Sunday, September 21, 2014

Ben's Playlist - Monday, September 22, 2014

California King Bed – Rihanna
Time to Dream – Randy Kaplan
That's Just Us (Playing Rock-n-Roll) – Hullabaloo
Kids in America – The Muffs
Constant Sorrow (feat. Dan Zanes & Coolie Ranx) – Father Goose
This Moment – Katy Perry
Imagination – Shine and the Moonbeams
Lucky Penny – The Whirlygigs
No School Today – Danny Weinkauf

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Ben's Playlist - Friday, September 19, 2014

Crayola Doesn't Make a Color for Your Eyes – Kristin Andreassen
Cool Watermelon – Ethan Rossiter And The Jamberries
Sunshine – The Twigs
H-U-L-L-A-B-A-L-O-O – Hullabaloo
Banana Pudding – Sugar Free Allstars
Let The Records Play – Pearl Jam
3 Pointed Back – Secret Agent 23 Skidoo
Sunglasses – The Que Pastas
Little Cloud (Featuring Rachel Loshak)  – Joanie Leeds And The Nightlights

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Ben's Playlist - Thursday, September 18, 2014

Till There Was You – Lucky Diaz And The Family Jam Band
Long Gone – Recess Monkey
Imaginationology – Jon Samson
The World Is a Wonderful Place – Nora and One Left
Voodoo Doll – 5 Seconds of Summer
Liza Jane  – Jr. Madness
Tomorrow's People  – Brady Rymer
Otis Dooda Theme – David Heatley
Sittin On A Cloud – The Whirlygigs

Opening the Book on 23 Skidoo's High Functioning Weirdo

Whenever a character comes along who shakes up a stale genre, there is inevitably a societal debate about whether or not this instance is (a) part of a trend or (b) just an aberration. Two notable extremes from TV would be Mimi the receptionist (Kathy Kinney) from the old DREW CAREY SHOW and Sheldon Cooper (Jim Parsons) from THE BIG BANG THEORY. With her outrageous outfits and blunt honesty, Mimi's antagonistic relationship with Carey kept the show from being a conventional sitcom for a decade. For his portrayal of Sheldon, Parsons has won four consecutive Emmy awards.

A firestorm developed around Sheldon concerning the "is he or isn't he" on the autism spectrum. Specifically, does Sheldon have Asperger's Syndrome? For the uninitiated, "Aspies" tend to be very high functioning but have rough social skills. They can succeed in complex work fields because they fixate and are detail-oriented. However they tend to shy away from situations that require unanticipated human interaction. One producer flat out has stated "Sheldon does not have autism" because that would make the show "more serious" than they want it to be. You can look at Ray Romano's turn as an adult coming to terms with autism on PARENTHOOD for evidence supporting the producer's argument.

Into the equation steps Secret Agent 23 Skidoo with his new children's book, WEIRDO CALHOUN AND THE ODD MEN OUT. I'd bet the majority of the reviews will talk about "differences can bring people together" and "follow the beat of your own drummer." From the dreamy-eyed illustrations by North Carolina native Stu Helm to the text's descriptions of "Like his mind was a million miles off in space, With a twinkle in his eyes and a smile on his face,"I would bet with some certainty that L'il Calhoun might test high on the M-CHAT.

The book, written by the kid-hop entrepreneur behind the songs "Gotta Be Me" and "Mind Over Matter," follows an (initially) ostracized child who forges his own path and group of friends. They compete in a contest, dazzle the judges, and change the minds of many people. It's a children's fable in story and song – how did you think it was going to end?

The book is accompanied by a CD with hip-hop and bluegrass versions of the story, as well as karaoke versions that your family can use for home throwdowns between siblings and parents. It's inoffensive and perky and reads just like song lyrics, which is totally appropriate, considering the source.

Skidoo is promoting the book (and his most recent CD, THE PERFECT QUIRK) around the concept that "weird" comes from the Old English word "wyrd," which translates as "fate" or "destiny." I don't think many parents would derive comfort that their kids were destined to be autistic, but that's solely my take and my boat to pilot. Skidoo clearly means "wyrd" in the sense that kids have to realize that their differences make them special. And nobody who is special deserves to be left as an "odd man out." And that's a concept I can get behind.

WEIRDO CALHOUN AND THE ODD MEN OUT will be available September 23 from Secret Agent 23 Skidoo's website, Amazon, and the iTunes Bookstore.

Here is a video from Kindiefest 2012 of Skidoo and SteveSongs performing "Superhero":

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Ben's Playlist - Wednesday, September 17, 2014

First Day of School – Ethan Rossiter And The Jamberries
Anytime At All – Caspar Babypants
Start Of The End – The Dirty Sock Funtime Band
Fortune Cookie – The Little Rockers
Can We Buy a New Car (So I Can Have a Balloon) – Eric Herman
Stay Up Late – Dean Jones
A Billion Stars – Papa Crow
What's My Name? – Rihanna Feat. Drake
Otis  – Justin Roberts

Monday, September 15, 2014

Ben's Playlist - Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Lucky Day – Stacey Peasley
Size Of The Problem – Tom Chapin
Alive – Eric Herman
The Hustle – Van McCoy
Pumpin Blood  – NONONO
All Together Now – Caspar Babypants
Garbage Bugs – The Dirty Sock Funtime Band
Bonsai – Billy Kelly and the Blah Blah Blahs
Lighter Feathers – Dean Jones

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Ben's Playlist - Monday, September 15, 2014

I Must Be a Genius – Dog On Fleas
I see You For You – Suzi Shelton
Like a Bird Must – Hullabaloo
New Shoes – Riff Rockit
Slow – Trout Fishing In America
Look, Think, Guess, Know – Tom Chapin
In All Of The World – Papa Crow
So Funny I Forgot to Laugh – Randy Kaplan

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Ben's Playlist - Friday, September 12, 2014

She Looks So Perfect – 5 Seconds of Summer
Potted Plant Guy – David Heatley
In The Group – Tom Chapin
Coral Reef – The Whizpops!
Closer To You – Michael Franti & Spearhead
Fancy (feat. Charli XCX) – Iggy Azalea
Give Some, Get Some – Papa Crow
Batteries Not Include – Recess Monkey