Looks Like King Missile Had The Right Idea After All

This is the best news story I’ve read in a while: the headline simply reads "Penis Theft Panic Hits City."  Let’s be honest here – if that doesn’t get you to read a story, nothing will.

Apparently a bunch of people in Kinshasa, the capital city of the Republic of Congo, believe that some sort of gold ring-wearing witch doctors are touching them on public transportation and either stealing their penises or shrinking them.  Obviously, this isn’t REALLY happening, and there is a quote in the article that got "But when you try to tell the victims that their penises are still there.." which brings up a great image of someone at the police station with his pants down insisting that his penis isn’t there any more. 

The only people excited about this news story are the men in Kinshasa who aren’t very well endowed.  Now when they hook up with a woman, they can just claim that it was witchcraft that gave them the tiny tools. 

Cool Web Sites

Want to share a couple of web sites that I’ve recently found and thought are interesting enough to share:

Food411.com – A great foodie site, in a traditional portal format, with links to lots of other great food and drink-related sites and articles

First I heard about True Mom Confessions which led to True Office Confessions and True Bride Confessions and True Green Confessions. The blog roll on the front page makes for quick, easy, and addictive entertainment on all of them.

My bride-to-be and I are starting to think about cleaning up and cleaning out our old stuff, trying to sell off whatever we can, and any old electronics are probably going to be sold via Second Rotation.

And last but not least, to satisfy your inner paranoid freak in all of us, visit 72 Hours which helps you with planning for an unexpected disaster.  Of course, if you’re planning for it, is really unexpected, and wouldn’t it be better to have all the information in hard copy format, since if a disaster is really hitting, chances are you won’t be able to get online to view the site…  The site is actually San Fransisco-focused, but the information is good for anyone.

That ‘Ol Disney Magic

For this week, most of my blogging activity will be happening over at The Johnson Family Vacation Blog, which is part of the overall Johnson Vacation web site.

However, I did have some thoughts while walking about Disney’s Animal Kingdom this afternoon – how could a Pop Culture Gangster not after all? – and wanted to share them before they snuck out of my poor tired little brain.

It has been about 10 years or so since I’ve been to Disney, and since then I’ve been fortunate enough to travel many places and have a great number of experiences: from dancing in a New Orleans parade, to attending a Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica; from walking the Sunset Strip in Los Angeles to strolling along the streets of Vancouver.  Whether I’ve traveled for work or business, I’ve sought out authentically local experiences, from food and drink to culture and pastimes. 

When you go to Disney, they try very hard – and succeed mostly – to give you a taste of a different world.  It may be weird mix of Dinosaurs and Americana as is the case in Dinoland in the Animal Kingdom, or the very cool Tibetan/Asian vibe that the area around the Everest ride has.  That was probably my favorite part of the park – I thought they did a great job with the decor and extras, as well as with the smells of the food and little touches in the waiting lines that gave you a taste of the country that you’re supposed to feel like you’re in.  Not that I’ve ever been there, so I guess more appropriately, it feels like what I think it is supposed to feel like.

Which brings me to my main observation: Disney is incredibly good at creating remarkably realistic imaginary tableaux that make you feel like you’re elsewhere, but when you turn around from that, you’ll still surrounded by vendors selling Coca-Cola and McDonald’s fries, ice cream carts and souvenir stores every ten feet.  It is a delicate line that they tread: educational vs. fun, experiential vs. simply being an amusement park.  I think it is that attention to detail and Disney’s unique ability to take the harsh Nepal terrain and make it family-friendly that drives so many to their parks.

However, like anyone else who looks at these things with a critical eye – and Disney certainly has their fair share of critics and analysts – one hopes that it doesn’t REPLACE the real experience, or that it forces the real thing to become more Disneyesque to meet the false expectations set by the fake thing.

I’m not going to give you any big insight here, partially because it is 1:00 A.M. and I’m pretty friggin tired.  But because I haven’t quite figured it out.  Tomorrow is Epcot and its pavilion of 13 countries.  Maybe that will help me pin it down.  I know that it isn’t a complaint, but it is something that makes me want to experience the real thing; to see a trading post in Nepal, to see a 60’s-style roadside Dinosaur exhibit or eat Chinese food in China.  It makes me appreciate how realistic they make the Disney experience but yearn for the real thing.  Maybe I’ll be able to answer why by the end of the week.