Sunday, August 19, 2007

Karaoke and Other forms of Fun

We had a good time Friday at night at Jenn's karaoke party. There's nothing quite like watching somebody get caught off guard by the start of Happy Birthday on the karaoke screen and then trying to catch up. Dave wanted to sing it to her as the cake came out. Of course we all helped him get back on track, but it was a funny moment. I took another stab at Johnny Cash and sang Ring of Fire as Dave had promised everyone in the invitation. I met my obligation but John totally ducked his on Sweet Caroline. I like Johnny Cash a lot and it's fun to sing along in the car but after this experience and my previous attempt at Riders in the Sky I may have to give up. I can't really sing low enough and compounded that by holding the mike too far from my face so my friends couldn't hardly hear me. I did try Boy Named Sue once but the speak-singing makes that tricky. Oh well. Later in the evening I felt pretty good about Man of Constant Sorrow. The range is right, I know and love it, and I've even "bid farewell to old Kentucky, the place where I was born and raised." I tried to get Steve to it but eventually had to admit defeat and sing it myself. Man of Constant Sorrow goes along with Birdhouse in Your Soul and Copperhead Road as my karaoke successes. CR gets low in a couple of places but I can cover those with enthusiasm. As long as I'm on the subject the other two songs I've tried have length problems. Simon and Garfunkel's The Rat is too short. Dire Straits' Money for Nothing is just right if you only focus on the part you sing along with in the car but you've got a minute of "I want my MTV" at the beginning and about two minutes of "Money for nothing, chicks for free" at the end. It's a fun two minute song sandwiched between three minutes of standing there feeling stupid. I think for the next time I go I want to try the traditional Irish song Finnegan's Wake, about a dead Irishman who's revived when whiskey's spilled on him during a brawl at his wake, and I Just Stopped in to See What Condition My Condition Was In by Kenny Rogers from the Gutterballin' sequence in The Big Lebowski soundtrack. "Phone's ringin', Dude."

On Saturday Steve and I went to the Bristol Renaissance Faire in Bristol, Wis. Steve got to dress up a little and wear a pirate shirt and his sword. I don't have any costume gear so I dressed as myself. We looked into buying me a battle axe but couldn't find anything in my price range. I enjoy the ren faire but I just can't bring myself to spend the money on costuming. We saw some funny jugglers and magicians and a pretty cool display of 16th century surgical methods. We also got some good food and I took care of my annual mead fix, so honoring my Renaissance Meador ancestors. I was talking a week ago with a friend at church who had been to the faire. We noted the incongruity of an event claiming to be set in the Renaissance with no tinge of Christianity. D. joked that they could at least burn a heretic. I kind of think that if I ever do go in costume it'd be fun to go as a friar, or maybe given the 1589 English setting, as a Puritan.
After the faire we went down to Trinity for the new student orientation church fair (I guess Saturday was a "fair day" despite the rainy weather). We got to talk about our church to a number of new seminary and college students and with a few of the other church reps. that were there. It was a fun time. We had a lot more seminary than college contacts but it still felt like a worthwhile time to me. Later last night we went over to some friends' new apartment. They've got a really nice place and they've decorated it well. We played games, including losing and winning games of Settlers, and hung out.

On Sunday we got hear a very encouraging sermon on baptism followed by a good time of communion and singing. We closed the service with I'll Fly Away. As a congregation we can't clap to that with any coherence but it was still a sweet time of affirmation of our hope in Christ. Our church men's ministry sponsored a day of service where men with various skills would go the homes of single women and moms who requested it and do various odd jobs and repairs. After the service I teamed up with a group of men and we went to a lady's house and installed a phone jack, repaired her screen door, hung some pictures, fixed a toilet, and reset a sliding door. The rain prevented some jobs like cutting down a tree and some car repairs, but we got to help out some of the women in the church and work together with some new guys so it was a good time. Unfortunately the same rain that shut out some of the service projects also rained the first softball game of the fall season. Apparently the caretakers of the Libertyville Sports Complex softball pond didn't think we could swim well enough to pull off a game. That was just as well as it gave me and Steve time to catch up on our Battlestar Galactica watching, reading, and laundry.

Verse of the day:
"Or don't you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life." Rom. 6:3-4 (NIV)

Friday, August 17, 2007

Karaoke Wishes

I'm going Karaoke-ing tonight for my friend Jenn's birthday. I mentioned to my friend Dianne one time that I have trouble choosing what songs to sing because the stuff I know well is usually too obscure for the club. She asked me what I would sing if I could. I thought I'd make a list of songs I'd be comfortable enough to try but that I've never seen on a Karaoke play list.

Steve Earle - Johnny Come Lately, The Mountain, or Going South to Dixie: I flipped the time I found Copperhead Road available but my favorite song off that album is Johnnie Come Lately.

The Pogues - Lorelei: I finally found a Pogues song for karaoke, Fairytale of New York, and was writing it down on the request slip before I remembered it's a duet for male and female and probably no women I hang out with would sing it with me.

The Violent Femmes - Country Death Song: it's the darkest on the bunch and is fairly evil. I can see why it's not on lists but it's fun to sing.

The Sadies - It's Nothing to Me: there's other Sadies stuff that would be fun but it's usually too low for my range.

The Chieftains and Mick Jagger - The Long Black Veil: This one is usually on the lists but in a different arrangement that's too swing-y and light. I like the way Jagger sings it.

The Clancy Brothers - The Parting Glass: the place I go has a few traditional Irish songs on the list, and I might try Finnegan's Wake tonight, but I'd like to do this one. I love it both as the Clancy's do it and in the arrangement on the soundtrack to Waking Ned Divine. I usually end up singing this one going from my car to the door after karaoke. The Foggy Dew is another good one.

Johnny Cash - The L&N Don't Stop There Anymore: like the Sadies most Johnny Cash is too low but that doesn't stop me from trying. I also like his version of Poor Wayfaring Stranger.

Kingston Trio - Coal Tattoo: I've loved this ever since I heard Aunt Margaret sing it.

Steve Taylor - Finish Line: It's probably just as well, I cry at the end.

Glass Hammer - Dwarf and Orc: I don't actually know this well enough to sing it in public but I wish I did.

They Might Be Giants - I Returned a Bag of Groceries (Dead): I had a lot of fun learning and singing Birdhouse in Your Soul the last time I went out, but this is my favorite TMBG song to sing.

The Crossing - None But One, Winter, Where Has the Carpenter Gone, Rise Ye Up and Go, Psalm, The Bold Little Preacher, Standing Stones: if I had to pick one it'd be Psalm but since it's never going to happen I can do them all.

Michael Card - God's Own Fool: There's a lot of Card songs but this is the one for me unless I count the settings of Come Ye Sinners, and Jesus, Lover of My Soul on Starkindler. Those are possibly my two favorite hymn settings.

Third Day - Consuming Fire: This one might have a chance on Christian karaoke discs.

So there's a list of songs I wish I could sing for karaoke, none of which I'll get to do tonight.

Random quote from youth group:
"You think nobody will know? God knows and so does Google." NW in his message

Verse of the day:
"For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain." Philippians 1:21