Written by a kid

I enjoyed the first episode of the web series “Written By A Kid,” which featured Joss Whedon, Dave Foley and Kate Micucci, and the second episode was funny as well, albeit in a lower key. But then I lost track and forgot to come back and check for new episodes.

Tonight, a couple of news items about Whedon made me think of the series (even though Whedon’s only connection to it was appearing in the first episode). They’re now up to 10 episodes, all of them worth watching and some of them absolutely hilarious. They’re all short, and you can watch one or two at a time or all of them in a sitting.

Here’s how the show works: the creators, Will Bowles and Josh Flaum, sit down with a young child and ask the child to tell them a story. Their bemused reactions to the story, and the twists and turns that only a child could create, are often a big part of the fun. Anyway, the story is dramatized, using animation and/or live action. The animation is really fun and inventive, and each story is done in a quite different style. The dramatized story is intercut with Bowles and Flaum coaxing the story out of the young author.

You can watch all the videos here.

This is one of my favorites:

The rotten heart of a servant

Every now and then, you experience a moment that reminds you, even if you’re trying to do the right thing, you can do it for the wrong reasons.

A few months back, our church installed a video projection system. It was somewhat controversial, with some people in favor and some opposed. Although I think we can sometimes go overboard in trying to market our worship services, I understand the rational behind this project and I’ve been generally supportive.

I had the idea a few weeks ago to do a video of our church participation in the Relay For Life and show it the next day in morning worship. I checked with the pastor on this, and he was supportive. I had my Flip Video with me for most of the event, shot quite a bit of footage, and then spent several hours yesterday editing, converting the video into several different formats, and uploading it.

This morning, I found the pastor’s son, who runs the video system, and gave him a thumb drive. He called the video up on the screen and it looked fine. I told the pastor and our Relay chair that the video was ready to go.

But then, our Relay chair gave her report this morning, sat down and … we moved on to the next topic. Had they forgotten about the video? I gestured at the pastor, but he didn’t look my direction. I finally got the attention of the pastor’s wife, sitting in the choir, and she mouthed something to me like, “It’s OK.”

Finally, during the offering, they played the video – with no sound, and with our organist playing her normal offertory. I didn’t even look at it. Somehow, this seemed worse than if they’d left it out altogether. I’d edited the video for visuals and sound. I intentionally included a verse of “Amazing Grace” from the luminaria ceremony in order to tie things in to church. I included audio of Cort Huffman talking about the luminarias and how we use them to remember and honor those who have battled cancer. I even had a funny record-scratch sound when I included the little gag visual of John Wesley reacting to the cow patty video.

Without the audio, the video must have been draggy and confusing. I’d rather they have not used it at all, or saved it for next week (even though I won’t be in church for the rest of the month) than run it the way they ran it.

So I sat in church and sulked about it.

Of course, if I’d truly made the video as an act of servanthood, would it have mattered? If I’d truly made the video as an act of Christian service, it could have been ignored completely and I, in theory, shouldn’t have cared. Obviously, the service was running long as it is – there was a good and legitimate reason for them not to use my video at all.

No, the fact of the matter is that I’m a pretty piss-poor Christian servant. I wanted to show off my video, to hear everyone laugh at Vickie and Kaye dancing, to have everyone know what a fine job I’d done. I was offended because of my own vanity, because of several hours of work seemingly thrown away.

I’m no better at servanthood than I am at most other aspects of life.

Kudos to the Yummy M

A couple of months back, I linked to this mesmerizing video, featuring two performers named Cleary & Harding, which I still look at every now and then when I need a smile:


Well, apparently I wasn’t the only one who enjoyed it. Exhibit A: a new TV commercial from McDonald’s (which my youngest niece refers to as “the yummy M”):


It’s nice when marketers are able to do something cool and entertaining that’s appropriate to their advertising message. I think this qualifies.

Shelbyville video coming down

My co-worker David Melson alerted me to this in a blog entry at the Times-Gazette web site. For a 1969 episode of “The Johnny Cash Show,” a legendary showcase for both country and rock musicians, Johnny Cash performed his song “Sunday Morning Coming Down” accompanied by a little snippet of film showing a drifter wandering the streets — think of it as a music video long before music videos existed.

What blew my mind is that this snippet of film was shot in downtown Shelbyville. You can easily recognize the east side of the square. The Dixie Hotel, which was torn down in the 1970s just a few years after our family moved here in 1972, is also clearly shown, along with other locations you can read about in David’s blog post.

This clip includes several songs, so you have to wait a bit for “Sunday Morning Coming Down.” It starts at about the 3:20 mark:

Horatio’s one-liners

I don’t really watch “CSI: Miami” — can’t say that I’ve ever seen an episode — but I love the way “The Soup” and some other shows sometimes make fun of David Caruso’s hammy openings. I had a former co-worker whose husband loved the show but for whom Caruso was like fingernails on a blackboard. Anyway, here’s a very funny compilation of some of Caruso’s best put-the-sunglasses-on one-liners.