Monthly Archives: June 2006

Friday Awesome Videos

Since I had so much fun picking a couple of music videos last week, I thought I’d make it a regular Friday thing.

Genesis: Land of Confusion (1986)

You might think this video is awesome because of its satirical take on 1980s geopolitics. You might think it’s awesome because of the 2001 reference. You would be wrong. This video is awesome because of the dried-apple-faced Phil Collins puppet.

Phil Collins puppet!

We Are Scientists: Nobody Move, Nobody Get Hurt (2006)

Exeunt We Are Scientists, pursued by a man in a bear suit.

By Osmosis

Yesterday, when I was helping Eli get his shoes on, I told him to come sit with me in the rocking chair. He plopped down on his little couch and said, “No, I sit in time out.”

That made me pause. True, we still send Eli to his couch when he misbehaves, but we’ve never called it “time out”.

Later that day we stopped at a fast food restaurant. I went to the restroom before we left, and when I came out Misty and Eli were standing outside. Eli was pressed against the wall, all red-eyed and teary. “I standing in time out,” he told me mournfully.

As we drove away, I checked with Misty. Neither of us had been calling his punishments “time out”. As best we can tell, he had heard other moms telling their kids about time out and seen them being sent to time out and put two and two together and realized he needed a tin cup to rake against the bars.

Some days I can’t believe how toddlers’ brains work.

Perhaps He Should Have a Little Lampshade Hat

One of our friends recently claimed that toddlers were like little drunken frat boys. On reflection, I think he’s right. Consider:

  • They stumble around a lot, often crashing into things.
  • They’re often unable to speak in complete sentences.
  • Rapid mood swings, including the occasional maudlin episode.
  • Trouble thinking of what they want to say. “Dad, I need, I need, I need….I need…a muffin.”
  • Here’s something that happened recently: Eli says, “Everybody! Everybody! Watch this!” He then proceeds to hurl himself onto the ground.
  • Then there are the hallucinations.
  • Eli occasionally puts a colander on his head as a helmet and runs around the house shouting, “B-ball! B-ball! B-ball!”

If he starts doing milk jug stands, though, we’re calling a halt to all of this.

Choose Your Own Awesome Videos

Pitchfork’s recent 100 Awesome Music Videos article has me thinking about music videos again. And thanks to the magic of YouTube, we can all enjoy them together!

Peter Gabriel: Sledgehammer

Combine Peter Gabriel, director Stephen R. Johnson, and Aardman Animations (the people behind Wallace and Gromit), and what you get is a stop-motion animation classic that puts the far-more-polished efforts of Tim Burton to shame. The roller-coaster segment is excellent, and that’s before you get to the bumper cars with the usual huge Nick Park mouths. Wonderful, silly fun.

Johnny Cash: Hurt

Trent Reznor may have written this ode to pain, but Johnny Cash gave it depth that Trent could never match. The video captures the sadness of the song as reflected by the life of an old man who lived in the public eye. June Cash Carter died some two months after this video was filmed; two months after that, Johnny himself was dead.

Rush: Distant Early Warning

I love Rush as much as the next prog rock weenie, but sweet Lord above, they’ve made some bone-crackingly awful videos. I nearly selected Time Stand Still, with its nausea-inducing effect of having members of the band waft about drunkenly, but this one narrowly wins out. The moment we see the LED words flashing diagonally on screen we know we’re in for a 1980s-era treat, but it’s not until the kid’s Slim Pickensesque ride on a rocket that we truly reach the pinnacle of this video.

Right, that’s enough to get started. Your turn. What are some of your choices for the most awesome videos?

Conversation over Breakfast (Geof – Don’t Read This!)





“Mom there’s a s-s-snake in my muffin!”


“Yeah, Mom. It’s a muffin snake. But there’s not one here right now. (Long pause with much over-the-shoulder glancing.) Look he’s over there!”

“Well. Thank goodness he’s not eating your muffin.”

“Yeah, Mom.”

Day at the Botanical Gardens


The Huntsville Botanical Garden just opened its new Nature Center & Children’s Garden and it is fabulous.


The last butterfly house I visited was when we lived in Durham and hung out at the Museum of Life and Science. The new one here is better!


We went with Eli’s playgroup buds: Will, and his mom Chrissy, and Mackenzie, and her mom Kelly.


Eli thought the amazing rock waterfalls were pretty cool.





We had lunch in the garden and then had a snow cone. We also stopped off at the storybook garden.


Tips for your trip to the garden:
1. Take a towel.
2. Take about twice as much water as you think you need.
3. Take spray-on sunscreen.
4. Take a wagon for your kid and your gear to ride in. (Last year they had free wagons for you to use while in the garden but we couldn’t find them this year. Thank goodness Kelly brought hers along!)

We went to the garden last year around this time and it wasn’t nearly as nice as what we experienced today but it was just as hot. Current temprature: 97°, feels like: 102°. Maybe next time we can pick a day to go when it’s only 90° outside.

For the first time in about 10 years I actually have a tan. Go figure.

100 Awesome Music Videos

Rather than write an actual entry about any one of several things swirling about in my head, I will instead give you a link to Pitchfork’s 100 Awesome Music Videos. Note that they don’t claim these are the Most Awesome Music Videos ever, just that they are all awesome in one way or another. For badness I recommend the Jacksons video, for humor the Yo La Tengo video, and for awesome weirdness away from which you cannot look the Vitalic video. Plus they’ve got a lot of the 1980s videos.

A Short Exerpt From a Small Book

I’ve long been a fan of T.R. Pearson’s, as anyone who looks at the bookshelf in our living room can tell you. Every time I read one of his bittersweet novels I find myself laughing loudly and quoting passages to people. Pearson has a gift for looping roundabout sentences that make you wonder where he’s going, until all of a sudden you realize that his soft prose has at its core a sharp insight into humanity.

Lately I’ve been reading Polar, and it’s great. It has Pearson’s usual ornate writing and deft characterization, is laugh-out-loud funny, and has a strain of magic realism that in the end provides a wallop that I haven’t felt since reading Was. Since I like to quote from Pearson’s books when I’m reading them, and since I tend to use this space to talk about babies, I give you the following passage.

Those Everharts had discussed children the way young couples often do—the wife with her biological itches and the husband with his bankbook—and that Everhart thought, like men usually will, that they’d agreed together to wait….

As the prime breadwinner, her husband harbored misgivings about the expense of a child, tried to tell himself anyway that he was worried about the cost of feeding and clothing and just generally keeping a hardy son or daughter which became even more of a burden with a sickly afflicted sort. Of course, he was actually troubled by all of the stuff he’d no longer be able to buy, the power tools for his shop in the basement and the senseless implements for the yard, the plasma TV and the laser disc player, the goatskin topcoat he’d had his eye on. Furthermore, he guessed a child in the house would pretty much guarantee that him and his wife would never again indulge in congress on the dinette which was just the sort of thing, he had to figure, they probably discouraged in baby books.

Finished Pieces

I said on April 10th in Confession that I would post when I finished a project. Specifically the sampler I was working on. Well I got tired of that project so I worked on four small pieces to go in Eli’s room when we go from “baby” to “big boy” room. So here’s the four of them: Believe, Dream, Wish, and Love.
I am now going to finished a Terrance Nolan bug that I started six months ago.