Loonette Etcetera

If you have kids of a certain age, you’re probably familiar with things like Barney, Teletubbies, Caillou, Arthur, and some of the other PBS children’s staples from the early part of this century. The kids were always ambivalent about Barney, Teletubbies creeped all of us out (if you haven’t seen the Joy Division/Teletubbies mash-up, you should)–and how could they spill that goddamn tubby custard every damn episode? I sort of wished Caillou lived in the neighborhood, just to hope someday when the kids grew up my daughter could kick his sniveling, candied ass, but I like Arthur a lot–and not just because it’s got a lot of western PA references. I remain a big, big Binky fan–but no surprise there, right?
big comfy couch
There is one show, however, that the kids sometimes watched, that we all enjoyed, but which left me feeling vaguely uncomfortable and confused. I’m talking about The Big Comfy Couch–you know, “with Loonette and Molly, a clown and her dolly…?”  Want to know why? It’s no secret, and you already know I’m going to tell you .

At a certain time in each episode, Loonette would tell the time by laying down on this clock carpet on the floor and sort of, sexy clock writhingum, well, gyrate and contort herself into the hours of the day, as they served the plot. It was kind of sexy. I’m not saying that I got aroused, just that I noticed, that I recognized that I noticed, and it made me feel just a little uncomfortable. Okay, it made me feel just a little wrong. It was impossible to tell how old this clown was–and she did have a dolly. Was there something wrong with me? Something dark?

279881You can imagine my relief when I looked at this feature–clicked on a link that led to another link and so on–from Cracked magazine (which has a big web presence, who knew?) titled “If Every Kid’s Show Got a Gritty Live-Action Re-Boot”. They’d had a contest, and among the winners–number 6, in fact–was a fresh, contemporary start for Loonette. I had to smile: it wasn’t just me!

Better still, in searching for the images I used above, I found out that not only does Alyson Court, the actress who played Loonette, have a pretty cool twitter, she’s not all that much younger than me–and she’s actually pretty hot. A lot hot, actually.  So cool and hot–which means that not only am I not a pervert, I’ve got the amazing ability to see through the clownish exterior to the witty, striking, woman beneath the make-up. It’s like BQmAwurCAAIYWaOa super-power, maybe even the hetero equivalent of Gaydar–which, of course, begs the question: why waste it on a broken down old married guy like me?  Nature works in strange, mysterious, and random ways, I guess.

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Wednesday Words of Wisdom: Franklin Delano Roosevelt

RooseveltinwheelchairThe test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much it is whether we provide enough for those who have little.
–Franklin D. Roosevelt

My wife and I have been devoting time over the past few weeks to watch Ken Burns 14-hour biographical documentary The Roosevelts: An Intimate History . I was excited when she brought the DVD set home from our public library mainly because of my great admiration for Theodore Roosevelt, but the opportunity to learn more about Franklin and Eleanor in the pleasantly passive format of video was compelling as well.

I’ve got a larger post in the works about FDR, but the main thing that I’ve taken away from the film thus far is that these were giant personalities, with giant ideas, who were unafraid to step boldly forward when events called for action.  It is difficult to process this, considering the caliber of leadership we’ve had during my life–Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Little Bush, even President Obama.  Some better than others, but none of them Great in the true sense.  All of them, on a mythological scale, have been “small” men defined, in the end, by their limitations.

I look out at the candidates we’re being handed and I’m unimpressed.  Three niche Republicans shaped from the same cookie cutter, different only in the details with which they’ve been decorated, and Hillary Clinton, the candidate I supported 8 years ago–owing to her savvy, intellect, and depth–but who now just feels like a doorway to the past.

Others will surely step forward–perhaps Chris Christie will take a stab at emerging from the stench of corruption that rises from New Jersey, and we’ve heard Jeb Bush–a predictably milquetoast Republican who, right now, might be the only conservative out there with a chance.

None of them, however, have any big ideas–the conservatives are mired in pettiness, dragged down by tea party greed and religious hysteria, and strangled by the power brokers who fund them and run their machines, whose only goal to to save their corporations a few dollars at the expense of the nation that feeds their wealth.  Short-sighted fools.

And the Democrats….sigh.

I look out at our nation and have to wonder if we’re incapable of creating these kind of giants any more.  Does the rigid hierarchy of the entrenched two-party system weed out the exceptional individuals so completely that our fate is to always be restricted to average people with small ideas?  I wonder.  Was it that rare combination of wealth and progressivism that allowed them to transcend the entrenched power brokers of the day–Teddy facing down the industrialists in his Republican Party, and Franklin taming the corrupt New York City power brokers who controlled his Democrats?

I wonder.

Bull Moose, anyone?


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A “modern day spiritual” as Lawrence Welk’s singers rhapsodize about a romantic pothead loitering in a railroad station–in what kind of parallel universe did this occur?  Somebody should have looked up the word “toke.”