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.

My Time to Waste