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

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!