Joy, America, food, Muppets

Not sure if it’s anti-intellectualism, xenophobia, some warped religiosity, the fear of the Red menace that makes anything “socialist” automatically suspect or what.

AmericasdebtMore from New York Erratic:

What was the greatest joy in the last year?

It had to be Thanksgiving. My wife and daughter and I spent it at my second cousin’s house, just outside NYC, with her and her family, her sister, my eldest niece and her husband, a couple of my mother’s first cousins (the hostess’s uncles), and more. The next day, my family did Manhattan with the niece, her husband, and her friends.

What do you think is really causing the deficit?

I just don’t know. It seemed that Bill Clinton had a real handle on reducing the deficit, but then, kablooey, it got all out of control. It’s totally mysterious.

Jaquandor chimes in:

I’m noticing more and more that other countries have good ideas as to how to deal with problems, be it health care (other countries do it better AND much cheaper), credit card security, mass transport, urban design…and yet, new ideas have SUCH a hard time gaining traction in this country. Why is that?

I blame de Tocqueville. He came over here from France early in our national development, gave us the big thumbs up, and we felt free to continue that manifest destiny westward expansion thing, because of American exceptionalism. (I jest, but only slightly.)

And there was a point where, because of this being a big melting pot of a country, that this was a destination for immigrants in the 19th and 20th centuries. And great things WERE done.

Except now, we are often exceptionally bad at education and health care compared with other industrialized countries, even though we spend more. It’s our way or the (miles, not kilometers) highway. This graphic covers it.

Not sure if it’s anti-intellectualism, xenophobia, some warped religiosity, the fear of the Red menace that makes anything “socialist” automatically suspect, the power of the American oligarchy, or what. Maybe it’s the belief, totally in the face of evidence of facts to the contrary, that “the good old days” is what we need to strive for. It is probably the same forces that reject climate change, believe people rode on dinosaurs, and think the opinions on FOX News are facts.

Raising a child now, what do you make of current children’s media (books, movies, teevee) versus what you know from your own upbringing or that of others?

Re: TV, there’s just a whole lot more of it, geared to different ages, whereas I grew up with Saturday morning cartoons, Captain Kangaroo, Romper Room, and the local cartoon show. Now, you have whole networks for kids. Disney has tons of sitcoms, most of which are not great, but it’s keeping writers working.

Books and movies are a whole lot more “grown-up.” Someone suggested that my 10-y.o. would be ready for Hunger Games or something along those lines; not a chance. Too violent, too intense. But she does read a lot; she’s MOSTLY over the fairy phase.

Interestingly, even movies she sees that have scary parts on first viewing she’ll watch again to inure herself.

Favorite cheese(s)?

Colby, Gouda, sharp cheddar, Monterrey jack, Gruyere. Sandwiches usually with provolone, Swiss, cheddar.

But the one I use the most often is cottage. CC with apples and mayo. CC with fruit cocktail or apple sauce. CC with eggs.

Seguing to SamuraiFrog, who has a food question as well:

What foods did you love as a kid that you don’t like now?

We had a lot of canned vegetables, including canned spinach. Had some in the last 12 months, and it was AWFUL, inedible. Used to eat white bread, Sunbeam by name; not something I’d want now.

What is your favorite non-music-related sound?

See, I don’t think there are many non-musical sounds. When Lydia was in the MRI for an hour, I’d hear songs that sounded like those particular dronings. Elevators, garbage pick-up trucks, vacuum cleaners, sirens all have pitches I try to pick out. That said, it would have to be running water, the more the better. It’s partly why I like waterfalls so much.

What smells do you find comforting?

Baking bread. Also, the perfume that certain women wear.

If you could paint a picture of one thing, what would it be?

If I could only paint! A night scene with lots of stars and a crescent moon.

And the most important question: Who is your favorite Muppet?

Did I mention that I just bought The Muppets Character Encyclopedia? I didn’t know so many characters had actual names! OK, Kermit sings my theme song, was originally voiced by Jim Henson, and is green, so he’s #1; you’ve written about Kermit yourself recently. Number #2 is Ernie, who sings a song about a duck – you HAVE seen my blog logo – and was originally voiced by Jim Henson. But #3 has to be Rowlf, who I used to watch on the Jimmy Dean Show, long before I knew the term Muppet.

Author: Roger

I'm a librarian. I hear music, even when it's not being played. I used to work at a comic book store, and it still informs my life. I won once on JEOPARDY! - ditto.

6 thoughts on “Joy, America, food, Muppets”

  1. Excellent answers. If I can ask a follow-up to Jaquandor’s question about America: do you worry that it’s too late to change course? I don’t want to get too doomsday about it, I’ve just been reading too many things lately that seem to be adding up to a depressing future. Of course, I have mental disorders and that seems to be the way I process things a lot of time (“catastrophizing” is what my therapist calls it).

    Interesting that your daughter goes back to the things that scare her. I do that, too. Have you ever seen Jim Henson’s The Dark Crystal? I was so afraid of that movie–despite it being one of my favorites–until literally a few months ago. I should write about that… Another example for me is E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. I HAVE written about that: at age 5, it scared me so bad I was basically traumatized. But I became fascinated by stuff like UFOs, which led me to reading books about ACTUAL science. Then when it was re-released when I was 9, I loved it, and now it’s my favorite movie. It makes me cry badly, but in a cathartic way.

    Great Muppet choices, and all characters performed by Jim. My very first word was “Ernie.” I love Kermit and Ernie, but I always feel like Rowlf is more indicative of Jim’s personality. I’m not sure why… If you remember my list of favorite Muppets, Rowlf was number one.

    However, I’ve decided I need to go listen to “I Don’t Want to Live on the Moon”…

  2. I’ve been thinking about the lack of new ideas too, and I wonder if it’s because our country hasn’t been destroyed twice in the past century like a lot of European countries. I wonder if the trauma of the 20th century has made Europeans more determined to come up with solutions that don’t involve killing a lot of people, while Americans can still pretend that not working together is healthy because our 20th century traumas (the Depression, the 1960s) have been relatively contained and not as widespread. We can afford to be arrogant because, so far, our arrogance hasn’t destroyed our entire civilization.

  3. My favorite Muppet is The Great Gonzo, closely followed by Kermit. Have you ever heard Frank Sinatra’s version of “Being Green”?

  4. Hmmm. Greg makes an interesting point that I hadn’t considered: Europe literally had to rebuild itself virtually from scratch twice in thirty years, while it can be said that America is just finishing building itself the first time. So I wonder if the disconnect is between those of us who think it’s time to start rebuilding what isn’t so great now on the one side, and the “Bah, it’s just fine” thought process on the other.

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