Thursday, June 30, 2011

Cats - The Musical

I watched Andrew Lloyd Webber's Cats this week.  It was a performance recorded in London several years ago.  I'm glad I saw it, but I didn't really care for it.  I can't say specifically what it was that didn't work for me.  In fact, as far as being a fan of musicals, I'm probably in a small minority.  After all, when it closed a few years ago, Cats was the longest running musical in Broadway history (I believe).  There was something about it people liked. 

For those who don't know, Cats is based on a collection of poems by T.S. Eliot called "Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats".  To the best of my knowledge (I didn't feel like doing a wiki search), the majority of the lyrics are from Eliot's book, with Webber writing the music.  The songs/poems are loosely linked together to form a sort-of story, and that's one problem I had with it.  I like story.  Also, the dancing was a lot of ballet (or at least looked like it), which was impressive, but not my thing.  There were a few catchy songs, most notably "Memory" (made famous by Barbra Streisand), but I didn't find myself singing them like Phantom of the Opera or Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat.  Finally, I didn't care for how the "story" resolved itself.  It reminded me of Logan's Run, a post-apocalyptic book/movie/tv show where no one lives past 30 (if you've seen Cats and Logan's Run, you will know what I'm talking about).

On the other hand, Trisha really liked it.  So there is that.  (Although, she doesn't like cats. Go figure.)

P.S.  Cats is responsible for one of my favorite David Letterman moments.  During Dave's first show on CBS in the Ed Sullivan Theater which I'm pretty sure is on Broadway), Paul Newman stood up and shouted, "Where the hell are the singing cats?"  Classic.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Summer TV

It wasn't too long ago that summer meant tv reruns.  As a tv junkie, that was always a bummer.  I would finally have time (no homework, no grading) but I'd seen what I wanted to see.  Then cable channels started showing first-run shows, and I was hooked.  The channel I watch most often during the summer (some of the shows air during the winter months as well) is USA Network.  They have what I've seen called "Blue Sky" shows.  They are suspenseful, fun, and light, great escapism television.  It started with Monk about an OCD detective (sadly, this show has ended).  Now, I regularly watch Burn Notice (an ex-spy helping the less fortunate in Miami - it's the knight-errant theme, like Magnum P.I.), White Collar (a con-man helps the FBI solve white collar crimes - pretty cool ideas), Covert Affairs (young CIA operative, making her way in the business), and my favorite current show, Psych (a fake psychic detective - I can't recommend this one highly enough; the Mentalist is a total rip-off, but Psych has great chemistry between the leads and can be laugh-out-loud funny at times).  Watch it!

TNT has Leverage, which is Ocean's Eleven meets Robin Hood.  The cons and plans are well done, and I never guess right about what's going to happen.

Finally, SyFy has Warehouse 13 (Indiana Jones meets FBI meets wacky gadgets - watch a few shows and it becomes addicting; they use lots of fun ideas, like Poe's quill or HG Well's time machine), and Haven, which spun from a Stephen King story but actually has nothing to do with the story except in passing; lots of strange, possibly supernatural or superpowered goings-on being investigated by an FBI agent who has a knack for attracting such things.  Haven is not nearly as intense as The X-Files, but has some of the same ideas.

If you can only see a couple, watch Psych (watch it already, and pay attention to the pop culture references, particularly from the 80's) and Leverage.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

VBS Highlight

Enjoy this video of Lexi, Cami, and Morgan Reddy helping lead the singing at VBS.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Book Review - This Little Prayer of Mine by Anthony DeStefano

When I was little, I learned many rote prayers: Now I lay me down to sleep...; God is great, God is good...; Rub-a-dub-dub, thanks for the grub (well, maybe that last wasn't so great, but it worked at camp).  Even now, my kids are learning to pray for meals the same way: God we thank you, God we thank you, For our food...etc.  It's a great way to learn about prayer.  In his book This Little Prayer of Mine, Anthony DeStefano goes a little deeper.  The prayer he writes rhymes and could probably be sung with the right melody, but it moves past just being rote.  In it, the narrator makes requests of God in all situations, gives thanks to God for multiple things, and presents hopes and dreams for the future.  It shows a great next step for kids, beyond just looking at God as a giver of gifts or magic genie.  Thanking God, confessing fears, and sharing goals add to the relational aspect of God, and should be encouraged as children learn to pray. The prayer is accompanied by some beautiful artwork, more photo-realistic than cartoony (Mark Elliott is the illustrator).  Additionally, the book is endorsed by The National Day of Prayer.  This is well worth reading for children.

I received this book as part of WaterBrook Mulnomah's Blogging for Books program.

Don't forget to vote for the review, please!