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Updated: 06/28/04

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"Race of Scorpions"
by Dorothy Dunett

go to a dinner


Monday, 28 June, 2004

So the coalition turned over sovereignty to Iraq today, two days early. Good on ya, guys. I'm sure you managed to piss off countless terrorists who were hoping for a world-focus on the 30th in which to create destruction and mayhem. Hah! I'm sure that the terrorists will continue to be complete animals and will continue to blow up things and kill people, but gosh, now they're doing it to a sovereign Arab nation. I don't think that the Iraqi security forces will settle for mere prison humilitation if they get their hands on them.

And this is pretty cool:

A note from U.S. National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice to President George W. Bush, confirming the formal handover of power in Iraq on June 28, 2004 is seen in this White House photo. The note was passed to Bush during a NATO summit in Istanbul prompting Bush to scribble back: 'Let freedom reign.' Photo by Reuters.

Note from Condi Rice to President Bush


When I worked at Disneyland, (mumble-mumble) years ago, one of the best things was going to "Disney University" for a couple of days. This is the brainwashing, err, I mean, initiation course for new cast members, where one learns terms such as "on-stage" and "backstage", "guest" versus "customer", and how to go to "wardrobe" to pick up one's "costume." They also take all of the newbies on a tour of the park and point out little secrets designed to enhance the guests' experience.

As one enters Disneyland, the ground is painted red. Walt originally wanted the ground to have a red carpet on it so the guests would feel like they were famous people as they entered. Given the wear and tear on a real carpet, the red painted surface was chosen. As one goes through the tunnels under the train station, Walt wanted people to feel they were entering a movie, and originally wanted red curtains across the tunnel entrances.

Main Street was built using forced perspective. The second floor of the buildings are 7/8's scale, and third floor is 7/8's of the second to create the illusion that the buildings are taller than they really are. In addition, the buildings are smaller coming into the park so that the street looks longer. This has the opposite effect while guest are leaving the park; because the street appears shorter, guests are made to think they have plenty of time to get out, so they will slow down and do some shopping.

The windows of the upper floors on Main Street are painted with the names of people who were important to Walt Disney and Disneyland. Some of them are designers, some retired Disney executives. The names located along Main Street are also set in order of the opening credits to a movie. Walt's name is the last one, located at the end of Main Street on the Ice Cream Parlor.

In keeping with the movie theme, the first smell one encounters upon entering is popcorn from the popcorn vendors. Hence, the effect of walking into a movie theater. While the popcorn smell is real, there are vents at street level that blow scents into the street from the Candy Palace. In the summer, one can smell vanilla and in the winter, around Christmas, peppermint. It was Walt's idea, to add to the experience, but I'm sure those aromas have enticed many a buyer into the Candy Palace as well. Personally, I used to go for the white chocolate myself.

Now there is a small firm in England called Dale Air that specializes in creating scents (Hat tip to John K):

"Where do you start?" asked Frank Knight, director of this small British firm which specializes in "themed aromas."

Most of the smells it creates, like "Granny's Kitchen" or "Burnt Wood," are designed to enhance museum visits or call up long-lost memories.

Re-creating the breath of a T-Rex for a huge model dinosaur in London's Natural History Museum posed challenges all of their own.

"We spoke to palaeontologists, who gave us a description of the dinosaur. Basically the bigger the creature the smellier they were," said Knight, who is passionate about accuracy.

"The dinosaurs would have had open sores from fighting, and rotting meat stuck in the gaps between their teeth. "We needed all these features in the eventual odor," he said.

T-Rex breath turned out so accurate and so revolting, the curators instead opted for a milder swamp smell to evoke the creature's natural habitat.

Dale Air started life as an air-freshener firm. Then founder Fred Dale, who died earlier this year, found a lucrative sideline.

He was invited to mix familiar odors from the 1920s for use in old peoples' homes. These triggered memories and encouraged conversation among elderly residents.

Dale never looked back. Soon museums were commissioning smells such as Dead Roman Soldier's Armpit and Viking Loo.

[Just think what the Jungle Cruise would be like with Smell-O-Vision!]

Speaking of Disney rumor has it that the Disneyland designers used to love to play practical jokes, one in particular on Walt.

He had bought a baby turtle for his office, which he fed each morning by hand. The crew starting purchasing slightly bigger turtles, and would replace the turtle with a bigger one each day. Walt began to boast how fast his turtle was growing, surprised at his rapid growth, until one day, when they began replacing the turtle with progressively smaller versions Walt eventually caught on, but not before it was the original tiny turtle, and he asked what was up . . .

Not sure about the authenticity of the story, but it sounds plausible. The Disney ImaginEARS have always had over-active senses of humor.

Finally, the Word of the Day is "Irregardless". Jon LOVES this word. The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language notes:

Irregardless is a word that many mistakenly believe to be correct usage in formal style, when in fact it is used chiefly in nonstandard speech or casual writing. Coined in the United States in the early 20th century, it has met with a blizzard of condemnation for being an improper yoking of irrespective and regardless and for the logical absurdity of combining the negative ir- prefix and -less suffix in a single term. Although one might reasonably argue that it is no different from words with redundant affixes like debone and unravel, it has been considered a blunder for decades and will probably continue to be so.

[Personally, I believe there should be fines for improper yolking.]

Quote du jour:

"People spend money when and where they feel good."

-- Walt Disney (1901 - 1966) US movie producer

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