WHY THIS BLOG?

I AM PARCA'S CHOSEN:
Parca is the Roman Goddess of Childbirth and Destiny and after you get to know me, you will see why I believe she has, without doubt, made me her Poster Child. I deal with the odd serious issue but for the most part, my posts are just some cheeky fun, reviews of favorite shows, and true stories that will make you laugh out loud (or run screaming...I don't know you well enough to predict your behavior). You'll find satire with the odd parody tossed in....and definitely a heaping helping of hyperbole.

I am Canadian so expect a bit of politeness too. Sorry.

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Friday, September 23, 2011

A GIANT, RUSTY INFLUENCE (re-posted by ROGER EBERT on his FB page: see bottom of post!)

e·piph·a·ny

[ih-pif-uh-nee] A sudden, intuitive perception of or insight into the reality or essential meaning of something, usually initiated by some simple, homely, or commonplace occurrence or experience.

I’ve just had an epiphany. A retro-revelation, as it were. Something I think might be happening more often as my 51st year reaches for the baton from my 50th year and I seriously start to reflect upon what invisible hands, besides the obvious ones, shaped the lump of me that became me.

If I were to get one of those personal, wanna-get-to-know-you-better questionnaire e-mails that say ‘TELL ME 5  FACTS ABOUT YOURSELF’, I would reply like this:

1)      I am a huge Harry Potter fan, largely in part because of the Camelot-ish atmosphere and castles. (Hagrid is a clear favorite character of mine, and second only to Snape, who I would have sex with on my mothers dining room table during Thanksgiving supper if he asked.)
2)      I collect roosters (but call them the more giggle-inducing ‘chickens’ *said with a silly grin and Red Skelton accent)
3)      I love miniatures. Miniature anything, but furniture especially.
4)      I enjoy classical music and medieval types of folk songs (e.g. Loreena McKennitt)
5)      I am a romantic and was a far-too-clingy girlfriend in my day…but I was usually the ‘dumper’ and rarely the ‘dumpee’.

This random list has always been simply ‘me’, unexplored, constant and just the way I roll. But fast forward to 10 minutes ago when, suffering another 3:00 a.m. bout of Sleepless in Courtenay, I spontaneously decided to go on YouTube and seek out an old clip of Mr. Dress Up and drift back into my childhood and hopefully remember how it felt as a kid to go to bed and actually sleep.

But instead of clicking on Mr. D, I noticed a clip in the YouTube sidebar of an old children’s show that I grew up with…a show I hadn’t thought of in over 40 years but had watched vigilantly and daily in my formative years in the 60's: The Friendly Giant. I loved that show and its theme song was the first music I remember…and the first song I learned the lyrics to (save the usual church and holiday tunes every kid memorizes through osmosis more than desire). For those of you who don’t know the show, here is a quick preview of how many of us Canadian Baby Boomers spent our extremely limited and tightly controlled TV watching hours: *watch closely, there will be a pseudo-quiz afterwards…

 Did you notice the following?
1)      A castle. Medieval, complete with moat and drawbridge.
2)      A giant who is gentle and loves animals.
3)      A rooster named ‘Rusty’.
4)      A miniature cozy living room with a miniature fireplace, furniture, etc…
5)      The opening and closing theme music is classical/folk mix with a decidedly haunting melody.
6)      Said theme song is oft times called ‘Early One Morning’ but is actually called "The Forsaken Lover". The lyrics begin…

“Early one morning,
Just as the sun was rising,
I heard a young maid sing,
In the valley below.

CHORUS:
Oh, don't deceive me,
Oh, never leave me,
How could you use
A poor maiden so?”

I admit that this is as far as I ever sang it, but I knew the words verbatim at age 4 regardless of what the hell they meant.


Are we seeing a pattern here? I sure did. The second I heard that tune playing and saw the castle drawbridge open, it was like my entire world made more sense. So THAT is where I formed this love of such odd things! It brought me to tears. Not the ear-shattering, heart-rending cry and complete agony one felt when Donny Osmond got married, but the light eye dampening of yesteryear reminiscences. A wistful whimper.

And WOW!, the 'love'm and leave'm before they leave you' routine I subconsciously followed during my dating years seems like it was taken from the chorus of 'The Forsaken Lover'. What would Freud say about all this I wonder?

As I shook my head and smiled inwardly, I wiped my eyes and wondered, in enlightened awe, at the serious influence a children’s show can employ. Then two powerful ideas broke through my mist of nostalgia:

1)      Thank God we only had 2 channels and the only other show I watched faithfully was The Bugs Bunny Show! **which explains my fondness for black and white, Sylvester-like cats (see our Jasmine below):

                                                     
               

; my partiality to bald men like Elmer Fudd (you’d have to meet my hubby to see what I mean) and my continued rooster fascination, personified in the infamous Foghorn Leghorn! PLUS, my first taste of opera, which changed my life forever, was slipped into my psyche with the following Bugs Bunny episode:

 How was I to know my heart had just been prepped for my future happiness?
2)      My kids and their buddies grew up watching Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Dragonball Z, Transformer: Beast Wars and Pokemon. All aggressive, violent (in a GOOD vs EVIL kinda way) competitive, winner-takes-all kids shows that all had tiny slivers of high morality embedded here and there between blood-spitting, head-exploding, save-the-world fights.

Conclusion? I think we’re all in grave danger. The upcoming generation is a highly desensitized army of warped war-mongers who have no problem with talking turtles, misogynistic, sexless aliens that  give birth by barfing up their eggs and androids that can shoot fireballs from their hands to chop up bodies or explode planets. And they are locked and loaded, ready to rumble. 

I should know; apparently I helped warp them.

*INTERESTING NOTE: The novel I recently wrote is called Parca’s Forsaken (click for link). Remember the name of The Friendly Giant's theme song? ‘The Forsaken Lover’. How’s that for an eerie coincidence. Oh my…a Sign?

ROGER EBERT RE-POSTED THIS BLOG ON HIS OWN FB PAGE! MANY MOONS AGO BUT STILL A THRILL. *click to enlarge



14 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing.

    As the creator of a preschool TV show, it makes me happy to see how a cartoon can have such an impact. I better be more careful about what I put in those scripts!

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  2. What a revelation!
    I loved "The Friendly Giant". "There's a chair for two to curl up in"... And while I can hear the tune in my head, in that lovely warbly recorder, I don't remember any lyrics. I even named my toy giraffe Jerome, in honour of, well, you-know-who!
    But you got me thinking now: I'm only a year older, and a born & bred Vancouverite, so I grew up with the same stuff. Your epiphany is making me think about dredging my memories of TV-shows that may've informed me in ways I've not noticed. What is my psyche to make of "Kukla, Fran & Ollie" and "J.P.Patches"?

    Congrats and good luck with your novel, btw!

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  3. Sorry for posting twice.

    I just watched some Friendly Giant on YouTube. Is it any coincidence that what I consider my childhood home was called 'the castle house' by the neighbourhood? It even had a turret! And yes, I have a love of medieval-anything.
    Thanks for cracking open a dusty vault of nostalgia for me to analyze!

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  4. Bob Boyle and Kymess: Thank you for your kind comments! I am exceedingly pleased to discover that I am not alone in my fascinations and revelations! Cheers!

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  5. As a recent graduate in communications I can tell you the influence of the media on children is a hot topic. After reading about this topic myself, I'm still conflicted as to how much the media shapes our lives. Some say the media shapes who we are (this would support your findings). Others think we can clearly separate our real life from fantasy. I enjoyed reading about your findings but hope this phenomenon is no different than the connection we have to our horoscope or a fortune tellers prediction (pure coincidence and our inherent ability to connect event that are not related whatsoever). I hope the latter is true if not only because I fear what several hundred episodes of Gilligan's Island and The Brady Bunch did to my newly forming mind in the 1970's.

    thanks for the interesting read

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  6. Ray Magner: Thank you for your interesting and kind comments. I believe the media shapes our lives to an extent, but the DEGREE of influence is directly affected by the other more potent influences in our lives such as parents, family and environment. For example, The Friendly Giant's influence on my life is relevant and fun to explore, but I do not live in a castle nor did I marry a Mr. Big and Tall. Having said that though, had I been a neglected, lonely child with no responsible adult around to keep things real for me, the opposite might be true (or I might have grown to be a bitter, unfulfilled woman for not having achieved those things). It does make one think...

    *Oh...and if you ever name your children Thurston, Marianne or Lovey I'd say you'd have your proof.

    Cheers!

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  7. I loved "The Friendly Giant," which I watched as a kid in Chicago. I watched carefully as he arranged the chairs so I could pick just the right one.

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  8. I'm a child of the 80s but I vividly remember watching The Friendly Giant. "Look up. Look waaaaaaay up, and I'll call Rusty." I play classical piano, and in one of my first competitions I played Early One Morning and got a gold certificate. Mr Dressup was another Canadian kid's show I was glued to. I loved watching him draw. I especially loved that his dog's name was the same as my Grandmother's maiden name.

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  9. cranberries: I was always partial to the rocking chair. Still am!

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  10. sweetNsawa: Mr. Dress Up was another fave of mine too, and although I never had a Tickle Trunk, I was famous in our house for dressing up in whosoever clothes I could find and traipse downstairs to surprise my family...especially when they had guests!
    And I love that your grandmothers maiden name was Finnegan! Very cool...

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  11. Rhonda: Sorry! I deleted you by mistake...please re-post!

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  12. Hi Everyone,
    Well, as the sister to Denise I can only comment on how true to her words she really is. Her fasination with Harry Potter(we call her 24 year old son, Potter as a nickname), miniture "anything" and her hopeless romantic outlook. True,true,true. I see fit to also mention her "gift" as an artist. Draw, paint, sketch...put a stick in her hand and she can etch out a Picasso in the sands on any beach. Unreal. This ability would have absolulty taken her life in a whole different direction only if her love for family hadn't surpassed this talent. Denise has 5 children and this she would not change for all the canvas in the world. I also see fitting to mention that we grew up in one of the coldest provinces in Canada(Manitoba). So, having the name "Parca" is well...apprapeau. Talk to you soon sis and oh yeah...that's the driest cat I've ever seen(ha).

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  13. Rhonda: Hey sis, good call on the POTTER reference;I hadn't even thought of it! (*driest reference I ever saw.)
    And yes, 'Parca' does sound like something Mom handed down to me from our 2 or 3 older siblings every October (and you got mine!)Hey, and thanks for the pat on the back...especially since I know how long it took you to get it on this page! (HA!!)Now sit still while I paint your portrait...it's your Xmas present.

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  14. I somewhow erased the THANK YOU to Roger Ebert that I posted here...he put my blog (this particular story, in fact)in his FaceBook page and he (and therefore I!!) got a lot of nice feedback. WHAT A THRILL!!!!! I'll have to sneak away from my novel (the next great blockbuster hit!Right?) and post some more stories. Lord knows I have a few more of them...

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I really do appreciate you reading and perhaps sharing my blog pieces and hoped you enjoyed them. Leave a comment if you like and I will reply asap. *NOTE: I have strong opinions and will gladly respond to respectful debate or disagreement, but too many people use blogs as a platform for their insanity and hate, so be aware that my moderator will not allow Haters to spread their hate and I personally only see comments, good or bad, that are not rude.