Friday, December 09, 2005

Christmas perils

I love mondegreens -- those misheard lyrics to songs. When I was a lad, I thought the Doobie Brothers were singing about some guy called Mr. Music, as in "Whooooooaaa, Mr. Music." It wasn't until much later when I happened upon the song that I realized it was "Whooooooaaa, listen to the music."

I caught this link to Christmas-themed mondegreens via Pop Culture Junk Mail.

And wouldn't you know it, the very first one caught my eye. It's from "The Christmas Song." I'll let you look for yourself. It's right under "Chipmunks roasting on an open fire."

Ouchity ouch ouch ouch!

I'd have been much more offended had my friends and I not been singing it that way intentionally for 20 years or so.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

I heard the news 25 years ago today

I imagine a bunch of people will be sharing their memories of where they were 25 years ago today when they found out John Lennon had been shot.

I was just barely 6 years old, and I was with my parents shopping in San Ramon. The store we were at was deadly boring to a kid, but luckily, they had a candy dish with that weird holiday mix of different shaped nubbins of candy-cane like candy.

I missed the whole point of why they were playing so many Beatles and John Lennon songs until my parents explained what had happened. I even watched the 6 o'clock news the next day, something I never did.

Being so young, I don't think I could really make the connection. I just knew that someone I'd been listening to my whole life was gone, and that made me sad enough.

Now I'm off to go play some of John's music for my son, Brody.

Parental prognostication

One of the goofy things I've noticed about being a parent is the tendency we have to gauge our kid's potential occupation by something he seems interested in.

Brody colors dutifully in his coloring book: Oh, he's going to be an artist.

Brody spends an hour plonking on my keyboard, which he calls a xylophone: Oh, he's going to be a musician.

Brody builds cars and skyscrapers with his Duplo blocks: Oh, he's going to be an architect.

But you never do that for the less than admirable things.

Brody repeats the same words over and over until you say it, too: Oh, he's going to be a politician.

Brody refuses to eat his lunch again: Oh, he's going to be a model.

Brody refuses to acknowledge anyone else because he's busy flirting with girls: Oh, he's going to be a politician.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Cast thy pod upon the Internet

Because I'm on the cutting edge of everything cool, I'm just now starting to get into the whole podcast thing. I still only listen to a few, but it's kind of a neat idea.

My favorite thus far is Robert Berry's Retrocrush podcast, available here. I've been an avid Retrocrush reader for quite a while, and I love listening to the podcasts. It's like having a conversation with someone else who's interested in the same obscure pop culturey junk that I am.

Well, except I don't talk back.


I get a good couple of out-loud laughs (rare for me) with each episode, so you should check it out. And while you're there, look around. There's a veritable plethora of non-audio coolness, too.

Another one that I'm digging so far is Wil Wheaton's Radio Free Burrito, the latest of which is here.

Wil is one of my favorite writers these days. His work has an emotional quality that I really wish I could muster in my own writing. Plus, he's a hoot to read. If you haven't read his books or his blog, you really ought to. Like now. I'll wait.

Robert and Wil are on my list of "Cool cats who, should they ever find themselves stuck in Modesto, are eligible for a beer/Slurpee from me."

I don't know if I'll try a podcast of my own. The major obstacle (aside from sheer laziness) is that I really, really hate the sound of my own voice. And not so much in that "Does my voice really sound like that?" way like when you were 11 and screwing around with a tape recorder.

When I was a kid, I really wanted to go into animation voice work. Very early on, I wanted to do the voice for Donald Duck, but I figured I'd settle for just doing voices for a cartoon in general. Once my voice changed, I reckoned, I'd be well on my way. I practiced different voices, doing really crappy impressions of Rich Little's or Fred Travelena's impressions before moving to just whatever voices came into my head.

Puberty came and went, and while my voice got a little deeper, it still isn't what I hoped it would sound like. It's very flat, and to me, it doesn't have the range I thought it would.

Add to that the difficulty of even breaking into the field and my considerable distance from L.A., and that pretty much killed that idea.

But who knows? If there's enough demand from my large audience (sound of crickets), maybe I'll try a podcast.

But until then, make sure you check out the ones I mentioned above.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Happy birthday to the big cheese

Walt Disney was born on this day back in 1901. From what little information I've been able to cobble together, he was involved somehow in the animation industry.

When I was but a lad of 14 or 15, I put a joke in a story I was writing. It had nothing to do with the story itself but served to illustrate the kind of wiseacre the character was. In truth, I figured I'd never get to use it in real life, and like I did with most of the jokes that I never expected to use, I stuck them in stories.

A month or so later in my biology class, my teacher was talking about cryonics, and how when he was young, there was a rumor that Walt Disney was frozen after death and was chilling out under the Pirates of Caribbean ride.

It was a weird sense of deja vu; at first I thought it had happened before, but then I realized that it was the set-up I'd written in my story. So before I missed the opportunity, I piped up with the punchline from the back of the room:

"Disney on ice!"

I thought it was clever and original when I was 14 -- cut me a break, okay?

My brother and I preferred the Looney Tunes shorts from Warner Brothers, but we were still excited when word came there was going to be a whole channel of Disney stuff. No longer would it be only the Sunday night Wonderful World of Disney.

Sure enough, in April of 1983 (I was 8 and my brother almost 4), The Disney Channel premiered, and our TV schedules quickly expanded to include "Good Morning, Mickey," "Donald Duck Presents" and reruns of "The Mickey Mouse Club."

Like Batman, the channel has a tenuous relationship with the word "The," and is currently the-free.

It is also devoid of classic Disney cartoons, even though it has a spin-off channel called Toon Disney. It sounds like dumb programming to me, but I'm the moron who buys the DVDs, so you decide who's smarter.

For me, The Disney Channel = Disney cartoons, movies and of course, "Mousercise."

For my son, Disney Channel = "The Wiggles," "Jo-Jo's Circus" and (alas) "The Doodlebops." The 'Bops, by the way, have been challenged by the new mini-show "Johnny and the Sprites" for most annoying thing I have to endure on the Disney Channel.

Over at Jim Hill Media, there's a cool article that outlines some of the shows in the original lineup, including "Contraption," which some of my friends said I made up because I was the only one who watched it, I guess.

The Modesto Bee, where I work diligently every day, has a mascot named Scoopy. What does that have to do with anything? Well, good old Scoopy is here via today's birthday boy, Walt Disney.

Just goes to show you -- it's a small world after all.