Junkball Earworm: Elmo Slide

What’s the best way to get a song that’s stuck in my head out of my noggin?  By sharing it, of course.

Taking a quick break from helping my wife take care of our newborn daughter while I’m on break from work to fire off a blog post so this site doesn’t get too stale while I’m busy adjusting to life with two children.

For your enjoyment, today’s earworm is the Elmo Slide.

This is what gets stuck in your head when your 20-month-old son is home from day care all week and you try to kill time by watching Sesame Street on the DVR over and over.

Listen to the Elmo Slide a few too many times and you’ll seriously consider taking a power drill to your forehead in a desperate attempt to get this tune out of your brain.

Hope everyone stopping by Junkball has a happy new year and manages to get some other song stuck in their head ASAP.

Dead Celebrity Friday: Rue McClanahan

A weekly tribute to a totally random gone but not forgotten  — at least not on Fridays — star.

Today I tip my hat to the dearly departed Rue McClanahan, better known as the horny and hilarious  Blanche Devereaux on “The Golden Girls.”

I probably should have had better things to do in the ’80s than watch a sitcom about old women on the make but what can I say?  I was a fan of “Golden Girls” and McClanahan was a big reason why.

Thanks for the memories Rue, you were the mother of all TV cougars.

Is it just me or is it getting really cold in Oakland?

Taking a break from an increasingly busy life to contemplate all things green and gold in A’s Musings ….

What better time than Baseball Blogger’s Alliance Day to sneak in one more baseball post before my daughter is born?

In case you’re not familiar with the BBA, it’s an online organization full of passionate baseball fans and it’s worth checking out as part of your daily rounds through the Web if you love reading about all facets of the game.

I’ve been a member for a few months and I’ve enjoyed the enthusiasm the members have for the grand old game.

Now, on to the A’s:

* Has any team’s offseason lost steam as fast as Oakland’s?

They came out of the gate fast with a successful bid for Hisashi Iwakuma, a trade for David DeJesus, a waiver claim on Edwin Encarnacion and a strong push for free agents Adrian Beltre and Lance Berkman.

About a month later all they have to show for it is DeJesus after failing to work out a contract with Iwakuma, non-tendering Encarnacion, being ignored by Beltre and spurned by Berkman for the Cardinals.

On top of all that they’re still in ballpark limbo as commissioner Bud Selig’s blue-ribbon panel continues to drag its heels on deciding where the team will end up.

Playing in the moribund, mostly-empty Oakland Coliseum is clearly turning off free agents.

The A’s finally have some money to throw around but the fact that the market has gone crazy with the contracts doled out to Carl Crawford and Jayson Werth leaves Oakland in the familiar spot of being on the outside looking in when it comes to joining the free agent party.

It’s become a frustrating month to be an A’s fan.

* One free agent slugger who appears to be a strong possibility to land in Oakland is Hideki Matsui.  That’s not the most exciting news I’ve ever heard but it’s better than nothing.

Like most people who cheer for the guys in white shoes I’ve grown tired of Jack Cust so a new face at DH would be a welcome sight.

But as the Contra Costa Times’ Carl Steward points out, even Matsui is no sure thing for the A’s since there are plenty of teams looking for a DH.

Will Matsui be the next player to pass on joining the A’s or will general manager Billy Beane finally sign someone he’s targeting?

Who knows?  One way or another the A’s will probably end up with a veteran slugger at DH but if all they manage to do this offseason is add DeJesus and a DH it won’t be enough to be even a longshot World Series contender in 2011.

I think the Giants’ miraculous run to a World Series trophy has created some false hope that all you need is a little hitting as long as you have great young pitching.

The A’s definitely have the pitching to be a contender but you need more than a decent lineup to make it through the American League.

There’s no way a weak A’s lineup from 2010 can simply add players such as DeJesus and Matsui and expect to push their way past offensive powerhouses like the Red Sox, Yankees and Rangers.  The Angels may be a force to be reckoned with if they sign Adrian Beltre and the White Sox should score a ton of runs with Adam Dunn and Paul Konerko at the heart of their lineup.

Let’s not forget that the Giants barely won their division and were fortunate to draw an injury-riddled Braves team with iron-gloved Brooks Conrad at second base giving games away.  After that they rode an amazing pitching staff and a suddenly-hot lineup full of decent hitters to a championship.

I just don’t see San Francisco’s 2010 game plan working for the A’s in 2011.  They simply have to find a way to add more thunder to their lineup.

* One other item that Steward touched on in his article for the Times is the uncertain place that Chris Carter has in Oakland’s plans for 2011.

If Oakland signs a veteran DH there won’t be any place in the lineup for Carter, a young slugger won’t play ahead of DeJesus, CoCo Crisp or Ryan Sweeney in the outfield or Daric Barton at first base.

In my opinion the A’s need to sign a veteran DH, find one more slugger via free agency or trade and then find a way to get Carter regular at bats if they want to make a run at the playoffs next season.

I’m actually a little surprised that the A’s seem to be making every effort to block the kid out of the starting lineup at the moment.

It should be interesting to see how the rest of the offseason and spring training unfolds for Carter.

* Is there hope for a new ballpark in Oakland?  According to a story by Robert Gammon in the East Bay Express, Oakland seems to think so.

A tip of the hat goes to Newballpark.org for flagging the story.  If you want to keep up on the A’s ballpark quest this Web site should be one of your first stops.

The East Bay Express article makes it clear that Oakland has plenty of hurdles to clear before anyone’s playing ball in Victory Court but the city may have more going for it than San Jose right now.

I’ll keep crossing my fingers that a new venue can be found for the A’s in Northern California in the near future but I’m not going to waste any time getting excited until there are finally some shovels in the ground.

The Junkball 10: Amusing the rugrat with YouTube

Welcome to The Junkball 10, an occasional feature running down a random list of some of my favorite … or not so favorite … things.

Since the birth of my daughter is about a week away, what better time to appreciate some of the moments I’ve had with my first child?

When my son was several months old I tried to kill some time early one morning by showing him videos of children’s songs on YouTube.  It seemed like a great way to try and snap him out of a fussy fit and give my wife a little more time to sleep.

It’s been about a year since that eventful morning and the onslaught of videos hasn’t stopped.  In fact, my son’s preferred YouTube clips keep piling up in my Firefox bookmarks folder and we spend a ton of time every week watching them over and over … and over and over again.

Sure, it can be a little monotonous but it makes the little man happy and I have to admit that some of these tunes have grown on me.

Here are my 10 favorite YouTube videos to watch with my 19-month-old son:

1.  Katy Perry sings “Hot N Cold” with Elmo on Sesame Street
Dude, it’s Katy Perry running around in a skimpy little outfit with Elmo.  What more could a dad ask for?  Unfortunately, it’s been a while since my son wanted to watch this one a half dozen times in a row so I kind of miss Katy right now.  I’ve been trying to get him hooked on this video again but he throws a fit until I put on another clip from YouTube.  Tough break for dad.

2.  Moving right along – The Muppet Movie

This was probably the most popular video on YouTube with my son for about a week.  My wife found this about a few weeks ago and we’ve been watching it a lot ever since then.  The viewing experience has improved since I found a high quality version to replace the grainy one my wife started out with.  I can’t quite put my finger on it, but it amuses the hell out of me when Fozzy Bear takes a break from the song and says he’s in a bear’s natural habitat … a Studebaker.  I probably need to get my head checked.

3.  Sesame Street: Elmo’s Ducks

Another YouTube discovery by my wife that she was soon regretting.  It doesn’t take long for Elmo to get on a parent’s nerves.  Watch this video several times in a row for a few days straight and you can see why she was having serious remorse over finding this video.  But I have to admit that this little ditty has grown on me.  I even enjoy quacking along with the ducks because it usually gets my son to take turn away from the computer monitor and throw a surprised glance at me that has “This big guy is crazy” written all over it.

4.  Nuki Nuki (The Nuki Song) – Gummy Bear

The first video I ever found of this little bear is further down on this list but this is my favorite.  My son has a slight pacifier addiction which is why this is the perfect video to watch with him because it’s all about the Gummibear refusing to ever let go of his pacifier.  An added bonus is that I can actually sing along with most of this song which is a major accomplishment.  With most videos I usually only sing along with a few lyrics and fill in the rest with my own lyrics or say, “Blah, blah, blah” to the tune of the song.

5. Sesame Street: Feist sings 1, 2, 3, 4

I don’t know anything about this woman and I don’t think I’ve ever heard one of her songs from start to finish.  As far as I’m concerned she’s just the lady from that Apple iPod commercial a couple of years ago.  But she cranks out a decent little song on Sesame Street and my son definitely enjoys it.  If he’s not not the first kid to count to 4 in his class after watching this video a million times I’ll be very upset.

6.  Gummibär – CHO KA KA O

There’s an English version of this video but I prefer the non-English version.  It’s more entertaining when you have no idea what’s happening to this little bear and for my money foreign languages sound a lot more interesting than English.  Gummibear gets chased by crabs and falls into a huge cup of chocolate during this video for some odd reason.  Cho Ka Ka O is weird, entertaining and pretty catchy.  Not a bad combination when your son makes you play it a few times in a row in the morning.

7.  Sesame Street: The Alphabet With Elmo

I have to admit that this is actually a really nice version of the ABC song and the only one my son seems to like.  The other nice thing about this video is that Elmo isn’t annoying, he’s actually pretty mellow.  I fully expect my son to be at the head of the class when its time to recite the alphabet at school.

8.  Sesame Street: Norah Jones Sings Don’t Know Y

I have to admit that I’m not a fan of Norah Jones, she bores me to death.  Whenver she comes on the car stereo I have to change the station to avoid falling asleep and driving into a ditch.  She’s about as exciting to listen to as A’s manager Bob Geren during a pre-game show.  But in this Sesame Street clip she’s not too bad and she has a knack for making my son chill out.  That’s worth its weight in gold.

9.  The Gummy Bear Song

This is the first Gummibear video I ever found while desperately trying to find new ways to amuse my little son.  He fell in love with this green underwear-groping, gummy-butt shaking bear from Day 1.  I love the fact that this video has lyrics at the bottom of the screen so I can do more than sing, “Blah, blah, blah” through the whole song.

10.  Hampton the Hamster “The Hamsterdance Song”

This is the granddaddy of them all, the YouTube video that started everything for me and my son.  I don’t know how I stumbled across this thing more than a year ago but as soon as I played it my son stopped fussing, settled down and was mesmerized.  We must have watched this thing for close to 20 minutes straight.  Dad got a welcome break from tying to amusing a cranky tike, mom got a little more rest on Saturday morning and the rest is history.

Just missing the cut: Diana Krall sings Everybody’s Song on Sesame Street (She takes a little too long to get rolling which annoys my son and she has really prominent teeth that throw me off for some reason); Gummibear Soccer song (It’s actually a fun video but I think I’ve just seen this one too many times for it to crack my Top 10.  I do love the fact that my son oftens says “Kick!” when the gummy bears kick the soccer ball);  Gummibear Christmas (My son is really into this one right now but it drives me up the wall because it’s barely 30 seconds long.  When you watch something that short and annoying over and over it feels like someone’s driving a fencepost into the side of your head with a sledgehammer).

Dead Celebrity Friday: Leslie Nielsen

A weekly tribute to a totally random gone but not forgotten  — at least not on Fridays — star.

Today’s an easy call as I tip my hat to the dearly (and recently) departed Leslie Nielsen, the hilarious star of such comedy classics as “Airplane!” and “The Naked Gun” movies.

Thanks for a lifetime of belly laughs Mr. Nielsen, you’ll be sorely missed.