Thursday, May 31, 2012

Ben's Playlist - Friday, June 1, 2012

Everybody Let's Jump  - Eloise the Great
Wrong Thing    - The Hipwaders
The Golem   - The Deedle Deedle Dees
Soft Things  - Brady Rymer
Let Your Hair Hang Down  - They Might Be Giants
One Time  - Justin Bieber
Polka Face   - Weird Al Yankovic
Glory Days  - Glee   
Rolling In the Deep   - Adele

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Ben's Playlist - Thursday, May 31, 2012

Lucky Day - Parker Bent
Sleepy Tigers  - Her Space Holiday
Sugar Ant  - Caspar Babypants
Lucy and Tighty - Okee-Dokee Brothers
Turning Tables  - Adele
All The Best  - R.E.M.
Say Hello to My Hippo  - Todd McHatton
Kinder Words  - Mighty Mighty Bosstones
Exactly Where I Want To Be - Grenadilla   
We Are Young  - Glee

Ben's Playlist - Wednesday, May 30, 2012

I Wish You Well  - Bill Withers
Everybody Eats When They Come to My House   - Cab Calloway  
We Just Won't Be Defeated   - The Go! Team
A Complicated Song  - Weird Al Yankovic
 I Like How It Feels   - Enrique Iglesias feat. Pitbull
I Want A Hippopotamus for Kwanzaa   - The Jimmies
Stalk of Wheat   -   They Might Be Giants
Like A Spinning Top    -   Alison Faith Levy
Glee - Mean    -    Glee      
Opposite Day    - Steve Songs   

Monday, May 28, 2012

Ben's Playlist - Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Dream  - Blue Sky Riders
That's Not My Name  - The Ting Tings
Shake Me Down  -   Cage the Elephant
Accentuate the Positive  - NRBQ
Eggs  - Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players
Reminds Me Of You - LMFAO
Set Fire To The Rain  - Adele
Starships  - Glee      
Mary Anning - Artichoke

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Tale of the Cats 2 (podcast)

After a week (or two) of trying to trap the feral cats, I got a little frustrated.

Sure, we caught the mom cat...but we had to let her go, because the weather was not going to be friendly that evening. And as my wife said, "Would you want your kids out by themselves for three days?"

 Luckily, the mom cat came back the next night - and brought the tabby kitten with her.
We were relieved. We did not know at the time that it would be the last time we would see the kittens (May 9, 2012).

 I read more about catching cats. Part of the equation is giving the cages some "darkness" in the back, so the caught cats can move away from the front of the cage and "hide." I was so proud of myself for setting the cages "appropriately."

Of course, then we caught nothing that day. Feeling exasperated, I left the cages as they were overnight. What a mistake. In the morning...

Curses! A raccoon!
Stunned, I tried to set it free, but it lunged at me when I went to pull out the back panel. I called the ASPCA, but by the time the woman arrived, the raccoon had freed itself.
We tried again the next day and viola! Caught the mom cat (for the second time).

The mom cat also brought along two gentlemen callers. Here is one of them (who we only saw twice - both times when the mom cat was in a cage). The other, a large orange tabby, was photo-shy. In the below photo, you can (almost) see him through the bushes on the left. This photo was taken AFTER the mom cat was removed by the ASPCA and the two males sat around yowling. Why? Because she was in heat - and they were ready to duel to see who could knock her up again!
Finally, the second cat we caught. Originally thought to be a male, it turned out to be a female with milk. Meaning it was weaning new kittens. Upon release, she ran frantically back to her brood (we hope). And the game continues with Mother Nature.

Here is a video of the mom cat in the cage (second time).

And then the two gentlemen callers showed up...

Ben's Playlist - Monday, May 28, 2012

Glad You Came  - The Wanted
I Knew The Bride (When She Use To Rock And Roll)   - Nick Lowe
Shoo Fly - Don't Bother Me   - Sweet Honey In the Rock
You Yes You  - Tune-Yards
T.O.R.N.A.D.O.    - The Go! Team
Grandmom's House  - Recess Monkey
Under African Skies  - Paul Simon
Putt, Putt  - Holly Throsby
Take It to the Street   - Re-Birth Brass Band     
Kick Drum Heart  - The Avett Brothers

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Ben's Playlist - Friday, May 25, 2012

The Animal Life - NRBQ
One Time  - Justin Bieber
Imitation Of Life - R.E.M.
Say, Say, Oh Playmate - April Smith & The Great Picture
It's Hard To Be A Kid  - Daddy A Go Go
Great Balls Of Fire  -   Chris Isaak       
Green Submarine  - Flannery Brothers
Celebration  - They Might Be Giants
Tongue Tied - Glee      
Holiday Road - Matt Pond

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Ben's Playlist - Thursday, May 24, 2012

You Are the Everything  - Redbird
I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas  - The Jimmies
Type A Prayer    - Alchemystics
A Friend Like You   - Steve Weeks
Valley Winter Song   -  Fountains Of Wayne
Bunny Brown  - Caspar Babypants
Drive By    - Train
I Walk The Line   -   Chris Isaak        
Treehouse   - Dog On Fleas       
Nemeses    - Jonathan Coulton

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Ben's Playlist - Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Hometown Glory - Adele
Palomino - Mates of State
Someone's Gonna Break Your Heart - Fountains Of Wayne
(The Angels Wanna Wear My) Red Shoes - Elvis Costello
Grandmom's House - Recess Monkey
My Happiness - Chris Isaak
High Maintenance - Miranda Cosgrove
Burning Coffee - They Might Be Giants
Born to Be Loved (The Kitchen Tapes) - Lucinda Williams
If You Want a Mustache - Space Balloons

Monday, May 21, 2012

Ben's Playlist - Tuesday, May 22, 2012

I Wanna Party - Hot Wings 
Immigrant Song  - Led Zeppelin
I Hear a New World   - They Might Be Giants       
Twin Cinema  - New Pornographers
Tomorrow Will Be Really Great  - Dan Israel
Rollerskate Banana Peel - Mo Phillips
Bamboleo/Hero - Glee
Ruling Me - Weezer
Cough Syrup - Glee
Hi 5 Dance - Flannery Brothers

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Tale of the Cats (podcast)

In early April, our next door neighbor put in PVC fencing around his property.

The next evening when I came home from work, I wanted to check on how it affected the side of our house. As I walked down past our driveway to the back of our house, a black cat with orange markings stepped through the (new) fencing, followed by two VERY small kittens. And that started our ongoing experience with feral cats.

Here's a shot of the mother cat (and a kitten).
Here is the mother cat and two of the kittens, emerging from behind our neighbor's house at the back of our yard.
C'mon - a tabby kitten waits for me to bring down food.
The mother cat has a bite to eat, not knowing that her next meal is going to land her... a cage (although we let her go, since it was going to thunderstorm and be terribly cold that evening).

Here is the video of the cat in the cage.
I wanted this to be a standalone episode. And indeed it does stand alone. Until the next part, for next week, when I hope to conclude the saga (and have the cats all taken care of).

Ben's Playlist - Monday, May 21, 2012

Jingle Bells Redux - The Jimmies
Lemonade Stand - Deep Fried Pickle Project   
Live It Up  - Chris Isaak
Wake Up Baby!  - Dan Zanes & Friends with Shine
Bluebird > Redbird, Redbird > Reef  - The Deedle Deedle Dees
Donuts   - Jeff Forrest
The Dancin' Bear   - Recess Monkey    
Slumber Party   -   In The Nick Of Time
What'd I Say  -   Ray Charles   
My Favorite Things (Glee Cast Version)  - Glee

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Ben's Playlist - Friday, May 18, 2012

Walking Tall  - Lyle Lovett
Mammal   -  They Might Be Giants
A Good Good Time  - Nikolai Moderbacher
Bad    - Glee
Popcorn  - Recess Monkey      
How Come You Never Go There  - Feist
We Are Young (ft. Janelle Monae)  - fun.
The Amazing Baz Dance Remix   - The Amazing Baz
It's Now Or Never   - Chris Isaak       
Worms    - Dog On Fleas

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Ben's Playlist - Thursday, May 17, 2012

At The Zoo - Simon & Garfunkel
I Can't Quit Her - Blood, Sweat & Tears       
New Shoes - Paolo Nutini
Hey, Josie! - The Hipwaders
King of the Beach  - Wavves      
What Makes You Beautiful  - One Direction
Came Out of a Lady  - Rubblebucket
I Think I'm A Bunny - Todd McHatton
Bouncy House - Recess Monkey 
River of Blood - The Deedle Deedle Dees

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Ben's Playlist - Wednesday, May 16, 2012

What Makes You Beautiful -  Glee      
ƜBerlin - R.E.M.
Reminds Me Of You -  LMFAO
In Tents  - Recess Monkey       
In the Mood   - Glenn Miller
Been There, Done That  -  Eno/Cale
Everybody Loves to Jump  - Mike Park
Up On The Housetop - The New Standards
Dream of You -  Alan Wolpert
Toes  -  Mo Phillips
You Have A Heart - Readeez

The Contrarian (New Podcast)

There are people who meet all their friends in grade school.

There are people who meet all their friends in high school.

There are people who meet all their friends in college.

I moved between grade school and high school and had to make a whole new group of friends.

When I went to college, I held onto those (mostly younger) friends for another year or two, until they started to head off to out of state colleges. Then I began to make a whole other set of friends.

When you’re in college, you’d like to think that “these are the people I’m going to be friends with forever.”

Of course, nobody stays the same. So those people grow and hopefully evolve, as you do the same.

And their opinions and personalities grow and evolve as well. And sometimes, that means you won’t be friends anymore.

And sometimes you become friends with people that you almost know that, at some point, you won’t be friends with them anymore.

This week, the story of one of those friendships.

As well as another Cohen/Aubrey comedy bit, “The All-Commercial Cable Channel.” It’s from the advent of cable television and once again, we were ahead of the curve.

The cat cast will be next week! I vow to get those cats off my property and into a podcast!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Ben's Playlist - Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Good Morning Tucson   -  Jonathan Coulton
Parents Need Sleep    -  The Nields
The Monkeys are Breaking Out    -  Too Many Cookies
Making Me Smile    -  Dean & Britta
Come Up, Horsey    -  Victoria Williams
The Backpack Song    -  Bari Koral
You Yes You    -  Tune-Yards
The Wheel Deal (feat. Ian MacDonald, Lance Murphy, Lawrence Leathers & Jainardo Batista)    3:00    Josh Levine
My Uncle, the Ant   -  Duke Otherwise
Wanna Be Starting Something   -  Glee
Hello   -  Martin Solveig feat. Dragonette

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Ben's Playlist - Monday, May 14, 2012

Sourwood Mountain - Carolina Chocolate Drops
El Jefe  - Mexican Institute of Sound
Edwina Mae - Recess Monkey     
Someone's Gonna Break Your Heart - Fountains Of Wayne
Walking Wires -   Radical Dads
Pop - Bari Koral   
Rolling In the Deep   - Adele
I Love New York- New York, New York  - Glee
Be Yourself  - Grenadilla
My Name Is No - Starfish

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Ben's Playlist - Friday, May 11, 2012

Life's A Happy Song  - Jason Segel, Amy Adams (Muppets)
Spoon   - Cibo Matto
Love You Like A Love Song   - Glee    
We Found Love (Feat. Calvin Harris)  - Rihanna
I Like You  - Jeffrey Gaines
Tommy Had a Super Towel   - Todd McHatton
Same Mistake   - Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
Laugh In Any Language   -   The Jimmies
The Worst Party Ever Thrown   - Mo Phillips

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Ben's Playlist - Thursday, May 10, 2012

What Katie Did  - The Libertines 
Itsy Bitsy Spider   - Alison Faith Levy
A Complicated Song   - Weird Al Yankovic 
Don't Drink Sea Water   - Captain Bogg & Salty
Open My Eyes  - Bangles
Go Out and Play  - The Plants
Eyes of a Child   - The Gourds
My Little Laugh   - Randy Kaplan
Mole in the Ground  - Adam Levy & John Munson

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Ben's Playlist - Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Building of the Road  - Caroline Herring
For Those About To Walk (We Salute You)  - Daddy A Go Go
Don't Worry About the Government  - Talking Heads
T.O.R.N.A.D.O.   - The Go! Team
Cruel To Be Kind - Nick Lowe
I Love Food -   The Not-Its!
Autograph - Sick of Sarah
Freebird  - Arcwelder
Shake It Out - Glee   
River of Blood - The Deedle Deedle Dees

Monday, May 07, 2012

Ben's Playlist - Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The Unsinkable Fats Domino  -  Guided By Voices
It Will Rain  - Bruno Mars
Shake Me Down  - Cage the Elephant
My Valentine  - Paul McCartney
Say Hello to My Hippo  - Todd McHatton
Someone Like You   - Adele
The Fox  - Waco Brothers
Cool Papa Bell   - The Deedle Deedle Dees
I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas  - The Jimmies
Glasses  - Jonathan Coulton
Sensation  - Lole-Lolay    

Sunday, May 06, 2012

Stop and Remember (New Podcast)

When I started working entry-level jobs, there were very few security precautions or concerns involving paychecks. Now this may just have been the places where I worked, such as a library and a movie theater. It got better when I moved into the corporate arena. But here are some thoughts on paychecks.

I really dig CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM. It’s one of my favorite television shows. A bit of commentary on TV and one particular episode that I still find amusing, from the first season of CURB.

When you’re really young, you rely on stories being handed down through the ages. I accused my 2-year-old brother of swallowing a checker when I was four. That episode had some unforeseen repercussions 40 years later, when our parents suddenly “remembered” what happened.
Finally, another health-related Cohen/Aubrey comedy bit, “FLAB.”

Plus a preview of what I’ve got planned for the NEXT podcast, a full-length, epic story about my (currently) ongoing saga with feral cats living in our backyard and the surrounding neighborhood.

Podcast Powered By Podbean

Ben's Playlist - Monday, May 7, 2012

The Alternative Polka - Weird Al Yankovic
Sweet Harness  - Sharks
There's a Band in My Head   - Dog On Fleas      
Burning Coffee  - They Might Be Giants
How Will I Know  -   Glee  
Where Do The Children Play  -   Horace Andy
Mr. Know It All  - Kelly Clarkson
World Of Wonder  - Alison Faith Levy
The Magic Number - Salute to de la Soul       
Wrong Thing  - The Hipwaders

Friday, May 04, 2012

Hope You Paint a Pretty Picture

Add a comma and my headline works another way: "Hope, You Paint a Pretty Picture."

Hope being recording artist Hope Harris, who returns this month with her new CD, "Picasso, That's Who! (And So Can You!)."

Hope delivers a tuneful art lesson, with songs about Picasso (the title track), David Hockney (Who Made the Splash?), Claude Monet (Impression, Monet), and Jackson Pollack (A-C-T-I-O-N).

Mixing media is always challenging. The most common form is music video. Movie musicals have also made a comeback, but not every year has a breakout success. Any combination of the audio and visual has its strengths and drawbacks. Many recording artists resisted making music videos, saying that the best images were always those in the listeners' heads. Well, MTV emptied out all those pretty little heads.

Getting kids to listen to music and think about art? Indeed, a fresh challenge. While it's great to have full lyrics included with the CD, parents may want to have a laptop or coffee table art book nearby so their kids can visually sample the artists that Hope sings about so passionately.

As you might expect, Hope pays tribute to each artist in an individual style. "A-C-T-I-O-N" sounds like a B-52s dance tune about dripping paint. "Swingin' Little Duck" (about Alexander Calder) has a jazzy swing band beat. "Dot in Motion" (about Paul Klee) is southern-style rock, complete with a slide guitar solo and Dixie Chick harmonies for the chorus:

Set a dot in motion and make it a line
Take it for a walk, see what you find
You just never know
Set a dot in motion
Be like Klee

"Picasso, That's Who!" is a breezy, fast-paced trip to an imaginary art gallery. It's a theme album that's more about creativity than empowerment, for once. And a celebration of the arts that steers children towards discovering and enjoying different forms of modern (and classic) art. There's nary a Rembrandt or DaVinci within earshot on this collection, and for once, that's a good thing. Put down the dropcloth, break out the finger paints, and cue up Hope Harris for a cherry afternoon of music and art appreciation.

"Picasso, That's Who!" is available on Tuesday, May 22 through cdbaby, Amazon, and New Sound Kids music independent reseller outlets.

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Ben's Playlist - Friday, May 4, 2012

Daydreams  - Adele
I Knew The Bride (When She Use To Rock And Roll)    -  Nick Lowe
Big Black Snake  -   Dog On Fleas
Ode To A Superhero  - Weird Al Yankovic
June Hymn   - The Decemberists
Tamacun  -  Rodrigo y Gabriela
The Boy Next Door   -  Glee      
Wanna Be Starting Something   - Glee
Marvelous Day   -  Steve Songs      
Born On the Bayou   -  Etta James

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Ben's Playlist - Thursday, May 3, 2012

A Friend Like You - Steve Weeks
Rolling In the Deep - Adele
Eggs - Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players
School's Out - Glee
It Had to Be You - Esquivel
The Backpack Song - Bari Koral
Wimoweh - Joanie Leeds & The Nightlights
I'm A Vampire - Roy Handy & The Moonshot
Tommy Got In Trouble - The Bazillions
Laser Show - Fountains Of Wayne

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Ben's Playlist - Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The Cave - Mumford and Sons

Get Together - Youngbloods

Octopus - Artichoke

Fossil Contender  - The Gourds

Safety Dance - Men Without Hats

Putt, Putt - Holly Throsby

Here's To Us   - Glee

(I Love the Sound of) Breaking Glass  - Nick Lowe

Subway - Bari Koral      

Mole in the Ground - Adam Levy & John Munson

Kindiefest 2012: SteveSongs

My kids know SteveSongs.

Your kids know SteveSongs.

I was kind of familiar with SteveSongs, until I saw them on stage and went, "Oh yeah!"

Steve Roslonek has been writing and performing his award-winning music for kids and families for the past eleven years. In 2008, he became the face of PBS Kids and rocketed to a new level of fame on the kindie scene. Since our (older) son was 7 that year, he was aging out of their main demographic.

However our 17-month-old is now aging INTO their programming, so Steve is experiencing a resurgence in our living room. And both kids were happy to see him in performance. For Matt, Kindiefest was his first concert experience. And we've got the videos to prove it.

Bari Koral and Ralph Covert (of Ralph's World fame) took the stage for a number.

Right before this song, I grabbed one of the few available chairs against the wall. Secret Agent 23 Skidoo walked over and asked if anyone was sitting in the empty chair next to me. I shook my head. But he didn't sit for long – less than a minute later, Steve asked him to take the stage to perform this song from their upcoming CD.

The kindie scene has a great vibe. These are people who are passionate about their music, their message, and their community. While I'm curious about the Saturday conference portion of the event, I think the intensity would be unsettling. The commerce side of producing and marketing music, the "behind the wizard's curtain" nuts and bolts, is not what I'm all about. Not now, not yet, maybe not ever.

But the family conference was still a destination. Recess Monkey was not slated to perform this year, yet they booked shows in New York so they could attend the event. I stood next to Suzi Shelton for five minutes, yet didn't realize it was her until she took the stage and sang. And you know the artists appreciate a local groove when Dan Zanes can say goodbye and walk home.

Key organizer and founder Bill Childs is relocating to Texas this summer, and hopefully taking the influential Spare the Rock children's music podcast with him. Based on conversations at the concert, Kindiefest's reputation and legacy are golden. I can only hope that Kindiefest continues to groove for years to come. At least until Matt is old enough to remember the shows!

Kindiefest 2012: Bari Koral Family Band

Kindiefest 2012 has come and gone, so swiftly.

What started as a casual gathering of children's music performers and industry personnel has grown into the appointment destination for "who's who" on the kindie scene.

The conference itself is being covered extensively by the pro bloggers (click through to the main site for links to their articles). By no means do I consider myself at that level. I took Ben to see Caspar Babypants at Symphony Space on Saturday (4/28) and thought about writing a review until the "you have no time" rule kicked in at home.

Anyhoo, we've attended the family concert portion of Kindiefest since its inception. The past two years, the trip has been brutal due to a five-boro bike race that fell on the same day. But the scheduling gods smiled on host venue Littlefield this year, with moderate traffic and decent street parking.

Due to morning commitments and Matt's nap, we managed to make the second half of the four-hour event. Record attendance was obvious. The main room was packed although Ben found some floor space and cemented the cement. I did laps around the room with Matt through the end of WeBop and the Bari Koral Family Band. Andrea shot some videos and then we swapped so the boys could snack during SteveSongs.

Andrea thought it was funny that she sat down, turned on the camcorder...and WeBop was finishing up their set. In any case, here's their finish.

After a break, the Bari Koral Family Band took the stage and Andrea captured a few songs. This is where we saw the infectious nature of kindie music – performers inviting other artists to join them for a song, which happened numerous times over the course of the entire conference, from what I've read.

Steve Songs and Joanie Leeds then joined the stage for a song.

Joanie returned with Suzi Shelton for the final song, "A Day At the Beach."

In a little while, I'll post a second article with the SteveSongs videos and some more thoughts.