Welcome to Just Another AIO Blog, a site that is dedicated to the popular radio drama Adventures in Odyssey. We provide news, reviews on the latest episodes, articles, features, and we also are home to Adventures in Connellsville, a unique look at the town next to Odyssey through book form, We also provide a U.S.S. Response page that gets updated every other day. This page provides a response to recent comments on The Soda Shop Message Boards. And just recently, we started a unique Adventures in Odyssey podcast: called JAAIOP, or Just Another AIO Podcast. Feel free to post comments or subscribe to this site by email or with Google Friend Connect. Thank you!

Alex Jefferson, creator and operator of Just Another AIO Blog

Sunday, December 16, 2012

AIO Article: Pound Foolish Wisdom #3 12/16/12

     I apologize for not posting the last two days.  I'm afraid blogging was not my highest priority.  But, PF saved me yet again with a new Pound Foolish Wisdom.  It's not Christmas-themed, but... eh, who cares?  But before I get to PF's article, allow me to write a short introduction to it...

     Magazine and website articles are often made to sway the reader's view on things.  This is not the case with newspaper articles, as newspaper articles are boring little things that are "fair and balanced".  I actually enjoy reading the newspaper, but not because I think it's great writing.  Articles on the other hand, can be rich of information and opinionated at the same time, and that's what makes them so great.
     And there are some articles that don't make a dent in the public's view on a certain subject.  These articles are weak and void of meaning and good writing.  I am embarrassed to say that I have written some articles such as this on this blog, mostly because I was in a rush, or I didn't really know what my opinion was on a particular subject.  But either way, those kind of articles do nothing to sway anyone's opinion or even give information on something.
    But there are other articles that do stir things up just a bit, and do change the someone's view on a subject just a bit.  I believe I can safely say I have written a couple of these as well.  These articles could be considered merely "good" or "average", as they're certainly not bad and certainly not fantastic.
     And, finally, there are those articles that might cause an earthquake, metaphorically speaking of course.  These articles are so brilliantly written that they can sway a reader's opinion on a particular subject, even if they give both sides of the argument.  These articles can cause a good or bad effect, depending on what the writer's stance on an issue is.  I can also safely say that I haven't written a single one of these kinds of articles.  But I believe PF has.
     Now, you may be wondering where this intro is going.  It hasn't mentioned the article yet at all, and I apologize for that; I will get right to the point now.  This article might be PF's best yet, though admittedly the Liz one could arguably be his best.  I will tell you right now that this article is on Emily.  For all you Emily-haters out there, prepare to have your view on Emily changed forever.  Well, if you are a really stubborn Emily-hater, this article may not change your view completely, but it sure makes a good argument for the brilliance of Emily's character.  So I will now present you with: an article that could cause an earthquake.  (Metaphorically speaking, of course)


          Pound Foolish Wisdom

               Where AIO Characters Are Put Beneath the Microscope

#3:  Emily
     In Defense of Goin’

“Some characters…. Won’t do much, and they fade out of the strip. Others, like Snoopy, just take off, and will do anything. These are the characters that stay.”
Charles Schulz, the Peanuts Golden Collection

    Such a character is Emily. She can do anything. She behaves terrifically, recklessly, then sadly and humbly regrets it. And, one of the most amazing moments of Emily is… she giggles lovingly with Buck… then, with a clearing of her throat, assumes a business manner of authority as she begins her case of Buck’s missing phone.
    Some months ago, I made this remark (here it’s a bit shortened):
    "I'm a bit sad as I find that so many AIO Soda Shop Board Members look down on Emily. She is charming and wonderful. The very things so many despise about her are the things that make her amazing: her passion, her boldness, her incredible natural talent for knowledge and deduction, her forcefulness, yes, even her rudeness. Emily is all that a woman should be, and possibly the best role-model of all the female characters in the show today. YES, she is forceful. YES, she outspoken. YES, she speaks her mind. And that is what a female should be.I cannot say it passionately enough. Thank you, AIO, for Emily Jones."
Mr. Thinker – err, that’s a pet name my friend “Suzylou” came up with for CreativeThinker101, aka “Alex Jefferson.” You know, the guy who runs this awesome blog. Anyhow, here’s a bit from an article he wrote, in which he used my remark to represent the side for Emily, and then tried to debunk it:

     “Sorry Pound, but I think your hearing aid needs to be adjusted. (No offense, if you're reading this! :) Emily is by no means the best of the new child characters… And I wouldn't call Emily 'naturally talented'… a small sense of deduction does not mean you are at the same level as Mozart. And in episodes like 'Game For A Mystery' and 'Stage Fright', she almost seems to just stumble upon the solution without doing a whole lot to solve the case. And she even got the wrong culprit in 'The Malted Milkball Falcon'. For someone who's a naturally talented detective, that's bad.) And you said that Emily was rude, so how does that make her the best role-model?
     Emily is very complex. She is stubborn, bossy, ambitious, perceptive, helpful, and a normal girl all at the same time. I like that AIO has an incredibly complex character, and I like that we get to see a lot of different sides of Emily. But her voice is rather annoying, and all that complexity gets to be too much. And so, Emily is my least favorite AIO kid character, though she's not too horrible.”
     Oh, did you notice he said she’s “not too horrible”? Isn’t Mr. Thinker so kind? Anyhow…
     The debate, as all you Soda Shoppers know, rages on. Mostly, it has evolved into a ridiculous everlasting showdown of shamelessly absurd remarks and fake insults. On a whim, I formed the club  E.R.K. on the Soda Shop. (the Emily RULES! Klub.) Which led to… well, mayhem, including a barrage of people starting their own “Emily Klubs” as they unsurprisingly came to be called, particularly the E.S.K. (Emily Stinks Klub) and both E.R.K. and E.S.K.  now have their own separate, independent site!  http://emilyrulesklub.wordpress.com/ http://emilystinks.webs.com/
      Months later, E.R.K. and E.S.K. are still consistently towards the top of the first page of the Character forum.

     The battle still rages and new miniature character wars, about Mitch and Camilla, are springing up, but so far nothing has challenged the Emily monstrosity that reigns continuously over the character section. But this is all just the tip of the iceberg. Just about every single big AIO blog has snapped at Emily, revised their opinion of Emily, and praised Emily, and condemned Emily to death. Everyone, for some reason, has something to say about Emily (!):
     “In previous episodes, such as "Stage Fright" and "The Malted Milkball Falcon", she's been the bossy, know-it-all. I'm surprised she didn't flaunt her test results in front of everyone's faces or tell Matthew or Barrett they could be as smart as she was if only they worked a little harder. And yet, today's episode takes the stronger and more attractive sides of her personality--her dedication, her willingness to persevere--and combines it with a dash of much needed humility, giving someone I could easily empathize with for 25 minutes.”

Ben Warren in a review of Emily’s first title-episode, Emily the Genius
“… disliking Emily Jones (She grows on me)…”

The Josh and Ally Company, Out of Control in Odyssey
“…to me, Emily Jones has been the most annoying new character. This episode made me change my mind about her. She was embarrassed by all the attention she was getting for being a "genius" and then when she was told that she wasn't, she brushed it off and took the advanced placement test anyway. I really admire that in a person.”

Odyssey Thoughts
So, why all the controversy? Just what exactly makes people get so insanely and irreversibly opinionated about Emily, with others lost in the middle unsure what to think?

      Before we answer that question, we must understand Emily herself.
     How mysterious Emily is. She falls in love and giggles, then clears her throat and calmly sets about piecing together clues and investigating. She bosses Matthew around, yet values him as her best friend and closest companion. She is everlastingly confident, yet doubts herself.
     Mr. Thinker complains she is “too complex.” SS moderator T.S. suggest we cannot understand her, cannot see where she is going, cannot piece together who she is or what God may wish for her.
     Nor can she. She is soul searching. Wandering. Are we meant to understand Emily? Or is she to be mysterious, (an interesting idea, since then, her cases could be seen as a metaphor for her own being.)     However, before we assume Emily to be impenetrable, let’s take a careful look at her. That’s my job with these, after all.
     One of the most basic, everyone-knows-this elements of making a character is there has to be something they want. They have to desire something. After all, it’s what we want that so often determines our destinies, and what we sometimes must sadly abandon when called in the opposite direction. So, what does Emily want?

1.    She wants love.
We know that from Buck and the lengths she went to maintain Matthew’s friendship. She goes about trying to make her peace with Matthew, desperately.
    Emily Hater Interruption: “But she blackmailed him!”
     Yes, but that’s the point. She did things she knew were unkind to get what was important to her heart. That’s how badly she wanted it. Now, I’ll conveniently move on.

2.    She wants meaning.
     As I said, T.S. once was wisely pointed out: “She is… like pieces of gravel or sand. I know that God must have a plan for her, that these pieces, however small, fit together to form a creation of determination and flame for God, but I cannot see how the pieces fit to form that being. I wonder whether Emily knows that that being could one day exist.”
     It’s true. She doesn’t know who she is. But she wants to. She needs significance. All she does can be seen as striving for significance. Every case, every time assertion of her opinion over another’s, every argument and bossy remark.  Every time she asserts herself. She wants to have direction. Purpose.
Emily Hater Interruption: “But all that means is she’s bossy! She’s out to control everyone! She’s overbearing to Matthew! She’s a BRAT! Argh.”
     No it doesn’t. Emily is seeking who she wants to be. She is trying to have an impact on the world. Her forcefulness shows her desire to head in particular direction. In her heart, she wants to make a difference. If you think she’s doing it the wrong way, fine. The point is she’s trying.

3.    She want to be heard
     She wants this so badly. She just can’t contain herself. Her own emotions and thoughts explode out of her. Her energy has to get out. She knows her opinions have worth and shouldn’t be ignored.
Emily Hater Interruption: “I  think they should be ignored!”
     I’ll ignore that.

4.    She wants to love
     Maybe tonight, true love will show-owww, under the mistletoe… sorry. Ahem. You may be rolling your eyes right now, but it’s true. Emily wants to show love to people. She doesn’t just do things for her own benefit. In fact, to quote myself (ahem) we “People accuse her of doing things for her own benefit, yet we never see her doing a deed that only she benefits from.”
    Emily Hater: “Yes we do! Who else benefits from all her griping!? Huh?”
     She thinks she’s right. She’s trying to fit the world into her view of perfect. Yes, mostly she just can’t shut up. But she does care about others.

     So, there’s Emily in a nutshell. She’s wandering. She doesn’t know who she is. She’s a growing, changing girl. Emily wants love, importance, other people to pay attention and know what she thinks, and she wants to love.
     Does that seem all that unlikable to you?
     If you really just can’t like Emily, then you just can’t. But maybe we just can’t get passed what at first seems brattishness and her “annoying” voice. Maybe we haven’t really tried to care about Emily. Maybe… dare we admit it… we’re not really listening to her?
     Emily is all a woman should be. Her rudeness is one of her ways of being strong. We aren’t meant to constrain ourselves. Emily dares to show us this.
     She’s Emily.
     In closing… how can I resist? Emily RULES!
 “She stinks! She stinks! You hear me!? STINKS I tell you!”
     Oh, shut up.
     My view on Emily was, in truth, not completely changed after reading this article.  I still think she has an obnoxious voice and attitude, but I can see her more clearly now.  I suppose that's the point of "putting AIO characters beneath the microscope": so you can see them clearer.  So that's it. 
     Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

JAAIOB 16 Days of Christmas: The Ideal AIO Christmas 12/12/12

     Ooh, I just noticed the date is 12/12/12!  This will be the last time in 89 years that the month, the day, and the year would all be the same, so I think this calls for a moment of silence in honor of those three beautiful 12s above you... *silence* 
     Okay, great.  After that completely random first paragraph, I shall get my post grounded back in reality with an AIO Christmas Article of... um, epic proportions...

     There have been many great AIO Christmas episodes: Gifts For Madge and Guy, Back To Bethlehem, Unto Us A Child Is Born, and Silent Night.  But I wonder... what would the perfect, the ideal AIO Christmas episode be?  In this article, I shall attempt to shape the ideal Christmas in AIO.  I will not include a plot, merely a theme, a cast of characters, and other information to make the perfect Christmas based on the success of past Christmas episodes.  I would like to give a challenge for all you readers: once I give you the info on the ideal Christmas episode, you can construct your own plot.  This doesn't have to be anything in-depth, just a basic plot that lines up with the info I have here.  If I get enough entries, I might even have a contest to see who has the best plot.  So comment below if you read this and write your plot!  And now, here is the info...

     Episode Title: (This is simply to give you a hint for what the plot should be, though it could be interpreted multiple ways) O, Christmas Three

     Characters: (In no particular order) Whit, Penny, Connie, Jay, Santa Claus, Eugene, Angel, Jason, Spencer Hicks

     Theme: True Christmas Spirit

     Writer(s): Paul McCusker, Nathan Hoobler

     Director: Nathan Hoobler

     Sound Designer: Chris Diehl

     Year: 2012

     Quality of Episode: 5 Stars

     Number of Parts: 2

     Music Composer: John Campbell

     Genre: Holiday/Drama/Comedy (It would have a bit of both)

     So, that's all the info I shall give.  Now it's up to you to write up a plot.  Just leave it in the comments...  For now, that's it.
     Thanks for reading!



Tuesday, December 11, 2012

JAAIOB 16 (Make that 15...) Days of Christmas: A Birthday Cake For Jesus 12/11/12

     I apologize for my negligence in posting yesterday; I realized last night when I was in bed I hadn't blogged, I'm afraid I forgot it.  However, I will be making a 15 Days of Christmas post today...

     My church is doing a special series on Christmas called, interestingly enough: Christmas Is Not Your Birthday.  It's produced some fascinating sermons, and they've been getting me thinking...  Someone should make a birthday cake for Jesus.  And a quick Google search tells me that someone has.  In fact, many people have.  Today I shall be showcasing some actual birthday cakes for Jesus.  There's obviously no need to make a birthday cake for the Lord of all, but it's a gesture that will bring everyone back to what Christmas is really about.  So, without further ado, I shall present the cakes.  (Jesus had better have a pretty big appetite! ;))

          Notes: Though it's not exactly a cake, this one is worth mentioning.  I'm honestly not sure what those blueberries are supposed to be, but the hearts after "Jesus" are very sweet... (No pun intended)


          Notes: This cake is quite amusing...  I wish I could count the candles, but the image is a bit too blurry...

          Notes: Hmm... Another great one.  I notice there appear to be 12 candles.  Does this symbolize anything?  Perhaps the 12 disciples?  If you think so or have another theory, post in the comments. 

          Notes: Very nice...  I notice there's a depiction of Bethlehem at the bottom.  I like that they put the manger.  It reminds everyone instantly of the Christmas Story.

          Notes: This might actually be my favorite of them all.  It shows a Christmas tree to the side and a snowflake above, but baby Jesus in his manger, is, of course, the centerpiece...



          Notes: This is another one of the best.  I like how Jesus is the only thing aside from the star that draws your attention, and the simplicity of the cake is brilliant and touching.



     There are a few more, but you get the idea...  I hope this was a nice, gentle, delicious reminder of what Christmas is really about.  Tomorrow I shall have an AIO Christmas article, to fulfill my promise of giving you AIO-related Christmas posts.
     Thanks for reading!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

JAAIOB's 16 Days of Christmas: The Kickoff Interview 12/9/12

     I thought that, though I'll be doing some deep, scholarly Christmas articles later, I should kickoff the JAAIOB event with something fun.  So, I will be doing something that has nothing to do with AIO, and it won't have much to do with God either.  However, I'm hoping this will ease everyone into the 16 Days of Christmas.  So, I shall be doing a fictional interview with... Santa Claus.  Here it is:

     AJ: So... Santa Claus.  How are you today?

     SC: Well, I've been hibernating for the 25th.  I haven't eaten anything in a month, and I've been sleepin' a lot too.  All that milk and cookies is hard on my body, so I devised a fasting plan.  However, I do get a bit hungry occasionally.  It's especially horrible when I dream about the gingerbread man...  That's why I only come out of the North Pole for... interviews and such.

     AJ: I see.  Well, for the first actual interview question, I would like to ask you: When exactly did you start giving gifts to children everywhere?

     SC: Well, as I recall, in the year 1861, Abe Lincoln and I were playin' checkers together.  I was in my late 200s back then, so I was practically a freshman in the game of life.  *chuckle*  But Abe wanted to do something special for Christmas for the USA.  And do you know what he decided to do?

     AJ: No, I don't.  Please tell us, Mr. Claus.

     SC: He decided to declare war on them Southern states!  *hysterical laughter from Santa, but only a blank stare from Alex*  Well, he didn't declare war on them on December 25th, but it was close enough.  So anyway, the country didn't really want to be involved in a war, so Abe realized he hadn't exactly picked the best Christmas present.  So he came to me and asked me to fix things.  I told him I could break into people's houses and go down their chimney and then throw presents down their fireplace, so that's what I did.  The police didn't like it very much, but the kids loved their gifts.  So I've been doin' it ever since.

     AJ: That's quite an amazing story.  However, I do believe there was more to Mr. Lincoln's declaration of war than a Christmas present.  But anyway, let's continue with the interview.  My next question is: Do your deranged Eskimo elves really make all the toys themselves, or do you have a deal with another company?

     SC: Well, we used to have a deal with the Hostess snack cakes Company, but they shipped us so many pastries for free that they finally went out of business.  So now, we have to make all our pastries ourselves.

     AJ: Interesting.  Next question: There are some rumors going on that you are not real.  Would you like to address these?

     SC: Well, it's all hogwash!  I'm as real as... as... as -

     AJ: The Easter Bunny?

     SC: O course not!  That guy was tryin' to steal my thunder.  He's just a hairy college dropout in a bunny costume.  And as for them rumors, they're all spread by celebrity magazines!  You can't trust them anymore than you can trust... me.

     AJ: Ahh... now we're getting somewhere!  Are you admitting to being an untrustworthy, 400-year old fugitive from the law?

     SC: No.

      AJ: Okay.  Well, we only have time for one more question.  This final question is: do you ever receive any gifts for Christmas?

     SC: The only gifts I get on Christmas morning are a buncha raindeer poop, a stomachache from all the cookies, blisters from cracking that reindeer whip, a stiff neck from going down that chimney, and some sappy little letters from rich kids in New York!

     AJ: I'm sorry.  But, not sorry enough to do anything about it, as I'm afraid we have to go.  Thank you for talking with us, Santa, and we hope you'll join us next time in JAAIOB's 25 Days of Christmas!

     I hope you enjoyed that.  Tomorrow's article will be a bit more realistic and serious, but, until then, I'm Alex Jefferson, and this is... JAAIOB's 16 Days of Christmas!
     Thanks for reading!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Weekly Review: The Lost Riddle 12/8/12

     I realize I should be reviewing The Holy Hoopster, but because I have downloaded The Holy Hoopster but haven't downloaded The Lost Riddle, I will have to review The Lost Riddle before the 16 Days of Christmas starts.  By the way, I would like to thank Wooton Basset for designing the new Christmas logo!  But now, here's my review...

     AIO seems to be obsessed with the theme of forgiveness in mysteries.  Of course, with 700+ episodes in the AIO canon, there are bound to be some recurring themes, and I don't have a problem with that at all, but what I do have a problem with is five episodes all in the same genre with the same theme.  The theme of forgiveness has repeated itself throughout AIO mysteries, starting with the classic What Happened To the Silver Streak?  This episode was looking to be a boring, predictable "don't jump to conclusions" detective show, but then everything changed with a twist ending I don't think anyone saw coming.  This episode had the theme of forgiveness, but it's not the only mystery to have this theme.  The Painting, Buried Sin, Call Me If You Care, and now, The Lost Riddle all explore forgiveness.  And the funny thing is, with the exception of What Happened To the Silver Streak?, all of these episodes are dealing with the same type of forgiveness, and the latter four are all dealing with forgiveness in pretty much the same way.  Allow me to elaborate just a bit before launching into my review of The Lost Riddle...
     The Painting, Buried Sin, Call Me If You Care, and The Lost Riddle all start pretty normally.  In the first, Jack and Joanne receive several paintings from Whit.  In Buried Sin, Eugene, Jared and Dwayne are digging around in the backyard of Whit's End.  In the third, Connie is whining about her Dad and her new phone.  And in The Lost Riddle, Emily and Matthew are waltzing around the schoolyard, checking their lockers.  The episodes progress, and a character finds something.  (Examples: a painting, possibly an original: a time capsule with a gun: a strange phone message: a piece of paper that turns out to be a riddle)  Next, the characters take the clue to someone and investigate.  They find out about a person who might need to forgive someone.  In a climatic finish, they find that person and that person and another person have a heartfelt forgiving scene.
     This pattern repeats itself for literally all four episodes, and it's getting to be annoying.  AIO switches the pattern up just a bit with The Painting and Call Me If You Care by adding some new twists, but the overall story structure is the same.  And the fact that all four episodes are mysteries is even more repetitive.  Didn't it ever cross the writers' minds when writing The Lost Riddle that the storyline was just a bit reminiscent of Buried Sin or The Painting, or Call Me If You Care?  I think The Painting was by far the best episode of Album 29, because back then, it was original.  And Buried Sin and Call Me If You Care stood out as good episodes as well, though by the time Call Me If You Care came around, the storyline was getting a little familiar.  But this is just ridiculous.  You may notice that for this album, I've been complaining about reminiscence to past episodes quite a bit.  Well, I simply believe AIO is repeating their roots a lot.  And this is not exactly a good thing.  AIO should progress without copying what they did 10 years ago.  But this isn't really a review anymore, it's just a big long article about The Lost Riddle being redundant.  And all that said, there are still many pros to The Lost Riddle, and overall it's quite better than Happy Hunting.  So I shall finally get to the review part.
     Emily is getting more tolerable with each episode she's featured in.  Great Expectations was overall a good episode, and this one truly is as well.  Emily's voice is no longer irking me, and I really have no character issues with her anymore.  I still don't find her as interesting as Barret or Jay, but she's not as bad as I was making her out to be.  And with this episode, she's back to her ol' detective self again.  I like this, actually, and I look forward to more episodes with Emily in her 'detective' role.  But this episode is a bit more serious; Emily is not just solving relatively trivial school cases anymore, she's unearthing a case from decades past.  I like this as well...
     I also believe the addition of Dale Jacobs was wise.  Phil Lollar has such a great voice, and was such an asset to AIO in the past, his characters only bring back the old Odyssey.  And learning more about Dale's past only lengthens his AIOwiki page and makes him more of an endearing character than ever.  And I think that this episode and The Labyrinth are showing Dale's mysterious side very nicely.  I just hope he won't run off and join the FBI or become the next Jason Whittaker...
     The plot of this episode progresses almost like a children's mystery series book, with clues, riddles, new character introductions, and a finale where a character tells us a story at the end.  I think the AIO team used some very nice plot devices, like the classic watermark and lemon juice clues.  I just wish the plot hadn't been so similar to the episodes mentioned above...
     And the final confession scene is typical of AIO, with the dramatic music in the background where the guy tells his tale and asks for Dale's forgiveness.  I thought it was handled well, and they got the perfect actor to play Kenny Rutherford.
     As usual, the sound effects, production quality, and music were all top-notch, as well as the acting and character development.  So, overall, The Lost Riddle would have been a great episode.  But... it's not.  I can't award it a 8/10 or even a 7/10 rating because of the huge issue with the plot that I explained in detail above.  So, with a heavy heart, I must award this mystery drama a relatively low score.  Album 56's 4 weakest episodes are Happy Hunting, The Lost Riddle, Groundhog Jay, and Push the Red Button, and the bummer is that these 4 pretty much come in succession, so the latter half of 56 is overall pretty weak.

     The Lost Riddle Rating: 6/10

     Thanks for reading, and prepare yourself for the festivities starting tomorrow!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Weekly Feature 12/2/12

     This isn't really a feature, more like a massive news segment giving a preview of what we'll be doing at JAAIOB for the next couple months in what I would like to call, "JAAIOB'S Big Epic Revival".  I'm actually going to try to get back to blogging at least every other day, so expect more frequent posts. Anyway, here's the news...

     The first big thing I have planned is JAAIOB's 16 Days of Christmas.  On ABC, they have a 25 Days of Christmas thing where they play Christmas movies in stuff, so that's kind of my inspiration.  But this will be much bigger than Christmas movies.  Each day will be a very special post or article involving AIO, God, and the Christmas season in general.  I'll try not to make them all long articles, as that's not what the Christmas season is about, of course.  This will be JAAIOB's biggest event since the "big surprise" a while back.  I am also going to hope to get Wooton Bassett to design a great logo for the event, but no promises.  The event will start on December 9th, so in one week, and it will last till December 24th, where all the stuff we've done for the past 16 days will come together with one epic Christmas finale.  I'm also hoping to get a Christmas podcast during this time as one of the 16 things for this Christmas, so JAAIOP listeners can get excited.

     The next thing I have planned, almost as big as the 16 Days of Christmas, is something similar to the Websters that I like to call The AJ Awards.  (AJ stands for "Alex Jefferson". I know, I'm conceited.)  These will be like the Avery awards, except more in-depth.  I will not have fans vote on these like I do with the Websters, but instead I will choose the awards myself.  The categories will include Best Screenplay: Comedy, Best Screenplay: Drama/Action-Adventure, Best Overall Episode, Best Supporting Actor/Actress, Best Leading Actor, Best Leading Actress, Best Sound Effects, Best Music, and a few more!  I will hold these soon after Album 56 is done airing, so probably in early January.  I don't want to hold the award ceremony (which will be a little less glamorous than the Websters) during the 16 Days of Christmas, as it doesn't pertain to the Christmas season.  But this will still be a very exciting event for JAAIOB.

     I'm also planning a change in the podcast for Episode 4, after the Christmas Special.  I would like to get actual guests for The AIO Show at least, probably AIO fans at first, but then I might move into AIO cast and crew if the podcast becomes popular.  I'm not planning on releasing Episode 4 till February, so I don't need to start searching for guests for another month or so.

     The U.S.S. Response will be making a return as well in the near future, (probably in either January or February) but it will be different.  I've been thinking of possibly making a CC Response (Campbell County) or maybe even a ToO Response (Town of Odyssey).  However, I can only do all three if I have help with at least one of them.  So if any of you SSers would like to submit an occasional Response, I would love to have your help.  If no one would be willing to do this, I shall not add a CC Response or ToO Response.  However, I would still understand if you couldn't help...

     The Webster Awards will also be making a return pretty soon, probably in April.  I need to get a lot of things organized, and since this ceremony is so far away, I'm not revealing the nominees till January.  I will have a better and more clear voting system this time, and I will try to get more audio speeches.  It will be much bigger and better than last year, so expect the unexpected.

     As a final sidenote, I realize I missed AIO's 25th Anniversary.  But in truth, I didn't.  The "big article" I told you about in an earlier post will be a lengthy celebration of AIO in honor of its 25th Anniversary.  This will be a little late, coming out in January or February, but I have not doubt you will all enjoy it.

     So, for the next week, I'll be preparing for all of these things.  Therefore, you probably won't hear from me again until next Sunday when the epic 16 Days of Christmas starts.  But I felt I should just reveal to you some of my future plans.  Until then, I'm Alex Jefferson, and this is... JAAIOB News!  (JAAIOB News will not be a regular thing, I just had so many plans in the works, I thought I could load them all into one feature.)
     Thanks for reading!


Saturday, December 1, 2012

Weekly Review: Happy Hunting 12/1/12

     I'm very sorry I didn't get to the past 4 reviews. I have no excuses, I just didn't do it. However, I will be continuing to review Album 56. Here is my review of Happy Hunting...

     The combo of Wooton, Connie, Penny, Jacques Henri, and Whit is being used more and more frequently. From the relatively mediocre "A Penny Earned" and the classic "Childish Things", to the hectic rom-com "Something Old, Something New" and this new installment, the writers seem to think that these five characters mix well together. And they're 4/5 right. Kimmy Robertson and Katie Leigh have great chemistry and their characters now have an interesting friendship.  Dan Hagen does an excellent job with Jacques Henri; he is perfect with Penny and has some great, humorous moments.  And Whit is also great with Penny, pointing out the faults in her ideas while encouraging her in her journey through life.  But the one character that I am starting to passionately despise is... Wooton.  But I'll get to that later.
      The episode begins with quite a funny scene taking place in the art gallery.  As I said before, Penny and Jacques are pretty much polar opposites: Penny is the dreamy, immature artist who seems to take life and its various trials more seriously than her artistic work.  Jacques is the sincere, French art dealer who always means business and seems to take his artistic endeavors more seriously than life and its various trials.  So, when these two characters clash, it produces fascinatingly funny results.  This is probably my favorite scene of the episode.  It's certainly better than the scenes with that scoundrel Wooton.  (Pardon my insulting, I am just becoming quite irked with post-hiatus Wooton in general.)
     The story continues, and Penny is on another one of her now famous "quests".  The same story format that was used in "Childish Things" is used here.  I will explain the format below:

     1. Penny starts to become bothered by something (i.e. body language, happiness) and so she researches it.

     2.  Penny trusts the research she has acquired and begins to do the things the research suggests, with disastrous results.

     3. Penny gets in a fight with one of her friends (In Childish Things: Wooton/Jacques Henri.  In Happy Hunting: Connie) over the thing that's bugging her and the research she did it on it, and she becomes discouraged.

     4. Penny goes to Whit and Connie, who set her straight.  She learns her lesson, and the episode ends.

     I think this storyline works very well, but since we've already heard it in "Childish Things", I don't see any point in repeating it with this episode.  I didn't see much in "Happy Hunting" that "Childish Things" didn't have.  I would like to make it clear that this is a complaint, and it affects the episode's rating.  (I only say this because you might be surprised by the rather low rating I give this episode.) 
     So I basically gave the whole storyline away up there.  However, there are a few surprises along the way.  As a homage to "Happy Smilers", one of the most strangely hysterical and touching episodes ever, Penny attends a happiness support group.  This scene prompted a few chuckles from me, but ultimately wasn't anything hugely special and didn't achieve the big laughs "Happy Smilers" did.  From me, at least.  I realize some listeners were annoyed by "Happy Smilers", but I myself found it hilarious.
     And now, for my big, long rant about Wooton...

My Issues With Wooton: A Mini-Article Extension of My Review of Happy Hunting

     I would like to say that this is not a reaction to this episode in particular, but simply a reaction to post-hiatus Wooton.  This episode was just kind of the "straw that broke the camel's back".  And it cemented in my mind what I had been thinking for a while now: obnoxious Wooton needs to say bye-bye.  I had always found Wooton to be a funny, likeable character.  In episodes like "For Trying Out Loud" and "Tuesdays With Wooton", I would laugh my head off and think, "I wish I could be as funny as Wooton..."  With post-hiatus Wooton, however, I roll my eyes and think, "I'm already funnier than that guy." 
     Now, I don't for a second believe this is Jess Harnell's fault.  I saw that guy being interviewed at the live show, and he was as funny, if not funnier than pre-hiatus Wooton.  I believe Jess is trying his best to make the character of Wooton funny and likeable.  But you can't change obnoxious lines into funny ones.  So basically what I'm saying is that, in truth, this is not Jess Harnell's fault.  This is the writers' fault. 
      Wooton has changed from a hilarious mailman who is passionate about God to an obnoxious guy who tries to be funny but just doesn't have anything funny to say and who hardly ever mentions God or Christianity; and when God and Christianity is mentioned, he attempts to say something funny to break up the spiritual conversation.  But maybe I'm being too cynical...  However, Wooton's behavior lately is inexcusable.  If you're yelling, "What the heck is this guy talking about?  Wooton's still got the laugh factor!" then I'll give you some lines...

Barrett Jones: I lost a friend.
Wooton Bassett: Uh, did you check your locker?

 Wooton Bassett: You know, I've always found that running along the top of a train gives me inspiration.

 Ted Humpfries: About the verdict?
Wooton Bassett: Oh yeah, the verdict. That was a good call, and the jury foreman had good diction when he read it out. Very Shakespearean.

 Wooton Bassett: The point is Olivia, that sometimes we have to try to be understanding even if we don't understand what we're supposed to be understanding about. Understand?

 John Whittaker: So what do you think upset Penny?
Wooton Bassett: Well it had to be the lack of soda's at the vending machine in the court house.

 Connie Kendall: So what are you gonna do with all these confused feelings while Penny figures things out?
Wooton Bassett: I'm gonna wait and silence my body language.
Connie Kendall: How are you gonna do that?
Wooton Bassett: Oh I'm thinking about wearing a space suit whenever I'm around her.

 Wooton Bassett: Mrs. Mitch is a mis-match!?!?!

  Matthew Parker: Hey, maybe Wooton knows.
Wooton Bassett: Wow! Well, I never did before, but there's a first time for everything. What is it?

 John Whittaker: Paris, France?
Wooton Bassett: Actually, it was Paris, Arkansas.

     If it looks like I copied most of the post-hiatus Wooton quotes from AIOwiki, that's what I did.  But I think these quotes prove my point to some extent.  If you laughed at any of these, you can disagree with me, but I don't think you can disagree with me about Wooton's spiritual attitude.  I don't see any huge problem with not talking about God in regular discussion, but saying something funny and trying to change the subject when spiritual things are brought up is, in my opinion, a problem.  Wooton did this in "The Green Ring Conspiracy" and a couple other episodes, if I remember...
     So, forgive me for going on a mini-article rant.  I just wanted to explain why Wooton annoyed me in this episode and all other post-hiatus one.  I'm hoping he changes and the writers recognize his obnoxiousness, but I don't have my fingers crossed.  I shall now get back to the review...

     The episode ends with a moral that is simply this: seeking happiness is a noble endeavor, but it can also become self-indulgent and selfish.  Truthfully, this sounds like a Brady Bunch moral, not an AIO moral.  I don't feel like AIO elaborated on this enough.  Self-indulgence and selfishness are only part of the problem for seeking your own happiness.  Whit touched briefly on the spiritual side of this, saying that a relationship with God can help our happiness, but he didn't explain why or how this is.  He also didn't take the opportunity to offer Penny Christ.  However, as PF already talked about that in his review on his CC blog, (a very excellent post, by the way) I will not elaborate too much on that. 
     Ultimately, this is the worst episode of 56 so far, mostly because of three things: the repeated storyline that was used in "Childish Things", the obnoxiousness of Wooton, and the underdeveloped moral.  Also, the scenes seemed much shorter than normal, as if the writers were rushing the plot by throwing a new scene at us every minute and a half.  I have a couple positives with this episode: the first scene was good, Connie and Penny have good chemistry, there were a couple funny lines that didn't involve Wooton, but that's about it.  Overall, this episode is quite disappointing, and I can give it no more than a rather pathetic 4 stars.

     Happy Hunting Rating: 4/10

     Thanks for reading this rather dismal review!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

AIO Article: The Modern Classics 11/15/12

     I had two ideas for an article, but I figured I should use this one first, as the other idea will probably be more in-depth. For some of you readers who have been reading my blog pretty much since its creation, you'll remember I did an article several months ago that showcased the "classics" of AIO from albums 1 - 5. I wanted to do a Modern Classics article, but I hadn't heard all of Album 51 yet, so I held back. But, I heard the rest of Album 51 about a month ago, and so, I shall now write the article...

     Most people complain about entertainment at some point in their lives. Specifically, people like to tear down music, movies, and TV that have been made in the past 10 years. I think this is, in most cases, quite biased and unfair. Sure, entertainment might have been better 50 years ago, but why does that have to mean it's awful now? I think there are many great music, movie, and TV alternatives that are being produced now. I believe many elderly folk (Like 40 and up. LOL (that may seem unprofessional, but I had to put it.)) are used to the entertainment back in the "good old days" and simply can't confront the fact that entertainment has changed. It hasn't necessarily changed for the worse, it's just moved on. It's for a new generation now. And I personally find both old movies and new movies great, both old songs and new songs great, and so on. And so, the same is true for radio dramas. Radio dramas like... oh, I dunno - AIO?
     That's enough ranting about entertainment, I suppose. For this article, I shall acknowledge the new era of AIO, and put up a lengthy list of episodes that I believe embody it from Albums 51 - 55. Here goes...

     The Inspiration Station: Ah, yes. I remember first hearing this episode. I was just 9, and still a relatively new AIO fan. I remember being confused about all the changes; I didn't really understand why the AIO team was doing what they were doing. I was frustrated that there was a new Whit, as I had listened to Paul Herlinger for three years. Also, I had just figured out AIO was producing new episodes, and the ones I had at my library were not the only AIO episodes out there, so to be plunged into an unfamiliar setting with an unfamiliar Whit was a bit perplexing and annoying to me. However, I quickly got into the episode, and soon discovered it was actually pretty good. It's not perfect, but it was a brilliant introduction to post-50 AIO. And for that, I certify it a Modern Classic.

     The Jubilee Singers: The illustrious Avery winner is still just as great as it was 2 1/2 years ago. I recently heard the episode for the first time, and I must say it was a refreshing reminder that, in the midst of Emily Jones and all the other atrocious things going on around Odyssey, there was still good old-fashioned historical fun. However, this episode and Sgt. York have a different feel than previous Odyssey historicals. Dave Arnold treats each history episode more like an epic, and I like this approach. Ultimately, you can not simply ignore this choir of Christ, as they're absolutely amazing in nearly every way, and the episode they star in is without a doubt a Modern Classic.

      The Owlnapping: Where's The Mystery of the Clock Tower? you may be wondering. I considered putting it on here, but I finally decided it had too many plot holes and cliches to be put on a list of classics. As I said before, Album 52 is the worst AIO album in history, but it includes this little gem called The Owlnapping. The thing I adore about this episode is its ridiculousness. Of course it's ridiculous to rely on an stuffed owl for athletic victory, but that's Marshal Younger, and Odyssey in general, for you. It was rather funny as well, and Adam Wylie's vocal performance was stunning. And so, though I believe this album as a whole is mediocre at best, this episode is really quite grand, and is a definite classic.

     The Green Ring Conspiracy: I didn't really want to post this on here, as it would be incredibly predictable, but I really have an obligation too. This is such a great series of episodes, I can't really praise it enough. I have very little flaws with this, as everything from Monty's appearance to the finale was handled almost perfectly. I truthfully don't know what else to say, except this is absolutely a classic.

     The Amazing Loser: I probably just love music, and that's why this episode really struck a chord, (pardon the metaphor again) but I really believe it's one of the best of the new era. Barret and Priscilla's classic flirting is something AIO hadn't really fully explored until this episode, the musical trivia was exciting and interesting for both music fans (like me) and people who would prefer to sit on the couch and eat. And Jay topped the whole thing off. So, I truly think this is a Modern Classic.

     Childish Things: Penny + Wooton + Jacques Henri + stupid book about body language = BEST EPISODE OF ALBUM 54. Enough said there...

     The Labyrinth: Jason is an interesting character. I'm gonna quote PF on this one:

      "Jason, Jason, Jason! Every darn person around here (The Soda Shop) is Jason-happy! Jason is fantastic as an AIO character, but he fails to stand out much as a fun agent action character. A good children's comic writer or cartoon making team could've constructed his behavior and character when he's being "James Bond."

     I would like to say that PF is absolutely right when he says a children's comic writer could've constructed his personality as an action-adventure hero. But isn't that exactly the point? Jason's supposed to be cliche and goofy, and it's put in a funny, interesting way. Most 8 - 12 year old listeners of AIO aren't allowed to see James Bond, so Jason is an interesting alternative. And The Labyrinth is truly him at his finest. And so, I award it the highly-coveted "Modern Classic" award.

     Mistaken For Good: This is just a nice, nostalgic, relatively slow-paced by AIO standards, touching, and amusing AIO episode that stands out. It's my favorite post-50 episode, as I think it combines some great chemistry and emotions, and is just plain great to listen to. Jay is the highlight of the episode, and with the comic foils of Olivia and Mrs. Kramer, as well as his fascinating relationship with Mrs. Wilson, he is entagled in many things, and Whit Hertford does a stellar job of capturing these complex emotions. And the moral is an interesting one as well. Everything is pitch-perfect and this episode is a certified classic.

     Sgt. York: This episode is everything The Jubillee Singers was... and more. Dave Arnold is a very excellent writer. He managed to pull out a diary and a few books on York along with extensive research, and turned it all into a full-blown epic drama, complete with parental warning, great moral, and relateable, fun characters. The sound design was top-notch, as well as the accents. Overall, Sgt. York is a highlight of the post-hiatus era and deserves the last spot on this list.

     Well, that's it for now. I want to work on my links page, but I shall be busy this weekend, and won't have access to a computer. So, for now, I hope you enjoyed the article.
     Thanks for reading!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Weekly Feature 11/11/12

     Well, I realize I haven't had an interview for a while, but that's all about to change, as I have an interview with Josh and Ally from Out of Control In Odyssey right here. Here it is:

1. I think all readers of your blog know how you were first exposed to Odyssey. But when did Ally start listening?

Ally: Hmmm...well, I've gotta say I started listening when my brother first listened! But of course I was very young and actually not really into it. It didn't really draw me in yet. I'd say, when we went to Colorado Springs, that was when I really became more into it, listening and becoming an AIO lover.

2. How did you first get involved in the AIO online community?

Josh: Well, I knew at first that there was the Official Site, but one day I must have stumbled around on Google and found the Odyssey Scoop! I later found AIO Wiki, Christian A.'s The Voice of Odyssey, and several other blogs. This year, it's been really cool to find a cache of brand new, exciting, original sites that rivals the number when I first started looking!

Ally: Once again, it was Josh who persuaded me to help him do an Odyssey blog. I wasn't really in any online communities before then though.

3. What was your inspiration for Odyssey Nerd?

Josh: Honestly, when I first listened to the Ceiling Fan, I had just started to listen to Odyssey, so I didn't get a lot of the jokes and was like, "What is this?" A couple years later, I relistened to it and realized its awesomeness, and so I kept on listening! We tried out for the Fan Hijack to create your own podcast, but we weren't as prepared, so when the next year came with a new contest to "hijack," we wanted to be ready! My idea was to do some kind of song about how I use AIO phrases in real life, similar to how Star Trek fans say, "Beam me up..." and started out with "I'm an Odyssey nerd, Israel's Jason's codeword"...and we went from there!

Ally: Josh came up with a song about an Odyssey Nerd, because Ethan Daniels, the main character for TCF, says that he is. Also because we both know so much about Odyssey!

4. Why did you decide to start a blog?
Josh: I've always had that little idea in the back of my head, but I wasn't really inspired until I met the actors and fans at the live show. I was on an Odyssey high after we left, and the conversation went like this:

Ally, we should totally start an Odyssey blog!

I wanted to pick up where At Whit's End left off and try to review every single episode, but add my own experiences and knowledge about storytelling. I also wanted to continue my Odyssey Nerd message about using Odyssey references in daily conversation! 

Ally: After the AMAZING, awesome time with the Odyssey actors and fans in Dallas, we were so inspired to do something Odyssey related. Josh had been online looking at other Odyssey blogs and with our previous experiences with blogs, so we decided to go for it!

5. Were you surprised at the extreme success of Out of Control In Odyssey? (Such as your acceptance of two Websters)

Josh: The whole experience of OCO has been amazing. We've been excited and blessed by everyone who has visited and commented on our blog! What we did was to try and fill a niche that wasn't being filled, and we're glad that people have enjoyed that niche, and that we can continue to provide that! 

Ally: I was for sure! I thought it wouldn't reach a lot of people with such a small blog, but as time progressed I saw how our blog had impacted on others. But at the same time I wasn't, because I knew God had plans for this blog, and well I knew our blog would do okay haha. For sure I was surprised and honored to be nominated!! I never expected it and it was just, wow, it was just all God, man.

6. What do you plan on doing with Out of Control In Odyssey in the future?
Josh: We don't have any new plans with the blog - that should continue, and we'll update the Odyssey Phone Book. We are coming up with new features for the overall website, though!


7. Are you planning any other AIO-related or non-related projects in the future?

Josh: We have several big projects that we're hard at work on - one of which we're hoping to get out before the end of the year on the blog (I'm really excited about it!). I'm trying to get a certain AIO actor for my radio show (if you're interested, visit my blog for more information)! Also for radio, I'm working with the Future Leaders Institute to develop a short film and film festival to bring attention to the sanctity of life: rape, abortion, and adoption. I'd love your help, if you're interested!

Ally: If I have time, maybe draw some scenes from AIO episodes, but other than the BLANK, I think...right now: not too much. We don't wanna make too many promises and projects that busy us too much for us not to live our out of odyssey lives. Sadly, I wish we could have some more.

8. Who is your favorite AIO character?
Josh: My favorites are Paul Herlinger's Whit, Connie, and Bernard. I loved his grandfatherly warmth that he brought to the role, and it made Odyssey a very, very special place for me. Connie is a very relatable character, and Bernard is definitely one of the funniest people on the show. I miss you Dave Madden!  

Ally: I actually got a lot. And I will be writing a post about that sometime in the near future! but if I had to choose, Bernard Walton. Sarcastic, funny, loves God, likes to be clean, adventurous, who doesn't like him? Plus he's played by Dave Madden, who's extremely talented!

9. What are some of your favorite AIO episodes?
Josh: There are so many! However, I do have some top eps. My favorite comedy is "Broken Window," my favorite action one is "Exit," my favorite biblical one is "The Perfect Church," and my favorite mystery is "The Pact." I love how Odyssey can continue to bring us quality, faith-affirming, GOOD stories year after year, with great writing. True, sometimes there are rough spots, but Odyssey never fails to make me light up.
Ally: Eugene Returns (about prayer), Malachi's Message (angels), Broken Window, Gloobers, I got a lot haha.

10. If you could have any AIO character return, who would it be and why?

Josh: Hmm...great question. When you say "return," I'm gonna assume you mean from before the relaunch, so my answers are Bernard and Jack! Sadly, I hear that Alan Young is in poor health, but if he recovers, I would love to hear him one last time (and record the openers and closers for all of the Passages series just in case) in Odyssey with Joanne. Dave Madden lives in Florida, so it's tough for him to make it to recording sessions, but I hope that he'll be able to! I really love them because they're two pillars of the show; they move the show forward, they're markers of where the show has come from, and they're part of Odyssey! I feel that Odyssey has seemingly lost a lot of that older generational wisdom - Whit may be wise, but he can't do it all by himself.

Ally: BERNARD, definitely. He just made the show funnier, the way he interacts with the kids and adults with a somewhat sarcasm. Or Tom I wish. ); Tom and Bernard were great together, I loved the way they interacted with each other; great times I'd love to have that again!

11. Have you ever personally met any AIO actors/crew?

Josh: I had the opportunity to meet everyone at the live show, which was truly a remarkable experience. It definitely ranks as one of my top memories. They're all so nice and so personable, and it was a honor to meet them. 

Ally: Yes! Nathan Hoobler was our tour guide at Focus on the Family in 2007, we met all the actors at Dallas (Katie Leigh was soo sweet, Chris bubbly as ever). Man, I wish I could meet them all again, plus more of the actors!

12. How has AIO impacted your spiritual life?
Josh: Oh my. I'm really similar to Katie Leigh in the fact that God uses these stories to speak to me. Most recently, this year, I'm a junior, and I'm often worried about what God wants to do with my life and what I should major in..."Great Expectations" spoke to me about how God uses our goals and dreams for his purposes, and to leave it up to Him. But many episodes have been listened to just at the right time, and hey, God has a funny sense of humor about doing that.
Ally: Hearing the characters stories, the way they portray it, say it, make it feel, it just brings me all back to God. Their lessons are so great, and what I think helps is that (even though I like happy endings way better), they show how times of sorrows approach and how the characters feel. Sometimes it's like God's way of saying "See Ally, this character didn't trust in me when he/she could've. You CAN trust me" I feel that I wouldn't be the same person if I didn't listen to AIO. AIO showed me God's worked in our lives in so many ways, and the great adventure isn't over yet.

     I do hope you enjoyed that! I would like to thank Josh and Ally for agreeing to do this and giving such long, great answers! I wish I could tell you I have an AIC out, but... I don't. However, it should be out next week! There's a big surprise in Installment 12 that you don't want to miss. Whoops... I've said too much already. ;)
     Thanks for reading!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Weekly Review: The Bible Network 11/10/12

     I realize I'm a week behind; I suppose I'll just finish up the season reviews a week after "Push the Red Button" airs. However, here's my review of The Bible Network...

     "You are listening to The Bible Network. We're all Bible, all the time." That was the first line from this episode, and it pretty much sums up the whole thing. Who else got tired of that announcer guy by the end? He reminded me of those annoying advertisers on TV. Maybe it was the voice...
     Anyway, this whole episode was basically a "Hidden In My Heart" spoof. I honestly don't have a huge problem with this, as the episodes were different enough to stand out, and I quite honestly thought "The Bible Network" was just a tad bit funnier than "Hidden In My Heart". In fact, I would go as far as to say that "The Bible Network" is the funniest AIO episode since "The Triangled Web". I laughed out loud at every one of these sketches, and I thought all but the 2nd taught a very valuable lesson. I'll elaborate on that later.
     The episode begins with Connie once again over the airwaves. It's interesting how Connie started announcing Kid's Radio with "The Twilight Zone" only because Whit was gone. But gradually, she became the signature announcer, and Whit was almost dropped entirely from Kid's Radio. I prefer this, as Connie has a nice radio voice.
     Maybe it was because I just listened to "The Devil Made Me Do It" a couple nights ago, but the first sketch of this episode seemed quite reminiscent of the Guilttrip Jeopardy! sketch in that episode, if only because they're both game shows. As I said before, this isn't necessarily a bad thing, only a neutral note. I found the various panelists simply delightful, and I laughed at almost all of their answers. Panelist #4's answer was stellar, and one of the funniest and cleverest lines in the episode. And, naturally, we had the upholder of Biblical truths, who taught a helpful, albeit obvious, lesson. I actually took away more from this episode than I normally do, as it inspired me to read my Bible more.
     The 2nd sketch was also entertaining, but I found it to be the worst of the three. I found it the least interesting with its repetitiveness, and the overall theme was a bit unclear. I didn't really get any valuable lesson from it, only a few random Bible verses. I understand what the writers were trying to communicate through the sketch, but I don't think it ended up the way the wanted it to be. It ultimately just sounded like a silly crime show with a little message thrown in, and it didn't have the power of the "Hidden In My Heart" sketches. But that's just my opinion.
     The 3rd sketch was superior in nearly every way to the first two. I think it could quite possibly contain some of the funniest moments in AIO history, and it really took a little time to explain the moral in the midst of the humor. There was always something fresh and funny with each scene, and the final scene tied everything up nicely, though it was a bit predictable. This conversation is great:

          DRILL SERGENT: Rick!

          RICK: Hi.

          DRILL SERGENT: How much have you - Hi what?

          RICK: Hi... sir.

          DRILL SERGENT: How much of your Bible have you read?

         RICK: Well, you know, I was just changing my clothes, and -

          DRILL SERGENT: Is the name of this program the "Change Your Clothes Boot Camp"?

          RICK: No... sir.

     So, what are my final thoughts on Kid's Radio's latest installment? It's a winner. The final sketch makes up for the 2nd, in my opinion... And overall, the episode is just a perfect homage to old Kid's Radio.

     The Bible Network Rating: 8/10

     Thanks for reading!

Monday, November 5, 2012

AIO Article: The Land of the Free 11/5/12

    Sorry this took so long, (I should've had it up 6 days ago) but here's PF's latest edition:

File:US Marine Corps War Memorial (Iwo Jima Monument) near Washington DC.jpgMatthewparker.pngLizhorton-site.png

Hi, all! This is Pound Foolish. I realize I’ve been long away, but as you are reading this, I assume you all
survived with your lives.
Therefore, I shall skip the formalities of corny jokes and apologies about my horrendous lack of
glorious words
enliven your lives, and get to the article.
Mr. Thinker hinted I’d be doing an article breaking the “Pound Foolish Wisdom” routine. Indeed, my
article is on a rather touchy subject...

Politics in AIO
The Presidential Debates left me excited, fascinated, worried, and hopeful.
Mitt Romney, winning the debate according to most, kept on the offensive and enthusiastically
communicated his vision, while Barack Obama spent much time defending “Obamacare”,
that dangerous act which threatens to destroy all private insurance companies.
And yet, the Oddysians seem to ignore all this.
Is everyone in Odyssey a completely irresponsible American, uninterested in voting
the future of their country?
Such a pity, and Whit seems so great.
Somehow, Odyssey remains a place whose only politics, election –wise, are its next mayor.
A place of wonder, excitement, and discovery, and of absolutely no talk about any guys
named Obama or Romney.
We know this to be because Odyssey must remain as timeless as possible. (Insert joke
about Connie’s aging here.)  
In this way, Odyssey seems as if everything could have happened recently.
And the characters seem to live in their own world,
free of many of our own changing concerns, occupied instead with timeless ones such
as heartache, death, and being attacked by doves.
Yet, occasionally, Odyssey has stepped beyond that boundary of political neutrality.
And, sometimes, when it does, storm clouds brew.
By Any Other Name
Attacks the sadly growing corruption and misuse of our legal system.
You Go to School Where?
This tale wasn’t meant to send a political message so much, perhaps, as to satisfy listeners
who wondered why there were no homeschoolers on AIO, it sounds like, to hear
Dave Arnold introduce it on the Official Adventures in Odyssey Podcast.
However, many frowned upon it politically. And it did indeed have many political assumptions,
such as that homeschooling is a good option in the first place. With it becoming more and
more popular to assume public school is best, one can’t help being fascinated by this
forgotten AIO homeschooling tale that’s sunk beneath the surface.
Another episode about schooling is Subject Yourself.
This delightful little comedy about Laurence Hodges camouflages a very serious sub-plot
with the his mother struggling with the school system. She is tentatively butting heads
with them because the textbooks overlook religion “except in the most negative way.”
The situation the in the subplot with the textbooks only grows worse. Today, not only
are there no positive references of any kind to Christianity in textbooks, but children
are punished if they so much as wear a T-shirt with Christ’s name on it.
Not only that, even worse problems overrun it. The teachers union donates millions that
could be advancing education and schools to Planned Parenthood. Thus… Taking money
from children and using it to kill children.
The Forgotten Deed
Ah yes, this beautiful work. Many of their absolute best characters come together in this special
episode. Tom, Connie and Eugene, Whit, Jack, Bernard, and the fantastically annoying Cryin
Bryan Dern in a role that’s unforgettably hilarious even for him. There’s also a couple of
enjoyable smaller side characters who appear in enjoyable roles: Mrs. McCallister and Mayor
Faye. It examines the gripping subject of the separation of church and state. And even though
it only lasts a few seconds, it’s sheer Odyssey candy to see Bernard with Dern.
The episode’s plot: Whit’s End may be shut down because it is openly religious, but is built on
Government land. The show provokes such questions as “Just what does separation of church
and state mean?”  “If this clause really does carry such weight as politicians pin on it, why can
government continually make laws forcing religion to do things and restricting them from doing
things?” “Why from that phrase do so many draw the idea that our religion shouldn’t influence
our political opinions?”
Historically, Thomas Jefferson began the phrase “separation of church and state”, because he was
concerned with preventing the creation of a governmentally appointed official church. He wanted
all religions to be equally respected by the government and the people.
That’s it.
There’s room for doubt that he never woke up one morning and decided to make it so religion and
government could never have anything to do with each other. Especially considering he was
Yet, today, this idea is so prevalent; many religious accept it without a blink. And, let’s make
no mistake; Christianity is by far getting the worst of this. Obamacare, anyone? How can we
have a free country if we’re going to force Christian doctors to perform abortions?
And further… How can we have a free country if children are punished for praying school? How
can we have a free country when peaceful protestors outside of abortion clinics are terribly
physically harmed by police and dragged to jail?
Pamela has a problem
My sister first heard this when she was ten. We were on my bed, and Pamela and Connie
were upset over Pamela’s teen pregnancy. My sister asked a very good question. “What’s
wrong with being pregnant?” I paused, and blandly remarked, “You’re too young to
understand.” Sad. I promised myself so many times I’d never say that to a child. Because,
“You’re too young to understand” is a lie. The main reason we really say that time-honored
phrase is, though the older person always has a myriad of reasons why they think they are
really saying it, that when we speak to children, we are talking on a level higher than our own.
To put words in terms simple enough for a child’s pure, uncomplicated understanding, we
must simplify our thoughts, understand them well enough  put them in plain terms.
To talk to a child, we elevate our speech. We must understand the painting well enough to
communicate its meaning in a few mere brushstrokes.
A child understands this. We have lost the wisdom.
And so it was with my sister’s question, brilliant in its seeming naiveté. “What’s wrong with
being pregnant?”
I shall try to put the answer in as simple terms as her simple question. To become pregnant
when married is because you fell in love. True love. And stayed there. To become pregnant
when you’re not married is the result of losing love. Of both giving, but neither receiving.
But here’s where so many go wrong. So many believe that a child that comes out of such
a relationship is a mistake. A problem. It’s “…like having an ingrown toenail removed,” a
woman in the clinic tells Pamela. Is it?
How can that be when you’re “removing” a baby? The media and Planned Parenthood argue
it’s not a baby. It’s rather sad our country buys this. It seems we haven’t been paying
attention in biology class.
We should be America the beautiful. Not America the Land of Dead Babies.

This is part of the reason I’m proud that I’m still partly a kid. We stand up.
We were thrown in jail and attacked during the protests of segregation. We are forced to
completely abandon our Christian identity in school, but we continue to defy this.
And yet…
We are adopted by gays, and live in bizarre, sexually twisted atmospheres. We are watching
our future be sold away to abortion. Sold to shameless spending skyrocketing the deficit,
plunging our country deeper and deeper in debt, that our children, our children’s children,
and our children’s children’s children, um, and so forth, couldn’t hope to pay. Sold to
“separation of church and state”, which is being used to crack down on religion everywhere
it shows its face like religion is the plague.
But Odyssey reminds us some still dare to show the truth. Some still dare not to lie.
So here’s what I’d like to say, from a kid, to all adults who believe in the smothering of religion,
in gay marriage, in baby killing: You can’t get rid of us. True adults, who believe what’s correct,
not what’s popular, still have the audacity to speak common sense. Things like Odyssey are
still here to remind us what sanity is. What God is. What’s right.
And, just FYI, abortion supporters….
A kid already defeated you two thousand years ago.Madonna and Child and Two Angels

    Thanks for reading!