Sunday, May 09, 2010

Five Great Links (Six, If You Count Choo Choo)




"Wow! This is really good stuff! I'd like to tell people about it, but I've already got that post written for tomorrow concerning my childhood love of Scooter Pies, and I planned on talking about the time I worked as a breaker-upper at a peanut brittle factory on Wednesday, and I certainly can't let Maurice Gosfield's birthday pass without notice, and..."

That's the sort of thought process that occurs in my head as I encounter marvelous things on the internet. I see something truly wonderful, such as this...

A Baseball Fan's Reflections Upon The Passing Of Ernie Harwell

... and, while I enjoy it immensely, and certainly leave profuse praise in the comments section, I rarely tell others about it. And that's a damn shame. The really good stuff, the outstanding stuff, should always find a wider audience. For instance, this...

Rainy Day Old Maid

... not only deserves a wider audience of viewers on the web, it deserves to become part of a major motion picture, or be developed into an HBO sitcom, or something fantastic and full of mad bucks for the participants. And, if you like that - or even if you don't, although I can't imagine why you wouldn't - here's the further adventures of Micky & Patsy...

The Titwillow Affair

Honest to God - and I don't use such sacrilegious phrases lightly - stuff like that leaves me defenseless. I get so totally engrossed in those characters, you could come rob me blind while I'm watching it. I wouldn't notice my Choo Choo Coleman autographed baseball had been boosted until the credits rolled, and maybe not even then.

And, after those two great comedic characters, where do you go for your next serving of awesomeness? Dance, maybe. This, for instance...

Hand In Hand

... should leave you amazed, and possibly in tears (although I believe the intent is to make us aware that tears are NOT needed, and that beauty is possible without all of the accoutrement one would consider a necessity for certain endeavors.)

Finally, I'll leave you with perhaps the only video clip I can think of able to top the previous one for emotional impact. As many of you know, I am a huge fan of Fred Rogers. I've written about him extensively; so much so, that a very good friend recently wrote to me, saying that she thought I must be more "into" Fred Rogers than anyone else in the world is, child or adult. Perhaps so. She then asked me what my favorite episode was. My reply...

Ah, an interesting question, indeed. Insofar as Neighborhood Of Make Believe stuff, I'd have to say the week of episodes where the characters are trying to figure out ways to feed hungry people, wherein Daniel Striped Tiger plants a can of soup in hopes of growing a soup tree. Bob Dog, trying to be kind and not let Daniel's feelings be hurt, ties cans of soup to a small tree and puts the tree into Daniel's planting pot. Daniel thinks his plan has worked, so he starts talking about how he'll plant all of these new cans of soup, growing more trees, and how happy he is that world hunger will be solved, etc., until Bob Dog - with prompting from Lady Aberlin, I believe - tells Daniel the truth, very embarrassed to have to do so.

The heartbreak that Daniel feels (I know this sounds bizarre, but it's true) is almost palpable, even though you and I know that he's a puppet with no movable facial features. I don't quite know how Fred Rogers did it, but he managed to convey emotional impact via puppets with unchanging faces. Some of it was voicing, of course, but he also moved them - most especially Daniel - in such a way that their 'bodies' and utterly still faces also made an impact. One can almost 'see' tears forming in Daniel's eyes during this episode. Perhaps it's only because Daniel is such a tremendously likable character to begin with (and my favorite) that I put my own empathetic reactions into play when he's involved in the story.

As for my favorite episode with Fred Rogers in live action, it is near impossible to top what you'll find at the link I'm including. If you have never seen this - or, even if you have; maybe especially if you have - you'll need a hankie. A big one.


Fred Rogers & Jeff Erlanger

It is hard to imagine a person being more open, loving, and caring. Would that I were so, but one has to be an amazingly stronger person than I am to reach such a level. Fred Rogers is often thought of, and portrayed in popular culture, as (for lack of better words) a wimp. No. Only someone truly ignorant could fail to see the strength needed here.

So many things I want to let you know about. Those are the five I recall at the moment. Once I publish this, of course, ten more will pop back into my memory. And there are hundreds, thousands, perhaps millions of such moments of charm and laughter and caring and appreciation out there, ready for us to savor if only we knew where to find them.

(Makes me wonder why I should expect anyone to read my crap, since there are so many better ways for people to spend their time. However, it also reminds me of how fortunate I am to have you put aside a few minutes to come here as often as you do. And, since you do, I'll promise to return...)

Soon, with more better stuff.

[Disclaimers: I haven't really written a post about Scooter Pies, though I may someday and this will serve as your warning. I was never a breaker-upper in a peanut brittle factory, and in fact that joke was stolen from The Three Stooges. That doesn't preclude my desire to become one, though. Maurice Gosfield's birthday was in January, so obviously I did let it pass without notice. Next year you may not be so fortunate. I don't have a Choo Choo Coleman autographed baseball, but if you have one you want to send me, don't. If you didn't know who Choo Choo Coleman was before this, aren't you happy I gave you the link? Considering my past history, I could have easily given you something much worse.]


15 comments:

Michelle H. said...

It is hard to imagine a person being more open, loving, and caring. Would that I were so, but one has to be an amazingly stronger person than I am to reach such a level.

I would say, from my personal knowledge of you, that you are pretty damn close in being such an amazingly strong person who is open, loving, and caring. We are especially lucky, as readers, that you also have another convoluted side of humor, satire, and raunchiness to keep us even more entertained.

My favorite Fred Rogers part is whenever he showed movies on how stuff works and/or is made. I remember the one where they showed how to make Crayola crayons, all the many different colors of wax like the many different people there are - placed together in the pack/world to make many beautiful pictures (and life) together.

Shammickite said...

I wonder if you talk and change topics when you talk as fast as you do when using the written blogword. Would be fun to sit down with you (and YOUR WIFE of course) in a local pub and have a chat.... but I suppose I'd just sit and listen while you waffle on about people and things I've never heard of... like Choo Choo Pies and Scooter Coleman.....

Angela Christensen said...

Suldog, and MICHELLE,
What a great list, especially the part about Mr. Rogers....Michelle, I have exactly the same wonderful memory of how the crayons were made, and the same sense of happiness, I think, as you: all the different crayons, going into the boxes so beautifullly, as I wish we all did in our lives as people. Remember when Mr. Rogers went to meet Yoyo Ma and his son, and played a duet with them on the piano? Suldog, thank you SO MUCH for posting the link, which must have been from an episode after my boys thought they'd outgrown Mr. Rogers. I have no words to tell you how perfectly that capped Mother's Day for me.
Love,love.

Hilary said...

Some wonderful links here. I already knew how wonderful Ray and Andrew are as I've seen both videos before and of course who didn't adore Fred Rogers (as I type this, the link you provided will not load)? The ballet was so touching. Thanks for sharing some wonderful links. I don't think I've ever known you to post on a Sunday before.

Carolina said...

Oh I don't know, the internet connection this morning is lousy *sigh*. Things take forever to load and I have other things to do, so I'll have to come back and try again.

Jeni said...

It's so nice to hear you talk about Fred Rogers and show -freely -your admiration for the wonderful man he was. It's just so great to hear a man speak about others the way you do -no holds barred at times, yes but still with a sentimentality that all too often few men will allow to come through, probably for fear it will make them be or look less than masculine. On so many levels, you and my son are very much alike -bawdy at times and yet, so sweet, so open at others. Please -don't ever change!

Daryl said...

What Michelle said .. she has a much better way with words than I do ... and thank you SO much for pimping Micky & Patsy (and their alter egos Ray & Andrew) ...

Rhea said...

Thanks, I am gonna check 'em out.

Uncle Skip, said...

I wonder how the interview would have turned out if Fred Rogers, instead of Ralph Kiner, had interviewed Choo-Choo Coleman?

Buck said...

You are a complex man, Jim. Thanks for broadening my horizons. The Jeff Erlanger video wouldn't play for me (it went a lil over a minute and then just quit, with a cryptic "the selection is not available" message), but that's on PBS... not you.

Karen said...

I agree wholeheartedly with Michelle.

Craig said...

Thanks for the link-love, Sully. . .

Some good stuff here, I'm sure; but I'll have to wait a bit, until I might not get fired if I spend an hour watching it all. . .

;)

Sniffles and Smiles said...

From now on, I'm going to call you Mr. Suldog...for you are the open, loving and caring hero in the bloggie neighborhood! I must tell you that I am a Mr. Rogers fan...I couldn't miss a show as a kid...Mom never had trouble getting me home for dinner...Mr. Rogers broadcast at 5pm in our area...And I loved him even as an adult...Yes! His trolley, and neighborhood of make-believe were fabulous...and his magic picture...and, and, and...Loved this! Thank you, Mr. Suldog. And will always make time to visit...it's always a lovely day in the neighborhood...And I WILL be your neighbor!!! Hugs, Janine

Anali said...

Awww man! You got me! I was all ready for the Scooter Pie and peanut brittle posts. : )

Frank Baron said...

I was saddened at the passing of Ernie Harwell. He wouldn't have been, though. He knew he had a great run and the man didn't have a complaining bone in his body.

I lived in London, Ontario for several years, which is just about in between Toronto and Detroit. It was before the Jays came to be and ball fans in London were Tigers fans. Their games were televised fairly often and of course, I could tune in Ernie on the radio.

He was one of the greats, along with Jack Buck, Harry Caray, Bob Prince and of course, Vin Scully.

Well, the PBS clip wouldn't load for me which is probably just as well since I was still mopping tears after watching the dancers. Thanks a LOT Suldog! ;)