesting, but rock and roll is absolutely fascinating. Ed Ward has a way of painting vivid, beautiful pictures, and he combines artists we all know and love with ones that you may never have heard of. And that's a great thing – as Ward says, "I envy the person hearing this music for the first time." This is an excellent dive into a part of history that helped shape most modern music today. And it's only Volume I! Hey, there's a lot to cover, after all.

Jocelyn & Chris Arndt: Edges

Sometimes you hear a voice singing and it's so good that it just sends chills down your spine. You'll certainly get a few shivers listening to Jocelyn Arndt, who's complemented perfectly by her brother Chris's retro-rocking guitars. The siblings have been playing music together since they were children, and it definitely shows in their tight melodies and comfort with each other. You'll get to see a little bit of Jocelyn's sass in opener "Shame," but by the time you hit the closing track "Here to Stay," you'll have a hard time not getting up and pretending you're a band conductor as horns and a strong percussion session drive the track. The duo also just released a Christmas album, which is also worth checking out.

Laundry detergent as a gift is a lot like socks – you'd be real disappointed as a kid, but as an adult, it's wonderful. I'm also a big fan of companies that are working to do good in the world. Molly's Suds came about in a very unexpected way. Founder Monica Leonard’s daughter, Molly, was born in 2005, but she never took a breath. As a pediatric nurse and mother to three other healthy children, this was a tragedy and shock. Seeking a cause, Leonard uncovered disturbing facts about chemicals approved for use yet untested for safety by the U.S. government. The decision was made to create Laundry Powder and other household products that are safe for people and the environment. Molly’s little footprints are on the company’s website and packaging to remind customers that Molly’s Suds products are safe for even the tiniest family member. 

At the same time, you're reducing your carbon footprint and saving on money and water. Oh, and it works great, too. I don't know when laundry detergents decided this monstrosity was a good idea, but fortunately, Molly's Suds comes in an easy-push spout and cap. I didn't spill anything using it, which is pretty dang rare for detergent. You can find Molly's Suds on their website or online at big box retailers like Amazon.com, Target.com and BedBathandBeyond.com.

EcoVessel Vine Bottle

Get outta here, ice bucket! EcoVessel makes a ton of insulated products, from regular water bottles to ones that'll keep chilled wine cool and on the table hours long for entertaining. The company's Vine bottle is a premium stainless steel bottle that holds up to 750 ml. of your favorite indulgence. Certain wines are okay without being chilled, but if you've ever had a tepid sip of something that should be a bit more frosty, you know how disappointing it is. Fill the EcoVessel Vine with your best red, sparkling white, or hey, live it up and go with a little rosé. It'll all stay nice and chilled.

B&G Martin Dog Beds

For the pup in your life, these eco-friendly, built-to-last dog beds are not only comfy, they also go to help dogs in need. Every time a dog bed is purchased, a canine will be spayed or neutered with the proceeds in an effort to reduce pet overpopulation worldwide. Each time an accessory, such as a fitted linen, is purchased, a dog will receive a potentially life-saving vaccine that prevents diseases like rabies and parvo. When my dog lays down in her bed it's basically the cutest thing in the world, so if yours doesn't have a place to snuggle, I'd recommend checking one of these out. As a bonus, until December 31, enter the code HOLIDAYDOG20 when you check out and receive 20% off your order.

Ibotta App

Okay, this one isn't really a gift, but whoever you share it with will be glad you did. And making people happy is what the holidays is really about, right? Whenever you go shopping, whether it's for groceries, at a department store, or a big box retailer, you're eligible to get cash back for things you'd buy anyway, like milk, eggs, fruits, vegetables, deodorant, and so on. It's simple to use, too: you just scan the barcode of the product, and then take a picture of your receipt. Within 24 hours (though in my experience it's typically within just a couple of hours, tops) you'll have money redeemed into your account. You can cash out once you hit the $20 threshold, which really doesn't take that long, particularly if you take advantage of this bonus: Use referral code ckfmphr and you'll get $10 when you sign up and redeem a reward.

Tuesday, December 6

Bouchard Chocolate - For the Chocolate Lover In Your Life

There are few things better than chocolate. Of course, there's always one or two people who will do the whole "oh, I'm not a big fan of chocolate" dance, but rest assured they are crazy. Fortunately, for the rest of us, there's Bouchard Chocolate.

Bouchard has been perfecting the art of chocolate making from the historical city Ghent, Belgium since 1931. That's nearly as long as it had been since the Cubs last won a World Series, and that's a LONG time. They know their stuff in their chocolate world. The company was kind enough to send me a sample of their chocolate, and suffice to say, any recipient should be pleased.

While Bouchard offers a wide variety of chocolates, they're most known for their Bouchard ballotin. These are the ultimate chocolate boxes packed with original praline flavors from Creamy Coconut to Crème Brulee. The packaging is quite nice on these, but more importantly, the chocolates contained within are delightful. While I did have a few favorites from the bunch, none of them were bad, which is hard to find in a variety box.

So, if you're looking for a gift this holiday season, or just want to say thanks to someone for a job well done, or – and let's be honest, this is probably the most likely – want a lot of chocolate for yourself, give Bouchard a try. You won't regret it. (Available at Target and online)

Monday, December 5

This Skincare Ad Is The Most Ridiculous Of Ads

Perhaps this title is slight hyperbole, but not by much. Nerd Skincare, a San Francisco startup founded by biomedical engineer Evelyn Chen is going all out for their first ever ad. Chen tracks adult acne around the clock for nine solid days via a head-mounted camera.

The young CEO isn't the only star of this five-minute video though big props to her for infecting her own face with bacteria as an on-air product demo. Actress and comedian Laura Clery takes the role often played by celebrities in zit-cream testimonials and runs with it, showing the dramatic fallout of pimple breakouts. It's delightful and hey, if you throw everything at the wall, something's gotta stick, right?