Today marks my last day as a housewife. It’s back to work tomorrow. Can’t say it’s gonna be easy. I wish I could be a housewife forever. I was getting my fill. Raising Ellison, drinking tons of coffee, helping out my lovely wife, daily trips to supermarket, listening to more music than I can stand (trunks of funk). Life’s been good to me. And, by the time I’m heading home, Ellison’s kicking her legs, flailing her arms around and, wait for it, lifting her head. For those scoring at home (and I hate to brag), that’s an accomplishment usually accomplished between the first and the second month. Girl ain’t even due yet and she’s lifting her head. Actually, give the girl a round of applaud. Today was her original birthday…September 27th. Just a day removed from when the Red Sox would beat the Yankees and take over the AL East on the way to another World Championship. Neither happened.
She arrived 18 days early and the Sox were pushed to the very brink of the season last night after losing to the Yankees in 10 innings. So much for “as planned.”
Game update, Sox are up on the ChiSox 5-1 and the Yankees lost to Toronto 7-5. We fought to live another day.
Sometimes paternity leave is kinda like fighting to live another day. The days truly do run together. It’s a grind, no doubt. But then, other times, it’s like two weeks in Cancun. Nonetheless, it’s been educational beyond anything I could’ve expected. I’ve learned a ton about Baby Ellison. But I’ve learned a great deal else about my environ. In fact, let’s just go ahead and list these off. Make sure I don’t miss anything.
11 THINGS I LEARNED WHILE ON PATERNITY LEAVE:
1 Kathie Lee Gifford is one ugly man.
2 Nothing can replace the sincerest delight of drinking 6:30AM coffee in the sunroom with your daughter listening to Herbie Hancock.
3 Satellite television is littered with marathon programming. You can realistically watch every episode of an entire series and be caught up by the time the 6:00 news comes on. Best programs in a marathon format: COPS, American Pickers and Pawn Stars. As a sidenote, “America’s Next Top Model” is always on television. I have yet to identify an hour that it is not on.
4 My neighbors are weirder than I normally thought thanks to being able to monitor their daytime habits and behaviors.
5 Anything is possible with the University of Phoenix.
6 Laundry and dishes should be done twice a week. Always keep the sink clear of clutter.
7 My dogs are mad lazy. They do absolutely nothing all day. Like, seriously, they’d eat lunch and dinner laying down on their side if you gave them the option.
8 There’s nothing quite like a 3:30PM ale and a game of Wii Golf. -9 is the best I can accomplish on that course.
9 There are three or four dogs within earshot of my Baby Ellison’s nursery that could use a good beatdown. Not including mine. Jackson and Tucker are the best dogs in the world. I’m demanding that they have their vocal cords removed.
10 Removing a dog’s vocal cords does not silence them. Instead, it turns a healthy bark into an annoying “yodel” sound. So I’ve read.
11 The same beat music that people used to get stoned to, makes for really good baby music. Ninja Tune, DJ Shadow, Herbaliser, etc. Not that I ever did, but I knew one cat that smoked himself stupid and those records were his soundtrack. Very good for the kiddie.
Also learned that Les McCann’s Layers is a dope little lullaby record. This one col’ knocks her out too. Says one, McCann “literally ‘layered’ moogs, clavinets, the electric piano and various synthesizers to create this unique masterstroke of electronic funk paving the way not only for the synthesizer onslaught to come but to every artist to come. Nevertheless there is a very abstract feel to the suite even if it’s very accessible-the melodies drip and drip like a leaky faucet until they sink into the memory. Listing any particular highlights are pointless…every track is excellent and transcendent as a whole. Remarkable!” Yeah, what he said. Geez, speaking of smoking yourself stupid.
Back when I was blowing up The Root Down, I had discovered how fantastically educational and fulfilling an experience it was to go back and listen to exclusively hip hop from 20 years back instead of any of the new stuff and, in turn, transformed my year-end hip hop review into a retrospective of hip hop from 20 years ago. And, I’m dead serious, for two years, I only listened to hip hop from 20 years ago. If it came out in 1994, to me, it’s like it never existed. I deliberately packed up anything that was newer than that and packed it away deep in the shed or the garage. I wanted none of it. I loaded a Zune (appropriately renamed “Da Pocket Prophet”) with hip hop meeting this criteria.
Now, though, with Raisingelle, I’m not really left a platform conducive to such a list. Then, one night as I exhaustedly rocked back and forth in Baby Ellison’s room, I arrived at my next ambitious undertaking. The Boogiemporium here at Raisingelle was developed to take both a critical and strong parental strike at some of the different recordings that I have laying around here at the house. And, to bring even more clarity, we’ve (I’ve) developed a rating system which assesses the content of the record for appropriateness for your young’s. I thought what if I was to basically take the best kiddo-pproved hip hop recordings from 20 years back and compile a list based not only the quality of the recording, but the appropriateness for youngsters. Problem was, for any given year, there’s probably only about five to seven hip hop records that fit that format. The lists would be anemic and by the time you got to the last record, I might’ve rung that towel so dry that you’d thought I’d lost my hearing. So, instead, I’ve expanded the reach to five-year buckets. So, in December, I will present to you for the first time in all its glory: Raisingelle’s Top 25 Kid-Friendly Hip Hop Recordings from 1987-1991. By then, I’ll have a better description than “kid-friendly.” That just screams Target or Wal-Mart. It’s early.
We’ll have to make something crystal clear, though. Content rating will be assessed on the absence of obvious colorful language or four-letter words, but there might still be social messaging, political proclamations, drug references (possibly even in endorsements), innuendo and otherwise fancy assertions. For instance, when Rakim says, “So what if I’m a microphone fiend addicted soon as I sing one of these for mc’s so they don’t have to scream. I couldn’t wait to take the mic, flow into it to test, then let my melody play, and then the record suggest that I’m droppin bombs, but I stay peace and calm. Any emcee that disagree with me just wave your arm and I’ll break. When I’m through breakin I’ll leave you broke. Drop the mic when I’m finished and watch it smoke.” While it’s aggressive language and he’s boastfully proclaiming his prowess, I don’t consider it remotely obscene or inappropriate for young listeners. I mean, if you rated it next to the perversion of today’s pop radio format, Rakim would look like Barry Manilow. I wouldn’t necessarily rate it as “RUFUS” (which is clean as a whistle), but more likely as “FRESH PRINCE.” Radio-ready, Tipper Gore-approved hip hop. Words like “dropping’,” “bombs,” “arms,” and “break,” are not obscene by their very nature, but the arrangement of these words accomplish a meaning that might be objectionable. It beats having to explain to your child what 50 Cent was talking about when made reference to his “candy stick.” Yeah.
Holla, holla. Day two back at work.