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Things that are awesome, chapter one

Are you familiar with jazz vocalist Carol Sloane? She’s quite delightful. Today, while researching jazz weblogs for work (nice work if you can get it), I discovered that she has a blog, and my lord, is it fabulous. She’s not the first blogger I’ve read who uses language in a wonderfully precise manner, nor the first who’s laugh-out-loud funny, but I believe she is the first who can use those qualities to relate stories about, for instance, opening for Lenny Bruce.

I got the new CD by Nerissa and Katryna Nields, Sister Holler the other day. I put it on in the car last night and – well, I should tell you I have a rule. On the first listen to a new album, I don’t allow myself to hit either the Repeat or the Skip buttons. With Repeat, on a good album, I usually have to restrain myself once or twice. On a great album, it can go as high as five or six. Sister Holler? ELEVEN. I am almost certain this has never happened before; well, probably on 69 Love Songs, but that’s hardly a reasonable comparison. (For the uninitiated: It actually contains 69 love songs.) Sister Holler consists of new songs based on existing songs, in the folk tradition – some gospel, some traditional, some pop, some classical, that sort of thing. I will almost certainly post more insightfully about the music later, but I need to completely geek out and research the original songs first. Oh yes, I’m going to full-on obsess about this album. For instance, the cover photo shows Nerissa with her face completely obscured by her hair; I may be able to find evidence that she died in 1964 and was replaced by Paul McCartney.

My, that would be geeky, wouldn’t it?

You may think you don’t want to read a blog entry about a lost teddy bear. You’d be wrong in this case; this is the single best piece of writing I’ve read in recent memory.

And finally, Julie from A Little Pregnant details a common medical procedure using props and Play-Doh. Inspired. Or maybe deranged.

In the car today

I’m about to put on Beatles ’65 because the classical station is boring right now. Before I can quite get the CD in, the radio switches to another flavor of boring, which R. thinks he should maybe listen to for professional reasons.

A minute or two in, it’s clear that it’s neither very good nor bad in any particularly instructive way, so R. says, “If this gets unbearable, you can put on the Beatles.”

And I say, “That might be the best epitaph I have ever heard.”

Then I put on the Beatles.


I would like to register a complaint about children’s television. I believe it is a complaint that nobody has ever made about children’s television. It is about cable network Noggin. Noggin: would you please, for the love of all things fluffy, do some damn merchandising already?

All of W.’s favorite shows, with the possible exception of Sesame Street, are on Noggin. When we had our very own apartment, with our very own cable service, their total lack of merch was mildly annoying; I’d think, “Why is there not a Jack’s Big Music Show CD?” (I realize there are Laurie Berkner CDs; my kid’s not so much into the Berkner.) Or while making a list of birthday or Christmas gifts, I’d think he’d really love pretty much anything Oobi-related, too bad no such thing exists. Then I’d move on to checking toy trucks for small, dangerous parts.

Living in a Holiday Inn with a very limited version of Dish TV, we have no Noggin. My kid hadn’t seen Oobi in months when, last week, he decided that he is Oobi, I am Uma, his father is Grampu, and his Grandma L. is, naturally, Oobi’s hip black friend Keiko. We’ve been the Oobi family pretty much constantly since.

Did you know that, as far as I’ve been able to tell from poking around on the net, there are no DVDs of Noggin shows? No downloadable episodes? They don’t even have many shorts on the website, and 90% of the ones they do have are from network mascots Moose and Zee. (90% of the ones that weren’t Moose and Zee? Laurie Berkner!)

They do have some games to play online that are kind of related to the shows, which is nice. I’ll give them that one.

There have been many things about parenthood that have been vastly different from my expectations. This one might top them all. I really never thought I’d be bemoaning the lack of licensed-character merchandise for children.

Ralph’s World SoCal dates

Hey! Looks like the Ralph’s World tour is coming back to the House of Blueses West Hollywood and Anaheim on their (his?) Rice Krispies/HoB-sponsored tour. (I’ve gotta think that’s a sponsorship pairing that doesn’t come up too much, but we went to both shows on the first leg and I can guarantee you you will in fact see Snap, Crackle, and Pop right there on the stage.)

What is Ralph’s World, you ask, those of you who don’t watch Playhouse Disney or have any musician friends in the greater Chicago area?

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