From the Washington Post:
Miss Piggy is finally joining her love, Kermit the Frog, in the Smithsonian Institution’s collection of Jim Henson’s Muppets, and Bert and Ernie will have a place in history, too…
The newest donation includes an original version of Miss Piggy and some of her co-stars from “The Muppet Show,” including Fozzie Bear, Rowlf the piano-playing dog, Scooter and the Swedish Chef. Puppets from “Sesame Street” joining the museum collection include Bert and Ernie, Elmo, Cookie Monster, Grover and Count Von Count, among others…
Smithsonian magazine welcomed Miss Piggy, dressed in a silver evening gown and holding a red rose, with a photo shoot. The museum allowed her to pose with Dorothy’s ruby slippers from “The Wizard of Oz” and wearing the real 45-carat Hope Diamond from the National Museum of Natural History.
“She was very well-behaved, considering she wanted to take it home with her,” said Bonnie Erickson, who created the Miss Piggy puppet with Henson and now is executive director of the Jim Henson Legacy foundation…
There’s a new Henson biography, too, which was reviewed in the Washington Post last weekend:
… Henson was no sentimentalist. He invented characters so convincing that children took it for granted that they were real, and even the adults who joked and sang with them on “Sesame Street” and, later, “The Muppet Show” treated them like living, breathing creatures. To Henson, though, his puppets were mere tools of the trade, easily tossed aside when they were no longer needed. His daughter Lisa recalled that she and the other children were given discarded Muppets to play with, her father’s attitude being: “None of this stuff is really precious — you can make it and then you can take it apart and make something else with it.”…
Of course Mr. Henson was correct — “Kermit” is not some scrap fabric and a couple of ping-pong balls, he’s the idea of the ordinary Everyfrog surrounded by eccentrics. (“Kermit is the Pogo,” Henson said, acknowledging his debt to Kelly. “You have one normal person who represents the way people ordinarily think. And . . . slightly crazier comedy characters are all around that person.”)
But for those of us who are not creative geniuses, the artifacts retain a power beyond their physical construction. The NYTimes looked into the “interdisciplinary field of research called Human-Robot Interaction” and ominously titled its report “How Robots Can Trick You Into Loving Them“:
… H.R.I. researchers have discovered some rather surprising things: a robot’s behavior can have a bigger impact on its relationship with humans than its design; many of the rules that govern human relationships apply equally well to human-robot relations; and people will read emotions and motivations into a robot’s behavior that far exceed the robot’s capabilities. As we employ those lessons to build robots that can be better caretakers, maids and emergency responders, we risk further blurring the (once unnecessary) line between tools and beings.
Provided with the right behavioral cues, humans will form relationships with just about anything — regardless of what it looks like. Even a stick can trigger our social promiscuity…
When a robot moves on its own, it exploits a fundamental social instinct that all humans have: the ability to separate things into objects (like rocks and trees) and agents (like a bug or another person). Its evolutionary importance seems self-evident; typically, kids can do this by the time they’re a year old…
We’re hard-wired, in other words, to attribute states of mind to fellow beings — even dumb robots, provided they at least appear autonomous….
Those crafty robots! (well, robot designers) — taking advantage of our hard-wired social promiscuity to blur lines and trick us into loving them!…
And yet, it is reported that many proud Internet hipsters are bitterly disappointed that the trendy “@Horse_ebook” twitter feed has turned out not to be a spambot. Seems like two hundred thousand subscribers, or at least the noisiest among them, would much rather be bombarded with non sequitors from a “dumb” (unaware) text machine than a couple of Buzzfeed employees living in Brooklyn.
Some people are just hard to please.
Just remember that Henson got his start on a Washington PBS show (I think …) – just another free loader! No wonder thugs hate PBS – it gives money to other people besides parasites (i.e. all republicans.)
I know I’m the normal person, and this is definitely a comedy. Wasn’t it Woody Allen who said that “God is a comedian playing to an audience who is afraid to laugh.”?
@OzarkHillbilly: Oh god, don’t start another “do you know what Woody did thread?”!
Here, chew on this:
Sorry, I’m sorry, sorry….. I had no idea people were obsessed with Woody Allen. My bad.
Meanwhile, I got to share this:
Safari park imposes dress code to stop visitors scaring the animals
“Visitors to a Surrey safari park have been asked not to wear animal print clothes after concern emerged that fake leopard print and tiger stripes might be confusing or even frightening the animals.”
@OzarkHillbilly: Well, at least the are asleep.
A-weema-weh, a-weema-weh, a-weema-weh, a-weema-weh)
(A-weema-weh, a-weema-weh, a-weema-weh, a-weema-weh)
Near the village, the peaceful village,
the lion sleeps tonight.
Near the village, the quiet village,
the lion sleeps tonight.
As Woody Allen said . . . .
Off topic, here’s a rather optimistic take, from Ned Gillespie at the Daily Beast, on Ted Cruz and his Senate “filibuster” (Where do you Americans get strange, wonderful words like this?).
“we kill more of them, we win
they kill more of us, they win
Do want your family to eat all those rich pastries?”
Cokie Roberts “people out there really don’t like political dynasties”. She is fucking killing me!
eta WOW, she just said “part of the teaparty hatred is racist”! Joe disagrees. “we hated Clinton just as much, it was Jane Fonda vs John Wayne”!
When we were in NYC we went to a show put on by Henson’s son. The family still owns the right to work with the puppets but is not allowed to use the work “Muppet” in the ads or the show. They did improve with people calling out ideas and the performers grabbing characters off a rack to make up scenes. It was great fun, both to see all those fabulous characters lined up like that and to see them ‘perform’ again. Plus I learned a new word, choad.
“I’m not afraid of my death, I just don’t want to be there when it happens.” – Woody
@Amir Khalid: The local CBS news just told me it wasn’t a real filibuster. What will the other villagers think?
– Immorality is subjective.
Yes, but subjectivity is objective.
Not in a rational scheme of perception.
Perception is irrational.
It implies imminence.
But judgment of any system
of phenomena exists
in any rational, metaphysical or
to an abstracted empirical concept
such as being, or to be, or to occur
in the thing itself, or of the thing itself.
Yeah, I’ve said that many times.
My fault I know but when I think of “optimistic” I think of a positive result so I was a bit taken aback by that link. But then I realized for Nick that was optimistic – I’m sure Jeffery Dahmer was optimistic that dinner would be completely satisfying. Thats correct usage just not the way I would use the word
@Schlemizel: Wait, you ARE Woody!
PBS began in 1970, as a successor to what had become known as NET which, though in existence much, much earlier, had itself been the recipient of government-funded programming through the Corporation for Public Broadcasting only since 1967). Henson’s TV work predated that by quite a few years, including a long-running puppet short segment on the NBC-owned station in D.C. in the mid-1950s.
@NotMax: How was your trip??
@Amir Khalid: ‘Filibuster’ has been in the language for a while. The meaning has changed though; back in the early-mid 19th century, it was a military term. A filibuster was a private US citizen who would go off to Latin America and take part in (or start) his very own war. Wikipedia says:
“The English term “filibuster” derives from the Spanish filibustero, itself deriving originally from the Dutch vrijbuiter, “privateer, pirate, robber” (also the root of English “freebooter”). The Spanish form entered the English language in the 1850s, as applied to military adventurers from the United States then operating in Central America and the Spanish West Indies.”
The exemplar of the type was a guy named William Walker, known by his admirers as “the grey-eyed man of destiny”. He mounted several expeditions to various places in Central America with the stated goal of bringing in new territories to the US as new slave states. Eventually, he was captured and executed by the government of Honduras.
@raven: Now I’m really sorry.
Totally, completely, massively exhausting. Packing up the large house mother had been living in for just shy of 50 years and getting her started settling into her new, smaller place not something want to ever repeat. Despite her still lingering apprehensions, she’ll be quite comfy and happy there, especially when winter settles in.
On my part, basically working non-stop for 18 to 20 hours every day for 10 days. Every muscle in the old body is still aching, and twisted the heck out of one knee lifting and carrying. But that will pass. If I never see another steep, narrow staircase again, it’ll be too soon.
First real estate closing I’d ever attended – and it took four times longer than anticipated due to a comedy of errors of legal niggling.
Had scheduled the trip to have one full day (Sunday) to help with unpacking but the furniture movers had double booked for Saturday, so she agreed to change the big move day to Sunday, thus had to go into warp drive after the movers left and do an all-nighter into Monday morning before heading to airport,
Bit of a problem on flight back, the last leg of which involved the pilot calling for full emergency crews to be deployed on runway for his landing (which was almost 3 hours later than originally scheduled) and to follow the plane all the way to the gate. Otherwise, flights were uneventful, even somewhat nice.
After seeing some of the signs displayed or posted on or at various stores and offices around NY (she needed hand-holding going to various county and state government buildings for necessary errands to update her address), have concluded that English is a dying language.
Or, we could pay a living wage to flesh and blood caretakers, and then the point would be moot.
English is a patchwork of every European language and a few bits from Asia and Africa, and Native Americans. It has a giant vocabulary, which means you can usually find a word that has the right sound AND meaning.
@NotMax: and @Cermet:
Didn’t he get started in that most hallowed of capitalist temples, television commercials? Anyone who hasn’t seen the Wilkins Instant Coffee commercials should. They’re messed up.
@NotMax: I figured it was something like that! I hadn’t been to Chicago for 20 years until a couple of years back, Devon Ave was NOT Pakistan last time I was there! Glad you are back in paradise.
The Red Pen
I’m working on a DOD contract right now. There are quite a few wingnuts amongst the civilian government employees (not as many as you’d expect — about the same as the general southwest Illinois population, I think). Are they going to cheer Ted Cruz if the government shuts down? According to an email from the General running my command:
Yeah, so fuck you, guy who parked next to me with the “Don’t Tread on Me” bumper sticker.
The following printed sign, verbatim, was posted on every door at the Dept of Motor Vehicles:
“If Planning To Return On Same Day, Please Arrive.”
My blood pressure just went up about 50 points.
‘Artemis of the wildland’ and the food stamp haters
Portland, Oregon has been plagued by a vigilante threatening to ‘out’ food stamp recipients. Because hunger needs stigmatising
“In August of 2013, plain printed flyers began appearing on doors in Portland, Oregon. Signed by “Artemis of the wildland”, the roughly-cut half-sheets claimed that their author would soon be posting lists of the registered voters in the area who were also recipients of disability payments or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (commonly known as Snap, or food stamps).”
What is it with these right wing nut job crusaders that makes them such cowards? I mean, let me get this straight: This asshole is going to out other people while maintaining his own anonymity? Really???
Gutless f’n weasel.
Speaking of sympathizing with fictional characters, I was pretty impressed with George Martin’s comic book version of Game of Thrones. Haven’t watched the show yet and had never picked up any of the issues. He had a queen from a neighboring kingdom travel to the top of a mountain to see the queen of the local kingdon and along the way, introduced enough facets of her character that I was very much on her side and prepared to take her word for pretty much anything.
Holy crap. Never thought I’d be nodding along to her wit ‘n’ wisdom.
But I probably noticed it first :)
It’s what the hippies wanted! They were right! They will triumph!
@raven: Miley’s performance was racist? Silly accusation. If having Black back up dancers and “twerking” is racist, then the bar for racism has completely fallen down. Her response was good though.
@Patricia Kayden: yawn
@Amir Khalid: dmsilev beat me to it.
Back to anthropomorphizing things and robots and stuff. I can’t remember which Mars explorer I was following closely, but I do remember feeling great, motherly tenderness towards it.
@raven: Now, now, don’t be getting in the way of BJ crowd’s chance to slutshame and show their cool kid cred by claiming to not like her or pop music or anything that’s ever been on a radio.
There is a park in New Orleans with a monument saying “this is the place so-and-so raised an army to invade Cuba in 184x” (I don’t remember the details at the moment). Their goal (unstated) was to make Cuba a slave state. It got so bad for a while that the government of Spain threatened war with the US if it happened again. My country has a long history in the region, its nice to know at least one person was hung for their part in it
Cokie’s father was Majority Leader of the House of Representatives. Her mother was a member of the House and later an Ambassador. Her sister was the mayor of Princeton, NJ and a candidate for Senate. Her brother is a prominent lobbyist/attorney in (gasp!) Washington, DC. She’s a fine one to be talking about dynasties.
I can’t believe people are still interested in Miley Cyrus. Good for her. She got what she wanted out of it.
I have no idea what her music is like, I know I do not like much of what I hear coming out of the radio these days but assumed that was simply because I was old not because I was part of the cool kids cabal. As for slut shaming I have no particular bone to pick with her, it is the entire culture that is debased. She is hardly leading the pack merely the most recent, most visible, practitioner of “HEY LOOK AT ME! PAT ATTENTION TO ME BECAUSE I AM SO OUTRAGEOUS AND DARING!!” Her problem (well, really societies problem that she is exhibiting) is that it takes an increasingly offensive or sexual act to illicit the desired response. I assume by 2050 it will take molestation and eating babies to get the sort of buzz twerking got this year
If Raven listens to MoJo so we don’t have to, I’m listening to C-SPAN so you don’t have to.
Rep. Rob Woodall, R-GA is on spouting repub talking points. Why do so many southern politicians sound like backwoods southern preachers?
Cruz is still talking. Shorter Ted: blah, blah, blah, Obamacare, blah, blah, blah, freedom, blah, blah, blah. I think, when Ted slipped out for a pee, he used an electric razor on his cheeky cheeks. He should have a five o’clock shadow by now.
@Schlemizel: She is no different than any other era of music. It’s not more outrageous acts, but people getting old and nostalgic.
The Red Pen
@Schlemizel: Cyrus has come out defending her video, pointing out the visual metaphors. For example, she was fondling the sledgehammer to show someone who is still in love with the pain of a bad relationship. She naked to show that show that complete vulnerability when a relationship went bad and destroyed everything like a wrecking ball.
I’m just glad she wasn’t singing about a relationship that went to shit.
@SiubhanDuinne: That was my point.
The Red Pen
@Cermet: Henson did a regular 15 minute show on local TV in my hometown, Baltimore, back in the mid 1960s. I think it was called “The Muppets” and aired on chanel 11 (wbal?). I recall that I thought it was awful but what did I know, I was 12. I wonder if there are any films of it around.
When I saw “The Muppet Movie” on the big screen (with my first wife, HI ALICE) there was a musical scene with a shot of Kirmit drowning and just visible off screen you could see Henson operating the puppet, his arm imersed in water and a big grin on his face. I’m sure the image was there on purpose. It was Jim’s only chance to get into his own movie.
I loved the story by someone who worked with the Muppets about how the puppeteers never broke character and how it forced you to do the same. He stumbled and brushed the chest of the Miss Piggy puppet and reflexively apologized to her. The puppeteer piped right up in the character voice saying “That’s OK, I have five more.”
The findings on human-robot interaction are not surprising if you know anything about studies of human-computer interaction. Clifford Nass’s book “The Man Who Lied to His Laptop” gives you a quick and entertaining overview of the dead-serious research in HCI.
I remember the Muppets doing commercials for a local dairy (Kraml milk!) in Chicago back in the late ’50s. The main guy looked and sounded a lot like Kermit.
@Amir Khalid: “English doesn’t borrow from other languages. English follows other languages down dark alleys, knocks them over, and goes through their pockets for loose grammar.”
-James D. Nicoll
Quaker in a Basement
Nominations for blogpost title of the year are now closed and Anne wins. Better luck next year, everyone else.