Archive for the ‘The Board of Education’ Category

bbbSOUNDTRACK: KIDS CORNER Top Ten of 2013 (2014).

kidsEvery year I’m curious to see what the kids who vote for Kids Corner music will pick as their top ten.  It is usually reliably silly.  But this year I have to say I was a bit disappointed in their selections.  Here’s the Top um, Eleven (two were tied of tenth) from 11 to 1.

  • Allan Sherman – You Went The Wrong Way Old King Louie
  • Dan Zanes – Turn Turn Turn
  • The Plants – Aziphrale
  • Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band – Thingamajig
  • Shine And The Moonbeams – Bully Bully
  • Trout Fishing In America – My Sister Kissed Her Boyfriend
  • Weird Al Yankovic – The Saga Begins
  • The Doubleclicks – Worst Superpower Ever
  • Ratboy Jr. – Champion Of The Universe
  • Sara Hickman – Radiation Man
  • The Board Of Education – Why Is Dad So Mad?

I am especially surprised by Allan Sherman as I can’t imagine that too many kids would enjoy that song (which is funny if you know your history, but not really otherwise) and while I love Dan Zanes, “Turn Turn Turn” is not exactly a rollicking fun Top Ten song.  I actually dislike “Bully Bully” and while I love Trout Fishing in America and like “My Sister,” it’s certainly not their best song (and this list isn’t just new songs obviously).  The rest of the list is quite good, though.

And it’s a great choice for number one.  But next year, kids, more silliness!

[READ: January 1, 2014] The Flying Beaver Brothers: Birds vs. Bunnies

We were unreasonably excited to see that there was a new Flying Beaver Brothers book out!  We loved the first two quite a lot, so any return of Ace and Bub is a good thing.  But to also have the return of a nasty villain is quite nice too.

Yet it’s not all the same faces, because this time there are birds and bunnies causing havoc with our heroes.

Bob and Bob (the penguins who get a brief cameo) are rebuilding Beaver Island and Bub and Ace are heading there in a boat.  But a storm rages and makes them crash.  They walk around an island where they are quickly captured by an angry bunch of bunnies who accuse them of being bird spies (those are real?).  Indeed, the birds have been playing a  very loud sound that hurts the bunnies ears and makes them go underground.  So the bunnies are fighting back with a wind machine that makes the birds leave the sky.  Both of these machines were funded by a mysterious fellow named Wally (unbeknownst to the others). (more…)

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elsewhere1SOUNDTRACK: THE BOARD OF EDUCATION-“Know Your Inventors, Part I” (2008).

boardI enjoyed yesterday’s Board of Education song so much I wanted to listen to more.  So I went back to their first album for this song whose title intrigued me.  To my surprise, the song is very slow, a languid kid’s song?  Of course, this being a kid’s song, it does run through a series of styles.  The song picks up the pace some, then throws in a waltz, a little disco and a mildly catchy chorus (all in three minutes).

The song is about the inventor of pavement (“nobody knows his name”): William W. Averell, and it’s informative and kind of funny.

It’s not nearly as catchy as yesterday’s song, but it has moments of joy.  I now wonder if this is a different sound for the band on their first album or if all of their songs sound different.

You can hear it here.

[READ: January 21, 2013] The ElseWhere Chronicles Books One & Two

I found this series at the library–Book One was prominently displayed and it looked really interesting.  The artwork on the cover (and inside, it turns out) was really compelling–simple lines (little white circles for eyes for some of the characters) and a bunch of kids looking scared–what more could you want?

So it turns out that Book One is cool, but Book Two is amazing.

In Book One, Max Theo and Noah are watching a funeral (well, they are sitting in a graveyard) for Old Man Gabe, a local eccentric who lives in a haunted house.  Meanwhile, a young girl, Rebecca, is with her family watching them bury her Grandpa Gabe.  (I don’t know if this is significant, but Rebecca is black and her parents/guardians are white with two white children, but nothing is made of this in book one except that someone points out that she is black.  She says she was adopted, and that’s that).  She never met Gabe (and neither did her father–who has a hip soul patch).

Rebecca wants to explore Gabe’s house–she is not afraid of it being haunted (there’s wonderful surprises as they tread through the building).  But all of the rooms are strangely empty.  Except the library which is full of books, including some written by Gabe.  There is talk of demolishing the house, and Rebecca is now determined to save the books.  But the kids also discover a kind of movie projector.  And when they turn it on it opens a kind of portal.  And Rebecca gets sucked into it.

The boys eventually get her out–she says it was locked from her side and she looks awful.  But before they can lock it again, she is grabbed by something from the other world and dragged back in.  Max jumps through the portal to save her and they are both trapped in this new world.  The reason I said book 1 wasn’t as good as 2 is because the world they go into is dark with lots of shadows and hard to see things.  It’s scary (but not really) but not very easy to figure out what’s happening.

Then they run into an old man (who speaks English and a young girl (who doesn’t) .  They assume he is Grandpa Gabe, but he later claims he is not, he is Norgavol and he explains this world to them.  A little. (more…)

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cigarsSOUNDTRACK: THE BOARD OF EDUCATION-“Why is Dad So Mad?” (2012).

dadI heard this song on Kids Corner and I am frankly shocked that it didn’t make the top ten songs of the year (kids have no taste).  Why is dad so mad?  Because of what George Lucas has done to the Star Wars movies!   “Why does dad get so mad about Star Wars.  Mr Lucas what have you done?”

 The lyrics are so good I didn’t even really notice the music at first (check out: “and I wonder why it’s so bad that Greedo shoots first at Han.”  “He’s always excited when those yellow words come on, but by the end he’s mad about that new Ewok song.”

But the music is great too.  It has a kind of Ben Folds vibe (in the slow piano section) mixed with a little Ralph’s World, but the whole package is a wee bit heavier–the guitars are a  little distorted (but not very) and the pace is brisk and fun.

The song is also full of cool spacey sound effects (and a nice nod to the soundtrack).  The chorus is catchy and poppy.   A wonderful song.  I’m going to investigate The Board of Education a bit more.  In the meantime, check out Why is Dad So Mad?.

[READ: January 19, 2013] Cigars of the Pharoah

This second (technically fourth) Tintin book was a lot more focused than In America, which, although excellent, tended to ramble all over the country.

This book sees Tintin in the Mediterranean Sea on a cruise.  The action starts right away when a bumbling man named Dr Sarcophagus, an Egyptologist, crashes into Tintin saying that he lost his valuable papyrus.  The papyrus blows out to sea, but the Dr says, that indeed it wasn’t the valuable papyrus at all, which is safely in his coat.  It’s a weird moment, but we slowly learn that the Dr is more than a little absent minded.  Nevertheless, the papyrus has a map on it that he believes will lead to the undiscovered tomb of the Pharaoh Kih-Oskh (nice joke there).

I said that the last Tintin book wasn’t quite for kids and the same is true here.  Two men, Thompson and Thompson (more on them) accuse Tintin of smuggling opium and cocaine (again, did kids read this in the 30s?).  Thompson and Thompson are funny in that they look alike and when one says something the other twists the words slightly to radically alter their meaning while using most of the same words.  Anyhow, they “arrest” Tintin, but as in America, he escapes in an unlikely way and meets up with Dr Sarcophagus.

Tintin, Snowy and Sr Sarcophagus escape some violent deaths in a number of funny ways (like when the sheik who hates Westerners recognizes Tintin from his adventures (he even has a book–although in this later edition it is actually a book that came out after this one.

In another scene, Tintin rescues a woman who is being beaten, only to find out that he is actually on a film set.  Later, he winds up on a ship of smugglers, is forced to enlist in the Arabian army and is eventually made to face a firing squad. (more…)

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