Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Cat Herding

Just a note of appreciation to Dr. G (the Sweet Spot) for his complementary comments of my verbal sashaying. It's an honor to be mentioned in his blog (seriously..I mean it!). For any parents of college-age kids, check this site out if you want to see dynamic and effective teaching in action. The site connects the multiple classes that Dr. Gilbert guides through the treacherous waters of Communication Studies @ Denison University. What's fascinating, for those out there who enjoy watching train wrecks, is how the whole history of the class, from start to whatever date you happen to barge in on at his site, is there for your "oooooing", "aahhhhing", and "Oh nooooing". Like a good train wreck, there's excitement & thrills & even the occasional holding of one's breath. Unlike a train wreck, everyone's still alive 'n kicking..sort of.
The classes' dynamics reminds me of the Super Bowl commercial from a few years ago, where there are (seemingly) thousands of cats in a prairie, moving here and there, and a frustrated and dis-spirited 5-6 cowboys trying to herd them all together. Impossible, right? Well "Slim" Gilbert is the lone cowboy with a large group of independent-minded college kids.

How do you keep the kids thinking for themselves, teach them a few tricks they don't know (amazing, ain't it...they actually don't know everything), and somehow get them to the same place at roughly the same time? Check it out, parental units; your college money's well spent...and documented for your reading pleasure.

Nellie McKay's just released double CD "Get Away From Me" is pure aural joy. She can play piano, organ, Glockenspiel, vibes, percussion. She can sing like a Doris Day (really), like a Suzanne Vega, like a tramp, like a black widow (well at least that's the way she sounds to me on"Won't U PLease B Nice"). She can cajole you, scream at you, lay the rap of youthful exuberance on you. And then you read the liner notes and find out she can also write and compose as well. Her take on life's issues comes from unexpected angles; two of her favorite authors are Dorothy Parker & Franz Kafka, if that's a good clue. Geez, Metamorphisis @ The Alogonquin Club. Too clever by half. She is the real thing.
In "Inner Peace":
"..don't wanna think about the schools in Bosnia
don't wanna sing about food in Somalia,
I don't need this.
I don't see this.
All I want is inner peace."
In "I Wanna Get Married
"..I wanna hear the sweet tune
of Sally's little vroom vroom
as she zooms
around my broom
as I exhume the gloom
of my shallow life
I wanna be simple
and honest
and dimpled
cause I am your wife
I wanna get married
That's why I was born."

Yep, when her tank was empty she pulled up to the Sarcastic Fuel and Sardonic Oil Change Emporium and said, "Fill 'er up...with High Test".

How she incorporates the "oh wee oh..oh weeee ohhh" from "The Wizard of Oz" into the song, "Toto Dies" is worth at least a test drive.

The cd cover captures the spirit of the music inside. There's a rosy cheeked blondish woman in a Red Riding Hood coat, with black mittens no less, beaming gleefully. Then you notice the "Parental Advisory" box in the bottom left hand corner. You look back at that cherubic face. NAAAhhhh.....or well, maybe...sweetness just coating the bite inside. Popping the cd in, you'll hear (and read, thanks to the full printing of the lyrics), an artist in love with words: their sound and their careful and sometimes odd placement. This cd will be on repeat for a while.

..and there's the song titled "David"...but I'll let you buy the cd and listen for yourself.

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