Disney World

When my daugh­ter was the cutest lit­tle girl ever, she walked back to me after a cou­ple of min­utes talk­ing to San­ta Claus and, beck­on­ing me to lean down close, qui­et­ly said with much con­vic­tion “He’s a fake.”

I was remind­ed of this event when my wife and I recent­ly spent a few days at Dis­ney World. It’s a fake.

I have spent my entire life not going to Dis­ney World for that exact rea­son. I end­ed up there because it rep­re­sent­ed an oppor­tu­ni­ty to spend many hours with the grand­son while his par­ents attend­ed the Day­tona 500 (twice!).

We stayed at River­side in Port Orleans (and I believe there was a fur­ther sub­di­vi­sion of Riverside…but it seemed mean­ing­less and arbi­trary). The “riv­er” is real­ly a, I sus­pect man made, chan­nel. There is no cur­rent, one end is at a lake, the oth­er end is just an end.

At River­side is a large water wheel in the riv­er that does not flow. Water is pumped up into a sluice which runs sev­er­al feet and dumps the water on the wheel. The wheel, via a cou­ple of gears, turns a large axle that reach­es into the cen­ter of the din­ing hall and, again via a cou­ple of gears, turns an large umbrel­la that sets just beneath the ceil­ing. Much ado for noth­ing. But the turn­ing wheel is an impres­sive sight.

We spent time in Down­town Dis­ney, just an out­door mall real­ly; a day in the Ani­mal King­dom, which is a mediocre zoo; and a day in Epcot, most of which is also an out­door mall.

For much of my life var­i­ous peo­ple have told me that I had to go to Epcot Cen­ter. That I would like it. Well, not so much. The Space­ship Earth ride was inter­est­ing, but I would much more enjoy going through it with the lights on to see how it is laid out inside that golf ball.

Dis­ney is expen­sive, but at least one can see where a lot of the mon­ey is going. There are the free bus­es, the free water taxis, the fire­works, the exten­sive grounds, the numer­ous swim­ming pools, the end­less fake.

This is not to say that I did not have a great time. I was with great peo­ple that I love. Time in hell would have been pleas­ant. Dis­ney was a blast.

Solo Wall Piece

Yoko Ono’s 1964 book Grape­fruit: A Book of Instruc­tions and Draw­ings has been reis­sued. I’m not a big Yoko fan, myself. I remem­ber her chiefly for her half of the Dou­ble Fan­ta­sy album by her and John. John’s half was excel­lent. Yoko’s half unlistenable.

But to the book! A Matthew Slaugh­ter has post­ed a review of the book on Ama­zon. His review includes this:

Grape­fruit” is filled, for the most part, with short, koan-like “pieces” such as “Wall Piece for Orches­tra.” Yoko directs the piece as fol­lows: “Hit a wall with your head.”

This imme­di­ate­ly brought to my mind a class I had in high school. I sus­pect it was the only class I had in four years in which I sat in the very last row. The back of the chair was up against the paint­ed con­crete block wall. I dis­cov­ered that if I moved my head away from the wall just an inch or so and then quick­ly moved it against the wall I was reward­ed with a very low tone that emanat­ed from the entire wall. And, most impor­tant­ly, it did not hurt (I guess I have a hard head.) Through the year I per­formed occa­sion­al­ly, suc­cess­ful­ly not doing it so often that I would be discovered.

Some­times my Solo Wall Piece seemed to go com­plete­ly unno­ticed, but there were times when I could tell that the teacher heard it and was look­ing around try­ing to see where the sound was com­ing from (fun­ny that I have no idea who the teacher in this class was, or which class it was!).

I always won­dered what kind of reac­tions, if any, where tak­ing place in the next room.

I had no idea I was fol­low­ing the instruc­tions of Yoko Ono!

Hat tip: Ann Alt­house

The Great Blizzard of 1978

One of my favorite inter­net stops is the Cub­by-Blue blog by Tim Souers. Tim is an excel­lent artist, a pas­sion­ate Cubs fan, and a cre­ative genius. Three days ago he post­ed illus­trat­ed instruc­tions for mak­ing Banof­fee pie. Part of the process calls for whip­ping your own whipped cream. This led to my post­ing the fol­low­ing sto­ry in the comments.

A long time ago…it was my first year out of Indi­ana U., liv­ing in mar­ried hous­ing (my bride still being in school) and work­ing as a super­vi­sor in one of the dorm cafeterias.

The Great Bliz­zard of ’78 arrived. I walked to work through snow up to my armpits. Giv­en the weath­er few (if any) oth­er full time employ­ees made it in. But the stu­dent work­ers were avail­able. My job was to trim the menu to what the stu­dent work­ers could pre­pare with­out the help of full time staff.

The desert menu called for zebra pud­ding which is choco­late gra­ham crack­ers lined up on edge with whipped cream in between and then cut on a diag­o­nal. The whipped cream was made on site. I gave the stu­dent the go ahead to make it and a bit of instruc­tion (not quite the blind lead­ing the blind…a few gal­lons of whip­ping cream and a bunch of sug­ar in the floor mix­er and whip til it peaks).

A few min­utes lat­er I returned to see how it was going. We shut the mix­er off and checked if it peaked and it just about did and I said “anoth­er minute” and we turned it on and I turned around from that huge bowl full of white fluffy whipped cream to some paper on a clip­board on a stain­less steel table and talked about some­thing or other.

I turned back around and the bowl was no longer full of white fluffy whipped cream. No, it had col­lapsed and was now a small­er (but still large) quan­ti­ty of butter.

No zebra pud­ding was served that day and the desert/​pastry chef had less need of but­ter or sug­ar for a cou­ple of weeks.

Memories Are Long

When I was a child, my fam­i­ly would trav­el” around the coun­try in the sta­tion wag­on a few sum­mers in a row, two weeks at a time. I know Mom fret­ted some that I was too young and the trips would be wast­ed on me, but I have a con­sid­er­able num­ber of spe­cif­ic mem­o­ries about those trips.

I am not all that clear about which year we went where, or even where all we got to on a giv­en trip. I know there was a trip east/​northeast, and a trip west, and a trip south. Each trip cov­ered a whole lot of ground.

I remem­ber vis­it­ing a south­ern town on the Mis­sis­sip­pi Riv­er some­time between 1958 and 1963 I would guess. I believe it was Vicks­burg. We took a tour of a beau­ti­ful, fine south­ern man­sion. I remem­ber the tour guide point­ing out the nev­er repaired holes in the exte­ri­or walls put there by North­ern gun­boats on the riv­er. I remem­ber that I, being a very young child, felt fear because there seemed to be so much anger/​hatred/​resentment/​some­thing in her voice that indi­cat­ed she was still hold­ing a grudge against that North­ern aggression.

That was just under 100 years after the Civ­il War. From my per­spec­tive at the time, the Civ­il War was for­ev­er ago!!! That the woman would still har­bor antag­o­nism against North­ern­ers was aston­ish­ing to me. Today I under­stand that 100 years is just not that long. If you are speak­ing to a per­son over the age of 50, he or she was raised by some­one who is almost cer­tain­ly over the age of 70, and that per­son was raised by some­one over the age of 90, well, you see where this is going. And those num­bers are conservative.

You could eas­i­ly be speak­ing to some­one who spent many hours talk­ing to a grand­par­ent about times that are 100 years pri­or to your conversation.

Mem­o­ries are long. Want proof?

Respon­dents were asked, “When you think about the Civ­il War, if you had to choose, would you say that you sym­pa­thize more with the north­ern states that were part of the Union or the south­ern states that were part of the Con­fed­er­a­cy?” Sup­port for the Union was over­whelm­ing in the Mid­west (68%), North­east (79%), and West (84%), but in the South, only 48% said they were more inclined to sym­pa­thize with the Union.

You People”

When I was a senior at Indi­ana Uni­ver­si­ty (read: when I had my head up my hard ass), I worked part time as a super­vi­sor in the MRC dorm cafe­te­ria. There was a time when I was hav­ing a dif­fi­cul­ty with three stu­dents. I have no idea what the dis­pute was but at one point one of them said some­thing that I found par­tic­u­lar­ly exas­per­at­ing and I said “You people!”

My choice of words was unfor­tu­nate, the three indi­vid­u­als involved were African-Amer­i­cans. They imme­di­ate­ly took excep­tion (and I can hard­ly blame them). There were two threads of con­ver­sa­tion that took place simul­ta­ne­ous­ly from that point.

One was:

You peo­ple, what do you mean, you people?!”

Stu­dents” I believe this was paired with a “duh” but not the kind of “duh” that was once hip and now passe. Just an invol­un­tary syllable.

The sec­ond was:

What are you doing, bring­ing race into this?”

I did­n’t bring race up. You are the one’s who brought race up!”

Although I had my head up my hard ass, I was hard­ly capa­ble of deceit and they prompt­ly per­ceived that I was com­plete­ly sin­cere when I said I meant stu­dents. The event end­ed uneventfully.

The new­ly elect­ed gov­er­nor of Ohio, John Kasich, recent­ly had a sim­i­lar expe­ri­ence. It seems Kasich is the first Ohio gov­er­nor in fifty years to put togeth­er a cab­i­net com­prised entire­ly of white peo­ple. When the Ohio Leg­isla­tive Black Cau­cus offered Kasich assis­tance in

find­ing qual­i­fied minor­i­ty appli­cants, Kasich told Turn­er, “I don’t need your peo­ple.

The gov­er­nor’s spokesperson:

What he meant was, “Your peo­ple are Democ­rats, we don’t need them on our cabinet”

Part of me says I have to give Kasich the ben­e­fit of the doubt giv­en my own expe­ri­ence. Part of me says “Yeah, riiiiight!”

You are wel­come to draw your own conclusions.