Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Mid-Week Music #24 - Winter Wonderland

I don't know where you are right now, as you're reading this. But where I am right now, it's snowing, and snowing hard. It has been since before it was light outside. And we don't always get a lot of snow down here in the South--it's been many years since I've seen a white Christmas--so when it snows like this, it's very special.

And so a special song is called for. I could have used 'Snow' from White Christmas, but that one specifically mentions Christmas, and it's not Christmastime anymore. So, I decided to use this one. No, it's not a Christmas song, just a wintertime song, despite the fact that they always play it during the Advent season and never any other time.

This is the best version I could find that wasn't specifically Christmassy. Which is a pretty good version! I'm sure there are snowball fights and snowy quests in the days ahead. Though... we already built a snowman, last year, the first time it snowed this season. Ah, well. Maybe we'll build another one.

Wherever you are, whatever the weather, I hope you enjoy this Winter Wonderland!

(Wonderland... winter wonderland... wonderland...)

Sleigh bells ring, are you listening?
In the lane, snow is glistening
A beautiful sight, oh, we're happy tonight
Walking in a winter wonderland

Gone away is the bluebird
Here to stay is a new bird
He's singing a song as we go along
Walking in a winter wonderland

Well, in the meadow we can build a snowman
And pretend that he is Parson Brown
He'll say 'are you married?', we'll say 'no, man
'But you can do the job when you're in town'

Later on, we'll conspire
As we dream by the fire
To face unafraid all the plans that we made
Walking in a winter wonderland

In the meadow we can build a snowman
And pretend that he's a circus clown
We'll have lots of fun with Mr. Snowman
Until the other kiddies knock him down

When it snows, ain't it thrilling?
Though your nose gets a chilling
We'll frolic and play the Eskimo way
Walking in a winter wonderland

(Wonderland... wonderland...)

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Wanted: Angry Drill Sergeant

No, I did not fall off of the face of the planet, get sucked through a wormhole, or accidentally time travel. I simply got sick. Okay, the cold has just been in the past couple of days, but before that, it was Chronic Procrastinitis. Been going on for a while now, honestly. And it needs to end.

In short, I need a drill sergeant who will yell at me to get my work done on time (and, sometimes, at all). Do any of you know of one I could borrow? Brother Drill Sergeant Combs Sir is otherwise occupied. He's the best at it. I could settle for Principal Strickland if no one angrier is available. Leave any recommendations in the comments below!

I'm very sorry, all of you. It's almost two weeks into the New Year and I've done nothing. There's no excuse for laziness. Things will be back to normal in a very short time. I apologize. Mid-Week Music will be back this very Wednesday, no question.

As per usual, I will give you a picture with my in-between post.

A reflection of some of my watching habits during illness. A very cool combination of them. And why not?

Again, please let me know if you can find a good drill sergeant, and I apologize for my laziness.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

The End of 2017

Time travel is confusing, even at the normal rate of sixty seconds per minute.

Think about it: in no less than one hour, it will be 2018. How did time go so fast? In a year, we'll still be thinking the same thing, because time will still be moving, and that's always confusing. So, before this year ends and a new one begins, I will post this little review of the past year. Not review as in a movie review, of course. Just looking back on a lot of things.

Firstly, Donald Trump became President of the United States of America. I know there are some people reading this blog not from America, so this may not be as big a deal to some of those people. But it has been a big win for us. The Wall isn't up yet, but a lot of other great things have been done. Just go on and click the Not Tired Of Winning link on the side for a list.

(That's just a funny parody that the kids love listening to every night. Gives you an idea of things, for those who don't like clicking links.)

Now, on to personal matters. I started this blog! This is the 35th post I've done since June 30, which was when I started. (Also, let me apologize for not putting up a Mid-Week Music this past week. I mistook Wednesday for Tuesday, and we were all still sort of busy.) I have had so much fun writing these posts, and I am definitely looking forward to writing more in the coming year.

Things have also been happening in Newsom Hall. For example, I have a new baby brother named Ransom! He's the sweetest thing, and he loves the Christmas lights. (Yes, we've still got the Christmas Tree up, and there it'll stay until after Twelfth Night.) I get to hold him a lot now, even though I've still not gotten to see him smile as much as I'd like. But hey, I have a baby brother!

A lot of things happened this year. One of the scariest things was that I turned seventeen. (Enter overdramatic gasp.) We had an amazing vacation, discovered a lot of new bands and musical artists, read books, and basically did lots of things. We watched a couple of movies in the theatre this year, the best one being The Man Who Invented Christmas. There will likely be a review sometime in the coming year, because we definitely intend to see it in the theatre again with the whole family. Please go watch that film if you haven't.

I had wanted to finish my first novel this year, but I'm still in Chapter 8. Tsk. However, I have fully written and edited a novella for a writing contest (by Rooglewood Press), and--by the time this post has gone out--entered it as well. It's called Princess of the Seventh Star, and some of you may remember a post a while back with the first scene. That project took up most of my writing time, but I think it was worth it. I may not have done all the things I'd planned, but I have done things.

Speaking of which, a website I read called recently put up a writing exercise. It was to make a list of all the good things that happened to you, all the things you succeeded in, every win. Since I read that website more often than not, I made one. It's a bit too extensive for a single blog post, but that might be because I included smaller things. Ah well, I suppose it's mainly a list for oneself. Read the post, if you will.

There's the past year for you: hectic, filled to bursting, and wonderful. As for the present, we're enjoying one of our Christmas presents--gingerbread houses, or something else made of gingerbread--as we prepare for midnight. And the future? Well, I plan to finish my first novel, and begin work on the second. I'll likely be working on some radio scripts--both in way of recording and of writing. I hope to see one of my works published. But that's out of my hands now, I suppose. So we'll see. I'm also going to be putting up many more posts on this here blog. I may even get a driver's license.

You know, this is rather an odd time, New Year's Eve. Everyone reminisces about the past year, marvel at how quickly the present time has arrived, and make plans for the coming year. It's almost as if the past and the future meet and shake hands in the few moments before the year ends.

Whatever the past may have brought, whatever the future may hold, let us never forget He who is the Lord of all time--the One who is eternity. It is He whose birth we have all been celebrating in the past week, commemorating the day when eternity stepped into time in the person of Jesus Christ.

Of the Father's love begotten
Ere the worlds began to be
He is Alpha and Omega
He the Source, the ending He
Of the things that are
That have been
And that future years shall see
Evermore and evermore

Happy New Year, everyone!

Sunday, December 24, 2017

On the Road Home, Keep Christmas, Lose the Self

I don't know if most of you have heard of John C. Wright, but I've been told he's rather famous. He's a writer on the Right, and is really the one who started the Last Crusade movement, I suppose. (My first post explains what that is, if you're wondering). I read his blog, or website, or whatever it's called. A few days ago, he posted part of an article he wrote for... I believe it's called Dangerous? He also included a link to the rest of the article. Click that link. It is well worth your while.

I disagree with him on only one point: the three versions of A Christmas Carol that we watch every year are the 1970 musical, the 2009 Disney version, and either Mickey's Christmas Carol or Stingiest Man in Town (both animated). I have never yet seen the versions he mentions. But this is simply our tradition. It has little bearing on matters such as these.

You see, Mr. Wright has written something truly wonderful. Christmas is a time of pictures and images of elsewhere, a time of homesickness for that same elsewhere, a time of selflessness and redemption, a time of mercy and magic and love. All of this is made very clear in Mr. Wright's article. And this article has brought me joy this Christmas, and I wanted you all to know of it too.

"In the place where God was homeless, all men are at home." ~ G. K. Chesterton.

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Mid-Week Music #23 - What Child Is This?

As Christmas has drawn nearer, I've done a lot of different MWMs, with a lot of different Christmas songs. That is, if three weeks of it constitutes a lot. Cinnamon Bear, Do They Know What Christmas Is, Father Christmas: every one of them Christmas songs. This week, I'd like to do a real Christmas carol.

Let me explain the difference: people don't write Christmas carols anymore. They write Christmas songs, about how wonderful this time of the year is, how much they love their family, and how their love life is going at this time of year. Some of them are good songs, and some of them are not. But none of them are Christmas carols, because Christmas carols are almost all hymns. Hymns that tell of angels singing praise to God, of tidings of comfort and joy, of the joy that Jesus brought to the world.

There may be one (perhaps two or three) exceptions, but these in any case are still merry old songs of days past. You can usually tell them apart from the more modern things. And no, I don't consider Little Drummer Boy and Do You Hear What I Hear to be Christmas carols. They're still Christmas songs. And I thought it was high time for me to post a Mid-Week Music about a Christmas carol.

I chose this one because of a certain person, whose first Christmas this is. Of course, I mean my baby brother, Ransom. I thought it would be fitting to post a carol specifically about another newborn boy, who was also a Ransom for many. For sinners here, the silent Word is pleading. As the time of Advent is soon to come to a close, let us raise the song on high with joy, to celebrate the Babe, the Son of Mary.

Here, my friends, is a real Christmas carol: What Child Is This?

What Child is this Who, laid to rest,
On Mary's lap is sleeping?
Whom angels greet with anthems sweet
While shepherds watch are keeping?
This, this is Christ the King
Whom shepherds guard and angels sing
Haste, haste to bring Him laud
The Babe, the Son of Mary

Why lies He in such mean estate
Where ox and ass are feeding?
Good Christian, fear: for sinners here,
The silent Word is pleading
Nails, spear shall pierce Him through
The cross be borne for me, for you
Hail, hail the Word Made Flesh
The Babe, the Son of Mary

So bring Him incense, gold, and myrrh
Come shepherds, kings, to own Him
The King of Kings salvation brings
Let loving hearts enthrone Him
Raise, raise the song on high
The virgin sings her lullaby
Joy, joy, for Christ is born
The Babe, the Son of Mary

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Mid-Week Music #22 - Father Christmas

Well, this week's MWM is yet another Christmas song. And once again, it's not exactly a traditional one. That will come next week. However, the movie this song comes from is a tradition in our household, so it might well be considered traditional. That movie is called Scrooge.

It's the one from 1970, the musical, in case you were wondering. I know there've been a lot of adaptations with the same title. We've watched several adaptations of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol (the most recent being The Man Who Invented Christmas, which is a marvellous one, to be sure). It may not be the most accurate one--the scene between the final ghost and Scrooge's awakening shows that very clearly--but few have made me quite so happy as this one does every time. Highly recommended.

But moving on, why this song in particular? Well, first, we are going to start watching Scrooge tonight (or we plan to). But we also plan to get back to reading The Nicholas Book again. The Nicholas Book is a novel set in 1959, and written by my daddy, William Chad Newsom. The story is about a pair of twins--Joshua and Rachel--who go on a Quest to find out the truth about Santa Claus. We've read it every year since... well, possibly since it was published. It's one of my favourite traditions. If the idea interests you, please take a look at it!

Of course, this song isn't the best source of truth on Santa. No indeed. The boys are simply calling old Scrooge by the name of Father Christmas to mock him. It's not very serious. But it is quite fun. And you know how A Christmas Carol ends. In fact, the same boys later change, if not their tune, their words. By the end of the movie, they half believe Scrooge really is Father Christmas himself. And that's a wonder to see.

I suppose in a way, the boys were placing the characteristics and, well, character of Scrooge onto that of Father Christmas. If they were being serious about it, I'd say they were being like Lou Nyten. (Especially in that last line...) But by the end, the character of Father Christmas has been placed onto that of Scrooge. Interesting. But it's getting late, so I must be on my merry Christmas way. For now, here is... Father Christmas!

Boy 1:
Blimey! Who's he?

Boy 2:
That's Father Christmas!

A plague on Father Christmas!

Boy 3:
And he sends his best to you too, guv'ner!

Father Christmas, Father Christmas
He's the meanest man in the 'ole wide world
In the 'ole wide world, you can feel it
He's a miser, he's a skinflint
He's a stingy lout--leave your stocking out
For your Christmas gift
And he'll steal it

It's a shame he's a villain
What a game for a villain to play
On Christmas Day

Every Christmas, Father Christmas
Will be just as mean as he's ever been
And I'm here to say we should all send Father Christmas
On his merry Christmas way!


Father Christmas!

Father Christmas
He's the rottenest man in the universe
There is no one worse, you can tell it

Boy 1:
He's a rascal!

Boy 2:
He's a bandit!

He's a crafty one--leave your door undone
He'll go in your house
And sell it

Boy 4:
It's a crime

It's a scandal
What a game for a vandal to play
On Christmas Day

If you distrust Father Christmas
It's as well to know that I told you so
Cause I'm here to say we should all send Father Christmas

2 Boys:
Father Christmas

2 More Boys:
Father Christmas

2 Other Boys:
Father Christmas

Small Boy:
Father Christmas

On his merry Christmas waaay!

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Mid-Week Music #21 - Do They Know What Christmas Is?

This week, I decided to do a more modern Christmas song. In fact, this is one of my favourites. That's right, I'm going to do that classic from 1984, that peak of all songwriting capabilities, Do They Know It's Christmas...

Oh wait. Never mind.

Yes, I was just kidding on all counts. This is not the same song. This is a Christian parody of that song, made by the talented Hans Fiene at Lutheran Satire. Writing songs is actually just part of what he does. Most of the time, he makes videos that do something along the lines of what I like to call Yelling At Culture. In his own words, he "teaches the faith by making fun of stuff". I highly recommend hopping over to his channel.

This video actually has most of the characters from his videos in it. So if you're confused about any of the characters, just go take a look at some of his videos, and you'll find out who they are. And let me tell you, every time the original song comes on the radio, I now sing these lyrics instead. Thanks, Pastor Fiene! And I mean that--these lyrics are way more fun. And not just fun: they do in fact teach the faith by making fun of stuff. So do pay attention to the lyrics, if you will.

Now here is the real question: Do They Know What Christmas Is at all? Let's hope they find out, once they listen to this song.

It's Christmastime, and we know why we celebrate
Cause at Christmastime, the love of Christ, it conquers hate
And with this word of comfort, we can know salvation's joy
Get to church, and grab your Bible, it's Christmastime

But say a prayer, pray for the other ones
Those who won't go to Mass cuz there is football onnn

There's the world outside your window
Where they've clearly lost their way
Where the only book they're reading is that Fifty Shades of Gray

And their children don't know Jesus, but they sure know Pikachu

Well, tonight, thank God it's them instead of you

Yeah, no, don't remotely thank God for that. That's a terrible prayer.

And there might be snow in Michigan this Christmastime
But snow don't rescue squat from death and sin
Oooh, come on, Patrick!
So when they can't even spell Saviour or Emmanuel
Do they know what Christmas is at all?

Do you... wait, what part is this? I don't know this part.
Is this the bridge? No one knows the bridge to this song! Why didn't I get a better part?
Don't you know who Horus is at all?

[This is the boring part of the song where nothing happens.]

[Here's a picture of a duck to pass the time:]

*shows a picture of a Canadian goose*

Read the Wo-ord
Let them kn--oh, sorry, not that part yet, sorry
Read the Wo-ord
Let them know--
The third time, Frank--we do that after the third time!
Sorry, man!
Read the Wo-ord
Let them know what Christmas is again
Go to chu-urch
Let them know what Christmas is again
Read the Wo-ord
Let them know what Christmas is again
Go to chu-urch
Let them know what Christmas is again

*poof! conk!*
*whack, whack, whack, whack, whack...*
Happy Horus Day, you schnitzel-head Christians.
*whack, whack, whack, whack, whack...*