Thursday, December 1, 2011

Today's Secret Word is ... WAR!!!

I have learned something about myself. I am going to do what I want, pretty much when I want to do it. Last August (click here), I committed to posting a blog a week and a couple of weeks later (click here) I up it to two posts per week. If you follow my blog regularly, then you know that I have only posted twice since September. That is one post per month for the last two months.

I could tell you how busy I have been working two jobs, being a graduate student, trying to get a new business off the ground and being a single father of a teenage girl, but I don't like to make excuses. I have actually done a lot of writing lately, but it has been for college papers and is not something most of you would want to read. When I have free time during the day, I usually find myself at my buddy Adam's house watching him play XBOX 360 and helping him find the shortcuts as he plays Need for Speed, or decoding the ancient vaults in Elder Scrolls: Skyrim. Since Adam is handicapped, he doesn't get out much and he starts making weeping phone calls when he gets bored, so I go to his house at least once every day.

I say all this to simply state, it doesn't matter what I promise in this blog, I will probably end up doing what I want. With that stated, here is something I promise to do (but don't take it too seriously). In August, I asked my readers to suggest future blog topics. I received several suggestions and do intend to cover them all. You can read the suggestions by clicking here and scrolling down to the comment section. My brother suggested that I write about who would win in a fight between Mr. Rogers and Pee Wee Herman. I will be tackling this topic today. I was excited to start researching this since they each had illustrious careers as military snipers before going into show business.

 Years ago, a girl told me that the reason Mr. Rogers wore those sweaters all time was to cover the tattoos on his arms he had acquired during his military service. He was ashamed of the things he had done in Vietnam and the people he had killed during his service and kept them covered. A kid from my church that was enlisting in the Marines wanted to be a sniper. He was told by his recruiter that the top sniper ever to come out of the Marines was the famous Mr. Rogers. The sniper with the third highest marks ever was Paul Ruebens, known to his fans as Pee Wee Herman. It turns out that both of these men were to be feared at one point in their lives, so Kyle had chosen two men who actually knew several ways to kill a man. They were chosen because of their innocent demeanor, but using their pasts could make a great blog. In order to make the best comparison, I researched both their lives to get the best idea of who did what. This would help me determine who would win.

As I began my research, I discovered that many children's television stars had a military background. In fact, many of them were highly decorated and had unusually high numbers of enemy kills. Captain Kangaroo was especially vicious. Don Knotts, best known for playing Deputy Barney Fife on the Andy Griffith Show, was someone not to be messed with in his military days. However, as I dug further, I discovered something else they all had in common. IT WAS ALL LIES!!!

None of these stories are true. In reality, Don Knotts was in the military, but he was not a drill instructor at Parris Island, like the rumors say. At 19, he joined the Army, where his duties consisted primarily of entertaining the troops in traveling GI variety shows called "Stars and Gripes". Rumors that Bob "Captain Kangaroo" Keeshan fought beside Lee Marvin in Iwo Jima during World War II are also false. Lee Marvin was there, but Keeshan did not enlist until two weeks after we pulled out of Iwo Jima. He never saw any action. Where do these rumors come from?

Won't you be my neighbor?
Many people may not want to hear that the gentle, soft-spoken Mr. Rogers was exactly what he appeared to be, but he was. Born in 1928, he spent most of his childhood living with his grandparents. He saw television for the first time at his parents' home when he was in college. It left such a negative and lasting impression on him that he became dedicated to changing it. He attended a seminary after college, became an ordained Presbyterian minister and started immediately working in television. Rogers was an advocate for family-friendly programming and even testified before the Senate to try to clean up television. He was also a staunch supporter of the VCR. When most studios were trying to get them outlawed, he testified that many channels showed childrens' programming at times when children were not available to watch it. With the new technology, they could tape it and watch it together as a family at a later time.

The sweaters were intentional, but had nothing to do with covering tattoos. Sweaters and sweater vests were the clothes worn by figures of authority in the seventies. Teachers, ministers and others dressed that way and that was the image he was trying to express. Even though, Mr. Rogers bored me to death even as a child, he was a good man who didn't think like the rest of us and wanted to change the world for the better.

Today's secret word is CREEPY!
Paul Reubens (a.k.a. Pee Wee Herman) left for Hollywood immediately after high school to become a star. Practically living on the streets, he hooked up with a comedy troupe called the 'Groundlings.' In 1977 the group did a skit where they created characters one might see in a comedy club. Reubens character was one that everyone immediately knew would never make it as a comic. He couldn't remember punchlines or get his cues in the right order. Pee Wee Herman was 'born' that night. His distinctive guttural "Ha Ha" followed by a low "Heh Heh Heh" became his catch phrase. As well as, "I know you are, but what am I?" The rest is show biz history. At no point did the military fit in there.

This leaves me with the problem of now having to size these men up and decide who would win in a fight knowing that neither of them has probably ever been in one. Lets start with their physical attributes. I think Rogers has the weight advantage, is taller and has a longer reach. Pee Wee Herman is kind of petite. However, I can picture him being much better at the 'duck and weave.' He may be able to get close, get in a few shots and get back out before the slow-moving Rogers even gets his hands up. However, I think Rogers could take a punch much  better than Pee Wee. If Pee Wee gets tagged it may be over.

Look at all the dead puppet BODIES!!!
Fighting is not just about strength and agility. It also involves attitude and in some cases a little bit of crazy can get you a long way. Mr. Rogers spent half of his time in a Land of Make Believe, a world that didn't exist, but he liked to go to from time to time. For a child, that is having a creative imagination. For a middle aged man, it is disturbing. Rogers' world had a king named Friday, Queen Sara Saturday and a retarded prince named Tuesday. Amidst these puppets whose mouths didn't move was the occasional costumed person named Purple Panda, Bob Dog or Bob Troll. It even had a talking owl, known simply as "X." Was the owl a spy? Why the secret identity? There were lots of creepy little secrets in Rogers' imaginary world. On Purple Panda's planet, the citizens are forbidden to sit in rocking chairs. Prince Tuesday went to school in the Land of Someplace-Else with a neighboring tiger. What kind of kingdom doesn't even have it's own school? Your head is a creepy place, Fred Rogers!

MORPHEUS!!! What are you doing?
Pee Wee Herman lives in a fantasy world as well, but he passes it off as real. In his world, his house is alive, the furniture talks and he can climb into his television to go for an adventure.  Like Rogers, he has many guests to his home, but instead of the mailman or a teacher visiting, he has cowboys, the King of Cartoons and Captain Carl dropping in. The creepy factor of Pee Wee's Playhouse is higher than Mr. Roger's Land of Make Believe. While children might make a wish on a falling star or a four-leafed clover, Pee Wee makes wishes over a head he keeps in a box. Pee Wee has a robot servant named Conky and somehow forced Lawrence Fishburne into a child's cowboy costume. That's the creepiest one yet.


Mr. Rogers took on a government agency (FCC) almost single-handed and he won. That makes him pretty tough. However, Pee Wee has a criminal record, and based upon the nature of his charges, I would say he is probably better in dark places and at hand-to-hand combat. Rogers' on screen appearances after his show were mostly talk shows, but Pee Wee appeared two years after the cancellation of Playhouse as the vampire Amilyn in Buffy, the Vampire Slayer, he was a super-hero in the movie Mystery Men, and he has appeared on Wrestlemania and WWF Raw.

Look at this guy. Would you want to fight him?
After weighing all the options and looking at the stats, I have to give it to the one who lived on the streets in California, and can make children everywhere scream by only uttering a single word. It's not even the same word each time. He just tells them what will cause them to scream and it does. Pee Wee Herman would mop the floor with Mr. Rogers. It would be no contest.


  1. I think it would be close fight for the first nine rounds. And in the tenth and final round I see a Rocky II ending with Pee Wee and Fred both hitting the canvas at the same time with neither answering the ten count. The fight ends in a draw, leaving the crowd begging for more and leading to Superfight 2 where Pee Wee with the promise of a new primetime show takes a dive and Fred Rogers claims his title of King Pedi-land

  2. Love it! I watched both Pee Wee's Playhouse and Mr. Roger's Neighborhood. I have to admit I enjoyed the former more. Child of the 80s. What can I say? :-)

  3. Brandi, I have to agree. Even as a small child, I didn't watch Mr. Rogers. He was so boring.

    Shane, I would like to see that.

    Thank you, Kristi

  4. Very thorough and I agree 100% with your conclusion. My mom never let me watch Pee Wee, he creeped her out. haha I did watch Mr. Rogers every once in a while, but yeah, he was boring. Old school Nickelodeon was more my speed.

    1. I occasionally rent a Pee Wee DVD because Kirsten loves him. The show was strange, but fun to watch.

  5. Yes, that was indeed amazing. AMAZING. TALU

    1. Thank you so much. I will accept amazing.


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