Which Kids’ Movie Song From The Last 12 Months Is The Best?

June 17, 2014 | By Brent Almond | POP CULTURE

With the release of The LEGO Movie on DVD/Blu-Ray, it’s got me reflecting on all the great music to come from kids’ movies in the last year. Three songs in particular have delighted children and adults alike… that is, until they bored holes into our brains from repetition. I’m of course talking about “Everything is Awesome,” “Let It Go,” and “Happy.”


During the Disney renaissance of the late-80s/90s, songs from the Mouse House’s animated films were all over the radio and the charts. “Beauty and the Beast,” “A Whole New World,” and “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” all cracked Billboard’s top 10; and between 1989-1999, 15 songs from Disney films either won or were nominated for Oscars. Yet since that heyday, I don’t recall a time when songs written specifically for kids’ movies have had such an audible impact as the three in question.

So… between “Everything Is Awesome,” “Let It Go,” and “Happy,” which one is the best? Or perhaps a better question, the least annoying? I decided to break it down scientifically to give you an objective, definitive and 100% fact-based answer. I took into account several factors, then gave points for each category to reach my accurate, foolproof, final results.


Designer Daddy’s Greatest Hits of 2013



2013 was a pretty monumental year, both personally and blogally(?). So for all of the awesome, new readers I’ve met recently — as well as longtime loyalists — here’s a recap of my favorite posts from the last 12 months!


These Are a Few of My Favorite Tweets…

December 6, 2013 | By Brent Almond | POP CULTURE

…from during the broadcast of THE SOUND OF MUSIC LIVE! on NBC.

Dad duties dictated I pass on an opportunity to usher (dressed as a nun, no less) at a local theater where it was being shown. From all accounts it sounded like a great time, including some impromptu sing-a-longs during sound problems. Events like this are always way more hilarious — or awful — when experienced en masse.

So I had to watch it alone at home… And yet, the world watched with me, and laid in to Carrie and company with much gusto and snark. Yes, there were plenty of positive comments about Audra McDonald, Laura Benati, the children, the ratings. But that’s not why God invented Twitter.

While most of the more scathing comments were directed at the lead’s wooden underacting, things snowballed from there as the Twitterverse barreled down the Austrian mountainside, picking up Vampire Bill, Julie Andrews, yodeling and Grumpy Cat along the way.

Without further ado, I present A Few of My Favorite Tweets…
(and yeah, the first one’s from me, after a mere one line of dialog from Maria)












So what were a few of your favorites? Leave ’em in the comments!

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

For more fun and frivolity, please visit the Designer Daddy Facebook page  to make it one of your favorite things!

A Gay Man’s Moment of Patriotism

July 3, 2013 | By Brent Almond | DAD STUFF, LGBT STUFF


I jumped out of a cab and into the sweltering DC heat. I jogged across the street and joined the other 100 or so men in red polo shirts standing across the sidewalk from the US Supreme Court Building. It was June 26th, and less than two hours before, DOMA and Prop8 had been struck down, giving significant momentum to same-sex marriage, and LGBT rights overall. This was more momentum — and public, official support — than gay America had ever experienced.

The guys in red were my friends family and fellow members of the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington. We had been on call for a couple of weeks, awaiting word for when SCOTUS would read their rulings on these closely watched cases. The call had come, the rulings had been read, and we were there to sing — thankfully not in protest, but in celebration.

It was our time — so like a big, sweaty amoeba, we squeezed through the crowd of camera crews, ralliers and a grumpy passer-by or two. As we neared our designated spot, a cheer rippled through the group and I spotted Barney Frank trying to make his way in the opposite direction. I snapped a quick photo, then leaned in for an overly eager hug and a too loud “Thank you for all you’ve done!” in his ear. I may have even kissed his cheek.

We finished forming our rows in front of the steps; our director raised her hands to lead us in the first of our two songs — “Make Them Hear You” from the musical Ragtime. Written from the perspective of African-Americans at the turn of the 20th Century, the lyrics are universal in their admonishment of maligned people to protest peacefully, yet loudly. We reached the final verse…“Go out and tell our story to your daughters and your sons,” and I thought of my own son and the ever more tolerant world he’s growing up in.

We then began to sing the national anthem. I’m amazed at how incredible it feels — both musically and emotionally — to sing this. It’s a powerful thing to hear a host of men’s voices blending together, marginalized citizens showing pride and passion about the country slow to embrace them fully. I’ve had the privilege to perform it with GMCW several times at Washington Nationals’ games. Being behind home plate, hearing our voices echo up into the cavernous stadium full of fans, catching a glimpse of myself on the jumbotron — the experience is always exhilarating.

But that day in front of those steps, it was different. More momentous, yet more intimate. A shift had occurred, and we’d been brought one step closer to equal with our heterosexual neighbors, families and fellow citizens.

If you haven’t thought about the lyrics of “The Star-Spangled Banner” in a while, take a moment to do so:

Oh, say can you see by the dawn’s early light
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars thru the perilous fight,
O’er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming?
And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
Oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

We all know the anthem is about our flag, surviving a brutal battle during the War of 1812. It remained intact, waving proudly amidst the turmoil, giving hope and speaking of bravery and endurance.

And that’s how I felt as we sang in the hot, midday sun. That we as a community had endured so much turmoil and discrimination, merely because of who we love. Yet we had only grown stronger, given greater visibility and resolve by the glaring rockets and bursting bombs all around us: Stonewall. Harvey Milk. AIDS. Matthew Shepard. Westboro Baptist Church. The countless victims of rejection, bullying, excommunication, suicide and murder.

As we neared the end, I choked up, unable to sing. My heart filled with pride for my country, my community, my chorus brothers, my family. My thoughts filled with anticipation and relief and immense patriotism. My eyes filled with a mixture of sweat and tears.

We finished the song, and I hugged several of the guys and took a few more pictures to capture the day. But it was a swampy summer afternoon in Washington, and I’d had enough. I walked back across the street to hail another taxi for an impromptu trip to my husband’s office. I wanted to share and celebrate the moment with him before heading back to work myself.

As I cooled down in the air-conditioned cab, my thoughts went to the pile of work I had waiting for me, and the fatherly work after that feeding, bathing and putting my son to bed. I thought to myself how much time it had taken out of my day, traveling by subway and cab and on foot, the time it was going to take me to get home and the unavoidable stress… but then I stopped myself. I had experienced the struggle of gay Americans in a microcosm that day. Working so hard, traveling far, enduring the searing heat, then one moment of communal triumph… then back to work.

Time to get back to work and family, and all the day-to-day things that make up my life. The only difference was that my relationship and my family were now just as protected and supported as every other American… and that made all the difference.

The reception of our performance has been pretty astounding. It has been featured on PBS NewsHour, The Washington Post, Business Insider, NPR, MSNBC and most local news stations. Oh yeah, and even Glenn Beck’s web site. If you saw/heard it anywhere else, send me the link and I’ll add it to this list.

If you’re on Facebook, you can view my photo album from the performances here.

(P.S. That’s me in the yellow Superman visor, far left.)

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

For more inspirational/sentimental/goofy stuff, visit and like Designer Daddy on Facebook or follow on Twitter!

My Two Daddies (Can Beat Up Your One) – The Single!

May 22, 2013 | By Brent Almond | DAD STUFF

This post has been a long time in the making, but I’m super stoked to finally introduce “My Two Daddies (Can Beat Up Your One)” — the single, the finished product, the labor of love. And oh yeah, the fundraiser…

Y’see, I had such a blast writing, performing and recording this — yet I know it’s not going Platinum or winning any Grammies (CMA award, maybe?). It’s pretty much a vanity project wrapped in a love letter to my son (with a smidge of me working through my insecurities as a father). But I figured while I’m sharing it with the universe, I’d try to raise some money for a good cause. And I’ve found no better cause that supports other families with Two Daddies (or Two Mommies) than Family Equality Council.

But before I prattle on too much about my own benevolence… THE SONG!

I originally wrote the lyrics as part of a copywriting workshop. I was attending a design conference in the Texas hill country, and our assignment was to write a country song using our own life as the subject. JJ was about 18 months old at the time, and already I was pondering worrying what trials he might face as the adopted son of two gay men. I pictured our little fella getting picked on by some mustachioed, homophobic toddler (I know, my imagination runneth over) and in response, JJ puffs out his chest, chubby fists on his be-daipered hips, the theme from The Good, the Bad and the Ugly playing in the background…

…and thus was born “My Two Daddies” — the mock battle cry of a picked-on kid who’s unequivocally proud of who he is, where he comes from, and that he’s dang lucky to have “the two best daddies that you’ve ever seen.”


Click to hear a snippet

All the profits from song sales will go to Family Equality Council, so please mosey over to iTunes or Amazon and pony up your 99 cents. Our family (and others like ours) sure appreciates your contribution!

And if you’re feeling a might more generous, please consider making a donation directly to my fundraising page at Family Equality Council, where I’ll be tracking donations made from song sales as well as what’s contributed on the fundraising page. Since the month of June includes both Father’s Day and LGBT Pride celebrations (for many cities/states), my goal is to raise $500 by the end of the month.  But I’d be pleased as punch to raise and/or extend that… READ FULL ARTICLE >>

Win a pair of SOL REPUBLIC headphones! (Ends Jan. 21)

January 7, 2013 | By Brent Almond | THINGS DAD DIGS

…We interrupt our regularly scheduled cute toddler pics for a Designer Daddy giveaway…

If you’re looking for the best way to drown out the din of daddyhood (or life in general), enter to win a set of SOL REPUBLIC headphones, valued from $99.99 to $179.99! Sign up below and you could be tuning out Dora, Elmo and The Fresh Beat Band in no time.

Designer daddy that I am, I wouldn’t hook you up with some drab-looking earbuds. These are completely customizable (mix + match colors) and come with interchangeable pieces, a remote and a microphone. You can also choose from several designs featuring college sports teams.

My faves, though, are these hot-looking, exclusive deadmau5 headphones. YUM.

To enter, “log in” using the widget below with your email or Facebook. You’ll then see a list — scroll down and click “Easy entry for all DesignerDaddy fans on Facebook.” You can also Tweet or post about the giveaway here, or “Like” any/all of the dad blogs represented for even more entries!

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

a Rafflecopter giveaway

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

The giveaway ends January 21 at midnight, and the winner will be contacted within 7 days. If you have any questions, email Oren (AKA A Blogger and a Father) headed up this contest and will be responsible for prize fulfillment.

(P.S. I partnered with a few other bloggers for this, all members of a new Facebook group of blogging dads (started by that Oren guy I just mentioned). You can read about the group here, or if you’re a fellow dad blogger, head over to Facebook and click JOIN GROUP.)

Fridge Wisdom: Holidays Edition

December 28, 2012 | By Brent Almond | LESSONS LEARNED

It’s been said many times (and yes, in many ways…) that Christmas goes by too damn fast. Not the “Holiday Season” itself, mind you. That’s an ever-expanding, multi-month period of excessive eating, spending and stress we could all do with a little less of. But December 25th comes and goes in an instant, so I find it beneficial to not only savor it while it’s here, but reflect on it afterwards. This is also helpful because I can never remember who gave me what.

Childhood, too, is known for speeding by much too quickly.

Case in point: I had this post planned for a couple of weeks, to showcase various holiday phrases JJ mispronounces in his cute toddler vernacular. But by the time I got around to hunting through all the letters and taking the photos, he’d already learned to say two of the phrases correctly. Slow down, buddy!

So yeah, I’m writing a Christmas-themed post after Christmas. And yup, JJ no longer mispronounces “Candy Canes” or “Merry Christmas” (He’s thankfully still working on his “th”s, so Frosty the Snowman’s refrain remains adorable). But I needed to write it all down before he races ahead to the next milestone — and so I can savor this little morsel of Holiday sweetness a bit longer.

Beatles 101

September 2, 2012 | By Brent Almond | THINGS DAD DIGS

So the big trip across the pond is upon us. I admit to having my fair share of nerves leading up to this point, but I suppose by the time you read this I’ll be cruising through the skies, my bambino wistfully slumbering against my shoulder. At least he better be.

A massive amount of preparation has been going on — which I guess is to be expected from two anal-retentive gay dads taking their toddler transatlantically. So a couple of weeks ago we were Skyping with Papa’s Zia Jo (AKA The Cool Aunt) to ask all our most pressing questions: “Do they have playgrounds in Italy?” “What about fish sticks?” “And Dora?” During the conversaton we noticed a lot of Beatles stuff in Zia’s house — she’s a huge fan from back in the day. As in the day when they were still together and taking over the world. That must have been something to behold.

Hence I decided to make JJ a mix CD, a Beatles primer of sorts. Before you read ahead to the track list and blow a gasket, yes there are a few covers by non-Beatles. Keep in mind this is for an almost 3 year old — he needs some variety. Besides, as the son-of-a-preacher man, I had to discover The Beatles on my own. This initially came in the form of The Chipmunks Sing the Beatles Hits (on vinyl, checked out from the library, no less). So I learned my first Beatles songs from some rodents, a few more from the “Stars on 45 Medley,” and then finally discovered the real deal in high school and have been a huge fan ever since.

The Beatles 101

(All songs by The Beatles unless noted otherwise)
Drive My Car
(from Rubber Soul)
She Loves You
When we were teaching JJ animal sounds, Papa taught him that beetles went “She loves you, yeah! yeah! yeah!” You should have seen his eyes the first time he heard the actual song. Now when he hears it, he yells “BEETLES!”
All My Loving – Alvin & The Chipmunks
Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da (from The Beatles/White Album)
Funnest Beatles song ever? Gets my vote. Although it’s probably about drugs or somesuch.
We Can Work It Out
Rocky Raccoon (from The Beatles/White Album)
I didn’t realize until I finalized the list how oddly well-represented The White Album was. Whodathunk?

You Won’t See Me – Anne Murray
Piggies (from The Beatles/White Album)
Hello, Goodbye (from Magical Mystery Tour)
Love Me Do – Alvin & The Chipmunks
Help! – Carpenters
Leave it to The Carpenters to take a sad song and make it sadder…
I’m Looking Through You – The Wallflowers
Taken from a quite good soundtrack of a semi-okay movie, I Am Sam
Here Comes The Sun (from Abbey Road)
Stars On 45 Medley – Stars On 45
I spent many a Saturday roller skating to this baby.
Silly Love Songs – Glee Cast
Take It Away – Paul McCartney
Two Of Us (from Let It Be… Naked)
I love how this version starts with the lovely guitar intro instead of John?/Ringo? yammering about pygmies.
All You Need Is Love – (from Magical Mystery Tour)
Yesterday (from Help!)
I remember learning “Yesterday” and “Help!” in 6th grade music class. Do they still do that?
Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey – Paul McCartney
If I Fell (from A Hard Day’s Night)
One of my all-time favorites
Blackbird – Glee Cast
I challenge all you Glee-haters to listen to this version and not marvel at the sweetness of Chris Colfer’s voice.
Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy) – John Lennon
This song is already on a JJ-inspired mix CD, but it’s too good not to include on every single CD I ever make for him. He heard it tonight and said, “It’s my song!”
Yellow Submarine (from Revolver)
We’ve been singing this one in the tub since forever ago. Also a great singalong-in-the-car song.

For more Beatles-related kids stuff, check out:

Rockabye Baby
This mix isn’t the first JJ’s hearing of The Beatles. I started him off early, buying both volumes of Rockabye Baby Beatles covers. But we’ve been way beyond lullabies for a while now.

Yellow Submarine interactive book

Wonder Pets episode, “Save the Beetles”
Adorable, clever, educational. The whole package!
Download from Amazon or iTunes.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Alright music fans — what essential tune did I leave out? Keep in mind it’s for kids, so no Helter Skelter craziness or Elanor Rigby moroseness. What would you take off? I’m sure there will be a Volume 2 at some point, so all suggestions are welcome!

Daddy’s iPad Playlist 08.05.12


JJ and I spent part of a rainy, Sunday afternoon in one our favorite places — snuggled up together transfixed by the soft glow of my iPad. I try not to expose him to it for too long in one sitting (especially when playing games) and never let him have it alone. I know how hard it is for ME to put it down, so I get how traumatic it is for a toddler to have his fix suddenly cut off. I also try to make every experience just the tiniest bit educational. Sometimes it’s miniscule.

08.05.12 PLAYLIST:

Some Pink Panther:
Movie remake opening credits
and “Pink Lemonade” 1978 cartoon episode

Followed by greatest hits from “The Wizard of Oz”:

“Follow The Yellow Brick Road”
“A Munchkin Welcome”
(Lullaby League/Lollipop Guild)
“Somewhere Over the Rainbow”

A little Wonder Woman tutorial:

Theme song (he’s heard it before, but it’s not memorized like Spider-Man or Batman. Gonna take a little extra work.)
How to spin (JJ had been swinging around a dog toy all day pretending it was Wonder Woman’s “wope” so I figured I’d show him how to spin like her, then watch him get dizzy and laugh. Like I said, it was raining—we were bored.)

and finally…

Super Friends: Hawaiian Ice Mystery interactive book/game
This is a relatively new interactive story book from the DC Super Friends line of characters that heavily features my main man, Aquaman! You can go through the story with narration or without, and even record your own voice to tell the story! There are also several activities to choose from including coloring pages, puzzles and a Colorforms-type sticker page. $4.99, ages 4+ (JJ’s not yet 3 but it’s still keeps him busy and entertained. And oh yeah, educated)

Gifts Unsent

July 7, 2012 | By Brent Almond | DESIGN STUFF

Being on an airplane always makes me a little introspective, as it’s a rare time to truly unplug and be alone with my thoughts. This trip is particularly sentimental as it’s for nearly a week—the longest I will have been apart from JJ since he was born.

I’m en route to Denver for a conference of GLBT choruses. The group I sing with will be performing a one act musical, Alexander’s House, which is pretty emotional itself. It tells the story of a man who passes away, leaving his beach house not to his husband with whom he spent many summers there, but to his estranged son, Sam. The musical depicts the meeting of Sam and Alexander’s widower and friends, chronicling their initial trepidation, subsequent discoveries about Alex, and the eventual beginnings of reconciliation.

One song in particular , “Gifts Unsent,” strikes a chord with me more than any other. In a pivotal part of the story, Sam comes upon a pile of wrapped presents addressed to him. They turn out to be birthday gifts Alexander had bought over the years, but hadn’t sent out of fear and regret. One-by-one Sam, and then his Father’s friends, begin to unwrap the gifts as the chorus sings:

Years go by, time unspent, a game of catch unplayed.
Gifts are wrapped, never sent. In a cedar tomb they
’re laid.
Start to call a thousand times
… It’s simply just to hard.
With a closet full, a broken heart. Box by box they fade.

Separate worlds start to touch, step by step they blend.
A picture here, a story there, the worlds begin to mend.

While this scenario rings true for many, I’m reminded again of how blessed and lucky I am. Blessed to have parents that continue to grow and evolve in their love and acceptance of my family; lucky to have found a husband who is so patient and loving as both a partner and co-parent. And I’m amazed and honored to be one of JJ’s parents, to be one of the ones to shape his character and raise him into manhood. I’m simultaneously humbled at the responsibility of it.

And I’m comforted knowing I’ll never have to fear or regret not being there for my son… or not being able to spoil him rotten with no end of gifts. Good thing Daddy loves to shop. 🙂

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

(PS: I was excited and privileged to design the packaging for the Alexander’s House CD we recorded earlier this year.

“What’s with the lawn chairs?” you ask?

I had certainly sketched ideas that were more literal, but after spending some time on the patio at home (one of my favorite brainstorming spots) I was inspired by the Adirondack chairs in the back yard. They said “beach” in a more subtle way, but when placed back to back —and then overlapping—they formed a strong symbol of two people at odds slowly coming together. I added the sand, water and sky-like elements to help establish the beach setting and further set the warm yet sometimes heart-rending mood of the story. Plus I love me some polka dots. See more images of the packaging on Facebook.)

(PPS: Digital downloads are available on Amazon, iTunes and CDBaby.)

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...