Little Girl/Gay Music

Little Girl/Gay Music

Driving up the Merritt Parkway and listening to Disney Pandora with my kids a few weeks ago, I found myself jamming to “When Will My Life Begin?” from Tangled. I’m definitely out of the closet and love pop music.

I canNOT resist that song.

I know. I’m a grown man bopping my head to princess music. But trust me: it is so catchy. I felt silly, I admit. I’m a musician and enjoy all types of music. But the pint-sized dictators in my life demanding “ABC’s” or “Princesses” when we drive make a lot of the tuneful decisions when driving. And I’ve become an unknowing participant.

What has my life come to? I actually like Pandora’s “Kid’s Pop” station.

But don’t we all secretly like Katy Perry? Just a little bit? I mean, when she was on that awkward firework-spewing contraption a few years ago at the Super Bowl, didn’t we all feel a little thrill?

Well, I did.

I’ve always had a penchant for catchy pop music, within reason. Pop radio stations are awful for more than 15 minutes. Everything’s interchangeable. Too much is even too superficial for me.

But those summer anthems and one-hit wonders are delicious candy. Catchy songs by Pharrel Williams, Justin Bieber, and Justin Timberlake get plenty of play on my phone.

But somehow, the male musicians’ music isn’t embarrassing. And what’s up with that? It’s all cheesy pop, isn’t it? I suppose we can dissect why pop music by women is emasculating while pop music by men is still “pretty cool”. But that’s for another time.

Or not.

While belting Rapunzel’s song, I was reminded of Bill Maher’s “New Rule” from a ahilwe ago: “Science has to figure out why little girls and gay men like the same music.”

It’s funny (cuz it’s true). And I couldn’t help but dissect his joke (cuz I’m me…and defensive).

I’d say little girls and gays like music that’s catchy, up-beat, and up-lifting. Maybe Bill Maher needs to come out of the closet and love pop music.

Isn’t it amazing that music and dance are both art forms shared by every culture around the world? Kids and adults around the world love to dance. At least the world outside of the US. In large part, we Americans are afriad of looking stupid or unsexy. People might jam a little at a wedding, but we are nothing like the rest of the world that loves to crowd a dance floor. We Americans are too caught up in looking, well…in control and poised and cool and, frankly…masculine. Especially men…like Bill Maher.

But aren’t kids universally entertained by sunshiney music that inspires them to wiggle? And then what happens? We reach adolescence and rebel. Sunshiney music is no longer socially acceptable. And that’s fine. “Mature” music lends itself to emotional introspection and artistic expression.

But what’s wrong with still appreciating “little girl/gay” music?

Our cult of cool trumps pleasure.

It seems to me Bill Maher and his fellow sticks-in-the-mud squelch their inner child by criticizing “little girl/gay” music. They repress their inner child who enjoys fun music. And heaven forbid their Spotify list seem remotely “feminine” (read: gay.)

Bill Maher, do you really protest “Call Me Maybe” when it comes on at a wedding? You never smile (even internally) when you hear Taylor Swift’s “Shake it Off”?

Is it too gay for you? Rather than be seen to enjoy yourself (like a kid), you’d sit and sulk in the corner?

Well, dude, real men know how to enjoy some bubble gum pop, too.

You’re missing out.

The Best Music to Make Kids Interesting Humans: The 1970’s.

The Best Music to Make Kids Interesting Humans: The 1970’s.

I just need my kids to be kind…and smart…and work hard. Okay, I lied. In addition to those attributes, I need them to be moderately interesting conversationalists. And because we are having a crisis of endless pop music looping in our household, I need to craft a list of the best music from the 1970’s to make my kids interesting humans.

My older kid is currently obsessed with Britney Spears. Britney walks (and gyrates) on water for my 7yo and, while I’m unabashedly in love with bubble gum pop music, my 7yo now thinks that skimpy schoolgirl outfits and head-to-toe red pleather is the very definition of what performance, singing and dancing should encompass.

And I am not okay with this.

With all due respect to Britney, pop music is simple and basic. There’s a reason I doubt “Hit Me Baby One More Time” will ever be in the canon of “recommended music for kids.”

In the car the other day, I insisted on avoiding Ms. B. Spears and scrolled through YouTube to find some more kid-friendly music, which included “Supercalifragilistic…” and “Do-Re-Mi” and suddenly both my kids were delighted to sing these songs that are relatable for their hearts and minds.

But I need to sophisticate my kids beyond basic nursery rhymes, however marvelous Julie Andrews’ biggest hits may be.

In the canon of American music, our kids deserve to know more than JUST the GoNoodle songs, more than JUST nursery rhymes, and more than JUST classical music.

My children deserve to sing along with something less insufferable than Britney’s kewpie doll “yeah, yeah’s”. And even complex riffing doesn’t give you the musical basis to be able to sing precisely and on-pitch.

Hence: this list of the best music from the 1970’s to make kids interesting humans.

Because I can’t abide any more “Oops, I Did it Again” (more than once a day. Don’t get me wrong. I love me some pop music.)

For now, this is the ECKnox “Best Music to Make Your Kids Moderately Interesting Humans: the 1970’s” compilation to make any person minimally interesting. (Oh, yes. I plan to expand these playlists.) But without these basics from the American (and occasional English) rock canon of the 1970’s, you’re just not interesting. #sorrynotsorry.

Give your kids a leg-up on being interesting and share in my first Spotify playlist.

Feel free to add or amend. I fully expect you musical trolls to criticize. Remember: I limited this to 20 diverse songs from the 70’s that would/could/should appeal to young kids. These are the basics for the starting point of an interesting and cultured life for your kids (and you.)

What did I miss?

This is the essential rock basics your kids need to know to be redeemable people.

1. Take Me Home, Country Road, John Denver

Because you’re never too old to feel that spine-tingling nostalgia tipping into full-blown tears. (As an aside, this is one of our very favorite picture books in our family.)

2. American Pie, Don McLean 

Because duh.

3. ABC, Jackson 5

Because we’re never too old for an alphabetical review.

4. Three Little Birds, Bob Marley

Because our job is to reassure our kids

5. Crocodile Rock, Elton John

Because the happiness of his melody gives us all the feels. (Forgive the link to the movie Rocketman instead of to actual Elton John – I just love the crafting of this scene demonstrating the elevating power of music.)

6. Think, Aretha Franklin

Cuz there ain’t no one better than Aretha (even when refurbished in the Blues Brothers scene.)

7. Go West, The Village People

Because fun is necessary in all our lives. (As is camp.)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zD4kHC8cv3k

8. Stayin’ Alive, The BeeGees

Because every kid needs to know how to strut to this sick beat. (Although Travolta does it better than the actual BeeGees in this video.)

9. Brown-Eyed Girl, Van Morrison

Because life is better with a good tune and a big ol’ smile.

10. We Will Rock You, Queen

Kids will love the beat, the drums, the simple words.

11. Imagine, John Lennon

Because it’s a must-know for a life of love and hope.

12. Satisfaction, The Rolling Stones

Because what do kids understand more profoundly than not getting enough?

13. Copacabana, Barry Manilow

Because story-telling is an art, and songs with a through-line (even a murder), are more interesting. (Also, you’re welcome for this particular old video.)

14. Hotel California, The Eagles

Because sadness is an emotion we all need to embrace for our healthy emotional lives and the minor keys of this song take the listener on quite the journey.

15. Sedated, The Ramones

Because it’ll make you feel cooler than the other parents when your kids know these very simple lyrics.

16. Lean On Me, Bill Withers

Because music teaches your kids to be compassionate instead of assholes.

17. I Feel the Earth Move, Carole King

Because she’s the queen who made queens.

18. A Horse with No Name, America

Because the randomness of these lyrics delights young and old.

19. September, Earth Wind & Fire

Because duh.

20. Ain’t No Mountain High Enough, any version – Marvin’s or Diana’s.

Because imagery builds comprehension and every version is doing your kids a favor, here.

The Best (and/or Coolest) Diaper Bag for Dads

The Best (and/or Coolest) Diaper Bag for Dads

Am I titling this “The Best (and/or Coolest) Diaper Bag for Dads” and including terms like “cool” and “stylish” within the first sentence to maximize my SEO in a way that makes me seem like I know what “maximizing SEO” means?

Absolutely.

However, I’m serious – this is the best (and/or coolest) diaper bag for cool dads and stylish dads.

Amanda Kloots thinks so, and she can do like five-minute-long planks:

Additionally, these folks at TTPM? They’re like deadly serious and they think the bag rocks.

So in addition to these highly-scientific endorsements, and the fact that you’re a new parent, there’s no reason you need to compromise your sense of style. It’ll help your entire parenting mojo.

Just like fashion: it’s all attitude.

Perhaps you feel like rocking a cowboy hat walking down Madison Avenue? Just own it and love yourself for it.

Living their best life. Totes jealous, ain’t ya?

Or maybe it’s your jam to sport pink platform boots with googley eyes on Main Street, (or in this case 28th Street), then dude: werq it.

And the ECKnox Carryall diaper bag is a bag new dads (and moms!) can rock with confidence and attitude.

However, “ECKnox Carryall diaper bag” – that’s a mouth full, isn’t it? I gotta get my team on that.

Quick sidebar with the team:

  • Me: Hey, Team!
  • The Voices in My Head: Yeah?
  • Me: Can we simplify the name?
  • TVIMH: Hm-kay.
  • Me: How about just ‘diaper bag’?
  • TVIMH: But then that might limit your commercial reach.
  • Me: Perhaps, but…
  • TVIMH: Or men might think “dudes don’t carry diaper bags”.
  • Me: Eh, it’s 2019. Plus, that perspective of uninvolved dads is what I’m trying to change.
  • TVIMH: And also, you can remove the liner of your bag and it becomes a cool messenger bag for when parents have outgrown diapers.
  • Me: Right.
  • TVIMH: And isn’t that one of the selling points that justify the price of your bag?
  • Me: Totes.
  • TVIMH: That and the fact that it’s a complicated bag with lots of features and super slick styling and high quality nylon and leather detailing that jacks the price up, too?
  • Me: Do we really need to highlight the pricing, here?
  • TVIMH: Just stating the obvious from the voices in your head. Apparently you have insecurities you need to work out. That’s on you, dude.

Anyway.

When I was expecting my first kid, I wanted a slick, masculine diaper bag that announced, “I’m proud to be a new dad and I want to look good being that dad.” But in all my research, I couldn’t find such a bag.

I thought about it for another year, had another kid, and but still was confounded that such a bag didn’t exist.

So I set out to make it, myself – a bag with sophistication, super functionality, and timeless styling.

Something that made people say, “Wow. Nice bag. I wonder what it is? Oh, wait a minute! That’s that designer diaper bag for dads. Ohhhh…he’s a new dad! Ahhhh.”

And all hearts would melt on the subway/playground/street/hottest-new-brunch-restaurant-in-the-trendiest-neighborhood.

(Lucky for you, I wrote about my journey here and here but also here and moreover here.)

Do I harbor the illusion that men are going to flock to buy bags for themselves? In some cases, yes. But don’t worry, I’m not delusional – this bag is branded for men and marketed to the women who will be 70% of the purchasers.

So.

Why’s this the best (and/or coolest) diaper bag for stylish dads?

Form and function.

The features:

This is the best diaper bag for dads because it has 14 pockets.

How can you go wrong? This is also the best diaper bag for dads because two of those pockets are for bottles and it’s REALLY the best diaper bag for dads because one of those bottle holders accommodates a bottle of wine for those particularly tough days on the playground. (Might want to get your own paper bag to protect your assets while drinking in a playground, though.)

This is the best diaper bag for dads because there are frequently no changing stations in men’s rooms.

So I made it the best diaper bag for dads because there’s a zip-open changing station for those times there’s no changing station in the restroom. However, there might be times you can’t be bothered to leave the playground; in which case you wanna show your parenting badassery by changing your kid’s diaper on the playground like a BOSS (who’s not overly freaked out about germs. Because kids are petri dishes. Make peace with the germs. It builds character and resilience and immunity.)

This is the best diaper bag for dads because there’s a padded laptop sleeve.

Not only is there a laptop sleeve that makes this the best (and/or coolest) diaper bag for dads, but there are also three sleeves in which you can stow wallets, phones, pens, sunglasses and those quick-access things you just don’t feel like carrying in your pockets (cuz your ass looks better in your pants when you aren’t carrying bulky things. More on that at another time.)

The best diaper bag for dads has mesh pockets inside the liner so you can organize how you want, but see what’s in the pocket.

The coolest diaper bag for dads would have to be easy to clean, so we made it that way. The liner is removable with a hidden zipper. That way, you can wash the liner and even replace it (INSERT LINK FOR NEW LINERS, HERE. OOPS – however I need first to design and manufacture replaceable liners and THEN insert the link for purchase).

Furthermore, what REALLY makes this the best diaper bag for dads is once the liner is removed, there’s an inner liner that’s slick and black and professional, so you can continue to use the bag for years as a messenger bag after you’re done with the diapering.

You can also quickly convert the bag to a backpack (which many bags can do, but they aren’t the best (and/or coolest) diaper bag for dads.)

Finally (and seriously, y’all…this is my favorite feature) what makes this the best (and/or coolest) diaper bag for dads is the instant access to wet wipes.

Through an interior pocket open with a magnetized flap, you can be friggin’ Oprah on the playground.

  • You want a wet wipe? Boom. Here ya go.
  • Need a wet wipe? Boom. Here, Daddy.
  • Ahhhh…forgot your wet wipes? Boom. Here ya go, Mommy.
  • You definitely need a wet wipe, snot-nosed kid whose mom is buried in her phone and isn’t paying attention to the fact that her kid is wiping snot and kid pink eye all over the monkey bars.
  • Oh, and you need a wet wipe, son. Yes, you do, kid. Come here. Please come here, now. Right here to Daddy. Come, right – Junior? Come here right now and make Daddy look good so the other parents on the playground don’t judge him for being just another helicopter parent whose kids don’t actually mind him at all. Junior? One. Two. Don’t make me get to three. Two and a half. Two and three quarters. Boom Here’s your wet wipe.

There ya have it, folks. The best and coolest diaper bag for dads.

And in no way is this bag just meant for dads. All my girlfriends say “why would you only make this for dads? I’d totally carry this. I never liked my stupid pink, puffy bag!”

Exactly, ladies. You’re invited, too. But I started the company to cater to, well, me.

And I’m an only-child actor. So my needs come first.

Lemme sell a few bags, establish my brand, and bring a ton of other really cool things to market to expand into a lifestyle brand, and then this bag will be all about the gender-nonspecific stylish parenting.

For now? I gotta grow my niche.

Won’t you help?

Buy a bag.

It’s an investment that’ll make you feel good inside and out for years to come.

Can any other bag do that for you?

Nope. Because they’re not the best and/or coolest diaper bag for stylish dads.