The Basement Tapes

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After several weeks of traveling the family is home and trying to get back into a routine. For the kids, that means “playing” with the cat by setting elaborate traps using catnip, a ball of yarn and a basket. There’s also mandatory band practice. The travel sabbatical was inspirational and I believe Toots and the McGoots is entering a prolific period of creativity. My sister-in-law gave the kids kazoos, which adds another dimension to the “sound wall” that Toots is known for (some of our recent basement sessions are reminiscent of The Beach Boys Pet Sounds era). And Addie is stepping into the role of lead vocals and really owning it. Last night, we worked on one of her original songs called “No Squirrels Allowed,” which is about a tiny squirrel overcoming his fear of ziplining. On the surface, it’s a cute song about a squirrel, but dig deeper and you’ll find it’s really about rampant age discrimination at amusement parks.

Sure, we have our creative differences, but what band doesn’t? I often wonder if The Stones also had epic battles over who would get to play the xylophone. Did Mick Jagger also stomp away from band practice, crying and screaming he didn’t want to play with Keith Richards anymore? Did he also get lured back to band practice with M&M’s?

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Viva Las Vegas

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Whether you like Vegas or loathe Vegas, you cannot deny that the city is perfectly located. After dragging my family through the desert for several days of hiking and camping in a series of National Parks, everyone was dying for a bit of air conditioning. Enter Las Vegas, land of the well-air conditioned space. We picked the hotel with the most kick ass pool and spent 48 hours trying to get the desert sands out of our nooks and crannies. It was love at first sight for my kids. My daughter was impressed that music played everywhere (even in the potty!) and everyone wore glitter. The kids ate giant meatballs and helped me crack crab legs at the overpriced buffet and spent hours in the wave pool and lazy river. Taking little kids to Vegas is a concern for some parents, mainly because there are hookers everywhere and there’s a good chance you’ll see someone spontaneously combust thanks to a dangerous combination of cigarettes, gin, and polyester. But I see these nuisances as potential teaching moments. In New York New York, there are women who dance on the casino tables in lingerie. My son took one look at the show, and asked, “why is that lady dancing on the table?”

“Because she didn’t go to college, son. Because she didn’t go to college.”

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