Tag Archives: Elmo

A trip to see “Sesame Street Live” thrills my kid. Glenn Robinson III with a pretty amazing Slam Dunk Contest dunk. And the angel in L.A. who only adopts terminally ill children


Other than a few minutes here or there that he saw while walking into and out of a room, my son didn’t watch any television for the first two years of his life.

Everything we’d read and been told by our doctor is that TV can have many deleterious effects on babies under 2, from a higher chance they’ll develop ADD to possibility of lower cognitive function. Nothing’s 100 percent proven, of course, and I’m sure millions of kids stared at the screen since birth and turned out perfectly fine and brilliant.

Still, we figured, why not follow doctors’ advice. When he turned 2, we slowly started introducing TV to Nate, and he’s really been good about not getting too “addicted.” The first show we played for him, though, has quickly become his favorite.

The plea of “I want to watch Sesame Street!” has become a daily occurrence in our apartment, and the little guy has really learned to love Ernie, Bert, Elmo and the gang that I adored so much as a kid, too.

So when we saw that “Sesame Street Live” was coming to NYC in February, we quickly snatched up tickets hoping the experience would blow Nate’s mind.

Saturday was the big day, and it was pretty darn fun. Maybe not mind-blowing, but seeing his face and smile when the first song came on and the characters were just 50 feet away was pretty freaking special.

Some thoughts on what had to be my first live “Sesame Street” show since the early 1980s:

— The first thing that threw me was looking up that morning how long the show was. Ninety minutes. For a show aimed at the under-7 set?  Seemed like a real reach to expect kids to sit in their seats that long. Our little guy stayed interested for the 40-minute first act, walked around during intermission, and was good for about 10 minutes of Act 2. Then, he was done. Hey, at least we got that much out of him.

— One of the many touches that shows “Sesame Street Live” has been doing this awhile: In the hallways leading into the theater there were coloring book stations with little tables and lots of crayons and seats for kids who couldn’t handle sitting for the whole show. Brilliant. They also were around before the show, so parents like us kept our tykes coloring until a few minutes before the entertainment was to begin.

— There were 11 different places, from just inside the ticket booth to people walking down the aisles, to buy all kinds of SSL merchandise. And yet nowhere inside the arena was there a place to buy milk. No milk, for a show designed for toddlers? Insane.

— Honestly, a thought that kept going through my head as I watched Elmo and Ernie and Rosita and Telly all up there on stage was, ‘Man, it must be 1,000 degrees inside those costumes.'” Seriously, I’ve been inside one of those costumes once and it was brutal. Then add in the stage lights, all the singing and dancing they were doing… I bet Cookie Monster loses five pounds per show (which is good, because he eats cookies all day.)

— All in all, a really fun time. My little guy was happy all day and talking about the show all weekend, and that’s pretty much all you can hope for.

**Next up today, I haven’t watched an NBA Slam Dunk Contest in at least 15 years (maybe when Vince Carter started winning them is the last time I watched), but I am usually entertained watching clips of the stupendous dunks the winner throws down. This year, Glenn Robinson III, who is barely in the NBA, finished his winning Slam Dunk Contest with a pretty fantastic slam over a mascot, a cheerleader, and a tall fellow player.

Well done, Mr. Robinson.


**Finally today, I’m not sure if this story is more heartbreaking, or inspiring. But I know it’s both, and it’s a tale of a remarkable human being.

A Los Angeles man named Mohamed Bzeek has much love in his heart. Along with his wife Dawn, he has taken in foster children from L.A. County’s foster homes for the past 25 years, and since the mid-90s Bzeek has only taken in terminally ill children.

These are kids with nowhere else to go, who have often little time to live. But Bzeek adopts them and brings them home.

He has had to bury 10 children over the years, but before they passed, they were exceedingly well taken care of, and they certainly knew they were loved.

The key is, you have to love them like your own,” Bzeek said recently. “I know they are sick. I know they are going to die. I do my best as a human being and leave the rest to God.”

What an amazing story L.A. Times reporter Hailey Branson has found here. And what an amazing man Bzeek is. How many of us could bury that many children, and love them like they were our own knowing they could be gone at any moment?

He is a true hero walking among us.

A hot and fun day at Sesame Place in PA.: Oh, the humanity. And Usain Bolt, just incredible again


It sounded like such a great idea at the time: Good friends of ours whose daughter is about six months older than our little guy said “Hey! Why don’t we all go to Sesame Place together this summer! The kids will love it!”

We enthusiastically said yes, and then pre-bought tickets for what turned out to be the hottest freaking day of the summer. Maybe in history.

Yep, Saturday on the East Coast was the kind of day that would make any sun-worshipper stay inside and let the air-conditioning work its magic. I don’t want to say it was hot, but I think I saw a human being melt into the concrete he was standing on.

Anyway, it was a hell of an interesting day, and not just because it was our first adventure to a children’s theme park with my boy, who turns 2 in about a month.

Some thoughts on the hot and sticky madness that is Sesame Place on an August afternoon:

— I’m pretty certain I’d been here 35 years earlier or so with my own parents, but I have no memories of the place. Still, I was a huge Sesame Street fan as a kid, and I was anxious to see how Nate would respond to seeing characters up close. He’s never seen “Sesame Street” (we haven’t let him watch TV yet), but he’s a huge fan of his Elmo doll, and before we went I showed him some videos of Oscar, Bert and Ernie, and the gang.

The first thing I noticed that surprised me was that the main characters were hardly anywhere to be seen. There was a parade with Abby and Elmo and all them at 3 p.m and again at 8:30, and a live show in the theater at 5, but other than that, we hardly saw anyone in costumes. Maybe it’s just at Disney World where there are characters everywhere you look.

— I will say, it’s got to be cruel and unusual punishment to dress a human being in a giant furry costume on a 100-degree day like Saturday was. I think I saw Oscar the Grouch lugging an air conditioner into his trash can.

— Was prepared for horrible lines and crowds, but it really wasn’t that bad. Since our kids were too little to go on the popular rides, we didn’t have to wait too long for most stuff.

— The line of the day went to our friend who remarked, as we walked into the wading pool to cool off, “Try not to think about how much urine is in this thing right now.” Always good advice!


— The people we did see, though… man. There was a whole lot of humanity on display. First of all, I know it was hot, but there were a ton of people walking around with no shirt on who really shouldn’t have, you know what I mean? I’m not judging, but I think I saw a few bodies that were scarier than the characters were.

— Also always fun seeing the parenting “styles” on display. I saw one father scold the hell out of his son for walking too far away from the family, and a few minutes later saw two girls, about 8 and 10 years old, asking if the other one knew where there parents were. Most disturbingly, one time while I was resting on a bench two little girls (maybe about 6) approached and one asked in a really timid voice “Do you know where our Mommy went?”

I told them I was sorry but I didn’t, and then talked to them for a few minutes figuring that might keep them calm. The mother arrived a few minutes later and not even a word was said.

— The park itself is smaller than I expected, and things went pretty smoothly except for the inexplicable fact that while we were in one of the cafeterias getting food, they told us they ran out of ice. How do you run out of ice at a summer water park???

— As for my little guy (above, holding hands with his little girlfriend), he had a great time. He forsook any nap attempts all day, had a hell of a time splashing around in the wading pool festooned with water cannons drenching us occasionally, and was totally enthralled at the “Elmo: The Musical” live show I referenced earlier.  He’s still not a fan of Carousels (screamed bloody murder as we tried to put him on a horse) and rides in general have him spooked.

It’s funny; I know he won’t remember any of this, but it’s so rewarding to see him experience stuff for the first time.

So, Sesame Place. The kids will love it. Bring your own ice. And don’t drink the water in the wading pool.


**Finally today, just a few words on Usain Bolt. The Jamaican sprinter won his third straight 100-meter Olympic final Sunday night, and once again, he made it look so, so easy.

The picture above (from his semifinal race, taken by Cameron Spencer of Getty Images) illustrates just how much fun, and how easy, all of this seems to be for Bolt. Dude is 6-foot-5, a legend, and trailed for 80 of the 100 meters in the final, and still won looking like he barely broke a sweat.

One of the most legendary athletes of our time. Just sensational to watch. Dear God, I hope he’s clean.