Saturday, July 29, 2006

It's a beautiful day

In another example of my creeping infantilism (I'm an emotional 8-year-old these days, but my goal is 3), I have begun TiVoing episodes of "Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood." This is partly because of the great music, but mostly because Mr. Rogers is such a reassuring presence. He gazes steadily into the camera and encourages his young viewers, even flatters them, but never condescends.

Recently I witnessed one of the most moving sights ever to appear on my television, when Mr. Rogers visited Koko. That's the famous 300-pound gorilla who either does or does not communicate with American Sign Language, depending on who you ask. Whatever is going on in Koko's head, she certainly can do elaborate things with her beautiful hands. But her communication, such as it was, looked random and impulsive. Although some of her logical inferences were remarkable, even uncanny, I don't think it would be much fun to discuss Descartes with her.

She is mesmerizing, though. I got goosebumps at one point as she very delicately untied Mr. Rogers' shoes, then removed them. This was so striking, I think, because Mr. Rogers' shoes are an important part of his shtick: He unties and removes them at the beginning of every episode, then dons a pair of sneakers. There presumably is a bit of child psychology in that ritual (little children like routines, as do most of us), and it was weirdly exhilirating to watch Koko reprise it.

The most moving parts were when Koko held Mr. Rogers in steadfast embrace and stared at him with what looked for all the world like fondness. Mr. Rogers appeared uncomfortable wrapped in Koko's arms -- you would be, too -- but there came a moment near the end of the visit when, as she held him, he silently studied her face and then said to her, "There are so many things to think about, aren't there?"

She indeed looked thoughtful, and I marveled at Mr. Rogers' gift for quiet empathy. Kids love him because he looks right at their faces and tells them: You are human, and everything is okay.

I never knew this also worked on gorillas.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Gig alert

Check out my honktonk ensemble the World's Greatest Lovers at Atwood Summerfest this Saturday, July 29. We are on the Harmony Bar stage, across Atwood from the United Way (2059 Atwood Ave.), at 2:10 p.m.
Old news, but

For some reason I never tire of this.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

All singing, all dancing

All kidding aside, kudos to *NSYNC's Lance Bass for coming out as a gay man. Any time is the right time.

But he is not the first boy band performer to come out of the closet. In the modern era of boy bands, that tradition goes back at least as far as Stephen Gately, of Ireland's Boyzone. He came out around the same time I did. I recall that this seemed significant at the time.
Boy band boy gay

The mind reels.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Good word

"Is it possible to have a gazebo ironically?"

-- Me, to Ereck

Monday, July 24, 2006

Ding dong

Often when I bike home for lunch, as I did just now, I encounter on the path my friend the neighborhood carillonneur. Seeing him always reminds me that I'm glad there are carillons. And I'm glad the neighborhood carillonneur is my friend.

Do you know your neighborhood carillonneur?