Archives For Sesame Street

Sorry, no raindrops on roses in this joint (but plenty of whiskers on kittens, thanks to the three Weeblettes).

I was looking around my house the other day and I thought, You have a lot of really weird shit, Weebs.

It’s true, I have a lot of really weird shit. Eclectic, you might say. A lot of strange objects that I’m rather fond of. Let’s take a tour, I’ll show you around.

First, we’ll visit the infirmary to see my beloved collection of smallpox-related antiques. I’ve been obsessed with smallpox for years. In fact, my doctoral dissertation (which I didn’t finish, otherwise I’d be Doctor Weebles) was on smallpox inoculations in 18th-century America. There are many mighty diseases that have plagued humanity for centuries: tuberculosis, bubonic plague, yellow fever, etc, but I find smallpox the most compelling. As pathogens go, this one is brutal as fuck. Kill rates during epidemics ranged from 30% to 50%. In many parts of the world, children weren’t even considered official members of the family until they had contracted and survived smallpox. That’s some sick shit, yo. And smallpox is the only disease to be completely eradicated (although polio is on its way to extinction as well). It exists only in the labs now (and hopefully will not return in weaponized format, or any other format).

Clockwise from top left: 20th-century smallpox vaccine vials, 19th-century fleams, 19th-century scarificator, 19th-century ivory folding lancet, 18th-century scalpel.

In case you’re wondering how lancets, fleams, and scalpels treated smallpox, these little beauties were used to create wounds through which the smallpox matter (or cowpox matter, later on) was introduced. The scarificator is a neat little device with several small blades on the bottom to create multiple wounds at once. All of these tools were used for bloodletting as well. It was thought that many illnesses were caused by an overabundance of blood, so doctors would bleed patients to drain the “excess.” Shockingly, this charming practice hurt many more people than it helped.

Let’s move on to the Teeny Tiny Chamber of Horrors. Please note that Raggedy Ann and Raggedy Andy are here only for scale, not for punishment. They learned their lesson after last time.

This is my guillotine. There are others like it but this one is mine.

Raggedy Andy now knows the penalty for geting fresh with Raggedy Ann...

Raggedy Andy now knows the penalty for getting fresh with Raggedy Ann…

We’re going to make a right turn here, onto Sesame Street:

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One! Two! Three! Four! Five! Six! Six Count von Count items! Ah! Ah! Ah!

Aside from Oscar the Grouch, The Count is my favorite Sesame Street character. What better way to honor him than to build a shrine that includes toys made in his likeness? Please take a moment for quiet reflection here if you like.

Around the corner from Sesame Street is the Museum of Wacky Old Items. These objects are late 18th century to early 19th century.

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From top to bottom: Folding knife, bullet probe, blistering iron.

The folding knife, called a “penny knife” because that’s how much it cost, is the kind carried by soldiers during the American Revolution. This one is in pretty good shape but who knows, maybe it was used by a smokin’ hot guy in the Continental Army. It titillates me to contemplate this. The bullet probe determined the depth of a bullet wound. Fat load of good it did, though; it was a lot more common to die from nasty, infected bullet wounds than to be killed outright by bullets. The blistering iron did exactly what you’d expect: you held it over a fire to get it nice and hot, then seared the skin with it to cause a blister. You know that philosophy behind bloodletting? Yeah, well, blistering was another method of relieving people of the bad “humors” that caused disease. In theory, the blister would draw all the ick (that’s the official medical term for it, by the way) from the person, and when the blister drained, presto, disease all gone. But guess what? Yup. Didn’t work. In fact, you know who died after being severely weakened by copious bloodletting and blistering? George Washington. Poor bastard was already very sick, and the “medical” treatment finished him off.

And finally, let’s visit the farm and say hello to my stuffed animals. Not the taxidermy kind, either. I know, I know, you’re thinking, “Weebs has stuffed animals???” Yes. Yes I do. Allow me to introduce you to some of my plush friends:

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Ham and Peas. Yes, those are the peas from Toy Story 3, how kind of you to notice.

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Top left to right: Whaley and Squeezy Shark. Bottom left to right: Owlie, Legs, and Narwally. What? I didn’t say I was good at naming them.

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The cuddliest breakfast ever: Toast, Coffee, and Pancakes. If only I could find a real mug of coffee this big.

Mr. Weebles is concerned about my penchant for buying giant stuffed toys because they take up a lot of space. I tell him I can stop anytime I want to. (I just don’t want to.)

And this concludes our tour for today. Thank you for joining me, I hope you’ve all enjoyed it as much as I have. Please be sure to gather all your belongings, watch your step as you disembark, and get home safely.

I love television.  I’m not ashamed to admit it.  From my earliest childhood, with  Sesame Street, Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, Captain KangarooThe Electric Company (the original, not that bullshit remake), Zoom (the original, not that bullshit remake), and a zillion cartoons, that big box has been a huge part of my life.

A lot of buzzkills argue that too much television is unhealthy.  My reply to them is, “Suck it.”  I learned to count to 20 in Spanish thanks to Sesame StreetSchoolhouse Rock taught me about the parts of speech, and I can still sing the preamble to the Constitution.  And raise your hand if, like me, you learned to twirl your arms from watching Bernadette on Zoom.  Now tell me that trick hasn’t held you in good stead all these years.

I have learned much from TV shows over the years.  I’ve also drawn very important conclusions from my recent TV watching habits.  I’d like to share a few of them with you.

  • Life insurance companies should automatically report to the police anyone who takes out extra policies on their spouses.   Per 48 Hours Mystery, Dateline, and everything else that runs on the ID Channel, this should be a no-brainer.  If you take out an expensive policy, you may as well be wearing a sandwich board that says, “I’m about to commit murder!!”  So just go ahead and report these folks to the police and save them some legwork.  (Note to Mr. Weebles:  That million-dollar policy I just took out on you is in NO WAY related to this.)
  • Similarly, people with Crazy Eyes should be summarily reported to the police. Check out the perps featured on the ID Channel.  They ALL have Crazy Eyes.  I don’t care what profilers and psychologists say—ocular creepiness is the most reliable indicator of criminal intent.
These are Crazy Eyes.

These are Crazy Eyes.

These are NOT Crazy Eyes.

These are not Crazy Eyes.

  • No matter what day or time it is, some version of Law & Order is always on.  ALWAYS.  I find this oddly comforting.
  • Any man who tried to call me “Baby girl” would get the asskicking of a lifetime.  Except for Derek Morgan on Criminal Minds.
  • There are a LOT of aliens, chupacabras, sasquatches, and other mysterious creatures around us.  Be careful out there.
  • Most ghost hunters are obnoxious dickwads.  They walk around allegedly haunted places trying to taunt the spirits by yelling, “Show yourself!!”  If I were a ghost, I’d scare these idiots so badly that they’d need diapers for the rest of their lives.  Just because you’re talking to dead people doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have good manners.

Surely, my friends, you have also gleaned crucial learnings from your TV viewing.  Please share.

As many of you know, I have something of a hotline to the spirit world.  I know things.  And I sense many important and exciting events in store for the coming year, so I want to share my predictions with you.

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Jack Kerouac will return to earth in the body of a rabid dog and rip out the throat of the numbnuts who decided to crank out a tepid, unnecessary film adaptation of On the Road.  The casting director who signed Kristen Stewart for a role will be found with a copy of the novel rammed up his cold, dead colon.

Prince William and Kate Middleton will welcome a son who will bear an unfortunate and uncanny resemblance to his grandfather, Prince Charles—complete with giant ears and constipated countenance.  The front page of the Daily Mail will announce the birth with a photo of the baby and the headline, “A Royal Shame.”  The Times header will read, “Newborn Prince Healthy but Lost Genetic Lottery.”  And The Sun will simply declare, “BLOODY HELL!!”

In other celebrity baby news, the spawn of Kim Kardashian and Kanye West will have cloven hooves and will perform its own C-section.

The governments of the United States and Canada will jointly decide to banish Justin Bieber to an ice floe in the Arctic Circle.  He will never be heard from again.  The IQ of millions of tween girls will skyrocket shortly afterwards.

In sports, the New York Yankees will go 162-0, sweeping the playoffs and winning the World Series in 4 games. Alex Rodriguez will be out for the season, tormented by the ghost of Lou Gehrig yelling, “Suck it up, bitch!”  The NFL will be rocked to its core next winter when a meteor lands in the middle of Cowboys Stadium, destroying both the Dallas Cowboys and the visiting Philadelphia Eagles.  Americans will once again fail to give a rat’s ass about the upcoming Major League Soccer season.

Buoyed by the continued federal funding of PBS, the Children’s Television Workshop will introduce a new Sesame Street character, Bruce—Snuffalupagus’s boyfriend.

Sometime next month—or maybe later today—a woman in front of me will walk way too slowly, causing my blood pressure to rise until I finally go batshit crazy and push her in front of a bus.

President Obama will appoint Betty White as United States Ambassador to the World, which will usher in a new era of peace on earth.

There’s more, but my spirit guides just went for a cigarette break.  If you have any questions about the year ahead, please feel free to ask.  I will provide answers when my guides return.