Saturday, March 26, 2011

Jeff MacDougall: #88

I was really jazzed when Jeff MacDougall agreed to appear on the Periodic Table, as Jeff is one of my very favorite musicians anywhere. Jeff, if you don't know, is the challenger that went up against Jonathan Coulton in the very first Masters of Song Fu competition. To my mind, this was a very close competition. JoCo pulled out the win with 'Space Doggity', but Jeff's space ballad, 'High' remains stuck in my head to this day. Here it is, submitted for your approval:

Those of us where are of the community called TMA owe a debt of gratitude to Jeff. With Mike Lombardo, he started an international community of musicians and -- more importantly -- friends. That's not the kind of thing that everybody can say.

If there is a person on this Table with a social conscience, it is Jeff. As you're perusing his bandcamp site, read the text, particularly that of the song 'Thank You', and consider that Rite Care is not the only charity worthy of your support.

Also take a look at Jeff's children's album, Stand Up!. Most albums created specifically for kids are, to put it mildly, lacking. Stand Up! manages to entertain and educate without condescending. I'm an adult, and I like it, particularly the high-energy number, 'Bounce'. If you want to get your kids to burn off some energy before naptime, this is the number to play. It's like an innocent little kiddie rave!

It was 'Bounce' that inspired this first bit of merchandise. We have an entire line of children's clothing with the "BOUNCE!" theme, with logos in blue or pink. There are bibs, infant bodysuits, and of course, T-shirts in various colors:

And of COURSE, if you're going to bounce, you need some company! How about this cuddly plush teddy bear? He's eleven inches tall and sports his very own BOUNCE! t-shirt! (Or her own... I've never been very good at that where bears are concerned.)

We have a few special items for the adults as well... naturally there's a coffee mug, and I'm really happy about this one. Taking the theme from 'High', we've captured Tom's spacewalk in this panoramic view in near-Earth orbit. This is a great gift for any geek... musician or not!

One of Jeff's early Song Fu entries was a spoof of 'WKRP in Cincinnati', entitled 'Jeff MacDougall Dot Com'. This was the inspiration for this radio-themed adult T-shirt. And of course, since we all know that Jeff is old, this radio is decidedly retro:

I know this is a little difficult to see in the graphic, so here's the radio in more detail; it sports a retro-styled chrome logo, and the dial lists the songs listenable on

Finally, we carry that same chrome logo over to a retro-style cap.

I'm sure there's something on this page for everyone, so please show your support for this fine artist, and at the same time help some preschool children get the language therapy they desperately need. You CAN help change a life!

I'll leave you with these important links, and my profound thanks to Jeff MacDougall and all the artists who have chosen to support Rite Care.  Until next time!

       Jeff's YouTube Channel       

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

A Very Special Thank You to Dantes!

As you may know, is dedicated to raising money to support Rite Care, an exceptional charity that provides language therapy to children who need it at no charge to them. Each of the wonderful musicians who are featured here have lent their names and efforts to this purpose.

But you may not know that in addition to merchandise, there is a PayPal donation button on the right-hand side of this page for direct donations of any amount. That button has gotten its first use, and in a very special way. Bram Tant (aka "Dantes"), a indie musician living in Belgium, and one of the DJs on The Force 925 internet radio station, has donated the proceeds from his very first music sale from his Bandcamp site to Rite Care.

Outstanding, Bram. Thank you.

You can listen to Dantes' shows on Saturdays 6/9 am PT/ET to 10 am/1 pm PT/ET.

Friday, March 18, 2011

The Table Is Interactive!

The last couple of months I've been sort of vocally wishing that someone would step up and provide us with a JavaScript Periodic Table that's a bit more interactive than the static picture I was using. Caleb Hines has done exactly that, and he did a great job! THANKS, Caleb!

Look to the right and you'll see an icon for The Periodic Table. Click through and you should see the table. Mousing over a box displays more info, and clicking on it takes you straight to the proper blog entry. It's pretty much exactly what I was looking for, so it's now our official site map.

It's usual for such things to display some quirkiness with different browsers. We've tested it with Firefox and Chrome, and it's working as designed. If there are problems with your browser, leave a comment and we'll see about debugging it.

The next entry on the Table is going to be a bit delayed, as I'll be out of town and otherwise engaged this weekend, but I think you'll really enjoy hearing from the band we've got scheduled next!

Again, thanks Caleb, and folks, don't let the fact that a band has scrolled off the list dissuade you from getting their merchandise! Use the new table to recall Edric Haleen, Inverse T. Clown, Mike Lombardo, Boffo Yux Dudes, Dr. Lindyke or Godz Poodlz and snag some really great merchandise! Want a Mike Lombardo Trio cap? A Bomb Squad Girl clock? Everything's made to order, so everything's still available! And as always, the proceeds go to help preschool kids with language disorders find their voices. Thanks for your support!

UPDATE: It was looking a bit funny in Microsoft Internet Explorer, though every other browser displayed it properly (is anyone surprised at that?). I believe I have that fixed now, so it should look the same in all browsers. If something looks wrong to you, leave a comment.

Saturday, March 12, 2011


It's another duo this week. Rüss Rögers and Rhöd Dürre (the umlauts are optional, so don't bust a vein trying to find them on the keyboard!). Russ competed in Song Fu 3 as "Rusty's Rocking Jamboree".  Shortly thereafter he paired with Rhod and they burst into Song Fu 4 as Gödz Pöödlz. And what an entrance! In successive rounds they delivered Bad Penny, Gödz Pöödlz on Parade, and the iconic Bomb Squad Girl. In particular, Gödz Pöödlz on Parade estabished a certain... attitude... that defines the Pöödlz.

I first "discovered" Song Fu in the following competition, where the Pöödlz offered up such polished gems as Captain Dane Frostline, 3455316008, and A Gift from Gödz Pöödlz.  I have to admit to some stupidity on my part when it came to 3455316008, their answer to the challenge "Write a song about a number". It wasn't until after the voting that I realized that every word in their apparently numberless "song about a number" was written upside-down on a calculator! In other words, the entire song was a number, the title of which resembles "She Boogies"!

A Gift from Gödz Pöödlz takes the self-promotional attitude of  Gödz Pöödlz on Parade to a new height:

A fine bit of hubris from a band that had at the time a grand total of two competitions and six songs under their belt! But it's all in good fun... these guys are all about pleasing the crowd. That's something they've continued to do through successive competitions, both Song Fu and SpinTunes. They've a loyal (you might say, rabid) fan following with whom they communicate on Twitter and Facebook. 

     GöDZ PööDLZ on the Web:    

   And of course, in various songwriting
competitions, like SpinTunes

At this point I'll mention that they've set a goal to appear on the Doctor Demento show, as well they should. So click through the Facebook link above and find out how you can help make that happen!

I have no segue for this next piece... it's just that my wife wanted to make absolutely certain that you heard it, because she's a Pöödlz fan, too, and this is a really nice piece of music:

When I announced that the purpose of the Periodic Table of Geek Musicians was to benefit  Rite Care Centers for Childhood Language Disorders, the Pöödlz were easily the most enthusiastic volunteers. I soon found out why, but I'll let Rhod Durre tell that story himself:
"When one of my daughters was diagnosed with speech apraxia when she was 3 years old, we exhausted all apparent options without much noticeable improvement.  Despite receiving intensive speech therapy at home and through our health insurance, she was still unintelligible to even immediate family members.  We learned about Rite Care through our school district speech therapy and were placed on the waiting list.  When an opening was finally available, the local Rite Care evaluated and accepted two of our children for therapy twice a week.  The improvement in my daughters' speech was dramatic and was immediately noticeable!  The therapists engaged our children and made speech therapy fun for them in a way no previous teacher had.  Not only did their speech improve immensely, but they really bonded with the therapists and started to actually look forward to speech lessons.  As their therapy progressed, my children gained self-confidence because they were finally able to communicate with others.  Three of my children have now received therapy through Rite Care and their transformation has been incredible!  Especially in the case of the child who was diagnosed with apraxia, I credit Rite Care for helping her to overcome this very serious disorder.  If not for the early intervention she received, I don't know that she would be understandable to this day.  Because of Rite Care, however, she is now doing extremely well both scholastically and socially.  Thank you, Rite Care, for everything you have done for my family!

-Rhod Durre
St. Michael, MN"
Normally at this point you'd get a disclaimer saying that so-and-so's results are atypical. While Rite Care cannot do the impossible, what is certain is that your donations go to pay for the very best, most dedicated therapists possible. The monies we collect here go directly to therapy. They don't even pay for the administrative costs of this web domain or the Cafepress store. Rite Care services are offered without cost to the families, but that doesn't mean they're free. Rite Care receives exactly zero government funding... everything happens as a result of fundraising projects like this one. So please support a great band that supports a great cause and buy some of their merchandise. When it comes to your home and you open the box, know that you're part of something wonderful. If you can't afford the merchandise, no problem... we've got a Paypal donation link for smaller amounts, and if nothing else you can click through a few ads. Every little bit helps!

In keeping with their enthusiasm for the project, and their flair for self-promotion (and keep in mind that they're letting me do this to benefit other people!), Gödz Pöödlz have THIRTEEN products for sale, including some really SPECIAL items! I'm going to list some of them, but give you the link to the PeriodicGeek shop for the whole list. Partly because I knew this was coming, I've partitioned the PeriodicGeek shop by band. It's now a lot easier to find the particular stuff you're looking for.

I'm going to start with the mug, because I like mugs! I like them so much that I'm running out of room in my cabinets. I like them so much I may have to take up drinking coffee! This is a really fun design featuring Len Peralta's "Monster by Mail" image of the Pöödlz, and a reference to a possibly-recognizable jingle.

What's not immediately apparent in these photos is the notice on the cups: "No PööDLZ were harmed in the making of this merchandise." Animal lovers take note.

Next up is something special. In honor of Bomb Squad Girl, we have this unique clock with Bomb Squad Girl herself, as envisioned by Your's Truly. Here she is in fighting trim, armed with a pair of wire cutters to defuse an explosive situation! Meanwhile the seconds tick down from 60 to zero!

This was a really fun thing to design. Click here for a close-up of BSG's face.

We also have THREE apparel designs. The first two are BSG designs. Your Bomb Squad Girl will be fearless, fit, and fabulous in the BSG logo. This is available as a Jr. Ringer Tee (shown. available in pink/salmon, yellow/gold, and mint/avocado) and as a white ladies T-shirt. Round out the look with a BSG military cap in black, olive, or tan. Bomb Squad Girl wears one, and it looks GREAT. Men's and Women's T-shirts are available with the same BSG image that appears on the clock!

And of course we have a shirt featuring the wonderful Len Peralta image in glorious high res!

But that's not all! This image also appears on a toddler size T-shirt; an infant bodysuit; a gym bag; and a kid's hoodie! As the song says, "WE WANT YOU TO BUY GöDZ PööDLZ FOR THE HOLIDAYZ!" But you you don't have to wait for Christmas! We've got holidays year-round, so come one, come all!

While we're on the subject, I'm really loving this last product, too. A Gift From Gödz Pöödlz is an oval porcelain ornament featuring the Pöödlz rocking out. This item can do double-duty as a gift tag... it's a gift on a gift! Now how cool is that?!

Thanks, Russ and Rhod, for allowing me to go crazy, and for supporting Rite Care. And thanks to everybody for your support. While you're in the mood, visit Gödz Pöödlz on Facebook and Bandcamp. At just a buck a song, you really can't go wrong... GodzPoodlz dot Bandcamp dot Com!


Sunday, March 6, 2011


I'm very happy to feature this duo this week. Duality is Joe 'Covenant' Lamb and Denise Hudson, both of whom have competed in Song Fu and SpinTunes in their own right. Somewhere around Song Fu 6 they started collaborating on songs. The band is alternately known as "Duality" and "Duality237" (I think they're of two minds about the subject), so I'm using the names interchangeably here. A little known fact is that Duality237 is an isotope of Duality, which firmly cements their place in the Periodic Table... They are element #93, having an atomic weight of ... you guessed it... 237.

Now, stylistically, it is in fact possible to be farther apart than Joe and Den... but not much. Prior to Duality, Joe was known for his highly rhythmic and regimented Gaelic folk ballads accompanied by his ever-present bodhran, and Den was known for... well, honestly, for some weird stuff such as "Anna's Gerbil and the Singularity", which I can never, ever hope to explain. Joe completely eschews music theory; Den majored in music. Joe is from Scotland; Den is from the planet Xondor. Basically, Den is peanut butter and Joe is chocolate. And we all know what happens when you put those two flavors together.

That's right, something wonderful.

"Bluebeard's Lament", Denise's entry into Song Fu 6 round 2, seriously impressed the audience. It seriously impressed Joe as well. He imprisoned Denise in his lair on Skullcrusher Mountain, instructing his cadre of trained furbies to feed her nothing but tacos and aphid nectar. He then spent the next several weeks imprinting both of their minds with traces of the other while a trio of Scottish witches chanted naughty poems by Robbie Burns. (At least that's how I remember it, and my memory is famously perfect. whatevermonkey.)

What followed were several Great and Glorious collaborations under the appellation of Joe 'n' Den that you will now find on, and the emergence of Duality, complete with name, logo, bandcamp site, what have you, as an entrant in the SpinTunes 2 songwriting contest, of which I was a judge. In the third round, Duality submitted this shadow entry that I regard so highly that I ranked it above the official entries and deconstructed it on my personal blog. There's a video. Watch it:

These days it's fairly easy to find Duality; they're the featured indie band for the month of March on Geeky Pleasures and are regularly heard on The Force 925 internet radio station. In fact, Joe not only has a weekly show, he is the station's assistant programming director and the music director in charge of non-urban genres. Are you feeling like an underachiever yet? And, if you're in the Austin, TX area, you may find Den playing a gig here and there. If you haven't heard her, you're just not going to the right places. How do you find the right places?

       THE RIGHT PLACES:      

Before we move on the the Periodic Table, I'll point you to these two free tracks that demonstrate the wide range that this duo covers:

Duality gave me permission to produce two items for sale. I produced four, and submitted them for approval. Using an ancient Jedi mind trick (I'm quite versatile) I persuaded them to allow all four items to be offered for sale. Really, it seemed like no effort at all.

First are these mugs. I like them both. Buy them both!

We also have two T-shirt designs. The first carries the Duality237 bandcamp banner across the chest, with these lovely photos of Joe 'n' Den at their serious and artsy best:

The next carries a pocket-sized print of the Duality logo.

I don't care who you are, that's a cool logo. Even if you've never heard the band (how can that BE?!?) you want the shirt! Click through the T-shirt and zoom in to see the design in detail.

As always, all proceeds from the sale of this merchandise go to Rite Care Centers for Childhood Language Disorders, an awesome charity that  funds language therapy so that children can grow into their fullest potential regardless of their socioeconomic background. This therapy is provided at no cost to the children, their families, the insurance companies, or the government. In times like this, where government funding is being cut from other programs, it's more important than ever to support organizations like Rite Care so that this important work can be carried on. Many thanks to Denise Hudson and Joe 'Covenant' Lamb of Duality for adding their talents to this effort.