NNN – No New News? – 12/29/21 – $1M Is No Longer the Standard Nest Egg — Here’s How Much Most Americans Think You Actually Need To Retire

Gabrielle OlyaWed, December 29, 2021, 2:00 PM·5 min read

Geber86 / Getty Images
Geber86 / Getty Images

A common financial rule of thumb is that you should have $1 million saved for retirement, but this piece of advice may now be outdated — you may actually need roughly double that. At least, that’s what most 401(k) plan participants believe.

A recent survey conducted by Schwab Retirement Plan Services found that on average, 2021 plan participants think they need to save $1.9 million for retirement. But how accurate is this number?

Read: Jaw-Dropping Stats About the State of Retirement in America
See: Here’s Exactly How Much Savings You Need To Retire In Your State

$1.9 Million Is a Good Estimate for How Much You Will Need in Retirement

Nathan Voris, director of business strategy at Schwab Workplace Financial Services, thinks that the survey participants have a pretty accurate idea of how much they will need in retirement. “I think for a survey like this, that’s a pretty good number,” he said. “That’s a ballpark range for a wide range of folks. Obviously, retirement is not one-size-fits-all, but that’s sort of the middle of the range for a lot of people.” As Voris notes, there are numerous factors that will affect how much someone will actually need in retirement, so some may need more and others may need less. “There’s so much written about that, but I boil it down into just a couple of things. One is, when do you want to retire?,” Voris said. “If you’re going to retire at 50, you need to plan for 45 years of living expenses. If it’s 67, you need to plan for 30 years. That has a huge factor in what your plan should be.”

Learn: The Downsides of Retirement That Nobody Talks About
Find Out: How Long $500K Will Last in Retirement in Each State

“One of the other levers is, what lifestyle are you going to have in retirement?” he continued. “Where are you going to live? Are you going to live in California or Wyoming? Think about the state tax perspective. Are you going to have an active lifestyle? Or are you living close to grandkids where you’re going to be pretty local? There’s a lot of factors in what level of lifestyle you want to live in retirement.” Finally, how much you need to have saved for retirement will depend on your other sources of income in retirement. This includes Social Security, pensions, assets and inheritance. “Those kinds of things can be a factor in what the retirement future looks like,” Voris said.

Why $1 Million Is No Longer Enough

There are a number of factors that may require retirees to have a larger nest egg saved up, but one of the main ones is that people are living longer in retirement. “Retirement could be a long time,” Voris said. “That idea of 20 years in retirement, that was maybe tied to that $1 million number. That’s sort of not a realistic expectation anymore. That 4% rule, that $80,000 income bogey is still out there, but you could be retired for 25, 30, 35 years.”

Check Out: 14 Key Signs You Will Run Out of Money in Retirement
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How To Save $1.9 Million for Retirement

“If you tell someone they need to save $1.9 million, that can be daunting on the surface. But there’s a way in which you do that through planning and decision-making processes that makes it attainable,” Voris said. The first step is simply making the choice to be an active participant in your financial planning. “Be your own advocate. Be engaged. Start early. Take it seriously. Have a plan,” Voris said. “The attitude towards finances in retirement when you have a plan versus not is night and day.” If you’re just starting out, be sure you’re not leaving any free money on the table. “Make sure that you’re getting every penny that your employer offers, whether that’s a 401(k) match or that’s a stock purchase plan discount or HSA contribution match — all of those assets that are free. Don’t leave any of them on the table,” Voris said. “Approach open enrollment in that mindset, and make sure that you’re leveraging the most from your employer.”

See: States Where Your Retirement Will Cost Less Than $45,000 a Year
Read: 17 Tips To Live Comfortably Off Just a Social Security Check

Voris said to also be mindful of debt, which can derail your retirement savings plans. “Be mindful of credit card debt, be mindful of healthcare debt and have a debt plan if you have multiple cards or you have a car loan,” he said, noting that your plan should be focused on paying down high-interest debt first. You should also have an emergency savings fund so that you do not have to take on more debt or tap into your retirement savings in case the unexpected strikes.

“Practically speaking, for someone who is on the edge of being financially secure, a life event can be disastrous,” Voris said. “If the car breaks down or you accrue some medical debt or you get behind on rent — those kinds of things can really throw a wrench in things.” Having three to six months’ worth of living expenses saved can keep you on track with your retirement savings plans even if something were to happen.

Learn: The Standard Emergency Savings Advice Was Wrong — How Much Do You Really Need?
Find Out: Should You Put Money Into Retirement or Your Savings? Here’s How To Know

Next, Voris said to ask for help coming up with a plan to meet your retirement goals. The Schwab survey found that only 40% of 401(k) plan participants felt very confident in investment decisions made on their own, versus 56% who felt very confident in investment decisions made with professional help. “Take the advice that’s offered,” Voris said. “Most 401(k) record keepers have advice and financial wellness accounts, and those things will help a person build a plan. Have an engagement partner, have a sounding board. Increasing your confidence increases your ability to be successful from a savings and investment perspective.”

Lastly, keep in mind that $1.9 million is a long-term goal — it’s not a lump sum you’re expected to save up overnight. “If you think about someone who is 24 or 25, that’s a 35- to 40-year work savings career,” Voris said. “It seems daunting — that’s a big number — but the ability to get there if you have a plan and if you’re saving over a 30-, 35-, 40-year period, it’s attainable. That $1.9 million [goal] should empower you to make small steps and right decisions incrementally.”

NNN – No New News? – 8/9/21 – Oklahoma is the new “Wild West of weed” — and Colorado marijuana entrepreneurs are helping fuel the green rush

By SAM TABACHNIK | stabachnik@denverpost.com | The Denver PostPUBLISHED: August 9, 2021 at 6:00 a.m. | UPDATED: August 16, 2021 at 10:15 a.m.

OKEMAH, Okla. — Chip Baker surveyed a vast field on the outskirts of an old hay farm an hour east of Oklahoma City, his ponytail waving in the thick, humid air, his voice growing excited.

“This is probably the largest collection of Squirt in the world!” he boasted, pointing to an array of neatly plotted cannabis plants before him that will soon flower pounds of the popular strain.

Baker would know. From the time he planted his first marijuana plant at 13, he’s been all about growing weed. A dream formed in the Georgia fields took him to Humboldt County, California — the nation’s earliest pot epicenter — then Colorado, the country’s first recreational market.

But it’s here in rural Oklahoma, down a dusty dirt road along the banks of the North Canadian River, where true cannabis cowboys — including droves of Colorado entrepreneurs like Baker — are buying mammoth properties to grow mammoth numbers of plants, all in a quest for mammoth stacks of kush-derived cash.Top ArticlesDolphins Q&A: Is this the year Zach Thomas gets into the Hall of Fame?READ MOREOmar Kelly: Can we stop pretending Dolphins’  Tua Tagovailoa has been set up to succeed?Longhorn steer lead the annual National ...Becky Hammon to lead WNBA’s Las Vegas Aces after 8 years as NBA assistantKansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes ...Dolphins Q&A: Is this the year Zach Thomasgets into the Hall of Fame?https://imasdk.googleapis.com/js/core/bridge3.494.0_en.html#goog_1364675084https://imasdk.googleapis.com/js/core/bridge3.494.0_en.html#goog_1283663207https://imasdk.googleapis.com/js/core/bridge3.494.0_en.html#goog_1124611954Dolphins Q&A: Is this the year Zach Thomas gets into the Hall of Fame?

It’s a place unlike virtually any other in America.

“Other states grow patches,” Baker said with a grin, taking in the 90-acre, 40,000-plant cannabis farm before him. “In Oklahoma, we grow fields.”

The Sooner State, as deeply red as the American political palette will go, has almost overnight become the hottest place in the country to grow marijuana. It’s an unprecedented look at what happens when the government stays largely out of the picture and lets the free market run wild.

And Colorado businesses are pumping their sizeable dollars and cannabis expertise into the state, hoping to cash in on what Baker and others in the industry call the next green rush.

“It’s the Wild West of weed,” he said, “in all its glory.”Huff Media Productions 2022 Company ReelHuff Media Productions is on a mission to tell exciting stories with eternal truths. This reel is a look back at the many exciting projects our team has been a part of either in partnership or full production capacity. See full length videos of the clips featured at the following links: Dot…SPONSORED BY HUFF MEDIA PRODUCTIONSSee more

Oklahoma is now America’s most unlikely bastion of bud — a law-and-order mecca that took the war on drugs to its extreme and still imprisons a higher percentage of its population than every state but Louisiana.

Contrary to most other highly regulated cannabis markets, in Oklahoma there are no caps on how many plants you can grow and no limit to how many grows or dispensaries the state can handle. As a result, Oklahoma now has the most medical marijuana patients per capita in the nation — and it’s not even close. Just three years after legalization, the state has seven times the number of growers as Colorado and twice as many dispensaries.

Land is affordable and plentiful. Doctors conduct virtual consultations that help people get medical licenses in as little as 15 minutes — no approved medical condition necessary.

These low barriers to entry make Oklahoma the new eye of the national weed storm.

“Anyone with a dollar and a dream can get started in Oklahoma,” said Brent McDonald, marketing and sales director at Apothecary Farms/Apothecary Extracts, one of the many Colorado cannabis companies competing in what has quickly become a national marijuana arms race.

The flip side to this wild west environment, Oklahoma law enforcement officials contend, is a state flooded with people — including those migrating from Colorado — looking to take advantage of the lax new laws.

Illegal growers are setting up shop in rural areas, they contend, forcing their workforce to live in squalid conditions and diverting their product out of state for massive profits. Meanwhile, land prices are going for five times their value, with eager growers paying in straight cash.

“I’m not frustrated,” said Haskell County Sheriff Tim Turner, whose deputies in rural eastern Oklahoma busted two Colorado individuals in June for allegedly operating an illicit 10,000-plant grow. “I’m madder than hell.”

In rural Haskell County a sign ...
RJ Sangosti, The Denver PostIn rural Haskell County, a sign tells customers there is a dispensary down the road in Keota, Oklahoma, on July 29, 2021.

Leaving Colorado for greener pastures

After getting his start in California, Baker spent a decade honing his cannabis chops in Colorado’s medical and, later, recreational scenes.

In Denver, he formed his Cultivate Colorado brand that supplies growers with the soil, lights, shovels and anything else they might need to raise plants into mature products.

But soon after Oklahomans in June 2018 voted to legalize medical marijuana, Baker noticed transportation costs for his hydroponic supplies were five times higher than normal.

All of it, Baker realized, was going down to Oklahoma.

“I didn’t even know they legalized medical,” he said.

It only took three months for Baker and his wife to sell their Denver home, buy 110 acres outside Oklahoma City and move their operations east.

“We follow the green rush,” he said. “Always have.”

Chip Baker spends a lot of ...
RJ Sangosti, The Denver PostChip Baker spends a lot of time driving dirt roads in his Subaru Outback, seen here parked in Okemah, Oklahoma, on July 27, 2021. Barker, who moved to Oklahoma from Colorado, does consulting work for Tribe Collective’s cannabis farm in rural Oklahoma.

In addition to operating his own farm, Baker also manages the 90-acre grow in Okemah whose owners converted an old hay farm into what Baker claims is one of the largest cannabis plots in the nation.

The Tribe Collective owners are Oklahomans from a variety of backgrounds: oil and gas, tech and even Hollywood. They ditched the old industries and went all-in on growing bud.

The sprawling farm sits on a 900-acre property, replete with multiple greenhouses, a state-of-the-art extraction lab, walk-in freezer — and that’s before you get to the outdoor grows. Driving down the dusty dirt road, it looks like it could be any rural swath of American heartland.

But then you see the plants — more than 40,000 of them swaying gently in neat rows of fields with names like “Skinny Marie” and “Lucky Day.”

On a recent, oppressively hot Oklahoma summer day, workers drenched in sweat installed rope lines to keep the plants upright. Nearby, Baker and his team strategized about the best ways to keep irritating caterpillars off the marijuana leaves, discussing plans to expand even further on the seemingly endless property.

Jana Sudbrock works at Tribe Collective ...
RJ Sangosti, The Denver PostJana Sudbrock works at Tribe Collective setting support lines for growing cannabis plants in Okemah, Oklahoma, on July 27, 2021.

“People used to say ‘Oklahoma’ like a cuss word when we moved here,” Baker said with a laugh. “But this will prove to be the biggest cannabis state in the country.”

For New Orleans native Jeff Henderson, Colorado served as a crash course in cannabis. But it was time to take the training wheels off.

Henderson — who goes by “Freaux,” a shortened, Cajun version of “Jeffro” — did a bit of everything in Colorado’s marijuana scene. Bottom of the totem pole stuff. Trench work.

“I was trying to break into the scene, getting licenses, getting investors,” he said. “But Colorado real estate is god-awful expensive, the licenses are expensive. I kinda came up short in that realm.”

So when Oklahoma legalized medical marijuana, Henderson jumped at the opportunity to get in on the ground floor.

He and his partners, who had Oklahoma ties, didn’t have deep pockets, but some savings here, a bridge loan from a friend there, and the wide-eyed cannabis connoisseurs had themselves a boot-strapped business.

They worked 16-hour days, the four partners doing the work of 10 people.

“We’re the furthest guys from corporate,” Henderson said on a recent day inside his Jive Cannabis facility in Inola, a town 25 miles east of Tulsa. As he showed off his plants, pointing out the deep-purple coloring, Henderson took the tone of a proud father.

“We were just four guys with a hope and a dream,” he said.

Brittany Pearsall works hand watering cannabis ...
RJ Sangosti, The Denver PostBrittany Pearsall works at Jive Cannabis Co. on July 28, 2021.

“Unprecedentedly low barriers to entry”

Everything changed for Baker, Henderson and the state of Oklahoma on June 26, 2018, when 57% of voters checked the “yes” box on legalizing medical marijuana.

In the months leading up to the vote, a frenzied coalition of state medical and hospital associations, district attorneys, sheriffs, the State Chamber of Oklahoma and the state’s Republican governor lined up to oppose the measure.

“This is a bad public health policy that does not resemble a legitimate medical treatment program,” Dr. Kevin Taubman, former president of the Oklahoma State Medical Association and chairman of the opposition group, told the Associated Press after the vote passed.

Then-Gov. Mary Fallin feared the proposal was essentially legalizing recreational marijuana.

Many Oklahomans, including those in the cannabis industry, wouldn’t argue. Up and down the board, there were very few restrictions put in place on who could operate a grow, how many there could be and how easy it would be to obtain a medical card.

Unlike in many states, including Colorado, patients don’t need qualifying medical conditions in order to get a card. Doctors sometimes would set up outside dispensaries, offering their services. Websites with names like NuggMD and PrestoDoctor promised customers a medical marijuana card online in 15 minutes.

Business licenses cost just $2,500, a fraction of the price in other states, making it possible for nearly anyone with a bit of cash to start a grow or dispensary.

A downtown dispensary stays open after ...
RJ Sangosti, The Denver PostA downtown dispensary stays open after dark in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on July 28, 2021.

In Arkansas, on the other hand, a licensing fee runs $100,000 — plus a $500,000 performance bond. In New York, an application costs $10,000, with a $200,000 registration fee.

Colorado charges roughly $7,500 for initial recreational and medical shop licenses, and renewing that license annually will run an operator thousands more each time, depending on how many plants they want to grow.

Then there’s the “finding of suitability” fee — a state check to make sure someone is allowed to actually run a business. That’s another $800 per person, or $5,000 for a publicly traded company. Not to mention, of course, the local fees that come on top of the state’s, which can run thousands more per year.

The costs quickly add up.

Additionally, Colorado companies or individuals can’t just grow as many plants as they wish on their own — they must apply with the state in order to add or subtract plants.

Cities and counties in Oklahoma, meanwhile, aren’t allowed to outlaw dispensaries or grow operations — another major break from states like Colorado, where despite legalization, the drug is still barred from being sold recreationally in many local jurisdictions.

“These are unprecedentedly low barriers to entry” in Oklahoma, said John Hudack, a cannabis expert at the nonpartisan Brookings Institution, a Washington D.C., think tank.

With typical roadblocks and red tape shoved to the side, the industry has exploded.

Cannabis grows under lights in the ...
RJ Sangosti, The Denver PostCannabis grows under lights in the greenhouses at Canna Culture in Chickasha, Oklahoma, on July 26, 2021.

Nearly 376,000 Oklahomans — roughly 10% of the state’s population — have medical marijuana cards, by far the highest share in the country, according to the Marijuana Policy Project.

New Mexico, by contrast, has the second-highest number at 5.35%, with Colorado at 1.5%.

Even at the height of Colorado’s medical marijuana boom in 2011, however, the state topped out at 128,698 patients, a third of Oklahoma’s total, and just 2.5% of the state population.

The cost difference between getting in the game in Colorado versus Oklahoma is stark.

“To even think about opening a (marijuana) business in Colorado, you have to have a million dollars liquid to get the ball rolling,” said McDonald, the Apothecary Farms executive.

In Oklahoma? You can be fully vertically integrated for $7,500, Henderson said.

Cheaper land prices, building costs and license fees mean “it’s easily 10 times cheaper here than in Denver,” he said.

Those factors, combined with the state’s hands-off approach, means it’s getting awfully crowded in Oklahoma’s cannabis space.

Some states that legalized marijuana created a small, set number of licenses. Arkansas, for example, allows for only 40 dispensaries in the state. Connecticut has just four cannabis producers and 18 dispensaries nearly a decade after legalizing medical marijuana.

But Oklahoma decided to let the free market run unencumbered. As a result, the state is now home to nearly 12,600 marijuana business licenses, including more than 8,600 growers and upwards of 2,300 dispensaries.

That’s more than double Colorado’s combined recreational and medical stores — despite the fact that Oklahoma has some 1.8 million fewer people. The Centennial State has more than 1,200 cultivation operations, per state data, nearly seven times fewer than Oklahoma.

The town of Bristow, a 4,200-person community nestled between Oklahoma City and Tulsa, used to thrive on oil and cotton. Its downtown strip along historic Route 66 has a few restaurants, a host of vacant buildings — and three dispensaries.

Superior Buds is one of three ...
RJ Sangosti, The Denver PostSuperior Buds is one of three dispensaries in Bristow, Oklahoma, a small town along historic Route 66.

That’s the story all over Oklahoma, where small towns from the panhandle to the Missouri border boast more pot shops than grocery stores. Meanwhile, Oklahoma County, which is home to Oklahoma City, now sports 530 dispensaries — three times as many as Denver.

“People see this as an opportunity to enter a market that’s costly elsewhere and so there’s this rush of people who think they’re going to make it rich,” Hudack said. “We know how this story plays out. We saw a less permissive system operate in Oregon and they ended up with hundreds of thousands of pounds of excess inventory.”

McDonald called it the “Armageddon stage” for Oklahoma cannabis.

“There are serious windfalls that come with barriers being so low,” he said. “The market is so oversaturated in Oklahoma. What this has done is make it a true buyer’s market. Things are so competitive, it’s a race to the bottom.”

Industry watchers predicted a bloodbath in the near future as companies peter out, selling for pennies on the dollar.

The freedom to operate has been the driving force bringing companies to Oklahoma — but some are finding that the lack of regulation is hurting those trying to do things the right way.

On the surface, the Oklahoma market seemed incredibly enticing for Clear Cannabis Inc., a legacy cannabis company headquartered in Denver: a plethora of clients, endless shelves to stock its products.

But without the regulator framework, “it makes it challenging for a compliant business like us to truly succeed,” said Seth Wiggins, the company’s president.

Martrice Fails with her two daughters, ...
RJ Sangosti, The Denver PostLEFT: Martrice Fails and her two daughters, Lynn, 5, left, and Maurie, 3, head into Walmart to go grocery shopping in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, on July 26, 2021. “If they can have liquor stores on every corner here they can have dispensaries, too. It’s medical, it’s not as harmful as liquor,” Fails said. She says doesn’t use medical marijuana herself, but knows a lot of people in the area that do. RIGHT: A medical marijuana dispensary and a liquor store are next to each other in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, on July 26, 2021.

Oklahoma marijuana regulators still lack an important tool to ensure compliance: a seed-to-sale tracking system used in nearly every other state with a medical or recreational cannabis program. The system lets regulators track a plant’s movement anywhere, so if it’s found, say, in New York, they know exactly where it came from.

The state tried rolling it out — only to be met with a lawsuit alleging the company, Metrc, acted as a monopoly since businesses were not given any other options to track their plants. The matter is still working its way through the legal system.

Without seed-to-sale tracking, Wiggins and other industry workers said, less compliant individuals can more easily divert weed elsewhere without detection. Plus, companies skirting the rules are offering prices that Wiggins and other legitimate competitors can’t touch.

“Folks doing it right are getting penalized right now,” Wiggins said, noting that the company’s sales are “substantially lower than we would have anticipated” in Oklahoma.

Oklahoma’s medical marijuana regulators are rapidly staffing up to meet the demand of the burgeoning industry — even recruiting some of their top people from Colorado.

Taylor Hartin, the state’s deputy director of compliance and enforcement, who came from Colorado’s private sector, said the agency paused field inspections during the COVID-19 pandemic, but is now increasing its work.

RJ Sangosti, The Denver PostAlex Elhardt works in the extraction lab at Tribe Collective in Okemah, Oklahoma, on July 27, 2021. Elhardt moved from Colorado to work in the growing cannabis market in Oklahoma.

“We’re not going to tolerate it”

That lack of regulation is also frustrating state and local law enforcement officials, who say the drug’s hasty legalization ushered in an alarming rise in illicit grows and other criminal activity.

While it’s difficult to put a number on a market that lives in the shadows, officials say anecdotal evidence points to out-of-staters, including people from Colorado, coming into Oklahoma to operate unregulated operations.

Nearly every week brings another news story about large raids conducted across Oklahoma, where, authorities allege, people are growing and shipping vast quantities of marijuana for sales out of state.

The illicit grows also bring in other ancillary crime, including prostitution, harder drugs like ketamine and labor trafficking, said Mark Woodward, spokesman for the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics.

When the agency saw how the new marijuana law was written three years ago, they knew people would come to the state to take advantage, he said.

But law enforcement didn’t realize just how many people it would be — and how quickly they would set up shop.

“This was a Trojan horse,” Woodward said. “We let this into our village because it looked really good on the surface.”

The Bureau of Narcotics simply can’t keep up with the number of illicit grows, he said. In response, Oklahoma has asked for $4 million in federal funding to battle the unregulated marijuana market, with the state legislature promising additional money to fund a unit dedicated to the issue.

“What we will be concentrating on is drug trafficking organizations that are transnational and national drug organizations that have infiltrated Oklahoma,” Donnie Anderson, the agency’s director, told local reporters in July as he announced the federal aid request. “They’re here in Oklahoma and they’re not going away anytime soon.”

In June, authorities in rural eastern Oklahoma arrested two Colorado individuals for allegedly operating an illicit 10,000-plant grow as part of a larger transnational money-laundering operation. When officers raided the property, they also found 100 pounds of processed marijuana.

“I would say 60% of the grows in Haskell County are from Colorado residents,” said Turner, the Haskell County sheriff — though he didn’t provide any hard data.

A tour through the 12,000-person county, located 100 miles southeast of Tulsa, showed old chicken coops being converted into grow houses on vast parcels of land, their white tops visible through a thicket of trees lining the roadway.

As Undersheriff Terry Garland drove slowly past grow houses, he glanced over to see the license plates in the driveways. Some had Minnesota tags, others showed Washington and Oregon.

RJ Sangosti, The Denver PostHaskell County Undersheriff Terry Garland stands on the spot where the sheriff’s office burned and buried four dump-truck loads of marijuana seized in a June raid in Haskell County, Oklahoma. Two people from Colorado were arrested during the raid.

“I’m gonna run those plates later,” he said as he inspected one car.

For Garland and Turner, legal marijuana has upset their rural slice of life.

“The price of our land has gone up, and citizens can’t swim in their pools because they have to smell marijuana growing every day,” Turner said. “Folks here growing are not even residents of Oklahoma. They come here because it’s the Wild West — well, we’re not going to tolerate it.”

When it first started, Garland said, people in the county would laugh when they smelled weed coming from next door.

“Now they’re not laughing,” he said, pausing to point out a new grow operation that seems to have sprung up overnight. “A lotta people hate the idea that it’s in our county.”

Gary Coyle just can’t believe what the influx of pot farmers has done to real estate in this rural community.

A former welder, Coyle was forced out of his old career as his health declined and needed a new source of income. One day two years ago, his brother suggested he open up one of those marijuana dispensaries.

“I didn’t know a damn thing!” he said regarding his previous cannabis knowledge. Coyle never smoked himself, abiding by his father’s old axiom that the drug “puts you in prison or puts you in the grave.”

If the grows are legal in town, Coyle said he doesn’t mind, but he wishes sales were better in his shop. After the 10th of the month, when everyone in town has spent their paycheck already, sales slow to a trickle.

He and Garland swapped stories about land prices inside Coyle’s G&C Dispensary in Keota, expressing disbelief at what some of their friends and family were being offered. Since legalization, out-of-towners have been showing up to people’s doorsteps, offering four, five, eight times the value for their land — and the ability to pay in cash, they said.

“I said, ‘You done fell out the well and hit your head!’” Coyle said after reciting a story about one particular offer.

RJ Sangosti, The Denver PostBilly Moon was a former police officer in a tactical unit with the Oklahoma City Police Department before starting a cannabis farm at his family’s farm in Chickasha, Oklahoma.

“Oklahomans are outlaws”

But despite the wishes of some Oklahomans, marijuana is here to stay. And the people it’s attracting would surprise even themselves.

Ten years ago, Billy Moon would have thought you were crazy if you told him he’d one day be operating a professional cannabis business.

The former Oklahoma City police detective spent his career dealing in the dark world of cartels and narcotics, his nights occupied taking down meth houses.

But after being diagnosed with a form of blood cancer, the doctor told him to try cannabis. The cancer caused Moon to feel burning sensations in his hands and feet, but he realized that smoking and taking edibles would make the pain disappear.

“That was it,” he said. “I thought, ‘We’re missing (out) on something.’ There’s some obvious benefits to this plant.”

Moon partnered with Rich Cardinal, a Colorado cannabis lifer, to set up a grow operation called Canna Culture on a family-owned piece of property in Chickasha, a small town 45 minutes southwest of Oklahoma City.

The former police detective is selling Cardinal on the Oklahoma way of doing business.

“Oklahomans don’t want that lazy, hippie vibe,” Moon said next to an outdoor field full of cannabis. “Oklahomans are outlaws. It’s a ‘(expletive)-the-government’ kind of attitude.”

Alejandro Salas prunes cannabis plants at ...
RJ Sangosti, The Denver PostAlejandro Salas prunes cannabis plants at Canna Culture in Chickasha, Oklahoma, on July 26, 2021.

But the fact that a state as red as Oklahoma is leaning into legal cannabis should no longer be surprising, said Ricardo Baca, a former Denver Post journalist who was the country’s first cannabis editor and founder of the Denver-based Grasslands marketing agency.

The turning point, he said, came in 2016. When most of the country had its eyes peeled on the presidential upset, eight states — including deeply conservative ones like Arkansas, Montana and South Dakota — were quietly legalizing some form of marijuana, a precursor to places like Oklahoma turning from red to green.

“Cannabis is no longer a partisan issue,” Baca said. “And we need to stop treating it as such.”

Back in Okemah, Baker studied the drip irrigation system — a technique perfected in the Israeli desert — now used to grow tens of thousands of marijuana plants.

“We’re looking at two tons of weed right here,” he said, smiling.

Last year, the Tribe Collective crew raked in 50,000 plants — the equivalent of 63,000 pounds of pot.

“That’s what’s beautiful about Oklahoma,” Baker said. “They call it the Wild West. Well, we’re a little wild here. It’s a business-friendly state. They don’t overregulate any business here.

“For good or for bad,” he said, “that’s what capitalism is supposed to be.”

NNN – No New News? – 12/29/21 – China Is Running Out of Water and That’s Scary for Asia

By Hal Brands +FollowDecember 29, 2021, 4:00 PM CST

Up the creek.
Up the creek. Source: AFP/Getty Images

Hal Brands is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist, the Henry Kissinger Distinguished Professor at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies, and a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. Most recently, he is the co-author of “The Lessons of Tragedy: Statecraft and World Order.”

Nature and geopolitics can interact in nasty ways. The historian Geoffrey Parker has argued that changing weather patterns drove war, revolution and upheaval during a long global crisis in the 17th century. More recently, climate change has opened new trade routes, resources and rivalries in the Arctic. And now China, a great power that often appears bent on reordering the international system, is running out of water in ways that are likely to stoke conflict at home and abroad.

Natural resources have always been critical to economic and global power. In the 19th century, a small country — the U.K. — raced ahead of the pack because its abundant coal reserves allowed it to drive the Industrial Revolution. Britain was eventually surpassed by the U.S., which exploited its huge tracts of arable land, massive oil reserves and other resources to become an economic titan.

The same goes for China’s rise. Capitalist reforms, a welcoming global trade system and good demographics all contributed to Beijing’s world-beating economic growth from the late 1970s to the early 2000s. The fact that China was nearly self-sufficient in land, water and many raw materials — and that its cheap labor allowed it to exploit these resources aggressively — also helped it to become the workshop of the world.More fromTheranos Directors Pay No Price for Holmes’s FraudSlaying the Blood Unicorn‘Fake It Till You Make It’ Will Live On After TheranosThe Bond Market Sends a Hopeful Message About Omicron

Yet China’s natural abundance is a thing of the past. As Michael Beckley and I argue in our forthcoming book, “The Danger Zone, Beijing has blown through many of its resources. A decade ago, China became the world’s largest importer of agricultural goods. Its arable land has been shrinking due to degradation and overuse. Breakneck development has also made China the world’s largest energy importer: It buys three-quarters of its oil abroad at a time when America has become a net energy exporter.

China’s water situation is particularly grim. As Gopal Reddy notes, China possesses 20% of the world’s population but only 7% of its fresh water. Entire regions, especially in the north, suffer from water scarcity worse than that found in a parched Middle East.

Thousands of rivers have disappeared, while industrialization and pollution have spoiled much of the water that remains. By some estimates, 80% to 90% of China’s groundwater and half of its river water is too dirty to drink; more than half of its groundwater and one-quarter of its river water cannot even be used for industry or farming.

This is an expensive problem. China is forced to divert water from comparatively wet regions to the drought-plagued north; experts assess that the country loses well over $100 billion annually as a result of water scarcity. Shortages and unsustainable agriculture are causing the desertification of large chunks of land. Water-related energy shortfalls have become common across the country.

The government has promoted rationing and improvements in water efficiency, but nothing sufficient to arrest the problem. This month, Chinese authorities announced that Guangzhou and Shenzhen — two major cities in the relatively water-rich Pearl River Delta — will face severe drought well into next year.Opinion. Data. More Data.Get the most important Bloomberg Opinion pieces in one email.EmailSign UpBy submitting my information, I agree to the Privacy Policy and Terms of Service and to receive offers and promotions from Bloomberg.

The economic and political implications are troubling. By making growth cost more, China’s resource problems have joined an array of other challenges — demographic decline, an increasingly stifling political climate, the stalling or reversal of many key economic reforms — to cause a slowdown that was having pronounced effects even before Covid struck. China’s social compact will be tested as dwindling resources intensify distributional fights.

In 2005, Premier Wen Jiabao stated that water scarcity threatened the “very survival of the Chinese nation.” A minister of water resources declared that China must “fight for every drop of water or die.” Hyperbole aside, resource scarcity and political instability often go hand in hand.

Heightened foreign tensions may follow. China watchers worry that if the Chinese Communist Party feels insecure domestically, it may lash out against its international rivals. Even short of that, water problems are causing geopolitical strife.

Much of China’s fresh water is concentrated in areas, such as Tibet, that the communist government seized by force after taking power in 1949. For years, China has tried to solve its resource challenges by coercing and impoverishing its neighbors.

By building a series of giant dams on the Mekong River, Beijing has triggered recurring droughts and devastating floods in Southeast Asian countries such as Thailand and Laos that depend on that waterway. The diversion of rivers in Xinjiang has had devastating downstream effects in Central Asia.

A growing source of tension in the Himalayas is China’s plan to dam key waters before they reach India, leaving that country (and Bangladesh) the losers. As the Indian strategic analyst Brahma Chellaney puts it, “China’s territorial aggrandizement in the South China Sea and the Himalayas … has been accompanied by stealthier efforts to appropriate water resources in transnational river basins.”

In other words, the thirstier China is, the more geopolitically nasty it could get.

NNN – No New News? – 12/21/21 – Google no longer the world’s most popular website thanks to surprise challenger

ByCiaran Daly

  • 14:15, 28 DEC 2021
  • UPDATED14:18, 28 DEC 2021

The search and email giant has long been the biggest site in the world, acting as a jumping-off point for much of the rest of the web.

However, it has been pushed down into second place by a youthful competitor: the social media app TikTok

According to a study by Cloudflare, TikTok was the most popular website worldwide in 2021, leaping six places up the list after finishing seventh in 2020.

Things remain largely unchanged after that, with GoogleFacebookMicrosoft and Apple all pushed down in the rankings.

Google logo displayed on a phone screen and a laptop keyboard are seen in this illustration photo taken in Krakow, Poland on October 31, 2021. (Photo by Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
The king is dead: Google is no longer number one when it comes to our Internet usage (Image: NurPhoto via Getty Images)

The top ten websites worldwide in 2021 were:

  1. TikTok
  2. Google
  3. Facebook
  4. Microsoft
  5. Apple
  6. Amazon
  7. Netflix
  8. YouTube
  9. Twitter
  10. WhatsApp

It also means TikTok is the most popular social media platform, overtaking Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram. Overall, people are spending more time watching funny videos than they are checking their emails or writing work documents.

The video sharing app now has more than one billion active users worldwide, meaning that around 21 percent of everyone who has Internet access globally uses the site.

NNN – No New News? – 12/29/21 – Stadia year in review 2021: Lives to see 2022, but limps into the future

THOMAS J MEYER29 Dec 2021 13

Stadia logoSource: Android Central

Google Stadia’s 2021 could be best described as having an explosive start followed by a low simmer for the rest of the year. I don’t mean explosive as if the platform was firing on all cylinders and capitalizing on its own momentum. I mean it blew off a few limbs with fireworks and handicapped itself with much lower expectations.

Stadia in 2020 was not perfect since it still lacked basic features and a small library, but the end of the year saw the releases of high profile games like Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice and Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, showing the support was there. Cyberpunk 2077 capped off the year with Stadia unexpectedly becoming the best place to play it at launch, making the case that streaming could offer benefits that aging hardware could not.https://d-614157718841531456.ampproject.net/2111242025001/frame.html

However, Google had other plans for Stadia for 2021.

Google got out of video game development

Google Stadia GDC announcementSource: Android Central

Google kicked off 2021 by announcing in February that it was shutting down its first-party game development studio, Stadia Games and Entertainment. Around 150 developers would be out of jobs and potentially shifted to other roles within Google, while studio head Jade Raymond would leave the company and found independent studio Haven a month later.

This prompted many to believe that Stadia was dead, which is a reasonable take to have when a company announces it would be scaling back investment of its own recently launched product. This is especially the case for Google, which has a history of starting projects and then abandoning them. (My personal tragedies include the Reader RSS feed and Inbox by Gmail.)

Google Stadia vice president and general manager Phil Harrison cited the high cost of investment and development time as reasons for the shutdown in the initial announcement, even though he praised the studio’s progress a week prior. The focus would instead shift to helping third-party developers and publishers take further advantage of “Stadia’s advanced technical infrastructure and platform tools,” which was a key distinction to make instead saying Stadia itself. Google would allow other companies to use Stadia technology without buying into the entire Stadia ecosystem, which is what AT&T did by offering a playable browser version of Batman: Arkham Knight at no additional cost for its mobile customers.

Despite the closure and departures, Google did not abandon Stadia for the rest of 2021.

The renewed focus is not surprising considering the company reportedly spent “tens of million of dollars” to get AAA releases like Red Dead Redemption 2 on the platform, and the initial results “missed its targets for sales of controllers and monthly active users by hundreds of thousands.”

The shifted focus and closure of the studio would also see other key figures depart Stadia over 2021, including VP and head of product John Justice, director for games Jack Buser, general manager Sebastien Puel, and creative services and publishing head Corey May. The latter two, alongside other Stadia staff, went on to join Raymond’s Haven studio.

Despite the closure and departures, Google did not abandon Stadia for the rest of 2021. Updates for promised features took time, but many did launch this year. For example, Google added a search option 17 months after launch. Other catch-up features include public party support, joining games without an invite, using a smartphone as a controller, and limited-time game trials. Google also expanded the list of hardware that could play Stadia games from Android TV devices to LG Smart TVs, so players’ didn’t have to play on the five-year-old Chromecast Ultra anymore.

The company did throw a bone for potential future Stadia development with an increased revenue split for studios towards the end of the year until 2023. Google now only takes a 15% cut of revenue until $3 million is earned, then goes back to the current split, which is not known. But is it enough to attract more games to Stadia when the depth of 2021 was thin?

The Stadia games of 2021

Outriders CoopSource: Square Enix

One week after the Stadia Games and Entertainment closure, Google announced more than 100 games would be coming to the service in 2021. (I would think you should announce that alongside the closure to somewhat alleviate concerns, but I digress.) Stadia did hit its target of adding at least 100 games to the service this year, but were they enough to carry the service?

The platform only saw two exclusive games this year with Hello Engineer and Pixeljunk Raiders.

Some big Stadia releases included Hitman 3, Outriders, Resident Evil Village, Madden NFL 22, Just Dance 22, and many others. These games also launched on Stadia on day one alongside the PC and console versions. It was not a huge list of actually new releases when other platforms have these games and a lot more, but some are or are close to being the best games on Stadia. Stadia also saw some big ports of slightly older games, like Control and a lot of representation from Ubisoft with Rainbow Six Siege, Rayman Legends, and a few decade-old Assassin’s Creed titles. Electronic Arts also ported FIFA 21 and Madden NFL 21, which seemed redundant considering the new versions launched six months after.

The platform only saw two exclusive games this year with Hello Engineer and Pixeljunk Raiders. There were also two First on Stadia titles, or timed exclusives, this year with Young Souls and Wavetale, both of which were smaller titles that players did not need to rush to Stadia and play immediately. This didn’t help with getting customers to flock to Stadia over other platforms.

Some of the Stadia versions of games did have issues or did not compare to other platforms. On the worst end, you had Terraria, which almost did not launch because the developer was locked out of his Google account and had to push for a month to get it restored. While Square Enix’s Outriders suffered from multiple issues across all platforms at launch, the Stadia version was special because it launched in a beta build, had broken cross-platform play, and did not receive the constant post-launch updates until half a year later.

Ubisoft’s latest games on the platform also took performance hits with Far Cry 6 and Riders Republic only able to run at 30 FPS. While Ubisoft is a staunch supporter of Stadia, these newer titles only being able to run at last-gen console specs is concerning. It also does not help that Google, Bungie, and id Software are currently facing a class-action lawsuit for advertising 4K resolution for its games, but are instead upscaling to 4K from a lower resolution.

What can we expect from Stadia in 2022?

Source: IO Interactive

With no first-party game support and a drip-feed of new games coming, there is not much to look forward to as a Stadia player. High-profile games coming to Stadia include Rainbow Six Extraction in January, Life is Strange Remastered Collection in early 2022, potentially Dynasty Warriors 9 Empires, maybe Windjammers 2, and Ubisoft games like Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora. And all of this is addition to ports of any 2021 games that developers decided were worth the extra work to throw onto the service.

There is not much to look forward to as a Stadia player.

Sure, Google will continue to add more devices that can officially play Stadia and perhaps make another deal or two similar to the AT&T promotion, but that does not benefit the players. It benefits the service and recouping the investment on it, but it is not going to drive new players when comparable services like GeForce Now and Xbox Cloud Gaming gaining some traction.

My feeling for Stadia in 2022 is the same as it has been the past six months: apathy. Every game launch comes with reservations or the constant idea that I could play this elsewhere. No downloads or managing storage space is nice, but not at the cost at reminding people that your mileage may vary because a game’s performance is entirely reliant on your internet connection.

I recently moved and had to switch from a Verizon Fios fiber connection to an Optimum cable connection because there were no other options. I read so many reports and heard personal accounts of people unhappy with Optimum, with issues like bad customer service and connections dropping as much as multiple times per day. I was able to eschew those issues with an internet-only package, but those with cable bundled or not savvy enough to do the work themselves might not be as lucky, and unreliable internet does not make Stadia a viable option.

Destiny 2 ForsakenSource: Bungie

The best example for the future of Stadia recently came courtesy of the official Stadia Twitter account. It tweeted last week that the account, not the store itself, would be kicking off “12 Days of Stadia,” highlighting “12 days of deals and games.”

First, in a follow-up tweet, it had to clarify that the Stadia store did not support game gifting because some replies thought that the feature would be coming. Second, the promotion did not actually highlight new deals or sales, but games already on the service like free-to-play Destiny 2 and Spiritfarer: Farewell Edition or announcements like a free weekend for Assassin’s Creed Odyssey and Bloodstained coming to Stadia Pro next month.

NNN – No New News? – 12/21/21 – Cardboard box filled with a $180,000 cash donation mailed to The City College of New York. The package sat in a mailroom for months

By David Williams, CNN

Updated 12:37 AM ET, Wed December 22, 2021

(CNN)Physics professor Vinod Menon doesn’t get much mail at the office, so when The City College of New York (CCNY) returned to in-person classes this semester, he was greeted with some junk mail and a nondescript package in a battered cardboard box.Menon, the chairman of the physics department, at first thought it was some sort of memento sent by a former student, but when he opened the box on September 1, he found stacks for $50 and $100 bills — $180,000 in all.
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“I’ve never seen this kind of money in real life in cash form,” Menon told CNN. “I’ve never seen it except in movies, and so, yeah, I was shell shocked and I just did not know how to react.”

An anonymous donor is paying the college tuition of Black athletes who get straight As at a Georgia high school

An anonymous donor is paying the college tuition of Black athletes who get straight As at a Georgia high schoolThere was an unsigned letter in the package explaining that the donor graduated “long ago” from The City College of New York with a double major in physics and mathematics, then got an MA in physics there and went on to get a double PhD in physics and astronomy.https://69123f2f03922d785da1c28636eb2bdc.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html

“Assuming that you are (a) bit curious as to why I am doing this, the reason is straightforward: the excellent educational opportunity available to me — which I took full advantage of at CCNY (and Stuyvesant High School) — gave me the basis to continue to develop,” the letter said.

The donor said they had had “a long, productive, immensely rewarding” scientific career.The box of money weighed 4 pounds, 8 ounces and it cost $90.80 to send by 2-day Priority Mail from Pensacola, Florida. It had been delivered to CCNY on November 12, 2020 — long after the school had moved to distance learning in March because of the Covid-19 pandemic.Menon said he has been going to his lab pretty regularly during the pandemic, but not to the science building where he taught classes.”Seeing the money was a shock. Reading the letter really made me proud and happy to belong to this institution, which actually made a difference in that person’s life,” Menon said.The letter asked that the money be used to help junior and senior students also double majoring in physics and math who need financial support to continue their studies.

These historically Black universities just got their biggest ever financial gifts all thanks to one generous donor

These historically Black universities just got their biggest ever financial gifts all thanks to one generous donorMenon said he called the Dean of Sciences immediately and they contacted campus police and the department that handles gifts when they realized how much money they had.Before CCNY could keep the money, officials had to make sure that it wasn’t the proceeds of some sort of criminal activity.Investigators from the school, The City University of New York (CUNY) system, NYPD, US Postal Service and the FBI and Department of Treasury determined the money was clean.They were not able to identify the donor — there was a name on the package, but it didn’t match anyone in the CCNY alumni records. The return address didn’t solve the mystery either, Menon said.Once they knew the gift was legit, the CUNY board of trustees voted unanimously on December 13 to approve a resolution accepting the money.Board members marveled at the unheard-of gift during their meeting and one suggested that they bronze the box and put it on display as a tribute to the donor’s generosity and the honesty of the campus mail system.Menon said he doesn’t know what happened to the box, but his department would honor the anonymous donor’s wish by giving out two full-tuition scholarships each year.

Tuition at CCNY is about $7,500 per year, so the gift will fund the scholarships for a decade, Menon said.”I’d like them to know that firstly, we are thankful for the gift. I’m really honored that he or she decided that this was the right place to spend that kind of money on,” Menon said. “And I’m also proud of the fact that the person had a wonderful career based on the education that they received at City College.”
Menon said they are still working out the details for creating the scholarship, but the first students could receive it as soon as the fall semester in 2022.

NNN – No New News? – 12/21/21 – People Are Sharing Things That Are Illegal But NOT Ethically Wrong, And Some Are Highly, HIGHLY Controversial

From BuzzFeed

December 20, 2021·3 min read

Last week, I wrote a post about people answering the question, “What is something that is illegal but isn’t wrong ethically?” People — including our very own BuzzFeed Community — had some incredibly interesting responses.

  Daniel Truta / Getty Images/EyeEm
Daniel Truta / Getty Images/EyeEm

Here’s some of what people shared:

1.”Ringing up two bananas instead of four to six at the grocery self-checkout. Produce is already inflated.”


2.”Smoking pot outdoors. I use it for pain control and to help me walk. I have to carry it out and about, or I collapse.”


3.”Riding your bike on the sidewalk.”


  Imgorthand / Getty Images
Imgorthand / Getty Images

4.”In [at least] 68 different countries: being gay.”


5.”I think someone said this already, but leaving your ID at home. POC have been killed for not having ID.”


6.”In New York state, there are laws against ‘fortune tellers’ that are still on the books. I remember going through my penal code book in school and asking, ‘WTF?!’ It’s just one of those old things that state legislature doesn’t have time or incentive to change and goes back culturally to the racial stigma of ‘gypsy’ scam artists.”


  Semih Okmen / Getty Images/EyeEm
Semih Okmen / Getty Images/EyeEm

7.”Permits or anything that is punishable by fine just means it’s legal for the rich.”


8.”In my country, it’s illegal to feed stray animals, which are mostly very friendly. On the other hand, it’s perfectly legal, and I see it hundreds of times a day, to litter everywhere you want. Trash, plastic, cigarette butts are everywhere, the air is polluted and so is the water. Anyone can take down a tree or row of trees and destroy a forest, but you can’t feed stray puppies and kittens? Seriously?”


  Ken Kij / Getty Images/EyeEm
Ken Kij / Getty Images/EyeEm

9.”Loitering, aka vagrancy, was criminalized as a way to arrest Black people, especially Black men.”


10.”Any sort of consensual crime. Drugs, prostitution, gambling, weird sex. If everyone is consenting, I think it being legal makes it more regulated and much safer.”


11.”Sex work! It’s a consensual transfer of money for services. The only reason it became illegal is because it gave women independence, and the only reason it is dangerous now is because it’s illegal. Legalize it, regulate it, and make people in the industry feel safe to report crimes and abuse.”


  Piranka / Getty Images
Piranka / Getty Images

12.”Assisted death. Terminally ill people should absolutely have the right to die with dignity on their own terms, instead of drawn-out, painful, oftentimes expensive, slow deaths.”


13.”Downloading college ebooks for free instead of spending $400 on the latest version. Usually, all they did was change the spelling of a few words and called it v87.12458281648391846 of the book, and then they required it for your college class.”


14.”Pirating media that isn’t available for purchase in your area. You weren’t going to get my money either way.”


15.”Loitering in a park. I’ve always wondered why this is illegal in some places. The point of a park is to loiter.”


  Blasius Erlinger / Getty Images
Blasius Erlinger / Getty Images

16.”There’s a stoplight on my commute where I need to turn left. The light is a hard red/not on a timer. It’s not motion-detected. So even at 5:30 a.m., when there is zero traffic in the lanes ahead or behind me, I must wait for the timer or risk a photo-triggered ticket. The left turn lane should be a blinking yellow arrow at all times, TBH.”


17.”Jaywalking and crossing the street on a red light, as a pedestrian, when there are no cars around.”


What about YOU? What’s illegal but isn’t ethically wrong? Let me know in the comments below!

Note: Some responses have been edited for length and/or clarity.

NNN – No New News? – 12/22/21 – 30 Random Facts That Never Crossed My Mind, But Now I Can’t Get Them Out Of My Head

December 22, 2021·5 min read

1.There’s a company that allows you to memorialize the body of a loved one in the form of a reef.

  Malakpet Ps / Getty Images/500px
Malakpet Ps / Getty Images/500px

2.Harry Styles has a condition called polythelia, which caused him to grow four nipples.

3.The phrase “sweating like a pig” is technically impossible, because pigs can’t physically sweat.

  Manop Boonpeng / Getty Images/EyeEm
Manop Boonpeng / Getty Images/EyeEm

4.A blue whale’s tongue weighs more than most elephants.

  Sciepro / Getty Images/Science Photo Library RF
Sciepro / Getty Images/Science Photo Library RF

5.All of Tom Cruise’s ex-wives were 33 when they divorced the actor.

There are even some conspiracy theories swirling around about it.
There are even some conspiracy theories swirling around about it.Jon Kopaloff / FilmMagic / Getty Images

6.Arsenic wafers were once eaten to improve skin and “facial disfigurements” like freckles and blackheads — well, until people realized it was slowly killing them.

  Thom Lang / Getty Images
Thom Lang / Getty Images

7.Sorry Disney, but the first feature-length animated film came out 20 years before Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. It was a 1917 Argentinian silent film called El Apóstol.

  Kypros / Getty Images
Kypros / Getty Images

8.German chocolate cake was actually invented in Texas by a person named Mrs. George Clay.

According to Food Tribe, the use of the word German was coined because an American man named Sam German created a chocolate bar for Baker's Chocolate Company, which was used in the initial recipe.
According to Food Tribe, the use of the word German was coined because an American man named Sam German created a chocolate bar for Baker’s Chocolate Company, which was used in the initial recipe.Carlos Chavez / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

9.Nicolas Cage is known as an outlandish spender in Hollywood. Some of his past purchases include a $150,000 pet octopus, haunted houses, and shrunken pygmy heads.

  Dia Dipasupil / Getty Images
Dia Dipasupil / Getty Images

10.Raw pistachios have been known to spontaneously combust when stored in large quantities.

  Yevgen Romanenko / Getty Images
Yevgen Romanenko / Getty Images

11.Although illegal and dangerous, it’s possible to walk from Russia to Alaska via the Bering Strait when it freezes in the winter.

  Natalie Fobes / Getty Images
Natalie Fobes / Getty Images

12.Barbie’s full name is Barbara Millicent Roberts.

  Mattel, Inc./Liaison / Getty Images
Mattel, Inc./Liaison / Getty Images

13.Owls don’t have eyeballs. Instead they have elongated tubes held by sclerotic rings. Owls can’t move their eyes around, which is why they have to move their entire head to look in different areas.

  Alan Tunnicliffe Photography / Getty Images
Alan Tunnicliffe Photography / Getty Images

14.In Japan, editors added a fifth finger to Bob the Builder’s hands, so viewers wouldn’t think he was associated with a feared Japanese mafia called Yakuza.

According to BBC, members of Yakuza
According to BBC, members of Yakuza “cut off their little fingers as a sign they can be trusted and have strength of character.”HIT Entertainment

15.Jennifer Lawrence learned how to skin a squirrel for her role in Winter’s Bone.

  Matt Winkelmeyer / Getty Images
Matt Winkelmeyer / Getty Images

16.The first college football game was played on Nov. 6, 1869, between Rutgers and Princeton (formally known as the College of New Jersey). Rutgers won.

  Scott Taetsch / Getty Images
Scott Taetsch / Getty Images

17.Flamingos can only eat when their heads are upside down, due mainly to the structure of their beaks.

  Jonathan Ross / Getty Images/iStockphoto
Jonathan Ross / Getty Images/iStockphoto

18.Before deciding on the name Google, the popular search engine was called BackRub.

<div><p>"They called it this because the program analyzed the web’s 'back links' to understand how important a website was, and what other sites it related to," according to <a href=
“They called it this because the program analyzed the web’s ‘back links’ to understand how important a website was, and what other sites it related to,” according to Business Insider.Loic Venance / AFP via Getty Images

19.Pound cake got its name because the original recipe for the dessert required one pound of each ingredient.

  Debbismirnoff / Getty Images
Debbismirnoff / Getty Images

20.Before her rise to fame, Madonna worked at Dunkin’ Donuts. She was later fired for squirting jelly on a customer.

  Jason Merritt / Getty Images
Jason Merritt / Getty Images

21.Walt Disney actually hated the character Goofy, calling him a “stupid cartoon.”

  Disney Channel / Disney General Entertainment Content via Getty Images
Disney Channel / Disney General Entertainment Content via Getty Images

22.Thailand holds an annual Monkey Buffet Festival where residents of Lopburi honor the 3,000 monkeys that live near the Phra Prang Sam Yot temple by providing 4.5 tons of fruit, vegetables, and treats for them to eat.

  Images From Barbanna / Getty Images
Images From Barbanna / Getty Images

23.Shredded cheese packages typically contains cellulose (also known as wood pulp or sawdust) to prevent them from clumping.

  Mike Kemp / Getty Images/Tetra images RF
Mike Kemp / Getty Images/Tetra images RF

24.Shakira’s school teacher told her she was bad at singing and banned her from choir. Her classmates stated she sounded like a goat.

  Simone Joyner / Getty Images
Simone Joyner / Getty Images

25.Dr. Seuss created Green Eggs and Ham because his publisher bet him he couldn’t write a book shorter than The Cat in the Hat.

He obviously won that bet, because The Cat in the Hat had 236 different words, while Green Eggs and Ham used just 50 words, according to Biography.com.
He obviously won that bet, because The Cat in the Hat had 236 different words, while Green Eggs and Ham used just 50 words, according to Biography.com.Gene Lester / Getty Images

26.The Yoruba people of Nigeria are known for giving birth to more twins than anywhere else in the world — 50 per 1,000 births.

According to Reuters, twins are also believed to be magical in Yoruba culture.
According to Reuters, twins are also believed to be magical in Yoruba culture.Visual7 / Getty Images

27.Paul Newman taught Jake Gyllenhaal how to drive.

  Steve Granitz / FilmMagic / Getty Images, Silver Screen Collection / Getty Images
Steve Granitz / FilmMagic / Getty Images, Silver Screen Collection / Getty Images

28.Ears of corn typically have an even number of rows — most have an average of 16.

  Peter Parks / AFP via Getty Images
Peter Parks / AFP via Getty Images

29.Jack Nicholson grew up believing his mom, June, was his sister, and that his grandmother, Ethel May, was his mother.

June was 18 years old when she gave birth to Jack. In order to avoid gossip of having a baby out of wedlock, Ethel May decided to raise Jack as her son, and pretended June was his much older sister. Jack didn't learn the truth until after both June and Ethel May died, according to InStyle.
June was 18 years old when she gave birth to Jack. In order to avoid gossip of having a baby out of wedlock, Ethel May decided to raise Jack as her son, and pretended June was his much older sister.Jack didn’t learn the truth until after both June and Ethel May died, according to InStyle.Patrick Mcmullan / Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

30.And finally, long before New York received its iconic nickname “The Big Apple,” it was known as New Orange.

When the Dutch captured New York from the English in 1673, they renamed the state New Orange to honor William III of Orange. But that didn't last long, because the following year, the English regained control and renamed it New York, according to History.com.
When the Dutch captured New York from the English in 1673, they renamed the state New Orange to honor William III of Orange. But that didn’t last long, because the following year, the English regained control and renamed it New York, according to History.com.

NNN – No New News? – 12/21/21 – “A True Disappointment:” People Are Sharing Underwhelming Travel Destinations To Skip, And The Gems You Should Consider Instead

December 21, 2021·18 min read

It’s a great big world out there — and there are so many places to see. But it can be difficult to decipher between disappointing tourist traps and destinations that are actually so worth the hype. To help with this, I scoured advice from travelers on Reddit and within the BuzzFeed Community. Here are 33 overrated places that — according to them — are not worth your precious time. (Plus 26 others that actually are!)

1.Underrated: Albania

A beach with very blue water
“The northern part is filled with beautiful landscapes and mountain ranges, and the south has beaches with crystal blue water. You can find incredibly nice resorts and hotels to stay at for very affordable prices. The people are extremely welcoming, and the hospitality is great.”—u/HandsomeclooneyGetty Images

2.Overrated: Downtown Dubai

A cityscape of Dubai from an infinity pool
“It’s talked up as one of the best tourist destinations in the world, but when I was there it felt like an amusement park under construction. I felt like I was constantly being shuttled from one tourist trap to another.” —u/NamerNotLiteralGetty Images

3.Underrated: Lima, Peru

Lima, Peru coastline
“I hear so many people say to skip it or only spend a day there, but I would say it’s worth a trip. The historic downtown is gorgeous, and it’s on the coast with plenty of beaches. Plus the food and people are awesome. I spent four days there and still wish I had more time to explore.”—u/Ninjadwarf00Getty Images

4.Overrated: Bourbon Street, New Orleans

Crowded Bourbon Street in New Orleans for Mardi Gras
“It’s filthy, smells like pee, there’s gross beer everywhere, and broken glass all over the ground.” —u/HeadlessFlyKingGetty Images

5.Underrated: New Mexico

A rocky desert landscape
“The whole state is underrated, but specifically Albuquerque, Taos, and the New Mexican desert. The scenery is utterly breathtaking, the culture and history are unique, and the food is delicious. You’ll know why people call it ‘The Land of Enchantment’ as soon as you see the Sandia Mountains glowing pink at sunset.”—u/tinyowlinahatGetty Images

6.Overrated: Hollywood Boulevard, Los Angeles

A sign for Hollywood Boulevard
“It’s crowded and smells like pee.” —u/ladies-pmme-nudesplsGetty Images

7.Underrated: Pienza, Italy

A couple sitting on the stairs enjoying the view
“Whereas some of the bigger Tuscan towns like Siena and Montepulciano felt a bit touristy, Pienza was truly a hidden gem. It’s right in the picturesque Val d’Orcia overlooking vineyards and rolling hills, home to cute, family-run restaurants, tiny shops selling local wine and Pecorino cheese, and stunning Medieval buildings. Everywhere you look seems like it came straight out of a postcard. It was one of the most beautiful towns I’ve ever seen.”—Hannah LoewentheilGetty Images

8.Underrated: Tunisia

A whitewashed village with blue doors
“Tunisia is one of the best countries I’ve ever traveled to. It’s mind-boggling to me that most people who venture there see it as simply a beach destination. In fact, most things I loved about the country could be found deeper inland.”—u/JayPeteyGetty Images

9.Overrated: Pisa, Italy

A hand pretending to hold the Leaning Tower of Pisa
“Pisa in general I found to be very touristy. If you want to visit a great destination in central Italy, head to the walled city of San Gimignano instead. It’s a quick train trip from either Florence or Pisa, and it’s 100% worth it.”—u/nookienostradamus“Does anyone really need to take the famous holding up the tower picture? Or rather, a picture of all the other tourists taking the holding up the tower picture?”—u/Fluxxed0Getty Images

10.Underrated: Dakar, Senegal

Boats on the beach
“Senegal in general, but specifically the capital Dakar and its surroundings should be up there with Cape Town, Nairobi, Johannesburg, and Cairo as one of the must-visit destinations in Africa. It’s a lovely city with a lot of French influence, and it’s a great spot to start a trip in West Africa.”—u/Thrill_MonsterGetty Images

11.Overrated: The Blue Lagoon, Reykjavik

People in the Blue Lagoon in Iceland
“I was very disappointed: It’s tepid water flowing down from a power plant. You’re better off finding the many natural hot springs scattered around Iceland.” —u/KingCharlesHeadGetty Images

12.Underrated: Sicily

A coastal town in Sicily
“Sicily is gorgeous, and the food is out of this world. You get to experience a culture that has been inspired by the Italians, Greeks, Normans, Romans, Ottomans, and Spanish. The climate itself is so diverse: There are beaches, skiing, and Mt. Etna is one of the best wine regions in Europe.”—u/RNae75Getty Images

13.Underrated: Ibiza, Spain

A quiet beach in Ibiza
“Ibiza has a bad reputation as a party city, but it’s so much more than that if you know where to look. It boasts beautiful nature, amazing historical sites, and lovely quiet small towns all over. Just avoid the capital at night.”Getty Images

14.Overrated: Phuket, Thailand

An aerial shot of a beach
“Planning a vacation there during high season means you’ll be sharing the beach with tons of other tourists. While this may improve if you go during low season, you’ll most likely get lots of rain. Plus, trash and water quality are a big problem.” —u/irishamericanGetty Images

15.Overrated: Clearwater Beach, Florida

People on the beach
“It’s been built up so much there’s hardly any beach left. The traffic is really awful, so devote two hours of precious beach time just sitting in it. It stinks big time for the locals.”—u/kurnadurnGetty Images

16.Overrated: The Pyramids of Giza, Egypt

Sightseers flock to view great pyramids at Giza
“This might be harsh, but the swarm of aggressive market vendors surrounding the pyramids makes visiting this site a bit of a nightmare. One woman in our tour group asked a guard to take her photo, and he refused to return her phone unless she paid him. The whole time, we were yelled at and haggled into buying headscarves and assorted souvenirs, which ruined my experience. I spent months looking forward to the trip and felt so disappointed.”u/TheTrustyCrumpetGetty Images

17.Overrated: Atlantic City

Atlantic City boardwalk and Ferris wheel
“Venture a few blocks away from the boardwalk and you’ll realize that Atlantic City is incredibly depressing. It’s very clearly an area exploited by the big casinos while the locals have been driven to absolute poverty. But they still force a smile to work the shops that are required for the tourist traffic.”—u/juanzy“Clearwater Beach is nowhere near the nicest beach in the area. You can drive 10 miles south and have Redington Beach, with nicer sand and almost no other people.”—uToeyGowdGetty Images

18.Underrated: Poland

Old Town Gdansk, Poland
“I spent two weeks in Poland, and I have to say it’s a gorgeous country that is much cheaper to visit than many of the more popular European vacation spots. Gdansk is amazing and has a terrific World War II museum. Almost every major city has an Old Town, which is so much fun to explore. Warsaw boasts lots of museums and acres of natural beauty. And if you’re nervous about the language barrier, most people in the major cities speak English. I can’t wait to go back to Poland and explore more.”nomigma“I was so pleasantly surprised by how beautiful this country is. I road-tripped, and every city was very beautiful and had a unique history. Poland has something for everyone, whether you’re looking for culture or to party. The mountains are also beautiful with great hiking. Prices are very affordable, especially if you come from a Western country.”—u/towapiGetty Images

19.Overrated: Cancún, Mexico

Aerial view of Cancun Coastline at sunrise
“Sure, it’s pretty, but doesn’t represent the beauty of Mexico. Go to Mérida — the food is better, and the nature is great.”—u/Lockshala“There are so many cooler, hipper, better places to visit around Cancún and the Yucatan. Playa del Carmen, Tulum, Valladolid, and Mérida are much better if you’re considering a trip.”—u/samuraibutterGetty Images

20.Overrated: Manila, Philippines

A high angle view of people at a busy market in a city
“I really loved the other places I visited in the Philippines, but Manila was awful. The air quality, the traffic, the garbage, I could go on. Most of all, the poverty, especially among children, was heart-wrenching. It was a good wake-up call for a privileged Westerner, but not one I want to experience again.”—u/westcoastlizGetty Images

21.Overrated: Kuta, Bali

A street with lots of restaurant and shop signs
“Kuta, a resort town in southern Bali, is the worst. It’s been completely and utterly ruined by tourists. I was there during Australian ‘spring break,’ and the whole place was just overrun with young, drunk ‘party bros.’ I fled from Kuta as fast as I could.”—u/franichanGetty Images

22.Underrated: San Sebastian, Spain

San Sebastian, Spain
“This stretch of Northern Spain within 70 miles of the French border has the best food in Europe. San Sebastian is a mecca for foodies, where you can drool over street food for lunch or dine at Michelin-starred restaurants for weeks straight before you run out of new options.”—u/Thrill_MonsterAyhan Altun / Getty Images

23.Overrated: Times Square, New York

A crowded intersection in Times Square, NYC
“It’s a tourist trap, and the restaurants and shopping aren’t unique to NYC. Why eat in Times Square when you can eat at the same chain restaurants in a Midwestern city for even cheaper?” —u/putmeinthegomiGetty Images

24.Overrated: Niagara Falls (New York Side)

American Niagara Falls with the Niagara falls city in background.
“You’re better off going to the Canadian side.” —u/jgoldblum88Getty Images

25.Overrated: Nashville, Tennessee

Neon signs of Broadway in Nashville
“Nashville is not a fascinating place. In fact, you could tour every interesting place in a single day. The city is made up of a ton of bars to get drunk at and construction everywhere. I heard something like 10,000 new people a day move there, and I can’t understand why. Rent is insanely high because of it. We’re at almost $2,000 a month for 1,400 square feet 30 minutes out of Nashville city limits. Honestly, not even locals like living here anymore.”—u/herculeesjrGetty Images

26.Underrated: Hilo, Hawaii

A waterfall surrounded by lush forest
“Many travelers overlook this whole island, but the lush and green Hilo side of the Big Island of Hawaii is especially incredible. The highway from Waipi’o Valley down to Hilo extends over valleys and cliffs. There are waterfalls and dramatic ocean views, and we were constantly pulling over wanting to take photos.”kpena134Getty

27.Underrated: Portland, Maine

Boats in a harbor
“Some of the best meals I’ve ever had were in Portland. The hardest part when visiting is trying to decide whether to go to your well-established favorite spots, or try the new ones that are currently popping up and being raved about.”—theshoegazerGetty Images

28.Overrated: Las Vegas

Welcome to Las Vegas sign
“I am by no means a prude person, but that place is horrific.”—u/nocliper101Getty Images

29.Underrated: Tallinn, Estonia

Snowfall in a European town
“I really wasn’t expecting much when I visited. I mostly just decided to stop in Talinn because I was traveling from Finland to London, and it was an off the beaten path location for a quick day trip. But holy crap, it was beautiful, and the people were so friendly. I’d go back there for a proper vacation in a heartbeat.”—fredzesty“Any of the Baltic states really, but Estonia is an absolutely delightful place. It’s super affordable, easy to navigate, the capital city Tallinn is so beautiful and clean, the coast is lovely, the people are friendly, and the food is delicious. I absolutely loved our trip there, and it would be a great base camp if you want to check out the nearby countries of Finland, Norway, and Denmark.”—u/missluluhGetty Images

30.Overrated: Athens, Greece

A view of Athens and the Acropolis
“Athens was dirty, and there was graffiti everywhere. I didn’t feel safe in the city at all. There were insane drivers, and none of the locals were nice. In stark contrast to my experience in Athens, the Greek Islands were some of the most beautiful and enjoyable places I’ve ever been, filled with the most friendly people.”—u/rythmik1Getty Images

31.Overrated: Geneva, Switzerland

An old town surrounded by mountains
“It was most definitely a pretty city, but the soul-crushing cost of everything totally weighed down my experience there. I never expected to pay 24 Swiss Francs for a hamburger in my life…and I never will again.”u/blake22222Getty Images

32.Underrated: Republic of Georgia

A town built into the mountains with a river running next to it
“Georgia is amazing! It’s home to beautiful mountains, chic beaches, friendly people, amazing wine, food unlike anything you’ve ever tried, and a very interesting mix of cultures and influences. I was there for two weeks, but I could have easily stayed for a year.”—MariaPorgirellaGetty Images

33.Overrated: Machu Picchu, Peru

Tourists climbing Machu Picchu
“The site itself is really incredible, but it’s overcrowded with so many loud tourists to the point where you feel like you’re walking through Disney World instead of a UNESCO heritage site.”—u/cfmcgGetty Images

34.Underrated: Taipei, Taiwan

Sunset over Taipei, Taiwan
It’s my favorite city in Asia: a great mix of traditional Chinese culture with Japanese and US influences. There’s fantastic food (especially great street food at the night markets). It’s modern enough to be convenient, but not expensive. It’s big enough to have lots to do, but small enough to be manageable and not overwhelming. And the people are friendly, open, and helpful.”—u/gotthelowdownGetty Images

35.Overrated: Bondi Beach, Sydney

A busy Bondi beach in Sydney, Australia
“It’s a mediocre beach, and during the summer it’s always very crowded, so you hardly have space to swim or enjoy yourself.” —u/crocodiledendiGetty Images

36.Overrated: Marrakesh

The main market square in Marrakesh
“It would have been amazing before about 2000, but now it just feels like a Disneyland version of their culture to cater to Western tourists. And you can’t walk 20 feet without being approached by scammers, like, literally every block. The entire city just feels like a facade to attract tourist money.”—u/legshampoo“Of all the places we visited in Morocco, Jemaa el-Fnaa was the biggest disappointment. It’s full of knock-off clothes and guys trying to get you to take pictures with cobras. Marrakesh in general is awesome, but the market is a letdown.” —u/deletedGetty Images

37.Overrated: Walt Disney World, Orlando

Characters at Disney World
“Disney World is the only place I’ve been that truly disappointed me. It had no redeeming qualities at all. You have to pay just to see characters or just about anything, all the rides lead right into overpriced gift shops, the lines were horrendous, and the rides were only mediocre. Disney is commercialism and exploitation of the consumer at its finest.”—Calliope“Want to eat? Be ready to shell out $50 a person per day. Oh, you came for the rides? Enjoy the two or three you can actually enjoy on a busy day.”—u/flipamadiggermadooGetty Images

38.Underrated: Oman

A boat on a bay
“For people who love the outdoors, Oman is a no-brainer. There’s hiking, camping, dune bashing, and miles of untouched coastline. There are even lush rain forests. It’s also extremely safe.”—u/KolipeGetty Images

39.Overrated: Stonehenge

Crowds arriving to visit Stonehenge
“It’s a set of rocks out in the middle of a field that smells like sheep poop. It was cool for a few minutes, but far too big of a hassle to be worth it.” —u/opvina4Getty Images

40.Underrated: Osaka

Tatoyaki cooking in a street food stall
“People tend to only visit Tokyo and Kyoto, but Osaka shouldn’t be overlooked. It’s a big city like Tokyo, but with a much longer history. It’s located smack dab in the middle of the Kansai region, the historical cultural center of Japan. It’s known to be more fun and laid-back, and I think there’s some truth to that. It’s also the culinary capital of Japan, a must-visit for all foodies.”—u/CaptainNomihodaiGetty Images

41.Underrated: Romania

Medieval castles surrounded by greenery
“Romania is absolutely amazing. This Balkan country boasts beautiful sites, nature, warm sandy beaches, friendly people, and good food. And the icing on that cake is that it’s incredibly affordable. I never understand why more people don’t travel there.”—u/louise1969Getty Images

42.Overrated: Cinque Terre, Italy

Tiered colorful houses
“This one may be controversial, but I found this handful of villages in coastal Liguria to be very boring and overly touristy. All the hiking trails were closed. Either way, it’s a day trip at best, and I would recommend visiting the Amalfi Coast over Cinque Terre.”—u/CaligulaAndHisHorseGetty Images

43.Underrated: Girona, Spain

A coastal Spanish town
“People usually just go to Barcelona, but they overlook Girona just 100 kilometers away. It’s a beautiful small city with an impressive old town. It’s so beautiful that you might recognize the cathedral and other parts of the city from some Game of Thrones scenes.”—ropra7645Getty Images

44.Overrated: The Waikiki Strip, Honolulu

Crowded Waikiki Beach in Oahu
“There are so many cooler places on the island to spend your time.” —u/Jubilies“Oahu is absolutely beautiful and worth visiting, but stay away from Waikiki. It’s overpriced, crowded, and the beach is tiny. Waimea Bay on the North Shore during the summer and Lanikai/Kailua beach during the winter are way better.” —u/deletedGetty Images

45.Overrated: Angkor Wat, Cambodia

Monks walking near Angkor Wat
“It’s so full of people that you can hardly move without stepping on someone’s feet. And it’s impossible to get photos without a million other tourists in them.”u/godless-lifeGetty Images

46.Underrated: Giethoorn, Netherlands

Boats in a canal
“It’s a small village where you can sail on a boat through the canals and just enjoy the view. In the summer it can get a bit crowded, but it’s a lovely city. There are restaurants along the canals where you relax and have a drink. Not many tourists know about it, but it’s a must-visit if you’re in the Netherlands.”—u/imjohnkGetty Images

47.Overrated: The Great Wall of China, Beijing

A crowd on the Great Wall of China
“If you go to the Great Wall of China, I’d suggest not going to the section right there in Beijing. It’s newly rebuilt and touristy. For a much better experience, drive a ways out of the city to the Simatai section (120 kilometers northeast of Beijing). There, you’ll find an original portion of the Great Wall that is uncrowded and more authentic.”—u/DownUpOverAndBackGetty Images

48.Overrated: Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

People on a wide beach
“If you’re on the Carolina coast, go somewhere else like Charleston. It’s so much nicer.” —u/brokendowndryerGetty Images

49.Underrated: Alentejo, Portugal

A beach town surrounded by hills
“If you’re looking for a quiet vacation, Alentejo is for you. You can visit Roman ruins, old churches, and see Moorish architecture in southern Portugal. There’s also a ton of natural beauty from lakes to rolling hills and big, open farms. The region makes great local wine, and the food is delicious too. You can easily combine a trip to Alentejo with a visit to Spain, a beachy getaway in the Algarve, or a city escape to Lisbon.” —sarapmGetty Images

50.Underrated: Mainland Greece

The sun setting over a beautiful, steep landscape
“Everyone travels to the Greek islands and doesn’t really spend time in the north on the mainland, but regions in Northern Greece like Halkidiki are very nice too! And the mainland has a fairly overlooked repertoire of wildlife preserves.”—u/Pontios93Getty Images

51.Overrated: Monaco

Yachts in a harbor with a hilly city in the background
“I was in southern France and decided to take a quick trip to Monaco because I has heard great things about it. Once I got there though, I was thoroughly disappointed with the place. There was nothing but high-end clothing stores, extremely overpriced (and terrible) food, and docks filled with yachts. There was a complete absence of culture of anything interesting. It just felt like a place where ultra-rich people go to flaunt off their wealth.”—u/crwrdGetty Images

52.Overrated: Goa, India

A beach with boats and people in Goa, India
“Goa is talked up to be a legendary beach destination, but it really isn’t that great. It’s crazy busy, the water can be polluted, and it’s not relaxing. If you’re looking for a beach getaway, there are many better options.”—u/Thrill_MonsterGetty Images

53.Underrated: Adelaide, Australia

Steps leading to a beach
“Think: stunning wineries, a beautiful coast, and a vibrant food scene. The city itself is absolutely stunning, and the locals are so friendly. There’s just as much to do in Adelaide as there is in Melbourne or Sydney.”—u/GretchenmeowsGetty Images

54.Overrated: Venice, Italy

Gondolas in a Venetian canal
“Taking a gondola ride through the canals was cool, and the city itself is pretty, but Venice gets old quickly.”—u/GMen2613Getty Images

55.Overrated: Caminito, Buenos Aires

Colorful buildings of Caminito in Buenos Aires
“Everything is massively overpriced, and if you venture out of the small triangle, it’s not very safe. Stick to San Telmo and nicer neighborhoods like Recoleta, Palermo, and Belgrano.”—u/rivkasaurusrexGetty Images

56.Underrated: Dry Tortugas National Park, Florida

A fortress surrounded by blue water
“Lots of people visit the Florida Keys for vacation, but many don’t know about Dry Tortugas National Park. To get there, you take a ferry from Key West, and it’s so beautiful. You can explore the fort and snorkel in the crystal clear water.”—leahd472a94326Getty Images

57.Underrated: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

A golden bridge leading to a city
“It’s usually overshadowed by Philadelphia, but Pittsburgh is severely underrated, in my opinion. The food scene is really good, and the arts and cultural districts are also very interesting. The Warhol Museum in particular is well worth a visit.”—TDiabeetusGetty Images

58.Overrated: Montego Bay, Jamaica

A hillside town with colorful houses
“I recently went to Jamaica as part of a Caribbean cruise. Montego Bay, in particular, was very beautiful, but I felt like everything was a scam to take your money. I didn’t feel safe anywhere I went, and every place we were taken on a tour required that we spend money on something. Despite the natural beauty, the whole country is treated like a trash can, and there was garbage everywhere. It was very sad to see.”—u/deletedGetty Images

59.Underrated: Asheville, North Carolina

A cityscape at sunset
“If you like mountain towns, Asheville is a great little spot with lots to do, local bars, and a fun, relaxed atmosphere. In addition to the urban comforts, just outside of the city you can go skiing, snowboarding, and hiking.”

NNN – No New News? – 27 Movies With Low Rotten Tomatoes Scores That Prove Critics Know Nothing

December 22, 2021·6 min read

Earlier this year, we asked the BuzzFeed Community about which movies they love that critics did NOT love. We got so many good answers that we decided to put them all together in one post. Here are some of the most egregious failures from movie critics to recognize genius!

1.Hocus Pocus (1993) — 37% on Rotten Tomatoes

Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy, and Sarah Jessica Parker as the Sanderson Sisters
“I dare you to find someone who does not automatically start singing when they hear ‘Come Little Children.’ The Sanderson Sisters are icons to millennials.”—KateDisney courtesy Everett Collection

2.Cruel Intentions (1999) — 55% on Rotten Tomatoes

Selma Blair and Sarah Michelle Gellar in the infamous kissing scene
Cruel Intentions is a brilliant movie and has a mediocre Rotten Tomatoes rating.”—joaqamoleColumbia Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

3.Venom (2018) — 30% on Rotten Tomatoes

Venom grabbing a man by the throat in a convenience store
Venom is so underrated! It was very well done and it’s one of my faves.”—indiav2Columbia Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

4.Jennifer’s Body (2009) — 45% on Rotten Tomatoes

Megan Fox as Jennifer standing outside a burning building
Islandmiss“Totally underrated.”—murrays320th Century Fox /Courtesy Everett Collection

5.Hook (1991) — 29% on Rotten Tomatoes

Robin Williams as Peter Pan standing with the Lost Boys
“Dustin Hoffman IS Captain Hook. And the late Robin Williams is THE PAN. Lost Boys, Tink, Neverland are all there, plus some great new additions to the lore, like the iconic Rufio.”—KateTristar / Everett Collection

6.Hot Rod (2007) — 39% on Rotten Tomatoes

Rod yelling "cool beans" a little too loudly
Hot Rod fully deserves to be a cult classic. I will die on this hill.”—razmatiniParamount

7.The Spy Who Dumped Me (2018) — 49% on Rotten Tomatoes

Kate McKinnon, Mila Kunis, and Sam Heughan holding their hands up in surrender in a scene from the movie
“Sure, it’s not exactly Citizen Kane, but I cracked up through the whole movie. Kate McKinnon could read the tax code and make it hilarious. I also don’t think it’s any stupider than some male-centric movies that critics seemed to love.”—marinas6Lionsgate / Everett Collection

8.The Greatest Showman (2017) — 56% on Rotten Tomatoes

Zendaya and Zac Efron on the trapeze during "Rewrite the Stars"
“One of my favorite movies ever, but it has a criminally low Rotten Tomatoes score.”—Caitlin Klose20th Century Fox

9.The Perfect Score (2004) — 16% on Rotten Tomatoes

Chris Evans in a scene from the movie sitting in a classroom and taking notes
“What’s not to love? It has a great cast, hilarious script, and an awesome message. It’s the ultimate feel-good movie. When I was a speaker at graduation, I literally made a speech about this gem of a film.”—andies478465f2aParamount / Courtesy Everett Collection

10.Empire Records (1995) — 29% on Rotten Tomatoes

The cast of Empire Records including Liv Tyler and Renee Zellweger in a scene from the movie
“Damn the man! Save the Empire!”—maryfaithcWarner Bros.

11.Baywatch (2017) — 17% on Rotten Tomatoes

The Rock and Zac Efron wading out of the ocean
“It’s hilarious, the story is well constructed, it keeps what’s best about the TV show while mocking the things that should be mocked, and the cast is really, really ridiculously good-looking.”—murrays3Paramount

12.Christmas with the Kranks (2004) — 5% on Rotten Tomatoes

Jamie Lee Curtis and Tim Allen in a scene from the movie
“I don’t get why it has such bad reviews! I watch it year-round, and every time I watch it I think, ‘Wow that’s me and my husband.'”—k4e458cc89Sony Pictures

13.Brother Bear (2003) — 37% on Rotten Tomatoes

The animated bears in a scene from the movie
Brother Bear is one of the best Disney movies, but it has a low Rotten Tomatoes rating. I highly recommend it to anyone.”—BubbleGumDay“And the soundtrack is fire.”—ljkDisney

14.Grandma’s Boy (2006) — 16% on Rotten Tomatoes

The cast of Grandma's boy
“It has to be one of my favorite comedies ever. This just goes to show that film critics do not know or understand audiences and we don’t always need a deep, meaningful film full of nuance and metaphors. Sometimes we just want to laugh at dick jokes and stoners.”—angelav45d8cf1a320th Century Fox

15.Drop Dead Gorgeous (1999) — 46% on Rotten Tomatoes

Denise Richards in a scene from the movie performing in a beauty pageant with a model of Mount Rushmore on her head
Drop Dead Gorgeous is my all-time favorite movie. It has Kirsten Dunst, Amy Adams, Denise Richards, Kirstie Alley, and Brittany Murphy along with many other familiar faces. It’s absolutely hysterical.”—miafayediannNew Line Cinema / Courtesy Everett Collection

16.Newsies (1992) — 39% on Rotten Tomatoes

Christian Bale and the cast of Newsies selling newspapers
“Terrible reviews but a huge cult following. I still play the soundtrack to this day.”—baobaopandaDisney / Everett Collection

17.She’s the Man (2006) — 43% on Rotten Tomatoes

Amanda Bynes and Channing Tatum on the soccer field in a scene from the movie
“It is genuinely one of the only movies that makes me laugh out loud every few minutes, and Amanda Bynes is SO good in it.”—brennabooDreamWorks / Everett Collection

18.National Treasure (2004) — 46% on Rotten Tomatoes

Nicolas Cage holding the declaration of independence during the heist scene
“It’s truly just a delight to watch. Ridiculous and campy, but delightful. Not to mention that the music in it is fantastic lol.”—kathrynmueTouchstone Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

19.Spice World (1997) — 35% on Rotten Tomatoes

The Spice Girls in a scene from the movie
SPICE WORLD OMMMGGG. A masterpiece if there ever was one. ‘It must be so hard for you, Victoria. I mean, having to decide whether to wear the little Gucci dress, the little Gucci dress, or…the little Gucci dress!'”—surfingrocketsColumbia Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

20.Jumanji (1995) — 54% on Rotten Tomatoes

Robin Williams protecting the kids during a scene in the movie
“It has a rotten score of 54% but is beloved. Beloved I say!”—takerbobpoohColumbia Tristar / Courtesy Everett Collection

21.The Mummy (1999) and The Mummy Returns (2001) — 60% and 47% on Rotten Tomatoes

Rick, Evie, and Jonathan standing in the desert
“Despite the cheesiness, they’re super fun movies with lovable characters and The Rock as a scorpion monster. What more could you want?”—lilymorgan940Universal / Courtesy Everett Collection

22.The Princess Diaries (2001) — 48% on Rotten Tomatoes

Anne Hathaway as Mia being escorted by hand off the bleachers
“I find it appalling that The Princess Diaries has a low rating on Rotten Tomatoes, it’s a great teenage romantic comedy and Mia is an amazing lead character.”—isabelavidaldeaWalt Disney Co. / Courtesy Everett Collection

23.Wet Hot American Summer (2001) — 36% on Rotten Tomatoes

Chris Meloni as Gene in the training montage scene
Wet Hot American Summer is legitimately one of the funniest movies I’ve ever seen. Christopher Meloni is absolutely perfect and the rest of the cast kills it in every scene. The fact that it only got 36% on the ‘Tomatometer’ but a 76% positive audience score says it all.”—kemiller618USA Films / Courtesy Everett Collection

24.Josie and the Pussycats (2001) — 53% on Rotten Tomatoes

Rachael Leigh Cook, Rosario Dawson, and Tara Reid as Josie and the Pussycats
Josie and the Pussycats is a fantastic time capsule into the early 2000s and a lot of fun.”—rachelc43“Brilliant film! Love the guy who plays Dujour as well! Top campy comedy!!”—pengispoon81MCA / Courtesy Everett Collection

25.Space Jam (1996) — 43% on Rotten Tomatoes

Bill Murray and Michael Jordan in a scene with Bugs Bunny
“It is a cinematic masterpiece. Rotten Tomatoes can choke on it.”—regz123455Warner Bros / Courtesy Everett Collection

26.Armageddon (1998) — 38% on Rotten Tomatoes

The drilling/astronaut crew walking to the space shuttle in Armageddon
“It has EVERYTHING you want in a film: action, adventure, romance, it’s scary AND hilarious, and it’s got Bruce Willis and Steve Buscemi. I am willing to die on this hill alone.”—rewildingwolflingTouchstone Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

27.Penelope (2006) — 54% on Rotten Tomatoes

James McAvoy and Christina Ricci playing a game of chess together in a scene from the movie
Penelope starring Christina Ricci. It is such a good film about learning to love yourself. I can’t believe how many people never heard of it and how low its score is.”