Obligatory Memorial Day Post (2017 Edition)

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arlington cemeteryToday is Memorial Day here in the United States of America, where I dwell. A day where we remember and acknowledge those veterans and soldiers who have fought for our freedoms in the past, and are currently fighting for them now. Also a day to remember the loved ones that have shuffled off this mortal coil, some far too soon.

Since I hold my family to be a very important part of my life, I thought I would take a moment to share a list of the names of the family members I remember fondly while growing up:

Bill Wheatley (Great-Grandfather)
Charlotte Marie Case (Great-Grandmother)
Robert Case (Grandfather)
Esther Case (Grandmother)
Gerald Strand (Grandfather)
Betty Strand (Grandmother)
Orland Krohn (Grandfather)
Fern Krohn (Grandmother)
Douglas Erickson (Great-Great Uncle)
Natalie Erickson (Great-Great Aunt)
Janice Nuzum (Great Aunt)
Bill Rabe (Great Uncle)
Murial Rabe (Great Aunt)
Barry Rabe (Second Cousin)
Janet Donahey (Aunt)
Janel Case (Sister)
Allen Donahey (Cousin)
Jerry Donahey (Cousin)

…this is not a complete list, of course. And by no means is it by order of importance. These are the ones that I remember as have being part of my life. There have been others, and there will be others to come. Such is the nature of living.

Anyway, happy Memorial Day, and thank you for all who have served, and are still serving in some capacity. Cheers, all…

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Uncle NecRo’s TOP 10 FAVORITE USE OF POP MUSIC IN MOVIES

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Just in case you haven’t noticed the pattern, I loves me some movies. I also loves me some musics to listen to. And one thing that Hollywood enjoys is to put some decent pop music in some movies, like injecting the creme filling inside a nummy donut. And now that I’m completely jonsing for a creme filled donut, I’m just going to say that I decided to rip off another article involving the best pop songs used in Comic Book movies, only mine is going to be about the best pop music used in regular movies I’ve seen. So, while I go out on a quest to find the elusive pastry of craving banishment, with creme filling of white, and sprinkles the color of the rainbow, here is my list of my

TOP 10 FAVORITE USE OF POP MUSIC IN MOVIES
(in no particular order, mind you)

The Song: “Rock You Like A Hurricane” (The Scorpions)
The Movie: Little Nicky
Don’t get me wrong, this movie is horrible. A great premise, but ruined by Adam Sandler’s juvenile style of “comedy”. But, there are shiny moments, such as the very brief few seconds where one of the three sons of the Devil, Adrian, makes an entrance near the end of the movie for the big showdown, all to the opening metal riff of The Scorpion’s “Rock You Like A Hurricane”. If only that would start playing every time I enter a room…

The Song: “Can’t Smile Without You” (Barry Manilow)
The Movie: Hellboy II: the Golden Army
I love Guillermo del Toro. I love his Hellboy movies. And I love the fact that del Toro has a sense of humor mixed in with his dark and twisted imagination. Which is why I always love the scene in this sequel where both Hellboy and Abe Sapien get drunk and have this 1970s MOR power ballad cheeseball blasting while pining for their respective loves…

The Song: “Time In A Bottle” (Jim Croce)
The Movie: X-Men: Days Of Future Past
Not a fan of the song, but the use of it during perhaps the best scene in a movie filled with memorable scenes as contrasting to Quicksilver’s rushing around super fast and messing with everything was bloody brilliant…

The Song: “Bohemian Rhapsody” (Queen)
The Movie: Wayne’s World
Most of you whipper-snappers would only recognize this classic due to it being shoehorned into the Suicide Squad movie. But, the best use of the song would be 25 years prior, when it was used in an iconic scene in the classic Wayne’s World movie early on….

The Song: “Shoop” (Salt-N-Pepa)
The Movie: Deadpool
Of course Deadpool would be a fan of Salt-N-Pepa. I’m glad they kept it in the movie, as it was with the test footage to try and get the movie made initially. It does much to establish ‘Pool’s personality…

The Song: “Welcome To The Jungle” (Guns N’ Roses)
The Movie: Lean On Me
I watched this movie when it was first released in theaters back in 1989. Being a big Gn’R fan at the time, I did not expect this song to be played at the beginning while showing scenes of the high school being a teenage warzone. The movie became my instant favorite right then and there…

The Song: “The Four Horsemen” (Metallica)
The Movie: X-Men: Apocalypse
And speaking of using metal classics in movies, the usage of the bangover-inducing “The Four Horsemen” not only made sense thematically (given that it was used while Apocalypse was gathering together his own “four horsemen”), but it gave an otherwise mediocre X-Men movie a moment of awesome that ended all too soon…

The Song: “Institutionalized” (Suicidal Tendencies)
The Movie: “Iron Man”
Yes, I realize there may have been other more popular songs that were used for the soundtrack; and while I loves me some AC/DC, I was hyped up when I heard the strains of this classic Suicidal Tendencies tune being cranked in Tony’s garage. All he wanted was a Pepsi, after all…

The Song: “Tainted Love” (Soft Cell)
The Movie: Coneheads
It’s fascinating how ubiquitous a song becomes after hearing it for the first time. Which is what happened when I first heard the Soft Cell hit cover of “Tainted Love”, as the very first place I immediately heard it again was when I watched the greatly underrated Coneheads. Not only do we hear it on a radio in one scene, but is sung while battling an alien monster with golf. I’m not making that part up.

The Song: “Afternoon Delight” (The Starland Vocal Band)
The Movie: PCU
To quote Homer Simpson: “Starland Vocal Band? They SUCK!” And nothing is worse than having this nauseating bit of 70s adult contemporary schmaltz come on and not being able to escape its sound crawling up inside and defiling your earholes. Which is exactly what happens in this Animal House in the 1990s ripoff comedy, as the protagonist(?) puts the song on the CD player on infinite repeat, then locks all of the stuffy Republicans in the room with it cranking. Wackiness ensues.

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Farewell to the Youth Group…

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haunted hallwayFor the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” – Luke 19:10

I’ve been silent. I know I have been silent, not posting my brain droppings or reviews or such these past few weeks. There have been some paradigm shifts, the major of which was where I said goodbye to my youth group last night.

It was known that this was Shelli’s last year of doing the youth group, as she had been faithfully doing so in the Student Venture capacity for 25 years. Not counting the few years before when it was just a weekly Bible study in the late 1980s and early 1990s. While she had said she was retiring every two years or so, this time she meant it.

It just so happened that I had gotten involved with Student Venture when it was started back in February of 1992, and have been involved in some capacity for approximately 17 out of the 25 years. There was that wilderness period between 2000 and 2009 that I’m not going to go into right now. Sufficed to say, I needed that time. When the Lord saw fit, He drop-kicked me back with the youth group to serve the leaders. Then I moved up to one of the co-leaders. We kept the name Student Venture long after Campus Crusade decided to change their organization name to CRU, and then the last year it was decided to break off entirely with being associated with CRU, more because we were affiliated in name only. The break was very amicable, really. That was also the last year we would exist as a youth group as we know it.

The original plan was to pass on responsibility of the group to myself and another friend–Darla–who were helping co-lead (for lack of a better word, this early in the mourning as I write this). Then, a few weeks into the new season, Darla left to to focus on her family (I swear I didn’t mean to evoke Dr. James Dobson’s old ministry, sorry); I realized that I would be the one taking over the lessons and teaching the group after Shelli was gone. And, after the initial period of anxiety, I  fell back to what I knew best to do: leave it up to God to do what He does, and let the Holy Spirit guide me as I merely serve to the best of my ability. Remain faithful in presenting the Truth of the Bible and Who Jesus is, and let God do the heavy work in the kids’ hearts and minds.

You know, what I’ve always been doing. If it’s not broke, don’t fix it, and all that.

Then, without getting bogged with the details, a chapter of Fellowship of Christian Athletes was started at the High School, and Shelli decided that the torch should be passed to those starting up FCA and dissolving Student Venture entirely. It’s logical, really, as there are so many more opportunities for the kids to grow and mature in their faith and interact with peers from other FCA groups, and it’s headed up by a couple of instructors from the high school. I would be lying, though, if I said I wasn’t a little bit upset at the sudden shift. Then again, the group wasn’t mine to begin with.

So, last night I said goodbye to probably the best bunch of kids I’ve had the honor and pleasure of working with. To watch the Holy Spirit work in their lives, seeing them want to dive into what the Bible says, reading it chapter-by-chapter, and most importantly getting to introduce them to Jesus. It was the one day out of the week I looked forward to. It was…difficult, to understate the situation. Hugs and tears and laughter all around.

So, the torch has been passed for the kids in Hooper, Nebraska. And various surrounding communities. It’s difficult to imagine not being a part of their lives in the future, but I believe they’re in good hands. As for me, I foresee a bit more Wilderness Wandering. Or to put it another way: While it’s true that when God closes one door, He will open another, no one wants to talk about the period where you’re wandering around the hallway waiting for Him to open up the other door.

Can I praise Him in the hallway? Do I have a choice? Am I really going to end this with rhetorical questions? Sure, why not? Cheers, all…

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Doctor Who Series 10 Brain Droppings

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doctor and bill

Soon, in less than a couple of weeks (premiering between Good Friday and Easter Sunday, as a matter of fact), we Whovians will finally have a new series (referred to as a “season” here in the States) of Doctor Who. To say the wait was a long one may be exaggerating a bit; lest we forget the Wilderness Years between the original cancellation of the show and the 1996 television movie, followed by another nine years until it was officially brought back in 2005 (not counting the brilliant 1999 special “The Curse of the Fatal Death”). A year and a half really wasn’t that much of a slog; besides, we had the two Christmas Specials to provide a break in the waiting. Not to mention all the books and radio dramas being produced.

Anyway, we are finally near the 10th Series of Doctor Who. This one purports to be the final one for Peter Capaldi’s 12th Doctor. Which is a pity, as I thoroughly enjoyed his take on the Time Lord, bringing to mind the best of the First, Third and Fourth Doctors, with a smattering of the Eighth, all while making it his own whimsical beast. I dare say, Capaldi’s Doctor had replaced Eccleston as my second-favorite Doctor.*

There’s a new companion for the Doctor as well, and it looks like, according to reports**, that there’s going to be a refreshing lack of romantic tension between the Doctor and the companion this time around. I understand the logic of getting some forced romantic tension to bring in the younger demographic (which also favors making the Doctor younger every time he regenerates), but in my not-so-humble opinion, the Doctor works best as an asexual character, and not having to rebuff his companion (or companions) while trying to save the world from whatever threat is besotting us this week. That’s part of the reason why, since the relaunch of Doctor Who, the companion of Donna Noble is listed high up as one of my favorite companions: she never fell for the Doctor. If anything, she was a much-needed foil to the Doctor’s ego. But, I digress.

The previews and teasers show promise. There seems to be a return of the classic Cybermen from the First Doctor serial “The Tenth Planet” (creepy), an obligatory Dalek episode, Missy pops up, and some kind of Emoji-based robot, I think? There’s also seems to be more inclusion of the character Nardole, which is awesome, as I think he plays off of the Doctor perfectly. Why not make him the companion? Because we need a female companion every time? I don’t know.

Anyway, the wait is almost over, and I anxiously await April 15th to see where the final adventures of the 12th Doctor brings us. Cheers, all.

* – Tom Baker is my all-time favorite, in case you were wondering. You’re welcome.
** – source

Brain Droppings on Joy vs. Happiness

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cheesecakeHaving the Joy of the Lord does not equate Happiness. Happiness is an emotion. Emotions are fleeting. The dessert at the meal. Joy, on the other hand, is the nourishment that is gleaned from the meal itself–the proteins, the complex carbohydrates, the amino acids necessary for continued strength and endurance. The dessert is the brief allowance of empty calories that produces happy feelings, but overall doesn’t benefit the long-term goal.

To pursue Christianity as a means to secure happiness in this world will eventually leave you confused, bitter, angry, jaded, and finally disillusion.

Jesus does not offer happiness. He offers something better: Joy. And as the risen Redeemer-as the true source of joy, the more we rely and trust in Him and let go of the world we were once a part of, the more you come to understand that Joy is sustaining us. Nourishing us to continue on in Christ Jesus rather than give us a blast of happiness, only to have it fade.

March 25, 2017

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inside my headWhen it comes to the mental part of writing (which happens all the time; the physical writing part is maybe 10 percent of the process), one of the more effective ways of getting past writer’s block is to put some \,,/METAL\,,/ on and let my mind wander amidst the soundtrack drowning out the outside world. Sitting with big over-the-ears headphones, staring out to the distance is good, but the most effective use of this is driving around in the NEKRON-7, something cranking on the stereo, somehow the added busywork of driving combined with the music really brings out some fantastic brain droppings.

The trick is to translate what’s dancing around in my head onto the blank pages here in our dimension. And sometimes that translation process gets lost in the ether, resulting in something close to approximation of what I saw in my head, but not quite.

I am my own worst critic when it comes to my writing. I always have been, and always will be. Until the day I stop writing, I’ll keep trying. It’s the only way I can calm the voices, after all. That, and the \,,/METAL\,,/. Cheers.

From The \,,/METALCUTENESS\,,/ Files…

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I believe I may have found my new mascot:
deathmetalpanda
That there is Aggretsuko, a red panda that hates her office job and blows off steam with the help of death metal. This is from the same company that brought us Hello Kitty. It makes sense that it comes from Japan, really. They can take anything and make it into their own weird version, like some kind of pop culture alchemist.

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