Mad for a cause

What this world needs is a new kind of army — the army of the kind and compassionate.” — Cleveland Armory

While I don’t typically plug fundraisers here, this is a special invitation to support a very good cause.

My husband, Doug, is a board member of the Boys & Girls Club of South Oakland County, and he’s inviting everyone to be part of “Walk for the Future” — one of the largest annual events sponsored by the Club. This relatively painless walk-a-thon takes place in our community on Saturday, May 5th.

New to the board last year, Doug decided to shake things up and have some creative fun with the walk. Dubbed The Mad Hatters, the team he recruited for the fundraiser last year had to wear crazy hats. Strolling the course at Beaumont Hospital, we played drums, blew on noise makers and, well, you get the idea. We had a total blast, but best of all, our Mad Hatters team raised several thousand dollars for kids in our community.

This year, Doug’s co-captain for the Mad Hatters 2012 team is our good neighbor and family dentist, Dr. Steve Gustafson. The walk will take place at Memorial Park at Woodward and 13 Mile in Royal Oak, beginning at 9:30 a.m. Participants will enjoy free food, refreshments, and activities for kids.

If you’d like to join the Mad Hatters’ team on May 5, please click on the link below and follow the directions. If you can’t join our “Walk for the Future” but would still like to help our local Boys & Girls Club, this link will allow you to make a donation on behalf of the Mad Matters. 

For general information about the “Walk for the Future 2012,” please click here:

You can donate as little as $5 or as much as $50 million. Or you don’t have to give anything but an hour of your time on the walk on May 5th. Don’t forget your hat!

Top photo: A few members of our Mad Hatters 2011 team, from left to right: John Schultz, Doug La Ferle, Matilda Benda, Jeanette Roller, Cassandra Roller, Dr. Shari Morningstar. 

Music and mad science

Mystery is at the heart of creativity. That, and surprise.” — Julia Cameron

At our house, Halloween weekend is always a celebration of creativity and make-believe, whether we’re stirring up a batch of Hell’s Kitchen Chili or putting the finishing touches on our costumes.  Which makes it the perfect time to introduce you to Doug’s brand-new CD, “Professor Pandemonium’s Cabinet of Wonders.”

As Doug likes to explain it, his album is a musical variation of an old curiosity cabinet — a wild assemblage that could just as easily belong to a mad scientist. Crack open the cover of the CD and youll discover 16 catchy tunes that are classified as “steampunk pop.” Like a potion from the medicine wagon in the Wizard of Oz, the whole mix is a little hard to describe. Start with the Beatles “Sergeant Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band” and add equal parts Ray Bradburys novel, Something Wicked This Way Comes, and Danny Elfmanns film, “Nightmare Before Christmas.”  Like a costume party, it’s pure fun — and highly entertaining.

I’ve always been a fan of the Victorian circus, so right now, my favorite song from the album is the dark and mysterious “Pandemonium Ensues.” I keep telling Doug that it ought to be included in the soundtrack of a Dr. Seuss film — it’s that atmospheric and cool. But not all the tunes are Halloweenish. “Just Be Friends” and “There Is No Time” are pretty mainstream, each with a lovely hook that stays with me. “Let Monkeys Rule” — which has its own video on YouTube — is pure political commentary on how our inability to get along is endangering our world and thwarting our own progress.

OK, I’ll admit I’m slightly biased. And five years of piano lessons didn’t make me a music critic, by any stretch. But this is my husband’s newest endeavor and I’ve got bragging rights. In any event, I’m the luckiest woman I know — married to such a creative guy who’s full of surprises. For reviews and information about the new CD, as well as a glimpse inside the professor’s cabinet, visit Professor Pandemonium’s Cabinet of Wonders. — CL

–Top photo of Douglas La Ferle (a.k.a. Professor Pandemonion) in his laboratory by Cindy La Ferle–