Tag Archives: JAG

Book Review: The Castle in the Attic by Elizabeth Winthrop

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Did you ever dream about your toys coming to life, speaking to you, playing with you, and becoming your best friends, readers? I used to do that. I loved the characters in all the stories I read about or watched on TV. I wanted to romp with 101 Dalmatians come to life, to pilot a zoid across Zi’s burning deserts, to travel through the Stargate with SG-1. I even wanted to hang out with Lieutenant Harmon Rabb Jr. from JAG.

So this means that stories such as The Castle in the Attic were tailor made for me. If I could not convince my toys to come to life and talk to me, I could read about toys that did do this for their owners.

William Lawrence is a ten year old American boy. Since he was little, while his parents have been away at work he has been cared for by Mrs. Phillips. Mrs. Phillips is from England. She lost her husband in World War II, and aside from William and his parents her only family is her brother, who still lives in England.

Coming back from gym class one day, William learns that Mrs. Phillips is going back to England. She is homesick and wants to go back. This upsets William mightily. He loves the old woman like she was his own grandmother and he does not want her to leave.

So he takes the picture of her husband and her pearl pin and hides them, hoping that this will make her stay. But Mrs. Phillips knows him too well not to guess what he has done, and eventually William returns the items. In order to make their parting a little easier, Mrs. Phillips gives William a model castle which has been in her family for generations.

There is only one toy that goes with the fully equipped, articulated castle: a knight carrying a dagger, sword, and shield. Called the Silver Knight, William puts the toy and the box it came in on the castle courtyard.

Later, after he has been put to bed, William waits until everyone has gone off to sleep. Then he sneaks upstairs, opens the box, and takes out the Silver Knight.

But the Knight does not feel like a toy. He feels warm. And squishy. And he is moving!

William is so surprised that he drops the Knight in the castle courtyard. Once he is upright, the Silver Knight challenges William to a duel. Once the preliminary arguments are dispensed with, the two go to their separate beds. William is not quite sure that he has not dreamed the entire encounter, so he goes up to the attic again next morning to see if the Knight is still there and alive.

Turns out, he is.

The adventure continues on from here, readers, but I do not want to spoil more of the story. If you want to know what else happens in the book, you shall have to cross that drawbridge yourselves! I would not want to spoil your fun.

Also, be sure to look for the sequel, Battle for the Castle. It is not my favorite of the two, but it never hurts to read the sequel at least once.

See you around!

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Merry Christmas from JAG

Way back in the past I put up a post about my favorite TV intro songs and music. One of the shows that got top billing was Donald Bellisario’s JAG, a series that focused on Navy lawyers and was the predecessor of NCIS.  (Unfortunately, the video in that post which showed the introduction theme for JAG is no longer operable.)

One of the great things about the JAG series was that the season would include a Christmas episode, a tradition NCIS continues to this day.

A particular Christmas episode from season seven of JAG caught the attention of one of my friends. This was due to a sermon given by actor Bill Cobbs, who played a Navy chaplain in this episode. Here is that sermon from JAG’s “Answered Prayers”:

Chaplain Turner’s Christmas Eve Sermon

When God revealed himself to us, he did so through a family; which is why I speak to you tonight of Joseph… the forgotten man of the Christmas story. We know much about Mary and, of course, the Christ child. But the Bible makes few references to the life of Joseph. Therefore, he remains somewhat of a mystery, much as many of our own fathers do. But we do know that Joseph was a gentle father and a courageous man. He saved his family from Herod by taking them on a dangerous journey to Egypt. He taught his son his own trade, as fathers do even today. Joseph died before Jesus grew up to become a man and begin his ministry. Yet, Joseph still believed ‘blessed are those who believe that he will bind up the brokenhearted and free the captives.’ At best, a father is the solid foundation of a house, his support taken for granted. At other times, he may need shoring up himself. He may be tired, he may be impatient, he may be mired in his own problems, but always a father looks beyond the here and now. He keeps one eye trained on the next generation. Of necessity, he is a man filled with hope – Hope that a knowing God watches over the universe; hope that justice will prevail; hope that we will be reunited with our loved ones. As Saint Paul said, “Abide by these three: faith, hope, and love. The greatest of these is love.” So when we give thanks to the Father for our blessings, let us not forget Joseph, or our own fathers, that they may not be forgotten this Christmas. May God bless you and Merry Christmas.

 

Merry Christmas, readers.

The Mithril Guardian

Some of the Best TV Themes Ever Heard

Almost everyone has a favorite TV series which they enjoy watching. Some have more than one. People pay a great deal of attention to the introductory theme music for their favorite shows. Having more preferred TV shows than I can count, I also have a fondness for their individual introductory themes. Today, I thought that I would list some of my favorite TV show ‘intros.’ The first such introduction music belongs to a show I watched faithfully while it was still being filmed, Stargate SG-1:

I know that some people do not care to have scenes flash by while the theme music is playing, especially when the scenes belong to a show they may never have seen before. But it drives me crazy to have nothing to look at while my favorite theme music is playing. At least, it does when I am listening to music on the computer. Other times I can listen to music without any such problems.

The second theme I wanted to bring up is from SG-1’s spinoff series, Stargate Atlantis:

Below I have also included a song performed by one of Atlantis’ lead actresses, Rachel Luttrell. In the video, Miss Luttrell is portraying one of the series’ lead characters – Teyla Emmagan – and is singing a song of good-bye for her character’s tribe’s wise woman. The ‘dead’ lady was the oldest woman of the tribe and Teyla’s mother figure.

The video I have selected is a ‘tribute’ video, a video put together by a fan of Rachel Luttrell’s character. As such, it includes footage of Teyla that is out of sync with the episode in which Miss Luttrell performed the song.   Originally trained as a singer by her father, Miss Luttrell performs the song to perfection. I lack words to express how the song and the music affect me. Perhaps by listening to it you, too, will feel the way I do when I hear it. The song is called “Beyond the Night.” My one regret is that the song is so short!!!

Another piece of television music I enjoy is this military theme for the series someone once dubbed “Just Another Goofy.” In reality, the show was a crime series centering on Navy lawyers, those officers who serve in the Judge Advocate General of the Navy, or JAG:

Before and after Stargate SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis, JAG was the go-to TV show. It has been off the air for a very long time now. One can hardly find the reruns for it playing anymore. I miss it.

Fortunately, the saga of JAG continues with its spinoff series NCIS. NCIS is a show revolving around the detectives for the U.S. Navy. These detectives hunt down criminals who kill or harm U.S. naval personnel, active or retired. The letters NCIS stand for Naval Criminal Investigative Services:

There are other videos tied to NCIS, but for now I will just put this one up. The others are funny scenes’ montages, so they can wait for another day.

A series I watched when I was small was only run intermittently. Its day had long ago come and gone, but that did not lessen the entertainment I got out of it one iota. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the introduction to that “crack commando unit,” The A-Team!

This is an old show today. Another ‘old’ favorite TV theme from my youth was this music, which accompanied the introduction to MacGyver:

One series I remember well was wont to be rerun on February 29th – when that day came around, of course. That series was Quantum Leap:

Another that caught my attention, many moons ago now, was the Canadian crime series Due South:

My one regret about this introduction video is that it is not from the first or second season of the series, but from the third or fourth seasons of the show. Still, the music is correct. Nothing else matters except for that.

Also on the Canadian television series’ front, there is this newest gem that only recently came to my attention. Based on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s character Sherlock Holmes (as far as I can tell), this series is known as Murdoch’s Mysteries in Canada. Stateside, the series is called The Artful Detective:

Many a soul has been touched by some television series bearing the Star Trek brand. My first encounter with the story was, appropriately enough, the original series with William Shatner and the first Enterprise cast. But the theme for that series does not replay in my head with the same regularity as the theme for the sequel series Star Trek: Enterprise:

All right, now to the last music theme I have for this post.

The theme for my final pick is short. In my opinion it is far, far, too short. Much like the series this theme introduced, the song was a song of defiance. And for that defiance, perhaps, both the show and the song were canceled before they could spin their story into a long series. Here, therefore, is the theme for Firefly:

Until next time!

The Mithril Guardian