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Friday, July 19, 2024

"Weird Al" Yankovic releases his first single in ten years!

Right when the world needs laughter the most, Weird Al comes through for us.

The last time that "Weird Al" Yankovic released a new song, other than "The Hamilton Polka" or the end credits tune from his movie, was ten years ago this week when his Mandatory Fun album dropped.  That was the final album he was contracted to produce and he said at the time that he'd probably release singles via digital platforms from now on.  But that hasn't happened yet...

Until today.

This morning Yankovic unleashed "Polkamania" upon the world.  It's one of his polka medleys of other artists' songs.  It shows how out of the loop I am though in that I can't recognize any of these tunes that Al incorporated.  And I was kind of hoping his new song would be something like a straight-up parody or a style parody... but maybe it's true, that modern music has become too homogenized to be able to readily pick out any outstanding work.  And so far as style parodies go, well... is there any unique style that Al hasn't done?  I think the guy has spoofed every form of western music except for contemporary Christian, and the guy is too respectful than to do that.

But even so, it's a new song by my all time favorite recording artist.  Just at a time when we all could use something to make us laugh and smile.  For a few brief minutes, all is right with the world.

Well, anyhoo, here is "Polkamania", which despite my unfamiliarity with its components is really a quite catchy song!

Bob Newhart, 1929 - 2024

 The man was and forever will be a legend!

So much that could be said about the amazing life of Bob Newhart.  Coming up in the Eighties I loved his sitcom Newhart.  Then later I discovered his earlier series The Bob Newhart Show.  And after that I came upon his comedy albums, like his 1960 debut The Button-Down Mind Of Bob Newhart.

The guy just shined in everything that he did.  He was always a class act.  Modern comics could learn a lot from Bob Newhart's style and demeanor.

Well, like I said, a lot could be said about Newhart's life.  So I'll close out this post with a great lil' sketch from several years back.  One that has become a great classic among those of us who have been involved in the field of mental healthcare.

"STOP IT!!!"

Saturday, July 13, 2024

I hope y'all are watching this tonight

 As my father said, when President Reagan was shot the day before my seventh birthday:

"Pay attention son, this is history."




Thursday, July 11, 2024

"Say, whatever happened to Johnny Robertson?"

When four people write in over the course of a month, asking the same question, maybe that's a signal to address something.

Let's set the Wayback Machine(tm) all the way to fifteen or so years ago.  I used to work at WGSR, a television station in Reidsville, North Carolina.  That was where my school board campaign - and those wacky campaign commercials - began in 2006.  I did a few things at WGSR: master control operator mostly, but also prepping the studio for broadcasts, changing the tapes (including many Betamax cassettes) of the programs for their broadcast.  It was a job that lasted a little less than a year but I learned a lot about the broadcast industry while I was there.

During my time at the station and afterward, I began taking notice of a religious program that aired live twice a week.  It was by a group of men allegedly belonging to the Church of Christ denomination.  And had they confined matters to simply preaching their perspective of the Bible, that would be grounds to leave well enough alone.  I don't believe that any one of us gets it right perfectly when it comes to God.  We all fall short of that.

They called their shows "What Does The Bible Say?" and "A Word From The Lord".  But those were wild misnomers for what they were really up to.  Which was this: practically every installment of their series was about invading churches and harassing clergy and parishioners.  Especially the pastors of churches who these "Church of Christ" representatives did not consider legitimate gatherings of believers in Christ.  The "gospel preachers" of this "Church of Christ" would be aggressors against innocent church members and leadership, make sure that they had the cameras rolling, and then broadcast the footage on their shows.

That's where things were wrong, in my book.

It's like this: EVERY person has the right to worship God as best as he or she understands Him.  There is absolutely the right to freedom of worship.  But that right ENDS where the rights of others to do so in peace begins.  And the supposed Church of Christ that was purchasing airtime to broadcast their hassling of innocent churches and members crossed that line.

It was enough of an affront to decent people in the various congregations that were targeted by these "missionaries" that over the course of several months, God was leading me to do something about it.

So I did.

Now, at the time I was also feeling pretty manic.  So in retrospect I have to wonder how much of what I was about to do of God and how much was of mind. I definitely believe God led me to counter the cult (there is really no other word for what these men were a part of).  Had it happened today I would have doubtless done things a little differently.  My manic-depression has become much more controlled.  But there it is.

I began using this blog to post reactions and rebuttals to the "Church of Christ" that these men - many of whom were from Texas who for whatever reason came to the Reidsville/Danville/Martinsville area - launched their attacks on innocent Christians who gathered together to worship God in peace from.

The number one person to take to task for this misbehaving was a man named Johnny Robertson.


Cult leader Johnny Robertson
Robertson was the ringleader, the head of the cult.  He was the one directing his gang to harass other churches (especially Baptist ones, who Robertson seemed obsessed with opposing).  God was leading me to confront the cult and I directed my efforts toward the proverbial king of it all.  If you like you can read the posts I made on this blog concerning Robertson as well as the posts about their particular narrow-band brand of Church of Christ.

So it was that a "war" took place on television and this blog, as well as other sites that sprung up to counter the "Church of Christ in Name Only" (COCINO).  Many of the opposition were members of legitimate Churches of Christ, who were likewise disgusted with what Robertson and his followers were doing toward people of other churches.  It became an almost regular feature of this blog, to counter whatever misdeed that "COCINO" committed.

This lasted for three years.

No less than four people lately have asked me by e-mail: whatever happened to the feud between me and Johnny Robertson?

Well, quite a few things actually.

Among the biggest is that the effort against Robertson and his adherents seemed to have had its intended effect.  Because apparently they have given up on their harassment of other churches.  That was the general purpose of the endeavor of myself and others.  Last I checked, the Robertson gang (which formerly included a few members who have since been "excommunicated" by their leader) still have their television shows.  But their attacks on their fellow Christians for not believing exactly as they themselves do have stopped.

I'm going to chalk that up as a victory.  Albeit a bitter-sweet one.  My own "obsession" with going after the cult came at a price.  And that's probably all that needs to be said about that.

So the "Church of Christ in Name Only" cult has stopped bothering innocent Christians.  Whatever they keep believing in, they can preach about it until Judgment Day.  I never had a problem with that.  As I said, every person has the right to worship God in peace and these people are no different.

What else happened?

When I was spending a year traveling across America, and also a number of times since then, I visited a few Churches of Christ.  Not one of them was of the poisonous flavor that the Robertson cult espouses.  In fact, all of them used musical instruments: something that the COCINO believes is a sin.  No, seriously, they really do.  It was nice to see that real Churches of Christ are not bound so slavishly to legalism and "pattern worship".  They were more Baptist or mainstream nondenominational than many might believe possible.  Had I decided to stay in one of the places I visited and set down roots, I might have wound up worshiping regularly at a place like that.

Incidentally, I did make it a point to ask the leaders of these Churches of Christ if they were familiar with Johnny Robertson or the faction that he represents.  Not a single person had ever heard of Robertson or his cultists.  When I described them to the leaders, they told me that there were hyper-legalists among their denomination "but they aren't taken very seriously."

It confirmed my belief that what Johnny Robertson and his now-dwindling followers have is nothing but a fringe cult.  And that traditional Churches of Christ are to be respected without regard to the ravings of a distinct minority.

But you want to know what was the most determining factor in no longer going after the Church of Christ, Texas-extremist brand that was trying to inflict itself upon Reidsville and Martinsville?

It was this: I simply got bored with it.  And God was no longer leading me to confront these ecclesiastical miscreants.

By 2011 other things had happened in my life.  Better things.  Those pretty much had me forgetting about the feud.  Every so often I would spend some time monitoring what the cult was up to.  But those diminished increasingly over time.  In fact, had it not been for a wonderful Church of Christ I came upon in Kansas, I might have never thought about the COCINO cult at all.

I won't say that there wasn't any more fun to be had in countering Robertson.  As with many other things that I have taken seriously in life, there were moments when I went for humor (f'rinstance, the April Fools gag that had Robertson and others trying to confront the pope at the Vatican).  But there came an end to the creativity in that particular vein.  There was just no point in doing any more.  The cultists were ceasing their campaign against decent worshipers of Christ.

I can't claim that I "won" against the cult.  It was really a group effort.  Including people from mainstream Churches of Christ.  But it did apparently have great effect.

So if anyone wonders "Whatever happened to Johnny Robertson?", now you know.  He is still broadcasting every week, but I doubt very many people tune in.  If they do it's probably to mock him, or look at it as they would a flaming car wreck.  But his day is done.  He and his cult have been effectively broken.  There is not going to be any coming back to their former "glory".

I on the other hand have had the great honor and pleasure of worshiping with fellow Christians of so many denominations.  Rarely have I gone away without a deeper appreciation of my brethren and their perspective on Christ.

And I do count that as a victory.



Tuesday, July 09, 2024

LEGO Jaws set is officially the coolest thing I've seen all summer

Just in time for the fiftieth anniversary of the movie Jaws comes the Official Jaws LEGO Set!

Click on the pics to enlargen (you're gonna need a bigger browser):


At a hundred and fifty bucks this is actually a pretty good deal for a LEGO set this large.

Click on over to GeekTyrant for more photos of this amazing set!

Monday, July 08, 2024

It's the first poster and trailer for The Best Christmas Pageant Ever!

I've had the honor and the great pleasure of being among the cast of two productions of the stage play of The Best Christmas Pageant Ever.  If it were possible I would play the head fireman every year for the rest of my life, it was so much fun!  It's a wonderful story rife with holiday hilarity, hijinks, and hope.

I had no idea that this movie was coming, the announcement struck right out of the blue.  But I'm already looking forward to it with great zeal.  This is the second time that the book has been adapted into a motion  picture, the first was a television movie for the ABC network in 1983.  This new version is directed by Dallas Jenkins, who I have a lot of respect for.

And if done right The Best Christmas Pageant Ever could... emphasis could... become a holiday tradition movie every bit as much as Home Alone.  It might be THAT good.

So here's the first poster that was released a few days ago:

And here's the first trailer, which promises lots of chaos from the Herdman kids:

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever is set to premiere in theaters this November 8th.