Bert and Ernie


Two of Sesame Street (1969)’s Muppets, Bert and Ernie, share their names with the film’s cop and cab driver, respectively, but it’s believed to be just a coincidence. Karolyn Grimes (Zuzu) insisted that the two Muppets were named as such because the movie was Jim Henson‘s favorite, Henson’s writing partner Jerry Juhl insisted to The San Francisco Chronicle that Ernie and Bert were not named after the movie’s characters. Juhl said, “I was not present at the naming, but I was always positive [the rumor] was incorrect. Despite his many talents, Jim had no memory for details like this. He knew the movie, of course, but would not have remembered the cop and the cab driver. I was not able to confirm this with Jim before he died, but shortly thereafter I spoke to Jon StoneSesame Street (1969)’s first producer and head writer and a man largely responsible for the show’s format. He assured me that Ernie and Bert were named one day when he and Jim were studying the prototype puppets. They decided that one of them looked like an Ernie, and the other one looked like a Bert. The movie character names are purely coincidental.”


A Vote for Student (and Teacher) Choice

“One of the best ways to build voracious, engaged readers in the middle grades, experts say, is to offer an abundant and varied reading diet with plenty of choice in terms of genre and topic—and a special emphasis on pairing students with books they connect with, love, and feel inspired by.”

The Strength of Community

Highly recommended, The Duke, a film I was invited to watch as part of my film discussion group with the Avon Library. The story is less abut the theft of a painting, and more about the impact of connection to our fellow man.

A quote from the film: “There is nothing more powerful than when a community discovers what it cares about.”

More Research on the Pitfalls of Standardized Testing

“By several measures, high-stakes tests are an inequitable gauge of aptitude and achievement. A 2016 analysis, for example, found that the tests were better indicators of prosperity than ability: “Scores from the SAT and ACT tests are good proxies for the amount of wealth students are born into,” the researchers concluded. Even students who manage to do well on the tests often pay a steep price emotionally and psychologically.”

A “Death-Like” Day in Film and Literature

(Yes, it’s redundant: film is a form of literature.)

The release of the original A Nightmare on Elm Street, and the passing of Dylan Thomas, most famous for his poem about death.

Nick Corri, Amanda Wyss, Johnny Depp, and Heather Langenkamp posing beside car in a scene from the film ‘A Nightmare On Elm Street’, 1984. (Photo by New Line Cinema/Getty Images)

The Swimmer

On Burt Lancaster’s birthday, I am reminded that I still want to watch The Swimmer, not only because it is set in Connecticut, and regarded as a fine example of surrealist cinema, but also because of the the quote inspired by Roger Ebert, which so exquisitely captures the connection that can exist between print and film.

“What we really have here, then, is a sophisticated retelling of the oldest literary form of all: the epic.” Roger Ebert

Benefits of Horror

“Therefore, it can be argued that for a narrative to be interesting and engaging, the story needs to include a certain amount of adversity and threats, not unlike those we may encounter in real life. But this still doesn’t explain why we enjoy proper horror stories, which assault our senses with their relentless undead, always determined to recruit the living into their ranks, and their creepy clowns, demons, poltergeist, and all the other forms of unimaginable horribleness.

It has been postulated that what we enjoy in these stories is the psychological arousal they induce, which is exciting, even if associated with fear, normally a very unpleasant emotion. Like in the case of a ride on a rollercoaster, we experience the fear and the excitement together, one inextricably tangled with the other, and the overall outcome is a rewarding experience, at least for some.”