Friday, August 29, 2008

Bird Bits--Wing Sync

In this special live-action edition of "Bird Bits," we get a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the latest Boy Bird Band in the making. The footage was shot during one of my camping trips this summer, and clearly illustrates some rather interesting nest cleaning habits I'd never witnessed before. To watch the short video, please click on the photo above.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Legend of the Magic Bowl

Once there was a magic bowl,
That many claimed a “muse,”
But as to who would feel its power,
The bowl would get to choose.

For only those with purest heart,
Would ever know its wealth,
For some, it made them super rich,
For some, gave perfect health.

But once you felt its special touch,
You had to pass it on,
To share the magic was its gift,
For you and everyone.

Of course, some people didn’t care,
To share the magic bowl,
They tried to keep it for themselves,
A rather selfish goal.

On these occasions, the bowl would change,
And turn into a sieve,
For life is not retaining much,
Until you learn to give.

But still some men would say the bowl,
Was only for a few,
It’s power only given to,
Whoever “they” approved.

They made the bowl the symbol of,
A mass discrimination,
And claimed the bowl gave reasons for,
Their planned eradication.

They taught us lies about the bowl,
That furthered their agenda,
And didn’t care what lives they ruined,
Or who they did offend-a.

The bowl was never meant to be,
A reason for destruction,
In fact, this usage contradicts,
Its magical construction.

For Kindness doesn’t separate,
Or judge or hate or kill,
It doesn’t use the Magic Bowl,
To bend the people’s will.

That’s why the bowl will never yield to,
Abusers of its magic,
For when they use its name in vein,
The result is always tragic.

Until the day we learn to live,
In peace and harmony,
The bowl will not its power give,
Till Kindness reigns supreme.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Cat Clips--Olympic Dreams

Even though the Olympics are now over, they will live on in our memories. In this episode of "Cat Clips," the two cats have very different ideas about what might make a good new Olympic sport. Please click on the photo above to watch the short two minute video.

Winners of the "Quickie" Contest

Thanks to everyone who entered my "Quickie" contest over the weekend. I was overwhelmed by the number of responses, so I decided to increase the number of winners to five. The lucky winners are listed below. But if you didn't win this time, don't worry. I intend to have more contests in the near future.

Winners---please send your mailing address to and I will be happy to mail out your prize package this week. (Just in time to wear it over Labor Day weekend...heh, heh) Also, please let me know what size you prefer: SM, MD, LG, XL.

1. Rose of Waterrose Designs
2. Debbie Lane of Wisdom Hynosis
3. Matthew Urdan of Meltwater. Torrents. Meandering. Delta.
4. Amy Deaton of Amyoops!
5. Sandy Schultz from Wit's Bitch

Congrats to all the winners.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Henson’s Hell Celebrates Over 110,000 Views on YouTube With A “Quickie” Contest

Last week, I reached the first benchmark in my filmmaking endeavors when my video views on YouTube passed the 100,000 mark. And though this may not be particularly impressive to any of the YouTube regulars, who average 100,000 hits every time they post a video, it is quite an accomplishment for someone who has only been at it for a very short time.

Beginning in April of this year, I began making a series of short one and two minute “quickie” films, and then posting them on YouTube. I was really just having fun, and not really thinking much about where it would all lead, until I began getting comments and e-mails from people about them. Particularly the “Cat Clips” videos, which seem to be developing an almost cult-ish following. The majority of the feedback has always been very positive and supportive, which just inspired me to keep trying out new ideas and new forms of film-making. And while I admit they have not always been successful, I certainly have learned and grown through the process.

The success of the short films also encouraged me to launch a new website this summer called This website houses all the videos in one place, as well as links to “Henson’s Hell” and the online mystery “It Happened in Plainfield.” In fact, sometimes the Wizard of Wit website premieres the videos long before they make it to “Henson’s Hell” because of how I like to space out my blog postings. (I like my blog to have a nice mix of written posts and video posts, giving my viewers a multitude of media options when they visit my site. Or at least two options. Maybe more will follow, although at this point I'm not quite sure what they might be. Interactive Karaoke. perhaps?)

So now that I’ve passed the 100,000 mark with my little series of films (actually 111,604 as of 8 am this morning), I would like to hold a small contest to help celebrate the event. And so, I’ve decided to give-away a very special “Henson’s Hell/Wizard of Wit” Limited-Edition Prize Package to some of my loyal readers. I will be giving away three prize packages to three lucky “Henson’s Hell” readers. Each Prize Package contains a “Need a Quickie?” t-shirt (available in S, M, L or XL) and six limited-edition buttons featuring scenes from the various YouTube films, as well as a special “Henson’s Hell” version.

The only stipulation for entering the contest is the promise that you will actually wear the t-shirt out in public---and not just use it as a nightshirt or another dust rag. In fact, if you win the prize package and actually take a picture of yourself wearing the t-shirt out in public, I will feature it in a future blog posting. You can even pose similar to the “Henson’s Hell” picture, with your hand covering up the top portion of your face. That way, if you are shy or would like to remain somewhat anonymous, you don’t have to expose your entire face to the world. (Hey, it works for me.)

So, if you would like to enter the contest, simply send an e-mail to which includes your name and your preferred e-mail address. Then, on Monday, August 25 I will throw all the entrees into a hat, and select the lucky three. (Those people will then be contacted in order to get their proper mailing address information.)

So there you have it. A contest to celebrate a benchmark. Good luck.

And remember, send your name and e-mail info to
Note: The buttons pictured above are prototypes. The text on the final buttons might differ slightly, though they will still have the same pictures.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Deer Droppings--Summer Vacation 2008

Summer's almost over, so it seemed like a perfect time to do a little humorous commentary on this summer's highlights. Please click on the photo above to watch a short video from the "Deer Droppings" series that features a song parody of the Monkees classic hit "Last Train to Clarksville." And then feel free to let me know if you experienced any of this on your summer vacation. Enjoy!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

I Was Cop Blocked in Rehoboth Beach!

I just got back from a week’s vacation in sunny and scenic Bethany Beach. For those of you who’ve never been, Bethany is a very pleasant little ocean community in Delaware that mostly caters to families and couples. Unlike the more socially exciting neighboring communities of Dewey Beach and Rehoboth, Bethany Beach has purposely made itself a quieter destination for people who want to avoid the massive crowds or the presence of drunken college-age students. Indeed, Bethany’s main boardwalk boasts little more than a board and a walk, and a small shopping area which could easily be covered in a few hours, if not a quick fifteen minutes.

A friend of mine had rented a beach house for a week, and several of us went down to help him populate the rooms. And though we all got along wonderfully, there were several siblings among the guests that managed to cause chaos and drama on more than one occasion. Obviously the arguments were rooted in some deep-seeded anger between the family members, and it became increasingly uncomfortable to be around them as the week advanced.

One afternoon, to avoid this type of hysteria, I decided to take a solo trip to nearby Rehoboth Beach, where I could explore the many great stores and restaurants in peace. So I hopped into my PT Cruiser convertible, put the top down, and roared down the highway toward my destination, the radio blasting some great tunes as I drove along.

But once I got into Rehoboth, I was astonished at how crowded the town was, and how few parking spaces I could actually find. The other issue was the matter of money to put into the parking meters. Apparently, they only took quarters, which I was fresh out of. So I decided to try one of the side streets to see if maybe there was any free parking I could take advantage of.

On one particular street, I passed an empty space and needed to do a U-turn if I wanted to park there. As there weren’t any other cars coming down either side of the street, I was easily able to go through the U-turn process without much difficulty. Although because of the narrowness of the street, I needed to go into reverse and forward several times before I was actually able to make the rather sharp turn. Still, there were no cars behind or in front of me, so I wasn’t under pressure to perform this maneuver with any kind of haste.

No sooner had I accomplished my task, than I saw a police car flashing its lights and coming at me from the front. Naturally, I pulled over to the side so he could pass on my left, which he did rather quickly. I also rolled down my window to ask a local resident if it was okay to park in the blank spot I’d found. Unfortunately it was not; I would need to buy a permit to park in that particular area. Crap! That would mean I would still need to find either another parking area. But as I started to pull out to continue my search, the police car that had passed me before was suddenly speeding up behind me, with his siren blaring and lights flashing.

My heart stopped, as it was clearly evident now that the cop was after me. I’m sure you can imagine the many thoughts that began flashing through my head. Had he just seen me do a U-turn on the empty side street? Were u-turns illegal in Rehoboth? Or had I done something else that was wrong? As I pulled over to the side, the cop also pulled over and stopped his car. And that’s when a second police car came roaring around the corner in front of me with his siren blaring and lights flashing. That’s also when I began feeling rather sick. What could I have possibly done to justify this kind of police attention? Was my car similar to some car that was recently in a robbery or domestic squabble?

As the police car stopped in front of me, I began to feel my world closing in. The plot of “North by Northwest” suddenly popped into my head, as I recounted how Cary Grant was mistaken for some kind of secret agent, turning his world completely upside down in a matter of minutes. And now the same thing was happening to me. I was obviously being mistaken for some kind of wanted criminal, because there was no other reason why these two police cars would need to block me in from both angles.

I began to feel in my pocket for my wallet, hoping that when they realized I wasn’t Public Enemy Number #1, they might go a little easier on me. Taking my wallet out as quickly as I could, my hands shaking as if I had Parkinson’s Disease, I extracted the license and rolled down the window to confront my fate. And that’s when something weird happened. As I glanced into my rearview mirror to watch the policeman get out of his car, I noticed that he was not running toward my car, but rather in the opposite direction. Then the other police car that had parked in front of me suddenly went into gear again, and drove past me in the direction the other cop was running.

As I sat there in my car, wondering what to do next, I noticed two college age guys standing across the street watching the whole proceedings. They each had a beer in their hand, and were no doubt wondering what was going on as much as I was. But when the cops went in the other direction, and didn’t seem to be after me at all, I simply shrugged at the two guys in bewilderment. This caused them to burst out laughing so hard, that I’m sure I must have turned a few shades of red. As I sped away down the street, I noticed them still laughing and pointing, no doubt excited that they now had a new story to share with all their drinking buddies at the next Frat party. “You should have seen this loser in a PT Cruiser the other day…” Ugh!

After that, I managed to find a parking space, and kept a rather low profile as I walked through Rehoboth. God knows I didn’t want any more trouble to contend with. That night I told the story to my housemates in Bethany, only to cause yet another brawl between the siblings who couldn’t seem to agree as to who was the better driver in their family. Instead of witnessing this rather heated exchange, I decided to go to bed. I’d had enough drama for one day.

But that’s just me. How about you? Have you ever been in a situation like this before?

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Bird Bits--Bird Bounce

Please click on the photo above to watch a short two-minute video from the "Bird Bits" series entitled "Bird Bounce." In this episode, several birds decide to investigate the inside of a tent, with surprising results.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Is Negativity Our National Default?

As a blogger and a YouTube poster, I am constantly opening myself up to all kinds of criticism from outside sources. And since everyone has the ability to post comments on this blog, or to rate my videos, I am often the target of nasty or negative attacks that have little or nothing to do with me or the media I create. More often than not, I think negative commentary has more to do with the person writing it than the actual subject matter they are supposedly writing about.

And before you begin to think I imagine myself above criticism, I humbly admit that I am not. In fact, I think I am probably on e of my harshest critics, with a terrible tendency to review my older postings or earlier videos with such stern scrutiny that I eventually forget what made me think they were ever any good to begin with. Instead of instilling them with some kind of nostalgic naiveté, and forgiving myself for any blatant lapses of judgment or taste, I instead pick apart my errors like a vulture picks apart the bones of a dead buffalo. Or a dead antelope. Or Tara Reid, who is actually not dead, though her career certainly appears to be.

The point is, in today’s tumultuous times, there seems to be a growing tendency to respond to everything around us with unbridled negativity. As if that has become the new attitude of choice, or a natural default, when it comes to giving our opinions. After all, it is so much easier to be negative and sarcastic than it is to be constructive or positive. Even I employ the use of sarcastic humor throughout my writing, so I am not claiming to be exempt from this issue. I do, however, have a very good excuse. My parents were both born and raised during the Great Depression, so they lived their lives with a fear of impending disaster that clearly rubbed off on me. And yet I also somehow acquired a very optimistic and positive inner self that always believes “everything will work itself out.” And so far, it has. I really have no complaints.

Except one. Negativity. Everyone suffers from it at some point in their lives. Either through words or actions, everyone has experienced the brunt of someone’s negativity. More often than not, you’ve probably also suffered because of your own negativity. (I know I have.) But it’s when someone’s consistent attitude is negative that I find it hard to tolerate.

I once worked with a woman who was so negative about everything (including the original “Willy Wonka” movie, which she thought was “just stupid), that I began avoiding any kind of contact with her. I once even tried to subtly point out her “slight” attitude problem, only to be given a ten minute lecture on why Meryl Streep always plays the same character with different accents. I’m still not sure what one had to do with the other, but it was certainly clear that my subtle suggestion had done nothing to penetrate the thick wall of obstinacy.

This is especially sad when it creeps into the attitudes of our tweens and teens, who appear to be some of the worst offenders when it comes to negative commentary. As if it is more fun to put something down than to embrace it. Or perhaps they are just exposed to so much information at a much earlier age, that they integrate those negative attitudes and stereotypes into their psyche without ever discovering for themselves whether or not they’re actually true. It’s sad to think we might be raising a generation of cynics, although I can’t say I blame them given the current state of our country. Or even the current state of the world.

And yet I remain optimistic. Why? Because I want to. I choose to. Because without optimism, I would be choosing to live an unhappy life. One that is sure to continually disappoint and disparage me. And I don’t intend to spend my time on this earth surrounded by a cloud of gloom. Even if the Government and the news media continue to perpetuate an atmosphere of fear and impending doom, I will strive to rise above it.

But that’s just me. What do you feel about the current state of negativity in the world?

Friday, August 8, 2008

Cat Clips--Caught Surfing

Today's episode of "Cat Clips" features a few"shout outs" to some very familiar blogging sites. So please click on the photo above to watch the latest installment "Caught Surfing," a male cat is caught by the female cat surfing the Internet for pictures of other felines.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Thinking in the Third Person Does Not Make You Three-Dimensional

Henson doesn’t understand why some people insist on talking about themselves in the third person. Henson feels this disrupts the natural flow of conversation when a person begins referring to themselves in the third person, because then Henson begins to wonder who is actually standing in front of him speaking? Since they’ve clearly removed themselves from the actual physical embodiment of the person they’re referring to, does this mean that the person in front of Henson is actually some kind of astral projection of the real person, or perhaps a hologram that is only meant to be representational? Henson is very confused.

Okay, enough of that nonsense. Obviously, I am trying to illustrate a point. When someone begins referring to themselves in the third person, as if speaking about a completely different entity, it makes me wonder what kind of horrible accident occurred to separate their mind from their body? Otherwise, I don’t understand why someone would insist on talking about themselves as if they’re not even there—as if the person speaking were merely an emissary sent to tell everyone what the real person thinks, says and feels.

One of the reigning offenders of this type of ridiculous self-indulgence is Suede, part of the new crop of eccentric designers on this season’s “Project Runway.” Ironically his name sounds very much like Jade, a former contestant on “America’s Next Top Model,” who also referred to herself in the third person. In fact, when she was finally eliminated from the competition, she wasn’t entirely convinced they were eliminating her, but rather the other “Jade” she constantly referred to when speaking about herself. This caused a huge altercation with the security guards, who were called in to physically remove both “Jades” from the building. Later, Jade allegedly changed her name to Pebbles, and is now touring the cruise ship circuit as a pair of Siamese Twins.

But let’s get back to Suede for a moment. He’s a thirty-something designer with a bad dye job and a propensity to boost his own ego by saying things like “Suede did really good” or “Suede rocks” or “Suede needs to go tee-tee now.” This obnoxious device is not only overused, but it seems to be in line with other designers on the show, who also wish to promote themselves through the overuse of clever verbiage. Consider the young overly-tanned Blayne, who insists on pushing his “girlicious” agenda, a blatant attempt to capitalize on last season’s “hot mess tranny” lingo from Christian. What’s sad is that it’s so obvious this kid wants America to embrace his kooky collection of catch phrases that it’s become one of the running jokes of the season. Imagine trying to get Tim Gunn to say “Holla at yo boy” every time he came in the room. It doesn’t even make sense.

So is Suede using the third person singular to make sure people remember him, or is it because he has trouble remembering himself? I’m not positive, but I’m pretty sure Suede wasn’t his given name. (Velour, perhaps, but not Suede.) So maybe he overuses the term because he’s trying to convince himself that it’s a legitimate name---the more he says it, the more it becomes ingrained in his psyche. Unfortunately, that psyche doesn’t seem to have any connection with his body, which is simply a vessel with which to carry “Suede” around. Whatever the reason for the separation, it certainly gives him ample opportunity to boost his own ego, because you can’t really classify his self-congratulatory dialogue as “bragging” if he never uses the word “I”, right?

But that’s just Henson’s opinion. What do you think of people who refer to themselves in the third person? Henson wants to know.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Deer Droppings--Miley, Miley

Can you tell which four young starlets make up the composite photo above? To find out, please click on the photo to watch the latest "Deer Droppings" video entitled "Miley, Miley." This song parody of the classic Mamas and the Papas tune, "Monday, Monday" features a humorous exploration of some of Miley Cyrus' recent string of odd career choices.

Friday, August 1, 2008

I Survived a YouTube Banning!

It all began one day when I decided to do a Mouth Organ Karaoke video that would feature a humorous parody of a particular iconic singing group of the 1970s. (No Matt—NOT ABBA. There were other groups during that time, you know.) Anyway, I had done several of these videos before, using popular tunes that were basically hummed by me, and visually illustrated with animated rubber ducks. Not what you’d call superior production values, but I’d always been able to create this sound in my mouth that sounded like a rhythm section; which is a completely separate sound from the tune being hummed. (In other words, two different sounds/rhythms, for the price of one). And since people had always found this to be a clever sort of “trick, I decided to create a video series using that kind of “music” as the soundtrack. And make no mistake, none of my renditions even came close to infringing on anyone’s artistic sensibilities, though I’m sure some people find them terribly annoying.

And since I’ve always been interested in animation, it was a fun way to use that particular talent to experiment with different types of music and themes. Plus, this way I wasn’t using the actual music in my video—only a badly hummed version of it–– so I really didn’t think my one-minute video parody was a potential threat to anyone. And certainly not enough for anyone to come after me with the strong-arm of the law. Or at least the strong-arm of YouTube.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. The important thing to know is that I made this little video featuring six iconic figures from the disco era (see photo above, Exhibit A), thinking that it might be greeted by a few people with a chuckle, or perhaps a tear for a bygone day. But after the video was posted and up for only a few days, something completely unexpected happened. Instead of getting a few pro or con comments, I got a very serious e-mail from YouTube, telling me that I was in violation of copyright infringement, and that the owners of the song (a company apparently famous for scowering the Internet for possible violations) had contacted them to pull the video off the site.

MY LITTLE VIDEO, featuring rubber ducks dressed up to look like a particular group of “People,” parading around a cardboard set, vaguely resembling a famous Men’s organization, was apparently posing some kind of threat to the artistic integrity of the song. (A song, by the way, that is sung or played at nearly every wedding reception or social function where people are having a good time on the dance floor.) In fact, the song is so ingrained into the fabric of American pop culture that it will probably outlive us all. (And it’s not even that good a song, which gives this slap in the face even more of a sting.)

You may have noticed that I hesitate to even mention the name of the group or the song in this posting, for fear I might be singled out again for further admonishment. I mean, honestly. The video was seen by maybe 630 people in the three days it was up, and I’d consider myself lucky if that number eventually made it to two or three thousand. What’s more, I’m not even getting paid for doing it. I don’t make any money off my videos or my blog or my websites. I do everything purely to be creative and to entertain. (If any of this eventually leads to money, I wouldn’t turn it down of course. But it’s not my modus operandi.) Therefore, the banishment of my simple little video seemed a bit extreme.

Don’t get me wrong. I respect people’s copyrights and their right to enforce them, but the use of a familiar musical tune as the basis for song parody is an age-old practice. “Weird Al” Yankovic has made a career out of his song parodies, and one of the longest-running Off-Broadway shows is “Forbidden Broadway,” which blatantly lampoons past and present Broadway shows, using music from those actual shows. And you know why people don’t sue? Because it’s publicity—good or bad, it will get people to remember the show.

But apparently my Mouth Karaoke version of this famous song was just the kind of bad publicity they didn’t want to be associated with. (After all, nobody wants to be parodied by a rubber duck. How degrading.) There is definitely some leeway in the law governing the use of copyrighted material for parodies, but I’m in no position to fight this. Nor do I really care to. I only make my videos to amuse myself, and hopefully a few others. (Never thinking, of course, that any of my videos would ever be worthy of any kind of recognition, let alone legal action.) So now I have this cute little video, which took me countless hours of tedious frame-by-frame stop motion work to create, and no one will ever see it. Unless they come to my house, I guess. But even then, there may be spies lurking outside the window to see if I’ll ever play it again.

So for now, the lights have been turned off on this particular disco ball. WHY? UM, SEE A.