Post 136

The Reel Deal: This is Me, Baby

I’m going to do a nativity play.

I’m going to call it: A Christmas Karol.

The title is a reference to, of course, the Dickens story.

It is also a reference to the idea of Christmas carols in general, which are some of the last remnants of a shared Christian culture in this land. Amazingly, the schools are allowing the children to lose these pieces, and children these days are unfamiliar with the lines of some of the most basic of carols. If they are church-going children, then they will learn the verses, but otherwise, their exposure will be zero or very minimal. I recently asked a busker in Faneuil Hall, Boston, if he could sing (and play on his electric guitar) Silent Night. He denied knowing how. He also denied knowing how to sing Amazing Grace – I found that amazing.

If he knew how, but was ashamed to sing either of these pieces in public then he’s a


Funny how some people, considered brave, cannot do the simplest things when push comes to shove. Actors are reputed to be brave – going up on stage or being in front of the camera ‘like that’ – but give them a situation where they have to invent their own lines (a.k.a. real life) and so often, you’ll see them dissolve. Ask them to go up to complete strangers to sell or give away tickets and they can’t deliver. They just can’t do it.

I see.


Anyway, back to my rant about Christmas carols, I recall a conversation with an elementary school “teacher.” I was talking to her about Christmas carols and she suggested that if I were going to ask children to sing something for Christmas, I should get them to sing, “Happy Birthday” and then when it came time to insert a name, they could insert “Jesus.”

I couldn’t believe it. That’s what you call the ‘lowest common denominator.’

And then people wonder why their kids are so stupid when they come out of school. Turns out that years of dumbing everything down will do that to a person.

“Happy Birthday to You, Happy Birthday to You. Happy Birthday Dear Jesus, Happy Birthday to You.”


Just please stab me here with your plastic fork, you “Music Teacher.”

As if there aren’t enough Christmas carols to choose from already. There are tons of beautiful pieces, all being forgotten. They exist now only as parodies. Yet what’s the point of parody if nobody is familiar with the original that is being mocked? It’s just like what Chesterton said about Thor. Chesterton was saying that blasphemy is an artistic effect (hopefully I paraphrase correctly). Your audience needs to be familiar with the original concept or person in order to make the joke (or blasphemy) work. He says, as an example, that if you ask someone to make fun of the god Thor, it won’t really work and you’ll find him worn out at the end of the day, but he won’t have made any headway, after hours of trying.

So anyway, I have opinions about the Christmas carol. Christmas carols are good. I like them best when the original lines are kept. I hate it when they go and soften the words of traditional carols. We are such wimps these days.

The piece has three parts. The middle section should go like this:

Why lies He in such mean estate,
Where ox and ass are feeding?
Good Christians, fear, for sinners here
The silent Word is pleading.

Nails, spear shall pierce Him through,
The cross be borne for me, for you.
Hail, hail the Word made flesh,
The Babe, the Son of Mary.

But, as you can imagine, the editors of the modern collection of hymns will delete the part about the nails and the spear.

That’s not right.

The crucifixion is not a detail about Jesus that you are supposed to edit out.

So stupid.

But anyway, I like the Christmas carol and I think it’s a shame that nowadays the only thing left are the parodies of it and the elevator-music-no-words versions. I’m not saying that instrumentals are bad – they have their place – but instrumentals are also references to a real thing, and in the case of Christmas carols, that’s the piece with the full set of original words.

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could retrieve these pieces, as a culture? People actually do enjoy singing. I don’t need to prove this, do I? People sing when they’re in a good mood, and they don’t even need lyrics.

The other day, I was sorting through old photos. (I’ve edited my past, so don’t ask me now if I’ve got photos of you. Feel free to do the same on your side. I encourage it, as a matter of fact. Why keep photos of “friends”? And why keep a photo of yourself as an unclothed baby? I don’t call such a photo “cute” – I call it WRONG, because it is.) Anyway, I broke into song.

Imagine the tune.

This was me:

“This is me in Grade 9, baby! This is me in Grade 9. This is me in Grade 9, baby! This is me in Grade 9.”

LoyalOne looked at me.

I looked back at her.

She said, “I hope there were more lyrics than that.”

I said, “Oh yeah, there were lots.”

She looked at me.

I looked back at her.


She doesn’t actually think I remember them, does she?

I carried on.

“This is me in Grade 9, baby! This is me in Grade 9. This is me in Grade 9, baby! This is me in Grade 9.”

And repeat.

You see, a person doesn’t need much.

A good mood and the memory of a tune. Press “play” (your nose is the button) and away you go.

BNL wasn’t around to hear my attempt, or any extra lines invented like so: “This is me in Grade 10, baby! This is me in Grade 10. This is me in Grade 10, baby! This is me in Grade 10.”

I did it in the privacy of my own home, and thus the world was spared the pain. No video reel. No video reel of me (whew!).

BNL: talented fellows.

But really, I think singing is a good thing, and everyone should do it more often and more openly and they should sing Christmas carols sometimes too. I am currently undecided about the issue of celebrating Christmasy things during Advent. Chesterton, I hear, was opposed to it, and since I usually agree with him about everything, I’ll probably wind up agreeing with him about that too.

On the other hand, maybe things are different now, and maybe he’d have a different opinion in our current cultural decline. Maybe in a world where Christianity is so under attack (or at least it was, when I last checked), we’ve got to use whatever weapon we’ve got as often as we can. In other words, if the amnesia in our current culture is so deep that the only thing anybody remembers or knows about Christianity is the first 3 lines of Amazing Grace, then I guess I’ll be paying every busker within a 100 mile radius to sing that.

And yes, please sing it with the original words. The stanza about ten thousand years was an addition, I read now. I think it’s not an improvement. In the first place, the thought of being in one place for ten thousand years can sound like a drag, not a delight. And I like the way the original ends with the word “peace.” How can you improve on that? Here it is, since I’m on the topic. It’s by a fellow named Dix, who was an insurance broker, according to Wikipedia.

Inspired, obviously.

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.

T’was Grace that taught my heart to fear.
And Grace, my fears relieved.
How precious did that Grace appear
The hour I first believed.

Through many dangers, toils and snares
I have already come;
‘Tis Grace that brought me safe thus far
and Grace will lead me home.

The Lord has promised good to me.
His word my hope secures.
He will my shield and portion be,
As long as life endures.

Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
And mortal life shall cease,
I shall possess within the veil,
A life of joy and peace.

Yes, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
And mortal life shall cease;
I shall profess, within the vale,
A life of joy and peace.

It’s a good piece.

I want to dig it out of the trash heap. Dust it off, show you that it’s a gem and that we shouldn’t be neglecting it.

But anyway, back to my triple meaning for my title, “A Christmas Karol.”

The third aspect here is a reference to Karol Wojtyla, which was the birth name of Saint Pope John Paul II. As you know, when someone becomes pope, he takes on a new name.

Pope John Paul II was named Karol at birth. It’s Charles in English and Carl in some other languages. I don’t think, however, that most people called him that. They used his nickname, Lolek.

So that’ll be my nativity play. A Christmas Karol: Karol Wojtyla Nativity Play.

You’re invited.

Saturday, December 3, 2016.

2 p.m.


Cost per ticket: (I am thinking of a tune. It goes like this: “If I had a million dollars.” It’s a poignant song, as a matter of fact, and remembering those naïve-stars-in-yer-eyes lines brings tears to my eyes).

Anyway. That was then. This is now.

Cost per ticket: Lots, plus applicable service charges.

I will now try to insert two links going somewhere over the rainbow, something I’ve never done on my own blog (always had help). They might not work. But you won’t be able to complain to me, because I recently discovered that my Contact Page for MinedGems doesn’t work anymore. I don’t know how long it’s been dysfunctional, but it is. So you can’t even complain properly anymore on this “dam” blog. Sucks, doesn’t it?

Okay, so as I was saying, here is how you go and buy tickets, or here is how you go and look and read and decide you don’t want to buy tickets.

It also happens to be a way to partly answer those who wanted me to come out from behind this computer. (I hope you still like me, after you see the video reel. Real reel. Yikes. I’ll look away while you look. And now you will see who is the biggest wimp of all.)

Me: here.
(And if that doesn’t work, this is where I was trying to bring you:

Wasn’t planning on showing up

This way

But oh well

Here we go

Welcome to the show

Tenth year

In a row

Many more

Left to go