Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Musical Clickbait

I am not a fan of clickbait. Sometimes you have to find humor in these things. Here are a few musicals explained with clickbait...

Expectant mother drinks green potion. What happens next will blow your mind!

Aspiring Knight dreams an impossible dream. You won't believe what he thinks he can fight with a sword and a shaving basin he thinks is a helmet! My countenance is WOEFUL!

BAT CHILD FOUND IN CAVE (Oh wait...)

Barber uses this simple trick to REVOLUTIONIZE the neighboring meat pie business!

He tries to separate his good and evil natures. The result? I'm SHOCKED!!

Starved orphan sold to a funeral home after he asks for more food. You won't believe what happens after he escapes!

She meets him at an earthquake benefit concert. Their romance inspires a nation and disgusts an Argentine-Cuban Marxist revolutionary. See how the money rolls in and out. I'm CRYING for her!

Determined police officer doggedly pursues thief across two decades. What happens when they meet will SHOCK you!

Dragon prepares to bake her famous savory donkey pot pie. I'm TREMBLING! Flattery really does save lives!

[clickbait headline of show]

Voyage ends in tragedy as frozen dihydrogen monoxide sinks ship! AVOID DIHYDROGEN MONOXIDE!!!

Dreams come true! Disgraced Egyptian slave saves nation. You won't believe who else he saves!

He secretly slips some acrimonium in her drink. Boy oh boy, that full disclosure is strange!

How far will a younger brother go to ensure that his sister continues to torture him? I'm SHOCKED!!

Bohemian beauty steals the hearts of a hypocritical priest, an engaged archer, and a deaf one-eyed lame bellringer. I'm IN TEARS!!

Bookish oddball falls in love with horned creature. You'll be SHOCKED what happens when she declares her love!

This girl lost her parents and her ayah in a cholera epidemic in India and is being shipped back to Yorkshire to live with her widowed and grieving uncle. Her cousin has been bedridden ALL HIS LIFE and lives in fear of becoming a hunchback. 1 Like = 1 Prayer

Lord Farquaad's heritage called into question. Spread this ABSOLUTELY EVERYWHERE!

Boy under the control of an evil supercomputer uses this simple trick to break out!

He dreamed of soaring like an eagle on the big screen in Bollywood. What happened on the journey home will shock you!

SCANDAL!! Apprentice blames rash of DEATHS on one of the plants in his shop!

New Chairman of the Board credits obscure thrift shop book for his meteoric rise to the top. Mr. President, watch out! See page 5 for the juicy details of his upcoming wedding to his secretary.

Greek wine god takes servant on quest down the River Styx. You'll CROAK when you find out who he meets on the way and who he brings back!

Martha Stewart HATES him! Aspiring playwright pens a culinary musical.

You WON'T BELIEVE where Conrad Birdie is going next, and you'll be SHOCKED about his one last kiss before he leaves! We're CRYING!

OMG, you guys! If there ever was a perfect couple, THIS ONE qualifies!

SCANDAL!! Jilted bathing beauty MURDERS diva!

You won't believe what this hobbit did with his priceless ring!

Gangster threatens to KILL his girlfriend, a bar singer. You WON'T BELIEVE where the police hide her, or what she does to the place!

What this Greek demigod was accused of stealing will literally SHOCK you!

Forbidden love between an Egyptian prince and a Nubian princess, and we just CAN'T EVEN!!

Have you heard? There's a rumor in St. Petersburg!

Diva breaks silence on upstart managers, being cast out of opera, and the unsuitability of her replacement

Exclusive! Who is the real Christine Daaé? Get all the details from opera insider Carlotta Giudicelli! Prepare to be shocked! Does Ms. Daaé owe her so-called talent to a mysterious "Opera Ghost", or is it just her rich lover, the Opera's new patron?

Monday, June 12, 2017

Escape Adulthood Summit, Day 1

Today has been a very long day, as it was day 1 of the 2017 Escape Adulthood Summit. This is an annual conference hosted and put on by my friends Kim and Jason Kotecki. Jason is an artist and motivational speaker, and he and his wife Kim have a passion for helping others to become more childlike, realize their potential in life, and follow their dreams and passions. There are so many unwritten (and nonexistent) rules that adults often tend to follow, and they tend to hold us back if taken too far. We let fear, hurt and other things stand in the way of following our dreams. What if people don't like what I have to say? What if? What if? Children don't have many of these inhibitions, and we can learn a lot from them on how to live life.

The day started yesterday evening when I caught the airport shuttle, and then a red eye flight out of Seattle bound for Minneapolis. The Minneapolis airport is quite large, so I got quite the workout walking to my connecting flight to Madison, Wisconsin. Upon arrival in Madison, I was picked up by Dan, a new friend who, like me, showed interest in sharing a hotel room. Since I arrived several hours before the summit was set to start, we drive around Madison. I got to see the Wisconsin Capitol building, which is spectacular, and we stopped at the lake, where I got some pictures. We walked out on a dock, and I commented that the dock rocked! Literally!


We then proceeded to the nearby town of Poynette, where the conference is being held. Still early, we drove around the area and saw some buffalos grazing, and we passed a pleasant farm. We then went to the conference location, but they weren't ready to let us in yet, so Kim sent us on an errand to get some whimsical flowers and come back closer to the starting time. We found a nearby country store that advertised selling asparagus and flowers.


Once we explained what we needed, the helpful lady who owned the shop proceeded to arrange a bouquet. Once we had paid for it, they invited us to sit down and chat. Country life is slower and friendlier than I'm used to in Seattle. The lady who helped us was at the table with a couple elderly women, and they asked what we did, and told us a bit about themselves. One of the older women told us about how her husband was a pilot and flew a two-seater aircraft. They flew that plane up and down the coast, around the US, and then proceeded to fly around the world, mainly stopping to refuel and rest. She mentioned stopping in Adelaide, Australia, where they have opal mines. She was wearing an opal ring that they got there. They had a landing strip on their farm in Wisconsin, and after her husband passed away, she donated the plane to Wings of Hope. She feels her husband would have approved. I'm probably not doing the story justice, but it was fascinating, and I appreciated her sharing her story. We were probably at the store for an hour or two, chatting most of the time. By the time we left, it was closer to the starting time.

When we got back to the farm where the conference is held, we had fun playing with bubbles while we waited for the doors to open.

The conference started out with lunch. They had enlisted the services of two food trucks, and there was also lemonade and other drinks.

To be continued...

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Kathy Griffin's Faux Pas

Thoughts on recent events related to a misguided picture posted this week that went viral...I suggest reading the whole thing before you respond.

All sides have good points.

No matter how much you hate a person, pretending to behead them the way Kathy Griffin did is a horrible, shameful deed, even if you have no intention to actually physically harm them.

A normal citizen who did that would be in prison, but it seems that rich, popular comedians only get their shows cancelled (rightly so).

Barron Trump is 11. Under no circumstances is it OK that he was led to believe, however briefly, that his father was brutally murdered. Nor is it OK for us to criticize Trump for defending his son.

It is just as horrible that Sasha and Malia Obama had to deal with seeing people hang their father in effigy, burn images of him, and otherwise commit the exact crime against Obama that Griffin committed against Trump. Since the Obama effigies didn't go as viral, I don't know if they were fooled as Barron was.

I think this has gotten more press than the Obama effigies because Griffin is higher profile than the Obama effigy-ers, and it looks more realistic.

I think it would help if Barron and Melania move to the White House as soon as possible so Barron will not be so easily fooled, having his father right there.

Kathy Griffin apologized. Many of the people calling for us to forgive her are the same people who call for the heads of people who do similar things to liberals, long after they apologize.

Kathy Griffin only apologized after being pressured to do so. However, I do believe we need to move on, and we do need to allow her some reprieve. It's more than she deserves, but every one of us has made horrible mistakes that we regret. Yes, she needs our forgiveness.

The Trump family has been deeply traumatized by this. Yet they have been called bullies for responding as any family would when threatened by a realistic-looking effigy. Griffin's act was one of the worst examples of bullying I have ever seen in my life. Calling the Trumps bullies for this is victim shaming at its finest. They have done enough actual bullying without criticizing them for their reaction that was probably much calmer than most families faced with this kind of brutal attack.

I have seen reports that Griffin has received death threats. This is even worse than what she did. I find the increase of death threats on social media in recent years to be a deeply disturbing trend that needs to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. It is never OK to threaten to kill someone, to tell them to commit suicide, or in any other way wish death on them. Even as a joke.

It is never OK to be glad of another person's misfortune. We must not rejoice that the Trumps have been traumatized and scarred, and we must not rejoice that Kathy Griffin lost her job.

Both Trump and Griffin are human. Both have done horrible, grievous things. Both are bullies. We need to hold them to high standards, but we also need to extend grace to both. Those of us who pray need to do so earnestly for both of them.

We must move on and let both sides heal. I was traumatized seeing that picture, and I don't even like Trump. I hope this is a wake up call to everyone that we need to be civil to each other.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

False Musical Plots

My craziness has struck again. This time I decided to come up with musicals, using their actual titles, but summarize the plots completely wrong. Enjoy!

Wicked
About a bunch of candles that have just had their wicks installed. They have been wicked.

The Phantom of the Opera
The sad tale of Banquo's ghost in an opera version of the Scottish Play

Titanic
Inspired by Big, but he gets much, MUUUCCHHHH bigger!

Rent
About a rip in time and space... It is rent in twain!

Sister Act
A remake of White Christmas, focusing on the Haynes Sisters

Beauty and the Beast
A mysterious deformed creature haunts an opera house and trains a beautiful diva to sing

A Very Potter Musical
The Brady Bunch learns to make pots

Something Rotten
A musical about cleaning out the fridge at work

Cats
All the actors completely ignore the director, drawing a metaphorical parallel to herding cats

Hamilton
People get ill from eating a ton of ham

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
About a factory that churns out merchandise for the hit band "Charlie and the Chocolate"

Shrek
About a failed attempt at turning Star Trek into a musical. It was named with a mouth full of food. The person tried to say "Star Trek", but it came out all garbled.

The Buddy Holly Story
Two holly bushes become best friends

Once on This Island
Captain Jack Sparrow remembers the last time he was left marooned on this island. There was more rum at the time.

Elf
An elf moves to the Shire and revolutionizes the hobbits' gardens, songs and culture

Pippin
The Lord of the Rings from Peregrin Took's perspective

Young Frankenstein
A teenager learns honesty while drinking from a stein

Miss Saigon
Someone moves across the world from Vietnam and feels homesick. They really miss Saigon!

Aladdin
A boy is stuck in something, but what is the lad in? You don't find out until the end.

Urinetown
Where you are once you get downtown: you're in town.

Evita
A Spanish musical about avoidance

Sunset Boulevard
A musical about a road that is stuck in a time loop at sunset

Mamma Mia!
Super Mario Bros, the Musical!

The Drowsy Chaperone
An elementary field trip goes wrong when the overworked and underpaid parent who comes along falls asleep

Spamalot
The ultimate war against junk mail. Canned meat gets thrown across the stage.

The Civil War
A polite disagreement among gentlemen

Man of La Mancha
A Spanish man applies to Starbucks and specializes in making macchiatos​. (Mancha and macchiato literally mean "stain" in Spanish and Italian, respectively.)

The Wizard of Oz
After an exemplary career at Hogwarts, the potions master retires to sell potions by the ounce.

Ragtime
That time of the day when things get so dirty that simple tissues won't do.

Into the Woods
A sequel of Legally Blonde, where the main character is a huge fan of Elle Woods

Camelot
Set in the desert, where there are lots and lots of camels

My Fair Lady
The sad tale of Sansa Stark and her ill-fated direwolf

Bat Boy
In an attempt to sound cooler and more menacing, Robin rebrands himself

The King & I
The life and times of Priscilla Presley

State Fair
Iowa is rated as simply fair. Not great, not horrible, just fair.

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
Josh Groban's dog must be exorcised when he starts biting off people's hair

Hairspray
A mad scientist invents an aerosol can that sprays hair everywhere.

Matilda
The sad tale of an Australian swagman who stole a jumbuck and jumped in a billabong rather than be arrested. It involves a fair amount of waltzing.

The Slipper and the Rose
"Rose Tyler, I - "

Chicago
The entire cast gets blown across the stage by a strong wind

Carousel
Travelers at the airport are constantly losing their baggage because the baggage claim carousel isn't working right

Labyrinth
The third task of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, extended into a full length musical

Oliver!
An amateur gardener calls in the professionals to groom his olive tree

The Scarlet Pimpernel
A star-crossed lover picks the perfect red flower for his beloved girlfriend

Love Never Dies
An appropriately-named musical in which the lovers truly love each other, are utterly faithful to each other, and they both survive. In fact, they are vampires, so they are immortal.

Annie Get Your Gun
Annie must take extreme measures to protect herself from the ongoing threat of Miss Hannigan, Rooster, and their devious schemes to find Easy Street

Mame
About a serial murderer who can't spell right

Annie
All about Annie Oakley and her sharpshooting skills

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat
A futuristic story of an innovative young lad who invents a coat that can project movies

Hello Dolly!
Dolly keeps missing the painfully obvious. I mean, hello!!

Groundhog Day
Old Ivy finally defeats the Chipmunks, and the mayor declares a holiday to celebrate. J. Pierrepont Finch gives a speech (sung, of course) at the ceremony.

Addams Family
Belle meets her future in-laws

Jersey Boys
A group of football players campaigns to replace their old outdated jerseys

The Falsettos
The show must go on, despite all the sopranos and altos having various unavoidable conflicts to the choral concert. The tenors and basses must cover for them.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Musicals Minus a Letter

One letter can make a big difference! A group I am in challenged us to come up with names of musicals, but take out a letter, and then explain the plot of this new musical. I had fun with this and came up with a bunch. I may be adding more as I think of them.

Lord of the Rigs
A hobbit trucker must take a semi to Mount Doom and destroy it (kind of a "Lord of the Rings meets Mad Max")

The Irate Queen
The Queen is not amused.

Unset Boulevard
An aging and crazed star of yesteryear must now remove the dishes, silverware and napkins that she carefully arranged on the street. Quick before that Cadillac drives over them! It does not end well for the driver of the Cadillac.

Little Hop of Horrors
Crazed bunnies resolve to "eat Cleveland and Des Moines and Peoria and..."

Spiderman: Turn of the Dark
The Dark Side takes a whole new form, turning to new forms of evil.

Vita
The first lady of Argentina celebrates life.

The Pantom of the Opera
An opera singer goes mute and must now mime their part.

The Hunchback of Note Dame
A hunchback gets dating advice and must take notes.

Le Mis
One person is very miserable.

Ear Evan Hansen
Evan gets an ear transplant.

Hailton
In a massive hailstorm, a whole ton of hail falls.

Beauty and the East
A beautiful maiden encounters ugliness and love out east.

Beauty and the Beat
Belle plays the drums.

The Little Mermad
Ariel is not amused.

Newses
Gollum joins the media and brings the newses to all those nasty hobbitses.

Ragtim
Tim has fallen on hard times.

Hell Dolly
Dolly is not amused.

Finding NeverLAN
The epic search for that place where there are no computer networks.

How to Succeed in Business Without Really Tying
You can win or lose, but a tie is not an option.

Ciderella
A rags to riches story of a young maiden who loves apple cider and meets a prince

Gus and Dolls
The theatre cat finds a new hobby in his retirement.

Bye Bye Birde
Everyone says good bye to their favorite bird before it flies south for the winter.

A Yea with Frog and Toad
Frog and Toad win the election.

The Music Ma
A proud mother helps her musical child to greatness.

The Iz
The life story of Israel Kamakawaiwo'ole.

Alexander's Ragtime Ban
A prohibition tale of when dancing was not allowed.

Ida
Mrs. Strauss travels back in time and meets an Egyptian prince. It does not end well for either of them, but "the gods love Titanic."

Into the Wood
Villagers band together to enter a tree.

A Very Otter Musical
Hermione's patronus learns to sing.

He-Man of La Mancha
A very macho man takes on the pesky windmills.

The Black Rook
The epic tale of a chess piece's quest to checkmate the enemy.

Catch Me if Yo Can
A hip hop musical about a rapper's escape from justice.

Mamma Mi
A mother is very excited about the third note on the solfege scale.

Reamgirls
A group of girls finds stardom with the help of reams and reams of paper.

[tile of show]
About someone who lays tile.

[title of sow]
A pig goes from Ma'am to Mrs. to AA to BA to Doctor.

High School Música
A boy and girl meet at a fiesta in Cancún and find out they go to the same school in Oaxaca.

Ten Beach Movie
Like A Tale of Two Cities, but on ten beaches instead.

Little Omen
Starts with an ominous warning and goes on to tell the sinister story of four sisters.

Rankenstein
A mad scientist brings a dead man back to life using spare body parts and electricity, but things go south quickly when the creature's foul, rank odor withers grass, causes trees to fall over, and local animals to keel over dead.

The Fros
Dionysus and his servant Xanthius encounter a sinister group of hippies with frizzy hair while questing to bring back a decent playwright.

Hrek
Gesundheit!

You're a Good Man, Harlie Brown
The Peanuts gang learns to ride motorcycles.

Sow Boat
A boat sails up the Mississippi carrying a load of pigs.

Show Boa
The pigs on aforementioned bot got eaten by a snake.

Spamalt
A new concept introducing a malt shop at the local spa.

The Kin and I
Anna visits her family.

If/Hen
An iffy tale of chickens.

Flower Rum Song
Captain Jack Sparrow had a bit too much to drink.

A Christmas Tory
The family Christmas party gets a little too political.

Big Ish
It's kinda big, but not huge.

10 in the Shade
The dry winter when the Snowmaker visited.

The Secret Arden
About a town in Ontario that very few people know about.

Samalot
About a gallant knight named Sam.

School of RCK
An Algerian soccer team trains its players.

Fiddler on the Roo
A joey learns to play the violin.

Bombay Reams
An aspiring Bollywood star struggles through reams of paperwork to reach his dream.

Ale of Two Cities
London and Paris compete for the best brew.

Wet Side Story
It's raining in New York.

A Christmas Carl
An updated version of the classic tale, in which Carl Scrooge is visited by three hosts.

Airspray
A popular teenage show decides to promote compressed air. Everyone's electronics are cleaned.

Hairspay
A very hairy puppy visits the vet.

Wes Side Story
Wes joins the Jets.

One on this Island
The epic search for palm trees on islands.

Dr. Horrible's Singalong Bog
Dr. Horrible goes on a quest through marshy flea-infested bogs to reach the secret lair of the Evil League of Evil, singing the whole time.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Beauty and the Beast


The animated version of Beauty and the Beast came out in 1991. I saw it first on video, and it quickly became one of my favorite Disney movies. It was Disney's first musical to be converted to a Broadway format, and I further fell in love with the tweaks to the plot and the additional songs. So I was especially excited when I found out that they were making a movie live action remake of it.

I am happy to report that the new version is every bit as amazing as the original Disney movie, even making the occasional reference to Jean Cocteau's 1946 movie:


The new movie also answered plenty of questions that the 1991 version raised. I was wondering about some of them, and others hadn't occurred to me:


  • What happened to Belle's mother?
  • Why did Maurice and Belle move to "this poor provincial town"?
  • What is the name of this poor provincial town?
  • Where did they live prior to that?
  • Does Belle invent anything?
  • Does Gaston have any other reasons for wanting Belle, aside from her beauty?
  • Is LeFou the least bit concerned about Gaston's villainy?
  • Did any villagers besides Belle object to Gaston's war march against the Beast?
  • What was Gaston's occupation prior to the events of our story?
  • Were ALL of the Prince's servants turned into objects?
  • Was everyone in the castle at the time of the spell either the Prince or one of his servants?
  • What was the dog's name (who was turned into a footstool)? Who were her owners?
  • What happened to Mr. Potts?
  • How did the Prince get so cruel that the enchantress has to take such extreme measures to teach him a lesson?
  • What about the Prince's parents?
  • What happens to the enchantress after she casts the spell?
  • How does Belle get the heavy Beast onto Philippe after he's been wounded by the wolves?
  • Why do the Beast's servants care so much for him? Do they blame themselves at all for the Beast's condition?
  • Are all of the books in the Beast's library in English (or French)?
  • How does a moment last forever?
  • What is Cogsworth's first name?
  • Does M. D'Arque have children? (This is not actually answered.)
  • Was Gandalf ever transformed into a clock?
  • Did Gandalf ever meet Hermione Granger?
  • Did Obi-Wan enlighten anyone who didn't have "Skywalker" in their name? (Pun intended)
  • For that matter, did Obi-Wan ever meet Hermione Granger?

  • How does it look to have a snowball, dishes, rubble, mud, rubble and a falling villain thrown at you? (This is answered in the 3D version.)

  • Could there be more to the poor than meets the eye? Maybe they deserve more respect than we often give them? Are they sometimes the best of us?
  • Is everyone's hero necessarily heroic? What happens when our heroes disappoint us?
  • Both the Prince and Gaston start out as spoiled, selfish and unkind. How can their repentance or lack thereof inspire us to become kinder and unselfish?

  • What happens when the theater is almost empty because most people think there's nothing left to see, and Josh Groban starts singing your big brother's favorite song in the movie, and said big brother likes to sing, and is sitting next to you? (Hint: Josh Groban is suddenly a background singer.)

Beauty and the Beast is an amazingly well-done remake. Pro tip: stay to the end of the credits. There is no post-credits scene, but they save Josh Groban for last.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Overblown Controversy

Following are two recent posts that I shared on Facebook considering the controversy surrounding the announcement that LeFou is gay in the new remake of Beauty and the Beast.


For me, the most heartbreaking part of the furor over the rumors surrounding the upcoming Beauty and the Beast remake is Christians abandoning one of the most basic tenets of Christianity, to love your neighbor as yourself. It doesn't take more than a few clicks to discover that the rumors are way overblown, and more or less on par with the original animated movie. You know, the family-friendly movie you loved where LeFou is head over heels for Gaston, and (it sounds like this is reproduced in the new version) the wardrobe cross-dresses men in the battle. I've seen some people pledging to watch this movie as an alternative:


Expressing overblown contempt for something so minor goes against what Jesus taught, and is more on par with the actions of the Pharisees that He fought so hard against.

LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF. When asked who our neighbor was, Jesus used an example of a Samaritan, one of the groups most hated by the people He was teaching.

I'm not saying you need to go see Beauty and the Beast. Go or don't go. But if you refuse to watch it, don't tell people about the evils you think it contains that it doesn't.

As Christians, we are supposed to be a light to a dark, lost world. Instead, we're chasing away the people who need Jesus most because they disgust us. This is exactly what the Pharisees did. Jesus hung out and associated with these people. How many people that Jesus died for will spend eternity in torment because we chased them away by our scornful attitude?

****

I later realized that the recent overreactions and increasingly fantastical rumors about Beauty and the Beast are exactly what Gaston does in the story. He makes up a bunch of lies based on one bit of information and his fears, and stirs up vicious, destructive rage among the people of the village.


This is is an excellent blog post from someone who saw a preview of the new movie. She addresses the controversy and goes more in depth into the scenes referenced in the announcement.