So first of all, I have to take a moment to praise Frank Oz: As Ernie is putting the scarf on Bert, it accidentally gets in his mouth, and Frank reacts the way a person would react if someone accidentally stuffed a scarf in one’s mouth. It’s that combination of skill, commitment, and instinct that give the Muppets life.
On April 7, 1989, I suffered an abraded cornea.
(“Abraded” is a fancy medical term for “scratched” that I didn’t learn until much later.)
I was 8 years old and in second grade. It was a Friday, and unusually windy even by South Dakota standards. The wind was out of the east and blowing so hard that it was almost horizontal. After school, I had to walk directly into the wind to get to my carpool that would take me to my weekly Girl Scout meeting, and the wind blew some dirt or debris of some kind into my left eye.
All my life, people had told me not to rub my eyes, but no one had ever tried to explain why. And I didn’t know any other way to dislodge foreign objects from my eye, so I just kept rubbing it, and it just kept hurting, and so on in a vicious cycle.
So on the off-chance that there are any little kids reading this, let me pause for this public service announcement: Don’t rub your eyes, kids, because you could accidentally scratch your eyeball, and that really, really hurts.
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.
This may well be my favorite Bert-and-Ernie song.
Cookie Monster and Elmo are back again, talking (and singing!) with more Olympic athletes.
First, they ask several athletes to explain their sports (Elmo asks skier Lindsey Vonn what sport she “plays,” which is kind of awkward, but she copes with it beautifully):
Then they get the athletes to join them in a sing-a-long of the “Olympic song.” I wasn’t sure what that meant at first; for some reason I was thinking of the Olympic Anthem, but once they started singing, it all became clear:
Man, I wish I could sing the “Olympic song” with some Muppets. I would not only sing it, I would conduct it, because I figured out how to do that a long time ago, when I was young and precocious.
(It’s not that hard; if you know anything about music conducting at all, you can probably figure it out.)
Have I mentioned that I love this song? I love this song.
I wrote about this song almost five years ago and observed that, even when Steve is performing characters originated by someone else, “there is an ineffable Steve-quality to his voice because, as this song echoes around my cranium, I can imagine Wembley Fraggle singing it too. Like, as a duet with Ernie. And now I really wish that could be a thing.”
Now I really, REALLY wish that could be a thing that existed outside my own head. Add it to the list of Muppet duets that I’d like to hear but are either impossible or extremely unlikely to occur.
I know I’ve been subtle about it (har, har) but if you pay close attention, you’ll notice that I’m a big fan of Hamilton, both the musical and the man whose life inspired it. January 11th was Alexander Hamilton’s birthday (or it might be more accurate to call it the anniversary of his birth), while January 16th was Lin-Manuel Miranda’s birthday (he being the one who wrote the play and originated the role of Hamilton).
So, if I had been really organized, I would have done a whole week-long thing of Hamilton-related posts pertaining to the musical. But I’m not really organized, unfortunately; plus, I still have two jobs. Maybe I’ll do that later, or maybe I’ll do that next year.
In any case, I can’t help but notice that a lot of (past) Hamilton cast members also have connections to Sesame Street, so I thought I’d explore that today.
Generally speaking, I try to be an open-minded, nonjudgmental kind of person. Nevertheless, I do have my pet peeves, and one of them is nonhuman depictions of the Nativity.
So by all rights, I should be really, REALLY offended by this sketch…and yet, I am not. Why not? Am I a hypocrite in addition to being a heretic?
Well…possibly. But in this case, I think it’s the metafictional aspect that makes all the difference. This is a story about a bunch of characters putting on a Nativity pageant. Bert may be playing the role of Joseph, but the point of the sketch is not to persuade me to willingly suspend disbelief and convince myself that he is Joseph and not Bert. The humor in the sketch stems from the fact that he is still unmistakably, undeniably Bert even while trying to play the role of Joseph while valiantly fighting off an attack of hayfever.
Okay, so a couple things you need to know about me: I am not an athlete at all; generally speaking, I am severely disinterested in sports…except as it relates to the Olympics.
And of the Olympic sports, my favorite is figure skating. I am a complete figure skating nerd.
So I’m completely geeking out about this adorable video in which some of my favorite skaters (and some I’m not familiar with) teach Elmo and Cookie Monster vocabulary words from the world of skating:
My first instinct when they asked, “Do you know what a Salchow is?” was to say yes, because I know that it’s a figure skating jump, but I couldn’t have explained it in any more detail than that.
Friends, this evening I witnessed something truly inspiring, and I wanted to share it with you. A family of four came into the store where I work part-time and purchased nearly a thousand dollars’ worth of toys to donate to the less fortunate.
And if that isn’t a true blue miracle, I don’t know what one is.
“When Snuffy wasn’t being used, cables were attached to his head and back and he was hoisted 40 feet in the air, where he was out of the way and safe. […] What made this so much fun was that in those days, we had a lot of kids on the show […] Many of these kids spotted Snuffy hanging overhead. When they did, they went nuts! Kids would grab the leg of the nearest adult and yell, ‘Look! Look! It’s the Snuffle-upagus!’ And, the adult response was always the same: ‘Aw, c’mon, kid. You can’t fool me. There’s no such thing as a Snuffle-upagus.'”
–Joseph A. Bailey, demonstrating the sadistic attitude of the adults on Sesame Street in the ’70s and early ’80s in his book, Memoirs of a Muppet Writer.
Someone once asked Street Gang author Michael Davis, in an interview that seems to have become lost among the shifting sands of the Internet, what was the most significant episode of Sesame Street.
I thought about the question myself and I decided that, for me, there’s an objective answer and a subjective answer. The objective answer is the same that Davis gave, the death of Mr. Hooper. But the subjective answer, for me, is the episode in which Snuffy was revealed to be nonimaginary, which aired 32 years ago on November 18, 1985. I was five years old at the time, and I was watching.
“There is one source that has always recognized Trump for being the absolute villain that he obviously is and that’s Sesame Street. Sesame Street has been touting the dangers of a Trump Presidency since the late eighties!”
–Louie Pearlman, “Make America HATE Again: Ronald Grump on Sesame Street,” ToughPigs.com, January 29, 2016.
This is an excellent article that appeared on ToughPigs just before the 2016 primaries…so, almost two years ago? Oh, how time flies when you’re in constant mortal dread for the future of humanity! Anyway, the article is well worth a read, but I had a few thoughts to add from the perspective of being almost a year into the Orange Muggle Voldemort presidency.
Just in case anybody else needed the reminder. 🙂
I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’ve had a rotten week and I could do with some peaceful, quiet relaxation: