Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Mr. Roboto Is a Stupid Song: My Daughter the Music Critic

"Mr. Roboto," she said, then paused a moment, choosing her next words carefully. "Mr. Roboto is a stupid song." So says my daughter, the three year old critic critic.

She's right, of course. Hey, I love "Mr. Roboto." It's a fun song. It might even be a good song. But, there is absolutely no question that it is a stupid song. Not even Dennis DeYoung could deny that. The Girl knows her music.

Domo arigato, Mr. Roboto!
(When I saw the reflection of my iPhone, I thought about re-taking the picture. But after further  consideration, I thought it more appropriate to leave it there. I think Mr. Roboto would approve.)

She has always loved listening to and singing songs. When she was first learning to talk we had a couple of toys that played the song "Pop Goes the Weasel." She didn't know all the words, but at the appropriate time in the song she would sing along, saying "Pop...wee-so." (It was cuter than I could possibly find the words to describe.)

I like music, too, and when I'm watching the kids I'll put the iPod on random and let it play. The Girl quickly latched on to some of the songs and started singing them. One of her early favorites was "We Will Rock You" by Queen. She attempts to sing the words while simultaneously doing the stomp-stomp-clap actions to the beat of the song. (She struggles, but she does so with a big smile on her face.)

Sometimes it's surprising what she picks up from random songs. The other day she was walking around saying, "He had stars in his eyes." I couldn't figure out what she was talking about. Finally it dawned on me that one of the songs my iPod had just played was "Juke Box Hero" by Foreigner. She came to the conclusion that the Juke Box Hero has stars in his eyes to "help him see."

She doesn't always get the lyrics right. After hearing "Luck Be a Lady Tonight" she managed to change the lyric "let's keep the party polite" to "let's keep the potty polite." (I guess when you are three it's more important to have a polite potty than a polite party.) (Heck, that's still true as an adult, too.)

When she first learned the children's song "Once There Was a Snowman" she morphed the line "in the sun he melted" into "in the snowy mountain."

But, more often than not she gets the words right. She saw her PopPop sing "16 Tons" at karaoke (a sight that traumatized most everyone else who witnessed it.) Though she had only heard the song once, she was soon walking around the house singing "I woke up one morning when the sun didn't shine. I picked up my shovel and I walked to the mine. I loaded sixteen tons of number nine coal and the straw boss said well a bless my soul." And yes, it is quite amusing to see a little three year old girl sing those words while trying to make her voice as deep as possible.

Her taste in music is very varied, from classics like Billy Joel's "Piano Man" to novelty songs like "Fish Heads" by Barnes and Barnes. She likes songs by R.E.M., Crash Test Dummies, They Might Be Giants, Barenaked Ladies and Ben Folds. She likes the "Mary Poppins" soundtrack, and anything from a Disney movie. She loves the kid's songs she learns at church. One of the first songs she learned to sing was the Carpenter's "Sing (Sing a Song.)" She loves the group Ok Go, calling them "The Dancing Guys" after repeated viewings of the video where they dance on treadmills. (They have a new video where they sing with the Muppets, further endearing them to her.)

And from her Auntie K (who is much more "hip" and "with it" than her parents) she has learned more modern songs, like some song about shooting kids for their shoes (I googled it and found out it is "Pumped Up Kicks" by Foster the People), the "hotel, motel, Holiday Inn" song (Googled again: "Hotel Room Service" by Pitbull) and that "Hide Your Wife, Hide Your Kids" song from the internets.

Things changed a bit a few weeks ago. The Wife brought home from the store a three-CD set called "123 Favorite Kids Songs." It features one hundred and twenty-three children's songs. These are the old, classic songs that everyone learns as a kid, though no one really knows why. Songs like "She'll Be Coming 'Round the Mountain," "On Top of Old Smoky," and "The Farmer In the Dell." It also includes "John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt." (Despite what you might have heard, his name is NOT, repeat NOT my name, too.) And, "Jimmy Cracked Corn." (I don't care.) (Seriously, I don't care.)

The Girl, of course, fell in love with these CDs immediately. And even though there are 123 songs, she can tell you which of the three CDs any of the songs are on. The unfortunate side effect is that she has really latched onto the song "Yankee Doodle Dandy," and sings it over and over and over and over again. She'll ask, "Do you want to sing 'Yankee Doodle?'" We will say, "No." Undeterred, she'll say, "It goes like this..." and then sing it again. And again. And again. (I'm almost to the point of wishing the Brits had won the Revolutionary War.)(I've always wondered what a crumpet is.)

The Girl likes to sing. She sings in bed. She sings in the car. She sings on the potty. It's wonderful to hear her sing. (Yes, even "Yankee Doodle" for the umpteenth time.) It's great that she likes music. And it's great that she likes a wide variety of songs. Even Mr. Roboto. The day after announcing "Mr. Roboto is a stupid song," she asked me if I would play it. So I did. And apparently even a stupid song can bring a smile to everyone's face.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The One With All the Fuzzies

I've finally come to the realization that I'm never going to have a cool beard. It's just not happening. There are a couple of reasons for this: 1)The Wife doesn't want me to grow one; and B) I couldn't grow one if I wanted to.

Growing up, I always thought guys who had beards looked cool. My favorite athlete was Minnesota Vikings defensive lineman Alan Page. Alan Page had an awesome beard, so I looked forward to the day when I could have one like his. The 1970s were a great time for facial hair on athletes. One in particular, Chicago Bulls center Artis Gilmore, was exceptional. Artis was an artist with his facial hair. He would grow out his beard, then trim it into cool angles and designs. Combine it with the bushy sideburns and the massive afro, and Artis Gilmore was the coolest looking dude in the world.

In high school, there are always those one or two guys who are able to grow beards by the time they are sophomores. I was not one of them. By the time I went to college I was telling bad jokes about my facial hair, like "I've been shaving for three years, and I cut myself both times," and "I've got a basketball moustache: five on each side."

I did finally get to the point where I needed to shave every day. But, it wasn't because if I didn't I'd have that cool Don Johnson "Miami Vice" two-day stubble. No, if I didn't shave I'd have that four-hairs-growing-out-of-your-chin Shaggy from "Scooby-Doo" look.

This is me and my friends a few years after high school.
I'm the one on the left with the spottiest beard.

As I got older, I eventually tried to grow a beard. It was very patchy and spotty, like the lawn of a vacant house. I settled on a version of a goatee. I say a "version" of a goatee because an actual goatee has hair that attaches from the moustache to the beard on the chin. Mine had a bald spot.

I had that version of a goatee the first time I met my future wife. Thankfully, I had shaved it off before we had our first date. Whenever I threaten to grow it back, she shakes her head, rolls her eyes, and tells me I can "do whatever I want," with the direct implication that if I did it she wouldn't be happy.

I don't think she has to worry. A few weeks ago it hit home to me that I should be done with any more attempts at facial hair. I decided I'd try to grow my sideburns out. (Nothing like Artis Gilmore. I would settle for the much more modest Luke Perry look.) Well, it took about three weeks before my wife even noticed I was trying to grow them. And then came the kicker. My three year old daughter was sitting next to me. She was looking intently at the side of my face for a few moments, then she said, "Are you the one with all the fuzzies?" Ouch.

Of course, that's not to say that I can't grow ANY hair on my face. I have two random eyebrow hairs that think I am a Romulan. If left unchecked, they will grow about two inches longer than all the rest of my eyebrow hairs, like some kind of antennae. (Unfortunately, they don't help my cell phone reception at all.)

And then there's the nose hairs. The older I get, the more out of control the nose hairs are. I think my best chance at a passable moustache would be if I didn't trim my nose hairs. (But, I don't think The Wife would approve of that, either.)

A while back, I went to a doctor. He had a white nose hair that shot down about an inch from his nose, then curled up like a fish hook. I have no idea what the doctor told me that day because I just couldn't take my eyes off of that amazing nose hair. I don't even remember the doctor's name. To me, he is Dr. Fish-hook-nose-hair. (I've tried to look him up on Google using that name, with no success.)

So, I think The Wife is safe. I'm not going to try to grow facial hair anymore. (At least until I can figure how to do some kind of comb-over with these ear hairs.)

Now choose a title that best fits this story:
O A. The Un-Moustachioed Dandy
O B. Not By the Hair of My Chinny-Chin-Chin
O C. Artis the Artist
O D. The Shaggy D.A. (I'll leave it to you to figure what the "D.A." stands for.)
O E. The One With All the Fuzzies