Monday, November 30, 2015

Muppet Monday

Here's a Christmas-related sketch from the December 20, 1965 episode of Perry Como's Kraft Music Hall that features reindeer Muppets attempting to make it snow. Not many credits survive for this one, though Jim as Dasher is obvious, and Jerry Nelson (who joined Muppets, Inc. in 1965) and Frank Oz must be in there, and I assume Jerry Juhl was involved in the writing. There's also a picture of Jane Henson and Don Sahlin making one of the puppets. Stay tuned for some awkward banter between a very Prairie Dawn-like Anything Muppet and Como, as well as Jim awkwardly accepting some praise.

Xmas: Calvin and Hobbes, 1989

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Song of the Week: "The Peace Carol"

I don't know how much I will or won't be posting for Christmas this season, but let's start with SamuraiFrog's Essential Christmas Songs #29: "The Peace Carol," performed by John Denver and the Muppets. This is one of Richard Hunt's best vocal performances, taking a verse as Scooter, in the kind of sincere Christmas song I truly love.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

I Spend Thanksgiving Alone Every Year

It's not something I'm saying so people will feel bad for me or anything, it's just something I do. Actually, I'd love to spend Thanksgiving just cooking and being at home with my wife, but she spends it at her mother's every year, so if I had a dream Thanksgiving, it would be just a day home alone with my wife. But to be fair, that's how I'd like to spend most of my days.

It's not that I'm not invited, I just don't feel comfortable there. Part of it is my agoraphobia, part of it is my anxiety, and part of it is that thing I do where I feel like I have to be "on" when I'm out to make everyone else comfortable, which is exhausting. So a combination of mental stuff that can be hard to control and tendencies that are so habitual they're hard to overcome. I find it very hard to relax when I'm anywhere. (Also, my mother-in-law smokes constantly, and that's very hard for me to be around with my asthma.)

I know we're always getting bludgeoned with that message that Thanksgiving is a time for family and togetherness and whatnot, but I've never really been comfortable with that unless I was forcing myself to try to be. After my parents got divorced, too much of every holiday became about how much time I was spending with one parent before going over to the other parent in a high pressure situation that I never asked to be in. It became more and more a source of full-on anxiety attacks until I put my foot down about a decade ago and decided I didn't do the holidays anymore.

I think that once sounded like a great mental and emotional health decision, but more and more I see it as part of a lifelong pattern of isolating myself from everyone so as not to cause them any difficulty. Apparently this is the year I've decided to firmly accept that I was abused as a child--mentally, emotionally, and physically--and that alone makes me feel less like interacting with family.

Either way, both of my parents now live far enough from me that I can't get to either of them, which is kind of a relief. And we've only got the one car anyway, and since Becca is never going to do anything but go to her mom's for Thanksgiving, I've gotten out of that one. I'm not actually sure how far out of town our car's going to get at this point, which is something I'm rather terrified of eventually having to deal with...

This isn't to say that people are wrong or anything for liking to spend the holidays with their families. If that's what you like, enjoy it. I'm not so well-adjusted. Being around my family makes me feel a pressure to be a certain kind of way. And this way I'm not getting into passionate political arguments, so that's good. That shit is so wearying.

But I do get lonely sometimes, just me and the rabbit alone in the apartment on what is invariably a cold, cloudy day. And it'll be like that on Christmas, too. It's one kind of angst or the other, and better the angst that's easier to deal with, I guess.

That all sounds very sad, I think. And I can't remember what my original point was. I guess I just needed to talk about it a little bit because I'm not really looking forward to another one. I'll still have the weekend with Becca, and that'll be great. I just wish I got the day itself sometimes.

UPDATE 1:38 PM: Part of my point was initially going to be that part of the reason I prefer the pop culture version of holidays is that I have a hard time dealing with the schism between, for example on Thanksgiving, the myth of family togetherness and coming together in tough times, with the reality of genocide and subjugation that lies under the American mythology. That's part of the reason why I just can't feel a lot of holidays. And this year, it rings particularly hollow to me because of the current situation with Syrian refugees and the way America is once again caving in to terrorists. Many are reacting with predictable bigotry, and some of them are family members, and some of them have said or supported such disgusting things that I don't feel like, you know, looking them in the eye at the dinner table and feeling familial camaraderie. Anger, hate, fear, bullying, insensitivity, ignorance, abuse, judgment... these are the things that ground me down in life and make it hard for me not to internalize a lot of things, and when I see someone participating in that, I find it hard to keep respecting them. Yeah, everyone says something stupid at some time. But sometimes they do it so gleefully.

What are we celebrating? Togetherness and caring and love, or... I don't know, some kind of fucked up victory?

In that vein, I wanted to link Roger's post today, because it hits most of the points I want to make but, awfully, feel too exhausted and angry to coherently write.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Muppet Monday

I haven't put up any old Muppet commercials in a while, so here are what are apparently the only two (out of 24!) surviving ads for Claussen's Bakery that Jim Henson and his team made in 1964. They're both 10-second spots starring Mack and Kermit, with a similar dynamic to Wilkins and Wontkins in the great Wilkins Coffee ads.