Rad Web Clips to Watch on a Lazy Saturday

In a world of so many weird and funny Internet clips begging for our attention on YouTube, one that started circulating in the fall of 2008 has officially become my all-time favorite.  I proclaim it my favorite “Clip of My Lifetime”.

I suspect that I’m not introducing this to anyone for the first time ever, but my intentions are to be a guide and companion as we try to squeeze this orange for all it’s worth. Please enjoy “Jesus is My Friend” by a rockin’ band called Sonseed:

Well first of all, it’s from 1983 so automatically how can it not be awesome? The lead singer, Sal (whose wife is the piano player), is quite a cartoon squirrel. His token head nod after every over-pronounced verse is so charming. And the pouty look on his face as he delivers each Vacation-Bible-School-line just warms my heart. It’s almost like watching a 4 year-old boy in the form of a 24 year-old Italian man. (Though he was actually 30 when this was filmed.)

I’ve seen cases of some of today’s popular actors either getting their start in Christian entertainment (or resorting to it once they realize their career is over). One theory is that Sonseed’s snazzy lead guitar player is the young Paul Giamatti. (In reality, the guitar player’s name is Frank Franco. That is stellar in itself.) And the drummer may very well be Will Ferrell’s first cousin. Hard to know for sure.

Depending on what day I’m asked, the back-up singers may be my favorite part of this short film. Having his next-door neighbors jump in at the last minute was a plan that came together after all. The first lady it shows is the answer to anyone who says “what’s the worst that could happen?” when being set on for a blind date. You just know things are bound to get awkward. I’m sure she’s got a heart of gold, but she really looks like she should be a SNL character. Did I see her as an extra on Napoleon Dynamite?

Next is perhaps her husband. I can see him being a youth minister on a weekend retreat in Kentucky.  I would definitely want to be in his raft on the white water rafting. Mainly just because a red plastic vest would befit him. Back home he probably had a Petra poster hanging up in his office so that the kids in his youth group could relate to him more.

Excuse me, John Schlitt, lead singer of Petra, but you're kinda standing on the state of New Hampshire... so if you don't mind...

Um, excuse me, John Schlitt, lead singer of Petra, but you're kinda standing on the state of New Hampshire... so if you don't mind...

All I’ve got to say about the next lady is that I’m proud of her for being able to drag her husband out of the house. It takes a positive spirit like hers when being the other half of someone who can’t even memorize one line, “Jesus is a friend of mine”- he’s looking down at the lyric sheet the only time it zooms in on his face.

And then there are the actual lyrics to the song. Universally, the favorite line tends to be “God is like a mounty; He always gets his man”. I’m still trying to figure out what exactly a mounty is and how to spell it. I think it’s a word for a Canadian policeman. But of course the cherry on top of this whole nostalgia-fest is “Zap!!!” That defines the whole video.

When I was first introduced to this video I just watched it repeatedly. The day after I saw it the first time, my wife came home to find me watching it in a trance. There’s just so much to take in. I found a website where I was able to download the whole album. I’ve got it on my iPod now but “Jesus Is My Friend” is the only song of its class, like “Hey There Delilah” on The Plain White T’s CD.

I can’t imagine any YouTube clip ever having more character than Sonseed’s. But I do also highly recommend “The Renewed Mind is the Key” which was recorded from some hokey adult-contemporary Christian musical in Branson, Missouri. That’s only if you want to see a long-haired white guy moonwalk across the stage, then put his hand over his mouth as if he just “passed gas” and is embarrassed by it, the way a 58 year-old woman from Georgia wearing a sundress and matching hat would do. He is accompanied by two women wearing Hillary Clinton pant-suits who have learned a sort of snap-dance from someone who got their degree in “Modern Dance” from a community college.

And here’s the whole song…

And finally, a must-see is the dog that was born without his front legs; yet his owner taught him to walk on his hind legs. If anything ever looked fake but is completely real, it’s Faith, the Hind-Leg Walking Dog.

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The Ball at the Very End of the Credits of a Movie

Do you have what it takes to stay and watch the credits when a movie ends?

There are two kinds of people in the world. 1) Those who leave the movie theatre when the credits start to roll and 2) those who stick around to actually read the credits. Obviously, I’m part of the latter group.

It all started for me circa 1985 when the 1982 comedy The Toy constantly aired during a free trial period of HBO. I loved that movie, without good reason. All I remember about it now is that at the end a kid shoots a guy in the forehead with a suction-cup dart gun. And that’s the end of the movie.

Then the credits roll. At the very end, the last thing to rise up on the screen was the symbol for The Motion Picture Association of America. At that point, I would scream with excitement, “Ball, ball, ball, ball!…”

I think the reason I was so ecstatic was because it reminded me of one of the enemies from an Atari game I played all the time. And that taught me to stay tuned to watch the credits at the end of movies. To see The Ball. At some point, my motivation stopped being to see The Ball and instead to find out actors’ names and the location of filming.

It’s always interesting to see when a movie is filmed somewhere other than Los Angeles or New York.

Plus, there’s always a possibility of a hidden scene after the credits- most perfectly executed in Napoleon Dynamite.

The Invisible Touch, Yeah (The 2nd Installment)

 

It takes seeing bad acting to know what good acting is.  Bad acting isn’t simply defined by an actor who conveys no emotion (Ben Stein).  But there is a thin invisible line between a person who is a good actor (Johnny Depp, Tom Cruise, Paul Giamatti) and a person who simply plays the same character in every movie (Will Ferrell, Vince Vaughn, Arnold Schwarzenegger).  Of course there are also the in-betweens (Adam Sandler, Ashton Kutcher, Robin Williams) that only seem to play the same character in all their comedies but in dramas actually become a different person.


But ultimately for an actor who has appeared in a string of successful/popular movies, the question of how good of an actor is, is irrelevant.  It doesn’t matter.  Because there is some unseen force that causes people to keep watching that actor’s movies.  It’s not simply professional acting skills that audiences follow, it’s that invaluable quality of “I like this person”.

Friendships don’t grow just because of common interests.  Now that I think about it, I’ve never made a conscience decision to be a person’s friend.  It just happens.  I never have to say anything like, “You’re cool.  Let’s officially become friends.”


It starts with a few joking insults through text messages, leads to several Sunday afternoon Mario Kart Wii tournaments, and before I know it I plan a whole Saturday around rowing down the Harpeth River in a canoe with him, trying to forget about the movie Deliverance as we paddle our way through the quiet waters.


The “I like this person” quality transcends to romance as well.  There is something extremely ironic about “Singles” events and groups.  For my first year living in Nashville I attended the Singles Sunday School class at my church (around 80 in attendance) plus I went to Kairos (another Singles event every Tuesday night with an average of 1200 people).  It seems with all those single-and-looking people in the same place with the same wishful thinking, it would be easy for people to match up.  But that’s not where I met my wife.  (A mutual friend unintentionally set us up.)

 

And when she and I started dating, I knew right away she was the one.  Aside from all the obvious reasons I’m sure I’ve mentioned before, it was those subconscious connections we had that caused both of us to know right away that the search was over.  The greatest occurrence of “I like this person” that I have ever known.

 


“We are all a little weird, and life is a little weird, and when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall in mutual weirdness and call it love.”  -Chinese fortune cookie

 

The Invisible Touch, Yeah


The 1st Installment
The 2nd Installment
The 3rd Installment


 

fortune cookie