Things I Never Understood About Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood

This morning, of all things, I awoke with the “Ana, Prince & Daniel” song stuck in my head.

Anyone? Anyone?

Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood?

It went a little something like this:

Ana, Prince, and Daniel
Ana, Prince, and Daniel
Daniel, Prince, and Ana are near
Ana, Prince, and Daniel
Ana, Prince, and Daniel
Daniel, Prince, and Ana are here.

Brilliant, right? I thought so. (I really wish I could find a YouTube video of it, but alas, it was not meant to be.)

ANYhoodles, for some weird reason, that song was stuck in my head this morning. I know… I had the same reaction.

Oh, Jack…

It was weird because…

A. Why Mr. Rogers?

B. Why that song?

C. Why, after not having heard that song for some 25 years, would it be stuck in my head?

My brain is sometimes a frightening and unsettling place, my friends.

Anyway, it got me thinking about Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood and his Neighborhood of Make-Believe, and all the things I found so strange about it as a child.  Things like…

  • Mr. McFeely. Really? That’s the name you’re going to go with? For a children’s television show? Umm… I think maybe revisiting that decision might be a good idea.
  • King Friday XIII, Queen Sara Saturday and Prince Tuesday: Why those days? Why not Monday, Wednesday, Thursday or Sunday? I really would like an explanation for this, because even as a child, I wished they would introduce a whole gaggle of prince and princesses that had the names of the other days of the week.
  • Purple Panda: That thing was just weird. Like… really, really weird. I felt like I was on an acid trip every time that thing came on the show.

See what I mean?

  • Lady Elaine: First of all, where is all of this aristocratic, blue-blooded, mumbo-jumbo coming from, Mr. Rogers? This here’s ‘Merica. Anyway, that puppet truly freaked me out. She looked like a witchy school marm. Whenever she was on, I always thought, “Ugh. Lady Elaine. That b****.” Only, in my child-like innocence it was more like, “Big Meanie Head.”
  • Daniel Striped Tiger: First of all, I could never figure out why they pronounced his middle name as “Stripe-Ed”. Dudes, it’s “striped”, one syllable. Get it straight. Secondly, why was he so freakin’ shy?! He was afraid of everything! I remember even as a child thinking, “Oh, for crying out loud, Daniel. GET OVER IT!”
  • Bob Dog: Seriously. Don’t even get me started on that dude.

Seriously, Bob Dog? Seriously?! You stupid animal…

Apparently, I was quite the snarky, cynical child. I bet my siblings loved watching TV with me. What can I say? I guess I’m a realist. OOH! Maybe this is where my disdain for all Fantasy/Sci Fi started! YESSSS… Let’s go with that. (Thanks, Mr. Rogers…) Because honestly, I loved the opening and closing sequences when Mr. Rogers would talk about “real-life” and have heart to heart discussions with the kiddos, but once that trolley left his house, I was all, “Aw, crap. Now I have to sit through this? MER.”

Clearly, I was the weirdest child ever.

Did you guys ever have TV shows that just bewildered you? Or things about the shows you loved that you just didn’t understand? I demand to hear all about these things forthwith.

And…..GO.

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Things I do not understand about Europe

Hold on tight, because I’m about to show my “Stupid American” roots here. Not that we’re stupid. Just confused. We’re confused, okay? Not stupid. Definitely not stupid. Maybe if your continent could KEEP IT TOGETHER and stop getting all up in each others’ bidness (not NOW… I’m talking in centuries past, people) we wouldn’t be so confused…

ANYhoodles, here’s what I don’t understand:

  • What the heck is up with Holland? What the hell IS Holland anyway? I just had a conversation with a friend about how Holland was the same thing as the Netherlands. And she was like, “Nooo… Denmark is the same thing as the Netherlands.” And then I was like, “Wait, is Holland even a country?” So, then I had to look it up because I am a stupid American who knows nothing about Europe and how it works. Turns out, Holland is just part of the Netherlands. Like, a province. Apparently, it kind of works like the whole “UK vs. Britain” thing. But then I was left with the question of, “So… Denmark and the Netherlands… Totally separate countries, right?” CORRECT. The people of Denmark are Danish, the people of the Netherlands are Dutch… NOT to be confused with Deutschland, which is really just the German word for Germany. Got all that? Yeah, me neither.
  • THE Royal Family. Why do all Americans think that THE Royal Family refers to the British Royal Family? There are royal families all over Europe, people. Why should the Brits get all the attention? The other royal families are just as special as the British Royal Family.  When you refer to THE Royal Family, please designate WHICH Royal Family you are referring to.

Why should the British Royal Family just get to stomp around like a giant while the rest of us try not to get smushed under their big feet? The other royal families are just as cute as the British Royal Family, right? The other royal families are just as smart as the British Royal Family, people totally like the other royal families just as much as they like the British Royal Family, and when did it become okay for one royal family to be the boss of everybody because that’s not what Europe is about!

(Mean Girls? Anyone? ANYONE? You people are hopeless…)

  • Speaking of the British Royal Family… what’s up with the titles? Why the Queen of England, but the Prince of Wales? What about Scotland and Northern Ireland? Do they not count? How did they decide on Prince of Wales? What’s the significance there? Also… why Duke of Cambridge or Duchess of Cornwall? Cambridge and Cornwall? Are these places? What is the significance of Cambridge and Cornwall? WHY ALL THE AMBIGUITY! If you’re going to hand out titles, could you please EXPLAIN yourselves? BECAUSE I DO NOT UNDERSTAND!
  • Slovenia, Slovakia, Yugoslavia, Czech Republic, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia… and all the other ones I may have missed. Um… how do I put this… WHAT THE WHAT?! I’m sure it has something to do with the whole “Eastern Bloc”, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” thingy… but I’m at a loss. They’re all separate now… but did they used to be squished together into one identity? I should figure this out. I should brush up on my history. (Is it bad that I’m partially Slovenian, and I don’t even understand the how or where or why of my mother-land? Would it be my mother-land? Or my father-land? Or since I wasn’t born there does it really have no bearing on anything what-so-ever? I’m so confused. See? This is why I could never be president…)
  • I DO know this: Switzerland is NOT Sweden and neither one of those is Denmark! Why do Americans confuse these three?! Why would Sweden EVER be confused with Switzerland? Is it the “S” in the name? C’mon, people. Really? Also, IKEA… NOT a Danish company! Stop being all like, “Oh, the Danish IKEA company.” WHAT? NO. IKEA is Swedish, dammit! LEGOS is Danish. Get it straight. Why is that so confusing? Ugh… stupid Americans. (What? I’m including myself in that insult…)
  • Russia. Nevermind. I don’t have the energy. Don’t get me started on Russia…

So, my European friends… you ‘splain yourselves? Kay. Awesome. Thanks.

The Real Neat Blog Award… Starring June Cleaver

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Okay, so more than a week ago, I was nominated by the Baffled Baboon for “The Real Neat Blog Award” (and yes, when I read that phrase, I can only hear it in a Beaver Cleaver voice: “Gee, Wally. That’s a real neat blog you have there.” Did I ever tell you about the time I actually MET June Cleaver? It was pretty epic. But that’s a story for another time…)

HOLY DIGRESSION, BATMAN. What the heck was that?

Where was I? Okay… um… “The Real Neat Blog Award”. Nominated by The Baffled Baboon. (Which is another “real neat” blog, by the way, so you should go check that out, because it’s “real neat” and she talks about monkeys a lot… and she’s super funny… which is “real neat”, you know?)

ANYhoodles… just as I was getting around to writing about “The Real Neat Blog Award”, I was nominated again by Lisa over at Real Mom of Long Island. (Again, another “real neat” blog because she’s both really funny and quite insightful and her life as a mom pretty much needs to be made into a TV show… so, it’s “real neat”.) Which, just solidified the fact that I need to get around to actually writing about it. SO, without further adieu… Here are the rules:

1) Put the award logo on your blog.

2) Answer 7 questions asked by the person who nominated you.

3) Thank the people who nominated you, linking to their blogs.

4) Nominate any number of bloggers you like, linking to their blogs.

5) Let them know you nominated them (by commenting on their blog etc.)

Here are the 7 (Now 14) questions that i need to answer:

First from Baffled Baboon

1. If you could travel back in time, what event would you want to witness?

Um… er… hmm… Good grief, that’s a tricky one. Um… Okay, got it. The end of World War II in 1945. From the parades and celebrations of our troops coming home, to the news reels of Jewish prisoners being released from the concentration camps. How amazing would it have been to witness that sort of victory? Pretty epic. (Not epic like meeting June Cleaver, mind you, but still… pretty epic.) 

2. Have you ever been pulled over by a cop?

Hahahahahaha! NO. Dude, I haven’t even gotten a parking ticket. Wait. No. No, I HAVE gotten a parking ticket, but it took me nearly 30 years to accomplish that one, so I’m not planning on getting pulled over anytime soon. Unless the cop is hot. Then we’ll see.

3. If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?

SAMMICHES! Also? Sandwiches. Seriously. Is there anything better than a sandwich? Putting all your favorite ingredients in the same place in a handy, easy-to-hold, easy-to-carry contraption like that? It’s sheer brilliance. What’s not to love?

4. What was the last lie you told?

Seriously? I lie to children on a near-daily basis. It would clearly be impossible to keep track of them all. Although, if I really had to dig, it was probably when I told little Miss 2nd Grade Sassy Pants that her getting two guinea pigs for Easter was pretty much the coolest thing ev-ER. (When everyone knows it was really that one time I met June Cleaver…)

5. If you could be any age for a week, what age would you be?

Twenty-five. That was the age I was when I married the ass-hat, and I obviously want a do-over. Plus, it was a pretty good age all around.

6. What is your worst habit?

I chew gum. A LOT. I think it’s become a nervous habit. I apologize if it grosses you out. I’m trying to cut back. I swear.

7. If a baboon were to hypothetically knock on your door and hypothetically ask for some money to hypothetically build a hypothetical time machine, how much hypothetical money would you hypothetically donate?

One MILLION hypothetical dollars. It’s not every day a talking baboon comes around asking for hand outs. That’s pretty epic. (Again, not meeting June Cleaver epic, but pretty epic.)

AND… from Real Mom of Long Island

1. What is the best thing you love about where you are from?

The lakes and the trees. You literally (the British pronunciation, not the American one) cannot go a mile without tripping over a lake here. They. Are. Everywhere. And they are pristine and gorgeous. After spending a week out west, I was homesick for all the lakes. I love me a good lake. And the trees? Again. They’re EVERYWHERE around here. As far as the eye can see. It’s sheer perfection. Plus, it’s pretty remote, so if you ever want to get lost, this is the place to do it.

2. Where did your blog name come from?

Where DID my blog name come from? I don’t know. I think I based it on how I was feeling after that Harrible, Terrible, No Good, Very Bad thing happened. My emotions were all over the place, and I knew I would have to go Under and Over, Around and Through a lot of things to get to the other side. But now I’m here… so… YAY!

3. What is your dream job?

Helping others. It would literally be doing some type of charity work – helping, serving, raising awareness and funds for causes I hold near and dear to my heart. Helping people in war-torn, developing countries. Getting food, clean water, medical supplies, building shelters and schools for people that need it the most. Promoting educational causes, working with and inspiring kids, and speaking out against injustices. And then? Writing about it, speaking about it, and getting other people to care about it. Also? Doing a lot of traveling in the process. Honestly, nothing makes me feel more fulfilled than when I’m able to help someone else and bring a smile to their face. 

4. Favorite book?

TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD?! Hello?! Bloggity peeps… c’mon. We’ve covered this, have we not?

5. Which single person has inspired you the most in life?

OOH! I know this one! JUNE. CLEAVER. (Okay, not really. But I don’t have a better answer at this time…)

6. What do you love most about yourself?

Um… the fact that I once met JUNE CLEAVER?! Okay. Not really. I guess I like that overall, I’m a really happy, fun, optimistic person. And I’m feisty. You can’t really get me down too easily, and if you do… I won’t stay there.

7. Dream Vacation?

AFRICA. Africa, Africa, Africa. I have wanted to go there since I was a little girl. The people? The animals? The scenery? The customs? *sigh* I think I would instantly fall in love and never want to come back.

Got all that? Good. I now nominate the following:

The Neurotic Logic

yellow. fever.

Sane Teachers

My Friday Blog

Shop Girl Anonymous

Single Family Asylum

Beautiful Insanity

Goodbye Whoopee Pie

Whew! Okay. Now for YOUR questions…

  1. On a scale of 1 to 10, how much do you love June Cleaver?
  2. Your mom just called. What do you do now?
  3. Where in the world IS Carmen San Diego?
  4. Coffee or Tea?
  5. Are you as cool as I am? If so, why have we not met yet?!
  6. Feet. Do they gross you out as much as they do me?
  7. A Prince song comes on the radio. Do you turn the station or turn it up and jam out?

Okay, that’s it. That’s all I have. Have fun. Be good. Let people with lots of groceries go in front of you in the check out line. Especially if they bear a striking resemblance to June Cleaver. Because… you know.

I’m starting to sense a theme here…

The other day, I received the following in the mail from a dear friend of mine:

Unicorns are Jerks coloring book

Why? Well, for no other reason than the fact that it’s hilariously funny AND a coloring book. I mean, coloring bad ass unicorns? What’s not to love?

Then a few days later, this arrived in the mail from my sister:

Be a Unicorn

My friend and my sister do not know each other. I do not have an affinity for unicorns. They know I do not have an affinity for unicorns. (Not that I have any problems with unicorns. Unicorns are awesome. Fantastic, really. It’s just that, I’ve never had an opinion on them one way or the other.) And yet, the universe is apparently conspiring to ensure that I develop an affinity for unicorns. Because why else would I receive two unicorn related gifts within days of each other from different people who know nothing about one another and are aware of my indifference towards unicorns? Apparently, it is my destiny to become a fan of any and all unicorn related propaganda. Which would officially make me a dork. Which I am not okay with. Is this karma? Or does the universe just have a really quirky sense of humor?

I don’t know. Either way, it was totally weird. And both my friend and my sister were very excited about these gifts. I’ve already been asked if I’ve started coloring in my coloring book yet. (The answer is no, by the way.) And my sister seemed overly concerned that she got me the wrong color and size for the t-shirt… as though I would be wearing it out in public… ever. Not only is it pink, but it has unicorns on it. Do I strike anyone as a pink unicorn kind of girl? (Although, it was “Mug Sister“, and she does have a weird sense of humor. But she sounded very serious about the whole thing over the phone…)

*sigh*

ANYhoodles, so apparently, I have a thing for unicorns now. Keep that in mind next time you need to buy me a gift. Annie’s a big ol’ fan of unicorns.

Go unicorns.

(PSST! If you click on the pictures, it’ll bring you to the places that make these fantastic items. Theo Nicole Lorenz is a fantastically funny artist whose products you can find on Amazon, and City Shirts makes some pretty epic clothing items so… be sure to check those out.)

Conversations with Kindergarteners

“How old were you when you started teaching?”

“83.”

“How old are you now?”

“105.”

*Blank stare*

(Apparently, these are perfectly reasonable answers to a kindergartener.)

*Long pause*

“So, you’re 105 years old?”

“No! Of course not! If I was that old, I’d be hobbling around with a cane!”

“So, how old are you really?”

“I’m 30.”

*Stares at me aghast*

“You’re only 3 years old?! Even I’m older than you!”

Kindergarteners clearly have no understanding of numbers.

All By Myself

Soooo… remember that time I was all like, “MER. You GUYSSSSSS…. I have to go to a funeral all by myself and it’s going to be awkward and stupid and gross.”?

Remember that?

And then, I sat there like this:

Even though you couldn’t see me.

And then remember how I put on my big girl pants (size small, thank you very much) and went to the funeral?

Remember that?

Well, in a CRAZY turn of events, it just so happens that I am WAY awesome at flying solo. Like, even more awesome than I was when I was part of a twosome.

Honestly, I was kind of brilliant with the whole, “Going by myself. To a funeral. All alone. Just me. No one else. Yes, sir. Going to a funeral.” thing.

I KNOW! WHO KNEW?!

Turns out, that when I’m all by myself, not tagging along as a third wheel, or one half of a whole, I’m totally fine. You know why? Because I don’t have to worry about anyone but myself. I don’t have to worry about what someone else is doing or saying or thinking. It’s BRILLIANT! It’s pretty much the best time ever.

It’s funny. I always thought I’d be horrified to go places by myself. And then after being married, I thought I could never do anything by myself ever again. Turns out that I totally can… and it’s way more enjoyable than I ever thought.

I think part of the reason is because when I was married, I kind of functioned as the adult in the relationship. I was the one who knew how to behave appropriately in social situations. My husband was… well… a complete ass (and not in a cutely awkward kind of way). Only, he didn’t know he was being an ass. He thought he was being funny and charming. But really, he was just being an ass.

For instance, after the funeral service ended, I hugged my friend, offered my condolences and said a few kind words about the service and her husband. Then I left. I did not say something like, “So, what’s Mike up to these days?” (in reference to the deceased – name changed… obviously), or “Where can I get some food around here?” or launch into some gripe about how the florist at my great aunt’s funeral had butchered the arrangements and then charged the family double. DOUBLE!

In fact, I didn’t say or do anything inappropriate. My husband? Totally would have. (I can easily see him saying any and all of the above.) And then I would have promptly died, while those around me chuckled politely, aghast at his horrifying attempt at humor. Then I would have had to explain to him in the car why the comment wasn’t appropriate. Then he would have freaked out because I was being a control freak, and besides, everyone knew he was kidding and they thought it was funny and that’s why they laughed. And then I would have to explain that people weren’t actually laughing… they were trying to cover up their horror, and that was just their polite way of dealing with an otherwise really uncomfortable situation. And he would tell me I was wrong and making him feel bad about himself and it would have been this whole… THING. But nope. None of that happened. And you know why? BECAUSE I WAS BY MYSELF. Now that I’m all by myself… NO THINGS! No inappropriate comments! No horrified reactions! No putting on of kid gloves to explain how the world works to a grown adult!

I’m sorry… but it’s kind of… AMAZING.

And freeing. And… really, really cool.

I need to do things by myself more often.

Turns out, I’m pretty good at it.

Things That Made Me Go, “Hmm…” – Week 22

Here it is. The moment you’ve been waiting for ALL WEEK. You’re welcome, Blogosphere. You. Are. Welcome.

  • This happened this week:

I find it fundamentally strange that people are more upset about the hypotheticals regarding a new law in Indiana than they are about 147 Christians being brutally slaughtered in Kenya… for being Christians. What exactly does that say about our priorities as Americans? Seriously… what is the matter with us? Just because we’re protected from such horrors means it doesn’t matter?

  • Here is a video of Prince Harry flying in a World War II Spitfire:

Aside from the fact that “Spitfire” is the single best name for an aircraft ev-ER, here’s what I find annoyingly weird about this whole thing. If you’re going to write a story highlighting the dude’s charity work (The flight was for promotion of the Spitfire scholarship which offers training for wounded servicemen and women… which is AWESOME), then please do so. But does the story need to reflect our obsession with “celebrity” to such an extent that we write the following stupid headlines? “Prince Harry Gleefully Laughs and Cheers During Spitfire Flight” (from People). Or “Watch Prince Harry Whoop with Delight as His Spitfire Rolls in Top Gun Moment” (from the Mirror). “News” like this makes my head hurt, and headlines that use phrases such as “gleefully” and “whoop with delight” make my head hurt even more. Make the story about the charity work, not oohing and ahhing over well-known people acting like normal human beings because… really? Just… STOP.

  • Rotary phones are the bomb. Children who grew up without rotary phones are sad individuals. That being said, watch these sad individuals try to figure out how to text with a rotary phone.

And if you watch it through to the tail end, you’ll get these little gems:

  1. “I wasn’t born in the 40s so…”
  2. “I love old technology. I’m a fan of plastics”
  3. What is a long distance call?  “Letters?”
  • Someone decided to make a chocolate sculpture of Benedict Cumberbatch. First of all… every time I hear that name, I become inexplicably enraged because I can’t figure out if that’s the name of a human being or a dessert or an Anime character or some historical reference to an obscure military battle fought during the Revolutionary War. Benedict Cumberbatch? What is that? That’s totally made up. Right? Like Kim Kardashian’s ass… not even real.
  • This also happened this week:

Oh, Manuela. You are awesome. (I love how she hides behind the sign in horror.)

Okay, kids. That’s all I have for you this week. Over n’ out, good buddies.

But lastly… A Happy Easter to all!

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