Sunday, July 26, 2009

Damn you, Bunny Rabbit! Damn you to hell!

I was wasting time on Facebook when I noticed that one of my friends had posted two words next to his name: Captain Kangaroo. My first reaction was to shake my fist at the sky and shout, “Damn you Bunny Rabbit! Damn you to hell!”

I loved Captain Kangaroo. As a child, I watched his show religiously. I never knew what he was the captain of, but I didn’t really care. He was the man. I could take or leave Mr. Green Jeans and Grandfather Clock. Mr. Moose had a cool voice and those outstanding ears, so he was all right. Watching old clips of the show on youtube, I now realize how much Mr. Moose was in cahoots with Bunny Rabbit, so my respect for him has gone way down.

While Mr. Moose was a tool, the real villain of the Captain Kangaroo show, in my humble opinion, was Bunny Rabbit. Damn you, Bunny Rabbit! Damn you to hell! See, I still hate that hand puppet.

Captain Kangaroo and Bunny Rabbit had an ongoing routine. The good captain would happen to have a bunch of carrots in his oversized pocket. He was probably going to chop them up later for a nice salad or as a tasty and healthy between meal snack. He would inform us viewers that he was hiding the carrots from Bunny Rabbit.

Bunny Rabbit was a rabbit hand puppet with thick-rimmed glasses who never spoke. According to Captain Kangaroo, the amount of carrots Bunny Rabbit ate in a day exceeded the recommend amount for a hand puppet his size. The good captain was doing Bunny Rabbit a favor by keeping the carrots out of his reach. But Bunny Rabbit was a carrot junky who would go to any lengths to satisfy his addiction.

No matter how cleverly Captain Kangaroo hid the carrots, Bunny Rabbit always found them, stole the entire bunch, not leaving the good captain one measly carrot to garnish a salad, and devoured them all in an orgy of carrot lust. You could hear him munching offscreen, the only noise the rabbit ever made. Then to add insult to injury, Bunny Rabbit would drop a hundred ping pong balls on Captain Kangaroo’s head.

Damn you, Bunny Rabbit! Damn you to hell!

I was a kid and kids get very serious ideas about right and wrong. Bunny Rabbit was doing something wrong to my hero. Of course, I didn’t shake my fist and use words like damn and hell at that age. I probably just pouted at the TV or maybe went so far as to stick my tongue out.

Looking at the show now, it would be easy to see Captain Kangaroo in his quasi-military uniform in a class struggle against Bunny Rabbit whose thick-rimmed glasses and refusal to communicate normally pegs him as an intellectual and an anarchist. Or am I reading too much into a comedy routine about a rabbit stealing carrots because that’s what rabbits do?

Oddly enough, if I had been a teenager when I first saw Captain Kangaroo, I would have been stoned out of my gourd and rooting for Bunny Rabbit to stick it to the man. I might have even shouted, “Damn you Captain Kangaroo. Damn you to hell for not sharing the carrots grown by honest farmers like Mr. Green Jeans with the general population.” I would have assumed that Captain Kangaroo was deliberately overstating the amount of carrots Bunny Rabbit had eaten. He was probably hiding the fact that Bunny Rabbit was starving and was forced by society to steal. Long live Bunny Rabbit!

Instead, I think the best I can do about my hatred of Bunny Rabbit is to remember that neither he nor Captain Kangaroo were what they seemed on TV. That after the show, Bob Keeshan took off his wig and his uniform and Cosmo Allegretti took off the Bunny Rabbit hand puppet, then the two of them probably went out for a beer and discussed the script for the next day’s show. I even imagined what one of their conversations would have been like.

Cosmo: “So I see tomorrow Bunny Rabbit steals the carrots after finding them in the box you hid them in.

Bob: “Whatever. As long as he doesn’t forget the ping pong balls. You gotta have the ping pong balls”

Cosmo: “But don’t you ever get tired of Bunny Rabbit’s antics and getting hit with all those ping pong balls? Aren’t you ever tempted to shake your fist and shout, ‘Damn you Bunny Rabbit. Damn you to hell!’”

Bob: “What the hell are you drinking, Cosmo? This is a kid’s show. The carrot stealing and the ping pong balls are funny. The kids eat it up. Besides, the ping pong balls are light as air. I hardly feel them.”

Cosmo: “I know, I know. But I can’t help thinking that there’s one kid out there who takes it too seriously. That one kid who is upset that Captain Kangaroo is getting screwed.”

Bob: “Maybe. But there are so many children enjoying the show that you really can’t worry about that one kid. I mean, should we worry that one kid might grow up hating rabbits? Or just hating Bunny Rabbit?”

Cosmo: “No, I suppose not. In fact, that would be kinda funny, wouldn’t it? Some grown man shouting ‘Damn you Bunny Rabbit. Damn you to hell!’”

Bob: “Funny, sure, but not as funny as a hundred ping pong balls falling on your head.”

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Haulin' Hummus

I was in traffic behind a dump truck and noticed that it had writing in the different square indentions on the back. One square had the name of the company the truck belonged to and four of the squares listed the types of material the truck could haul and dump. The materials were: Sand, Dirt, Gravel, and Hummus.

Hummus? I never realized it was transported by the truck full. I'd much rather be behind a truck full of hummus than sand or gravel. If some of it fell off, it would be less damaging to my car. I can just wipe it off with some pita bread.

Then I realized I had misread the word. It was Humus, the black soil. That wasn't near as cool as a dump truck full of ground chickpea dip.

(I found the photo of the dump truck on the U.S. Farmer website. It was submitted by "RedMan.")

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

A Proper Education

Time: 1965
Place: Chattanooga, TN

I was in the third grade and the teacher was teaching us about our country’s connection to England.

“There is an excellent program about England on TV this week,” she said. “I won’t make it a class assignment, but you really should try and see it.”

That night, I told Dad that I wanted to watch the show about England. He looked it up in the TV guide.

“It comes on after your bedtime,” he said. “You don’t need to be staying up that late to learn about England.”

A week later, Dad noticed that there was going to be special about early comedy featuring lots of old black and white shorts. The show included films with W.C. Fields, Harold Lloyd, Laurel and Hardy, Buster Keaton and others.

“You have to watch this,” Dad said.

“Oh boy,” I said (or something equally enthusiastic). “When does it come on?”

Dad studied the TV guide for the specifics. Back in those days, that’s how you found out what was on TV.

“Well,” Dad said, “it comes on after your bedtime.”

Darn, I thought (or something equally distraught). I won’t be able to watch it.

“Tell you what,” Dad said. “”Go on to bed at your regular time and I’ll come wake you up when it comes on.”

I didn’t bring up the fact that Dad could have done the same thing for me to see the program about England and actually learn some world history. No. Comedy history trumped world history every day of the week and twice on Sundays.

The night came for the comedy special and I went to bed at my regular bedtime. I must have played extra hard after school because I immediately fell into a deep sleep. When Dad came to wake me up to watch W.C., Stan, Oliver, and the rest of the comedy giants, I refused.

“I’m too tired,” I whined. “I’m going to skip it and keep sleeping.”

“Come on,” Dad insisted. “You can’t miss this.”

He dragged me out of bed, marched me down the hallway, and sat me down on the couch in front of the TV. I could barely keep my eyes open and I was grumpy, but I sat there and watched that program. I have to admit, it was great stuff. Of course, it was great stuff. By the first commercial break, I was awake enough to enjoy the show.

Nothing against England, but knowing humor has been much more helpful in my life than knowing about England.

(image from legends revealed)

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Are you kidding me?

I'm hoping this will be the first in a series of moments in life when I thought, "are you kidding me?"

I was in a car accident. I was waiting at a red light when a woman turned onto the lane next to me, hit a patch of ice, and since she was speeding, lost control of her car, and slammed into the front of mine. She got a ticket and my car was hauled off to the repair shop, where it say for weeks. The reason my car sat for so long was because the woman's insurance agency kept putting off sending an adjuster over to the repair shop to write up an estimate of the damages. The insurance company even had the nerve to give me shit for using the rental car they provided for such a long ass time when they were causing the delay.

Finally, the insurance company sent out an adjuster and my car was repaired. However, when I got the car back, it kept dying on me. What I didn't know was that leaving my car inactive for such a long period of time caused the battery to die. I took the car back to the dealer that repaired my car and demanded they tell me what was wrong with it. The service department rep had me pop the hood to have a look see. I did and we saw battery acid spewing out of the battery along with reams of smoke.

The rep turned to me and with a straight face said, "I think it's your battery."


After we determined that I desperately needed a new battery, the rep told me to drive my car to the service garage.


The service rep and I pushed my car to the garage and they put in a new battery at no charge, so I guess you can say this story had a happy ending.