August 30, 2006

The Real Macoy

While at SM Megamall the other day, I espied a shiny secondhand Harley-Davidson interactive children’s book with a huge plastic motorbike right smack in the center that emits different sounds and lights when pressed. It was way cool. Motorcycles have recently been a source of great fascination for our toddler Niccolo; I was certain he would flip upon seeing the book. I excitedly grabbed it off the shelf of the bookstand and hurriedly brought it over to the counter to pay.

The smiling cashier took my credit card and started punching buttons. As I glanced at the cash register, I was stunned to see the name IRENE MARCOS typed up on the LCD screen.

Loony Mom: "Hay! Miss…that’s wrong!"

Cashier: "Alin, Ma’am?"

Loony Mom: "Tingnan mo ang card ko uli. My name is Irene TUAZON. Not Irene MARCOS!"

Cashier (the annoyance evident in her face): "No, Ma’am. Tama yan."

Loony Mom: "Huh?"

Cashier: "That’s me, Ma’am!"

Loony Mom (drowning in a sea of bewilderment): "Huh?"

Cashier (almost beaming with pride): "I AM IRENE MARCOS."

Loony Mom: "Ikaw si Irene Marcos???"

Cashier: "Yes, Ma’am! That’s me!"

The cashier then proceeded to show me her company ID. She really was named Irene Marcos. She then proceeded to explain that her parents purposefully named her after our ex-dictator’s daughter.

For once, the loony mom was rendered stupefied and speechless.

I did meet The Real Macoy after all.

August 27, 2006

Channeling Grace

Okay. I concede that some of the results can turn out to be astoundingly far out. Also, I know there are people who would unhesitatingly opine that Jackie Forster (whom utter strangers have mistaken me for) has a more significant resemblance to me than the goddess Grace Kelly or, for that matter, any of the other stars that suddenly popped out as my "look-alikes". But heck, it's all so darn fun!

Want to uncover your own surprise celebrity face matches?? You can try it using different pictures

August 21, 2006

Boxed Ideas

Me and my blog in a snapshot:

You can easily create your own here. Enjoy!

August 19, 2006

Mamma Mia!

It’s been two whole days and we are still trying to recover from Saturday night’s gluttonous family buffet feast at Hotel Philippine Plaza’s renowned Spiral. The immensely vast food spread was more than satisfying, and the table conversation was stuffed with good-natured ribbing and peppered with bursts of laughter as can only be heard from a tight-knit, slightly sanity-impaired clan like ours. It was our way of celebrating my mother’s 60th birthday.

Inspired by the auspicious occasion, I thought it fitting to come up with 60 things that make our dearest Mommy Imelda a mother like no other:

1. She does not look the least bit like 60. When yet another hapless human remarks on how young she appears for her age, it is guaranteed that she will relate the same story to her husband and three children OVER AND OVER AGAIN.

2. She is one heck of a dancer who proudly declares that the late talented actor Pancho Magalona taught her to boogie when she was 4 years old.

3. During a shopping spree in Rustan’s to buy Dexter-branded shoes for my brother, she kept loudly addressing the salesman attending to us as “Dexter”. (Dexter, paki-kuha ng bigger size….Dexter, magkano ba yan?…Dexter, thank you. Ang bait mo!) Never mind that the guy had a huge nametag declaring his name as Michael and kept attempting to point this fact out to our impervious mother.

4. She has a reputation for baking the best ever Food for the Gods. She likes to remind us that she also makes the most sumptuous Perfect Chocolate Cake but nobody remembers because the last time she produced one was a gazillion years ago. To this day, my youngest brother suspects that Imelda’s Perfect Chocolate Cake is a myth.

5. She knows everybody in BF Homes and vice versa. The restaurant owners, bank officers, security guards, supermarket cashiers, etc. – they all know her by name and stop to chat when they see her. We are certain that if our Mom runs for BF Barangay Captain, she would win hands down.

6. Her frequent outbursts of hearty laughter are downright infectious. (Yes, this is something I definitely inherited from her.)

7. The first time my husband stepped foot at our house, she asked him to stand beside me “back-to-back” to check who was taller.

8. She and her cousins called themselves “The Flowerettes” when they were teens. Despite the cheesy name, they were still very much sought-after by the most popular boys in town.

9. She frequently claims that she has no new shoes, but her closet states the absolute contrary.

10. When she swims her strange freestyle, only her face gets submerged in the water so you see this black mass of dry hair moving back and forth the pool. It can be quite the eerie sight.

11. She bemoans the fact that none of her children can sing.

12. At a wedding shower, she met some young women who were friends of my cousin. When they mentioned that they did not have boyfriends yet, she immediately tried to console them by saying: “Don’t worry…it will come like a thief in the night!”

13. Her remarkably long, slender legs are legendary.

14. She spells out words she does not want other people to hear, oddly forgetting that the other people who hear her know how to spell. For example, she will softly mutter at the dinner table: “The B-O-Y is in a bad mood”….the B-O-Y in question being my 19 year-old brother Dave who is seated with us.

15. After delivering three enormous babies via normal birth, she has not a single stretch mark on her.

16. Symptoms of sicknesses she reads and hears about inevitably become symptoms she will experience herself soon after.

17. She walks like the speed of light. My poor, gout-ridden father has to struggle to catch up with her in the mall.

18. As a young girl, she wanted to be a nun. Mercifully, she soon realized that a vow of eternal silence would be impossible for her.

19. Her most famous, oft-repeated words of wisdom on boys: COLLECT THEN SELECT. That, and: IF A MAN REALLY LOVES YOU, HE WILL CRY OVER YOU. I really took this counsel to heart…to the consternation of my husband.

20. She worries about everything big-time. It’s a good thing she prays a lot, too. The two somehow manage to balance each other out for her.

21. She refers to the show “Prison Break” as “Escape.” (“Exciting talaga ng Escape DVD!”)

22. The last novel she started AND finished was “Jaws”. This was in 1973.

23. When our Dad was confined at Asian Hospital, she kept drilling the person who brought his food tray with demanding questions. Why did the doctor recommend that kind of food? How soon after should her husband’s medicine be given? What were the test results? The bewildered guy could only answer: “Ay ma’am, taga-dala lang po ako ng pagkain...” while pointing meekly to his white shirt which had the words Makati Skyline printed on it.

24. She is good at saving our money for us. She managed to collect and stash in the bank every centavo of every cash present her children received from birth onwards so we could all have emergency funds to draw from.

25. She remembers the birthdays of everyone, from the late grandfather of the spouse of our third cousin to the first suitor I ever had. But chances are she will not remember your name tomorrow if she met you today.

26. She is so conservative that she looks away when there is a kissing scene on the TV or movie screen.

27. She tends to stock food in the kitchen cabinet and fridge, only to take them out when they are already past their expiry date.

28. Every time she hears of someone highly successful in life, she will firmly deduce that it is because that person was good to his/her mother. And she will make sure that we her children are within earshot when she makes this brilliant observation.

29. She has never gotten drunk in her entire life…or so she says.

30. She tells people she adores animals. However, when our Daddy brought home a stray puppy once, she totally freaked out and asked him to give it away pronto.

31. She has the knack for spotting a good-looking guy a mile away. (Yes, this is something I also definitely inherited from her.)

32. When we gain weight, she tells us to diet. When we diet, she tells us to eat.

33. During an island hopping adventure in Boracay, my brother Don had a difficult time swimming back to our boat because of the strong waves so I had to dive over to where he was and help him back by tugging at the life vest he was wearing. Amidst all the confusion and mayhem, we could hear our mother wail from the banca: “Don! Sayang naman ang bayad sa swimming lessons mo sa Polo Club!”

34. When she sees a black and blue mark on any of us, she will jump to the conclusion that we have cancer.

35. She is a superbly cool Mom – we kids can tell her anything. Well, okay…almost anything.

36. She has the maddening habit of repeating what others say. For instance:
Party Guest #1: That's a lovely dress you’re wearing.
Mommy: Oh yes, that's a lovely dress you’re wearing.
Party Guest #2: These curtains are beautiful.
Mommy: Yes, these curtains are beautiful.

37. She proclaims she is hungry exactly 30 minutes after lunch.

38. She has strong self-control when it comes to shopping. She simply expects her family to get her the things she wants when it is her birthday. (For proof of this, see photo below of Mommy happily showing off our gifts to her.)

39. Nothing will prevent her from going to mass everyday.

40. She is absolutely crazy about her first and so-far-only grandchild and has made it her mission to inform every citizen on the planet that her apo is the baby in the Joy billboard ads.

41. While driving with balikbayans along Estrella Avenue, an American who was with us in the car commented on how pretty Rockwell’s area was. My Mom’s profound reply: “Yes…. because there are trees!”

42. You cannot, will not, should not mention sex or anything even remotely related to sex to her. Her ultra-conservative being instantaneously zones out.

43. She makes her own diagnoses of diseases based on magazine tidbits she reads and stories she hears from friends. Once, she even dared attempt to refute the findings of a renowned specialist with her own case analysis. All of us within earshot wanted to hide under the hospital bed. Mom would have had a successful career in medicine, if only she did not hate studying so much.

44. She oozes with charisma so people are naturally drawn to her and she has tons of friends.

45. She highly looks forward to our family poker nights, even if she has not yet managed to win a round.

46. She has the uncanny ability of accurately guessing how much everything costs, especially the presents we give her. If she joins “The Price Is Right,” she would easily be Grand Champion.

47. Nobody in our household can burn the telephone lines like she does.

48. She often tries to trick my brother and I into revealing how much money we earn.

49. She asks a gazillion questions while watching a movie. After a character is shot in the head: Is he dead? Why did he get killed? You mean that man is evil? What happened? What will happen next? By the fifth question, everybody in the theater will inevitably here the reverberating “JUST WATCH!” of my exasperated father. Everybody that is, except my mother….who just goes on to her next question.

50. She reminds every family member about 45 times a day to take Vitamin C.

51. She cannot tell a lie. She really can’t. Not even a white lie. It’s just not in her.

52. Her faith in God and devotion to the Blessed Mother are unwavering. Her prayers always come true and she joyfully experiences little miracles all the time.

53. She is a terrific nurse when any of us gets sick.

54. She will sacrifice buying something for herself in order to buy something for her kids.

55. She automatically brightens up her surroundings with her easy disposition and warm, engaging smile.

56. She always strives to see the good side of people.

57. She does not get mad when her children make fun of her – which is pretty much all the time.

58. She is a sympathetic listener and is never too busy to hear out someone in need of her company or advice.

59. She has made a successful career out of making sure her family is happy, at peace with each other and well taken care of.

60. She is truly loved by many, especially by her nutty family.

Happy 60th Birthday, Mamma Mia!!! Mwaaaaaah!

August 11, 2006

So Erma Says!

Erma Bombeck (February 21, 1927 – April 22, 1996) was an American humorist who achieved great popularity for a newspaper column that depicted suburban home life in the second half of the 20th century. Erma is one of my idols because of her wondrously witty writing style and her fabulously funny take on everyday family living.

Thought I’d share samples of Erma at her most amusing. Get ready to laugh in spite of yourself!

My theory on housework is, if the item doesn't multiply, smell, catch fire, or block the refrigerator door, let it be. No one else cares. Why should you?

Marriage has no guarantees. If that's what you're looking for, go live with a car battery.

Who in their infinite wisdom decreed that Little League uniforms be white? Certainly not a mother.

I haven't trusted polls since I read that 62% of women had affairs during their lunch hour. I've never met a woman in my life who would give up lunch for sex.

In two decades I've lost a total of 789 pounds. I should be hanging from a charm bracelet.

All of us have moments in our lives that test our courage. Taking children into a house with a white carpet is one of them.

God created man, but I could do better.

Do you know what you call those who use towels and never wash them, eat meals and never do the dishes, sit in rooms they never clean, and are entertained till they drop? If you have just answered, "A house guest," you're wrong because I have just described my kids.

How come anything you buy will go on sale next week?

I never leaf through a copy of National Geographic without realizing how lucky we are to live in a society where it is traditional to wear clothes.

Don't confuse fame with success. Madonna is one; Helen Keller is the other.

Did you ever notice that the first piece of luggage on the carousel never belongs to anyone?

Car designers are just going to have to come up with an automobile that outlasts the payments.

For some of us, watching a miniseries that lasts longer than most marriages is not easy.

Graduation day is tough for adults. They go to the ceremony as parents. They come home as contemporaries. After twenty-two years of child-raising, they are unemployed.

I've exercised with women so thin that buzzards followed them to their cars.

Housework, if you do it right, will kill you.

Onion rings in the car cushions do not improve with time.

I come from a family where gravy is considered a beverage.

Guilt: the gift that keeps on giving.

I have a hat. It is graceful and feminine and gives me a certain dignity, as if I were attending a state funeral or something. Someday I may get up enough courage to wear it, instead of carrying it.

In general my children refuse to eat anything that hasn't danced in television.

I have a theory about the human mind. A brain is a lot like a computer. It will only take so many facts, and then it will go on overload and blow up.

When your mother asks, "Do you want a piece of advice?" it is a mere formality. It doesn't matter if you answer yes or no. You're going to get it anyway.

My kids always perceived the bathroom as a place where you wait it out until all the groceries are unloaded from the car.

Most children's first words are ``Mama'' or ``Daddy.'' My kid's first words were, ``Do I have to use my own money?'

One thing they never tell you about child raising is that for the rest of your life, at the drop of a hat, you are expected to know your child's name and how old he or she is.

It goes without saying that you should never have more children than you have car windows.

Why would anyone steal a shopping cart? It's like stealing a two-year-old.

There is nothing more miserable in the world than to arrive in paradise and look like your passport photo.

Just think of all those women on the Titanic who said, "No, thank you," to dessert that night. And for what!

Most women put off entertaining until the kids are grown.

My second favorite household chore is ironing. My first being hitting my head on the top bunk bed until I faint.

No one ever died from sleeping in an unmade bed. I have known mothers who remake the bed after their children do it because there is wrinkle in the spread or the blanket is on crooked. This is sick.

There are 2 kinds of women who will spring big bucks for a make-up mirror that magnifies their faces. The first are young models who need to cover every eyelash, shadow their cheekbones, define their lips, and sculpt their faces. The second group are women who, without their glasses, cannot find their faces.

Every day of his or her life a child is plotting an event that will age you 20 years in 20 seconds.

Never accept a drink from a urologist.

Never go to a doctor whose office plants have died.

Never go to your high school reunion pregnant or they will think that is all you have done since you graduated.

Never lend your car to anyone to whom you have given birth.

Never order food in excess of your body weight.

Some say our national pastime is baseball. Not me. It's gossip.

People shop for a bathing suit with more care than they do a husband or wife. The rules are the same. Look for something you'll feel comfortable wearing. Allow for room to grow.

Sometimes I can't figure designers out. It's as if they flunked human anatomy.

Thanks to my mother, not a single cardboard box has found its way back into society. We receive gifts in boxes from stores that went out of business twenty years ago.

The art of never making a mistake is crucial to motherhood. To be effective and to gain the respect she needs to function, a mother must have her children believe she has never engaged in sex, never made a bad decision, never caused her own mother a moment's anxiety, and was never a child.

The only reason I would take up jogging is so that I could hear heavy breathing again.

There is one thing I have never taught my body how to do and that is to figure out at 6 A.M. what it wants to eat at 6 P.M.

There's nothing sadder in this world than to awake Christmas morning and not be a child.

What's with you men? Would hair stop growing on your chest if you asked directions somewhere?

My mother phones daily to ask, "Did you just try to reach me?" When I reply, "No", she adds, "So, if you're not too busy, call me while I'm still alive," and hangs up.

If you can't make it better, you can laugh at it.

Before you try to keep up with the Joneses, be sure they're not trying to keep up with you.

You become about as exciting as your food blender. The kids come in, look you in the eye, and ask if anybody's home.

There is a thin line that separates laughter and pain, comedy and tragedy, humor and hurt.

You hear a lot of dialogue on the death of the American family. Families aren't dying. They're merging into big conglomerates.

It is not until you become a mother that your judgment slowly turns to compassion and understanding.

It takes a lot of courage to show your dreams to someone else.

I just clipped 2 articles from a current magazine. One is a diet guaranteed to drop 5 pounds off my body in a weekend. The other is a recipe for a 6 minute pecan pie.

When humor goes, there goes civilization.

When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, "I
used everything you gave me".

August 09, 2006

The World According to Walt

Who doesn’t love Walt Disney?

I put together some stirring, savory quotes from one of the greatest, most innovative minds of our time. We might all do well to mull them over and take them to heart.

Without inspiration we would perish.

It is good to have a failure while you're young because it teaches you so much. For one thing it makes you aware that such a thing can happen to anybody, and once you've lived through the worst, you're never quite as vulnerable afterward.

Disneyland is a work of love.

You can design and create, and build the most wonderful place in the world. But it takes people to make the dream a reality.

Somehow I can't believe there are any heights that can't be scaled by a man who knows the secret of making dreams come true. This special secret, it seems to me, can be summarized in four C's. They are Curiosity, Confidence, Courage, and Constancy and the greatest of these is Confidence. When you believe a thing, believe it all the way, implicitly and unquestionably.

The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.

If you can dream it, you can do it. Always remember that this whole thing was started with a dream and a mouse.

People sort of live in the dark about things. A lot of young people think the future is closed to them, that everything has been done. This is not so. There are still plenty of avenues to be explored.

A man should never neglect his family for business.

We have created characters and animated them in the dimension of depth, revealing through them to our perturbed world that the things we have in common far outnumber and outweigh those that divide us.

Every child is born blessed with a vivid imagination. But just as a muscle grows flabby with disuse, so the bright imagination of a child pales in later years if he ceases to exercise it.

I think of a newborn baby's mind as a blank book.

I don't believe in talking down to children. I don't believe in talking down to any certain segment. I like to kind of just talk in a general way to the audience. Children are always reaching.

There's nothing funnier than the human animal.

I always like to look on the optimistic side of life, but I am realistic enough to know that life is a complex matter.

People who have worked with me say I am 'innocence in action'. They say I have the innocence and unself-consciousness of a child. Maybe I have. I still look at the world with uncontaminated wonder, and with all living things I have a terrific sympathy. It was the most natural thing in the world for me to imagine that mice and squirrels might have feelings just like mine.

Inside every sophisticated grownup adult is a little kid just dying to get out.

All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.

All the adversity I've had in my life, all my troubles and obstacles, have strengthened me... You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you.

We allow no geniuses around our Studio.

If we are to have a true and honest culture, we must be aware of the self-appointed tyrant who puts a fence around painting or art or music or literature and shouts 'This is my preserve. Think as I do or keep out.'

It's kind of fun to do the impossible.

I go right straight out for the adult. As I say, for the honest adult. Not the sophisticates. Not these characters that think they know everything and you can't thrill them anymore. I go for those people that retain that something, you know, no matter how old they are; that little spirit of adventure, that appreciation of the world of fantasy and things like that. I go for them. I play to them. There's a lot of them. You know?

It’s a mistake not to give people a chance to learn to depend on themselves while they are young.

I do not like to repeat successes, I like to go on to other things.

Disneyland will never be completed. It will continue to grow as long as there is imagination left in the world.

I believe in being an innovator.

There are fashions in reading, even in thinking. You don't have to follow them unless you want to. On the other hand, watch out! Don't stick too closely to your favorite subject. That would keep you from adventuring into other fields. It's silly to build a wall around your interests.

Girls bored me - they still do. I love Mickey Mouse more than any woman I've ever known.

Deeds rather than words express my concept of the part religion should play on everyday life.

All right. I'm corny. But I think there's just about a-hundred-and-forty-million people in this country that are just as corny as I am.

Everyone needs deadlines. Even the beavers. They loaf around all summer, but when they are faced with the winter deadline, they work like fury. If we didn't have deadlines, we'd stagnate.

There is great comfort and inspiration in the feeling of close human relationships and its bearing on our mutual fortunes - a powerful force, to overcome the "tough breaks" which are certain to come to most of us from time to time.

Our greatest natural resource is the minds of our children.

People look at you and me to see what they are supposed to be. And, if we don't disappoint them, maybe, just maybe, they won't disappoint us.

Too many people grow up. That’s the real trouble with the world, too many people grow up. They forget. They don’t remember what it’s like to be twelve years old. They patronize; they treat children as inferiors. I won’t do that. I’ll temper a story, yes. But I won’t play down, and I won’t patronize.

Our heritage and ideals, our code and standards - the things we live by and teach our children - are preserved or diminished by how freely we exchange ideas and feelings.

When people laugh at Mickey Mouse, it's because he's so human; and that is the secret of his popularity.

Why do we have to grow up? I know more adults who have the children's approach to life. They're people who don't give a hang what the Joneses do. You see them at Disneyland every time you go there. They are not afraid to be delighted with simple pleasures, and they have a degree of contentment with what life has brought - sometimes it isn't much, either.

Your dead if you aim only for kids. Adults are only kids grown up, anyway.

Whenever I go on a ride, I'm always thinking of what's wrong with the thing and how it can be improved.

Childishness? I think it’s the equivalent of never losing your sense of humor. I mean, there’s a certain something that you retain. It’s the equivalent of not getting so stuffy that you can’t laugh at others.

When you're curious, you find lots of interesting things to do.

I have been up against tough competition all my life. I wouldn't know how to get along without it.

You reach a point where you don't work for money.

I have no use for people who throw their weight around as celebrities, or for those who fawn over you just because you are famous.

I would rather entertain and hope that people learned something than educate people and hope they were entertained.

It's something that will never be finished. Something that I can keep developing... and adding to.

There is more treasure in books than in all the pirates' loot on Treasure Island and at the bottom of the Spanish Main... and best of all, you can enjoy these riches every day of your life.

We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we're curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.

The era we are living in today is a dream of coming true.

I only hope that we don't lose sight of one thing - that it was all started by a mouse.

August 08, 2006

Who Are The People In Your Neighborhood?

More than 4,000 episodes of Sesame Street have been produced in 36 seasons, which distinguishes it as one of the longest-running shows in television history. Because of its positive influence, Sesame Street has earned the distinction of being the foremost and most highly regarded educator of young people in the world. No television series has matched its level of recognition and success on the international stage.

I love watching Sesame Street with my son. Not only do I have the satisfaction of seeing our 16-month old learn and laugh from the show; I also get a kick out of the awesome childhood reminiscences that the program’s old episodes inevitably bring about. At 34, I am suddenly 7 once again, singing along with the muppets and giggling at all the punchlines.

At the same time, our parent-child Sesame Street video marathons fostered in me a deeper curiosity regarding the show’s most popular characters. I wondered why they are the way they are, how they came to be, what they are supposed to signify, etc. I could not help but read and read until I finally got to know significantly more about our favorite muppets.

How about you? Do you know who are the people in your (Sesame Street) neighborhood? If not, this might help....

Big Bird

America's most famous 8 foot 2 inch big yellow bird, Big Bird, has entertained millions of pre-school children and their parents with his wide-eyed wondering at the world. Originally performed by Caroll Spinney, this big yellow bird can roller skate, ice skate, dance, sing, write poetry, draw and even ride a unicycle — pretty talented for a character described in the TV show's writer's guide as a 6-year-old. But despite this wide array of talents, he is prone to frequent misunderstandings, on one occasion even singing the alphabet as one big long word, pondering what it could ever mean. He lives in a large nest behind the 123 Sesame Street Apartment and he has a teddy bear named Radar.

This character helps children feel okay about not knowing everything because he himself does not know everything, and encourages them to inquire. A common Big Bird phrase in recent years has been: "Asking is a good way of finding things out!". He also teaches other life, alphabet and numerical lessons: "I guess it's better to be who you are. Turns out people like you best that way, anyway."

Big Bird took center stage on Sesame Street in the early 1980s, when the show dealt with the death of storekeeper Mr. Hooper (necessitated by the death of Will Lee, the actor who played the role). Big Bird's realization that Mr. Hooper wasn't just gone temporarily, and Big Bird's acceptance of Mr. Hooper's death, have been hailed as a milestone in children's programming.


Aloysius Snuffleupagus resembles a wooly mammoth, without tusks or (visible) ears, and he is a friend of Big Bird. He attends Snufflegarten and has a baby sister named Alice. For many years, Big Bird was the only character on the show who saw him. The other characters teased Big Bird when he said he had seen the Snuffleupagus, because they didn't believe there was such an animal, often despite evidence to the contrary. This was modeled in part on the imaginary friends some young children have.

By the late-1970s, the storylines had the adult characters becoming increasingly frustrated with Big Bird using Snuffleupagus as a scapegoat whenever something went wrong while they were out of the room. In one episode, newspapers on Sesame Street carried the front page headline, "Snuffy's got to go!"

This running gag ended with the show’s November 18, 1985 episode when the adults finally met Snuffy and apologized to Big Bird for not having earlier believed him. The Children's Television Workshop decided to eliminate the running gag after high-profile stories on pedophilia and sexual abuse of children came out. Concerns were raised that the running Snuffleupagus gag, where the adults refused to believe in Snuffleupagus despite Big Bird telling them about it and despite the fact that children, as the show's viewers, could clearly see that Snuffleupagus was real, could make children fear that they will similarly not be believed and therefore make them reluctant to tell an adult if they have been sexually abused.

Bert & Ernie

Bert is Ernie's best friend and roommate on Sesame Street. The pair share a basement apartment at 123 Sesame Street. In contrast to the practical-joking, extroverted Ernie, Bert is serious, studious, and tries to make sense of his friend's actions. His own passions include reading Boring Stories, collecting paper clips and bottle caps (especially the rare Figgy Fizz), consuming oatmeal, and studying pigeons. While Ernie's best companion outside of Bert is Rubber Duckie, Bert has his pet pigeon, Bernice. True to his detail-oriented, organized mind, Bert is president of the National Association of W Lovers. His signature song is "Doin' the Pigeon." While Ernie has often had scenes without Bert, Bert is seldom seen without Ernie.

Bert and Ernie appear together in numerous skits, forming a comic duo that is one of the centerpieces of the program. In the tradition of many movie comic duos, notably Abbott and Costello, the interplay forms between the mischievous innocent (Ernie) and the world-weary partner (Bert).

The age of Bert and Ernie is regularly discussed on forums. Nothing official has ever been said, but most consider the duo adults, as they do not appear to be highly dependent on others. Helping suggestions of the characters being young is a comment by Sesame Street Live performer Taylor Morgan. Morgan said to the Macon Telegraph that "I just kind of try to think like a 6-year-old or 7-year-old, because that's how old Bert is."

Ernie and Bert are rumored to be homosexual. (In the satirical musical Avenue Q, the character of Rod is based on Bert and is a closeted homosexual.) This rumor has expanded over the years to include the pending marriage of the pair. Sesame Workshop officials strongly insist the characters are asexual, and point out that they are made from cloth and other materials. (The Workshop issued a press statement formally denying that Bert and Ernie were gay or were meant to represent a gay couple. At the end of the statement, one of the Workshop executives asked in apparent exasperation "What's next? Are people going to start saying that Cookie Monster should enter a 12-step program for his cookie addiction?").

An internet rumor has been spread that Ernie will be dying in an incoming episode or has died already. Fueled by Jim Henson’s death in 1990, Ernie was said to be facing his demise from an AIDS illness. The storyline supposedly would come to an end with the characters dealing with their emotions following Ernie's "death." However, Sesame Street has already presented a story acknowledging the death of Mr. Hooper, the friendly grocery store owner played by actor Will Lee, who actually did die.

Oscar the Grouch

Oscar the Grouch is one of the major characters on Sesame Street, and has been on the show since the first episode. His initial greeting succinctly summed up his personality as it would remain for over 30 years: "Don't bang on my can! Go away." He has a green body, no visible nose (one episode explained that he has a "cute" nub hidden amongst the fur), and lives in a garbage can. His trademark song, explaining his passion for refuse, is "I Love Trash".

According to Sesame Street Unpaved, "The character of Oscar was inspired by a nasty waiter from a restaurant called Oscar's Tavern in Manhattan. Jim Henson and Jon Stone were waited on by a man who was so rude and grouchy that he surpassed annoying and started to actually amuse both Jim and Jon. They were so entertained that going to Oscar's Tavern became a sort of masochistic form of luncheon entertainment for them, and their waiter forever became immortalized as the world's most famous grouch." In the Ask web column, Jim Henson Company Archivist Karen Falk said that the restaurant was named "Oscar's Salt of the Sea" -- and went on to say, "Some of the designs that we have in the Archives were done by Jim Henson on Oscar's paper placemats!"

While Jim Henson's first Oscar sketches were colored purple, the original Oscar puppet was orange. After the first season, the original puppet was torn apart, and a new puppet was built. This one was green, which remained his color. The green Oscar debuted on The Flip Wilson Show, and Oscar's explanation for was that he had vacationed at Swamp Mushy Muddy, where the dampness had turned him green overnight.

Cookie Monster

Cookie Monster is a voracious monster and one of the main characters on Sesame Street. Covered with blue fur and possessing a pair of "googly eyes," Cookie Monster has an insatiable appetite. As his name implies, his primary craving is cookies, but he can (and often does) consume anything and everything, from apples and pie to letters, flatware, and hubcaps.

Cookie Monster has a deep, growly voice, and generally speaks with a simplistic diction (e.g., "Me want cookie!"). He occasionally displays an unexpectedly complex vocabulary, however, and is at his most gentrified when in his Alistair Cookie persona, hosting Monsterpiece Theater.

In his early appearances on the show, Cookie Monster seemed somewhat scary to younger viewers, as he personified the childhood fear of "being eaten by a monster" -- which is somewhat ironic, since during the show's first season, he mostly played the role of a toddler who got in the way of everything without thinking, acted fussy when he didn't get his way, and was scolded by Kermit whenever he ate Kermit's property. However, this contradictory image did not last long, and Cookie Monster quickly became one of the most popular and beloved characters on the show. Cookie Monster's theme song, "C is for Cookie," is one of the most famous songs from Sesame Street.

In Sesame Street Magazine issue 144 (May 1985), CTW's research director Dr. Istar Schwager allayed the fears of some parents about Cookie Monster's bad habits: "Each of the characters on Sesame Street is designed to exaggerate a familiar human foible, and Cookie Monster is babyishness personified... When parents object to Cookie Monster's grammar, we remind them that children learn from a variety of sources -- including other Sesame Street characters who speak properly. Cookie's eating habits, too, are a point of concern for some parents. The inedible things that Cookie eats (a car fender!) make it clear to children that his behavior is out of the ordinary. Other characters, such as Captain Vegetable, of course, are vocal advocates of good eating habits."

Since Sesame Street's format changes in the 2002-2003 season, Cookie Monster has hosted a regular segment called "Letter of the Day." In each episode he is presented with a cookie, upon which is written the letter of the day, in icing. Despite his best intentions, and various implausible schemes, he always succumbs to temptation.

To counter concerns that the character encourages poor eating habits, a number of "Healthy Habits for Life" segments and plotlines were introduced in Season 36, in which Cookie encourages viewers to eat a balanced diet, and enjoy cookies as a "sometimes food." However, the idea of Cookie Monster setting a good example for children with respect to their eating habits has been used since the 1970s, with public service announcements and individual sketches.

Count von Count

Count von Count is a purple Sesame Street character, loosely parodying the popular conception of Count Dracula and other sterotypical Transylvanian vampires. He first appeared on the show in episode 0406, the Season 4 premiere.

The Count's main purpose is educating children on simple mathematics concepts, most notably counting. The Count has a compulsive love of counting (arithmomania); he will count anything and everything, regardless of size, amount, or how much annoyance he is causing the other people around him. When he finishes counting, he laughs and announces his total, and lightning flashes in the sky with booming thunder. The number of the total would often appear on screen as this happened.

According to Sesame Street Unpaved, the Count is 1,832,652 years old.

When the Count sings, the background music resembles Roma music, no matter what the song.

The Count bears a noticeable resemblance to Bela Lugosi as Dracula in voice and appearance, but the character has never been specifically labeled as a vampire, and unlike the traditional horror monster, the Count enjoys sunlight.

The Count lives in an old, cobweb-infested castle which he shares with many bats. Sometimes he counts them. Some of the pet bats are named, including Grisha, Misha, Sasha, and Tattiana. He also has a cat, Fatatatita, and an octopus named Octavia.

In his earlier appearances in 1972, he was slightly more sinister than he later became. He had hypnotic powers, and was able to stun people by waving his hands. After counting, he uttered a villainous laugh as the thunder crashed. Later, he became frendlier, dropped the hypnotic powers, and his laugh was changed to a Dracula-style laugh.

The Count's most recent girlfriend, Countess von Backwards, is known for counting backwards. He had previously been linked to Countess Dahling von Dahling. His brother and mother have made appearances on the show, and he also has an Uncle Uno.

In Season 33, the Count received his own daily segment on Sesame Street called The Number of The Day.

The Count's New York license plate number (as seen in Follow That Bird) is 12345678910.

In a Number of the Day segment for 0: "Oh hello, it is I, The Count. I'm called The Count because I love to count. That, and I inherited my father's royal title."

His favorite TV show is 24.

Kermit The Frog

Kermit the Frog, arguably Jim Henson's most famous Muppet creation, was the star and host of The Muppet Show, played a significant role on Sesame Street, and served as the logo of The Jim Henson Company. He continues to star in Muppet movies and make numerous TV appearances.

Kermit has commented on many occasions that "as a tadpole in the swamp, he had 3,265 brothers and sisters!" Miss Piggy insists that she and Kermit got married in The Muppets Take Manhattan and that they're very happy. Kermit disagrees, claiming that it was just a movie and that in real life, they have a "professional relationship".

Kermit's most well-known catchphrase is "Hi-ho, Kermit the Frog here!" Kermit's most famous role on Sesame Street is his role as a news reporter for the Sesame Street News Flash segments, interviewing characters from nursery rhymes and fairy tales.

Sesame Street Unpaved jokes that Kermit's birthday is on Leap Year Day, but Kermit's official birthday is May 9th.

Unlike other Sesame Street characters, Sesame Workshop never had any ownership of Kermit the Frog. Because of this, Kermit has rarely been part of Sesame Street merchandise. He has appeared in many Sesame Street videos and his songs have also appeared on many Sesame Street albums. The only Kermit toy that was labeled as a Sesame Street toy was the Magic Talking Kermit toy, released in 1999.

Although the rights to Kermit the Frog are owned by The Walt Disney Company, and the rights to Sesame Street are owned by Sesame Workshop, Sesame Workshop currently has permission from Disney to show old Kermit segments in current episodes of Sesame Street, as well as in home video and DVD productions. However, old Kermit segments are not shown very often in current episodes.


Grover describes himself on Sesame Street as a "cute, furry little monster." Grover does not use contractions when speaking, giving him a distinctive vocal pattern in comparison to most television characters. His character is multi-talented, taking on many different roles and professions throughout the series' run. It is said that Grover is written to represent the psychological age of a 4 year old.

Grover, along with Elmo, is one of the more popular characters created during the show's run, partially for his silly manner of speaking and also for his numerous imaginary adventures that children can easily identify with.

For many years, because of the consistency with which they would appear in skits together, Grover and Kermit the Frog had been considered close friends despite the annoyance of "Froggy Baby" (as Grover would call him... followed by a slap on the back).

At a Museum of Television and Radio seminar in 1992, Frank Oz described his personal affection for the character: "I like Grover because really, he's wiry. He's tough. He gets emotional. But also he tries very hard to help people, and do things right, to the extent that he doesn't use contractions in his words. If there's apostrophes in the script I get, I make the separation, because he doesn't say 'can't'. He says 'can not'... Grover came about organically. I worked on Cookie Monster, I worked on Bert. Grover just kind of happened. I guess that's why I like him."


Elmo is a furry red Muppet monster with googly eyes and an orange nose. He currently hosts the last full segment on Sesame Street, called Elmo's World, which is aimed at toddlers. He is accompanied by his goldfish, Dorothy, and silent Charlie Chaplin–like character named Mr. Noodle.

He started out as an unnamed monster used for the song "Near and Far". The puppet has been around since the early 1970's, when he was called Baby Monster, and was performed by Caroll Spinney.

The character is supposed to be about three and a half years old, and characteristically refers to himself in the third person. As with many children of his age, he is seen somewhat infrequently with a favorite toy of his: an orange monster-like doll named David, whose namesake can be found in the former proprietor of Hooper's Store.

A popular doll called the Tickle Me Elmo was manufactured in his likeness, and became the must-have toy during the 1996 Christmas season.

So now you have learned more about your friendly, loveable neighborhood creatures.

Stop. Look up.

It’s a sunny day, sweepin’ the clouds away. Everything’s a-ok. Better be on your way to where the air is sweet…

You know the rest.