Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Mississippi Squirrel Revival

It must be spring ... because not only does the grass need to be mowed, it was a nice enough day to be out mowing it!

I pulled out the Black and Decker electric mower to start my first mowing of the day.  I had my iPod ready and started through a very diverse string of music.  About half way through the back yard, I heard a good old song that I haven't heard in years:  Ray Stevens' "The Mississippi Squirrel Revival."

If you haven't heard it, it is worth a listen.  Quirky Ray Stevens is the author of more serious songs like "Everything is Beautiful" and "Misty".  But, he has also penned the greats, "The Streak", "Ahab the Arab", "It's Me Again, Margaret", and "Gitarzan".

It's worth the listen because it tells the story of how a young boy catches a squirrel, takes him to church, and then allows him to get out of the box.  The sleepy little town's church is turned upside down as the squirrel wrecks havoc on the parishioners.

He moves from Harv Newman, who falls to his knees pleading for mercy, to Bertha "Better Than You" in the Amen Pew, who began to confess to things that would make a sailor blush!

In the end, the narrow-minded church goers seemed to find God again and were re-baptized on the spot!

How many of us need a wiggling, jiggling in our jockey's to get us to decide that we are okay with something?  I don't know if I'd like a squirrel messing around with my junk, but I often have to stop and think about how something affects me AND others.  How I can learn a lesson from something that seems insignificant.  And, how I need to place myself in the shoes of someone else, especially if I'm sitting in the "Amen Pew" of the "First Self-Righteous Church?"

After you've listened to this song, I suggest you go to a few of the others.  They are corny (oh, man, are they corny!), but they are fun and light hearted.

Ray Stevens' Mississippi Squirrel Revival Video (YouTube) 

Lyrics: The Mississippi Squirrel Revival by Ray Stevens
Well when I was a kid I would take a trip
Every Summer down to "Mississipp," to visitMy Granny and 'er "Auntie Belluam World."I'd run barefooted all-day long, climbing Trees free as a song; One day I happened To catch myself a squirrel. Well I stuffed him down In an old shoe box, and punched a couple Holes in the top; When Sunday came I snuck em' In the Church. I sittin' way back on the veryLast pew showin em' to my good buddy Hugh, When that squirrel got loose and went totallyBuzzerk.Well what happened next is hard to tell; Some thought it was Heaven others thoughtIt was Hell, but the fact that something was Among was plain to see.As the choir sang " I Surrender All", the Squirrel ran up Harv Newman's coveralls, and Harv leaped to his feet and said something's got A hold on me yeeeooow! CHORUSThe day the squirrel went buzzerk in the First Self-Righteous Church in that sleepy little Town of Pascagoula. It was a fight for survival That broke out in revival. They were jumpin' pewsAnd shoutin' "Hallelujah".VERSE 2Well Harv hit the aisles dancin' and screamin'.Some thought he had Religion others thoughtHe had a demon, and Harv thought he had a Weed-eater loose in his fruit-of-the-looms.He fell to his knees to plead and beg, and the Squirrel ran out of his britchy-leg; unobserved To the otherside of the room.All the way down to the AMEN pew, where sat "Sister Bertha Better-than-You", who had been Watching all of the commotion with sufistic glee.But shoot, you should have seen the look in her eyes When that squirrel jumped her garders and crossed her Thighs. And she jumped to her feet and said, "Lord have mercy on me!"As the squirrel made laps inside her dress, She began to cry and then to confessTo sins that would make a sailor blush with shame.
She told of gossip and church disention, But the thing that got the most attentionIs when she talked about her love lifeThen she started naming names! 
The day the squirrel went berserk.In the First Self-Righteous ChurchOf that sleepy little town of Pascagoula.It was a fight for survival, That broke out in revival.They were jumpin pews and shouting Halelujah! 
Well seven deacons and the pastor got savedAnd 25, 000 dollars got raised.And 50 volunteered for missions in the CongoOn the spot.And even without and invitaionThere were at least 500 rededications.And we ALL got rebaptised whether we needed it or not.
Well you've heard the Bible stories I guessOf how he parted the waters for Moses to pass.All th miracles God has brought to this l' world.But the one I'll remember to my dyin dayIs how he put that church back on the narrow wayWith a half crazed Mississippi Squirrel
The day the squirrel went berserk.In the First Self-Righteous ChurchOf that sleepy little town of Pascagoula.It was a fight for survival, That broke out in revival.They were jumpin pews and shouting Halelujah!

That's What I Am ...

That's What I Am

I watched a new movie this week entitled: That's What I Am.  It is a smaller budget, independent movie set in the mid-1960's.  It follows 12 year-old Andy Nichol (played by Chase Ellison), a bright student who, like most kids his age, will do anything to avoid conflict for fear of suffering overwhelming ridicule and punishment from his junior high school peers.  


Everyone's favorite teacher, Mr. Simon (played by Ed Harris), pairs Andy with the school's biggest outcast and social pariah, Stanley Minor (played by Alexander Walters), aka "Big G" (for his ginger colored hair), on a critical term project.  Sporting thick orange hair, a head too big for his body and ears too big for his head, "Big G" has been the object of ridicule since grade school.  Before long, Andy will learn that there was truly a method behind Mr. Simon's madness as to why he teamed these two up.

As the story unfolds, Mr. Simon finds himself the target of a malicious rumor after Principal Kelner (played by Amy Madigan) suspends a school bully for brutally beating up a female classmate whom he thinks has "cooties."  When Andy watches "Big G" fearlessly confront the school bully, a series of events are triggered which change the lives of both young men - and their teacher - forever.  Much to Andy's surprise, "Big G" is a brilliant, kind, tolerant, and decent human being who has more dignity than anyone Andy has ever encountered.

The title is applied to Andy (he is a writer, that's what he is), Stanley (he is a singer, that's what he is), and Mr. Simon (he is a teacher, that's what he is).  Each of them must come to terms with that and be willing to take on anyone who will challenge the assertion.

There is a more-than slight discussion of Mr. Simon being a Homosexual, but it ends up being a much minor plot of the story.

I like that fact as often we search for how we should be labeled.  Is Andy just a kid, a lost boy, a kid learning about love (and kissing for the first time)?  Yes, but he labels himself as a writer.  Stanley, the cipher, who is known for his odd looks and weirdness, even above his brilliance, wants to be known as a singer.  Mr. Simon is labeled a homosexual by some, a favorite teacher by all, a friend by many, and yet wants to be known for his teaching.

I am a Mormon.  It is a part of me.  I'm a strong consultant, with an analytical mind at work.  My friends call me loyal and loving.  Each of these are parts of who I am.  I'm gay, as well.  But, these all play minor roles in my life.  Who I am, and who we all are, becomes much more than small parts of us, it is more the sum of the whole.  And, each of us can decide on who we want to be.  Friend, lover, father, daughter, gay, Muslim, Hispanic ... But, in the end we are all of the above.  That's what we are!

Grade: B+
Great film that tells a good story.  The movie had great parts, but fell slightly because of the lower budget and a few overly dramatic parts.  Definitely worth the watch.  You'll fall in love with all of the main characters.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Too Young the Hero ... pt.2 Ricky Schroder

I just told a story of a movie I saw.  The movie, Too Young The Hero, was from a true account of a 12 year old boy who joined the Navy after the attack on Pearl Harbor.  The boy, Calvin Graham, was played by Ricky Schroder.

Now, I'm not one to gush over actors.  Yes, I've had fair share of crushes on quite a few of them.  But, Before you think I'm a closeted romantic ... because I'm mostly not ... you should understand that it is just that.  I'm infatuated by the actor because they are beautiful, sexy, ripped, or even a great actor.  I'm more realistic than romantic.  So, I am not really interested in something that isn't a reality.  

So, why now write a small piece about Ricky Schroder?  

I actually had written out about 7 things that I thought were cool about Ricky Schroder.  I ended up deleting them and just posting pictures of him here for people to enjoy.  I'll put a few topics that I thought were cool about R.S., but I won't go into detail.  

Ricky Schroder and I are very, very close to the same age.  The funny thing about that is the pictures I found of him with feathered bangs, in corny sweaters, etc.  

I've enjoyed many of the things that Rick have been in.  This past movie, made when he was 18, was another good example of his acting.  

He is a good family man.  Here he is with his sons.  

And with the daughters and wife, too.  

He is an active celebrity ambassador for the child abuse prevention and treatment non-profit organization, Childhelp.   

At the age of 35, he converted to Mormonism.  Interesting, isn't it?  

He was a good looking kid, who started acting as a child.  

He is a good looking guy, who has only gotten sexier with age.  

Too Young The Hero:


 NYPD Blues:



Other movies:

Silver Spoons: 

The Champ (winner of Golden Globe, 1980)

Der Wachter Des Hades (as Director): 

If you are keeping track of the Six Degrees of Separation from Kevin Bacon, here are some easy ones to get you started: 

Ricky Schroder acted with: 

  • Jon Voight and Faye Dunawaye in the Champ.
  • Elliott Gould in the Last Flight of Noah's Ark.
  • Alec Guiness and Patrick Stewart in Little Lord Fauntleroy.
  • Lindsay Wagner and Peter Weller in Two Kinds of Love.
  • Peter Fonda, Deidre Hall, and Tracey Gold in a Reason to Live.
  • Erin Gray and Alfonso Ribeiro in Silver Spoons.
  • Lara Flynn Boyle in Terror on Highway 91
  • Robert Duvall, Tommy Lee Jones, Danny Glover, Diane Lane, Robert Ulrich, D.B. Sweeney, Anjelica Huston, Chris Cooper, and Steve Buschemi in Lonesome Dove.
  • Reese Witherspoon and Dennis Haysbert joined the rest in Lonesome Dove 2.
  • Mary Kaye Place and Richard Jenkins in Out on the Edge.
  • Brad Pitt in Across the Tracks.
  • Kate Jackson in the Stranger Within.
  • Howard Hesseman and Rue McClanahan in Innocent Victims.
  • Wilfred Brimley in Blood River.
  • Eric McCormack in Call of the Wild.
  • Dermott Mulroney, Kelli Williams, and Noah Wyle in There Goes My Baby.
  • Benjamin Bratt, Patrick Duffy, Anthony Michael Hall, John Schnieder, Charlton Heston, and Randy Travis in Texas
  • Freddi Prinze Jr. and Hentry Winkler in Detention: The Siege at Johnson High.
  • Jack Palance in Ebenezer.
  • Denzel Washington, Gene Hackman, Viggo Mortensen, James Gandolfini, and Steve Zahn in Crimson Tide. 
  • And regular roles on 24, Scrubs, Strong Medicine, NYPD Blue, and the Adromeda Strain.

I hope you enjoy the pictures.