Saturday, February 10, 2018


I need to put something exciting on this blog page.   The SpaceX Heavy Falcon rocket launch and Elon Musk's car in outer space with a space-suited mannequin sitting casually in the driver's seat seemed exciting. 

 I know, everyone wants something bigger and better.   How about a video of Starman riding along in the Tesla passing by earth?   Click on the arrow to see the video.  
No?   Tired of hearing about Starman?   Okay, I have got something really exciting.    Really, really big.  How about a space station falling out of orbit and plunging to earth in a huge fireball?   

Yeah, that got your attention.    No, not the International Space Station but rather the Tiangong-1 Chinese Space Station.   Yep, that's right folks it is spiraling down and is expected to make it's fiery plunge around the middle of March (give or take 2 weeks).   The Chinese have lost control of the space station so it is not possible to have a planned descent and burn-up.   This space station is going to come down when it wants to and will crash wherever it wants to.

The Chinese astronauts on board the Tiangong-1 space station.

You can see the current orbit of the Tiangon-1 at the website link below.   Look out Chicago there is a satellite spiraling down about to pass over you.

Chicago you are safe (for the moment).   It has passed you by.   But it will be coming back again and again.

Come March keep your eyes trained to the Heavens.   I hope that this will be enough excitement for you.   It just seems like such a waste to go through all the expense of putting a space station in orbit and then just let it fall back to Earth and burn up.   I heard that Elon Musk is thinking of taking tourists to the space station.   What do you think of it?   Would you go?    Would I go?   No way!   I will keep my feet on terra firma right here in the good old USA.   I left the country once to go to the Yucatan to see the Mayan pyramids and got sick as a dog.   And so now I have an aversion to traveling out of the country.   Have great day.    Lew

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Mr. Potato Head

Nursery rhymes begin with "Once Upon a time.....".    I was working at Disney Springs in a toy store called Once Upon a Toy.   A nice play on words between the nursery rhyme and the toy store. 

What a great job.   Can you imagine what fun it is to work in a customer friendly toy store?    No?    I can tell what fun it was ad infinitum.  

I had injured my knee and was on temporary light duty and was assigned to "stocker duties" at the toy store.    I worked in the back.   When you work where the guests (customers) are it is called "onstage".   When you work in the back where the are no guests it is called "backstage".   To go backstage you pass through a portal.   The portals are not readily apparent but if you know what to look for you can spot them.  In the picture below the portal (door) is behind the large Star Wars sign.   See the woman in the blue blouse and the tan pants?   She is close to the doors.

Now you can see it better.   Doesn't look like there is much behind those doors.   But there is: a large stockroom, offices, break room for employees, etc.

My job was unwrapping the accessories (arms, legs, hats. eyes, ears......) for Mr. Potato Head.


These were small items and came with tissue paper very tightly wrapped around each individual piece.    I have no idea how they got the paper so tight.  I really enjoyed my work because of the great working atmosphere.   Initially it was quite difficult getting the tissue paper off but I finally mastered a technique for getting the tissue paper off easily.   In a 6 hour shift I would unwrap literally thousands of these pieces.   It was a repetitious job but my fellow cast members were always friendly and happy.   And the managers were the same, very pleasant and nice.    As a child I had a Mr. Potato Head but back then you would only get the accessories and would have to use a real potato.   But times have changed and now there is a plastic "potato".

And the variety of accessories are mind boggling.  

In the store the accessories would be placed in these long plastic tubes with a different accessory in each tube.  

All of them unwrapped by me.   Here is a curious aside;   one day a manager asked a fellow cast member if he would do an inventory of the store after it closed.   I asked the cast member how he was going to count all of the thousands of little accessory pieces.   He laughed and he said that they weigh all of the accessory pieces of a single kind at once, say the arms.   They knew how much each arm weighed and so they could calculate how many individual pieces there were.   A neat idea.   What would I have done?   Probably sat there and counted each piece one at a time.   LOL.    What I am coming to is, that I do a jigsaw puzzle on the internet each night and one night there was a Mr. Potato Head puzzle which I did along with a flood of memories from my days working in the toy store.   But I guess that you could say that I was the Mr. Potato Head guy because I unwrapped all of the little arms, legs, eyes, ears, lips, etc.   Below is a picture of the completed jigsaw puzzle and a link to the jigsaw puzzle.   The puzzle only has 50 pieces and so won't take hardly any time at all.

Have a lot of fun doing the Mr. Potato Head jigsaw puzzle.   And hopefully for those of you who had a Mr. Potato Head it might bring back some fond memories.   Did anyone have the early version where you had to provide a real potato?
Bye.   Lew


Friday, January 26, 2018

Stilt Walkers

I was at the Magic Kingdom in Disney World yesterday and there was a parade. 

I saw the stilt walkers and was surprised to see that they are now wearing safety helmets.  

I started to wonder if that was a recent safety requirement by OSHA (Occupational Health and Safety Administration) or did Disney require it in the interest of safety.   I know that they are pretty good at keeping their balance but what if they trip on something or slip on a wet spot.   And look at the picture of a stilt walker who is leaning to his right.   It just seems that he is leaning way too far.   And if you look at his left foot it is up off the ground.
Here he seems to be running and has both feet off the ground.
You can tell by the shadows.   The shadow doesn't meet the foot.
It is a long way to fall and they will be landing on hard concrete.  When I was working at Disney and having my afternoon break.   They had a TV in the room for the employees to watch.   But it was on a shelf that was almost to the ceiling.   There was no way to change the channel.   The door to the backstage area opens and in walks a stilt walker (who had to bend way over top get through the doorway) and he walks over to the television and he changed the channel and stood there leaning against the wall watching television.   He didn't stay long because the parade was forming up backstage and it was almost parade time.   He didn't have a helmet on and I don't remember the stilt walkers wearing helmets back then (14 years ago).   But I am glad that they do wear helmets for safety.   Walt Disney World where everyone is happy and having a great time.   Lew

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Mangos and Coke

A long time ago on a warm summer day in Miami, FL I had parked my car and was walking toward the Miami Science Museum.

I was going to see a show at the Miami Space Transit Planetarium which is part of the Science Museum.

There are lots of mango trees on the grounds of the Science Museum and they always seem to produce a bumper crop of mangos.

I heard a thud noise and looked to my left to see that a mango had fallen to the ground from a tree.  

I picked it up and saw that it had split open.   I had never eaten a mango before and so I decided to sample this one since it had a split in it from the fall.   I took out my pocketknife and cut it completely open.   It was delicious.  

Being that it had fallen, it was dead ripe and at its maximum sweetness.   Plus the warmth made it taste even sweeter.    It tasted like a peach but with more peachy flavor than a peach.   I have been a lover of mangos ever since.   Yes, I know that a mango is probably more like a stringy peach.   I saw that recently that Coca Cola has come out with a new line of diet cokes.  

I was at Walmart yesterday and they had a display of these new diet cokes.   The cans were singles and cost 78 cents.   I picked up a can of the Twisted Mango and put it into the refrigerator to get nice and cold.   This morning I tried it and I could taste the mango flavor but the Mango flavor and the coke flavor didn't seem to mix well for me.   It was quasi good but I don't think that I would get it again.   Other people may like it.   Maybe the Zesty Blood Orange will be better.  But, I think that Coke should have used a name without the word blood in it.   I will probably end up trying the Ginger Lime and Zesty Cherry just to see what they are like.   Has anyone else tried any of the new flavored diet cokes?   Have a pleasant day.    Lew


Sunday, January 14, 2018

Pride Rock

Pride Rock.   Ever heard of it?   If you are young or young enough at heart to watch Disney movies like The Lion King then you will have heard of Pride Rock.

In the movie The Lion King Pride Rock is a group of rocks where a Pride of Lions and thus the name Pride Rock.
I recently went to see the Festival of the Lion King show at Animal Kingdom in Walt Disney World.   It was really a spectacular show.   And it lasted for 30 minutes which also made it well worth waiting for.   After all, who likes waiting in line for a quickie ride.
Pride Rock was featured throughout the show with the lion on it making movements and expressions most all of the time.    It was a nice touch.
There is a Broadway musical The Lion King which I am sure must be a lot longer than 30 minutes, but the show at Animal Kingdom was just fine for me.
Plus at Disney after the show there is an African themed restaurant called Tuskers featuring African foods located right next to the Festival of the Lion King.   And it is a buffet.
A nice place to sit and relax in air conditioning on a hot summer day while having a sumptuous meal.    After a lot of walking and a lot of waiting in lines for the rides it just feels so good just to sit and relax.
Their menu I am not familiar with except the rotisserie chicken because I have not eaten there recently.
And remember it is a buffet with lots of food.
Remember when I said above that I was familiar with their rotisserie chicken?   I worked at Tusker House at one time and they were noted for their rotisserie chicken.   Yes, I really did work at the restaurant for a while because I was on light duty due to a knee injury.   But normally I worked in the It's Tough to be a Bug show, also called A Bug's Life.   I loved working at the Disney World Animal Kingdom.   It is the most fun job that I have ever had.   All of the guests (customers) were happy, all my fellow cast members (employees) were super pleasant and nice, and the managers were great and kind.   My name badge.
The Tusker House restaurant was closed for some time while it was refurbished and it was reopened as a buffet.   I would recommend dining there because of the wide selection of different foods.
But let's get back to Pride Rock.   There is another Pride Rock at Disney.   I had to go through training in Animal Kingdom.   On my first day my trainer contacted me and told me to meet her at 8:00 am at Pride Rock.    I said fine but what and where is Pride Rock.   She said that it was the cast members (employees) cafeteria in Animal Kingdom.   She gave me directions on how to get there and so I met her at Pride Rock (cafeteria building).   Notice the pine tree in the background in the picture below towering above the roof of Pride Rock (cafeteria).   It isn't really a pine tree.   It is a communications tower designed to look like a pine tree.   Sure fooled me until someone told what it really was.

Both on-stage and back-stage cast members use the cafeteria.   So now we all know about the various Pride Rocks.   There is so much more to tell but I think that it is time to wrap this blog up.   Have a pleasant day.   Lew


Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Hall of Presidents

It's January and now my "block-out" dates at Disney World are over.   What are "block-out dates?   They are those days when I cannot use my weekday annual pass for free admission to Disney World.   These are the days when the parks at Disney World are extremely busy.    Days in green are "GO".   Like a traffic light where the green lights means "GO".   So as you can see the last two weeks in December I wasn't able to go to Disney on my weekday annual pass.  
But January is essentially all green with the exception of January 1 and 2. 
I am anxious to go to the Hall of Presidents in Magic Kingdom to see the show.   It has been closed for so long.

I want to see if the animatronic figure of President Trump really looks as bad as what I have seen on the internet.   How natural are the movements of the animatronic.

At another site was a picture which I think looks more like him.   What do you think?   And that long tie.   Is the long tie going to be a new fashion trend?

And for those who haven't seen the you tube video of someone yelling "lock him up, lock him up, lock him up" when President Trump started to speak, here is the link to it.   Hopefully there won't be any demonstrators interrupting the show when I go.   The President Trump speaking is only a small part of the show.

I think that the portrait hanging on the wall inside the Hall of Presidents is a good likeness of President Trump.   The picture of President Ronald Reagan is a very good likeness.   I am not aware of any Fastpass for the Hall of Presidents which means I may have to stand in line for a protracted period of time.   And it is a bit cool right now to stand in line.   But it could be worse, at least I won't be standing in knee deep snow.   That is one of the advantages of living in Florida.   Have the best of a day that you can with this weather that we have been having.

I have to apologize for the picture above.   I got the picture from somewhere on the internet.   I don't remember where.   I went to the Hall of Presidents today to see the show.   I looked for President Trump's portrait hanging on the wall next to President Ronald Reagan.   To my surprise instead of President Trump there was, I believe, President Woodrow Wilson instead.   So the picture above may have been photo-shopped.   I am not sure.   I asked one of the cast members and she said that there is not a portrait of the current president in the Rotunda.   If it was photo-shopped then that is the 2nd time this week that it has happened to me (fooled by photo-shopping).  The actual picture which I took myself today is below.