Monday, March 31, 2014

Ben's Playlist - Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Everlovin' Water – Lori Henriques
Paper Moon – Laura Doherty
Fart Like a Pirate – Papa Crow
The Owie Song – David Tobocman
LMNOP – Koo Koo Kanga Roo
Holidays – Princess Katie & Racer Steve
Everybody Out There – Paul McCartney
Love Factory – Mary Kaye
Go Plane Go – Kira Willey
I Want Some Milk – Danimal
Smallest Breed – Django Jones
Monsters – Edukator, Jr.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Ben's Playlist - Monday, March 31, 2014

Shot Reverse Shot – Jack Johnson
Strong – One Direction
Size Of The Problem – Tom Chapin
This Is How We Do – Katy Perry
Robots Can't Cry – Secret Agent 23 Skidoo
Great Is Better  – Rabbit!
Laluna the Loon – Tanya Donelly
Jack of All Things – Django Jones
Kangaroo! – Alex & The Kaleidoscope Band
Human Bean  – Dean Jones

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Ben's Playlist - Friday, March 28, 2014

Salivary Gland  – Human-Tim + Robot-Tim
Let The Records Play  – Pearl Jam
Everybody's Going Out To Play  – Billy Kelly and the Blah Blah Blahs
Smooth Sailing  – Recess Monkey
Endless Summer  – Tim and the Space Cadets
Closer To You  – Michael Franti & Spearhead
Unconditionally  – Katy Perry
All That I See  – Django Jones
The Flying Fox  – Davy Andrews
Brilliance  – The Underbirds

D is for Django is OK for Kids

You've toured the world with your band.

Your punky, edgy songs have garnered praise and a dedicated following.

What do you do next?

Record a children's record, of course. It worked for Kepi Ghoulie among others. And now comes Django Jones, featuring three members of Girlyman. When one door closes another one opens. The splintering of Girlyman allowed Doris Muramatsu, JJ Jones, and Nate Borofsky to move forward with a creative vision for kids.

D IS FOR DJANGO is in all aspects almost a recreation of a1960s children's album. Most of the songs are prefaced by introductions (not all entirely necessary), although they do give the band a chance to demonstrate some banter. I've found that banter works better as part of a stage performance. However Django doesn't skimp on the music in the process, with the CD clocking in at close to an hour – with only 12 of the 27 tracks being banter-related.

I'm taking the band at face value that their CD is not an ironic commentary on their Girlyman following (adults with child-like mentality). The new album takes a Peter, Paul and Mary approach to three-part harmonies with a folkie sensibility. Although I don't recall Peter, Paul, and Mary crooning about "Germs," "Potato Leek Soup," or "Bigfoot." A good example of the band's output is "Smaller Breed":

Sometimes I don't know how to lead
I was born to the smallest breed.
And no one thinks I have the guts
To stand up tall.
But you should see me when I play
'Cause no one stands in my way.
Like a dragonfly who soars above it all.

At its core, Django could really all be about Doris Muramatsu winning a battle against leukemia. I can't imagine the ordeal of treatments that she underwent while still touring with Girlyman. But it's no wonder these three reconfigured to take on a potentially deadlier foe – small children with short attention spans. With any luck, Django Jones will get to tour the world again and build a second following that can follow them (with parental supervision, of course).

D IS FOR DJANGO is available from the band's website. More outlets will follow.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Ben's Playlist - Thursday, March 27, 2014

Rattlesnake – Red Yarn
Look, Think, Guess, Know – Tom Chapin
Lightning Bolt  – Pearl Jam
International Smile  – Katy Perry
Try it – Milkshake
The Flamingo Sun – Wee Bee Jammies
You Are An Astronaut – Human-Tim + Robot-Tim
I Wish – Cher Lloyd feat TI
Rainbows and Onions – Sweet Diss & the Comebacks
Space Monkey  – Davy Andrews

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Ben's Playlist - Wednesday, March 26, 2014

When the World Was New – Dean Jones
Good Time – Owl City & Carly Rae Jepsen
Sandwiches – Davy Andrews
Long Gone – Recess Monkey
When I Grow Up – Lucky Diaz And The Family Jam Band
Ride In My Little Red Wagon – Willie & The Wheel
In The Group – Tom Chapin
Music – Alex & The Kaleidoscope Band
Yes And No – Caspar Babypants
Bicycle – Laura Doherty

Jamtones Bear Down on Kickstarter

Just when you thought Josh and the Jamtones couldn't get more animated, they've started a Kickstarter campaign to make a movie from their CD, BEAR HUNT.

"Bear Hunt: the Mini-Movie!" will feature music videos, live performance footage and animated shorts based on the "adventure chapter" story skits from their recently-released album.

"It'll take the right animator for the job, which means raising an exorbitant amount of money to get a real pro (and/or pros!) in our corner," explains Josh Shriber in the introductory video.

"Kickstarter has quickly become the go-to business model for modern independent fundraising," adds bandmate Patrick Hanlin. "Through Kickstarter, we're able to bring this project directly to our fans...our beloved, ever-appreciated and downright handsome audience. This allows us to make the animated shorts that we want to make and it gives you the chance to be a part of making it happen from the very bottom floor."

At the time of this writing, the band is 25 percent of the way towards their goal of $12K. If you're in the mood, help the Jamtones help you. Here's a video glimpse of the band from their recent Symphony Space performance:

Monday, March 24, 2014

Ben's Playlist - Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Right Now – One Direction
Here Comes the Summer  – Ponds & Fleshman
The World Is a Wonderful Place – Nora and One Left
My Eraser – Bill Harley And Keith Munslow
Recess – Justin Roberts
Boo! – Trout Fishing In America
They're Red Hot – Randy Kaplan
Miette – Salim Nourallah
Upside Down –  Ratboy Jr.
Otis Dooda Theme – David Heatley

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Ben's Playlist - Monday, March 24, 2014

Tonight – Princess Katie & Racer Steve
Stand With Me – Dean Jones
Pendulum – Pearl Jam
Baby, Don't Cry – The Twigs
Vulture Vomit – Roger Day
Ferris Wheel – Laura Doherty
Bonsai – Billy Kelly and the Blah Blah Blahs
Me And Julio – The Little Rockers Band
This Must Be the Place – Kishi Bashi
I'm Your Boyfriend Now – They Might Be Giants

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Ben's Playlist - Friday, March 21, 2014

End of the Day – Poochamungas
Thank You and Goodnight – Uncle Rock
Snow Day – Zak Morgan
Mother Nature's Sun – Caspar Babypants
Buy Nothing Day – The Go! Team
Born To Rock  – David Tobocman
Bigga Bagga – Key Wilde and Mr. Clarke
Playground – Astrograss
Hi, Hi, Hi – The Little Rockers Band
Blue Underwear – Ethan Rossiter And The Jamberries
You've Got A Friend In Me (Featuring Chris Smither)  – Alastair Moock

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Ben's Playlist - Thursday, March 20, 2014

The Sun Will Shine Again – Frances England
Grumpy Boy – Steve Songs
Shake it Out – Florence + The Machine
Join a Rock and Roll Band – Dean Jones
Little Bob's Big Day – Human-Tim + Robot-Tim
No Homework – The Bazillions
Fortune Cookie – The Little Rockers Band
All People – Michael Franti & Spearhead
Give Me Back My Hat – Bill Harley And Keith Munslow

Ask Mr. TeeVee Returns

Mr. TeeVee has been viewing the tube for decades and periodically answers questions from the reader mail bag (

Dear Mr. TeeVee,
Call me old-fashioned but I love these singing competitions. I seem to recall a show hosted by hunky Nick Lachey. What happened to the program?
– Miriam Lincoln, Clarion, WI

Well, Miriam, your memory isn't deceiving you. "Hunky" Nick hosted THE SING-OFF until a tragic studio accident got the show cancelled. NBC isn't talking, but I'd bet that after all the litigation is finished, the competition you love will return to the airwaves.

Dear Mr. TeeVee,
There is a wonderful character actor named Ed Lauter. He appeared on an episode of THE OFFICE. Where have I seen him before and what is he doing now?
– Robert Jackson, Seattle, WA

Seattle may be tragically hip but Ed Lauter is tragically deceased, Robert. The veteran performer (from Long Beach, NY) has a resume of film credits that stretches on and on, including more than 200 movies! He is certainly one actor who can rest in peace!

Dear Mr. TeeVee,
When ABC cancelled COP ROCK, it left so many unanswered questions. Will Mayor Plank get re-elected? What happens to Detective McIntire? Is Officer Campo ever going to come out of the closet? Do you know what the writers were planning on doing if the show was renewed for a second season?
– Leslie Deacon, Musgrave, TX

You're in luck, Leslie. We called writer John Romano and he gave us these quick notes: "Mayor Plank served the remainder of her term and went into teaching. Detective McIntire moved to Chicago, went to work in a hospital, and lost his arm in a freak helicopter accident. Officer Campo lives in a committed relationship with a transgender Muslim man named Yusef." Whew! That's a lot to take in!

Forget the Timing, Little Rockers In for the Count

Timing is an amazing thing. When Ben Stiller made ZOOLANDER, he didn't realize a simple two-second shot of the Twin Towers would cause the film to be slightly delayed following 9/11. When Ben Stiller (him again!) made a film called NEIGHBORHOOD WATCH, the producers didn't count on a nudnick named George Zimmerman would claim his shooting of an unarmed teen as being part of a neighborhood watch program. Hence, the film became THE WATCH.

On a smaller level, the Little Rockers Band did not expect a mildly snarky tune about Mick Jagger to become a topical issue right as they release their new CD, COUNT ME IN! Yes, "Old Mick Jagger" is just a take-off of "Old McDonald." And it's such an obvious idea that I can't believe no one else had recorded a song with that title. The fact that Jagger recently suffered a tremendous personal tragedy kind of sucks the fun right out of the song...right now. Definitely the topic is one to be revisited, in a few months.

In the meantime, The LRB fills its third CD with a collection of tunes that are topical for tots (and not their adjacent grown-ups). "Fortune Cookie" delights in the nature of the specialty dessert treat. "Me and My Dog" is a pet-loving stroll. "In the Bathtub" is, well, exactly what you'd expect from a bathing tune (mostly, get in their and clean yourself while playing with some toys).

The band is comprised of Jessie and Chris Apple, Jersey shore residents on a mission to educate (through their Little Rockers music classes). With backgrounds in show tunes (Jessie) and rock (Chris, who appeared on Nickelodeon's DON'T JUST SIT THERE), the duo and cohorts Liam Moroney and Billy Papenberg has entertained local gatherings and gotten the kids on their feet since 2009.

The LRB (not to be confused with the Little River Band) strive for community, enthusiasm, and singalong choruses. They even attempt a one-two classic rock punch with "Old Mick Jagger" into a cover of "Me and Julio (Down By the Schoolyard)." There's a slightly ominous air to the guitar-fused "Little Deer," however:

Little deer, do you want to play or run away?
Don't run so fast. Little deer, don't run away from me so fast.
Don't run so fast, little deer.

The deer is followed up by a cat and a bird, all very anxious to get away from poor Jessie. Do they know something about little Jessie that the rest of us don't know? Perhaps that's just my projection, from decades of rock songs with hidden meanings, backwards messages, and political undertones. The average five-year-old just hears a song about animals. And the average five-year-old is right in the LRB's sweet spot. As far as kindie rock is concerned, count them in.

COUNT ME IN! is available from the band's website, Amazon, CDBABY, and iTunes.

Here is the video from the band's song, "Wild Wild West":

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Ben's Playlist - Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Anytime At All – Caspar Babypants
Bike– Charity And The JAMband
Marfa– Mother Falcon
Cool Watermelon– Ethan Rossiter And The Jamberries
Up In Cat's Room– David Heatley
Out Of The Box– The Bazillions
I'm a Freak (feat. Pitbull) – Enrique Iglesias
Thingamajig– Lucky Diaz And The Family Jam Band
The Plumbing Song – Weird Al Yankovic

Monday, March 17, 2014

Ben's Playlist - Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Prehensile Grip – Dean Jones
Effervescing Elephant – Cat Doorman
High Five – Shine and the Moonbeams
My Secret Robot – Justin Roberts
Right Place Wrong Time – Screamin' Cheetah Wheelies
Row Row Row Your Boat – Caspar Babypants
My Sister Kissed Her Boyfriend – Trout Fishing In America
Summertime Sadness – Lana Del Rey
Beach Ball – Recess Monkey
Lazy Raisins – Key Wilde and Mr. Clarke

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Ben's Playlist - Monday, March 17, 2014

Move Like Saturday Night – Frances England
The Fox – Red Yarn
Let's Make a Better World – The Blind Boys of Alabama
Desert Dogs – Shiprock and Anchordog
All Together Now – Caspar Babypants
Now Let's Dance – Elizabeth Mitchell & Dan Zanes
Shakin' Shakin' – The Little Rockers Band
Hootenanny –  Jambo
Continental Geography – Astrograss
Similes And Metaphors – The Bazillions

Friday, March 14, 2014

Airliner Mystery a Reason to Always Remember

News of the disappearing Malaysia Airlines jet earlier this week prompted many emotions in people. Everyone loves a good mystery and despises the thought of a resurgence in terrorism. Yet that is still one of the operational theories, primarily because stolen passports were used to buy tickets for the flight.

It has been almost 13 years since the events of 9/11 in Manhattan and Washington, DC. Buildings have been replaced, the missing have been mourned, and people have moved on with their lives. The world is somewhat the same but there are many differences.

To the youngest among us, many of these differences (and infringements to our civil liberties) are going to feel like they've always been here. The NSA? Wiretapping? Waterboarding? Who cares – it's part of day-to-day life in this new generation.

My company relocated in 1997 to a "Class A" building in New York that could be considered a landmark location. Also a potential target for terrorists. Security was remarkably lax. I was asked to run many variations on types of security in the company's internal newsletter, which I edited. The items ranged from "lock your office, drawers, or cube door when you're not there" to "Don't allow tailgaters (i.e., people who follow you through a door that requires a security card)."

Coworkers reported wallets stolen from their purses, which were hidden in desk drawers. There was a high rate of laptop theft, as if the portable devices magically walked themselves off the premises. Temp workers were blamed for most of the thievery, but that's partially the mindset of wanting to trust and believe your colleagues aren't out-and-out criminals.

This situation changed after 9/11. We were all required to carry two separate IDs – one for the building and our internal security cards. The building hired more security people and started locking one set of doors, forcing people to alternate sides every month when we got to work.

There were some complaints and many people simply forgot their ID at home or left it on their desk when they went out to lunch, requiring them to call upstairs to have a coworker bring them down to regain access. On the other hand, I took my IDs, put them on a cardholder from Madison Square Garden (a promotional giveaway item), and did not make negative comments.

In time, we replaced the antiquated internal security system and downsized to one card. Over the years, people who forgot their access IDs would stop by my desk and whisper, "Can I borrow yours and run down to buy lunch?" I would take it off from around my neck and wait patiently, busy at work while they ran their quick errand.

Others kept theirs in back pockets or at their desks, or relied on the kindness of colleagues to move around the building, refusing to "buckle" to the pressure of "the man." This civil disobedience dwindled through the years. It became commonplace for people to pocket their IDs. Yet I continued to wear mine around my neck. This proved comical when I once went to MSG to pick up tickets. I'd forgotten that it was a stadium-related cardholder. And the guards (there are now many at the Garden) quickly waved me through, seeing the ID and thus assuming I worked for the facility.

People at my company wonder aloud every so often why I don't just chuck the cardholder altogether and pocket my ID. After all, it's now just one simple card that fits right in your shirt or pants pocket.

But the vanishing Malaysian airliner reminded me why I've continued to wear and exhibit my ID for close to 13 years. It's a badge of honor, a way to show that I remember the events from 9/11. I may not have been personally affected by the death of a loved one but it was an attack against my world, my people, and my city. As long as I can look down and see that ID hanging around my neck, I can remember the profound way the world changed on September 11, 2001. Much the way the world has changed for the families of those who were flying on Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Ben's Playlist - Friday, March 14, 2014

Shine – Elizabeth Mitchell & Dan Zanes
Lose My Mind – The Wanted
Everybody's a Baby 'bout Something – Bill Harley And Keith Munslow
Snow Day – Zak Morgan
I Love the Rain – The Real Tuesday Weld
I'm A Duck –  Lloyd H. Miller
So Many Words – Cat Doorman
Gravy Stain – Mr. Saxophone
Frog  – Artichoke

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Ben's Playlist - Thursday, March 13, 2014

Getting A Sunburn – Recess Monkey
With Linked Arms – Cat Doorman
Start Of The End – The Dirty Sock Funtime Band
Slow – Trout Fishing In America
Jump On The Moon – Human-Tim + Robot-Tim
You're Embarrassing Me – The Bazillions
State Of Grace  – Taylor Swift
Jim-A-Long Josie – Jr. Madness
Let's Be Friends – Jambo
Stop at a Mom N' Pop – Uncle Rock

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Ben's Playlist - Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Sell Out – Reel Big Fish
Show Me What You're Feeling – Tom Chapin
Wander 'Round the World – Key Wilde and Mr. Clarke
Turn! Turn! Turn! –  Elizabeth Mitchell & Dan Zanes
Garbage Bugs  – The Dirty Sock Funtime Band
I Got a Great Idea – The Twigs
Sanford and Son – Quincy Jones
Peace Sign – David Tobocman
Everything Is AWESOME!!! (feat. The Lonely Island) – Tegan and Sara
Space Kid And Banana – Ratboy Jr.
Heart Attack – One Direction

Monday, March 10, 2014

Ben's Playlist - Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Talkin' Bout Love – The Little Rockers
Bike – Charity And The JAMband
When You're Smiling –  Elizabeth Mitchell & Dan Zanes
Raised by Trolls – Key Wilde and Mr. Clarke
I Love U – Josh And The Jamtones
Cheese World – The Dirty Sock Funtime Band
Kids in America – The Muffs
Are We There Yet?  – Joanie Leeds And The Nightlights
Give Me Back My Hat – Bill Harley And Keith Munslow

Sunday, March 09, 2014

Ben's Playlist - Monday, March 10, 2014

Why is the sky blue? – Nick Cope
In The Sun – Elizabeth Mitchell & Dan Zanes
National Hiccup Day – The Dirty Sock Funtime Band
Electric Lady – Justin Timberlake
Groovy Da – Jambo
Chuckers – Key Wilde and Mr. Clarke
Mr Wolf – The Short Films
Gimme Chocolate – Babymetall
The Plumbing Song – Weird Al Yankovic

Thursday, March 06, 2014

Ben's Playlist - Friday, March 7, 2014

Little Little Baby – The Harmonica Pocket
Snow Day – Zak Morgan
Peaceful – Cat Doorman
In A Timeout Now – Randy Kaplan
C-C-C-Cold Outside – Trout Fishing In America
Robots From The 4th Dimension – The Dirty Sock Funtime Band
Unicorns R Real – Koo Koo Kanga Roo
The Bullfrog Opera  – Morgan Taylor; The Okee Dokee Brothers
Up Periscope – Recess Monkey

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Ben's Playlist - Thursday, March 6, 2014

When I Look Into The Night Sky – Lori Henriques
I Wanna Party – Hot Wings
Who Killed Poor Robin?  – Red Yarn
Fill It Up –  Josh And The Jamtones
Mind Over Matter  – Secret Agent 23 Skidoo
Anybody Got A Watch?  – The Dirty Sock Funtime Band
Ooh Bubble – The Que Pastas
Ice Cream Soup – Jambo
Beach Ball –  Recess Monkey
Lazy Raisins –  Key Wilde and Mr. Clarke
Adore You – Miley Cyrus

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Ben's Playlist - Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Changes – David Bowie
Life Is Better With You – Michael Franti & Spearhead
Looking For Trains – Justin Roberts
Danceology – The Dirty Sock Funtime Band
Let 'em Know – Milkshake
Real Real Gone – Van Morrison
Give Me Back My Hat – Bill Harley And Keith Munslow
Louder – Lea Michele
Sing To Me – Walter Martin
Stop at a Mom N' Pop – Uncle Rock

Monday, March 03, 2014

Ben's Playlist - Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Snow Day – Zak Morgan
California King Bed – Rihanna
Shine – Shine and the Moonbeams
Brave – Sara Bareilles
Midnight Memories – One Direction
Working on A Bridge – Lloyd H. Miller
Magic – Coldplay
Cannonball –  Lea Michele
Just Not Me – The Hipwaders

Sunday, March 02, 2014

Ben's Playlist - Monday, March 3, 2014

Everybody's a Baby 'bout Something – Bill Harley And Keith Munslow
Nonsense – Davy Andrews
Coney Island Avenue – Elizabeth Mitchell & Dan Zanes
Here Comes Peter Cottontail – The Hipwaders
Rooting For My Baby – Miley Cyrus
Love Me Do – Caspar Babypants
Circle – The Watson Twins
Workin' Kid – Milkshake
Just a Normal Day – Lesley and the Flying Foxes
Liza Jane –  Jr. Madness
Fart Like a Pirate – Papa Crow
Hootenanny –  Jambo