Songs They Should Know

So, I have this can fully filled with worms, and I am about to open it….

As you probably know, my lovely and talented wife is Lynn Kowal ( She has a Rhapsody playlist filled with new music, what the kids are listening to. Modern stuff. It’s all great music. Imagine Dragons. Lorde. There’s both a Daft and a Punk involved. There’s a Muse. Pharrell and his hat. I don’t know. When she takes the kids to school, this is what they listen to.

And, I applaud. It’s all great stuff. I’m sure.

But, I’m old school. When I drive, we jam to classics. Because, I won’t get fooled again. (non-sequiter.)

Here’s where you come in. Also, coming into focus is the can containing the aforementioned worms.

What are the 200 MOST essential songs a child of the 20’teens needs to know? You, my dear blogger friends, are the most knowledgeable and physically attractive group of people I know.

For the record, I’m not looking for Cole Porter or Oscar Hammerstein. (They are more than worthy, but, let’s keep to the rock and/or roll.)

I’m up for anything from Black Flag to Elvis Costello to Lou Reed to Joni Mitchell. Also, to anyone who actually has songs on the radio.

Inundate me. Be gentle. Essential.

The Space Aliens

Ok. Everyone wants to hear the “Space Aliens” story. Part of the Non-Fiction Fiction series. (Totally Fiction, by the way.)

These are stories I tell my daughters on the way school. I have a half-hour, and I don’t have an editor, so I don’t know where this is going.

So… I’m on top of Mount Everest. And, I’m hunting Grizzly Bears. With an axe. Because that’s what you do on Mount Everest. You hunt. With an axe. I guess. (Work with me. I’m making it up as I go.)

Suddenly, out of the sky a space craft appears.

Me: Must be aliens. I hope they don’t abduct me.

Bam! I am abducted.

They want to know what what we eat.

Seriously? Not our history? Not our accomplishments? Not out climate?…. Really? Food?

Me: Pizza.

They order Dominoes. Because, their cell phones are much better than Verizon. From space!

30 minutes or less? 19 minutes!

So, I head out in a space suit to get the pizza, but I have trouble with the whole life-support system. You know, oxygen and carbon dioxide. Stuff like that.

I tip the guy 10 percent. (Am I too cheap? You know, outer space. Shoulda been 20)

I am totally making this up on the fly. On the way to school. And I bang my head on the side of the capsule.

Then I realize… No one fed the Grizzly Bear…

No one fed the bear!!

Crap! He’s hungry!


Did I tell you about the time I wrestled a grizzly bear?…

Ok… so the bear was hungry….. And, then…

Sorry girls. Drop off time.

(I know, I’m a bad Daddy.)

The Obama-al Snowman

It’s Back to School Time, so that means more Non-fiction Fiction stories. For those of you new to Blog, these are stories that I make up on the spot while carting the kids to school. While stuck in traffic, or going 75mph on the 134. (By the way it is THE 134, not Route 134. Not Highway 134. Not I-134. The 134.) You see, there are hurdles.

As an aside, I come from a long line of (pardon the French) Bullshitters. Enormously wild Bullshitters who could spin a yarn that was true while being completely devoid of actual facts. I hope to instill in the girls the ability to get to the Truth, Truth be damned.

Julianna (she’s eight): Daddy, Daddy… Tell us about the time you climbed Mount Everest. (Totally on her own…)

Isabella (she’s 5, and has no idea what Mount Everest is): Yeah! Mountain Everest!

Me: Oh, Wow! The time I climbed Mount Everest! Everything I’m about to tell you is absolutely true.

J: Yeah, yeah… whatever.

Me: Ok. So I was climbing Mount Everest.

Iz: Was it cold?

Me: Yes, Honey… I had a jacket

Iz: Was there a McDonalds?

Me: No, Sweetie. No McDonalds. No Happy Meals. Please, focus…

(Remember I’m making this up on the spot…)

Me: So, I have a tent and some food and some clothes. I go up the mountain.

J: Did you bring air in a can?

Me: Yes, a can of air. Can I please tell this story?

Kids (in stereo): Yes….

Me: So, I’m half way up the Mountain when I see some strange creature off in the distance.

J: Was it the Loch Ness Monster?

Me: Good try. Wrong climate. Also, non-aquatic and bi-pedal. (Not sure a five-year-old understands.)

Iz: Did it have wings? (Certain, the five-year-old doesn’t understand.)

Me: No, Honey… (dramatically), I head toward the Monster.

J: Noooooo! That’s not safe! You could get hurt!

Me: Sorry, Honey. It’s the Abominable SnowMan!!!

I keep going. Then I twist my ankle in the snow. Owww! That hurts!

J: Told ya!

Me (Before I can smack the self-righteousness off her face (totally kidding, of course)): The Monster Has Me!!!

I’m bumper-to-bumper.

Iz: Did the Obama-al Snowman capture you?

Me: “Abominable,” Honey. President Obama had nothing to do with this. And, yes, he helped me.

Iz: Obama?

Me: No, Sweetie. Please listen.

J: Helped you?!

Me: So, I’ve hurt my ankle. I can’t walk. The Monster comes up to me.

Iz: Is he going to eat you?

Me: I hope not. I don’t know. Again… Focus. He picks me up and carries me to the secret elevator. Inside the mountain!

J: How many floors did it have? Did you push all the buttons.

Me: If I could hit you and get away with it, I would. No, Sweetie. There was one button: The Top of the World!!!

Iz: Did you push it? Did you? Did you?!

Me: Well, um. Yeah.

J: Did you go with the monster? To the top?

Me: Actually no. The Obama monster had to go home and cook dinner. (Remember, I’m making this up on the spot. And, by that, I mean I am reporting the actual facts as I recall. Non-fiction fiction.)

Iz: So, you went to the top?!

Me: Yep.

Iz: What did you see?

Me: Honestly, it was kind of cloudy. Lots of fog. But, then the space aliens came.

J & Iz: Aliens!

Me: Oh look. We’re at school. Sorry, girls. Gotta move along.

J: But, Daddy…

Me: Bye!

Between You and I

I am not the grammar police. Lord knows, I don’t know a hyphen from an em dash. And, sometimes things are just typos that everbody makes.

But, sometimes things are so wrong that they are accepted as correct. And, it really kind of pisses I off.

Lets’ start here:
“Between you and I”

This is wrong. It should be: “Between you and me.”

You see, the “I” is the object of the preposition and should be “me”…… I won’t go on. You’re fifth grade teacher failed you.

This sort of thing is rampant, even in TV and movies where many of the writers (not “writer’s,” don’t get me started) majored in, I don’t know: English!

And, me cringe when I here it. (You see what I did there, yes?)

Quick test: Drop the “other thing” in the sentence and see if that sounds funky:
– “He gave it to you and I,” becomes “He gave it to I.” No. “Me.”
– “It was a gift for you and I,” becomes “It was a gift for I.” No. “Me.”
– “I thought I was sounding sophisticated when I said ‘between you and I,’ but now I realize I just sounded dumb.” Yes, you did.
– “It was a life and death situation, between he and I, and me chose he.” God. Where to start..?

Extra credit to whoever finds the most grammer error’s hear. (Sharpen up your pencil’s.)

Pillow Talk

You know how sometimes, your 7-year-old has a nightmare and she calls out for Mommy? But, Mommy is already asleep and you are left alone watching a Law and Order repeat from 15 years ago? So you call: What do you need, Honey?

The answer: I need Mommy.

You: Daddy won’t do?

Her: I need Mommy.

So, you turn off the TV and go to her room.

You: Can I snuggle?

Her (she’s 7): Ok, but I want Mommy.

You: Well, I’m me. Is that Ok?

Her: Yes. Snuggle, please.

So, you get into the bed, and the first thing you think is: This pillow is for shit! It’s like a cross between a Titanic life vest and a meteorite. Only, less comfortable.

You: Ok. Do you want me to sleep with you all night? Because, I need to sleep on Poppy Pony or Fuzzy Wuzzy or Duck Duck or some other soft critter.

She grabs your arm and wraps it around her,

Her: Zzzzzz. Yes. Zzzzzz.

So, you do. All night. On a Pillow Pet. She slept solidly. All night long.

And now you have a new appreciation for Dolphin Doll.

See? Sometimes Daddies are just as good as Mommies.

On the Radio

During the drive in to school, Julianna (she’s 9) asks: Dadda, can you put on some music.

Me: Of course.

I turn on the radio, and the Morning Zoo people are laughing about farts. Um… Flip.

First up: “You Really Got Me” (The Kinks version.)

Me: Girls, you need to know some things about music. Let’s start here. You need to know this song.

Isabella (7): Why?

Me: Because I’m your father. Just listen.

Next up: “Born to Run.”

Somehow, the volume button keeps getting cranked up.

Then, “Meet the new boss, same as the old boss….”

Getting louder. The guy at the school drop-off zone nods approvingly.

Roy Orbison’s “Pretty Woman.”

Heart: “Barracuda.”

Zepplin: “Rock and Roll.”

Then, just as I’m pulling into the driveway: “When I find myself in times of trouble, Mother Mary comes to me.”

I sit in the driveway. The speakers in my Prius are cranked louder than any engineer ever anticipated. I’m in tears.

And, it’s all commercial free until 8:23.

Best commute ever.


Meet the newest member of the family. (Hint: Not the one in purple. She’s old hat.)

You already know her.  I'm talking about the dog.

You already know her. I’m talking about the dog.

His name is Merlin the Magician, probably because they played a trick on me. As you know, I’ve had several surgical procedures over the last few months. So, apparently, in a morphine delirium, I signed off on a Chihuahua-Pekingese mix.

He’s kinda cute, though. And, the calmest dog you could ever ask for. (Karma, finally paying us back…)

Keeping America Strong. Brrrrr.

Listening to the weather report on the drive in to school this morning.

Guy on the radio: The Polar Vortex is going to continue to pummel the East Coast. Lows well-below Zero.

Me: Wow! That’s cold.

Julianna (She’s 9): Where does Grandma live?

Me: Well, where the Guy says. Where it’s cooooold.

J: So, it must be colder there than where Santa lives.

Me: Probably.

Isabella (she’s 7): Santa lives at the North Pole. Is it colder where Grandma lives than at the North Pole?

Me: I don’t know. Maybe.

J: So, Santa could move his whole Operation to where Grandma lives.

Me: Operation? He has an “Operation?”

J: Yeah, and he could start making toys there.

Me: Uh…. I suppose, Yeah.

Iz: But, he’d have to keep it secret. So maybe he’d find a factory somewhere.

J: An abandoned factory! Like in Scooby Doo!

Me: Uh…. Yeah, there are sadly a lot of empty factories in the coldest parts of the country.

J: One of them would be perfect for Santa!

Iz (the pragmatist): But… He would have to keep them clean on the inside, but still look dirty on the outside. So no one would notice.

J: Of course!

Me: That’s a wonderful idea girls, and… I’m sure Santa has thought of this.

Throwing cold water on the suggestion. (Boo me if you want!)

Me: But the reindeer need the cold. They need the North Pole. They have to live at the North Pole! And, HE CAN’T HAVE ANYONE AROUND.

J: I guess you’re right.

Iz: Uh-huh

Me (Wispering): I’m sending more jobs abroad.

J: What?

Me: Nothing. Not me.

[This is not too far from the actual conversation. I never encouraged anyone to Boo me. But, if you feel the need, have at it.]