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Sunday, July 17, 2011

If I could have pears in a bottle...

Well, today is July 17th. A date that lives in infamy. No, it does, look it up. Today is the anniversary of the day the fountain of youth was discovered. It's the day Disneyland first opened, Fifty-I dunnoquitehowmany years ago.

I've mentioned before how much I used to like Disneyland and how much I think it sucks now. Ticket prices jacked beyond comprehension in the middle of a recession, all backed by the Disney corporate mantra, which goes something like "if we're here they will come, even if they can't afford a jar of peanut butter." I used to work for the jerks, I know how they think.

The corporate idea is that people COME to Disneyland as if it's the shining Mecca of no interest rates. And it doesn't matter that it's a hundred bucks a head to go in, because you're going to go home to Lincoln, Nebraska and have this memory with you until the day you die. In other words, if you don't lose your house financing a trip to a Disney Theme Park your kids will be reported to child and family welfare because you're not properly caring for them and you, yourself, will wither and die a sad, lonely, miserable death somewhere in the Great Plains.

Problem is, most of the people who go to Disneyland all live in Los Angeles and/or Orange County. Only 80% of them actually HAVE kids, the rest have cats, and each other. The ones with kids have way more money than they need, enough, in fact, that they cough up something in the neighborhood of 500 bucks for every kid over the age of NINE so they can spend their idle, unfilled hours wandering around an overpriced amusement park.

They'll be out in force today and its one scary force, believe me. They charge their friends about 100 bucks a "team" for the privilege of participating in a semi-annual re-enactment of the Bataan Death March. I've often thought of mentioning this analogy to them, but then I would have to explain just WHAT, WHEN and WHERE said death march took place, as I doubt any of them have ever heard of it. If it doesn't exist to personally enrich them, it's not anything anyone needs to know about. Besides, it was before their time. Contrary to popular belief, the Stone Age was before MY time but I've heard of it. Anyway, the team who gets to the prison camp first is allowed to chose their heart's desire from a card table chock full of unsellable Lladro Mickey Mouse knock offs, courtesy of a local, overpriced "but we're in an architecturally designed Old Town" shoppe. Yes, shoppe. All stores of this nature are "shoppes," which enables them to add 250 bucks to the going rate of absolutely everything they sell, which, as we all know, is what it currently costs to buy a vowel. That extra "e" doesn't come cheap, you know.

I've been on several of these marches. There are hundreds of people, all paying to play a sort of scavenger hunt/Games Magazine tribute. If you know Donald Duck's middle name (and his birthday), you're not eligible. If you CARE what his middle name and his birthday are, well, then you've passed the second test for eligibility and hail fellow, well met. The first test is: Did your check clear?

I stopped going to these several years ago. In the first place, I found out that most of my entry fees were used to take the staff of the "adventure" to dinner at "Club 33", which is one of those "if you have to ask" places. In the second place, well, I got tired of paying people money to abuse my family and me. I sure as hell didn't want the crap they were offering as prizes thus allowing the "Shoppe" owner to write the unsellable crap off of her taxes.

I quit a LONG time before they started throwing my family and me out of public places, btw. After someone had apoplexy at the sight of the hubster, standing in a hotel lobby having used a public restroom, one of those "Oh, you're so smart, kick me again" people all staffs of any organization seem to attract sent me a letter telling me that I was unclean and so was my money and never, EVER attempt to give any of it to them. The fact that I hadn't shoveled a DIME into any of their coffers for the last three years was conveniently overlooked.

I enjoyed the letter immensely, just as I think someone's arrogance has reached its limits you hear about something like this...someone SO good, SO special, SO desirable that your money is deemed not good enough for them. You have NO idea how much I enjoyed that letter, and NO idea how far I spread it around, including posting it on my Facebook page. It's probably the apex of my illustrious very existence in Southern California drove someone to write me and tell me my money isn’t good enough for them.

It doesn't get much better than that. But I digress...

Why did all of this pop into my head now? Well, the hubster watches Food TV non-stop on the weekend and, as I was crunching numbers, I heard a show about theme park food. An HOUR of theme park food. They actually FILLED an hour. Well, there was a Disney chef proudly showing off the Mickey Mouse shaped cucumbers and the Mickey Mouse shaped pumpkins. And isn't this a wonderful way to get kids to eat vegetables?

Okay, first off, he showed how to make cucumbers and pumpkins grow like rats' ears. You put a plastic mold around them and they grow into the shape easy-peasy, kind of like that field somewhere in France where all the pear trees look like they're growing liquor bottles.

Don't ask me about the worm in the tequila bottle, there are some things even I won't drink. Well, anyway, yeah, it's a corporate logo in a salad bar. But I started thinking, always a dangerous occupation. Instead of making cucumbers look like mouse heads, why not make them TASTE GOOD? I mean, maybe if the vegetables taste good your kids will actually EAT them and you don't need to go to all that plastic mold trouble.

For example: I HATE cucumbers. LOATHE them. Braised, raw, plated in gold or infused with gin. Doesn't matter. If they handed me a cucumber shaped like George Clooney, naked, I would pass it up. What makes people think kids are any different? If they don't LIKE the cucumber, they won't EAT it. Game over.

I intend to celebrate this holiest of days in my own way. "Carmageddon" is in full swing and has proved MOST entertaining. The subways and rapid buses that operate from the area of the 405 to Downtown L.A. are free all week-end AND operating on double time schedules. I intend to take the subway downtown, prowl the fabric district and feed my face a lamb dip from Philippe's, the place where the French Dip Sandwich was invented over 100 years ago. I figure the places I'll be marching through have probably seen their fair share of rats and mice and so it seems like a fitting way to celebrate the birthday of what a small group of fanatics have turned into the snottiest place on earth.

I also thought, speaking of theme park food, of celebrating by driving down to Knott's Berry Farm for their fried chicken dinner and a slice of Boysenberry pie. If you've never had Mrs. Knott's Fried Chicken, well, you've never eaten a chicken worth being called a chicken. And their biscuits, I'm sorry to say, are better than mine. All of their food is a hell of a lot better than the food a little farther down the freeway, you can go into the restaurant without even entering the park, thus saving one the price of a ticket and they're always happy to see you. Not to mention that the biscuits look like biscuits, not Walter Knott’s nose. Sounds kind of like what Walt Disney had in mind all along, no?

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