Time for some downhome southern introspection, full-on 7th style. No pics, no catchy captions beneath said pics. Just some jumbled mish mash that's been spiraling around in my brain for the past couple of weeks. You may not laugh. You may not cry. I may get a mailbox full of "TLDR" posts (that's short for "too long, didn't read" for you WD'ers out there who have yet to pop your forum cherry.) But I gots stuff to say, and by Dave, I'm gonna say it.
Every day I drive 40 miles to and from work. For you math-impaired readers out there, that's 80 miles round trip, five days a week. The first nine miles of that trek is on Highway 41, a road that used to be one of the major roadways in Florida before I-75 was built. A few days ago, I was driving along, listening to Tampa's local shock jock Bubba The Love Sponge (visit him at http://www.btls.com) rant and rave about how much Randy Savage's rap album sucks, when I drove past a storage lot that was being used to house the rides and stores for the Hernando County Fair. Rising above the trees was a ferris wheel with no ride cars. What a suitable metaphor for my life, I thought.
My job is not in any way physically demanding. I sit in a chair and talk to people all day. Yet, I'm totally drained at the end of the day . No energy to do anything other than drive home, spend a few moments with the wife and kid, then go to bed in time to get up at 5 am, get to school, murk my way through Statistics, then go to work again. This has been my routine since July, and I was rather nonplussed to learn that we'd be going back to mandatory overtime again in January to cover the peak season, as they didn't bring in as many new agents in the latest hiring blitz as they thought they would. So whoo-hoo! 70 hour work weeks, PLUS school!
I have the specter of this inevitability hanging over my head as Christmas draws near. My wife went all out for me this year, God love her. She got me a Tivo unit, A bag full of new DVD's, PS2 games galore, the newest book in the Dark Towers series, and God knows what else that I don't know about. But I find myself not all that excited about those things, other than the fact that my wife thought enough of me to spend that kind of money on such as louse as me. Perhaps that's because I know that, come January, I won't have time to enjoy any of it... or perhaps it's that my reason for looking forward to Christmas has shifted. You see, this will be my son's first Christmas.
And let me tell you, I went all out. All told, I'm guessing I spent about 700.00 on him. He's 11 months old. Hand this kid a cardboard box and he'll amuse himself all afternoon. But that didn't stop me from taking all those overtime checks and making repeated weekly visits to Toys R Us and Wal-Mart, buying cartload after cartload until finally, I'd come close to purchasing the entire Fischer Price catalogue. I bought him an infant-sized rocking horse, all the age 1 Fischer Price Little People playsets (with all the add-on sets to go with them,) his first Teddy Bear, about 10 Disney DVD's, A Fischer Price Walker/rider thingy, an indoor slide and step playground thingy, a My First LeapPad learning center, 20 or 30 other toddler toys, children's books out the wazoo, his first black leather jacket, and the real kicker, Radio Flyer's top of the line wagon with the wooden side rails and monster truck tires, which he won't be big enough to make use of for another year or more.
Yeah, I know he'll end up playing with the wrapping more than the toys within, and yeah, I still haven't made up my mind whether I'm going to play the Santa game with him... I must admit I'm disenclined to do so after trying to get his picture with Santa at Downtown Disney. The minute he turned and saw the old man grinning at him, he burst into tears and reached for his mom. Weirdest thing. He'll allow a five foot tall rat to walk him around the Garden Grill restaurant in EPCOT till the other patrons feel left out, but he squeals in terror at the sight of an old man in a red suit.
At any rate, I find myself looking forward to Christmas, not to play with my new Tivo, or kill a few hundred zombies in Devil May Cry 2... I'm looking forward to the look on my son's face when he stumbles into the living room (he's just beginning to walk, and holds his arms out in front of him like an extra in a George Romero movie) and sees a pile of toys that's twice as tall as he is.
But to change topics, Christmas is not turning out to be such a merry one for everyone out there. Just ask Roy Disney. A couple weeks back, Roy, Walt's nephew and the last remaining Disney on the payroll, resigned his position on the board, and demanded that Michael Eisner do the same. He accused Eisner of causing the same problems that I've been blaming him for for over a year. He's cheapened Walt's legacy by releasing a swarth of shitty direct-to-video sequels to Disney classics to make a quick buck. He's gone on the cheap with the theme parks, a negligence that can arguably be linked to the recent accidental death on the Thunder Mountain attraction at Disneyland. He underpays his employees whilst taking advantage of them, and has taken what was the largest family business in America and turned it into just another money-grubbing corporation, of no more merit or soul than Microsoft or the now defunct Enron.
Mickey is no longer a thriving spirit of Disney. He's just a commodity, a symbol that Eisner has used to make himself rich a thousand times over while those who generate so much of that income get paid, on average, less than 10.00 an hour.
The company recently announced that this spring's "Home On The Range" would be the last hand-drawn animated film produced by Walt Disney Pictures. After Range, everything will be done Pixar-style, despite the fact that Brother Bear was a moderate hit, proving the hand-drawn medium to still be a viable market.
Eisner is all about the money, and thus the rest of the company is slowly being retooled in his image. Give you a quick example. You know of Coca-Cola's relationship with Disney World, yes? Long time partners, they've been. What a lot of people don't know is that, in exchange for product placement, Coca-Cola provides all that Coke purchased at the Disney parks... for free. They don't pay a dime for it. And yet they charge 3.00 for a 1.00 bottle of Coke! Why? Because they can, the money-grubbing bastards what they are.
Roy saw this, saw how Eisner was fucking up his uncle's legacy in the name of the Almighy Dollar, and he's understandably pissed about it. Hell, if my uncle had built a family-based empire with his own two hands only to have it turned into a vile, corrupt beast of a publicly-traded conglomorate monster by a guy with less ethical principal than a great white shark, then I'd be pretty goddamned pissed off too. Eisner's influence is everywhere. You see it the parks, from their consistent over-pricing of everything to the newest attractions (Mission:Space being the only exception) being done so much on the cheap that most of the new rides built in the last 5 years were done by outside contractors, not Walt Disney Imagineering.
It's no wonder than Disneyland Paris is practically bankrupt. It's no wonder that Brother Bear, despite its financial success, is still a film so contrived and soulless that they even forgot to include an actual villain to hate. It's no wonder that the company had to practically give away their vacation packages last spring for half off just to meet quota. And it's no wonder why so many castmembers disappear, angry and frustrated, only to be replaced by another equally dispensible throwaway, who themselves are only a couple months away from realizing what a pile of shit they've willingly stepped in.
They promise the world, but don't deliver. They espouse the need of the individual, then insist that all conform to "Disney look." They switch management plans every three months because someone up there in mid-management is reading random chapters from "Business Management for Dummies" because he started out in the company shoveling horse shit on Main Street USA and wouldn't know business ethics from ethnic music.
Ah shit. Who am I to complain? Just a peon, glaring over his shoulder to see if Big Mouse is watching. Nothing I say matters. Nothing I ever do will make a difference. But perhaps if anyone can, it's Roy. So in honor of the legacy of his esteemed uncle, I offer you this hyper link, which will take you to a website Roy himself has started since his Disney career came to an abrupt end. Read it all yourself, and see if you too would be just a little bit upset.
P.S. ... Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukka, and Happy Qwan... nah, nevermind, fuck Qwanza... goddamned fake holiday. If it's such a huge, established holiday, then where are all the fucking Qwanza songs?
"I'm dreaming of some white bitches..."
"White man's hell, chitlins smell, Jesse's lost his way
Drove by his house to cap him in the mouth in my big ass Chevrolet..."
"On the 12th day of Christmas my white bitch gave to me... a dime bag and ragin' H.I.V...."
"Frosty the white man was a big fat piece of shit. With a wad of cash and a big ass stash and a pair of big bitch tits..."
"..He's making a list, and keeping it straight, finding out which white boys he's not raped, Michael Jacksons coming to town..."
Where's the native american december holiday? How about Chinese? Japanese? Lebanese? Cocheese? Where does it stop? Do other races feel so lost in their own religious identity that they feel the need to concoct such faux-holidays? Isn't the message of religion supposed to TRANSCEND skin color? Weren't the multi-racial nativity scenes and black light up angels enough? Hell, doesn't everyone pretty much accept that Jesus wasn't white these days? Didn't that concession appease? ISN'T IT ENOUGH FOR US TO ADMIT THAT OUR LORD AND SAVIOR WAS A BROTHER?!?! THAT MICHAELANGELO WAS A GODDAMNED LIAR??! FEEL OUR PAIN, DAMN YOU! FEEL OUR PAIN!
...ahem... don't ask... all kidding aside, happy holidays y'all...