My day job is in the world of high-tech. No, I’m not a brilliant engineer who designs all kinds of innovative, life-changing products. I only sell to them. For a fairly normal bloke, trying to relate to such people can lead to all kinds of challenges.
You have to understand, these are people who don’t see the light of day very often. Most of their time is spent on computers, whiteboards, and in dark laboratories concocting the next bit of technology that we normal folk can’t live without. They often spend sixteen hour days in their precious lab and forget to eat, sleep, shower, or have any useful form of human interaction. These people are completely devoid of emotion, but can chart its theoretical development in sixty-three different types of graphs. I am talking about the type who can build his own robot to maintain his house yet can’t waste enough mental energy to hit more than three of his seven belt-loops.
Now you know the kind of people I deal with on a daily basis. It can be fun. They look down on my intellect, but can’t understand even the most basic joke I throw out. When I rattle off something witty, I typically get a blank stare or an uncomfortable chuckle.
We have a small office in this world of technology. Ours is in the back corner of the building and on my trips to the lavatory, I frequently run into these geniuses – sometimes quite literally as they are too preoccupied with vast equations to look up when they walk. There is a door I walk past that leads to what I call, The Muppet Factory.
I don’t know what goes on behind that door because it has one of those coded locks with a scanner on it. I’ve tried punching all kinds of numbers on it, but it is probably some precise code that average people don’t have enough memory to retain. All I know is that the people who come in and out of it resemble cartoon characters come to life. The first one I saw was a dead ringer for Beaker. A Keystone Cop emerged one day followed by Animal. Several other characters have been spotted lately. Olive Oil works there, but we have yet to see Popeye. It is simply fascinating.
Now, when I walk down that hall, I go very slowly and sing things like, It Ain’t Easy Being Green, and Mahna Mahna to see if I can lure one of them out. No dice, thus far. They stay in their lab building more Muppets or stealing people for their evil machine that does it.
In this world of High Tech, I wonder what the goal of their Muppet Factory could be. Is this fandom run amok? Or is it a demented project to design a more colorful and aesthetically pleasing exterior for engineers and programmers? It is beyond my intellect to know, but I remain curious. So if you see people walking around who look suspiciously like cartoon characters, be wary. They my just be plotting something that we won’t understand until we are all subject to the vain whims of our new dictator, Miss Piggy.
Today’s post comes to us from Amanda, a Youth Advisory Board member who tuned into the Academy Awards last night and provided a thoughtful recap and analysis of the show from a Millennial perspective. Like many viewers, Amanda feels that the 2012... Read the rest of this post
This sick day has resulted in Starbucks coffee and The Muppets on DVD. What a nice surprise to see my favorite rock star, Dave Grohl playing a cameo in the movie! Those Muppets have still got it!
It is *so* gardening season! Celebrating with John Denver, and the muppets:
I've done very little thus far this year between months' of wedding stuff and the sprained wrist... Things grow on their own none-the-less!
Given my slow start this year, I bought a number of plant-starts this year instead of doing the bulk from seed. (Here are the fateful ones I was carrying when I tripped and sprained the drawing hand).
I've begged and hired some help and gotten the initial weeding done and the strawberry beds strewn with straw....
-the plant starts put in (seeds still to come) - and SoMuchParsley! left over from last year. Pulled out lots, but it's so lush and lovely, I can't bear to tear out more as of yet. The overwintered greens are happily growing and the sweet cicely is blooming....
- the raspberry bed is cleaned out, strewn with straw and has some new babies placed in-
-and the new-as-of-last-year spiral bed is maturing nicely. Mostly traditional/medicinal herbs. Wave at the cranky chickens (they are banished to the coop until the new growth is sufficiently established that they won't demolish it).
It is a veritable jungle of sumptuous jungley growth (here are the burgeoning buds on the kiwi vines). Maybe by next week I'll be able to actually work out her
I like what’s going here with Erin Hunting’s Muppets. Kermit’s wall-eyed stare works for me.
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By Mark Peters
With the arrival of the new Muppet movie, Kermit, Miss Piggy, Beaker, and our other felt friends are everywhere. There’s no escaping Jim Henson’s creations, and few of us would want to (unless the movie happens to suck, which is doubtful, given the stewardship of Jason Segel, who showed major Muppet mojo in the heartbreaking and spit-taking Forgetting Sarah Marshall). It’s a good time to look at the history of the word Muppet, which has some meanings that would make the Swedish Chef bork with outrage.
Thanks to interviews with Muppet creator Jim Henson, we know Muppet is not a blend of marionette and puppet, though that theory has been appearing since 1959, just four years after Henson invented the crew, who appeared in pre-Sesame Street and Muppet Show fare such as commercials for Wilkins coffee. I love this part of the Oxford English Dictionary’s definition of Muppet: “Any of a number of humorously grotesque glove puppets.” That phrasing seems humorously grotesque itself, but if it helps a Martian understand a Muppet, I guess it’s worthwhile.
In the eighties, the word took on several meanings. Since 1983, a muppet has been “A lure made to resemble a young squid.” I don’t want to give my enemies (arch or mortal) any ideas, but since calamari is squid, I’m pretty sure this kind of muppet could lure me anywhere. In British prison slang, a muppet is “A prisoner with psychiatric problems; a vulnerable inmate liable to be bullied or harassed by others.” As this 1998 use shows, Muppets aren’t the only Henson creation to carry this meaning: “Their favourite targets are the fraggles, the nonces and the muppets. But anyone showing tell-tale signs of fear is a target for Britain’s jail bullies.”
A muppet can also be an idiot, though I have no idea why, since the Muppets are among the least idiotic members of the puppet community (Elmo excluded). However, this part of the OED’s definition sort of rings true: “someone enthusiastic but inept; a person prone to mishaps through naivety.” With the exception of curmudgeons (RIP Andy Rooney) such as Oscar, Statler, and Waldorf, the Muppets are brimming with optimism from their pieholes to their puppetholes. Green’s Dictionary of Slang also has examples of muppet meaning a child or a cop.
These Muppet meanderings are similar to the meanings smurf has taken on over the years. While most know Smurfs as blue elves with a disturbingly low female population, other smurfs or smurfers make smurf dope: blue crystal meth. A smurf is also “an inexperienced or short prison officer,” as Green’s puts it, and a gay man who’s youngish and blonde. Plus, smurf is one of the most awesome euphemisms for the f-word in the known universe, as seen in words like clustersmurf, mothersmurfer, ratsmurf, and fan-smurfing-tastic. If I didn’t know better, I’d think smurf has an acronymic origin, like fubar and milf. Despite the PG origin, something about smurf feels blue in the naughty sense.
When a word is as fun to say as Smurf or Muppet, there’s no stopping how people will use it. Now that the Muppets are back, who knows what this mega-appealing word will soon describe? I have no idea, but let me suggest a meaning, Urban Dictionary-style, that I’ve used and suspect others use: “A harmless, lovable person.” I used this sense when I called my friend Neil a Muppet a few years ago, as Neil was stuck giving a presentation that typically made students reach for pitchforks and torches. This pernicious presentation made presenters long for a force field, or at least student-proof chicken wire. In calling Neil a Muppet, I
No Muppet renaissance would be complete without a Muppet alphabet — illustrated by David Vordtriede.
K is for Kermit the Frog
For Kermit as with all of these guys, I try to capture them the way I picture them best in my mind. Whenever Kermit would introduce the next guest on The Muppet Show it was one of the few moments each night where he let his excitement get the better of him.
You can jump over to the Flickr page to see them all by clicking here.
Muppabet_Kermit (by David Vordtriede)
By way of Jim C. Hines (aka jimhines)
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By: Betsy Bird
Blog: A Fuse #8 Production
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While the message is encouraging in and of itself, Joe Sabia’s TED talk on The Technology of Storytelling is also a brilliant example of how to do an iPad presentation with skill, humor, and facts. I can’t imagine how long this three minute, fifty-one second talk took to put together, but it’s kinda worth it. Inspires one to punch up their presentations, it does. Thanks to @145lewis for the link.
Meanwhile, when it comes to children’s literary scholars it’s a good idea to remember Michael Patrick Hearne. Whether he’s annotating A Christmas Carol or The Wizard of Oz (the man knows his way around an Alice in Wonderland too) this is a go to guy. That’s probably the reason the BBC spoke to him when they came up with the piece Wizard of Oz’s Dorothy was ‘first feminist role model’. That title’s a touch misleading (Dorothy is actually considered to be the first American feminist role model in children’s literature) but the background is interesting:
I’m working on another librarian preview at the moment (suckers take a bloody long time, I tell you). There are some previews I don’t write up, though. Why? Because you can view them at your leisure on your own time from the comfort of your own home (always assuming your home has an internet connection, of course). Case in point, the Scholastic Spring 2012 Librarian Preview is up and running. Should you wish to check out what those folks have on hand, get your one stop shopping done here:
Wanna see me sit on a floor? I mean, seriously, who can resist that alluring sight? The second of my two About.com videos is up and running. This time I recommend early chapter books for new readers. Everything from Anna Hibiscus to the Bad Kitty books. Those About.com folks are splendid editors. Check out all the floor sitting action here:
And for our off-topic video, I know I’ve posted this one before but with the release of the new Muppet movie I feel it ties in so very well. One of my favorite movie mash-ups:
While Archaia does publish comic books, they are best known for their graphic novels. (They will even publish a hardcover for Free Comic Book Day in 2012!) So it’s no surprise to see a lot of great titles from them, be they creator- or corporate-owned titles.
Marvel and Disney might own the rights to the Muppets, but Archaia has a good relationship with The Jim Henson Company, publishing everything else (“whatnot” in Muppet parlance) available in the archives, including a long forgotten screenplay! Plus there’s the “classic” Fraggle Rock comics originally published by Marvel/Star Comics back in 1985 (oh, the irony!) featuring art by Marie Severin!
Oh, and if that isn’t enough, how about a new title by Marjane Satrapi? Or the Dare Detectives? Or Miranda Mercury?
All links direct to Archaia’s excellent website, and many titles have previews!
What caught your eye?
Following up on last week’s Ryan Gosling meme, I’ve got a green fellow with a few special messages for you.
So ladies, I know you love Kermit…but you should really watch out for someone…
Happy Valentine’s Day!
Comic-Con 2010 (Debates over digital comics and the future of the industry heat up the convention floor. Also Stan Lee unveils three new superheroes [pictured here], 'Scott Pilgrim' premieres, more backlash against 3D and a new fleet of toys for... Read the rest of this post
Check out the original songs (by the cast of “Glee.” Ryan Seacrest got the exclusive debut today on his radio show, and from the sound of it, he’s a fan. New York Magazine, however, not so much) (Billboard)
- Surprise! Online... Read the rest of this post
In the late 1960s, Muppets creator Jim Henson collaborated with comic strip artist Johnny Hart (the creator of B.C. and The Wizard of Id)–planning TV show based on The Wizard of Id with puppets and animated sets. The duo created the trailer embedded above.
Here’s more from the Jim Henson Company Archives: “Jim loved comics and cartoons and collected books of Pogo, Peanuts, Dennis the Menace, L’il Abner, Charles Addams, Jules Feiffer, Roger Price, James Thurber, and Johnny Hart. During the 1960s, Jim pursued several projects based on classic fairy tales, but the Wizard of Id project was the first time Jim sought out a creative collaborator with an existing character group. The snarky humor of Hart’s B.C. and Wizard of Id appealed to Jim, and he saw how his sensibility overlapped with these funnies.”
A few years later, Henson started work on Sesame Street and his first Muppet projects, so the show never happened. Last summer, biographer Brian Jay Jones sold a biography of Henson to Ballantine. (Via i09)
New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.
Disney applied to trademark (“SEAL Team Six,” the Naval team that carried out the successful mission to kill Osama bin Laden, on May 3, the day after the mission. The application covers clothing, footwear, headgear, toys, and other... Read the rest of this post
Beliebers can now get Justin in a bottle (with the launch of his new perfume, a fruity scent — tinted purple, of course — called Someday. Cuz, Justin says, “the way a girl smells is important to a guy!” Hmmm, will Selena Gomez... Read the rest of this post
As kids today are increasingly tech-savvy (marketers must reach them in creative and complex ways. Often this is through online games with virtual worlds, social media campaigns, and in-store attractions, but are kids being bombarded too much by... Read the rest of this post
I am so pumped for this movie. May be even more pumped than I am for The hunger Games movie. Foshizzle.
Plenty of shoppers stalk the Gilt Groupe website (to get the best deals, and now the company’s children’s division is encouraging shoppers to do the same on its Facebook page, where it will offer exclusive products and deals. First up?... Read the rest of this post
We all will have a new reason to look forward to the holidays this year!
While I know so many
people who shiver with excitement at the first chill of fall and rush to remove their woolly sweaters from their closets, I am a self proclaimed "summer person". Usually I dread this change of season, but this year I have a reason to rejoice with the rest of you cool weather fans.
The reason? Let me see, Kermit the Frog, Gonzo, Fozzie Bear, Animal, Rolf, Sweetums, Rizzo, Janis, Scooter...and who am I forgetting? Oh, of course! The very glamorous Miss Piggy!
Yes, this November after digesting Thanksgiving dinner, which usually takes me about a week, I will be rushing to the theaters to see "The Muppets".
While I am sure my young patrons recognize Jim Henson's brain children, not many are as familiar with them as my generation had been. It has been 12 years since the Muppets graced our big screens and if the previews are any indication they will be returning with their full glory.
This new film is to be written by television's Jason Segal who is a huge fan of the original films and I am pretty confident he will do justice to the revival of the franchise.
So let's get our children ready to meet "The Muppets!" If you haven't already come on down to the library and check out our DVD section where we have several Muppety discs to choose from including a few seasons of the original series, "The Muppet Show". If you don't I cannot be responsible for Piggy's reaction.
-Posted By Miss Jessikah
Facebook’s latest announcement was rumored as a music service (but it has the potential to revolutionize media in general. The new apps will allow users to see what TV shows, songs, movies, news, and games their friends are using through... Read the rest of this post
DVD sales continue to tank (while household spending on streaming video services, such as Netflix, and DVD rentals from Kiosks, such as Redbox, continues to rise. Much of this trend is driven by Millennials who are less concerned with owning media... Read the rest of this post