Chick-fil-a vrs. the Muppets? I choose the Tao of the Muppets

 

The Muppets Embracing Diversity for 50 years

 

I follow the Tao of Muppets.

At the age of remembering, for me that was the age of 3, I became an avid fan of the Muppets via Sesame Street. It first aired on the CBC in Canada in 1969. I was 2, although I believe my Gran had it on for me while the rest of the family was working in the printshop next door. I don’t have any tangible recollection of the program that early on. I do remember a conversation with my mom when she asked me which preschool class I would prefer, morning or afternoon. For a kid of the early 70′s in Canada, the good shows were on in the morning. That left the afternoon for social interaction, imaginative play and mischief. She agreed with me, and that was the very first choice I remember making. It was significant, it affected my life and it made me feel grown up with responsibility.

These were the days before Elmo. Super Grover was the one I related to most. He had a cape, he was kind, he often made mistakes, and he learned from all those mistakes. I loved Super Grover, his alter ego Grover was just as delightful. Kermit was the adult muppet. Always in control, always making sound choices and I found comfort in him – yet I didn’t bond with Kermit until I became an adult myself.

The Muppets were friends, family and advisors. I learned without realizing what I was gaining. I do remember other influences in my life, my parents, my grandparents and of course extended family. Within that circle the Catholic Church played a large role. Now, all you Christians may think that being Catholic doesn’t mean being Christian. I have had this discussion a million times, and let me tell you this. Don’t judge what you don’t know or don’t understand. Delve into the teachings and you will discover that the two are not that different. Christ is the foundation of the beliefs. Yet not once do I recall  the Church judging me or my family. The parishoners – absolutley, but not the Church itself. I learned that everyone tries their hardest to follow the teachings of Christ and at no time was it ever okay to judge someone else because they are only human. This also meant embrace each other, for we don’t know, nor could we possibly understand their struggle. Walk a mile in their shoes and then only do you get a glimpse of the struggles of the human spirit. Value based teachings still reside within me today. Yet I do not practice being Roman catholic, I do practice Dignity,Respect, Honesty, Loyalty, and Fairness. Kindness and Compassion are what comes forward by practicing those core values.

Funny thing is, the Muppets taught me this too. Jim Henson was a compassionate genius. His values came through the characters he portrayed and flowed into the characters of his puppeteers. The things I learned are a great foundation for all souls and the corporate aspect happened because of the success of his teachings, his efforts and his example. There is not a successful business that lasted the test of time without these fundamental values. More importantly, The Muppets’ teachings  have lasted and influenced generations of people, all striving to be the same, kind, compassionate, accepting and human. Not that the Muppets were human, but they had that human spark thanks to the hands underneath them. With that said, let’s look closer at the Tao of the Muppets.

  1. Dignitybearing, conduct, or speech indicative of self-respect or appreciation of the formality or gravity of an occasion or situation. Each one of those fluffy critters was treated with dignity and treated each other with dignity.This showed through in the manner in which they learned. They never shamed or belittled each other, but embraced the need for knowledge and understanding.
  2. Respect -esteem for or a sense of the worth or excellence of a person, a personal quality or ability, or something considered as a manifestation of a personal quality or ability: I have great respect for her judgment. There was never a more diverse motley crew than the Muppets. They all respected the thoughts, opinions and choices of others. This is hard to do when you feel you are right in knowledge and passing judgement is typically the path people  take. This never happened within the Muppets – aside from Waldorf and Statler. Those characters were needed to show the ugliness of judgement. It taught you the path of compassion and empathy. Seeing the hurt feelings of another and what it does to the human spirit is heartbreaking, yet it was an important lesson that needed to be taught.
  3. Honesty -truthfulness, sincerity, or frankness. Freedom from deceit or fraud. This was always a lesson learned by the younger Muppet. Big Bird, Robin, Grover all experienced how it felt to lie or deceive and the consequences that went along with it. The kindness from the older Muppets or adults really showed the importance of honesty and how it clears your conscience. A hard lesson to learn when lies pour so easily out of the mouths in an effort to gain. Yet having empathy and compassion on both sides show that honesty is the better choice.
  4. Loyaltyfaithfulness to commitments or obligations. No one showed more loyalty than Kermit. He moved mountains in an effort to show his fellow Muppets what they meant to him and how he would choose them over anyone in spite of their choices. He cared deeply about outcomes and was always dependable. His loyalty made him accountable to the thing he treasured most, friendship or in this case, family.
  5. Fairnessthe state, condition, or quality of being fair,  or free from bias or injustice; evenhandedness. Everyone had a chance to shine. Equal opportunity in the face of different. To be different meant you were embraced. By being embraced you had the chance to share your story, try new things and be supported along the way. Not everyone is lucky enough to be treated with an unbiased fairness. Those who are, do not take it for granted – they pass it forward to share in the feeling.
  6. Compassion -a feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering. No one was more different than Gonzo. His choices and passions made others look at him as if he was weird. The Muppets held great compassion for him and embraced his flashy differences. They supported his need to discover his roots, they understood his need for a hen party. They gave him undying support because it leads back to Loyalty, Fairness, Respect and Dignity. We should all be so lucky.
  7. Kindnessindulgent, considerate, or helpful; humane. What kind of world would we live in if everyone was kind? Kind without judgement. This is the difficult aspect  – without judgement. I choose to live my life surrounded my kind and compassionate people. That is not to say my world isn’t filled with the opposite, because there are plenty of people who are just mean for the sake of being mean. I have been mean, I have been the recipient of mean. Neither is preferable. It’s hard to embrace your friends when they judge or say mean things – that is human nature. Choosing to be with someone, yet their actions are mean to helpless creatures, be it animals, children or people who are different. Over looking these qualities is a must, however I struggle with the judging part. It’s easy to cut off people because they offend you, hurt children or discriminate against others. But what would Kermit do? He would tell them he is uncomfortable with their actions, love them more and hope they mend their ways. Yet sometimes we must choose to protect the innocent and defenseless. Fight for what is right all the while keeping in mind where these people are coming from. Using Empathy in the highest order – to understand the why.

Meanwhile, Chick-fil-a is choosing a stance of “traditional family” and “the biblical definition of the family unit.” Once again people, this is where you need to do your research instead of judging or making assumptions. “The biblical definition of the family unit” could possible mean multiple wives, lack of women’s rights and not necessarily the respect that can be defined by society today.

Times change. I for one am happy with the way society now considers me a person under the law. 100 years ago, this was not the case in Canada. Change can be great. The United States of America has a black man as President. Did you think that could happen 100 years ago? Alberta and British Columbia have Women Premier’s running the province. In fact, the leader of the opposition in Alberta is also a female. So much for the “old boys club”. Why is it that these minorities have made such head way and the LGBT are not even considered for human rights? Sally Ride, the first American female astronaut died from cancer last week. It came out that she was in a lesbian relationship for 27 years. Yet her partner will not receive any benefits because of what some people deem as disgusting behaviour. Really? I am not interested in what straight couples do in their bedroom either. Yet does anyone dispute the the work Ride did as important? Not until it was discovered that she was a lesbian. What you do and who you are are not the same as what you like to do and who you like to do it with. That is called PRIVACY. You deserve privacy. I am sure there are somethings you do in the privacy of your own home that you would not like your place of employment finding out about. Does that change the work you do? Does that define who you are and how you treat other humans? No. Or at least it shouldn’t.

I have had the privilege of working with some members of the LGBT community. They know their job, work tirelessly for the common goal. I have worked with people who are mean and judgemental, who have a sense of entitlement because they appear to be sanctimonious. This attitude interferes with their job. They are too busy making sure everyone knows how they feel about situations, how they are judging situations and how they see themselves as in the right every time – it actually brings down their level of effectiveness in the work place.

You don’t have to agree with or even like other people’s choices. Just be kind.When people are kind to each other and work towards a common goal, mountains can be moved.

Lets try that for a change… be kind, and sit back and watch the world change.

That is why I follow the Tao of The Muppets. Thank you Jim Henson Company for taking a stand and doing the right thing.

 

My test results are in and it doesn’t look good

I got the results of my brain scan back today and there was some surprising information given to me. I will share with you the MRI

My coworker recieved it from the Mental Health Specialist we consult with. They were kind enough to deliver it to me. I don’t remember having an MRI done, but obviously it is mine.

I have been studying the effects of brain trauma and growth in people under 25. I find Dr. Bruce Perry’s work fascinating. Never in a million years did I expect this. Lets take a closer look, shall we?

You will notice the top left of the image is called the Ptooey Gland (regulates veggie aversion and suspicion of new cheeses) It is part of the worthwhile food cortex. This explains why I am suspicious of new cheese. I look at what my mommy eats then judge it. My mom hates cheese! I didn’t even eat non-processed cheese slices until I was 21 an living on my own! This explains EVERYTHING I have come to know about my cautionary cheese life.

Moving down we come to the Phone Call Interruption Ganglia. Wow, that is in the frontal cortex! That means it is the higher functioning part of the brain. Everyone knows (and now you do too) the higher and more forward the separate parts of the brain  are, the higher functioning and less primitive or “caveman-like” the thought process is. Clearly I am a well developed communicator triggered by the use of someone else on the phone not talking to me or paying attention to me.

Then there is the all important Cartoon Addiction Lobe. Obviously it shows I love purple dinosaurs (Dino Flintstone) Blue Dogs ( Huckleberry hound) Red dogs (sure Clifford is great, but he was my son’s favorite. I prefer Hong-Kong Phooey or UnderDog because they wore red) and any colour dragon ( Pete’s Dragon and Mushu are my favorites). I had no idea this frontal lobe is so large. It does explain my love of all things animation!

Behind my ear is the Endless Repetition Stem. As a preschool teacher, this brain stem needs to be fully developed. I can sing the Wheels on the Bus for DAYS AND DAYS. I read Good Night Moon every night for 4 years and of course…say it with me… NO! There is a comfort in repetition. Something soothingly familiar. It is the reason I go to Disneyland a million times, or my constant need for Starbucks. Repetition = Good and that is why my ERBrainstem is awesome.

Then there is the largest brain lobe in my entire cranium. Muppet-Apprieciation Lobe. Clearly this explains my love of genius. Jim Henson was my hero. He created those muppet creatures that followed me my entire life from Sesame Street to Puppet Up and all the monster/froggy business in between. From them I learned my alphabet and how to count to 10. I learned about sharing and friendship. I learned that trash is only good for some people and not everyone can see a Snuffleupagus. Super Grover was a super hero like me and Mr. The Frog Played the Banjo and sang great songs. Chickens are awkward to pack and Smorgasboards are the dinner of choice. Muppets are family that arent related. That was the biggest lesson. I love them still.

Underneath that lobe is a gland called Crayola Oblongata (relays impulses to shove objects inside the nose and or vcr). Sure I blamed my nephew for jamming a dinosaur into the vcr. I confess it was me GG. Sorry. My gland is super heightened for jamming stuff, although it has been about 43 years since I jammed something up my nose…like that penny.

Whine Region – Hyper-thalamus (triggers startling adrenaline burst before bedtime. Coordinates tantrum efforts throughout the day) Hell yeah it does! This is why I drink wine, diet coke and coffee. This region is super sensitive and needs supports for regulation. I am still tweaking with quantities.

Exhibitionist Lobe – hehehehehe my favorite after the Muppet lobe. WHen I was 4 I use to run naked up and down my granny’s hallway wearing my towel cape. It was awesome! Since then? Ummmm my mom reads this and I feel the need to keep private about my exhibitionist activities that may or may not include pictures and texting.

Then there is the Scare-o-bellum (process fear of doctors, hairdressers and trolls) not to mention birds and mice…and bad smells…and expired food….public washrooms…oh and weird skin diseses. This gland is OVER ACTIVE and I need to have it removed or injected with ponies and rainbows.

As the lobes and stems go lower, we are reaching the more primitive parts of the brain. Like the Acceptable Medicine Center. This requires kissing booboos better, a love pat and 57 band-aids. Did you know a band-aid makes everything better? Even a runny nose – or so my son thought when he was 4.

Lastly the lowest functioning brain ventricle, The Hygiene Avoidance Ventricle. This becomes super active when camping and takes over my normal “Howard Hughes” ways. Shower? No it’s snowing. Kleenex? I’ll use my sleeve. Out house? Umm…behind that tree is cleaner.

So there you have it. My MRI results explain a lot about me…don’t you agree?

WordCamp Edmonton 2011: ET still has a lot to learn!

Today I learned a valuable lesson about sharing. No I didn’t watch Sesame Street, and No, Fred Rogers didn’t teach it to me either. I was at WordCamp Edmonton 2011. The last place on earth I thought I would experience this type of networking and sharing of ideas.

WordCamp 2011 or affectionately known as #wcyeg is a conference set up to support and teach web developers and content users to create amazing  pages using WordPress. While I was listening to the information, my head was swimming with ideas for my mom’s site, my friend’s project he has going on for next year, work and of course my own blog! The potential is limited to what I can hold in my brain or research. I have great research skills…so I would say the potential is unlimited. I am very excited for tomorrow’s sessions! But the camp itself is not what this blog is about.

I was at LEAST 15-20 years older then every single person in that room. My knowledge is not vast in terms of programming and code, but it isn’t lost on me either. I felt like Amy Farrah Fowler in a room full of Leonards. For those of you not in the know…that is a Big Bang Theory reference. I felt smart enough to follow what they were talking about yet out of my element enough that this was entirely new information. HOLY CRAP I learned some cool stuff!! you want to know why? Those fella’s are into information sharing BIG TIME.

I find that comforting. It has been my experience that people of my generation are quite cut throat and not all that forthcoming  when it comes to sharing what you know. People are willing to teach or sell information but not all that keen on sharing information. This may be unique  to this  type of people. Meaning programmers and tech devs (my new jargon! Technology Developers). However, I don’t think this is the case, I think people of this generation are big on sharing information.

These people grew up with the internet ALWAYS being there. It isn’t “new” technology as some of my co-workers look at it. It is as simple to these people as understanding how a microwave works is to people  of my generation. This group share code, music, movies, books, and other information needed by just asking. Someone always  says…Oh I have that, or you can  find that here. That amazed me. That is a huge boost for humanity.

You may be thinking, well ET, if these young whippersnappers who need a shave share everything, how are they ever going to make it in this cut throat world? Good Point people! I’ll tell you how.

This group or generation will share a ton of information and create something that YOU need. They will sell it to you. They understand that Facebook is a new fangle tool that you don’t “get”. In fact, they developed the code and workings for you to use it and eventually “get”. They share it for FREE. So where does the money part come in? In  Advertising and YOU thinking you could use something like that for your business. Well, they aren’t giving it to you, they just shared something quite significant for free, caught your eye, and now you are hooked. Best self promotion ever! Now they are doing it with WordPress. It’s not just for blogs anymore.  Sharing amongst their peers to help each other out, then encouraging and cheering for each other along the way. It was a beautiful lesson in teamwork. Quite

frankly, it is a lesson we all can learn..

Team Work + Sharing = Hope

It’s Time To get Things Started, It’s Time to Light the Lights

The time has come for me to put up or shut up.

About what you may ask? I have been thinking about it for quite a while and I smile when I see posts about it. But I have sat silently by to allow others to take the lead. I feel strongly enough to put my support behind this cause and dear readers, I ask YOU to do the same. It needs to be shouted from the roof tops people!

The Muppets Should Host the Oscars!

That’s right, I said it AND support it.

It is a well documented fact here on the Edmonton Tourist what a HUGE Muppet fan I am. Jim Henson being a tremendous influence in my life and all that …yadda yadda yadda…

So here is the moment you’ve all been waiting for…. without further adieu…. The Edmonton Tourist’s Top 11 reason the Muppets should host the Oscars! Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay (insert Kermit arms here)

  1. Bill Conti could get the opportunity to work with the orchestra penguins. This would be a major coo for his career. The Muppet Theme Song would be so fantastic as the opening number!
  2. Stadler and Waldorf could give Red Carpet commentary! How great would their brand of humor be talking about the best and worst dressed stars? Who are we kidding, they would only talk about the worst dress stars…
  3. Miss Piggy would finally get her hour in the sun as the hostess. Think of how she would love the glamor of the evening! The gowns the parties! This is right up her alley, a dream come true!
  4. Muppet ensembles singing the Oscar nominated songs. who can forget this: The Muppets make ALL music better!
  5. The opening bit in the Oscars where the host – in this case Kermit – stars in funny snippets of the Oscar nominated movies. Kermit would be perfect with the other Muppets causing mayhem behind him!
  6. Pepe the King Prawn could give updates from back stage getting the recognition he finally deserves!
  7. Sweetums could be in charge of security.
  8. Swedish Chef is perfect for Craft Services!
  9. Gonzo and his girls could hand out the trophies!
  10. Who better then Sam the Eagle for the “In Memoriam” Tribute
  11. Having the Muppets host the Oscars would make me smile and in my daughters words “Epic”

Please support the movement and cause! Follow them on Twitter @MuppetOscars and on facebook https://www.facebook.com/MuppetOscars. Shout it from the roof tops and from Sesame Street! I need to see this happen. In the words of the Great Waldorf,

Waldorf: Well, you gotta give them credit… they’re gonna keep on doing it till they get it right.

They will, the Muppets have been practicing their whole lives for a show of this proportion. Let’s work together Muppet Style.

Things I learned from Mister Rogers

Mister Rogers' Neighborhood

Image via Wikipedia

I woke up this morning with the sun streaming in through the windows. I love sunny mornings. Sure there is still 3 feet of snow in my yard, but blue sky and sunshine lifted my spirits as I reflected on my week. It was a tough one, I am not going to lie. Yes there were highlights, but many more lowlights. I expected those and will delve deeper into it with Mo. As I stared out the window, a song popped into my head:

It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood, a beautiful day for a neighbor. Would you be mine? Could you be mine? Won’t you be my neighbor!

Oh Mister Rogers, I hadn’t thought about you in ages! Immediately I was thinking about when I was 4.

When I was 4, my grandma was the same age I am now. She had 4 grandchildren, GULP! I was and still am, the eldest. So that means no one adopted anyone older than me. I still wear the crown. My grandfather had a print-shop in part of his house and my mom helped him run it. Those were the days when most of the moms I knew didn’t work. My mom brought me and my brother to work with her everyday. Grandma kept us in the main part of the house or outside. For me and my brother, it was like growing up in my grandparent’s house AND growning up at home. We felt equally comfortable at either home. I knew where the cookie jar was at home and the red cookie tin at grandma’s. I knew how to turn the dial on the TV at home ( to watch 2 crappy channels plus CBC French) and how to watch CABLE at grandma’s. Oh cable, how interesting you were then! PBS actually had kids shows on it. What kid knows about PBS for kids today? I was allowed to watch 2 shows before preschool everyday. Sesame Street was on everyday. This is where my love of Muppets started. Kermit was my first boyfriend. I still know all the songs and jingles associated with numbers and letters. I remember when Snuffy was Big Bird’s figment of his imagination. There was no Elmo, only Grover, Harry and Cookie were the Monsters. Good times!

Before Sesame Street, there was a different show on everyday. I watched Romper Room, Electric Company (starring Rita Moreno – Broadway star, Morgan Freeman – He played God and Bill Cosby, more than just the Jello guy), Mr. Dressup, The Friendly Giant and Mister Rodgers.

Mister Rogers was not a show I would ever tell my friends I watched. Shocking how at the age of 4 I learned that I would be ridiculed for watching Mr. Rogers. I remember one gal telling me it was for babies. BABIES! YIKES! I wasn’t a baby, I was 4, so I kept that little nugget to myself. I remember laying on my tummy in front of the TV, watching Mister Rogers walk through his front door, singing to ME, getting his cardigan out of the closet and putting on indoor shoes. Then he would let me know who was coming to visit him that day. He would get his chores done and then we would solve a problem using Make-Believe.

I spent a good portion of my “laying quietly in bed” time thinking about good old Mister Rogers, so I made a list. A list of things that I learned from Mister Rogers that I use in my Adult life, in spite of the fact it was a show for “babies”.

The Edmonton Tourist’s Top 11 Learning Lessons from Mister Rodgers

  1. Wearing shoes inside is weird, but if you do – put on clean ones.
  2. Wearing a cardigan inside saves money on your heating bill.
  3. People like to know sequence of events. It brings serenity to your life when you have the sequence of events in order.
  4. Looking people in the eye when you speak or listen to them makes them feel  important.
  5. It is comforting to know the people in your neighborhood.
  6. Solving problems using a “what if” scenario just makes good sense. It utilizes those predicting skills you learned as a child.
  7. Staying calm in a crisis keeps the people around you calm, then a solution can happen.
  8. The world is not just filled with nice, caring people, but we need to show tolerance for the “less nice” people too.
  9. Mister Rogers introduced me to Jazz – thank you for that Fred, smooth jazz still soothes my soul
  10. Children can spot a phony, say what you mean and mean what you say – then follow through. Mister Rogers always did what he said he was going to do.
  11. I loved riding the Trolley into Make-Believe. Now I want to go to San Fransisco to ride one as an adult.

 

And now for something completely different: Bill Cosby and Rita Moreno in Electric Company

 

It’s Time to Get Things Started, It’s Time to Light the Lights…

The Muppet Show

Image via Wikipedia

I have come to the conclusion that my life has become a series of Muppet Show moments, and I am Kermit the Frog trying to orchestrate all the zany characters of my life. This morning as I left for work… I need to back up to the night before.

Last night no, I need to back up further. Several nights ago I bought some anti-nausea medication for my upcoming trip. On extended flights I can become quite ill, mostly because of the recycled air in the airplane cabin. The anti-nausea meds work quite well for both Chatter Box and I, and has the added benefit of blissful unconscious sleep. My honey, in his infinite wisdom decided to try an anti-nausea meds last night to see if it would have any adverse effects on him. In the morning, he had errands to run because of the last minute detail planning I have done. We talked about the plans the night before, but before I left for work there was a “WAIT! What do I need to do?”  He made a list the night before but he was very groggy and didn’t seem to understand a thing I was saying.

Years before when we took our eldest child at the ripe old age of 7 months to Australia. This meant 27 hours of airports and airtime. I don’t recommend it with a 7 month old but hind sight is 20/20. I was quite ill on the way down under. For the trip back I decided to take an anti-nausea med in Hawaii for the last leg of the trip. I took it in the hotel. After that I do not remember a thing until my parents picked us up in Edmonton. I do not remember changing planes in Vancouver. Nothing, that part of my history is a total blank. My poor Honey dragged me, 3 pieces of luggage, 2 carry-on, a baby AND me through 3 airports. Needless to say, I was not the favorite person on that trip.

So Karma came to visit me this morning and she wasn’t very kind. I talked to my honey 3 times about the list and left for work, stopping to treat myself to a Cafe Latte. By the time I got to work, I learned that all our money that we had been saving and converting into Euros was ( insert foreboding music here) was GONE! Well, isn’t that just craptastic! The first thing out of his mouth was, where did you put it? Excuse me? I wasn’t planning this trip, yes it was hard for me but I let others take the reins. I listed several possibilities of where the money could be. We have since learned that Honey is a squirrel. Money here, money left in this place, and money other there! Back and forth went text messages and emails and a few phone calls. Work was stressful enough. Clients had called me names, and not very flattering names. So I was dealing with this and putting out fires at home. Happily my partner was back, so we were at full complement. Work moved along at a fairly smooth rate. By lunch time, I had received email from my mother telling me about some details in Europe. She explained things to me in such a way that I needed to reassure her that her bossy daughter would be there soon and together we would rule the world! Well, our portion of it anyways. I explained to her about the Muppet Show Shenanigans that had happened earlier in the morning. I could feel her laugh from around the world. The good news is our money was not lost, squirreled away. All the money is found and orders have been given in regards to packing.

I am feeling better about things because I let Bossy Boots out of the box. I am going to let her come with me, clearly she will be needed. She packed the “Just in Case” bag and is thrilled at the opportunity to go to Europe. Even if it is with the Muppets.

Here are two videos for you to watch while I am gone. Hopefully they will remind you of me. It’s okay if you miss me,because I will miss you too!