Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Did You Know Tuesday: Sesame Street Day

Did you grow up with Sesame Street?   I just missed it (Captain Kangaroo and Romper Room were my childhood shows), but I do recall watching it with children while babysitting as a teenager.  I think Sesame Street is a great way to make learning fun for young children, and always have vintage Sesame Street books in my store, Birdhouse Books.

November 10 is Sesame Street Day, in honor of the show's premiere on November 10, 1969.  Here are a few fun facts about the show:

The show was created by PBS documentary producer Joan Ganz Cooney.  She modeled the show's format after Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In, with short, funny segments and a mix of animation and live characters.

Puppeteer Jim Hensen was hired to create the famous Sesame Street puppets that are now beloved.  These famous characters include Big Bird, Cookie Monster, Oscar the Grouch, Grover, Elmo, and Bert and Ernie.

The original show address was 123 Avenue B.  This was changed because it was a real address in New York City.

Sesame Street was named after the Arabian Nights phrase "Open, Sesame!"

"Sing A Song" (later recorded by The Carpenters) was intended as the show's theme song.

James Earl Jones was the first celebrity to visit Sesame Street.

Oscar the Grouch was originally orange.

Big Bird is not a canary;  he is actually a yellow condor.

Big Bird's height?  A whopping 8'2".

Ernie had a hit song with "Rubber Ducky" (1970);  it charted at #16 on the Billboard chart.

The Count's love of numbers was inspired by vampire lore.  Vampires are said to have arithmomania -- a strong need to count objects.

The Wicked Witch of the West made a visit to Sesame Street and Oscar the Grouch fell in love with her.  The episode was deemed too scary for children, and it was banned.

Four first ladies have visited Sesame Street:  Barbara Bush, Hillary Clinton, Laura Bush, and Michelle Obama. 

Who is your favorite Sesame Street character?  Do you have any memories of the show to share?  I'd love to hear from you in the comments, below.

Author Interview and Giveaway: A Pain in the Tuchis by Mark Reutlinger

A Pain in the Tuchis:
A Mrs. Kaplan Mystery

2nd in Series
Cozy Mystery
Publisher: Alibi (November 17, 2015)
An Imprint of Random House LLC
Publication Date: November 17, 2015

Combining the classic charms of Agatha Christie with the delightful humor of M. C. Beaton’s Agatha Raisin novels, Mark Reutlinger’s Mrs. Kaplan mystery series returns as a notorious crank meets an untimely fate. 

Yom Kippur is a day of reflection and soul searching. But at the Julius and Rebecca Cohen Home for Jewish Seniors, Vera Gold misses this opportunity to atone for her many sins when she up and dies. Indeed, Vera was such a pain in the tuchis to all those around her that when her sister claims Vera was deliberately poisoned, the tough question isn’t who would want to kill her—but who wouldn’t?

Having already solved one murder with her dear friend Ida, Rose Kaplan has a sleuthing reputation that precedes her. It’s only natural that Vera’s sister turns to Mrs. K for help. So do the police, but when her conclusions conflict with theirs, they tell her to butt out! This case has more twists than a loaf of challah. And with a homicidal scoundrel on the loose, Mrs. K has to act fast—or she might be the guest of honor at the Home’s next memorial service. 

Praise for Mrs. Kaplan and the Matzoh Ball of Death
“Is there kosher food in jail? These two heroines have gotten themselves in quite a pickle! Well, it’s a matzoh ball mess, really. Too deliciously funny!”—Rita Mae Brown, bestselling author of Nine Lives to Die

Birdhouse Books Interviews Mark Reutlinger
Birdhouse Books: When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?
Mark Reutlinger: I’ve always enjoyed writing, and as an attorney and law professor it was required of me. Legal writing is necessarily factual and (generally) not very creative, however, and early on I realized I wanted to try more creative writing, to exercise my imagination. I occasionally tried writing fiction, but I didn’t have the time to devote to it until I retired from teaching. I then found that, as I had suspected, writing novels was much more interesting and satisfying than writing law treatises, and I decided to make it a second career.
Birdhouse Books: What was your favorite book as a child?
Mark Reutlinger:  I no longer recall the names or author, but I loved a series of books which featured different forest animals as the main characters.
Birdhouse Books: What is your writing day like?  Do you have any interesting writing quirks?
Mark Reutlinger: Unlike many writers, I don’t set aside a specific time each day to write, and I have several other business responsibilities that may keep me from writing at all on any given day. I wait for a block of time to become available and do my writing then. Of course, if I’m in the midst of a writing project with a deadline, I make sure to spend as much time as necessary and put other things aside. I don’t know if it’s a “quirk,” but I get some of my best writing ideas at night, before going to sleep, probably because it’s usually the only time when I have nothing else on my mind and I can relax and work out plot details or dialogue. If I’m already in bed, and I’m afraid that in the morning I won’t remember what I’ve thought of, I’ll get up and go to my desk and make detailed notes or even fire up the computer and insert the new material then and there.
Birdhouse Books: What was the most surprising thing you learned while creating this book?
Mark Reutlinger: Perhaps the most surprising thing was who committed the murder; when I began, it was a different person. Apart from that, though, in my research into the Yiddish language, I learned some surprising (to me) things about the origins and real meanings of expressions I’d heard or used all my life. Oh, and I was surprised to learn that Harley Davidsons no longer have a kick starter!
Birdhouse Books:  Who are your favorite authors?
Mark Reutlinger:  In no particular order: P.G. Wodehouse, Donald Westlake, Terry Pratchett, Christopher Buckley, Douglas Adams, Jasper Fforde, Agatha Christie, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. (Yes, I think there’s a pattern there.)
Birdhouse Books:  What is your next writing project?
Mark Reutlinger:  My most immediate project is updating a legal treatise that’s going into its third edition. After that, I’ll probably begin a thriller I’ve been thinking about. And I may begin writing another Mrs. Kaplan story as well—I often have more than one project going at a time.
About This Author
Mark Reutlinger is the author of the novels Mrs. Kaplan and the Matzoh Ball of Death and Made in China. A professor of law emeritus at Seattle University, Reutlinger was born in San Francisco, graduated from UC Berkeley, and now lives with his wife, Analee, in University Place, Washington. 

Author Links
Twitter: https://twitter.com/markreutlinger
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1192934.Mark_Reutlinger?from_search=true&search_version=service_impr
Website: http://www.markreutlinger.com/

Purchase Links:
All buy links under the “PRE-ORDER” button: http://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/246840/a-pain-in-the-tuchis-by-mark-reutlinger/
Penguin Random House: http://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/246840/a-pain-in-the-tuchis-by-mark-reutlinger/
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