Thursday, December 17, 2009

College student ingenuity

Since I'm doing far too much grading to blog much this week, here's something quick and easy and impressive to share with you. A friend of mine at the University of Dayton knows (teaches?) one of the responsible students. Enjoy!

Jonathon's Christmas Lights 2009 - Carol of the Bells from Jonathon Reinhart on Vimeo.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Function with relative ease

I can't resist posting this. I came home tonight and turned on the TV and caught the end of a show called "Community" on NBC. I only caught the last 5 minutes or so, but they were clearly having some issues with how to have a pluralistic holiday party. There was also something going on that might have been quite interesting about Christianity, forgiveness, and violence. One guy seemed to have been uninvited to the party because he wanted to fight someone, and that seemed to the Christian to be not in keeping with the peace of the season; but other people seemed to think that Christianity ought to be about forgiveness.

Somehow, they all ended up finding a way to support both the brawl and the party, where the following lyrics were sung to the tune of "Silent Night":

Sensible night, appropriate night,
Snow on ground, left and right.
Round yon purchase of decorative things,
Tolerant re-write of carol to sing,
Function with relative ease,
Function with relative ease.

I think the same observations about predictable offense that I made about the could be repeated about this.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Merry Smorgitysmorg from SNL

I'm trying to figure out how I feel about about the following little bit done as the bulk of the host's monologue on Saturday Night Live this week.

Blake Lively starts the host's monologue, mentioned she met the Muppets at the lighting of the tree in Rockefeller Center. Is suddenly interrupted by the Swedish chef--not the muppet, but one of the actors very cleverly costumed to look like the Swedish chef. And, of course, he talked like the Swedish chef. "Smorgaty smorgasborg, etc." Before long, he and Blakely were joined by some of the other actors, costumed as Fozzy Bear, Beaker, Gonzo, and Animal.

They say that they should kick off the holiday season with a holiday song. After some debate on what they can get the rights to, they land on a classic. But note what they do.

Together they all sing: "Hark the herald angels sing..."
Then just Animal: "Aaaaah gah gah gah aah aah yah!"
Then all: "Peace on earth and mercy mild..."
Then Swedish chef: "Smorgady borgy dee borg ee smorg."

Then (and let me admit that this was funny) Beaker starts singing, in a very clear, powerful unBeakerlike (and very female) voice, as the others looked on, rather shocked: "Joyful all ye nations rise, join the triumph of the skies, with angelic hosts proclaim ... beep bee-bee-beep beep bee-bee-beep," going right back into Beaker mode when the line would have been "Christ is born in Bethlehem."

Then, the Swedish chef sings loudly "Smorgady borg..." And then everyone together with him: "smorg smorg smorg borg!"

Actually, you can watch it here:

Now, on the one hand, I find this predictably offensive. I mean, you expect that people will co-opt the peace and mercy and joy of Christmas and leave Christ out of it. It's offensive, but it is predictable. On the other hand, I feel like, if one found this pattern predictably offensive, a skit like this would be a pretty good way to make fun of exactly how predictable this creative selective embrace of Christmas can be. I find myself hoping that someone is that clever, but I'm afraid that's not it.

But it was funny. Brilliant to gather this assortment of semi-verbal muppets to sing a traditional Christmas carol. I wonder how many people realized how carefully their lines were chosen, and what words were missing.

Conquer the world, lose the game

So my first football love is always the Irish, but since their season is beyond over, I watched the SEC championship game today. I'll admit, I'm a bit of a Tim Tebow fan. He's a likeable, dedicated young man, and he takes his faith very seriously, and he uses his fame to witness to that faith. I like that about him.

He usually puts a scripture verse in his eyeblack. Today, it proclaimed John 16:33, and I went ahead and looked it up. I found: "I have told you this so that you might have peace in me. In the world you will have trouble, but take courage, I have conquered the world."

Now, I'm all about Jesus having conquered the world. But, is it just me, or does this sound like a guy who is at peace with the fact that he's about to have some serious trouble in the big game?

Of course, at least he has his priorities straight. What would it profit a man to win the game and lose his soul? But still.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Global Warming?

Let me give you a quick glimpse into my walk home this December afternoon.

It was sunny. It was downright warm. As I exited my office, I ran into one of my freshman and a couple of his buddies on their way to toss a football around. I passed numerous joggers and dogwalkers. There was some sort of game going on in the softball field. There were a couple of guys skateboarding in front of my house. In December. In New England in December.

I know this is wrong to say on some level, but this Texas girl displaced to the great white north can't resist: if this is global warming, I'm thinking we should keep it up.