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.
Slightly off-topic, but I was thinking about this one today because Lin-Manuel Miranda has shingles.
And while I of course feel sorry for him–because by all accounts, shingles is a miserable illness–I’m also shocked and disturbed because I didn’t know it was possible to get shingles in your 30s. Lin is the same age I am; that means I’m susceptible too. Crap.
(Unless, of course, it only attacks obscenely talented and successful thirty-somethings, in which case I’m off the hook.)
“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 until April.
“We’re all part of everything, and everything is part of us.”–Gobo Fraggle
When I got my first medical transcription job over seven years ago, I supposed that that was going to be how I earned my living for the rest of my life. I figured that writing was just going to be a hobby, something I did for my own amusement and that of my friends.
But as is so often the case, things in my life haven’t worked out exactly the way I supposed they would, and I’m forced to find other means of paying the bills. And with a Hamilton-esque word count of 66,089 words on this blog over the course of five months, writing seems like a skill that I could perhaps parlay into something more rewarding in actual money in addition to mere personal satisfaction.
Not having a fundamental understanding of COPPA myself, nor technical knowledge of the software involved, I don’t know if the lawsuit has merit. But knowing what I know about Disney, I wouldn’t put it past them.
“It’s hard to listen to you with a straight face.”
Last week I had occasion to quote from Alexander Hamilton’s first revolutionary pamphlet, which he wrote as a teenage college student. (Man, what was I doing during my first semester at college?)
Today I have occasion to quote from Hamilton’s follow-up pamphlet, The Farmer Refuted:
I resume my pen, in reply to the curious epistle you have been pleased to favor me with, and can assure you that notwithstanding I am naturally of a grave and phlegmatic disposition, it has been the source of abundant merriment to me. The spirit that breathes throughout is so rancorous, illiberal, and imperious; the argumentative part of it is so puerile and fallacious; the misrepresentation of facts so palpable and flagrant; the criticisms so illiterate, trifling, and absurd; the conceits so low, sterile, and splenetic, that I will venture to pronounce it one of the most ludicrous performances which has been exhibited to public view during all the present controversy.
I congratulate myself upon the sentiments you entertain of my last performance. Such is my opinion of your abilities as a critic, that I very much prefer your disapprobation to your applause.
The entire pamphlet is well worth a read. Alexander Hamilton didn’t just throw shade; he completely blotted out the sun.
Friends, the last 12 months have been bewildering. Between a so-called president disgracing a nation, an innocent teacher being arrested and wrestled to the ground for asking a question, and a villain being feted by Hollywood, the last week or so in particular has been disheartening.
It seems like the entire world has turned upside down and backwards. But on this Martin Luther King Day, I want to tell you that I grieve but I don’t despair. Because I know that it’s still possible to turn the world around:
“Do you know who I am? Do I know who you are?” That puts me in mind of a related piece of advice, courtesy of Maya Angelou via Oprah Winfrey: “When someone shows you who they are, believe them.”
I agree with every sentence Joe Hennes has written here, with the possible exception of the last one.
However, I also think that it is important to recognize that evil is not confined to national government, nor to the world of politics and government at large. For all its vile, despotic tendencies, the Trump administration and its obsequious enablers in Congress do not yet have the monopoly on greed, corruption, and wanton acts of injustice in this country.
“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.
I was angry with my friend:
I told my wrath, my wrath did end.
I was angry with my foe:
I told it not, my wrath did grow.
And I watered it in fears
Night and morning with my tears,
And I sunned it with smiles
And with soft deceitful wiles.
And it grew both day and night,
Till it bore an apple bright,
And my foe beheld it shine,
And he knew that it was mine,–
And into my garden stole
When the night had veiled the pole;
In the morning, glad, I see
My foe outstretched beneath the tree.
I remember first reading this poem in high school and being horrified by it, because the anger and resentment that the speaker harbors not only poisons the speaker’s foe, it also poisons the speaker, to the point that the speaker is “glad” to see his (her?) foe lying dead on the ground.
I never want to be that kind of person. I decided a long time ago that I would try never to derive pleasure from another human being’s misfortune. I don’t always succeed, but I do try.
I was doing some YouTube research today and discovered something that’s too delightful not to share:
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.
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.