No Treble

As is typical, on the drive in to school, the radio is an issue.  Julianna (she’s 12) is riding the presets.

Sweet Home Ala … flip … Donald Tr … flip … Welcome to the Ho … flip … Baby, We were Born to R… flip ..  Welcome to the Ju…  flip … Dun-dun-dun Duuu… flip.

Me: Honey, stop.  There was at least one good song that you skipped.  Maybe two.

The dial ends up on:

Carly Rae Jepsen:  Hey I just met you / And this is crazy / But here’s my number / So call me maybe

Julianna:  Wow, this was a big song YEARS ago, when I was in like the fourth grade.

Me: Yeah, I suppose so.  Years ago.  A lifetime ago.

J: So, Daddy, is this an Oldie?

Me: Like the Drifters or the Platters or the Buddy Holly?  Ummm.  No.

J:  No, Like “All About that Bass.”

Me: Well, then I guess, to you, it’s an Oldie.

J:  Cool.  I’m old enough to have Oldies.

Isabella (she’s 10) whispers to J:  But, Daddy has more.  Because he’s OLD!

Me: You know I can hear you.


Meet the Beetles

Getting in the pool with 9-year-old Isabella…

Iz: Ew, Daddy! There’s a bug!

Me: A bug? What kind of bug?

Iz: It’s a beetle with wings! Ewww!

Me: Is his name Paul McCartney?

Iz: Wait. What?

Me: Well, you said Beatle. with Wings. So, Paul, then.

Iz: What are you talking about?

Me: Certainly not Ringo. And John and George have left us.

Iz: Can I splash you now?

Whole Lotta Love

I have, from time to time, been unkind to the local Los Angeles “classic rock” radio stations for rehashing the top 40 from 40 years ago (minus the disco), and not really going too deep into the well of great classic songs.

And, the band they use to justify their rockness as a station is Led Zeppelin. 10 songs per day. Minimum. They play Zep as if they were the Second Coming of the Beatles. Instead of playing, you know, the Beatles.

And, to complain is blasphemy.

Here’s the Daddy/Daughter Fun Time perspective:

After gymnastics, I pick up Isabella (she’s 9) and as if on cue, “Whole Lotta Love” comes on.

Me: I’m going to let this play, because you need to know this song. It is a classic, if overplayed, song from the 1970s. You need to know this song.

Isabella: What’s a Led Zeppelin? And, you were alive in the 1900s?

Me: Yes, Jesus. (Quick explanation of the band going over like a Lead Zeppelin, etc.)

Iz: Oh, so it’s ironic! They want to be high, but they are too heavy.

Me: Yes, Honey. They were high.

Song keeps going…

Iz: When he says “I want to give you every inch of my love,” what does he mean?

Me: Um…

Iz: Because, Daddy, you really can’t measure love. And, if you could, why would you only measure it in inches? Why not in feet or yards or miles. Or, what’s the thing in space?

Me: Light years?

Iz: Yeah, light years. How far away is the Sun?

Me: I don’t know, maybe 8 minutes at light speed, I think…

Iz: How many inches of love is that?

Me: 8 minutes if you’re lucky. Let’s listen to NPR, Ok?

Going in the Wrong Direction

Flipping through the channels the other night with Julianna (10) and Isabella (8), my thumb stops on one of those VH1 “Where Are they Now” documentaries.

J: Daddy, who are they?

Me: Uh, I think they’re a Boy Band from the ’90s. I’m guessing New Kids on the Block, since I don’t see Justin Timberlake.

Iz: What’s a Boy Band?

Me: A group of boys who sing together. They used to be like One Direction.

Then, and I kid you not, both girls simultaneously, in stereo ask:

Girls: So they were bad, too. Right?

I’ve never been more proud.

(And you thought I didn’t know how to raise kids…)

Slumming in Hollywood

From time to time, the Hollywood thing pays off. Lynn (Daddy/Daughter’s Mommy) and I had the opportunity to spend some quality time with some of America’s greatest songwriters of the past 50 years.

Here’s Lynn with the incomparable Mike Stoller (Hound Dog, Jailhouse Rock, Yackety Yak, Stand By Me, and many others.)

Lynn, Mike Stoller, and songwriter Danielle Brisebois  (who may very well walk home with an Oscar for her work on this year's  Begin Again.)

Lynn, Mike Stoller, and songwriter Danielle Brisebois (who may very well walk home with an Oscar for her work on this year’s Begin Again.)

Oh, and did I mention the we had an extensive conversation with Disney Legend Richard Sherman, who wrote almost every single beloved Disney song from my childhood.

Lynn, Richard, and me.

Lynn, Richard, and me.

Apparently, Richard and I thumb-wrestled.  He won.

Apparently, Richard and I thumb-wrestled. He won.

Don’t Be Cruel

I’m cruising down the road with Julianna (she’s 10) when Jailhouse Rock comes on the playlist.

Julianna: Daddy, was Elvis Presley famous for his hair?

Me: Yes, I suppose. More the singing and dancing on stage. But, also the hair. It was big.

J: So, he was like Justin Bieber.

Fortunately, we hit a red light, because I was about to slam on the brakes. I turn to her.

Me: Listen to me, if you ever mention that punk in the same breath as the King of Rock and Roll, I will put you up for adoption. On the spot. I can still do that, you know…

Please tell me that she’s not on to something…





Won’t You Take Me To…

One of the perks of making it to 10 is that we are allowing Julianna to sit in the front seat of the car. And, of course she is giddy with wanting to play with the radio.

She is getting tired of my dino rock song stations (so am I, by the way.) She clicks around, landing on the Oldies station.

J: See, Daddy! This is the kind of song that kids like to listen to today. It’s cooool!

Me: Really, Honey. Kids today? This song?

J: This is awesome!

Me: Sweetie, the song is “Funkytown” from about 1980. And, it is regarded as the worst song in the history of pop music.

J: How do you know it’s so bad?

Me: Because I have discerning tastes in music.

J: Yeah, they’re really concerning.

Me: “Discerning.” It’s a different word. Please change the station.

(click) to the Adult Contemporary station.

Me: Oh My God! You must be some kind of Evil Genius! You have just found the SECOND worst song in the history of pop music!

And I ran.
I ran so far away.
I just ran.
I ran all night and day….

J: Well, did you ever like these songs when you were a kid?

Me: Um… Well… Uh…

Maybe the word is “concerning.”

I couldn’t get away.

[Editor’s note: There are lots of worst songs in history. What’s yours?]


My poor Prius. I crank the factory-installed radio more than it should be pushed.

But, don’t judge me. After dropping off the girls at school, here’s my back-to-back-to-back playlist:

Born to Run.
Stayin’ Alive. (Oh, yes! Falsetto and all. That’s how I roll.)
We Got the Beat.
19th Nervous Breakdown.
Hound Dog.

Now, tell me… Who wants to go on a road trip with me to Vegas? (Though, you may have to hear me sing…) I dare you.

Wake Up, Little Susie

So, my magical playlist of Classic Rock songs that the girls should know comes on the blue-toothified radio. While we are tooling down the freeway at 65mph. (I know! 65! In LA! A great day indeed.)

“Wake Up, Little Susie.” Everly Brothers.

Me: Oh, Girls, this is a Great song. You need to know this song.

Isabella (she’s 7): Is this a Great song, or just a Good song?

Me: Well, Honey. I don’t know that I need to hear this song everyday, but it is a very important song.

Iz: But, is it a Great song, or an Important song?

Me: Honey, you are splitting hairs.

Iz: I don’t know what that means. I’m 7.

Me: Sometimes a Great song is an Important song. And, sometimes an Important song is a Great song.

Iz: Then, is this a Great song or an Important song?

Me: Sweetie, without this song, we would have no Lennon-McCartney, Simon-Garfunkle, Bowie-Mercury. Or whenever any two people sing together.

Iz: So, it’s an Important song.

Me: Yes, and it’s Great!

Iz: Wait, go back.

Dying Young

In the car with Julianna (she’s 9)…

J: What is he saying?

Me: Billy Joel? “Only the good die young.”

J: Why is he saying that?

Me (uh oh): Well, Sweety, Sometimes Good people die before bad people. You see…

Billy: “Catholic girls start much too late.”

Me: Tell me about it.

J: Huh, what?… But you are a Good person and you’re not dead yet.

Me: Well, maybe I am not as good as you think, I suppose.

J: But. You are not Terrible. And, you are also not Great.

Me: Ego calibration in tact.

J: But… You are Stupid.

Me: Thanks you for that.

J: And also, Fat.