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 the 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 souls 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...*

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Mid-Week Music #20 - Cinnamon Bear

This week's MWM is the first Christmas song. Well, not an official Christmas song, but it's always played around Christmastime. It is the theme song of a Christmas radio show. And of course, Advent is soon to begin. So I decided to put it up. Also, because I couldn't find a version of the song just on its own, I decided to post the first entire episode (which isn't very long--just eleven minutes). But if you want just the song, it starts at about 6:48.

So, time for me to tell you a little about The Cinnamon Bear. It first aired in 1937, between Thanksgiving and Christmas. It's about a pair of twins--Judy and Jimmy--who go on a magical adventure to get back their Silver Star from the Crazy-Quilt Dragon. Cinnamon Bear is their most constant companion, and their guide through Maybeland. They go on adventure after adventure, and encounter all kinds of danger and excitement along the way. It's very whimsical, I'd say, and quite fun too!

We started listening to it at our house recently, and my younger brothers and sisters (especially the latter) could not stop talking about it all the way to the restaurant Sunday afternoon. Even my youngest sister (about three, I guess) keeps asking and asking to do "another Cin'mon Bear". It's definitely a classic. Now, since the Silver Star is the one for the top of the twins' Christmas Tree, as well as the object of their quest, I figured it'd be a perfect way to kick off the holidays. Let me know what you thought of the episode (if you listened to it), or if you're already a listener of the old radio show, in the comments below.

And here's the Cinnamon Bear!

I'm the Cinnamon Bear, with the shoe-button eyes
And I'm looking for someone to take by surprise
I go growling and prowling each night after dark
But they all say my growl's just a cinnamon bark

Though I growl--Grr-ahh!
And I growl--Grr-ooh!
My victims only say
"Oh, who's afraid of you?"

I'm the Cinnamon Bear, with the shoe-button eyes
And I'm happy and fluffy and tough forrr my size
I devour lots of honey and cinnamon buns
Just to make me ferrrocious, but nobody runs

Now I'll growl--Grr-ahh!
And I'll growl--Grr-ooh!
And if you'll act afraid
I'm much obliged to you!

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Mid-Week Music #19 - Sleep Sound in Jesus

So... wow. It was even longer than I'd expected before I was able to get back to this. Things will hopefully get back to a normal schedule now. I'm really sorry about all this. But someone decided to show up late.

Ah, of course not. Only after four days of waiting in the one little hospital room.

In case any of you have not guessed, the reason why I have been so busy, why I put that picture up just now, is because of my now week-old baby brother, Ransom! (Well, he's a week old at the time of my writing this, which is sometime between Thursday and Friday). Two weeks ago was when we were all preparing for Mommy to go to the hospital, which was why I posted that I was so busy. He came on Thursday, at 11:01, I think.

I am not sure if I will post pictures yet. Not in this post (unless I edit them in later). But he's such a sweet little baby, and I love holding him--when I get a turn, that is. In a house with five other people who love holding him, not including Mommy and Daddy... well, you can guess how that is! But I love all of them, especially little Ransom. As Thanksgiving is coming (or here), I know we're all very thankful for him.

This week's MWM is a lullaby--the first song on an entire album of them--by Michael Card. I'm not sure why I decided on this one, but since it was the first, I suppose it makes sense. I wonder if someday, when little Ransom is older, he sees this little post. In such a case, hi! Hope things are going well in the future! You've probably listened to this many times as you've grown up. So here is a lullaby for you, baby brother: Sleep Sound in Jesus.

Sleep sound in Jesus, my baby, my dear
Angels are watching, they keep you so near
Though for His sake you'll be safe through the night
Sleep sound in Jesus, I'll turn off the light

Sleep sound in Jesus, sweet heart of my heart
The dark of the night will not keep us apart
I lay you down in your bed for the night
He holds you gently till morning is night

Sleep sound in Jesus, the angels are near
They're keeping watch, so there's nothing to fear
Against any foe they are ready to fight
So sleep sound in Jesus, I'll turn off the light

Sleep sound in Jesus, my baby, my dear
Angels are watching, they keep you so near
Though for His sake you'll be safe through the night
Sleep sound in Jesus, I'll turn off the light

Friday, November 10, 2017

An Apology (and a Laugh or Two)

I must apologize to you, dear readers.

Some of you may have noticed that there is no Mid-Week Music post this week. That is not just a mistake or glitch. We have been extremely busy for the past... well, several weeks, I suppose. And all that is coming to a head this week. I haven't even had time to think of a song to put up here. I'm very sorry, especially since I said there would be one every week, no matter what.

But never fear. There will be a MWM post next week for certain. The cause for all this busyness will be explained then. While we wait for Wednesday, I will give you a picture. Hopefully, it will make you laugh long enough for me to get back on track. I know I laughed for several minutes when I first saw it.

Oh my word, I'm laughing at it right now. It's hilarious. Please do comment if you laughed at it too!Anyway, busyness is calling my name, so I will go now. Actua1lly, my mother is now calling my name, so... bye! Mid-Week Music will return next Wednesday!

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Mid-Week Music #18 - A Mighty Fortress Is Our God

Last week, I put up a song called "The Last Halloween". It was one of the funniest Halloween songs I've ever run across, especially with Dakota singing the whole thing. But, like my dad reminds me, things like that are like cotton candy, really. They're fun to have sometimes, but we need things that will fill us--the meat and potatoes of the thing, really. And today, I am posting a song that is just along those lines. It's not a song, though: not just a song, I mean. This is a hymn, to remind us of why we celebrate.

"But Grace!" you may say. "You're getting mixed up! It's not Christmastime yet--now's not the time to be pulling out 'Reason for the Season' messages." Still others may wonder what on earth I'm talking about: Halloween isn't a Christian holiday. Everybody knows it. Ask anyone you like. Unless you happen to be one of the few who do realize my reasons for this, do read on for your own knowledge.

You see, Halloween (especially by that name) has always been Christian. The name itself means "All Hallows Eve", which precedes All Hallows Day. Just like Christmas Eve precedes Christmas Day. From what I've been told, the origin of the way we celebrate today was that people believed that demons and all manner of evil would run wild on All Hallow's Eve, in order to try and ruin the festivities of the next day. Thus (and this is according to people I've heard), the folks would dress as demons, goblins, and witches because they were afraid of them, and wanted to hide and protect themselves from the creatures.

Some Christians today believe this means All Hallow's Eve is a holiday that's all about evil, and the Devil, and so are wary of celebrating it. The Adventures in Odyssey lost episode "What Are We Gonna Do About Halloween?" addresses this. All Hallow's Eve was just a day for the Devil to run wild--why would they want to celebrate it?

But, in case any of you are thinking of stowing your Halloween costumes next year, let me tell the real reason we celebrate, why we dress up in costumes like that every October the 31st. You see, people didn't dress like demons and things like that out of fear--they were mocking the evil things. No one thought all witches were green with warts all over them, no one thought the Devil was red with pointy horns and a pitchfork. They were doing it to mock him and his servants, because they knew he can't stand being mocked. He and his hate it, and so we do it even more.

And we can do it, because we know they can't hurt us. The servants of darkness can't separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus, no matter what they do. That's why they run wild, you see: it's as if they're making a last desperate attempt to gain a victory. But Jesus has thrown their kingdom into disarray, and we will surely be the victors. A theologian by the name of James Jordan has a wonderful article on the matter, which has even more than what I've included here. Please do give it a read.

That's not the only reason, either, as my brothers and sisters eagerly pointed out when we listened to the Odyssey episode. It was on this very day that Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the church door in Wittenburg and begun the Reformation, 500 years ago. That's part of the reason why I chose this hymn: to commemorate Luther and the Reformation. This is his most famous hymn, and has been called the Battle Hymn of the Reformation. 500th anniversaries only come once, you know.

The second reason I chose this hymn was because of what Luther preached. Among other things, he taught that the Bible said we cannot be saved through works of the flesh. Without God, we are nothing. If Jesus had not died to conquer sin, then risen again to conquer death, we would have good reason to fear these demons and witches and evil spirits. But because God has saved us, and we have faith in this promise, we will not fear the Prince of Darkness or his servants. Whatever happens, God's Truth abideth still, and His Kingdom is forever. And if God is for us, who--be they witch or demon, goblin or ghoul--can stand against us?

With that in mind, dear readers, let us listen to the great hymn, "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God".

A mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing;
Our helper He, amid the flood of mortal ills prevailing:
For still our ancient foe doth seek to work us woe;
His craft and power are great, and, armed with cruel hate,
On earth is not his equal.

Did we in our own strength confide, our striving would be losing;
Were not the right Man on our side, the Man of God's own choosing:
Dost ask Who that may be? Christ Jesus, it is He;
Lord Sabaoth, His Name, from age to age the same,
And He must win the battle.

And though this world, with devils filled, should threaten to undo us,
We will not fear, for God hath willed His Truth to triumph through us:
The Prince of Darkness grim, we tremble not for him;
His rage we can endure, for lo, his doom is sure,
One little Word shall fell him.

That Word above all earthly powers, no thanks to them, abideth;
The Spirit and the gifts are ours through Him Who with us sideth:
Let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also;
The body they may kill: God's Truth abideth still,
His kingdom is forever.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Mid-Week Music #17 - The Last Halloween

Today's MWM has to do with two things: Halloween, and Milo Murphy's Law. The second one is a cartoon show rather in the vein (and universe) of Phineas and Ferb, and made by the same people. The show is about a boy named Milo Murphy, who has some of the strangest luck I've ever heard tell of. Basically, it's the idea of "Whatever can go wrong will go wrong" come to life: bad and absurdly weird things happen to him and his friends every day, and a cyclone of calamity follows him wherever he goes. However, his constant optimism and crazy preparedness somehow always manage to bring him good luck and allow him to escape serious harm. So he either has the worst luck in history or the best luck in history. It's honestly almost a superpower.

I must admit, this show has grown to be a bit of a favorite in our household, especially of mine. Part of the reason for this is the time-travelling twosome, Cavendish and Dakota. They're from the future, you see, and they're in the 21st century because... well, the reason changes over the course of the show, but it always has to do with pistachios. They're very funny, and an important part of the show, as well as two of my favorite characters overall. This week's MWM has to do with them in particular.

The song is from the Halloween special, Milo Murphy's Halloween Scream-a-Torium. Yeah, odd name, I know, but it's an odd show in general. And the song itself is... well, pretty much absolutely ridiculous. Very Phineas-and-Ferb-ish. But what can I say? After a few times, it's grown on me. That's probably why it's the first song on my Halloween Playlist. Besides, it's Cavendish and Dakota, whaddya gonna do?

Anyway, in the episode, it turns out that there is no Halloween in Cavendish and Dakota's time. And they're in the 21st century on the last Halloween in history. (What comes of that plot point is both hilarious and awesome). They do some sort of research to figure out how the thing works. And... how shall I put this?... they get it wrong. Well, they got the costumes part right--Dakota's costume is pretty clever!--but they get everything else completely mixed up. The following scene occurs...

Welcome, my friends, to The Last Halloween!


I think I understand, I think I get the knack
It's just a way to get free candy--what a racket!
We are gonna score tonight, it's gonna be a phenomenon!

Halloween is just the best! Too bad it's the last one
We need to stop at every house--oh wait, we just passed one
We got to make the most of this while it's still going on

We're going door to door, just asking for candy
On any other night, it would be panhandling
I think you know what I mean
It's the last Halloween

Look at this candy--look at this loot!
We should avoid that house, I hear they're giving fresh fruit
But right next door, they've got full-sized candy bars

Oh, hey, I got an idea--it's a little bit shady
But if we change costumes, that same old lady's
Gonna give us more candy, cause she won't know who we are

Wear a costume that's simple, or really elaborate
Using papier-mache, or just cheap fabric
You can be a ghost, and I can be a Fronk-en-shteen

We're going door to door, just asking for candy
On any other night, this would be panhandling
But live it up folks, cause tonight's the last Halloween
Yeah, live it up, folks
Cause tonight's the last Halloween!

Saturday, October 21, 2017

The Second Anniversary of the Future

Well, by now, you've probably figured out that this is the special post that I told you about earlier in the week. And in that special post, I said that it was an anniversary. Well, today is the second anniversary of the future. By which, I mean...

Image result for back to the future


That's right: today is the second anniversary of the day Marty McFly and Doc Brown travelled to the future. In fact, I scheduled this post to come out at the exact time--4:29 PM--that they arrived. Put quite briefly, I am a very big fan of this trilogy. They're some of the few movies that make me get all excited every time I watch them, and probably the only series that makes me get that way over every single movie in it. That is what this post is going to be about.

Now, I've got to tell you: before I watched Back to the Future, I liked time travel. I really did. But after I watched it... I loved time travel. The first time I watched it was the night before we went to a certain Renaissance Faire somewhere in our state. The Renaissance Faire had a theme: it was Time Traveller's Weekend. And at that Renaissance Faire, they had the DeLorean. It played music from the movies and everything. I was very, very excited!

Image result for back to the future

Well, enough background: now on to the movies themselves. Now, I won't go into every little detail that make those movies great in this post. I do need something for later Back to the Future posts, and I'll go into the specifics in those. But for now, I'm going to tell you, in general terms, a few things I like about the Back to the Future trilogy.

First, it's time travel. I've said already that I liked time travel anyway, and, having watched these movies, I now love it. You could see some of your favorite times in the past, or discover how things will look after your time, far in the future. There are so many possibilities, but I think my favorite parts would be when I could meet people--from heroes in days past to distant grandchildren, and yes, even my parents and grandparents when they were my age.

Back to the Future is a wonderful example. Not only is it a Time Travel Story, but it's also a Time Paradox Story as well. Those are always fun, if sometimes a bit brain-breaking. The logic of the thing generally holds up well enough (except for one slight discrepancy in the third one, but it really isn't that big a deal), and it also doesn't break my brain when I think about it. Usually. But I haven't thought about it hard in a while, so I may have to get back to you on that.

Second, the characters are so memorable. Marty is almost a master of ceremonies, taking us--the -audience--through these many adventures, characters, and good times (and even some bad ones). Doc Brown is very funny, Great-Scotting every-which-way, and being hilariously expressive about everything. Biff, the constant villain, is a wonderful source of comedy as well. He always messes up his puns, and he too is incredibly expressive. And there are multiple versions of him too, all played by the same man, so for every version to be funny is pretty good on the film-makers. The rest of the characters are interesting too: a few of my favorites are Clara Clayton and George McFly. They all just sort of... click, I suppose. They work well together.

And this is an important part of the story to me. The story partly hinges on this point, on whether or not you have great characters. That's why I try to bring to life great characters in my writing, characters who are real but can take people by the hand and lead them into any fancied world I invent. And I don't mean realistic, which has now come to mean dark and depressing, humourless and perpetually hopeless. No, characters must be real to the readers. Or watchers, or listeners. And the characters in Back to the Future do that, for me anyway. I don't think about the acting: I think about the characters themselves. They're real to me.

This is one reason why I hope that they never remake or reboot Back to the Future, because at the current rate of reboots, they will screw up colossally, especially with the characters. But I get the feeling that it will not happen anytime soon, so that's a relief.

Along with those two reasons, the whole thing's just so well done. It's well-written, and the funny lines just keep coming, one after another after another. It's well-acted, on all counts, and well-directed, and well-cast. The special effects look particularly great for that day and age, and the music--well, let's just say it's been played a lot through the past few days, and is also going to be played a lot in the very near future. You may have actually heard one of the songs recently on this blog.

Not only that, but the action in this thing has me practically hopping up and down on the edge of my seat, despite knowing what's going to happen. It's exciting, and there are so many moments worthy of a fist pump and a yelled-out "Yes!!" My family actually says every time we watch it "No, we can't watch it anymore, it makes Grace too happy." But we always watch them again anyway. Whatever else they may be, the Back to the Future movies are some of the most fun movies of all time.

I think there's a term some people use, where people just love some movie or TV show to death, and never get tired of it. What is it... fangirl? Yeah, that's the word for it. I'm a fangirl of Back to the Future. If I'm a fangirl of anything, it'd probably be Back to the Future. I know there are flaws and shortcomings, as there are in every movie. And I'll willingly acknowledge those, and point them out. But because I can pick them out and say they're wrong without messing up the movie, I'd say it's absolutely worth it.

In short, fast-paced action and quick-witted characters are revved all the way up to 88 in this epic classic. Little wonder that this movie is one for the ages.

This clip is about how I feel every time I watch a Back to the Future movie.

In an earlier post, I mentioned that watching this movie had partially inspired a certain script I've been working on. It isn't really the main project I'm working on (or the main one I should be working on), but, you know, I've been working on it. It's currently called There and Back in Time. Funny, considering the picture that was included in that earlier post. But no, it's not a time-travel story having to do with Middle Earth. That one will come even later on.

You see, this one has a main character named Ben. He accidentally time-travels from his time (early 18th century/1700s) to this one (early 21st century, for those who don't know to which time they have jumped). He makes friends with a few different people, not least among them a girl called Glory. He furthermore makes enemies with a familiar-looking fellow named Jack Tanyer. So he has to figure out not only how to navigate this odd new world, but also how to get back home.

Now, the script's not done, and it may be some time before it's recorded and ready for listening. I'm pretty busy with other things, and those keep getting interrupted anyway. So don't be surprised if it's more than months before I say I have made an end. However, I have been working on it, and several of the details are influenced by the Back to the Future trilogy. A character here, a scene there, a few odd references dotted around, and probably more, too. What did you expect?

Well, that about wraps it up for this post. But I would also like to say that I am going to begin a tradition for this day. From now on, October 21 is Time Travel Day. The week preceding could also be considered Time Travel Week, but I won't make that official. The Mid-Week Music for that week will have something to do with either Back to the Future or time travel of another kind. And on every October 21, I will do a post having to do with the Back to the Future trilogy.

But as I said, that's about it for now. I have some things I need to do that are waiting impatiently. Great Scott, it's later than I thought. Perfect. Sorry, gotta go now. Don't want to be late again! *So take me away/I don't mi-i-i-ind/But you better promise me/I'll be back in time!*