Thinking Out Loud

November 21, 2009

The Most Incredible, Amazing Video Ever

Filed under: blogging — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 12:47 pm

This is a gift to all my blogger friends in the U.S.:

This is — more or less — what we in Canada, The UK, Australia, New Zealand and other parts of the world get most of the time when you embed certain videos in your blog.

Please stop torturing us.




April 18, 2009

The Susan Boyle Phenomenon

Filed under: Christianity, Faith — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 9:43 pm

It’s 10:40 PM, Eastern Daylight Time.    Adding up ONLY the clips that appear on the FIRST YouTube “Most Viewed” page, and NOT COUNTING the ones that are subsequent interview clips or background reports, we’re currently looking at 63.7 MILLION hits.   And this doesn’t include clips on Vimeo and other video upload sites.


Obviously, there is more at work here than simply want to see Simon Cowell at a loss for words.    And it’s more than just the Andy Warholl sentiment that “in the future everyone will be famous for 15 minutes, or 63.7 million YouTube hits, whichever is larger.”   Well, maybe not the second part.

It’s our desire to hear a good news story.   It’s our desire for calm; for tranquility.   It’s a dash of peace in a world of war, economic collapse and personal heartbreaks.    Like the old Anne Murray song says, “We sure could use a little good news today.”

It’s a story only rivaled this week by the President of the United States’ new dog.   These two stories are the escape people are looking for.    But Susan’s story also brings hope to all kinds of talented people who are searching for their own personal big break; people who have dreams…

It IS a story that makes you smile.

If a tag brought you here, this is a blog about another kind of hope, brought to the world 2,000 years ago in the person of Jesus Christ, in the story that we celebrated last week at Easter.    The need for a hope and a future is something basic to everyone.   Even more years ago, someone wrote, “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we will remember the name of the Lord our God.”

It’s true today.   Some trust in technology, some trust in science, some trust in the resilience of the human spirit; but ultimately, God is the only one we can fully trust.

March 3, 2009

Guaranteed to Embarrass Entire Denominations and Entire Races

Filed under: Christianity, Humor, music, Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 7:12 pm
YouTube Video of the Week
Okay, you people still on dial-up better thank me, because I’m really close to breaking the rule and start embedding videos.   This one is new, it posted to YouTube just two weeks ago;  I haven’t seen it on other blogs, but I can assure you it’s going to be going viral very soon.    It is simply called Breakfast Song and it gives new meaning to miinimalism in music (especially the backup vocalist); though it may be the deep theology that grabs most of you.    You can check it out here.

February 16, 2009

Parents: Do You Know What Your Kids Are Watching on YouTube?

As a responsible parent you’re probably up-to-date on everything that your cable or satellite provider has to offer; but what about the video content provider of choice for most tweens, YouTube?    Here’s a question to ask yourself, can you name the rather innocent looking kid in the picture below?


The actor’s name is Lucas Cruikshank and he’s 15 years old.   But that’s irrelevant.   Your kids know him as Fred Figglehorn and the character he represents is only 6 years old.   The Fred channel on YouTube is described by Wikipedia as: “… the most subscribed and most viewed, with over 800,000 subscribers.”  This has brought Cruikshank over $100,000 (USD) in advertising income, not to mention the future prospects of product merchandising, endorsements, and appearances on more mainstream media, such as today’s appearance on iCarly on Nickelodeon.

The character Fred speaks in a seemingly helium-induced high voice — actually it’s just film sped up — and is based on Cruikshank’s two younger siblings.   With some of the short videos having received over 10 million views, and a total of over 158 million for the series,  it would seem like all is well.

Not even close.   Parents should be concerned upon discovery of the more disturbing elements in the  ‘plotline’ of these innocent looking vids.   I’ve watched about ten of them over the past few days; here’s a mix of what Wikipedia says with some observations of my own:

  • fred-in-characterFred has real anger management issues; he ‘loses it’ frequently
  • Fred regularly breaks into his friend Judy’s house, more or less ransacking her bedroom or crashing her parties
  • With a character age of only six, Fred posts his videos using his mom’s YouTube account
  • His mom is an alcoholic who the Wikipedia article states, “gets money from standing on street corners.”   Hmm…
  • His father is in prison on death row
  • One episode implied that Fred has been a victim of child abuse, locked in a dog cage for three days
  • Fred has befriended a stray cat in the garage who he calls, “the cat with rabies;” he also befriends local small dogs which he thinks are squirrels
  • While actress Lily Tomlin regularly played the preschool child Edith Anne, there are elements of Cruikshank’s portrayal of a six-year old, that are somewhat creepy and not true to the supposed age.
  • Despite the above,  an internet filter would probably not kick in to block the videos

New media are delivering images to your computer faster than mainstream media can keep you, the parent, properly informed.    My suggestion is that you watch several of these — either with your child or better yet, while the kids are at school — and decide for yourself if this gets a thumbs up or thumbs down in your house. My guess is that regular readers of this blog will decide on the thumbs down approach, even if “all the other kids at school get to watch it.”

December 21, 2008

Cliff Richard Christmas Songs

Filed under: Christianity, Christmas, Faith — Tags: , , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 7:32 pm


In the early days of rock ‘n roll, while the kids on my side of the Atlantic were watching Elvis Presley’s swaying hips, kids in the U.K. were growing up on the pop music of Cliff Richard.   Years later, at a Billy Graham crusade, Cliff would reveal his Christian commitment.

Cliff’s Christmas songs are a staple on British radio, and in deference to people who don’t have high-speed internet; rather than embed the YouTube vids, I’ve linked them all here for your enjoyment along with the year of release, and highest chart position.

  • Little Town – 1982 #11 – This was the first Christmas song I heard Cliff do, and now when people talk about “Oh Little Town of Bethlehem,” this is the tune that first pops into my brain.
  • Mistletoe and Wine – 1988 # 1 – “Christmas time, mistletoe and wine, children singing Christian rhyme.”  Not sure what ‘Christian rhyme’ truly means, or how the Baptists in the U.K. dealt with the whole wine thing.   Ends with a boy soprano solo.
  • Whenever God Shines His Light – 1989 #20 – A duet with Van Morrison.
  • Savior’s Day – 1990 # 1 – It actually took YouTube for me to hear this one the first time.   Be sure to catch the kid towards the end of vid on Cliff’s right; definitely a Cliff Richard wannabe.   With some modifications, this song can be used year round.
  • We Should Be Together – 1991 #10 – You’ll notice that many of the YouTube vids were placed by the same contributor, who ignores this one, as it lacks a Christian theme.   I left the link out because the YouTube version isn’t a true music video.
  • Millenium Prayer – 1999 # 1 – Cliff appropriately ends the millenium with the Lord’s Prayer lyrics sung to the tune of Auld Lang Syne
  • Santa’s List – 2003 # 6 – Another one I heard for the first time on YouTube.  It’s too bad that North American is so quick to dismiss what’s happening across the pond.
  • 21st Century Christmas – 2006 # 2 – Somehow he manages to mix Christian sentiment and Santa Claus into this song which also highlights every form of recent technology out there.   (Note to Americans:  mobile = cell phone.)
  • Good on the Sally Army – Not a Christmas song, but it’s hard to think  Christmas without thinking of the Salvation Army.   This classic from the Small Corners album of all Christian songs doesn’t have a true music video, but you can link to YouTube audio here.

I really respect Cliff for the stand he’s taken as a Christian in the entertainment business.

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