Jungle Book – The Wisdom of Baloo

baloo-and-mowgliLast week, my boys had off from school. One day, B took them to the movies to see a The Jungle Book. While I didn’t go (my day job frowns on taking a few hours off to see a movie), it inspired me to watch the classic animated movie again.  While watching it, I was struck by Baloo. He’s supposed to be a stereotypical slacker. Someone who’s big on partying and short on responsibility.  (A "shiftless, two-bit jungle bum" according to Bagheera.)  Upon watching the movie again, though, he’s surprisingly wise.

A quick warning: There might be spoilers for the new Jungle Book below, but only if the new movie follows the 1967 animated movie.  So technically these would only be spoilers if you haven’t seen the 1967 movie and I think the statute of limitations has long since passed for that film.

Before I get to Baloo, let’s look at Bagheera.  He’s supposedly the responsible one of the movie. He finds baby Mowgli and takes him to the wolves who raise him as their own child.  When Mowgli’s life is threatened by Shere Khan’s return, he volunteers to lead Mowgli back to the man-village where he will be safe.  Bagheera rescues Mowgli from Kaa – and winds up nearly being eaten himself.  He’s definitely a role model, right?


After meeting the elephants, Mowgli asks where they are going.  Bagheera tells Mowgli that he’s going back to the man-village immediately.  Mowgli insists he’s not going and Bagheera attempts to force him to go by pulling on his shorts with his teeth as Mowgli holds onto a tree.  This ends with Bagheera falling into a river.  (Side note: Those shorts were insanely strong.  A panther pulling on them should have ripped them to shreds! Then again, naked Mowgli wouldn’t make for a family friendly Disney movie.)  Bagheera, frustrated with Mowgli, declares that he’s on his own and leaves him.  This, not even 10 minutes  (screen time wise) after Bagheera told Mowgli that he wouldn’t last one day and after Mowgli was almost eaten by Kaa.

I can sympathize with Bagheera when it comes to dealing with stubborn children.  Both of my boys can be exceptionally stubborn at times.  There are definitely times when I think that it would be so easy to just walk out the door and never return.  The thing is, though, that those thoughts would never be put into action because I care about my kids too much.  Even when they’re being a major pain in the neck and not listening, I might leave to a different room to cool down but I’d never leave them on their own.

When Baloo encounters Mowgli, he could have just kept walking.  Instead, he noticed that Mowgli was upset and alone.  He tries to teach him to defend himself and purposefully loses to Mowgli to help cheer him up.  Then, Baloo teaches Mowgli about "The Bare Necessities."

This is where Baloo gives three under-rated gems of advice.  First of all, Baloo sings that you’ve got to "forget about your worries and your strife."  All too often, we let our worries dominate our thoughts.  It’s important to give ourselves time to put our worries aside.  If we don’t, we might miss some wonderful aspects of life.  I learned this lesson a long time ago.  I’d hyper-focus on something that went wrong (especially if I did or said something wrong) and would ruminate on it for days.  It didn’t help the situation in any way.  It didn’t make me react differently the next time.  All it did was cause me to obsess and doubt every action I took.  I realized that I needed to be able to examine whether I could do anything about a worry at that moment.  If I couldn’t, that worry needed to be shelved until such time as I could make a difference.

Next, Baloo sings about using claws to pick prickly pears but not needing them for big pawpaw fruit. This is intended to be humorous (with Baloo singing a veritable tongue twister) but is sound advice.  Every situation is different and the approach needed for one might be totally different than the approach that the second situation needs.  If you go through life with just one approach – and an inflexible attitude that all situations need to have that approach for their solution – then you’re bound to "prick a raw paw."

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, Baloo sings about minimizing your life.  Like many people, we’ve accumulated a lot of things that seem important, but which we could easily live without.  For example, a year ago we decided to cut cable.  Before doing this, we wondered just how we’d survive without hundreds of channels of video programming coming into our house at every possible second.  The answer was that it was a lot easier than we initially thought it would be.  Were there bumps along the way?  Sure, but it turns out that cable TV isn’t one of the "bare necessities" and you can live a full life without it.  When you cut the extraneous out of your life, you leave more time for the activities that you actually are interested in.

This is especially true for pursuing things that you can’t obtain.  Many people, perhaps envious of what others have, stress out over not having X, Y, or Z.  This stress negatively impacts their lives and, ironically, makes it less likely that they’ll get what they desire.  To quote Baloo: "Don’t spend your time looking around for something you want that can’t be found. When you find out you can live without it and go along not thinking about it, I’ll tell you something true.  The bare necessities will come to you."  That’s some real Yoda-level wisdom being dished out there.  (Obligatory Star Wars reference since today is Star Wars Day.)

When Baloo is convinced by Bagheera that Mowgli needs to go back to the man-village, he’s heartbroken.  In his short time with Mowgli, he had come to love Mowgli.  On the other hand, Bagheera, someone who’s known Mowgli nearly his entire life, doesn’t seem upset at all about Mowgli being sent away forever.  When Baloo fumbles in his "man-village talk" with Mowgli and Mowgli runs off, Baloo is determined to find him.  For someone who sings about reducing your life to "the bare necessities," he certainly knows what is important enough to hold on to.  Finally, when Shere Khan attacks Mowgli, it’s Baloo who stands up to the tiger, risking his own life to save the boy.

In the final analysis, Baloo might not be the most responsible character in The Jungle Book, but he has a hidden wisdom about him.  Many people in today’s society would benefit from channeling their inner Baloo from time to time.

boys-meet-balooNOTE: The image of Baloo and Mowgli above is a photo I took at Disney’s Pop Century hotel in 2010, during the boys’ first trip to Disney World.  They also got to meet Baloo.

Random Thoughts: Mayim Bialik/Frozen, Pina Colada Song, Doctor Who, and Pirates

random_brainI sat down to write my next blog post and there were a couple of topics swirling about my brain.  None of them seemed enough to constitute an entire blog post, so I thought I’d just mash them all together into one post comprised of four mini-posts.

Mayim Bialik and Frozen Misconceptions

Actress and neuroscientist Mayim Bialik recently posted about why she and her sons hate Frozen.  I recognize that tastes vary from person to person and what one lauds as a great movie, another will view as a piece of trash.  I’m sure Mayim could name a movie that she loves that I’d hate to have to sit through.  That being said, the reasons she gave for hating it seemed misguided to me.  (Note:  If you haven’t seen Frozen – WHY HAVEN’T YOU?!!! Also, spoilers are ahead.)

First off, she cited the movie’s "reigning plot line" of Anna trying to find a man to marry.  What I think she missed is that this plot line was there for the sole purpose of subverting it.  Anna thinks she needs "true love" in the form of marrying the first guy who acts nice towards her.  She doesn’t bother to get to know him beyond one night of talking.  Later, when he turns out to be the villain, she makes the same mistake a second time and thinks she needs Kristoff.  Granted, she *is* being turned to ice and sees Kristoff racing back towards her.  Once she sees her sister is in danger, though, she drops the "gotta find a man" quest in favor of "must save my sister."  THIS turns out to be what, in turn, saves Anna, not some guy’s kiss.  Trope subverted.

Next, Mayim worries about the portrayal of men as scheming villains.  Except Prince Hans wasn’t a scheming villain because he was a man.  He was a scheming villain because he was a scheming villain. Kristoff was a man and also a nice guy.  So was Anna’s father.  Widening our definition of "man", we might even include Olaf and Sven.  Prince Hans *was* using Anna to gain power, but it’s not male bashing to have a male villain.

Mayim’s third gripe was the "doll-like" figures and faces of Anna and Elsa.  I’ll admit that, on looking at it again, they do have a certain doll-like quality about them.  Then again, so does Prince Hans.  Kristoff, being a mountain man and not someone who lives in a castle, seems built more ruggedly.  I write this off as animator’s license.  There are many different styles of animation.  Not all look 100% realistic.  That being said, I can understand being pulled out of a movie or show because of the animation.  I’m generally not a fan of shows that flip between "normal" and "anime" modes.  (Such as the old Teen Titans show.)

Do You Like Pina Coladas?  And Getting Caught Cheating On Your Spouse?

I’ve been listening to the Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack a lot recently.  Perhaps a bit too much.  I’ve started pondering meanings in the Pina Colada song.  In case you’ve forgotten it, the song tells the tale of a guy and his "lovely lady" who fell into a boring routine.  He was reading the personal ads in the newspaper (to the youngins out there, this was the old-style Match.com) when he came upon a listing that intrigued him.  Ignoring the fact that he’s was planning on cheating on his lady, he answers the ad and arranges to meet this woman.  He waits for his mystery woman in a bar and then sees his lady walk in.  It turns out she was the one who placed the personal ad.  They share a laugh at having tried to cheat on one another and everyone is happy.  The End.

Wait, what?!!!  Is the Pina Colada song seriously suggesting that cheating on your significant other will relieve relationship doldrums?  Granted it might, but only to replace them with a relationship tornado that rips everything (i.e. your relationship) to shreds.  Pretty much any other action other than cheating (or attempted cheating) will be better that this.

Like I said, I might have been listening to this a bit too much.

Bored By The Doctor

I feel traitorous saying this, but I’m not liking the new episodes of Doctor Who.  The first one seemed confused, but I chalked that up to the Doctor having just regenerated and not quite being all there mentally.  However, the following episodes didn’t seem up to par either.  I’m not sure if this is all part of Steven Moffat’s Season 8 Grand Plan, but he’d better kick it up a notch soon.  Take, for example, Listen.  (Spoilers ahead.)  The episode seemed promising.  It started getting interesting.  And then it seemed to go nowhere.  The Great Villain evaporated into nothingness and was never there at all.  It was a big letdown.  It doesn’t even seem to be Peter Capaldi’s fault.  I actually like his Doctor.  I’m not sure I like him more than Matt Smith’s and definitely not more than David Tennant’s, but he’s good.  However, he doesn’t seem to be getting good episodes.  Capaldi can only do so much.  Here’s hoping these Doctor Doldrums let up soon.  (Meanwhile, I’ll be "cheating" on the Doctor with Sherlock.  Amazing show!)

Avast, me Hearties

Arrrr… Today be International Talk Like A Pirate Day, ye swabs.  So hoist the colors and grab ye treasure maps or ye shall be keel hauled!


There you have it.  Four completely different topics mashed together into one nice post!  Hope your weekend is great, and slightly random in only the best of ways.

NOTE: The image above is comprised of "Brain" by trubinial guru, "Pirate’s Boat – Navire Pirate" by cyberscooty, "Tardis" by tatica, "Single Snowflake" by erik_, and "Music Note" by cyberscooty.  All of these images are available via OpenClipArt.org.

A Green Screen Birthday Adventure

When one is having a birthday celebration for your kids, there is one big rule: Always take photographs so your kids will remember what happened.  For example, I made sure to take plenty of photos since NHL, JSL, and Cousins S and B had a huge adventure to celebrate NHL turning 11.

First, we boarded an airplane.  Note: Keep an eye on your kids at all times when on airplanes.  I looked away for a second and found them on the wing of the plane.

Kids On An Airplane Wing

Don’t ask me how they got there or how they withstood the force of the air against them.  Getting them back in was tricky, but we somehow managed it.

When we landed, we immediately went to our destination: Disney World!

Kids At Disney World

Um, kids, I don’t think you’re supposed to stand there.

Kids In A Parade

Hey, get out of that parade!

Kids On The Monorail

Again, don’t ask me how they got atop the Monorail… Or why they looked so big atop it.  I was too busy at the time worrying that they’d fall off.  (And taking a quick photo or two.  Priorities, people!)

Next, we went on a safari drive in Animal Kingdom.  You’d think that by now I’d have learned my lesson about looking away.  The kids pointed to an ostrich in one direction, though, and when I looked back…

Kids On A Giraffe

Long story short, we’re not welcome back there again.  Thanks a lot, kids!

At least we were able to go to Epcot, though.  You know, the park with the iconic Spaceship Earth…

Kids On Spaceship Earth

WHAT?!!!  How’d they get there?  No wonder people were screaming as I took this photo.  That also explains the security guard who dragged them back to me.  Silly kids.

At least that’s the wackiest thing they could possibly do, right?

Kids On A Flower

Nope.  They just *had* to sneak backstage and find Wayne Szalinski’s shrinking machine from the old Honey, I Shrunk The Audience attraction.  It took us a few hours before we spotted them on this flower.

At that point, we decided to cut our losses and get home before the kids decided to leave the planet or something.

Kids On The Moon

Wait, was *that* where they disappeared to when they took my camera?  How did they even get to the moon anyway?  (I *thought* I saw a blue phone box in Epcot’s England area next to the red ones!)

Thankfully, we got everyone back home and back to the proper size…

NHL on His Cake

Uh oh…..  Well, happy birthday anyway, NHL!

NOTE: All photos above were taken by me with the exception of the Moon photo which comes from NASA.  (All NASA photos are public domain.)  The "green screen" originals are thanks to a green screen in the Children’s Museum of Science and Technology (CMOST) in Troy, NY.

I’m Sick Of All The Snow, Man

The snow has been coming down heavy all day.  We’ve gone from predictions of 6 to 8 inches, to 8 to 12 inches, and finally (as I write this) 12 to 20 inches.  We’re getting buried and are breaking our backs trying to shovel our way out of it.  Meanwhile, the boys are having a blast.


As much as I love the Disney movie Frozen, I definitely DON’T want to build a snow man.  Instead, I’m dreaming of warmer weather and am sick of the snow.  As I shoveled, I became inspired and had to sing.

I didn’t say I sang well… Just that I sang.  And now you know why the song parodies I come up with aren’t videos of me singing them.

So here’s a parody of the first part of "Do You Wanna Build A Snowman".

*Knock, knock, knock, knock, knock, knock*
I’m sick of all this snow, man!
I want it to go away 
There’s white stuff piling by the door 
Boots on the floor 
Just make it go away
We used to walk around the block
Without a coat 
My fingers are going numb! 
I’m sick of all this snow, man!
Don’t wanna keep shoveling snow, man.

Just say, bye…

What Happens When Frozen And Exhaustion Meet On Twitter

Take one couple who are active on social media.  Mix in a generous helping of exhaustion.  Stir in a love for Disney in general, and for the songs from the movie Frozen in particular.  Blend and bake in Twitter.  What do you get?  A hilarious exchange that B & I had a few nights back.  At least it seemed hilarious at the time.  A well-rested mind might not find it funny which only goes to prove that well rested minds know less about humor than Olaf knows about summer!

1 2 3 31