If you’ve been missing Steve as much as I have lately, have I got a treat for you! Reader Andrew K alerted me to the existence of this three-part interview that Steve did a few days ago at the Great Philadelphia Comic Con. Approximately 45 minutes of pure gold; a really pleasant, informative conversation that didn’t get into the controversial Schism stuff at all (not that I would have minded, but I know some people are tired of it).
“When I was young, my ambition was to be one of the people who made a difference in this world. My hope is to leave the world a little better for having been there.”
To the Parkland students, and all March for Our Lives participants:
The courage, fortitude, and perseverance you have shown in the face of overwhelming adversity is both inspiring and humbling. I graduated from high school in 1999, weeks after the Columbine shooting, and if my generation had done what you are doing now, maybe there wouldn’t have been a need for you to step up and speak out. I can’t go back and change what is past, but I stand in solidarity with you now.
Jim Henson has always been a hero of mine, and you are now doing what he aspired to do, and ultimately succeeding in doing: making a difference and bettering the world. Jim Henson believed in the power of children; he created Fraggle Rock in 1983 with the express purpose of bringing peace to the world.
I know that you’re experiencing a lot of pushback, and I’m sure you understand that that only shows that you’re having an impact. If the NRA weren’t scared of you, they wouldn’t waste their time or money trying to discredit you.
Nevertheless, all that negativity can be tough to bear. I know that you’re not lacking in strength, resilience, and determination, but I also know that you–that we–have a long, hard fight yet to be contested. I’ve often found that music–particularly Muppet music–has the power to comfort and inspire, so I’ve curated a list of what I consider to be the best and most uplifting songs from Henson-related productions. When the world seems dark and hopeless, I hope that they will bring a little light into your hearts.
Hello, all! I haven’t posted anything of real substance for a while, and I wanted to take a minute to catch up. I wanted to let you know that it is not my feelings and convictions that have changed; all that has changed is my schedule.
The good news is that I recently landed a new, open-ended, freelance writing gig (thank you, FlexJobs.com), and while it doesn’t pay much, I think that the experience I gain is going to be invaluable to me as I embark on this new career path. The bad news is that, while I have given two weeks’ notice at my other part-time job, at the moment I am working three jobs, and while this is a temporary situation (until the end of the month) I’m sure you can imagine that my life is quite crazy and hectic at the moment, and free time for blogging is at a minimum as I try to manage my schedule and meet all my various commitments and deadlines.
I did, however, purchase and watch Frank Oz’s documentary Muppet Guys Talking yesterday, and it was probably the nicest brunch I’ve ever had (perhaps second only to this). I could only afford to purchase the film, not all the extra stuff, but the film itself was well worth the 10 bucks or so. I can heartily recommend it, and I’ve been informed today that it’s not going to be available forever, so I’d advise you to carpe diem and carpe documentary while you can.
When I have a free moment, I’ll come back and tell you my thoughts and feelings about it, but don’t expect it before April.
Back in 2013, JHC hosted a contest to write a story (or part of one) set in The Dark Crystal universe. The winner got to write an entire novel set in The Dark Crystal universe.
I entered the contest. I didn’t win.
At the time it was kind of a bummer, but I knew it was always going to be a long shot, seeing as I came relatively late to The Dark Crystal and its mythos (although I went out of my way to do my homework on it and try to make up for lost time). The thing that really bummed me out about it was that the stories that weren’t finalists or editors’ choice selections didn’t get any feedback, so I don’t know what they thought of it. I mean, I can construe from the fact that it didn’t make it into the next phase of the competition that they didn’t love it, but whether that means that they merely liked it, or hated it, or were too bored by it to even form an opinion, I have no idea.
In retrospect, however, I’m glad that I didn’t win the contest, because then I would have been beholden to the Hensons and wouldn’t be able to speak out as candidly on their involvement in the Schism as I have been.
And yet, as long as I have this blog, and a small but interested audience, I was thinking that maybe I would post my story here. That way, you could read and (hopefully) enjoy it, and I could finally get some feedback on it.
So if you’re interested in reading my Dark Crystal-inspired story, leave a comment, and if there’s enough interest, I will post it.
Incidentally, here is something I wrote at the time regarding my process, in which I did some intertextual thinking about The Dark Crystal and Harry Potter and decided that the Mystics are a race of Dumbledores and the Skeksis are a race of Voldemorts.
As my first real attempt at video creation/editing, I made a video tribute to Steve Whitmire:
Special thanks and apologies to my fellow Muppet Pundit commenters Matt L., Richard X., and Rocky D., whose photos/artwork were among those that I co-opted for use in this video.
“Hamilton had now written 60,000 words in just a couple of months. For perspective, the book you are holding clocks in at 58,000 words and, I’m embarrassed to say, took much longer.”
–Jeff Wilser, “Seek the Core Principles,” Alexander Hamilton’s Guide to Life.
From November 1774 to February 1775, teenaged college student Alexander Hamilton wrote two political pamphlets defending the American Revolutionary cause. Specifically, he was responding to pamphlets written by British loyalist Samuel Seabury. While Wilser estimates Hamilton’s word count for the two pamphlets to be 60,000, according to my estimation, it is closer to 65,000.
I mention this because I was looking at my statistics page for this blog and found that over the course of five months, from July 31 to December 31, 2017, I wrote 66,089 words on this blog. So I’m almost keeping pace with Alexander Hamilton, in quantity if not in quality.
I was feeling quite smug about this until I did the math and realized that–depending on whether the 60,000 or 65,000 word figure is more accurate–Hamilton still outstrips me by approximately 3000 to 4000 words a month because he created his content in a shorter amount of time. Also, he was writing everything out in longhand and didn’t have the Internet to assist him in research.
Today I want to talk about It’s a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie, or “VMX” for short.
Now, VMX is not my favorite Muppet thing ever, not by a long shot. But I would forgive anybody just about anything for the sake of “Everyone Matters,” a beautiful song from the special:
I love this song, partially because it gives such good Sad-Gonzo. Sad-Gonzo is my favorite Gonzo. As far as I’m concerned, the worst thing that ever happened to Gonzo’s character is when his eyelids became mobile and he could change expressions.
Happy New Year! As I look back on 2017, it seems to me that: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”
Notwithstanding numerous references, however, The Muppets have yet to do an adaptation of A Tale of Two Cities, but we can acknowledge Mr. Dickens with another scene from Muppet Christmas Carol:
I would be remiss to post this video and not say a “thank you” or two…
“Let us always love each other;
Lead us to the light.
Let us hear the voice of reason
Singing in the night,
Let us run from anger,
And catch us when we fall.
Teach us in our dreams, and please–yes, please–
Bless us, one and all.”
I’m trying to remember the issues I used to have with Muppet Christmas Carol. Nothing’s coming.
This is my 100th post on this blog, and I wanted it to be something special. So I want to go a little more in depth about my thoughts and feelings on “Muppet Family Christmas.”
Let me take you back to a time in December 1987, when I was a tender and callow seven-year-old. I had seen The Muppet Movie and The Muppets Take Manhattan, (and possibly The Great Muppet Caper, although I think that actually happened later) so I wasn’t unfamiliar with the Muppet Show troupe, but we didn’t own any of those movies on home video yet, so while this wasn’t my introduction to the Muppet Show gang, it was the means by which I got to know them. This was also one of the two times in my young life that I ever got to see the Fraggles on television, so that was really exciting for me.
I’ve seen Muppet Christmas Carol more times this month than in the previous 25 years combined, and I’m finally warming up to it. Nevertheless, I was struck by the fact that, notwithstanding the lyrics of the song, the Marleys’ dialogue suggests that they haven’t quite learned their lesson yet.
“Faust, a five-act grand opera, is by Charles Gounod with a French libretto by Jules Barbier and Michel Carré. It is loosely based on Faust, Part I, by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Goethe’s lesser-known follow-up, 2 Faust 2 Furious, focused on a man who made a deal with the diesel.”
–Erik Forrest Jackson, pushing all my geeky English-major buttons in an explanatory footnote of Muppets Meet the Classics: The Phantom of the Opera
When I opened the book and saw that the epigraph was a quote from a renowned French philosopher and a line from an old infomercial, I knew I was going to like this book.
When I started laughing hysterically at the table of contents, I knew I was going to love this book.
When I finished reading it, I wanted to go back and read the original novel again to compare the two; the mark of a good book is that it makes you want to read more.
When I was a kid, I never understood this scene from The Muppet Movie. I never understood why the waiter (Steve Martin) was being so mean to Kermit, why the scene was supposed to be funny, or really why it existed at all.
Eventually, of course, I grew up. I entered the workforce and have had several jobs which involve customer service in some capacity…
…And now I understand.
I recently took a second job that once again requires me to interact directly with other human beings, and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to bite my tongue to avoid imitating Steve Martin’s sarcastic, “Oh…may I?” when customers (or managers) ask/tell me to do something in a tone of voice that implies that they think they’re bestowing a great boon upon me.