Power Ballads and Gangster Rap VIA the Glockenspiel

Let me get this outta the way right off the bat: Im an 80s baby (born in 1979). So you better believe I blasted my dual cassette player to Guns N’ Roses like I had long bleached blond hair. I’ve heard several impressive covers of “Sweet Child O’ Mine” before. Those power ballads of the 80s just hit you right in the feels and the gut… they had you crying one second and ready to run through a wall the next!

Then again I also am a child of the 90s. This is when I really came into my “musical own.” I expanded my horizons and enjoyed me some gangster rap… some good old East Coast VS West Coast beef. There was nothing like the “PIONEER SPEAKERS BUMPING” in my 1987 Plymouth Reliant.

Most people don’t consider Guns N’ Roses your traditional love song band. Guys named Slash and Axl don’t sing about love. But I’ll have you know that “Sweet Child O’ Mine” is one of the most romantic songs ever written, I mean Axl wrote it for his fiancé and soon to be wife of, well ok, the marriage lasted like half a year. But still, she’s the one with a smile that seems to me reminds me of childhood memories where everything was as fresh as the bright blue sky. You know, the one who’s got eyes of the bluest skies as if they thought of rain. So yes, Axl and Slash love to sing about love and I love listening to them singing about love.

Everybody knows Mr. Warren G and the greatest hook man in the history of music: Nate Dogg (RIP homie🙏🏼). Their storybook rap song, “Regulate”, tells a story with vivid pictures of a life so many of us youngins experienced. You know, just ridin’ around looking for some nice ladies to take out on a date, but having to Regulate on some fools first. It’s the anthem of my youth.

But I’m not here blogging this today to tell you why i love these songs. I’m blogging this today, though, because I need to share with the world the two most amazing versions of these two classic songs these ears have ever heard. Recommended to me by my six year old and Amazon Alexa. I can’t stop listen to them. I listened to them in bed, in the shower and on my way to the office this morning and found them to be equal parts mind-blowing and relaxing.

Click below and take a listen:

1. SWEET CHILD O’ MINE

2. REGULATE

As you can here, they’re lullabies. Literally a heavy metal power ballad and a gangster rap song by Dr Dre’s little brother helps to put my son to sleep every night. This little dude is in bed snooring away to the glockenspiel belting out the notes to two of history’s greatest songs.

So there you have it… music… connecting generations, fathers to sons, fender guitars and the G-Funk Era to glockenspiels. God bless music (and God bless the fact that my son fell asleep before 10:30pm).

PS: if you have a few moments watch this amazing version of “Regulate”. Kenny and Warren. Straight up G’s.

https://youtu.be/L4E4MWLzKrg

Old People Music

We’ve learned so much about each other in this family during the Coronavirus Lockdown. We’ve all spent more time together the last two months then ever before. That can be a blessing and a curse. Generally, it’s been more of a blessing. That was until Steph and I were ;for the first time) made you feel old by our children.

As we ended our work day, we decided to take the kids to the beach so they could play in the sand. We packed up everything we needed and made our way across town. Nothing says beach ready like Kidz Bop radio… but today we took a little detour… mom and dad decided to hit up a little LL Cool J “Rock the Bells XM 43” for a little extra motivation. What should come on but some 50cent “What up Gangster.” (Clean version for the kids of course).

There’s no stopping the immediate head bobbing and lip-syncing that occurs from two middle aged parents in a family SUV when 50cent begins blaring through those stock speakers. There’s just nothing that can stop it.

That is… until… your six year old begins covering his ears and screams, “Turn this off!!!! This is old people music!!!”

And just like that, mom and dad… felt extremely old… and then continued belting out a little 50cent… for the kids of course!!!

Educators… MOUNT UP!!!

As the reality of homeschooling, home offices and quarantines sets in it’s easy to forget what we’ve left behind. On Friday, I walked the silent halls of my Elementary School. I was alone, everyone had left for the day… maybe for the year.

There were no colorful backpacks hanging on their hooks, or any voices of students working together on a rigorous task. Students’ chairs were turned upside down on their desks and the SMART boards were dark.

However, school was in session. Teachers were hard at work. They’re preparing for a completely new way of teaching the children they love so much. They’ve had no time to prepare for this. These educators,the ones I work with everyday, took what public education has been for centuries and flipped it upside down and inside out. The school district I work in has taken on the task with determination.

Washington, DC didn’t tell us what to do. The state didn’t tell us what to do. It was the public educators. The ones in the trenches. We are going to “war” with traditional teaching and also with the “virus” that has become a world wide pandemic. And… there is no one… not one staff that I would rather go to war with than my staff at Huntington.

There’s little we can do, us educators on the front lines. The teachers, principals and central office staff members want nothing more than to be on the front lines. We want to visit our families and help serve grab and go meals. But, we know there are people on the front lines already… the nurses, doctors and medical professionals who need us to stay back and help from afar.

So that’s what we do. We do what we can from afar. I’ve been lucky enough to have the platform to do that. From this blog I’ve been able to reach out to so many of my school families. I decided last week to do a live read aloud each night to help keep some sort of connection to my students.

The funny thing is I was hoping to reach a few students, maybe even a few from my last school… but then something happened. Hundreds, thousands of people tuned in. Channel 8 News asked for an interview and Chronicles of a New Dad and Jax were lighting up the 6:00 news.

It become a family affair, a way for a community to gather (or at least I see it that way). I feel that it helps me do “my part.” While I joke about another 15 minutes of fame, the message is clear… educators are doing their part to keep their students engaged and in the end, as a society, that’s all we can ask.

Coronavirus scare: Teachers, administrators, and students turn to social media for traditions like storytime

Family Traditions

Traditions and rituals are more than just repetition… they often tell a story. A family sets it’s foundation on traditions… from the small of a secret handshake with your son or the big of a thanksgiving feast with all your relatives. On the macro level, traditions can teach children where their family came from or give them insights into their cultural or religious history. On a more micro level, traditions can serve as reminders of events that have shaped your family or reminders of great friendships.

There is irrefutable research that shows families hat engage is “traditions” have a stronger connection with one another. Traditions can be particularly effective during times of change or grief. When we moved and he had to go to sleep in a new room, Jax knew every night we would read a few books and “count the stars on his ceiling” before I kissed him goodnight. It provided him with a sense of security in a new environment.

Jax and I have our secret handshake: (Shout out to Aaron Rodgers and Jordy Nelson who were the inspiration for this). But, Oliver and I were still searching for that father-son tradition.

That was until I realized we need search no more… we didn’t need to find one, because traditions aren’t just thought up one day. They are created authentically and often times are the moments that you don’t even think twice about. It was there right in front of our faces!

Every night before he goes down to sleep, Oliver climbs up on me and settles his head on my shoulder and says, well he doesn’t really say anything. He isn’t really talking much at this point. But, I know what he’s thinking… he’s thinking he really wants his dad to sing him to sleep… a lullaby, a beautiful, calming rendition of his favorite song… Hush, Little Baby.

This is our tradition. Jax never really took to my singing (probably because it sounds like multiple cats crying). However, Ollie… he loves snuggling with dad and listening to the smooth, sweet tones of his father’s voice whispering one of the most well-known lullabies as he drifts off into dream land.

The best part of this… I have no idea, literally none whatsoever, what the lyrics to this song really are. I’ve tried everything. I rhymed real words and made up words… I’ve tried looking up the lyrics, but I can’t remember them in the heat of the performance. I feel like I do when I’m in the car belting out Journey’s Don’t Stop Believing… apparently it’s not, “smelly wine and sheep perfume.” Then there’s anything by Notorious BIG (including the ever confusing), “Birthdays were the worst days/ Now we sip champagne every Thursday.” I know a few words and the rest are completely made up.

That brings us to the greatest tradition our family knows… dad and Oliver’s version of Hush, Little Baby:

Hush, little baby, don’t say a word, Daddy’s gonna buy you a mockingbird.

And if that mockingbird don’t sing, Daddy’s gonna buy you a diamond ring.

And if that diamond ring don’t shine, Daddy’s gonna buy you an air freshener that smells like pine.

And if that air freshener doesn’t smell right, Daddy’s gonna buy you a dragon kite.

Different lyrics… same tradition… and it puts the kid to sleep… EVERY.DAMN.NIGHT.

Doesn’t matter where… when he hears Dad’s version of Hush, Little Baby.., he’s out cold

Drop That Beat

Webster’s Dictionary defines “beat drop” as “the moment in a dance track when tension is released and the beat kicks in. Great drops create overbearing drama. They’re built for the unabashed and uninhibited, releasing the enormous energy accrued during a song’s progression.”

Think about it. You’ve been bumping and grinding… you’ve been bobbing and weaving … the music is progressing… you’ve gone through a few verses and even the hook. The sweat is building on your forehead and you can feel the tension in the rhythm buildingbigger, louder, until suddenly — the drop.

I imagine that’s exactly what Ollie was feeling at this exact moment:

I know it’s not house music… I know it’s not some big time bass hit produced by DJ Kool… but, boy can Imagine Dragons drop that beat with the best of them… Oliver thinks so!

I know I’m dating myself a bit here… but tell me this song doesn’t make you want to throw it back to 1996. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=qG9ZWUitFik

PS: Fun Fact… DJ Kool borrows the phrase “Let Me Clear My Throat” from the Beastie Boys Licensed to Ill album.

Two of America’s Most Wanted

I guess, the Halloween spirit has turned my children I tom harden criminals. I’m now raising two of America’s Most Wanted, apparently they have kidnapped our neighbor’s pumpkin and are demanding ransom.

Watch out Halloween decorations… because just as the poet Tupac Shakur once said… “You done put two of America’s most wanted
In the same stinkin‘ place at the same stinkin‘ time

I Gotta Say, It Was a Good Day

In what can only be called a crazy turn of events long time educator and still relatively new school administrator Peter Fragola was charged with daddy daycare duty on the morning of Tuesday, September 19, 2017. With current and raining babysitting MVP Bammy on the disabled list and back up second string babysitter Pop-Pop also being unable to take part in Tuesday’s action due to injuries sustained being a grandfather Peter was called up from the minors

In what could be One of the most controversial, yet exciting September call ups in recent history. With the team trailing late last night and all options being considered, including possible retired Manny, up-and-coming babysitters, and even distant family members who’s travel expenses would far outweigh their salary. With nowhere to turn and limited options to choose from (limited meaning none) there was no other choice but to call on this energetic, yet inexperienced talent to care for Baby Ollie for the day.  

A call up of this magnitude is usually not made at such an important time. With an eight-month-old who refuses to drink from a bottle and has yet to nap more than 10 minutes at a time i’m sure having someone with the ability to feed the baby and get him to sleep would have been more preferable. But again with nowhere to turn the team as a trusted Peter with a daunting task.   

A Quick look up Peter’s stats show a relatively successful and injury free infant period for younger brother Jackson. However Jackson a relatively easy child could take down a bottle no matter who was holding it and to this day can fall sleep anywhere his head hits. And that was years ago… Coming in for a job like this is not like riding a bike that you can just pick up a where you left off. The subtle nuances of the midday shush, hold, cradle and rock, the extremely specific angle at which the bottle is held all need to be figured out and figured out quickly. Yes, he’s done nighttime and morning time duties, but a last minute daytime event like this calls for concentration and confidence.  

The time to study and ask questions had passed… but panic… nope… this guy stepped up to the plate with the confidence of a three time MVP. And you know what just like any future hall of famer the results spoke for themselves. There was nothing that could stop the performance of a life time. 

  1. Bottle for the kid who doesn’t drink from a bottle? ✅
  2. Nap for the kid who doesn’t nap? ✅
  3. Cook, clean and still have enough time to watch Harry Potter together? ✅


In the words of the ever quotable, especially when it comes to parenting, Ice Cube, “I gotta say, it was a good day.”

__________________
Highlights:

There’s no better feeling then seeing your son all smiles after creating your own homemade playpen:

A Harry Potter marathon and some lunch makes for a nice little afternoon: 

All dressed up and no where to go: 

… I guess you can say #SuperDad saved the day again… 

Ludacris Saves Bedtime

“Read it again daddy!!! Again. Now again… AGAIN… AGAIN…. A…G…A….I…..N!!!!!!” The words ring in my ears like an alarm clock on an early Monday morning.  Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing I love more than reading a book or two, or twelve to my son before bed.  But honestly, after reading the same book 14,352 straight nights, it loses its appeal. 

Enter “LUUUUDDDAAAAAA”. The man who brought taught us many life lessons including about traffic on the highway, why there are so many different phone numbers in the US and even supported the British MI5… is here to brighten up bedtime stories.  Ludacris is a father of three and clearly is as much of fan of the late Anna Dewdney as I am.  The Llama Llama series has inspired countless children to read, sing and rhyme and now because of Ludicris it’s inspiring a whole new generation of readers.  But more importantly it’s inspiring countless parents to listen to the same story over and over and over again without wanting to poke their own eyes out!!  

Thank you Luda.

Sincerely, 

Area code 860

#BabyRappers

Every once and a while Twitter is good for something other than fantasy football news. Last night the term #BabyRappers was trending.

Anyone who knows me knows I love anything rap and hip hop related (especially old school). If you haven’t already check out my HipHop Advice for Jax: https://newdadchronicles.wordpress.com/2014/10/06/advice-for-jax-taken-from-90s-hip-hop/.

Here is a list of some of my #BabyRapper names and some of the best from Twitter:

Salt and Pampers
Smelly Prince of Bel Air
DJ Droolie Jeff
Womb Tang Clan
Three to Six Month Mafia 2MonthOldPac
Kid N Playpen
LL Cool Jax
Notorious J.A.X.

… And here are some of the best from others on Twitter:
@Maggiemayehaha: Rob Bassinet
@Adam_Cozens: KRS-Onsie
@THE_BOONDOCKS: B.O.B the builder
@alikigreeky: Busta Nursery Rhymes
@dantelfer: 50 Centimeters Dilated
@willnoonan: Similacklemore
@tylermorrison1: Birthing Method Man
@keatingthomas: Kid Cuddly
@MELnc: Potty By Nature
@andytwood: Kendrick Lamaze
@tylermorrison1: 2 Live Croup
@kelly_carlin: Chuck D Cheese
@MrTommyCampbell: NWA – Newborns With Attitude
And my personal favorite:
@adamrank: Pediatrician Dre