Well my day’s made (again)

Because this .GIF is everything good in the world:


Three times is a pattern

You might recall my post “In which my wife destroyed my childhood– and you can too!,” wherein I discovered that the Sesame Street characters on a blanket that my grandmother had made for me and which I had owned since I was a toddler were all reading books that referenced sex or erotica.  Yes, that happened.  Go ahead, click the link.

I would just like to point out that my son and I were watching a newish Sesame Street episode this morning, and I damn near did a spit-take of my coffee during the opening bit, which featured Bert reading a book called… Fifty Shades of Oatmeal.

This shit is not an accident.  🙂

On family structure and Sesame Street


Something hit me the other day as my son watched his Elmo toilet training video for the three thousandth time. We don’t see a lot of the Muppets’ home lives, but what we do see is generally pretty traditional.  Baby Bear lives with his parents.  Abby Cadabby talks about her mom all the time.  Prairie Dawn tells a story about underwear shopping (no, really) with her mommy on the DVD.  Cookie Monster has referenced both his mommy and his daddy, Grover has a mommy and a daddy too.  Elmo definitely lives with his mommy and his daddy, although I suspect the Muppet he calls mommy is secretly daddy’s second wife.

Basically all the Muppets have at least one parent around who they refer to every now and again.  Generally it’s a mommy, but there’s always at least one.

Except for Big Bird.

I have seen four thousand episodes of Sesame Street in the last two years.  I cannot recall a single time where Big Bird referred to either of his parents or they appeared on screen.  Who does Big Bird talk about?  Granny Bird.  His parents are nowhere to be seen.

And who does Big Bird actually live with?  Gordon and Susan.  Or, at least, he lives in his nest– which is directly outside their window.  When Big Bird needs something at night– and this has been the focus of multiple episodes– it’s Gordon and Susan who take care of him.  Gordon and Susan, by the way, who already have an adopted son, and whose nephew  Chris lives with them for some reason now.

Guys, Big Bird is a foster kid.  Am I the only one who never realized this?  Without visiting a wikipedia page, I mean?  Which I only just did?

Don’t misunderstand me: Sesame Street has always sort of put themselves at the forefront of social tolerance and showing the world as being a diverse place, and they’ve never been shy about showing different kinds of people and different kinds of kids and different kinds of families.  I’m just surprised that they’ve been stealthing this for effectively the entire lifespan of one of America’s favorite children’s characters.  That Wiki entry is hella more detailed than my sudden realization; Big Bird’s never been portrayed as having a mom and a dad, and Gordon and Susan are clearly meant to be his caretakers right now.  He’s a foster kid.  Why hide it?

Anyway, I thought it was interesting.

Stuff what I wanna do in 2014

I don’t do resolutions. Resolutions are promises; promises get broken. That doesn’t say that I don’t have projects and goals; sometimes I get to them, sometimes I don’t. Last year I did a post like this at the previous incarnation of this blog over at Xanga; I’ve got that post archived somewhere, I think, but I remember the two big ones were to write more and to cook more often. Both of those goals were definitely achieved; I write just about every damn day here and I’m a much better cook than I was at the beginning of the year.

So what’s on deck for 2014?

Keep writing. This ought not to be a problem; getting back into regular blogging again was one of the best things about 2013; I’m just flat-out happier when I’m writing a lot. As always, I want to bend more toward fiction, but I always want to write more fiction. That’s not new.

Still a writing goal, but a bit more specific:

Self-publish Skylights officially. This book is already written although it could probably use one more editing pass. Technically it’s available on Lulu– I put it there so I could have them print one author’s copy and buy it for myself– but I want it on Amazon. Plans are in the works to commission a local artist friend to do the cover if I get the teacher creativity grant I applied for earlier this year. I may suck it up and do that anyway. Even if I don’t get the grant, I want this book available on Amazon by the end of the year.

Finish the bathroom renovation in a timely fashion. The boy’s home sick with me right now, which has slowed us down a bit, but I still think we can get the tub done by the end of break. The fear is that once that’s done the rest of the stuff will just sit in the damn living room for months because of the amount of work to be done and the lack of several contiguous days off of work. I’m going to DC over Spring Break with my kids, so it’s not like I can even back it up to that. MLK weekend is gonna be real busy around here.

Read big books. Spending last year trying to read 200 books led to me focusing on shorter fiction. I miss nonfiction a lot right now, and I’ve got a lot of stuff built up that’s gonna take me a while– for example, a 2600-page no-that-is-not-a-typo biography of Abraham Lincoln that is so big I can’t figure out how to read it in a physical sense– ie, how to hold the book while I read it. I’m reading it this year. I’m about 60% through Gone with the Wind right now, which is over a thousand. I also want to read through the Wheel of Time books; there are something like twelve or thirteen of them and they’re all close to or over a thousand pages each. I read about half the series before realizing how much Jordan had left to write and then bailed– and then Jordan died, and Brandon Sanderson took over, but now that they’re finally all written I can actually finish reading them.

Other reading goals: 1) Read every Stephen King book, in order (I’ve already started this, but The Stand is next, which is– again– a million pages long, so I put it off; and 2) I’m 1/3 of the way through The List and I want to be much closer to finishing that by the end of the year. That oughtta keep me busy.

(Have I talked about The List on here? I don’t remember. I’ll fill y’all in later if you want to know.)

Make it to Bloomington for a weekend sometime this summer. Also, Louisville, where I have some friends who I haven’t seen in forever. I haven’t been to Bloomington since 2005; it’s one of my favorite cities and it’s crazy that it’s been that long since I’ve been there. In addition, I’d like to go somewhere– and I’ll leave that generic– that I’ve never been to before. The boy’s old enough now that we can travel with him. Just come up with a place and go. (NOTE: This is the least likely of all goals thus far to actually happen. Overcoming my own inertia is insanely challenging.)

Buy a decent telescope, finally. Use it.

Learn piano, or at least learn a few songs I’m comfortable with. This is more achievable than it sounds because we actually own a piano; my wife plays. I failed spectacularly at learning ukulele this year, but I have some reason to believe that achieving at least moderate competence on piano will be easier.

Be a better teacher during the second half of the school year than I was during the first. Blah blah blah teaching sucks because reasons. Stop whining; do better anyway.

Watch less Sesame Street. Because gaaaah.

I’ll likely add to this as the day goes on. Feel free to check back ceaselessly if you like.

Just overheard on Sesame Street

“Elmo doesn’t think Elmo’s tongue is long enough to taste back there!”

I’m going to hell.