This is a genuine question. Is there something about the way kids hear music that makes it so that they will only listen to “kid” versions of things and not the adult version? Or is this just an affectation of the adult world?

Someone recommended the Baby Einstein Baby Mozart CD to us. I played it for the kid yesterday. It was basically a bunch of Mozart piano concertos played on a cheesy synth. It wasn’t terrible, and the kid seemed to like it insofar as he realized it existed (which is to say, not that much). But wouldn’t he have liked a version with piano and traditional instrumentation just as much? Was this just to keep from paying royalties or hiring real musicians? Or was there some developmental psychological research that showed that xylophone and bonky drum sounds stimulate babies brains more than pianos and violins?

Later yesterday we took a walk and ended up at Stellabella Toys in Cambridge. They were playing some kind of kid’s CD that featured “What Goes On” by the Velvet Underground as performed by a woman with a sunny voice and an acoustic guitar. Now, I don’t personally see why you’d need to re-record this song to make it palatable to kids, it’s pretty basic, catchy, stripped-down. But maybe some parents with more delicate sensibilities would flip if the same band that recorded “Sister Ray” or “Heroin” was on their kids CD. I don’t know. What makes me think that something else is going on is the version of the Beatles’ “Blackbird” we heard there– it sounded exactly like the original, just a different singer.

A kid doesn’t have the cultural context to know the difference between John Lennon and a random studio signer, why even bother? It’s obviously for the parents’ sake. Why would parents choose the studio singer over John Lennon? Maybe hearing his voice conjures up his assasination, his embarassing and ultimately-not-world-changing protests involving hair and bed and Yoko, and “Double Fantasy”.

So, my hypothesis is that kid covers are a slightly self-delusional way to make parents feel like they’re protecting their kids. I will revise this opinion when, if I play both versions side by side, my kid prefers the dumbed-down kid version of a song. Until then, he gets the real deal.

Nerd Boyfriend

I find Nerd Boyfriend endless fun. Each post is a picture of a guy fitting the Warholian definition of a good picture (“My idea of a good picture is one that’s in focus and of a famous person doing something unfamous.”). But there’s always the added twist that the pictures make the subjects look nerdy in addition to merely un-famous. And then there are links to shop for one or more items of the apparel pictured. Genius.

I love it when a plan comes together

I love it when a plan comes together

Juice, vintage 2003

I’m kind of amazed at the amazement of many of my fellow Sox fans that finally some Sox players are finally implicated in the steroids mess. I mean, it stings, sure. I wish it weren’t so. I really wish one of the names named weren’t David Ortiz who by all accounts is The Nicest Guy In The Universe. I agree that the guilty-til-proven-innocent witch-hunt-y way names are tarnished is a travesty (but also think it’s a little disingenuous to think that when I certainly allowed myself a little schadenfreude when the names Rodriguez and Giambi were so tarnished).

But come on, even at the time in question (2003), I have to admit, I had an eyebrow raised. The Sox offense was explosive, you had several capable players suddenly having superstar-quality years (Mueller, Varitek, Ortiz, Damon), and a couple of established superstars having great years, too (Garciaparra, Ramirez). Maybe at the time, the all-pervasive sense of being the perennial bridesmaid made people not even let that thought bubble into consciousness. But I gotta figure I can’t be the only one who had that thought, but quickly filed it away in the back of my mind in the bin labelled “don’t ask, don’t tell”.

A slightly cynical thought I’ve played with for some years now is that there should be two MLBs. One that allows steroids, and one that is “clean”. I don’t know. These dudes are highly paid, and if they’re willing to trade years of their life for cash and glory, so be it: it’s not cheating if everybody’s doing it. Also, my strong hunch is that the league with steroids allowed and out in the open would be vastly more popular, full of lots of home runs and lots of game twists (ala the Red Sox circa 2003 and 2004, where you could never count out the offense, even if they were down a couple of runs and it was 2 outs in the 9th inning). Those were years which have since been unmatched for sheer entertainment value.

Still, I do wish that the only juicing that had been going on was the slug of Jack Daniels that Kevin Millar claimed was part of the team pregame ritual.

PS: Lesson learned on schadenfreude. However, I will allow myself a slight bit of glee if that sanctimonious twit Curt Schilling gets implicated too, since he has clucked loudly at every name that comes to light.

PPS: As I’m writing this and watching NESN, Boston Mayor Tom Mennino and David Ortiz are urging the young people of the city to make good decisions this summer.