January 31, 2008

See Chase Laugh!

There is nothing so pure a child's laugh. It is genuine. And upon hearing it, you cannot help yourself but join in. I think our original purpose, what we are created for, is to laugh.

So after bath time, we always brush Chase's teeth. It is that sorta, kinda toothpaste that helps you develop the habit of brushing. It probably would run far, far away if it saw gingivitis. He likes it. Both the sensation and I am sure the flavor. He stands on one of those step/seat things so that he can see the sink and himself in the mirror. When he's done, he gets a Dixie-type paper cup with just enough water. He simply drinks the water.
But tonight, Mommy decided that he should learn to spit the water out. Now, Daddy warns that this is probably not a good thing. But Mommy knowledge is vastly superior, so she showed him how it's done.
*Swig of water. Spit.*
Chase cracks up. He found this so funny, that he begins laughing. Mommy repeats the process.
*Swig of water. Spit.*
Now he's laughing hard! He almost falls off his step thing. He laughs so hard he can barely catch his breath!
Once more: *Swig of water. Spit.*
He can barely contain himself. And we are laughing as hard as he is! After a several minutes of laughter, we put the cup down. It's time to clean up the toys and get ready for bed.

Right before bed time, we read a book. And we drink a glass of milk. But this time, Chase begins to laugh, and laugh hard. And then he takes a sip of milk. And he spits. And more laughter! Mostly from Daddy!
*Daddy does the "told ya so" dance*
I cannot wait until Mommy picks him up from "school" and hear how ALL the kids in the class are now spitting their drinks!

January 26, 2008

Poor Unfortunate Souls

In the last couple of days, I came across a site called Re-Imagineering. It is a blog with the intent to bring light to as they call it "past missteps". The purpose then is that others in the management portion of the Walt Disney Company can then read these and work to "restore magic missing from the parks".
Most of the pieces written here do a great job critiquing how the Eisner era focused on how the theme parks could be milked for maximum revenue, after years of really languishing and maintaining a status quo following Walt Disney's death. The theme parks have moved away from what Walt originally intended. Their view is that we should get back to the original ideal.
I put all of this out in front so that you can decide if you wish to read the middle section. I am about to go on a rant. I am not concerned if anyone truly does read it the middle. I just wanted to get this off my chest. But I would like you to read the ending part. It is something that should scare the $#!+ out of every person in Canada and America. And this is the absolute perfect forum for this.

So, those that know me, I love most things Disney. And when you get right down to it, I love most Disney things that Walt actually was involved with. Nobody, and nothing really, is perfect. There is always room for improvement. But with Walt, he was almost spooky perfect when it came to running his company. From having the vision for creating so many firsts in animation, to taking an idea and working it out until it was great. He wasn't so much perfect, but driven to perfection. He expected and accepted nothing less than the absolute best work from himself and those that surrounded him. He also had an uncanny knack for knowing what people wanted. And he grew an empire that no one will ever be able to duplicate or improve upon.
Those who have come after him do not have that balance of creativity and leadership that Walt mastered. Michael Eisner brought much needed leadership, but no creativity. He made the company a powerhouse again and financially solvent. But his way of doing so left many feeling like he did not care about carrying on Walt's vision. This is most apparent in the theme parks.
Eisner made sure the parks made money. The exits of many rides are now little shops housing merchandise relating to the characters you just saw. There are several kiosks throughout pushing their timeshares. They are even labelled on the maps along with the attractions! It is a different style of management. Not all together wrong; the parks are more popular than ever. And certainly more profitable. And with the extra cash has come new parks and new attractions in the older ones. But those who prefer Walt's vision get bent out of shape by it.

The latest post at Re-Imagineering points out one of those ideas that did not work out. At the entrance of Epcot there are several monuments that are part of the Leave a Legacy program. For a fee you can have your image(s) and small inscription placed on one of the blocks. Sort of a tribute to your visiting Walt Disney World. It looks like a futuristic cemetery. I cannot believe that someone didn't stop this early on.
Now the author of the post is uses the moniker of "Mr. Banks", a character from Mary Poppins. It seems that the authors tend to think they need anonymity from their employer. And perhaps with a grain of truth, in that they tend to write from a haughty-I'm-right-you're-wrong attitude. Or it may be that they are in impotent, low positions where their views are not taken seriously, and this is the only way they feel their voice can be heard.
The author, to make his case, just cannot write this in a factual, erudite fashion. He has to insert this:
"Leave a Legacy is an element of the Disney Parks that divides guests rather than unites them. Those with enough status, bearing and disposable income can proudly shout, ‘I’m part of the legacy!” while those strained by the already steep entrance fee and unwilling to participate can’t help but be reminded that they’re not. Isn’t Epcot, indeed every Disney theme park, supposed to celebrate our common humanity rather than underline our differences?"
(Rant. Building.)
I felt compelled to respond to this. I pointed out that not only is this inflammatory, but simply a non-issue with this. He replied that he knew this, was unapologetic ,and that it was gratuitous. He simply wanted the reader to become enraged, and cry out, "Those Poor Unfortunate Souls!" The entire purpose is so that his bosses, which I am sure do not read or give credence to their blog, will come back to the ideals of Walt.
(Can't Control It. Gonna BLOW!)
Where has personal responsibility gone? Instead of facts, you have to stoop so low as to sway support to your cause through conjecture and lies? You have to project what you think someone "feels" into your missive?

The absolute worst part is that it feeds a dangerous mentality. We feel that the needs of a few supersede those of the whole. It is this mentality that says all kids must participate in whatever team sport they choose. All must play each game. Problem: Not all kids are good enough. Solution: We just won't keep score. Because that is fair to all. At least to those few who really can't play. Never mind that the good players cannot hone their skills through competition. It won't matter later on in life. The "loser" kids will continue into adulthood and never face competition. No, because when it's hiring time or promotion time, EVERYONE WILL BE TREATED THE SAME!
Think that I am taking this too far or going off-topic? No. To purport that divisiveness shouldn't be acceptable at a theme park is spin. You and others like you would love to see a world where "we" - insert any majority - are careful not to offend "them" - insert small group. The trouble is it is a very slippery slope. And one that continues to drag us down. Don't believe me? Read this wonderful bit of news from Canada. They are thinking about SETTING LIMITS ON FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION! And don't say that this is just a Canada thing. A step here. A step there. We walk closer to this daily with "political correctness" and frivolous lawsuits. Or when a radio personality is fired for saying something divisive? Who is to say what is divisive? And who gets the final say?

I take my freedoms very seriously. But with freedom comes a level of responsibility. To assert that the smaller group has rights above the whole is dangerous. And not without consequence.

January 18, 2008

I Love Trivial Things

Probably because I'm a trivial guy. I check the stats on both of my blogs with fierce regularity. I like knowing where people are when they find me, both geographically and from what site that sent them here. The thing that puzzles me the most are how people find me when doing a google, yahoo or blog search.
Two of the most searched ways that I am found at Orlando Daily Photo is by "black cat" or "Cinderella's Castle" - both by images. These make perfect sense. They are straight forward. But I have been found 13 times by people searching "huge spider"! I always wonder what exactly these people are looking for, and if these are 13 hits from the same person.
But the strangest, most unbelievable search that has netted me 17 hits so far is a google search for "t". Yes, the letter "t"! Google says there are about 6,050,000,000 results. It may as well just say, "On just about every freakin' page on every freakin' website in the entire freakin' internet!" And yes, I crawled through 38 pages before I gave up. Searching the letter "t". John, I apologize right now for making fun of your searches. At least you have a method to your madness. And some very funny videos to boot.
Some good news does come out of this. I did find that when you search "orlando florida", I rank around top 40 to 50 sites (out of 16,900,000). When you search "Orlando fl", I am 20 to 30 out of 7,400,000. And when you search "orlando, fl, usa", I rank second only to Walt Disney World. How cool is that?
I know. Not very cool. Very trivial.

January 16, 2008

January 10, 2008

The Question

I heard this riddle several years ago. I believe it is attributed to Art Linkletter. I cannot confirm it.
The kicker is that something like 80 to 90% of kids under 10 years old will correctly answer it. However, only about 15% of adults get it correct. Are you ready?

What is greater than God, more evil than the Devil, the poor have it, the rich need it, and if you eat it you will surely die.

I turned off comments to this. I will post the answer next week. If you cannot wait that long, you will just have to ask a first grader!

January 07, 2008

A Favorite Quote

This has been attributed to many different sources. I do not know for a fact who the author is to give them proper credit. Be that as it may:

"They say such nice things about people at funerals that it makes me quite sad to realize that I will miss mine by just a few days."

January 06, 2008

Top 6 Times and Places I Would Visit

I changed my major from architecture to graphic design after two years of college. That meant that I had way too many "history of" classes in both areas. The art side was better in that there was a focus on the cultures that produced the works instead of dryly talking about the art by itself. Still, both gave insights into some interesting moments and places. When I finally perfect my time machine, these are the first stops:

1. The pyramids of Giza - circa 2500 BC* I would love to see the actual construction of these structures.
*Um, yeah. How would you program a time machine to understand BC dates? Is Zero considered a year?
2. Machu Picchu, Peru - circa 1450 AD The Incans were far ahead of the dominant cultural/technological wave that moved across the Earth. To see the heart of their empire in its splendor, would give such insight into a world we can only speculate.
3. Roswell, New Mexico - July 7, 1947 Right, like you wouldn't want to know the truth. I probably would arrive a few days earlier. The government could have lied about the actual date, too!
4. Eiffel Tower - 31 March, 1889 Somehow I would wrangle an invite to be part of the inaugural celebration. (I would probably take a few for a spin in my time machine!)
5. Leonardo Da Vinci's studio - circa 1502 I could then answer definitively what caused Lisa Gherardini, wife of Francesco del Giocondo to smile so when she posed for her portrait. My theory - Leo painted her with no pants on. And being a distinguished lady, she merely smiled that enigmatic smile.
6. Williams High School Plano, TX 1980 I would have a real long talk with myself. Be that object lesson as to what being an underachiever will bring you. Wait. If I have developed and fully funded a working time machine, I would just prove myself correct! OUCH! Damn time paradoxes always give me migraines.