The Knights of the Auto Order Proudly Present: The Auto Body Estimate: Vol. II, #101, Aug 2010

Remember Goofus and Gallant? It's a comic strip about two contrasting boys that has appeared in Highlights magazine since the beginning of recorded time. In every strip, you'd see how each boy would respond to the same situation: Gallant would enjoy popular music on the radio, use the proper utensils while eating cake, and be courteous to others at the dance, while Goofus would listen to the Auto Body Experience, eat crayons, and put a sneaker in the punch bowl.

Except when he was unkind to critters, I always identified with Goofus. If my wardrobe alone isn't significant evidence of this, my musical tastes certainly are.

As proof, I'd like to publically announce my appreciation of Weird Al Yankovic (and not just because there's an incriminating photo on the Internet). I believe that anyone who's written Al off probably isn't a true music fan or familiar with the breadth of his work.

In addition to song parodies, in which he totally nails the music as well as the satire, Al has also created many songs which I've heard referred to as style parodies; original songs in the style of an artist he digs. Some of my favorite examples include brilliant homage to Zappa (Genius in France), Brian Wilson (Pancreas), and Weezer (Skipper Dan). If, as a fellow Goofus, you're a Zappa or Beach Boys fan, the former two are required listening, and Skipper Dan is simply a great song -- steeped in humor and pathos -- no matter where it came from. (Plus they all have WONDERFUL videos I'm sure you can find on YouTube...)

If you get a chance to see Al at the MN State Fair this summer, you should -- although if you're dead set on shredding your street cred in the process you'll also have to weigh this Goofus opportunity against the Rush and Kiss shows (Unless, unbeknownst to me, one of them has become ironic in the minds of trendsetting hipsters). Perhaps above all else, Al is a world-class performer, with, in his own words, "More wardrobe changes then Cher."

With all that in mind, I've heard it said that the definition of a gentleman is someone who owns an accordion, but does not play it. I think my definition of a gentleman is someone (other than Al) who thinks up song parodies, but doesn't play them. Here at Auto Body Labs, we're often talking about parodies, but we never act on these impulses. Perhaps demonstrating rare Gallant-like restraint, we've never made you sit through a Johnny Rivers parody about the Korean Elvis impersonator ("Sequined Asian Man"), and that may be just one more thing you can be thankful for in this life.

Similarly, one tardy band member/Goofus (who shall remain nameless) keeps threatening to bring an original song to rehearsal about the anxiety he feels when micturating next to others at public urinals. The best part is his title: "Peer Pressure." Our inner Gallant has saved you from that as well.

Having resorted to potty humor, stories of my boys will surely follow. (At least their level of maturity is appropriate for their ages.)

Last week, on my watch, 17-month-old Peter fell down the neighbors' front porch. Though I was right there, and caught him in motion (thus reducing the impact) he still scraped his face on the cement. When I brought him home to Becca, she checked him over thoroughly and discovered that the back of his front tooth was blackened, as if the tooth had already died.

Needless to say some household anxiety ensued. Unfortunately Erik and I had to leave in the midst of this for some other emergency now forgotten (perhaps the lawn was on fire). When we returned later we were delighted to learn that his tooth was back to normal: Apparently Peter had been chewing on purple crayons on my watch, too.

Our pumpkin-headed Peter is a born Goofus.

We'll be celebrating Goofism, with our first in-town gig with the entire "official" band since April, at the Eagles Club (2507 E 25th St, Minneapolis: 612-729-4469) on Friday, August 13. There's a $5 cover and we begin two sets around 8 PM.

Yes, trumpeter Tom Twiss is back from his secret adventures in the southern hemisphere, and saxophonist Jason Weisman is back from the flames as a real-life hero -- really! Come on down to learn all about it, enjoy some bargain beverages, and hear some new music.

This is actually the only date we have on the books right now, so don't wait until next month because we might all be off eating crayons with Skipper Dan in Australia!

Love, Scott Yoho, Grand Pooh Bah, The Knights of the Auto Order

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