This post is for two groups of readers: Canadians and Louisianans, particularly geeky types ages 20 to 35.
Does this sound familiar?
It may be just 10 seconds of weird synth burbling, but oh! the memories it brings back! That’s the theme song for Parlez-Moi, one of the most bizarre and memorable programs of my youth.
In it, great Canadian clown (there’s a phrase you weren’t expecting to read today) Marc Favreau portrays the sad clown Sol, who gets into a series of wacky adventures — most of them involving him goodnaturedly screwing something up. Episodes included “Sol Minds the Fruit Store,” “Sol at the Hairdresser’s,” and the thriller “Sol and the Tomatoes.”
The key thing was that Sol would have his misadventures in French — then Marc Favreau would come out and tell the audience what all the words meant in English. Real learning! It was originally produced by TVOntario to heal the linguistic divisions of our great northern neighbor, but in the 1980s, Louisiana Public Broadcasting licensed the rights and showed it to impressionable youth like me. (A variety of political forces were advocating for building a new generation of francophones back then.) Anybody else remember this?
Not that I knew it at the time, but apparently Sol was originally a political clown.
While I’m rummaging through childhood memories, here’s the theme to Simon in the Land of Chalk Drawings. (More.)


My story from today’s front page: “Wilmer-Hutchins schools will shut down for the next year, district leaders decided Monday night, and their teachers, principals and librarians are out of work. But the district received an unexpected lifeline from its state managers that could bring the district back from the dead in one year’s time.”

australian test fame

Remember when I mentioned a couple weeks ago that had somehow been mentioned on the General Achievement Test given to graduating Australian high schoolers?
Well, I snagged a copy of the test from the authorities down under, and it’s true! The test features a reading passage from superstar blogger and Friend of Crabwalk Maud Newton. It’s an adaptation of a piece she wrote for Maisonneuve about how she got into blogging. It highlights the “blend of mild exhibitionism and cultural commentary” Maud seems to think I produce here.
Anyway, scans of the passage and questions: page 1 and page 2.
By the far the best question: “The writer suggests that Josh Benton’s website was worthwhile mainly because it was: (a) scholarly, (b) excessive, (c) subversive, (d) interactive.”
I leave the answer to that one up to the reader. Write-in votes for “(e) Benton’s site is not actually worthwhile” will be considered.

the glory hole

Homeless shelters are not generally good sources of humor, but then again, most aren’t named The Glory Hole. See if you can guess the context for the following three quotes, all taken from the linked story:
“I will eat whatever you put in front of me.”
“We serve a lot of guys who need protein to get their days going.”
“We didn’t know that it is illegal.”

who dat drummer, vol. 2

Welcome to the second installment of a burgeoning tradition here on Who Dat Drummer?
As I said not long ago: “It’s my attempt, the day after attending a fine indie-rock show, to describe the appearance of the performing bands’ drummers in terms of other historical or contemporary figures. Drummers are, of course, the quiet showboats of indie rock — free to cultivate a sartorial or facial-hair strangeness, but not burdened by the attempts at prettyness required of frontmen.”
I’m a couple days late, but:
– Spoon (drummer Jim Eno): 60 percent Dudley Moore, 40 percent Davy Jones.
Thank you for playing Who Dat Drummer?
(Aside: Spoon rocked something fierce. I was a little worried, since I’d only seen them once before and was disappointed — and there’s nothing worse than seeing a band you love live for the first time and being disappointed. Okay, there are worse things. Like psoriasis. But back to Spoon — this time they were terrific. Britt Daniel has an oddly courtly manner with an audience, and Jim Eno is really a terrific drummer. That man could summon the gods with those big ol’ timpani mallets.)

mark eitzel interview

Interviews with Tim Mooney and Mark Eitzel, drummer and singer/songwriter/guitarist (respectively) of American Music Club, the band whose 1991 song gives this site its name.
The Tim interview is nothing special, but the Mark interview sums up everything I love about every interview Mark has given in the last 20 years. It’s got it all, starting with the slavering fanboy attitude of the interviewer. (Mark is beloved by critics, less so by the record-buying public.)
The token strangeness that is Mark’s life: “I’ve had, like, the weirdest night of my whole life. This millionaire who owns Maxim magazine funded this poetry reading, and they had like eight different kinds of this really expensive French wine. All in a corporate environment. So strange. He’s the owner of Maxim, and he’s a poet. Go figure.”
The obligatory self-loathing: “Q: I’d just like to tell you that when you played ‘Home’ at Bumbershoot, I almost cried. A: Because you felt sorry for me?” And: “Q: Well, it was a great show. A: A lot of people got up and left.”
The silly anti-Americanism: “I think the problem is America. It’s over…Over as a force that transcends the world…America was a wonderful place. But this new government is different. It’s not America, it’s fascist.”
The “my music is crap” meme: “Q: I was looking at the lyrics for ‘I’m in Heaven Now.’ A: I’m so embarrassed by that song. Q: I really love the line, ‘It’s the theme park of my dreams.’ A: Oh, come on. ‘Michael Jackson’s on his knees.’ I’m so embarrassed I wrote that song. I don’t want Michael Jackson giving me head. Not with that mouth.”
The weird-for-such-an-uncommercial-artist obsession with money: “I have to change my life pretty soon, because I know this will never make me money anymore…Or maybe not. Who knows? Maybe I can write a song like that ‘I’m Too Sexy For My Shirt’ song, and keep it going.”
The rapid mood swing: “I just hate it. It’s wrong. And it’s taken me all this time to… hey, but you know what? You know what I’m doing right now? I’ve had all this fabulous French wine, and now I’m driving around in a Ford Mustang, and it’s the best car ever built! I’m in this fabulous fuckin’ Mustang with a V-8 engine that’s fuckin’ HUGE! And it’s so much fun.”
The alcoholism: “Hey… I’m sorry. I’m so drunk, I’ve had all this really fine wine.”
Hello, networks: A Mark Eitzel reality show would be the best television program of all time.