Friday, May 08, 2009

The return of Oscar

A cousin of mine is a fan of Oscar the Grouch. But who isn’t? The guy is a perfect example of a crusty TV character that everyone enjoys, even as he insults them. While “The Return of Bruno” will have to wait (sorry about that, Mr. Willis), everyone’s favorite grouch seems to be gaining more time in the public eye. The most recent was his recent cameo at Pete Seeger’s 90th birthday concert. He appeared with Tom Chapin to sing “Garbage.” (Pete is no stranger to Oscar. He appeared on Sesame Street back in the 1970s and he even put out an album with them). Thanks to the keen-eyed folks at Muppet Central for letting us know about this! Here’s a link to a bigger, better picture courtesy of Getty Images:

OSCAR MEETS VADER: It is somewhat amazing to me that two of the classic bad guys from childhood are going to team up for a brief appearance in “Night at the Museum 2,” but apparently Oscar the Grouch and Darth Vader will be sharing the screen in the new film. Classic. It almost makes me want to buy a ticket. And Robin Williams and Dick Van Dyke are there as well. This is getting better all the time. All we need now is a Courteney Cox cameo and to have Mr. Rogers’ puppets come to life & I’m there. (Film cameo check: Oscar also appeared in “Great Muppet Caper” and Darth was in “Indian in the Cupboard.”) Here’s the post about Oscar:

THE MAKING OF A MASTERPIECE: Many of the clips from my own video collection have been used by other posters in the past. (You can check some of them out in my favorites folder on my YouTube page.) But these have all been clips from other sources, and not a literal home movie that I made by myself. That's where the recent YouTube posting of the “Ernie and Bert appliance war” skit comes into play.

I received a copy of the skit in Spanish from a video trader a few years ago. It was great to see this lost clip again, but not having it in English made it like a victory that was only half won. The obvious solution- do a re-dubbing of the skit with the English audio, with the dialouge reproduced to the best of my memory from the original clip. So I did that for the introduction to one of my home movies. It wasn't perfect, but neither are any of my movies, or any of your movies, but that's a long story. Anyway, YouTube poster applejax recently posted my re-dub of the scene, this time with a slightly better picture from his collection. So the question is this: does this count as my first official YouTube video or not? My vote: Close, but no banana. The dubbing is mine, but the cleaned-up video and re-re-dubbing makes this an applejax/Sesameguy production.

Trivia buffs: Can you identify the two songs played by Bert & Ernie in the re-dubbed clip? Think about it, now. Take your time. Decide if you need to call a friend. . .Okay, give up? They are “Vacation” by the Go-Gos and “Baby I need your lovin'”. These are obviously not the same songs that were in the original clip (It was just some nameless Sesame St. background rock music, kind of like the stuff we hear in the E&B volume control skit). “Vacation” was part of my collection, but “Baby I need your lovin'” just happened to be the song on the radio when Ernie turned it on.

THE MAKING OF ANOTHER MASTERPIECE: As opposed to the re-dubbing, two friends of mine have created a true YouTube video: Completely new footage, new song, the works. The song is “California furlough blues” and features friends Peter and Edgar singing about the plight of workers everywhere these days who are being forced to take time off just because the company is too cheap to. . .I mean, just because the economy is so bad. Yeah, that's it. It's the economy, stupid. Yeah. Sure. Okay. Yes, master - I mean, boss. It's a good little tune that might remind you of another good little tune. You can find it in my favorites folder.

SUPPOSE A STORE GAVE A 50% OFF SALE, AND NO ONE CAME? I guess the time has come to let you music fans in on a secret. Well, it was a secret a few months ago, anyway. Some of the Borders' bookstores in my area began selling their CDs and DVDs at 50% off! Wow, cool sale, huh? Well, sort of. I went shopping there a few days before the remaining CDs were taken away to CD heaven, and there were still plenty of items for sale. The selection wasn't perfect – mostly classical titles and unique things, not necessarily big names in the music biz – but the bins were still reasonably full. If a music store can have a 50% off sale for a month and still have a fairly good amount of CDs left over, that tells you something about the state of the industry. Even at an incredible discount, not everyone is lured into buying CDs. But to be fair, not everybody thinks about shopping for music at a bookstore. Borders probably understands that, so it has shed some of its extra benefits to focus on what people really want from a bookstore - books. That's good for them and not so great for us- we're losing another option when it comes to buying music.

For more on the slow demise (argh!) of music stores, see my postings here:

A NEW NEIGHBORHOOD: There's a new blog that pays tribute to Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood (amazing how these things have been growing the past few years after MRN has all but left the airwaves). You can check it out in the links section to the right, and be sure to visit his YouTube page for clips from some classic episodes (In black and white! Even I don't remember that far back!)