Sunday!

One of the things that I used to give the nephews on their 7th birthday was their very own copy of Peter Frampton’s “Frampton Comes Alive!

Well, this is something that I more or less stopped doing in the past few years. The boys don’t have cd players anymore. Which pretty much makes albums not a thing anymore. (Plus there’s the whole “Cool Dad Raising Daughter On Media That Will Put Her Entirely Out Of Touch With Her Generation” thing where, sure, I know that I’m giving the kids something awesome… but, really, it’s not like the kids will be standing around the schoolyard talking about the cool guitar talking thing that he does.)

Giving books isn’t like that though, right? I mean, to some degree, it is. If you give the kids some Lloyd Alexander and make them read the Prydain stuff or the Westmark stuff, it’ll be awesome but if you want them to be talking about what everybody else is talking about, you give them Hunger Games stuff or the Maze Runner stuff. Heck, if you want them to be able to talk about politics at all, you’re doing them a disservice if you don’t get them the Harry Potter novels.

Hopefully, non-fiction isn’t like that…

One of the nephews is absolutely nuts about science, you see. And one of the best science writers out there is Richard Feynman. (Or, at least, he was back when I was a kid.) His 1974 commencement address at California Institute of Technology was one of our assigned readings in Physics class. His lecture “There’s Plenty of Room at the Bottom” was something we talked about in the same breath as our discussions of Cyberpunk when we were talking about Nanotech (though we were discussing interesting assassinations rather than interesting medical techniques).

I know that all of the science the kids are reading today was written by people who grew up on Feynman (in the same way that the music they listen to was written by people who grew up on Frampton) and so we’re going to give them The Pleasure of Finding Things Out and Perfectly Reasonable Deviations (from the Beaten Track) and they’ll probably say something like “my teachers already talked about this stuff! But I thought it was (insert scientist who came later) who said it…”

But, if we’re lucky, they’ll say something like “but, wow! This is really good!” You know, like they ought to with Frampton.

So… what are you reading and/or watching?


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Jaybird is Birdmojo on Xbox Live and Jaybirdmojo on Playstation's network. He's been playing consoles since the Atari 2600 and it was Zork that taught him how to touch-type. If you've got a song for Wednesday, a commercial for Saturday, a recommendation for Tuesday, an essay for Monday, or, heck, just a handful a questions, fire off an email to AskJaybird-at-gmail.com

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17 thoughts on “Sunday!

    • But does he explain why if you go to one side of a mirror, really close, you can see stuff that the mirror can’t “see”?

      Also why isn’t OT saving my name and email, making me enter it every time like before?

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  1. Re: Cooldad. My son and I have often talked about this, as I am 10-20 years younger than most of the parents of his friends (I was 24 when he was born.) The sheer trying-too-hard-ness of many of these fathers is breathtaking. It used to be the sports dads, battling middle age with little league angst, but it has moved into music and movies and books and all aspects of pop culture. Seeing these old dudes with skinny jeans, ironic tee’s, blue hair, trying desperately to be the kid’s friend… not realizing how much the kid thinks they are idiots.

    The two of us, back in February, drove across the states when he moved from Sacramento to Philidelphia. Eight days of going back and forth on the music, playing albums or playlists for each other, not trying to show how cool we were but to listen to what we thought was good. The only rule was with the controls for Spotify the passenger had to choose. It was a great time.

    I have turned back to 1Q84, which I had set aside for unknown reasons. I am thinking much of the criticism missed the mark.

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  2. Just a note that the particular kid we are giving these particular Feynmans to already responded very enthusiastically to previously gifted-by-me-Feynmans and went out and read a ton of the “purer” stuff (Six Not-So-Easy Pieces, etc) on his own.

    In case anyone is wondering why *those* 2 particular Feynmans this time. Probably not where we’d start from scratch! Particularly the letters, which are a hefty tome.

    I’m working very hard at reading some Marilynne Robinson essays and very much enjoying the effort.

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    • Speaking as a former teenage physics nerd, once he gets to calculus, steering him towards the full three volume set of Feynman lectures (if he hasn’t found them himself already) will almost surely delight him. I still have my set, though now that I don’t do physics anymore I rarely have reason to refer to it except nostalgia and enjoyment.

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  3. My parents visited for part of Labor Day Weekend, and as is quasi-traditional, we saw a movie together.

    This time it was Searching, which is a pretty conventional (if well-constructed) “parent tries to find jeopardized child” thriller, except that it is presented entirely via shots of his computer screen as he tries to unravel the mystery of what happened to her from her social media presence. It’s a little contrived by necessity, and the guy uses more Facetime and watches more streamed TV news than any real human being I’ve met, but it’s still cleverly done, the pacing is good, and John Cho (of Sulu/Harold fame) gives a pretty great performance as the dad.

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  4. Just started The Sea Wolves: A History of the Vikings by Lars Brownworth (it feels a little lightweight, so I’d happily listen to suggestions on books about Vikings if anyone’s got ’em). Just finished Last First Snow, part of Max Gladstone’s Craft Cycle. They’re kind of a “magic-with-legal-drama” series and they’re ok. Gladstone writes good characters and knows how to make a fight scene gripping.

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  5. “As a boy, I’m coming up through the 60s so I thought you know my late teens, early twenties were gonna by the most radical years of my life and I get there and it’s yeah, Pete Frampton in a kimono”
    — Mike Watt

    If you want to gift nostalgia, give your nephew a copy of the Minutemen’s “My First Bells”. It only came out on cassette.

    Then again, growing up, anyone telling me I should like something made me instantly hate it, so stick with Frampton, show them the way.

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  6. How easily we forget the Peter Frampton episode of Baa Baa Black Sheep.
    A big thing of its time, but it did not launch the big Frampton acting career.
    In all fairness, stopped short by a big car accident.
    Prior to the big Ace Frehley car accident, IIRC.
    Was crashing cars before it got to be a thing.

    I prefer Frampton!
    I like the studio version of “Penny for Your Thoughts” a lot better.
    Don’t care for the live version.
    Pretty much the same for “Money.”
    And “Nowhere’s Too Far for My Baby” isn’t on Frampton Comes Alive.”

    Been listening to Extreme’s III Sides to Every Story lately.
    One of the greatest albums of all time.
    I found out this one didn’t make the CD:
    Don’t Leave Me Alone
    It was released with three other singles, as well as a boxed set; all out of print.
    Thankfully, I have the cassette, as well as the CD.

    Also, met a drummer who is into Kiss.
    That will be interesting.

    Also, teaching a developmentally disabled kid the balalaika.
    “The Tracks of My Tears” is the one we’re working on now.
    Sounds surprisingly good on the balalaika.

    I still like playing “Master of Puppets” on the thing when people ask me, “What does it sound like?”
    A: It sounds like whatever you want to make it sound like.
    I do use nylon strings on my balalaikas though.
    Strictly nylon.

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