Saturday, September 22, 2007


My Mama died Thursday morning.

I got the word from my estranged brother, via email, that she probably would not live more than eight days. I flew down to see her and to say goodbye, but I was four hours too late. I never got to see her.

I came back the same night.

Our home is full of teenage boys right now, two of them have a mother who is away to bury her grandmother with some other members of my family. There is not going to be a service. I can't be with my family. There are years of wounds and drama I have be away from.

Unexpectedly, my brother and I are finding some kind of peaceful and understanding middle ground through emails.

Mancub has gone through many changes since I last wrote here. He seems happy. I have eased up a huge amount on my issues. He is, after all, a teenager. I know he likes it here.

I spent today painting the extra room we are now renting to give us a bit more space. Fixing the "loft" up gives me some quiet, since the room is above the garage that is removed from the house - away from Mancub and the neffs. It keeps me busy, but allows my mind to drift in and out of thoughts. There is also the matter of doing something to feel rooted that is vital right now.

My mother loved basketball, black raspberries, ice cream, Julie Andrews, flowers, animals, I Love Lucy, Big Band Music, dancing, sewing, coffee, See's Candy, hot weather, Peanuts which she clipped from the paper each day, Rock Hudson, Robert Goulet, and her four children. Her four children didn't always love one another. But she always loved us.

When I was down there, I went to the cemetery where she will be buried, next to my Dad. I saw that he died in 1999. My oldest sister, who is buried there too, died in 1995. I had forgotten the years for both of them. I thought it was much more recent. My Mama and Dad had been married for 58 years when he died. On Monday, they will be side by side.

The boys are laughing and rough housing and being loud. Right now it is a bit too much for me, but I also know this is how the world turns. This is how life is. It goes on. It changes forms, but it goes on.

Papa Seed is cooking dinner and asking the boys to take their noise elsewhere. I think they are going to have a fire in the pit in back. Mancub came up and brought me some chocolate truffles.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007


Mancub has gone camping with the neighbors. Papa Seed will be joining them tomorrow. I'll be working and staying home with my furry boys. We stopped drumming for now although we may start up again in a month or so. We've hit some really rough patches, and had some good times. My on-going battle with depression has resurfaced after a year of being wonderfully medically released from it. I'm finding time to read a little. Other changes too, but life is pretty much the same.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Losing it

I blew it last night. Totally lost my cool, and this following what was a good, calm, bonding weekend.

Mancub isolated - never came down when I got home. Found out he had fixed his own dinner and spent the afternoon and evening downloading (illegal, I suspect) movies on his computer, locked in his room. Left all of the chores undone, and added more crap to what needed to be cleaned.

That is just a piece of the backstory, but hours later a conversation between Papa Seed and Mancub set me off. I yelled. I stood there and yelled at him, as angry as I've ever been. And Mancub flung high 'tude back at me. Then I left, and Papa Seed tried to keep the upper hand, but he ended up yelling as well. It was really unpleasant.

And then, when Papa Seed and I were downstairs, I heard the sobbing.

I'm the worst parent ever. When he came down later, I apologized and said I had no right to talk to him the way I had, that I disappointed myself and that I wouldn't want anyone to speak to me in such a way and I never should do that to someone else, even if I'm frustrated. Papa Seed talked at greater length. It was a bad night.

Today he greeted me at the door and asked me how my day was. He and Papa Seed had made burritos for everyone and he is going to start making them on his own for all of us once a week. We went to drum class and he wanted to go for coffee as usual afterwards. He wanted to watch Family Guy when we got home, so I sat and watched it with him.

Bergman and Antonioni both dead. So sad. Family drama of the nephew sort imploding in another state - something I've yet to touch on in this place. Work stress. My on again off again bad back is on again after the best five months I've had in seven years. When I wake up in the morning, my joints are so sore I can barely get out of bed. It takes me the longest time to warm up so I can move.

When Mancub moved in, I had this thing I've tried to do every day - but I've only hit about three or four of seven days each week. When I see him in the afternoon, I ask him to "tell me something good that has happened today".

Today when I walked up to the house, Mancub and Papa Seed were spinning Angie Stone on the Hello Kitty Boombox. I could hear before I even opened the door. That was nice.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Goodbye, Kwik-E-Mart

It has been good. I have to take deep breaths and step back a bit to get perspective often, but aside from that it has been good. They shift their moods a lot, these young humans. One mustn't cling to a reaction because the impetus is fleeting and should never be confused for a concrete mindset.

I grumbled and lowered my voice yesterday when he sat steadfast in his unwillingness to try the Cuban food that Papa Seed had spent hours preparing. He flicked 'tude towards me, but we both got over it soon. He ended up putting the unseasoned parts of the meal in a tortilla (cold) to eat. In response to my comment about at least trying Cuban food the way it is meant to be eaten, he held up the burrito and said "This is Cuban food" to which the choir sang "NO IT IS MEXICAN! CUBA IS NOT IN MEXICO!" The Waltons never had these kind of annoyances at the dinner table. Nor do I suspect do our neighbors or friends.

I sat on the back porch last night, alone, listening to Xavier Rudd who is a recent discovery which allowed him to be named this month's ~ My New Boyfriend. I'm sometimes slow to find out about the folks who sing for hackey sackers, but quick to embrace them if they are beautiful and have good politics. I guess he was in town a month ago, but I didn't really know who he was at the time so I didn't go to see and hear him. It was probably best that I saved our formal introduction to a night when I could sit petting the dogs and sipping an icy rum beverage while my champra incense flowed in the air, because it allowed me to not have to share. Nor was I present for the "as a family" nightly viewing of Family Guy, although I could hear bits and pieces during the quieter moments.

Today we went to see The Simpson's Movie. We bought the tickets last night, then stopped at the very busy Kwik-E-Mart that had a parking lot full of photo flashing Japanese tourists. You could feel the excitement. It is one of the better movie tie-ins of the century, a phrase we had to translate for Mancub. Mancub and I bought a Squishy and a Homer Simpson cookie each. They were all out of pink doughnuts.

It was a funny movie, but what I wanted to see was the Tsai Ming-Liang film I Don't Want To Sleep Alone. I missed last week's showing of the Apichatpong Weerasethakul film that is also a part of the New Crowned Hope Mozart Film Series. I'm so fortunate to live in a place that gets the Mozart Film Series and the Kwik-E-Mart, but I'm probably only going to get a Squishy out of it. Damn. I'm not for two seconds even going to entertain the fantasy of taking Mancub to see Tsai Ming-Liang films. That would be sillier than Bart Simpson skateboarding naked. It did cross our minds to let Mancub in on the meaning of Apu, but we settled for just making a comment in the car that we were sure that the store clerk/owner at the soon to be restored back to a 7/11 was probably tired of people asking him if he was named Apu, or worse doing impersonations to his face.

I doubt I'll live long enough to see a chain of theaters change thier names to the Fu-Ho Grand Theater for a revival screening of Goodbye, Dragon Inn.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Farmer John

Mancub finished Harry Potter this evening and told me how it ended, and ya know - I'm okay with that.

It arrived Saturday afternoon, just as Amazon promised. Mancup was holed up in his bedroom so I had to call him down to say something came in the mail for him. He seemed surprised, then started saying "This must be from my Mom" and when he opened it he said "COOL! My Mom knew I wanted this because she bought me all the other books! "Mom" is the woman who had been his mother for the past seven years. The same one who didn't want to be his mother anymore.

It wasn't a reaction I was expecting, and I felt really sad. I told him to read the note I had them put in the book. He said "This is from you guys?" and then said "THANKS!" but by then I was sorry I had done it as a surprise. He claims not to want any relationship at all with his "Mom", but I think that is just the pain talking.

He didn't want to join us for any adventures. We went to the dog park, the Pow Wow, and out for coffee without him - getting drenched in the rain. We came home to rest, then told him we were going out to a movie. He asked which one and Papa Seed told him and he said maybe he would come. I said I'd like that, but it would be up to him if he wanted to stay home and chill.

He decided to join us, but once in the lobby he picked up at card for The Read Dirt on Farmer John, the movie we were seeing, and said "Oh no! You didn't tell me this was a documentary!" I said it was about how we got the food we ate, which is something we have been discussing a lot recently. He seemed really annoyed - did an impersonation of a "farmer" with hayseed coming out of his mouth and a faux Southern drawl. "You might be surprised" I offered, then said he could pay me twenty dollars if his image of a farmer was proven wrong. He wouldn't agree to it however. He probably figured out that was a smart move the first time Farmer John was seen riding his tractor in a colorful frock near the start of the film.

He didn't sit with us. He wanted to sit closer than I like to sit. When it was over, there was a Q&A with the Director and Farmer John, who brought his pink boa out of his pocket to wave around during a question. Mancub was sitting right in front of him, and asked him several questions which was a huge thrill for me.

"I asked more questions than you guys did!", he said proudly on the ride home. "How come you guys didn't ask him about the gay thing?", he wanted to know. "Because he isn't gay!" we shouted in unison. "I know...but still..." he went on. "Yeah, your two Gay Dads are going to ask a straight guy about being Gay" we scoffed, but it did allow us to present our case once again that we thought a real man was a man who wasn't afraid to be himself, even if that mean wearing a lovely dress to sow the crops when other folks tried to hang their defintion of being a man on him.

To compensate for the suffering of being "tricked" to see another documentary, we all watched "Family Guy" when we got home. It was pretty funny. Smutty, but funny. No mention of Community Supported Agriculture, but balance is good I guess. I don't see how Mancub gets any of the references, even pop as they are, since his knowledge base has yet to be broadened, but he sure laughs a lot during it.

The next day he was back in his upstairs cave, coming down twice for food.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Music Across The Water

From the window in my upstairs office, I am able to hear the distant singing and drumming of the Indian Days POW WOW. I've never quite understood how sound travels in this city, but it can be a most amazing and delightful thing. The Pow Wow is miles away, across the water. To get there, I'd have to travel several miles to a bridge, cross the bridge, head west for many more miles to get to the park that sits on the little peninsula surrounded by the bay (or the "ocean" as people call it, because that is where it comes from), then hike a ways downhill to the center. I thought about going tonight, but Mancub came down sick this morning and spent the day at home sleeping. Papa Seed is exhausted and has been napping for the past several hours. I think I will be staying home.

I thought about going to hear a new musical discovery, Citay, since they are playing in a club in the neighborhood. I just read about them two days ago, and listened to a bit of their music on My Space. I liked what I heard. But I'm not sure I'll be able to get it together to crawl down there to hear them. Is it fair to leave a sick son at home while his middle aged Dad goes out to hear kids half of Dad's age play a modern version of traditional psychedelic music? This isn't covered in any of the parenting guides.

I half planned out several things to do this weekend, but now I'm not sure if we will get to do any of them. There is of course that on-going issue with doing things as a family only to have the Silent Unibomber appear in our trio. Mancub has been really great the last few days, so I was hopeful we could have another attempt at a weekend exploring new things together. Maybe I'll just read. Although it is quite breezy outside, I think I could manage on the porch for a bit. I do love this weather.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Harry Potter and the Sticky Spoon

This morning's newspaper, like probably half the newspapers in the world, had a front page story about Harry Potter and the coming of the last book in the series. Now I haven't read any of the books but I've seen all but the latest of the films and I like them quite a bit. I'd like to read them, but I'd also like to read Proust and I just never seem to have the time for either. I put an order into Amazon so that Mancub will get the lastest book delivered on Saturday (or supposedly it will be free). I hope he is surprised, or at least says thanks. The word is that he has read all of the other books - in fact the word is he likes to read but I've never seen that happen. I'm having Amazon include a gift card that states that with this book we begin Family Reading Nights.

I'm not going to suggest that we all sit and read from the same book. Maybe if he was five years younger, but not now. I am going to propose (with the option to either do what I say or do what I say) that we all sit in the living room (and I wish it were a parlor, but I won't press my luck here) with light snacks and tea and soft music and each read a book while we recline and enter the worlds of the printed word.

It seems such a simple yet civilized dream. Yet somehow distant and likely impossible in spite of the limited options that will be presented. Then I read in the paper:

Harry Potter has cast many spells over the past 10 years, but none more enchanting than the one that brings families together in a world fragmented by MySpace, BlackBerrys, text messaging, bedroom TVs and video games.

Someone, I think, understands my pain. Leaving Mr. Potter aside, that fragmented world of which the reporter speaks is my parental angst which leads me down the road of hopeless thinking about the state of the world.

The article goes on to say:

It's difficult to determine how many parents have read "Harry Potter" books to their kids, or sat in their living rooms talking about the young wizard, but librarians offer ample anecdotal evidence. Kastner even suggests that the series can be a tool for families to manage addictive and isolating technologies that invade nearly every activity and every room in a house.

Again, we won't be reading it out loud to one another, but what struck me in this is that my on going battle is apparently common. It is summed up in that last sentence, the part about isolating technologies that invade nearly every activity and every room in a house.


Before drum class last night we had another talk about several issues, but most of them focused on what I called "checking out" but what I guess other people call family life in 2007. We stated, for about the 300th time, that we really need the headsets out of the ears when we are doing family things, like talking with one another or saying "Good Morning". Or going to Street Fairs and "listening" to Soul Singers on a stage. I couldn't shake that one. It was a level of rudeness that set me off on a three day rant. And how "doing things as a family" which he constantly says he wants until we do things as a family, doesn't mean watching "Family Guy" and only watching "Family Guy" and "doing things as a family" doesn't mean to put in the headset and pull out the PSP and hide behind shades. We seek a slightly deeper level of involvement, for instance an actual sharing of the same experience.

It didn't immediately sink in. After all, he had only heard it 299 times before and it sometimes takes a few repetitions to click. The drum class is a distant three miles away, so he turned down my radio show and stuck the right ear piece in both coming and going. This morning was rough again too, but tonight I got home and he was sans wires and plug-ins and was baking cookies and announced he had folded the clothes (that had been downstairs for four days and six reminders) and put them away and he asked me how my day was and told me he gave his phone number to the cute girl who started doing the same training program he is doing, so I kissed him on the head and we had a conversation while I washed dishes and he licked the cookie dough sticky spoon.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Family Guy

It has cooled off. The last two days, especially the day before last, were brutal. I spent most of the day inside of an air conditioned office, but it was still brutal just knowing that heat was out there ready to attack.

It zapped my energy, which is already in limited supply.

Mancub has been a pure delight. He has been responsive and joking around and "incorporating feedback" as we say on the job. I've chatted with the other parents at work which helps put things in perspective. Family Guy isn't going away. It is a ritual for him, one that we can either join (which we do) or attempt to fight (which isn't worth it). Sometimes it is quite funny. Think about it... said one of my co-workers who is incredibly insightful and bright, I don't know that show, but judging from the title - isn't "family" something that he wants the most right now, and wouldn't a show about "family" be very comforting for him?

I then broke it to her that the show was mainly smutty jokes, but that was also something that would be important to a teenage boy since 99% of what 15 year old boys think about is sex, and that will continue for about 60 years, give or take a medication now and then. However, she was on to something - the combination of smut in a family setting - what could be more comforting to a kid in his postition?

He tried to watch a recorded concert of Macy Gray with me one night while he attempted to bond over my interests. Do you like her?, he asked. I love her. Does she always sound like this? Yes. What kind of music is this? He stuck with it for a good half hour.

By mid-week we found out that we are flat broke again. Until yesterday afternoon we had yet to receive a state check for the kid. The check was less than half of what we were expecting, because of some convoluted method in which it transfers through three agencies or departments. We should get the rest soon. We went into this forgetting that there was a little money attached - knowing that it would make our tight financial situation tighter (and hopefully forcing us to deal with that by being on top of things). Still, the transition period that lasted several months blew through the little savings we had, and Papa Seed is cutting way back on his work so he can work on his PhD and get that done. We've been playing this money game for 15 years, so we aren't as worried as we are annoyed with ourselves.

There is thunder outside right now. This is not a part of the country that is known for thunder, especially in the summer. The neighbor's chickens are clucking away and the beaded curtain in my window is getting a work out. I took the day off of work to catch up on being me, alone.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

The Beat Goes On

By the time I actually sit down to write about my seemingly constant frustration and poorly handled responses to teenage snippiness and isolation technology, things have shifted into being proud of the wonderchild. The weekend was a roller coaster. The high point was taking him to a funky theater to see the original Shaft which he had never heard of prior to last Saturday. I figure if he is going to idolize Fiddy (and he hates it when I say "Fiddy" which then makes me think I'm using a racist taunt but then every article I read seems to refer to him that way), I want him to start a voyage with Shaft then travel to Superfly (never heard of that one either) and on through the next four decades to see how the old skool informs the new. And how it was way cooler. And had better music.

John Shaft didn't need steroid muscles to look handsome. He just needed brown suits and to look at people from the side, rather than head on to give off a sultry, confident power. The theater where the film was showing uses projected digital video (often, but not always from a DVD) which makes it so they are able to bypass some insane, archiac Fire and Building Safety Codes, but they also bypass the warmth and magic of projected film. It also means when Super Bad John Shaft walks into the street and is shown 3/4 profile against the sky in a classic shot, the clouds are pixelated. By the time Mr. Shaft switched to all black leather (brown is cool, black is for serious action) to start kicking some serious ass (although getting his own kicked pretty badly first), I had gotten slightly more comfortable with the loss of flickering lights, but I never felt the full power. Damn technology. A couple of months ago, I was trying to have the conversation with Mancub about the inherent aesthetic flaws in a home entertainment center (the praises of which he sang) no matter how large the flat screen television, but I would have had better luck in communicating had I attempted a phonetic reading of Finnish poems from a room down the hall.

And besides, Mancub really liked Shaft which meant the expensive snacks the "dinner" theater serves were worth it. I was so pleased, and felt so validated, that on the ride home I mustered up only a trace of unspoken irritation when he asked if he could put on his station during a Gladys Knight song on KBCS'One Step Beyond Soul Show. I refused and let my sentence about the time period of the song we were hearing in relationship to the movie we had just seen drift off incomplete returning as neither one of us, wants to be the first to say... with one hand on the steering wheel and the other channeling the Diva Wisdom of the ages.

Much more spoken was the fifth irritation from that moment, about 30 minutes later as I tried to watch a little bit of the Live Earth concert once home. Earlier in the day, Mancub had decided the entire Live Earth 7 continent 24 hour concert was "that kind of stuff you like that I don't" because he watched exactly 13.5 seconds of Melissa Etheridge as he was walking to the bathroom and stopped to say "What are you watching?". The point at which I exploded was when Sting was on about six hours past Melissa, but all I could hear was the blistering thump of upstairs crunk although I had clearly stated that I was not to hear his bass heavy stereo when I got home to watch a few minutes of the concert.

The Mancub vs. Big Poppy Wars had many lovely cease fires between extensive bombings. By the time Papa Seed had returned from his weekend research project, there wasn't a cease fire however. Just tension between exhausted troops. Papa Seed brought us to the Peace Talks, and the next day when the two Dads celebrated their 15th anniversary, Mancub stayed home to do his first solo cookie baking and damn if those cookies weren't better than any batch the Dads had made during lessons. The old guys went out for Thai and talked about their kid and finances. Happy Anniversary. Then got home to be handed a perfectly done peanut butter cookie. There was a good feeling in the home last night.

This morning, not so good. Another bombing. I was angry all day as I sat at work trying to remind myself of the realities of teenage boys and parent/son relationships and unrealistic expectations and inappropriate responses. This evening was our second hand drum lesson - just Mancub and me, our evening together. And he was totally charming and sweet and thoughtful and I felt like the most fortunate but least deserving Dad on the planet. He wanted to go to the coffeehouse by the conga studio afterwards, because that has already become part of the ritual and it was clearly important to him. He wanted to do the thing he invented where you pass your drink to the left (or slide it), take a sip, and pass it back. It is much more heatwarming when one is a sipper. I let him listen to his station after that. I couldn't quite go so far as to do the hand move to Party Like A Rock Star tonight, but I did nod my head while I drove.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Swept Away

There are plenty of times, like for instance now, when I say to myself I can not do this. Mancub came back from our two hour trip to see the remodeled Boys and Girls Club and then to go out to eat yet another damn hamburger from yet another damn hamburger joint that I seriously can't afford financially, ethically, or physically but that I seem to always end up at in an effort to win his favor only to plop in the recliner and ask if he could watch another episode of Family Guy.

Have you done your chores?, I asked knowing the answer and trying to keep the veins in my forehead from rising. What chores?, which was the wrong answer since we have been asking him daily to do the ones on the daily, weekly and monthly lists that are posted on the kitchen wall. Papa Seed says those lists aren't really working out he says. Or, he has the nerve to say.

That is because you aren't doing your jobs. Clearly stating the obvious. He doesn't have time. I asked why they couldn't be done this morning. Because he didn't wake up until two. Why not then. Because he was watching Family Guy (I was out with the dogs making sure they got some exercise).

Then there is the issue of the broken PSP and trying to find the warranty which I guess is something that Papa Seed had been helping him with and had placed in a file someplace that only one person knows about. Frankly, I think the PSP is the Devil's Tool and needs to be burned in the fire along with a certain 'tude. The PSP is the Linus' security blanket for Mancub, this I know and try to cut him some slack for it, but I'm over the isolation toys and gadgets.

The idea of taking even a fraction of one of my two days off to go to a place like Best Buys is bone chilling. That I would dare consider it, had the file been uncovered it, is a tremendous gift that will go unappreciated.

He has been sulking in the squeaky recliner. I think I just heard the dustpan hit to floor. Sweeping is one of the chores on his list. Now I hear chairs being moved about. I got through this without yelling or swearing and with only one slightly inapproprate comment about going on a cooking and shopping strike since the chore list isn't really working out. This time I'm the one shut away in my room with headphones on. When it is over, I'll suggest we sit down and watch Family Guy together. I'll let out a huge sigh the first time there is a penis joke (two minutes into the show I'm betting) and he will look over at me and chuckle.


Friday, July 6, 2007


We got the phone call this evening, a month after Mancub shoplifted that damn soda. Papa Seed actually took the call - someone from the court system recommending him for a diversion program. As far as we were concerned this was water under the bridge after dealing out what we thought were fair consequences and taking into account the incident happened one week after his official move-in date and the first day that it was just the three of us together as a family after weeks of visiting kin.

The rest of the day had gone well. After work, I hopped on a bus to meet up with the family to see an afternoon showing of Sicko. Mancub had lost his contacts while swimming earlier in the day and wanted to sit far closer to the screen than I was comfortable but the things we do for love. He slept through most of it, so my manipulative attempt to get him into documentaries which he has already stated are not movies and that he does not like was a bit of a failure. I thought he would find this quite funny, but as far as Michael Moore goes this was a bit less zany and full of a bit more unsauced slabs of meat. He did stay alert for most of the last half hour - even saying "That's sad" about one segment and "Why do people ever leave there?" after the France portion. Even if I did talk in theaters, and I don't not even to speak to my own child with more than one whispered word, I wouldn't have had an answer. France looked pretty damn great. So did Canada. And Cuba.

So he slept through most of it. I was disappointed, but I've decided not to give up. After all - he was way into the Planet Earth series never once referring to it as a documentary. And what are Pimp My Ride and Sweet 16 and whatever else those shows are, if not mini-documentaries that owe a great deal to Mr. Moore among others.

When the credits were rolling - and we have trained him to stay until they have stopped - he said to me "Is this Tenacious D?" Yikes. "No" I said breaking my no talking rule because it was such an important correction and because the actual film part was over. "It is Cat Stevens - Yusef Islam" I said giving both because I had to or I would have had to start scratching my skin and taking deep breaths. Some other day I'll tell him why I had to speak in a theater.

The phone call a few hours later totally harshed our post film mellow. Damn it. We came home and had watched an episode of Family Guy because that is what we do now. Fritz the Cat wasn't so nasty, and you had to be an adult to even enter the theater. I'm using it as a mutual exchange of interests. He owes me several Fellinis by now. Then we made cookies and while they were cooling the court woman rang. Mancub was totally angry during the diversion discussion, but such is life. He was adamant he will not go to counseling, although near the end of our chat he lessened his promise a tad saying he would walk out of counseling if it was in a white room and the counselor wore plaid pants. Then we started a fire and made S'mores.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007


A new place.

We watched the fireworks on TV because the mansion being built across the street now blocks any view of mountains, sunrise or fireworks. Filthy rich. Mancub and Papa Seed grilled hotdogs while we listened to Greg Vandy's Soul Special on KEXP- always an event. Curtis Mayfield, Isley Brothers, Sly Stone, Laura Lee, Lee Dorsey, Sugar Billy, Bobby Hebb, Aretha, Lynda Lyndell, Sweet Inspirations, and Marlena Shaw starting things off with Wish I Knew (How It Would Feel To Be Free) - a truly great hand clapping soul-fueled antidote for the patrio-repugnancy of the Holiday.

By the time Funkadelic's Can You Get To That was played, I think Mancub had checked out to the iPod shuffle and/or the video games. Sometimes I just can't know because I want so much for him to get on up, get into it, get involved with the great American music that I feel a little wounded when he starts developing his own standards. Already, so soon into this fatherhood I'm emotionally one of the people I've always resented - the parent who wants a carbon copy. The reality is I'm neither acting on that, or feel that way the majority of the time - nor does he totally dismiss great music in favor of something more high stimulation teenage testosterone marketed. After I corrected him with the words to the O'Jays Love Train, with which he had started singing ~ "I'm a Love Freak - A Love Freak", he stated ~ "Do you have this? We should get this!!" But it was the Funkadelic song I really wanted him to hear because we have had several conversations concerning the multitude of George Clinton's scripture. Mancub thinks James Brown is George Clinton, in spite of being taught well many times when he starts to sing songs with Funk in the lyrics. Give Up The Funk (Tear The Roof Off The Sucker) is a favorite of his, in spite of the confusion over the actual artist. It has led to many promises of a Funk Night in the house which we have neglected to follow through on. He wants to get Funked Up and that makes me happy.

Of course, he also loved War's Low Rider a fact which makes me very, very happy. So what if he probably knows it from one of those "Pimp My Ride" type shows and not Sundays in the park - you gotta meet 'em where you can.