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Thursday, September 24, 2009

Bert and Ernie / SML Ideal Husbands

Bert and Ernie (Wikipedia) are two roommates on the long-running television show Sesame Street. The two appear together in numerous skits, forming a comic duo that is one of the centerpieces of the program. Originated by Frank Oz and Jim Henson, the characters are currently performed by Muppeteers Eric Jacobson and Steve Whitmire, with Oz performing Bert occasionally since 2000.

Bert and Ernie: Let me tell you a secret / 20090917.10D.53994.P1 / SML (by See-ming Lee 李思明 SML)

I always thought that Bert and Ernie are the perfect couple. I admire them and I cherish them. I also thought that they are the ideal husbands, and I wish that my love life is as rich and colorful as theirs.

A few years back, I met a friend who used to be an executive producer at the Children's Television Workshop, and I said: you know they are so gay... He said: They look gay because they *are* gay.

I don't know why I have never thought of putting them in a photoshoot together but tada here they are, featured in my Ideal Husbands photography project. I tried to write toy stories regarding these two love birds:

Toy Story 1

Ideal Husbands: Bert and Ernie / 20090917.10D.53940.P1.SQ / SML (by See-ming Lee 李思明 SML)

Toy Story 1

SML: Hi, I'm working on a project called Ideal Husbands and I would really like to include you guys in it.
Ernie: Yeay!
Bert: Hmm... I'm not sure, Ernie, it doesn't sound like a very good use of our time...
Ernie: But it would be so much fun.. Weee....
Bert: I'm exhausted from work. Don't you think that it would be better use of our time if we cuddle in bed instead?
Ernie: Oh come on babe, if we get photographed by SML, we would be famous! Wee..!
Bert: (reluctantly) Alright.. I guess I can sit in for a few minutes, but be quick!
SML: Thank you thank you thank you! Lots of SML Love for you!
Bert: Hurry up I don't have all day... Ernie honey, try to sit still!

Toy Story 2

Ideal Husbands: Bert and Ernie / 20090917.10D.53948.P1.SQ / SML (by See-ming Lee 李思明 SML)

Bert and Ernie with the wooden salamander during the Ideal Husbands shoot at SML Studio.

Toy Story 3: Kiss

Kiss: Bert and Ernie / 20090917.10D.53934.SQ.BW / SML (by See-ming Lee 李思明 SML)

I made an attempt to get these love birds for my kiss project but Ernie's constant open-mouth action made it tricky. I will try again later.

Toy Story 4: Life is great when you're next to me

Bert and Ernie: Life is great when you're next to me / 20090917.10D.53973.P1 / SML (by See-ming Lee 李思明 SML)

Toy Story 5: Bert and Ernie: Getting Trashed on Pinot Noir

Bert and Ernie: Getting Trashed on Pinot Noir / 20090917.10D.53958.SQ / SML (by See-ming Lee 李思明 SML)

With a big glass of Pinot Noir in hand, Bert forgot about the pain of modeling while Ernie got trashed.

Erotocrat (NYC) had a different take:
It was reported by Burt that the euphoria caused by Ernie is unlike hand-puppet jobs received from other muppets. I even remember my first experience with Ernie, who as a young muppet, emerged from Mr. Hooper’s bodega off of Sesame Street one crispy morning. Ernie glanced at me as though I were a masked Adonis of some sort and told me in no uncertain terms, that he felt like the letter B.

Toy Story 6: When Tigger Visits

Bert and Ernie: When Tigger visit / 20090917.10D.53975.P1 / SML (by See-ming Lee 李思明 SML)

Bert is unamused when Tigger comes to play.

Bert: Tigger comes over to visit us every now and then. I think that he's cute and all but the problem is, he and Ernie would just giggle and gossip non-stop which gets really annoying sometimes.

Related SML
+ SML Flickr Sets: Bert and Ernie / SML Ideal Husbands
+ SML Flickr Sets: Ideal Husbands
+ SML Flickr Sets: Men

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Flickr Censorship Standards = Gay Bashing?

Cross-posted on SML Pro Blog.

Earlier this year, Flickr popped my account to "restricted" status, resulting in a 3000 to 30 daily stream views.

SML to Flickr: Why is my stream flagged as moderate? = Severely diminished traffic volume (by See-ming Lee 李思明 SML)

It took me 6 months to figure out what the hell was wrong. I didn't get a reply from the official staff despite several attempts to contact them. Eventually I got so pissed off that I did a Twitter stunt and posted a long-winded outcry on That appears to help, I got a reply from the Flickr staff within one day.

Apparently, according to Flickr standards, the image below is to be treated as moderate / restricted.

An R-rated image as according to Flickr Censorship standards / 20070624.10D.43162.BW.SQ / SML (by See-ming Lee 李思明 SML)

Personally I do not understand why this image is moderate. Afterall, don't you see guys like this *all the time*?

Flickr replied by saying that the image needs to be moderate because the person is wearing "skin-tight" clothing. I then asked them if I took photos at the Olympics or at the beach, do I need to mark them as moderate as well, to which they reply, that "regardless of where they were taken, they need to be moderated."

In other words, according to Flickr Censorship standards, this will only appear in an R-rated movie. Meanwhile, the Yahoo Pride page during 2007 happily use my photos on their site, so WTF?!

As such the image above is flagged as moderate as well. Even though I disagree with Flickr's standards...

Anyhow, SML Flickr is now "safe" after flagging all these images to moderate to restricted status, but this standard appears questionable.

Related blogosphere
+ Now Public: flickr: Racist and Homophobic, or Scamming?
+ Thomas Hawk's Digital Connection: Someone's started a Flickr Is Fascist Blog, Accuses Flickr of Anti-Gay Censorship Policies