Monday, December 15, 2008

Gonna paint a legend

Ah, the power of the Internet. I never would have imagined that someday I would find out the name of the actor who played the “mad painter” on Sesame Street. His name was Paul Benedict, and he sadly recently passed away. The short films he appeared in on the show were shown for decades, and always brought a smile. Here's a list of them:

GONNA PAINT A TWO: He paints a “2” on the sail of a small boat, only to be chased away by the bald guy

GONNA PAINT A THREE: He tries to paint a 3 on some bread using mayonnaise, mustard and ketchup.

GONNA PAINT A FOUR: He paints it on a woman's umbrella, only to be drenched when she puts the umbrella down.

GONNA PAINT A FIVE: He crawls into a cage at the zoo (how the heck he could do that I don't know) and is confronted by a gorilla, who fortunately, also knows how to paint. (It's possible. Remember Koko?) Together, they paint a 5 on a large yellow ball.

GONNA PAINT A SIX: He uses cake icing to paint a 6 on a small white cake. The bald guy arrives, and unfortunately the cake was probably not meant for a 6-year-old, because he pushes the cake into the mad painter's face.

GONNA PAINT A SEVEN: He tries to paint it on the door of an elevator, but the 7 keeps disappearing as the door opens and he paints it on the people riding the elevator. It's hard to appreciate this one if you've never seen it!

GONNA PAINT AN EIGHT: My favorite. He puts on scuba gear to swim in a large pool to paint a large 8 onto the bald guy's head. The chase at the end is classic.

GONNA PAINT A NINE: He paints it right in the middle of a street, just before the bald guy drives up with the street cleaner.

GONNA PAINT A TEN: He paints it on the seat of a stool, right before the bald guy sits on it.

GONNA PAINT AN ELEVEN: He's in a waiting room, trying to paint an 11 on the small window of a door. He succeeds, but the bald guy shows up and washes the 11 away.

For images from each of these films, check out the Muppet Wiki page dedicated to the mad painter:

Special thanks to those who first downloaded these pictures and video clips. I appreciate the ability to present them here to other fans.

BEST FOOT FORWARD: Okay, look. Just because you don't like somebody, that doesn't give you the right to try and hurt them. You don't throw shoes at people. You might hurt them. You don't hurt people just because you disagree with them.

Sounds simple, right? Unfortunately, a reporter in Iraq was unable to grasp this concept, and threw some shoes at George W. on Sunday. Look, I don't approve of Bush either, but let the man be! To throw shoes at the president demonstrates that you have truly lost your sole.

Hang on, I need to sneeze. . .ah. . .ah. . .A-SHOE!!!

Here's how the BBC reported the event:
In the middle of the news conference with Mr Maliki, Iraqi television journalist Muntadar al-Zaidi stood up and shouted "this is a goodbye kiss from the Iraqi people, dog," before hurling a shoe at Mr Bush which narrowly missed him. Showing the soles of shoes to someone is a sign of contempt in Arab culture.
With his second shoe, which the president also managed to dodge, Mr Zaidi said: "This is for the widows and orphans and all those killed in Iraq." Mr Zaidi, a correspondent for Cairo-based al-Baghdadiya TV, was then wrestled to the ground by security personnel and hauled away. "If you want the facts, it's a size 10 shoe that he threw," Mr Bush joked afterwards.
Al-Baghdadiya's bureau chief told the Associated Press that he had no idea what prompted Mr Zaidi to attack President Bush, although reports say he was once kidnapped by a militia and beaten up. "I am trying to reach Muntadar since the incident, but in vain," said Fityan Mohammed. "His phone is switched off." Correspondents said the attack was symbolic. Iraqis threw shoes and used them to beat Saddam Hussein's statue after his overthrow.

Needless to say, this journalist was not trying to be fair and unbiased. Bush's policy is certainly not popular with many, and while perhaps we can't blame the reporter for being upset, we also have to realize that we must tame our inner demons before we can unleash them on somebody else.

Inner demons? Sure - you've probably heard of anger and sorrow. And depression. And vengeance. And lust for the flesh. And covetousness. (I'm good friends with some of these guys). And greed. How do we gain control of them? Well, a long life helps. But for the short run, we simply have to look beyond ourselves – not forever, just for a little bit – and understand how foolish our actions would ultimately be. Admittedly, this often isn't easy. But it's probably the only way we can live in the world without killing everybody.

I am not sure if the journalist will be fired for this. But he probably deserves to be.