project b1: bucky mind control

Hey, I just wanted to pop in and let you know that I’m not dead. I’m just hard at work on my comic, which, I guess I can tell you, is about my hope that my daughter might be bright enough to get into the space program and off this planet one day (a theme I know I’ve talked about here before). Basically, in the comic, I go through a bunch of different ideas that have occurred to me for boosting her IQ. My favorite idea is gutting her beloved Tinky Winky doll, and hacking its voice box, so that instead of screaming little phrases like “Tubby toast” and “big hug” in the voice of a mutant Paul Lynde / Krusty the Clown hybrid, it reels off hour-long lectures by Buckminster Fuller. (The cool thing is, I’ve just discovered (via Metafilter) that 42 hours of Fuller lectures from 1975 are publicly available, and just waiting to be appropriated for such purposes.) I know it’s probably just one more idea that I’ve never follow though on, but I think that there would have to be a pretty big market for little, hacked voice boxes that could be slipped into children’s toys, so that instead of babbling about nonsense, they explained the underlying principles of Newtonian physics and quantum theory… At any rate, that’s the tangent I’m off on right now. Don’t worry though, I’ll be back soon enough to talk about Bob Woodward’s role in the Plame Affair, our fantastic new sonic weapons and the right wing’s assault on the courts…..

Oh, I know this is completely off subject, but I was wondering if anyone could suggest a good book of children’s songs. As much as we love them, Linette and I are getting tired of singing “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star,” “Bah Bah Black Sheep” and the songs of the Ramones (which actually work quite well as lullabies).

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  1. mark
    Posted November 16, 2005 at 9:43 pm | Permalink

    And, no, I don’t think they’re pentagrams.

  2. chris
    Posted November 16, 2005 at 10:23 pm | Permalink

    I think she genetically has a good start. I was just reading my advance copy of David Foster Wallace’s new essays “Consider the Lobster”, and his writing style and topics share a lot in common with yours. And no, this is not shameless pandering…well to you anyway. I hear he’s really hot. In fact, I amgoing to go google his image right now.

  3. Andy
    Posted November 16, 2005 at 11:54 pm | Permalink

    I think I read something similar in that RE:Search “Pranks” book, about someone going into a toy store and changing out the microcassette(?) on a talking doll to say evil things.

  4. Shanster
    Posted November 17, 2005 at 5:46 am | Permalink

    There’s a Nick JR. CD which has about an hour of songs, not necessarily lullabies though. One of the songs is Steve singing with Blue about the planets, so you could start there. Maybe Blues Clues has the same direction as you, but less ambition.

    For lullabies, I sang old Lutheran hymns to my daughter. But she especially likes patriotic songs (Oh Canada, too), Take me out to the ballgame, Home on the Range, and On top of Spaghetti. While she went through her “Fart” phase (3-4 yrs), she sang along and replaced the nouns and verbs with fart; the positive thing was that she always used the right verb tense. I could never find a good lullaby book, and who really wants to learn new ones?. You just have to try everything you can remember and see what she likes.

  5. dorothy
    Posted November 17, 2005 at 7:26 am | Permalink

    i highly recommend “beethoven’s wig,” and the other “sing along symphonies” that go with it. my grandchildren LOVE them.

  6. Posted November 17, 2005 at 7:41 am | Permalink

    Do Re Mi is always a good lullaby song. At least, it’s the only song I can ever remember all the words to when I have a baby screaming in my ear.

  7. ChelseaL
    Posted November 17, 2005 at 8:07 am | Permalink

    Funny, I’ve had the same idea (and used it in a couple of pieces of fiction) about singing slowed-down rock songs to kids. I can’t imagine crooning “I Wanna Be Sedated,” at least to a child I liked, but it’s a big world. FWIW, and for whatever reason, “Black Water” seems to work well (though, just to be on the safe side, I’d alter the line about buyin’ everybody drinks all ’round).

    My father used to sing folk songs to me. The ones about peace include Down By the Riverside and If I Had a Hammer.

    However, I think it’s time your family got to know The Wiggles, if you don’t yet. I can’t say I know much about them, except their songs seem clever, housewives think they’re cute and they sound a bit like Herman’s Hermits.

    The truth is, just about any pop or rock (or the occasional crossover rap) melody will work. Several fanciful Beatles songs, Beck, Kate Bush and many others come to mind. (In fact, every musical artist I can think of passes the lullaby test.) But you’d have to watch out for the lyrics. Liberal though you may be, you might not be ready to introduce the concept of, say, bitch slappin’ to your daughter just yet. But if only the original words will do, you can find many of them online. (They’ll be lost on Clementine anyway. I thought Winchester Cathedral was a guy with a dinner bell. But that dates me.)

    Good luck!

  8. Doug Skinner
    Posted November 17, 2005 at 8:20 am | Permalink

    I think the Cacophony Society switched talk-boxes for Barbies and GI Joes, and then replaced them in the toy store. I don’t know if that made the dolls less or more evil.

    By all means, switch on the Bucky! If nothing else, his optimism is a good influence.

    Pop songs of the ’20s and ’30s often have beautiful tunes for lullaby purposes, and would be a welcome respite from the Maynard diet of all Ramones, all the time. Walter Donaldson turned out some beauties. Schubert lieder are nice; plus, a video of Mark crooning Schubert at cribside would be unforgettable.

  9. Ingrid
    Posted November 17, 2005 at 9:23 am | Permalink

    There’s a good book of Woody Guthrie songs for children. I can’t remember what it is called, but any large bookstore would have it.

  10. Posted November 17, 2005 at 11:52 am | Permalink

    you could sing her “the elements” song by tom lehrer:


  11. ChelseaL
    Posted November 18, 2005 at 10:40 am | Permalink

    I *love* “The Elements! (Perfect if you want to foster a genius.) And several 20s and 30s songs. Good idea. Look for “Home” by Van steeden. It’s lovely. Lyricists weren’t hip or ironic then, just sincere.

  12. be OH bE
    Posted November 18, 2005 at 11:52 am | Permalink

    They Might Be Giants have released a number of albums that are directly or indirectly geared towards children.

  13. grandpa stole bets
    Posted November 29, 2005 at 8:10 pm | Permalink

    “It’s your favors.” that will be used to get all the save.htms down. Because I will work for TSU, right? “You won’t work anywhere else.” “But then you’ll committ evil.” I don’t subscribe to that “evil” line of thinking. I think Tom makes me evil, so it’s done.
    It is the Chevrons of TSU’s world which dictate I won’t get the money:::They are signed on. They reputation is at stake as well.
    TSU used the Rockafellers as their bitch. And now Rockafellers are doing their work for them. They are their enforcers. For free.
    ‘And then if you don’t work for them they will just take it down.”

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