Archive for the ‘Childhood’ Category

Brought To You By The Letter – WHY?

Tuesday, November 20th, 2007

I read an interesting blog by Ada Calhoun today on whether “Sesame Street” ruined Generation X in response to a New York Times article by Virginia Heffernan. Apparently, there is a warning on the back of the Sesame Street: Old School DVD that says “These early ‘Sesame Street’ episodes are intended for grown-ups, and may not suit the needs of today’s preschool child.”

I purchase the DVD for my mother last Christmas. The show holds a special place in her heart, especially since it debuted the same week my oldest sister was born in 1969. We’ve watched the first two episodes so far, and one particular segment stuck out: kids running through a construction site, learning words such as up, down, over, under and through. I wish I could find the clip on You Tube, because it involved kids running around broken bits of glass, rusty metal pieces and on top of sawhorses, if I recall correctly. As I watched it, I thought to myself that if the same scene played today, it would involve lawsuits, tetanus and Child Protective Services.

How about some characters that are no longer on the show?

  1. Lefty The Salesman – A creepy salesman in trenchcoat trying to sell inncocent Ernie various goods from an invisible ice-cream cone to a bottle of air? Oh no! And don’t forget the gangster mentions of Louie the Lip and The Golden An.
  2. Roosevelt Franklin – The jive talkin’ kid was removed from the series “following letters complaining of a negative African-American stereotype, and because his rowdy elementary school did not set a good example for children,” according to Muppet Wiki.
  3. Don Music – The agonized musician “was abandoned because of complaints about his alarming tendencies toward self-inflicted punishment. Apparently, kids were imitating his head-banging at home,” according to Sesame Street Unpaved.

In my opinion, even Cookie Monster jumped the shark when he sang “Healthy Food.”

I think Calhoun summed it up nicely:

“Kids today are often presented by kids’ programming with a misleading ‘everyone wins!’ version of reality. They could stand a little more misanthropic Oscar, a little less ‘Prozacky Elmo.'”

I couldn’t agree more. My generation doesn’t know how good we had it.

Revisiting Old Fears

Sunday, November 18th, 2007

Today, someone sent me a YouTube link to BoHeman Rhapsody. Of course, being a He-Man and She-Ra fan in my youth, I got quite a kick out of it. Then, I decided to look at what other 80s cartoon fodder resided in the sidebar. I then came across a TV cartoon opening that used to scare the crap out of me back in the day. It made me think – what else frightened me as a child? Apparently, enough to make a list – and most can be now found on YouTube. Thanks, Internet.

And here they are:

  1. When Cringer turned into Battlecat in “He-Man and the Masters of the Universe” – Approximately 45 seconds into this clip, Battlecat transforms, roars, and makes me want to hide under a blanket.
  2. Kimball from “Romper Room” – Another dose of disturbance at approximately 45 seconds. A pre-courser to Barney, perhaps? And speaking of another big, fat character…
  3. Grimace – Although, the McDonald’s character is not a scary as he was back in the 1970s
  4. When Chrissy & The Alphabeats sang “You’re Alive” on “Sesame Street” – This band was probably the creepiest feature on “Sesame Street.” Twenty years later, I still have to breathe in, breathe out, breathe in, breathe out to calm myself down.
  5. Slim Goodbody – A man who wears his insides on his outsides. ‘Nuff said.
  6. Anne Ramsey – I though Sloth a little scary, but Mama Fratelli just takes the cake.
  7. Lady Elaine Fairchilde – I’m beginning to sense that I have an inane fear of certain puppets. I couldn’t even find a YouTube clip of Lady Elaine – I guess her and her big red nose disturbs others, as well.
  8. The music video for Genesis’ “Land of Confusion” – Ronald Reagan in Spandex. A talking stomach. Feet marching through a jungle of severed heads. Genesis.
  9. The Willy Wonka psychadelic boat trip – There’s no way of knowing, where direction the boat is going. And that’s enough for me.
  10. I’m sure there’s a #10, but I’ve seemed to surpress the memory. Hopefully it stays that way.

Revisiting Old Friends

Tuesday, September 4th, 2007

So, tomorrow is the first day of school. Not for me, of course, but the Wednesday after Labor Day always floods my memory. Sometimes it still feels strange not waking up at 6:30, throwing on my school uniform, packing my backpack, eating a breakfast of cinnamon raisin toast and waiting for a yellow school bus. Sometimes I’ll walk pass the book publisher in my office building and smell elementary school – a mixture of new textbooks, Crayolas and copier fluid. (more…)

Robots In Disguise

Sunday, July 15th, 2007

My friend Dean brought his children, ages 8 and 7, to see Transformers this weekend. Apparently, there’s a scene where the protagonist, played by Shia LaBeouf, is searching for something in his room. His parents are knocking on the door, asking what he is doing, and he tells them to hold on. This went on for a few minutes, and the parents were becoming inpatient. Finally, he lets them into the room, and they ask him something to the effect of, “Were you masturbating?”

Of course, that’s something most 7 and 8 year olds have (and should have) no clue about. Dean said his children began to persistantly ask what masturbating was, while in the theater, and he told them they’d talk about it later. But his son kept pressing on (more…)

Elementary School Bans Tag

Wednesday, October 18th, 2006

Tag, You’re Out! 

And so our lawsuit-happy society continues the bastardization of childhood. Tell me, how many kids do you know who were sent to the hospital from an innocent game of tag?

Recess is “a time when accidents can happen,” said Willett Elementary School Principal Gaylene Heppe, who approved the ban.

Even with my extreme clumsiness, the worst I’ve gotten were skinned knees – nothing a Band-Aid or antibacterial ointment couldn’t fix.

Well, then, while we’re at it, why don’t we ban baseball? Or only play with a styrofoam bat and a Koosh ball… on a padded surface, of course. Why not ban Barbies? Someone may get an eye poked out with her pointy legs or choke on her hair comb. Why not bad hand games, like “Miss Mary Mack”? If someone gets slapped too hard, it’s possible grounds for harrassment. And, above all, why not ban books? Someone may get a papercut that gets infected, subsequently getting gangrene and requiring complete amputation of the finger.

While I continue to lament today’s children, read what someone sent me a few weeks ago:

Resignation from Adulthood

“I am hereby officially tendering my resignation as an adult. I have decided I would like to accept the responsibilities of an 8 year-old again.

I want to go to McDonald’s and think that it’s a four star restaurant.

I want to sail sticks across a fresh mud puddle and make a sidewalk with rocks.

I want to think M&Ms are better than money because you can eat them.

I want to lie under a big oak tree and run a lemonade stand with my friends on a hot summer’s day.

I want to return to a time when life was simple, when all you knew were colors, multiplication tables, and nursery rhymes, but that didn’t bother you, because you didn’t know what you didn’t know and you didn’t care. All you knew was to be happy because you were blissfully unaware of all the things that should make you worried or upset.

I want to think the world is fair. That everyone is honest and good.

I want to believe that anything is possible.

I want to be oblivious to the complexities of life and be overly excited by the little things again.

I want to live simple again.

I don’t want my day to consist of computer crashes, mountains of paperwork, depressing news, how to survive more days in the month than there is money in the bank, doctor bills, gossip, illness, and loss of loved ones.

I want to believe in the power of smiles, hugs, a kind word, truth, justice, peace, dreams, the imagination, mankind, and making angels in the snow.

So… here’s my checkbook and my car keys, my credit card bills and my 401K statements. I am officially resigning from adulthood.

And if you want to discuss this further, you’ll have to catch me first, ’cause…

… Tag! You’re it.”

A New Endangered Species

Wednesday, April 27th, 2005

My first job was babysitting four children, whose ages ranged from two to nine. The mother warned me that the oldest girl was “Nine going on 19,” and I laughed it off. However, when I met the daughter, I saw what she meant. The girl was wearing a low-cut shirt, nail polish and makeup.

“Let’s watch a movie,” I suggested, looking through their extensive Disney collection. I picked out Aladdin.

“Too babyish,” the girl told me. “I want to watch Friday the 13th.”

I informed her that it was rated R and we would not be watching it, because she was only nine, and her brother and sister would be watching it with us.

“But Mommy lets us,” she argued.

Sure enough, her mother stuck her head in the doorway right before she left for the night. “It’s okay for them to watch that movie,” she said.

I then found myself watching Friday the 13th with a four, seven and nine-year old. (more…)

The Heart Will Go On – But Not the 90s

Wednesday, February 9th, 2005

When a loved one dies, it’s natural to grieve and to with the person would come alive again to begin where you left off before the death. Even though, deep in our hearts, we know it’s best to let them settle in and get comfortable with their new afterlife.

However, there has been an influx of people digging up a certain fresh grave. The poor soul has only been dead for five years, but they keep shoveling up the dirt and disturbing his rest. It’s a horrifying story – really, it is. I’m sure you’ve heard about it. Oh, you say you haven’t? Just turn on your television. You’re bound to see him. His name is The Nineties. (more…)