The Story of Yo La Tengo (and Cockaboody)

Today’s been weird because of a bout of insomnia leading to 3 hrs sleep, but here’s the good thing.

When I was a kid and sitting through an HBO summer (see here for an explanation of HBO summer) I watched a cartoon with these two little kids talking little kid stuff involving toilets.  I saw it two or three times.  I thought it was really funny.  It’s been over 20 years–maybe over 25–and all this time I thought the cartoon was called “Cockadoodie”.  I’ve searched for this cartoon a couple of times with alternate spellings on the Google and never found it.

So, this morning I’m listening to Soundcheck on WYNC and John Schaefer is talking to Jesse Jarnow about YLT’s album I Can Hear the Heart Beating as One and how it’s been 15 years since it came out.  Jarnow just published a book on YLT, so that got my interest well piqued.  I check his website and find this page and there it is, a youtube video of “Cockaboody”.  There was a B in there!  Turns out that Georgia Hubley’s parents had created the cartoon in 1973 and that one of the kids voices is that of Georgia (the other is her sister Emily, a fine animator/artist as well).  I had known that the parental Hubley’s were animators, but here it was, the damn cartoon I’ve been looking for forever.  So, here it is, “Cockaboody”

I should thank YLT, not only for all of the great music but for finally leading me to the cartoon I’ve been looking for for so long.  So, uh, thanks YLT and all the rest who led me down a strange path today.

I’m gonna go sleep now.

–Hiram

New Album!

We’ve been doing lots of things lately (involving electronics and working and dealing with health issues), but have been ignoring everything web related.  That should change soon… we’ve got a new album coming out in October!  It’s called Sidereal Time and will come out as electronic files and a limited edition CD.  So, there’s that.  Talk to you soon.  (Oh, and our old computer with most of the pictures of the things Hiram’s been building, died this weekend, but there may be posts about those soonish as well.)

mary

I was raised nominally Jewish in a mostly Catholic neighborhood. I fell in love with the trappings of Catholicism: my friends’ ashed foreheads, their pretty rosary beads. Most of all, it was Mary who got to me. My mother was ill most of my childhood, and I loved the idea of a mother in the sky looking out for me. We had a lovely book on Michaelangelo filled with large plates of the Pieta from every angle, and her beauty and sadness, her love for her child, filled me with a responsive, innocent child’s love. I went to church a few times with friends, but mostly, I just kept Mary in the back of my head as a benevolent protector. I don’t remember ever praying to her, just loving her with a passionate heart.

As I grew up, I learned about other gods, and went to other churches and temples; I always kept an open mind, and frustrated many a would-be spiritual mentor by listening very carefully to what they had to say, then passing on. I’ve attended every kind of service, from tongues-talking Evangelicals to earnest Jehovah’s Witness meetings to Wicca rites. What moves me are people, and the cultures and arts they create in their quest to define the world’s mysteries. I also studied science, and it became very natural to roughly assign experience in a Venn diagram where X was better understood through the lens of science and logic, and Y, through the lens of feeling and art, with quite a bit of overlap on a subject like my mother’s illness. I needed both science and feeling to cope — to understand clearly what was happening to my mother in her biology, and to grieve for it with art and music and human sympathy. I think of my love for Mary as my first faltering steps towards understanding the pain of being human. That’s why the perpetual war between religious and scientific thought, between deism and humanism, is so frustrating. The best of it all is rooted in the impulse to understand, and the worst of it in ego, fear, and shame — and if I have a religious fervor, it’s for those moments when the best wins out — whether because a theory brings sense or a song brings peace into the world where none was before.

— Melissa