Category Archives: City Newspaper

2006 Holiday Event Calendar

–This one was edited heavily prior to publication; probably for the best

We here at Family Values Central couldn’t help but notice a recent influx of events for this April 1 holiday. Venturing to the City sub-basement, we confronted the Junior Correspondent in Charge of Press Releases and Staff Tattoos. (His desk had to be moved after an unpleasant incident last April involving the editor, four ounces of vinegar, and a raccoon.) According to the J.C.C.P.R.S.T., “You’d have to be a fool not to call ahead.” Bearing that in mind, here’s the Family Valued April Fool’s Day Calendar:

Event: Gilli-Con’s Island — film series (featuring the entire run of Gilligan’s Planet), collectibles, costume contest, special appearance by Ed Wade of The Wellingtons, UR River Campus 9-1 a.m. Free.

Special Event: Museum of Science Christmas in April Craft Show — crafts, cookies, hot apple cider, holiday music, Museum of Science, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. $2.98 (exact change appreciated).

Exhibition: Memorial Art Gallery Family Fun Day, 1 p.m.: You Can’t Spell Family Without Me, Michael Jackson | 1:05 p.m. Drown Out the Talk Downstairs, Italian Baroque Organ Recital | 2-4 p.m. Let’s Take Down Some of This Stuff and Play With It, Upper Galleries as the mood takes you. Free, bring your own crayons for coloring on the walls.

Lecture: “Mammoth Cave Echoes Lots and Lots” Infant Spelunkers’ Spring Fling, little Johnny Chilliwack, Not-Quite-Nappytime Series at Nazareth Arts Center, 1:30 p.m. — everybody-go-nappy. Free.

Theater: August & Henrik Spell Fun!, visiting artists Ünd Yør Mūūse Tūū Theatre Køllektief from Stockholm present their interpretation of the works of Ibsen and Strindberg for the entire family, with mimes. One performance only, Geva Nextstage, 2:00 p.m. $39.50.

Benefit: Rochester Area Taxidermy Society Father/Daughter Banquet and Pet Exchange, Riverside Convention Center, 5-8 p.m. $35 and 2 air fresheners.

Film: The March of the Curious Lion and the Shaggy Witches by the Dozen (G): Jim Brown leads an all-star, merry band through a treacherous landscape populated by Vanilla Ice, Reese Witherspoon (with a hand puppet shaped like last year’s Best Actress winner), 9 penguins, and a soy latte. Director Wes Craven captures the whimsy of the acclaimed novel and manages to get an amazing performance out of a herd of gerbils. Movies 10, $2.00 (free chew toy to first 100 children).

Woof, Woof, Woof, Meow, Meow, Meow

Where, oh, where did people get the idea that animals can sing?  We’re not talking about birdsong here or even the mournful yodel of the coyote.  This is not about the sounds of nature with all their bizarre effluvia, from whale song to chittering grasshoppers.  If it floats your boat to buy from those soundscape kiosks that always seem to be waiting innocently enough until some poor unsuspecting passer-by triggers their sensor, then please pursue your need.  And, let me point out for the unenlightened, Alvin and his fellow chipmunks were not really chipmunks.  We can leave it to your imagination how the vocal effect was achieved, but castrati were not employed according to an official Capitol representative.  I’m talking the Singing Dogs, the Jingle Cats, and whatever other heinous animals feel moved to semi-melodious vocalizing.

The original Singing Dogs (Caesar, King, Pearl, and Dolly- Pussy rounded out the group on later recordings) started in Copenhagen in 1955 when Danish sound engineer Carl Weismann spliced together tapes which had been ruined by nearby dogs barking.  Eureka!  I have created… Jingle Bells!  Bwa-ha-ha-ha!  The recording was a huge hit for RCA/Victor, managing to resurface periodically and sell again to the next generation of entranced listeners.  As if people will listen to any heavily altered animal sounds, the Singing Dogs have had to face many attempts to knock them from their pedestal.

The Jingle Cats have lately ruled the den, selling a disturbing two million copies worldwide. Mike Spalla, musician and owner of nineteen cats, decided to record his freeloaders.  Binky is the lead.  We have their success (and our own dollars) to thank for the emergence of the Jingle Dogs, spawned from their cameos on Jingle Cats recordings.  Their newest album, King of the Woof, will be out in 2006.  May Santa’s reindeer leave something special on your roof next Christmas if you buy it.

December, 2005

Then I Saw the Fnords

Between Adam Weishaupt and Dan Brown at the conspiracy banquet table sits Robert Anton Wilson, keeping the conversation lively.  He and Umberto Eco provide the best banter all night long.  In the wake of the Da Vinci Code, you might think that a few of the conspiracy classics could creep onto the bestseller lists, but we are a fickle people.  Wilson is responsible for some of the most engaging entries in the secret societies library: The Illuminatus Trilogy (co-authored with Robert Shea), along with a shelf worth of related tomes (The Historical Illuminatus Chronicles, Schrodinger’s Cat Trilogy).  As opposed to Brown, Wilson was never satisfied with one or two hidden puppet masters.  His work tries to find the synchronicity between every bit of vaguely believable real-world idiocy (Casanova and Watergate, for instance), those edge-of-vision unbelievable facts (North American Vikings, Nazi occult research), and the full-blown manic wah-wahhs (Area 51 aliens, Templars in space).  Despite the weight of all this combined weirdness, Wilson succeeds where so many have failed because he uses levity to significantly lighten the load born by his prose.

If his name otherwise sounds familiar, Robert A. Wilson was a quasi-celebrity a few years ago when the officials in Santa Cruz, California, made him their first citizen to receive medical cannabis, which had been recently legalized.  That was a short-lived experiment for Wilson once the federal government intervened.  Sometimes the conspiracies are large and thoughtless.

Sometimes the conspiracies are miraculous and blessed.  Nowadays, Wilson is in the process of dying from post-polio syndrome.  Word went out a few weeks ago that he had been reduced to destitution.  A community of Internet angels conspired to let one of the good guys die at home in peace by raising funds for his continued care.  Fnord.

October, 2006