Some Bunny Special

According to the McGraws’ Merry Go Round in Oz, the Easter Bunny lives in the Munchkin Country of Oz, and is a loyal subject of Ozma. Edward Wagenknecht is quoted in the most recent Baum Bugle as having said that he thought Merry Go Round was “the only Oz book that includes distinctively Christian references,” but a footnote points out that L. Frank Baum used Santa Claus in The Road to Oz. Of course, both Santa and the Bunny are largely secular figures with a lot of pagan influence anyway. When Dorothy and the Cowardly Lion visit the Easter Bunny’s kingdom, sometimes called Bunnyland (not to be confused with Bunnybury), they find it to be a large cave surrounded by a series of tunnels. The rabbits at work there grow Easter grass, make baskets, carve chocolate, and of course dye eggs. The Easter Bunny’s woven throne is in the center of the main cave. This legendary lagomorph wears a waistcoat, a monocle, and a golden crown; and is said to be “nearly as tall as Dorothy, not counting his long, alertly twitching ears.” This makes him much larger than the citizens of Bunnybury, who shrink down visitors to their town; but not as big as the six-foot-tall Wag. The Easter Bunny mentions his grandfather’s reign, so he’s apparently not immortal like Santa. The specific reference is to the Chief Artist of Bunnyland making the Great Egg in the current Easter Bunny’s grandfather’s time. The band for the egg turns out to be one of the missing Circlets of Halidom, lost down a rabbit hole in the time of King Herald LXII. As Herald LXIV is ruling at the beginning of the book, the lifespans of the Kings of Halidom and Bunnyland were apparently similar.

This post is partially an attempt to promote my own story, “The Easter Bunny of Oz.” I figured it wasn’t entirely fair that Santa appeared in so many more Oz tales than the rabbit, so this was my partial attempt to rectify that. It includes an origin story for the Easter egg hunt, which an Internet search indicates was first known to be practiced around the seventeenth century, although dyeing eggs for Easter dates back to some time before that. I thought about addressing the beginnings of the office of Easter Bunny itself, but decided that was probably better left vague.

I don’t believe Baum ever wrote about the Easter Bunny, but he did pen two short stories related to Easter. One of them, “The Ryl of the Lilies,” has a boy named Bob helping out a Ryl who tends Easter lilies. In the other, “The Strange Adventures of an Easter Egg,” a hen manages to place a gold piece INSIDE an egg, which eventually makes its way to a poor girl named Nan. J.L. Bell proposes that the Easter Bunny tradition wasn’t as popular in Baum’s time (although it certainly did exist), and that both of these stories involve churches. While Baum tended to keep religion out of the Oz books, there are both positive and negative portrayals of churches and ministers in some of his other fantasy stories.

Posted in Characters, Easter, Eloise Jarvis McGraw, Holidays, L. Frank Baum, Magic Items, Mythology, Oz, Oz Authors | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Wave of the Future!

We got another look into the Simpsons’ future in the most recent episode, and it looks like they’re actually trying to be somewhat consistent this time. Several early episodes included looks into the future, one of the most memorable being when Bart was Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. The first time this was used as the premise of an entire episode, however, was “Lisa’s Wedding” in the sixth season, much of which took place in the then-far-off year of 2010. Of course, when we actually got to that year, Lisa was still eight years old. We can’t blame the writers for not realizing the show was going to last another twenty years, though. Anyway, this episode set the precedent for other future episodes, with a combination of older versions of the characters and gags based on the future theme, the latter consisting of huge science fiction style leaps in technology in just a few years. Bart was working in demolition, but did mention that he was working out his aggression before going to law school. While possibly just a throwaway joke, it might have been an intentional reference to the Supreme Court thing as well. If so, however, it wasn’t followed up in “Bart to the Future,” which presented Future Bart as an even bigger loser than Present Homer. About thirty years in the future, Lisa is President of the United States and Bart a lazy moocher. As far as I remember, the only direct reference to “Lisa’s Wedding” is that Krusty is wheelchair-bound and resembles an older Groucho Marx in both of them.

I find it kind of a stretch to think that Krusty, who’s already presumably in his sixties and in poor health, would live another thirty years, but stranger things have happened. When we look into the future again in “Future-Drama,” it’s a mere eight years, when Bart and Lisa are both graduating from high school, Lisa having finished two years early. Airing in 2005 and being set in 2013, it’s another future that’s now the past, but it’s not like the year ever matters a whole lot. This episode features even more sci-fi gags than the previous two, Marge lampshading the whole thing by claiming scientists had invented magic. Among other things, the Springfield cops have all become cyborgs, and quantum tunnels are used for transportation. This one was from after the first cancellation of Futurama, and I have to wonder if they incorporated some jokes that they couldn’t use on that show. Bender even makes a brief appearance.

There appear to be a few contradictions here with the other future episodes. Professor Frink is shown as having hanged himself, but he’s alive in “Lisa’s Wedding,” trying to come up with a cure for Mr. Burns being stabbed seventeen times in the back. In “Lisa’s Wedding,” Martin Prince is presumed dead after a science fair explosion, actually having become the school’s Phantom of the Opera.

In “Future-Drama,” he’s graduating with Bart. The Simpsons Wiki gives a possible explanation for this by proposing that the explosion took place AFTER Martin graduated, with his having been a teacher for a while. In “Future-Drama,” Otto jumps off a cliff while on acid and presumably dies, but in “Lisa’s Wedding” he owns a cab company that employs the indicted Mayor Quimby, and he’s one of the people Bart invites to Camp David in “Bart to the Future.” Mind you, I don’t think we actually see him die, and other characters on the show have survived bigger accidents.

“Holidays of Future Passed” was written so it could be the series finalé, which makes a certain amount of sense as the show also started with a Christmas episode. I guess Christmas was brought back after Mr. Burns stole it prior to the events of “Future-Drama.” What’s really interesting here, though, is the reappearance of Jenda, Bart’s girlfriend in “Future-Drama.” Voiced by Amy Poehler, she breaks up with him during the course of that episode; but the Christmas cards in “Future Passed” reveal that the two of them eventually got married, had two sons, and then divorced.

This one is also a thirty-year projection, but it totally ignores the events of the poorly-received “Bart to the Future.” Bart’s characterization is largely the same, but Lisa is married to Milhouse with a daughter and, you know, isn’t President. Actually, wasn’t “Lisa’s Wedding” the first time Milhouse is established as having a crush on Lisa? “Days of Future Future” is a direct follow-up to the Christmas flash-forward, and most of the future fates of the characters remain consistent.

Jenda has actual lines this time, and is again voiced by Poehler. She’s now dating a very friendly alien, and I think the aliens are new with this vision of the future, as are zombies.

Futurama has aliens and zombies as well, but it also takes place much farther in the future. Mind you, this makes more sense with the aliens (especially as Futurama‘s is a future where faster-than-light travel has been achieved) than the zombies, which are really a fantasy construct rather than a sci-fi one.

Martin is said in “Future Passed” to have had a sex change, but he still looks male when we see him on a date with a robot in “Future Future.” Ralph Wiggum’s role in the future is also worth a look. In “Lisa’s Wedding,” he’s spent some time as Krusty’s sidekick and is on the run from the law. “Bart to the Future” makes him Bart’s roommate and the only other member of his terrible band. The two newest future episodes show him as having taken his father’s place as Chief of Police, and having been cloned multiple times.

This is presumably a common occurrence in Springfield’s future, as “Future Future” establishes that Homer has been cloned repeatedly, and “Future-Drama” gives Moe a clone as well as a spider that got into the cloning machine and took on some of his appearance and personality. Since it’s Professor Frink who clones Homer in “Future Future,” it’s not too unlikely that he might have cloned himself as well, explaining how he can be dead in “Future-Drama” but alive later on.

Since all of these future episodes are non-canonical (except for the framing material, which seems to have been phased out in these shows much as it was in the Halloween specials), I suppose the Simpsons’ future isn’t set in stone. Nonetheless, as the AV Club review indicates, it looks like it’s getting to the point where the writers see at least the last three future episodes as THE future for the characters, which is kind of depressing considering what happens with Bart. Does this mean there’s no chance of his becoming Chief Justice of the Supreme Court anymore? Well, maybe that’s actually one of his clones who gets that job. I do think it would be kind of funny to see one of the characters who so far exists only in the projected future in the present. I was hoping a young Hugh Parkfield might show up when the Simpsons visited England several years ago, but no such luck. Maybe Jenda is attending one of the other elementary schools in the district, or maybe her family hasn’t moved to Springfield yet. By the way, an interesting sidenote about Jenda is that “Future-Drama” shows her wearing basically the same jacket as Laura Powers, Bart’s first crush. Guess he has a thing for girls in that sort of apparel.

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He’s Not a Greenhorn, He Blows a Mean Horn

My posts on music tend not to get much response, possibly because a lot of them discuss something that either everybody else knows about already or something so obscure that hardly anyone knows about it. That said, I’m still making another one. The CD release of the Bonzo Dog Band‘s album Keynsham includes Roger Ruskin Spear’s version of “When Yuba Plays the Rumba Down in Cuba,” a song so catchy that it often comes into my head when I’m bored at work or something. I decided to look up the song the other day, and while it doesn’t have its own Wikipedia page, it didn’t take that much searching to find out that it was written by one Herman Hupfeld. While not exactly a household name, he did write “As Time Goes By.” In fact, he did so in 1931, the same year he composed “Yuba.” I believe “Yuba” was first performed by Rudy Vallee, not to be confused with Frankie Valli.

Actually, Rudy’s real name was Hubert Vallee, but he renamed himself after then-famous saxophone player Rudy Widoeft. Vallee is known as one of the first crooners. Early recording artists tended to sing as loudly as possible so they could be heard at all, yet still sounded reedy on the records.

Vallee had a much softer style that went over well on the radio, originally using a megaphone for amplification.

By all accounts, he was a pretty clean-cut Ivy League guy, but also one of the earliest pop idols, with the ladies finding his voice quite sexy. They probably weren’t thinking of “Yuba” when they decided this, but I have a long-standing interest in novelty music. It’s weird that Vallee seems to have hints of a British accent on this song (“he plays the rumber on the tuber”) even though he’s from Vermont. The song was featured in a 1933 Fleischer cartoon with vocals by the Mills Brothers, but I can’t find it online. Actually, there’s a video on YouTube that claims to be it, but the music is totally wrong. And in the cartoon Long-Haired Hare, Bugs Bunny plays a little bit of it on the tuba.

I have to suspect the line “every peanut vendor’s jealous of his oompa-oompa-oompa” might refer to the song “The Peanut Vendor” or “El Manisero,” the first Cuban song to be a big hit in the United States. Often referred to in the States as a rumba, it was actually a pregon, based on the cries of street vendors. While frequently performed as an instrumental, it does have lyrics in both Spanish and English. According to Wikipedia, it’s been recorded more than 160 times, and sold over a million copies in sheet music before that. My wife first introduced me to this song performed by Perez Prado:

And here’s a 1930 recording by the Havana Casino Orchestra, with Spanish lyrics intact:

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My Love Is in the Tabloids

One thing you see a lot of when working retail is tabloid headlines. Making fun of tabloids is like shooting fish in a barrel, but one thing that’s particularly struck me recently is how they try to sensationalize really mundane things. Oh my God, some famous person is getting married/getting divorced/having a baby! Yeah, people do these things all the time. And I’ve seen a few headlines recently about Miley Cyrus hitting rock bottom, or something along those lines. While perhaps based on something real (I saw on an entertainment show that was on in the break room that she recently revealed she’s had spells of really bad depression), it seems like they’re trying to sell her as a psycho. I can’t help but think that there were people who didn’t think of her infamous Video Music Awards performance as a carefully calculated and choreographed event that came off awkwardly but succeeded in putting her back in the public eye, but rather as an indication that she snapped, put on random clothes from her closet, and went up on stage to shake her scrawny butt at the VMAs without even being invited.

Really, I don’t see Miley’s appeal, but at the same time I can’t say I particularly have anything against her. She’s made some statements that made her sound smarter than she’s often portrayed, and while it’s sad that a celebrity being feminist and pro-gay isn’t just a given these days, sometimes you have to take what you can get. Mostly I think of her as someone who seems nice but kind of dull, which is more or less my point. If famous people aren’t going to be interesting, we’re going to take their humdrum lives and try to MAKE them sound interesting! How many times has Jennifer Aniston made headlines simply for being upset that a guy dumped her?

Nobody likes being dumped, but for some reason when it happens to a former sitcom star who popularized a haircut she actually hated, it’s news. I have to wonder if one reason celebrity relationships have a reputation for not working out is that even celebrities are obsessed with celebrities. By that, I mean someone might well think, “Hey, I’m famous now, so I can date that pop star I’ve had a crush on!” Then they date and find out they’re not really compatible. No big deal overall, but since celebrity relationships have to be publicized all over the checkout line, it ends up making it look like achieving a marginal level of fame automatically leads to an inability to commit. I’m not saying there aren’t plenty of celebrities who are just unfaithful jerks, but there are a lot of non-celebrities like that too. But hey, it’s not like I haven’t decided I particularly liked or disliked a famous person simply because of a rumor or an out-of-context quote. It’s ingrained in our culture, I suppose. It’s also weird that I think it’s kind of cute when actors who are already together play opposite each other, but pathetic when people who played a couple in a movie or television show get together for real. I remember when the tabloids played it as a big deal that Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson broke up. Were they ever even actually dating, or did people just forget that the Twilight movies weren’t real? I think Lea Michele and the late Cory Monteith were dating at one point, and now there’s Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher.

Even mockery of celebrity gossip has gotten rather tired, especially with the Internet. When Gwyenth Paltrow and that guy from Coldplay broke up, how many people on Twitter posted variations on “she must have finally heard his music”? I like the joke, but there’s nothing like social media to remind us how unoriginal we are. I don’t even know how many times I’ve come up with something I thought was clever, only to find out a whole bunch of other people said basically the same thing.

Speaking of celebrity news and humor, I guess everyone has heard by now that Stephen Colbert is slated to replace David Letterman on The Late Show, which honestly is kind of disappointing. I mean, it’s good for him, since I’m sure he’ll be making a lot more money, and he might want to expand his comedic repertoire. But is it good for America?

I don’t watch The Colbert Report regularly, but I find it consistently funny when I do. Maybe there’s an up-and-coming comedian who can mock personality-based propaganda masquerading as news as well as he can, but I don’t know who that would be. While at its heart there’s nothing new about a show that spoofs other shows or a comedian playing a buffoonish character, I feel there’s something fresh in the Report format, while late-night talk shows are somewhat past their prime (and I don’t mean prime-time, although that’s also true).

Posted in Celebrities, Current Events, Humor, Relationships, Television, The Colbert Report | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

The Belmont Stakes

Speaking of simple Simons as I was a few days ago, how about Simon Belmont from the Castlevania series? Okay, the games don’t show him as simple, but his portrayal on Captain N made him totally arrogant and narcissistic, and always wanting to compete with Kevin. People have complained about his portrayal on the show, but I never particularly minded it. I mean, that’s what made him funny, or at least as funny as that cartoon ever got. But then, I watched the show before being exposed to the actual games. I guess if you’ve gotten the impression of this guy being a bad-ass vampire hunter and see that he’s been turned into a flamboyant egomaniac who always wears aviator goggles for no apparent reason, it could be a bit jarring.

Interestingly, his page on the Castlevania Wiki describes him as “rather brash and inclined to force his way through situations.” I guess that means he’s not supposed to be as selfish and cowardly as he is in Captain N, but it does hint at a certain level of foolishness. As for Simon’s animated get-up, this page speculates that the goggles might be an artistic (using that word loosely) reinterpretation of the headband he’s wearing on the box art for the original Castlevania.

He also wears a backpack that has just about anything he could want in it, even if it violates the laws of physics. In one episode he had a bazooka in there, and in another a unicycle. There’s a complete list of the contents here. This sort of thing is pretty typical for cartoons, and sometimes even live action, as with Mary Poppins’ bag.

His hair color has been been a subject of some controversy, but this was something that frequently changed for video game sprites.

Besides, the cartoon Simon was drawn to somewhat resemble his voice actor.

Simon’s level of competence varied, but I think there was a moral component to this. When he was trying to show off or chicken out of doing the right thing, he’d make an ass of himself; but when he helped out the team he could be a valuable asset. His whip was sometimes shown as having a mind of its own.

While Simon’s rather foppish personality has led some viewers to think he’s gay (sort of like Vanity Smurf and Rainbow Brite’s horse Starlite), he was consistently shown as having a thing for Princess Lana. Since she was more interested in Kevin, this led to much of the competition between the two. What’s interesting regarding Simon’s love life is that a 1988 Castlevania arcade game called Haunted Castle had Dracula kidnap Simon’s bride-to-be Serena at their wedding.

The game’s canonical status is somewhat up in the air, but we do know that Richter was one of his descendants, so he must have eventually had at least one child.

The infrequently updated comic Captain SNES, which I’ve written about before, has its own take on the Simon who appeared on the show. While the comic mostly accepts what was established on the show, the hero’s own attempts to reconcile the cartoon with the actual games he played have an effect on Videoland. Dr. Light and Dr. Wright are two different people, Mega Man being green is only temporary, and the guy with the goggles and the whip is actually Simon’s brother Simone Belmont (with a silent E). The story is that the original Simon is unable to join Lana’s army because he was cursed by Dracula (which of course is a plot point in Simon’s Quest), so he sends his brother instead.

After the events of the show, Simone betrays Kevin and traps him in the Mirror World, which he only escapes at the expense of Lana’s father’s life. Simone is banished, but he comes back years later to fight against the Sovereign of Sorrow, and presumably dies in the battle. The real Simon joins the bad-ass team known as the N-Forcers, but we still don’t know what happened to him. There has been some speculation that a mysterious figure in the mirror who talks to Cecil looks a lot like Kevin, so it’s possible he never escaped the Mirror World at all. And since we only have the word of the Kevin who came out of the mirror that Simone was a traitor, there could be more to the story.

Posted in Captain N: The Game Master, Cartoons, Castlevania, Comics, Television, Video Games | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Free Ride, Whee Ride, Spree Ride, Glee Ride

The latest issue of The Baum Bugle has an article by David Maxine about Eloise Jarvis McGraw’s writing process for Merry Go Round in Oz, one of the most tightly plotted books in the Oz series. Indeed, it’s so well plotted that it’s kind of surprising there’s a loose end involving the very beginning of the story. At a carnival, Robin Brown encounters a strange carousel barker who talks in rhymes. The man sells Robin a ticket, encouraging him to grab the brass ring for a free ride. When Robin does so, he flies free of the carousel, and indeed of the country, landing in Oz with his merry-go-round steed mysteriously alive.

The brass ring itself turns out to be one of the Circlets of Halidom, which had been stolen by a popinjay. So who is this odd man who sells the ticket? In the article, Eloise is quoted as having said, “I originally intended to explain him somehow or other as an exile or refugee or some such thing the kingdom of Halidom, but I simply forgot to work it in until the book was so tightly set in its present form that I couldn’t find a crack to wedge it into. So I let it remain a dangling end–something I usually would not dream of.” Of course, the Oz books are full of such dangling ends. Absurd coincidence abounds, but especially in Ruth Plumly Thompson’s books there are some elements that just seem TOO fortuitous to be matters of chance, yet are never explained. Why, for instance, would the dummy Humpy in Lost King have looked like Pastoria and had the formula to restore the former king as his serial number? He’s successfully used as a red herring, but I have to suspect there’s more to the story than we find out. Getting back to the barker, I believe Eloise said elsewhere that he was from Roundabout rather than Halidom, which makes more sense in some ways. He’s described as “fat as a butterball, no taller than Robin himself,” while the Roundheads are later said to be “all short and roly-poly.”

Regardless of where he came from, though, how much did he know? He strongly encourages Robin to grab the ring, so he must know it’s going to do something significant, and he doesn’t seem at all surprised when the boy flies off the carousel. Does he know the ring is one of the missing Circlets, and if so why doesn’t he just bring it back himself? It’s also been suggested that he was purposely setting in motion the events that led to Robin being crowned King of Roundabout, but then why did he choose Robin over anyone else? For that matter, why DID the ring bring Robin to Oz and animate the horse? That’s not an ability the Circlet is elsewhere said to have; its official power is to grant skill in handicrafts. The whole thing was presumably magically set up, but did the barker set it up or learn about it some other way? I have to wonder what the original plan was. In the Book of Current Focus discussion, Ruth Berman proposes that the carnival barker might have also consulted the Oracle in the Coracle.

Another interesting thing I found in the article is that illustrator Dick Martin suggested changing a reference to Ozma saying she hadn’t seen the Unicorn of Halidom in 1000 years to simply “ever so long,” claiming that the Oz books never had such specific mentions of periods of time. He was wrong, actually; in Kabumpo Thompson writes that “the little Ruler of Oz has lived almost a thousand years,” and in Wishing Horse she reports that “never in all the thousand years of her young life had this lovely young fairy looked more beautiful.”

While McGraw wrote that her reference was intended “to surprise and amaze” readers, I wouldn’t be too surprised if she was subconsciously remembering one of these two Thompson passages. If they’re taken to be more or less accurate, it raises the question as to how Ozma could still have been a baby when the Wizard of Oz gave her to Mombi. He certainly didn’t arrive from Omaha 1000 years earlier, as it didn’t exist then. Indeed, if Jack Pumpkinhead in his own book is to be believed (perhaps a doubtful proposition), she only lived with Mombi for nine years. I mention this discrepancy here, along with a bit in Magic that suggests Ozma has existed since the beginning of time.

At one point, Maxine mentions that “Sir Greves is written as if he’s deeply in the closet,” with his sneaking around to learn the traditionally feminine art of cooking and ignoring his masculine duties as a knight. There’s quite a bit to say about gender roles in this book, some of which J.L. Bell addresses here. For example, the Unicorn loves Fess despite thinking all other males are too rowdy. It’s also interesting to note, if perhaps not entirely relevant, that Robin’s name is gender-neutral. I’ve met Robins of both sexes in the International Wizard of Oz Club, the female Robin Olderman and the male Robin Hess. In the 1993 Oziana, there’s an excerpt from a book that Onyx Madden (Jim Nitch) was writing that featured a girl named Robin. Robin Olderman was editing it, and said that she was “jealous of the other Robin, the little girl who gets to have a real Ozian adventure.” I have to wonder what happened to the manuscript. Nitch died three years later, but the book was reportedly “in draft stage” when the excerpt was published, so shouldn’t it exist in some form? Speaking of which, Oziana also had a bit of an unfinished sequel to Merry Go Round called “Chapter Three.” If there’s a Chapter Three, there must have been a Chapter One and Two, right? Well, maybe they were stolen by a popinjay, and ended up in the Valley of Lost Things along with Jack Snow’s Over the Rainbow to Oz and the explanation for the weird carnival barker.

Posted in Characters, Dick Martin, Eloise Jarvis McGraw, Gender, Jack Snow, L. Frank Baum, Magic Items, Onyx Madden/Jim Nitch, Oz, Oz Authors, Ruth Plumly Thompson | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments


There are so many games that we all know where I’ve only recently thought to wonder about their origins. We all know Simon Says, a game that’s presumably supposed to teach kids to listen carefully. I checked the Internet to see if it said anything about the game’s origins, and this page says that it was originally called Cicero dicit fac hoc, or “Cicero says do this.” It was named in honor of the famous Roman orator, but that doesn’t tell us when people started to play it.

The page also mentions that some people have attributed the English name change from Cicero to Simon to the thirteenth-century Simon de Montfort, Earl of Leicester, who kept King Henry III prisoner and hence had a lot of power over England.

This is quite speculative, though. The game is sometimes called Simple Simon Says, bringing to mind the nursery rhyme, but it seems more likely that this was a later conflation. Since Simon’s goal in the game is to trick everybody else, he’s hardly the simple one.

The best-known part of the rhyme is the first verse, in which Simon is unable to afford a pie. This doesn’t strike me as making him simple so much as poor and/or unprepared. Later verses, however, have him do things that are stupid, and rather nonsensically so: fishing in a pail, roasting a snowball, collecting water in a sieve, trying to pick plums from a thistle. The rhyme is first known to have appeared in 1764, and Wikipedia proposes that it could have been named after the famous eighteenth-century London beggar Simon Edy. That certainly fits with his trying to get a free sample from the pieman, but who really knows? As far as simple Simons go, it might not be fair to use the adjective to describe the disciple Jesus called Peter, but he is said to have been quite rash, and Jesus was always admonishing him for his lack of faith.

The name Simon comes from Hebrew, and is thought to mean “he has heard.” One of the twelve tribes of Israel was called Simeon, another version of the same name. The story given in Genesis is that God granted Jacob’s wife Leah a son because he had HEARD that she was loved less than Rachel, and this was the legendary founder of the tribe. It doesn’t appear to have been a very significant tribe, and its territory was right in the middle of Judah’s. The Biblical explanation for this is that Simeon and his brother Levi were both punished for the massacre in Shechem.

Anyway, the name was quite popular among the Jews, with several Simons being mentioned in the Bible. According to Behind the Name, the name Simon has actually recently been increasing in popularity in the United States, after a significant drop in the twentieth century. It seems that most of the famous Simons in recent years have been British, but maybe this will change in another few decades.

The game of Simon Says was the namesake for Simon, the electronic memory game with the flashing lights and tones. The inspiration for the toy was an Atari arcade game called Touch Me, which worked much the same way, but the sound was deemed to be annoying.

And really, “Touch Me”? It probably got bad publicity because people were expecting a sex machine. Simon was also the name of what was considered the world’s first personal computer, designed in 1950, although that was definitely named after Simple Simon because it was supposed to be easy to use.

Posted in Religion, Christianity, Video Games, Technology, Games, Nursery Rhymes | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments