April 9, 2021

Derek Chauvin Deserves to Die

Derek Chauvin, the Minneapolis officer on trial for the murder of George Floyd deserves to die. The trial isn't over- I'm willing to wait it through- but the evidence is stacking up against this cop.

As with many people whose crimes are heinous, Derek may even contemplate suicide. It's a way out many take, but punishment awaits for these criminals, including those cowardly attackers who steal innocent lives in Rock Hills, Orange, Boulder, New York, Las Vegas, and way too many other places.  

There's just something even more evil when crimes are committed due to sheer prejudice or the desire to show power. Not all police act in this manner, though. I'm not ready to disband them, but it is time for a deep review of the system that doesn't weed out the wrong types of people.

Make no mistake though, what Mr. Chauvin did to George Floyd is inexcusable. It's totally evil, but it's also human. Our dire human state is one of intense selfishness and brokenness. The Bible calls it sin- and we are all corrupted by it and the choices we have made. In fact, it doesn't take more than a couple of bad choices to really get you someplace you never intended to go.

God's laws designed because of His love to protect us and protect each other. When you break them, nothing good comes from it, and pain is the result. I'd have to learn the hard way, and so do you. We all do. 

Ever spoken against doing and saying these things but chose to follow through anyway?  If so, welcome to the club called humanity, a club for broken and lost people. A club for hypocrites trying to find their way. And a club for everyone who tries get their needs met in ways that hurt others. We're all in it. 

Let's be honest- just because you know the truth doesn't mean you always choose to live it. I know I don't always choose to do what's right. And I would bet you don't either. Sometimes we are swept away by desire or power and do the wrong things. Some of us even make it a regular pattern in our life and try to justify it away. 

Truth is, in God's eyes we are all sinners and deserve death. But by God's goodness and His great Love for us, He chose to send Jesus to earth to die for the sins of all men- so that those who would choose to believe in Him, that he died and rose again, would not be destined to life in Hell forever, but would instead live with Him in Heaven for all eternity. We've got to choose to walk His way and turn around from our evil choices. Is it tough? Damn right it is! But there's no other way. God knew we couldn't pay the price on our own by being perfect, so He sent his Son because of his love- making it clear He is the only way to eternal life in Heaven. 

So, yes, Derek Chauvin deserves to die. So do you, and so do I.  Thank God, Jesus paid the price for our sins. Through Him, we can all have a fresh start- but like all of us, we still have to live with the natural consequences of our choices. What will Derek do now that his sin is exposed and his life is falling apart? You get to make the decision or not to follow Christ and walk life out following him, in spite of your sin, your life, your mistakes. I made mine. Hope and peace and a future was the result of my choice. What is your choice and what will be the result of it?

April 8, 2021

The Holocaust is Not a Myth

It's only shoes, right? No, actually these are the shoes that represent real, live, important to God, people who were executed under Adolph Hitler's regime. One of many warehouses in Auschwitz- filled to the brim. Kid's shoes, shoes of men and women of all ages. 

Think about it. Look at it. Soak it in. All these Holocaust victims had in common was their ethnicity. 

Think it couldn't happen again? Don't be fooled! With more and more moves towards limiting free speech, we are moving closer to an environment like what was found in Germany during the last century.

April 7, 2021

Male Fail #5

Adam Levine is the newest, and probably not the last, man to wear a dress. It's a total male fail! I can only imagine the deserved jokes Blake Shelton will make about it on The Voice.

April 4, 2021

A COVID-19 Easter- The Grinch Strikes Again

In the spirit of Dr. Seuss, I give you the following poem about Easter, COVID-19, and hopefully, a big laugh:

How the Virus Stole Easter
With a nod to Dr. Seuss
Twas late in ‘19 when the virus began, bringing chaos and fear to all people, each land.
People were sick, and the hospitals full; doctors were frantic, and no one in school.
As winter gave way to the promise of spring, the virus raged on, touching peasant and king.
People hid in their homes from the enemy unseen. They YouTubed and Zoomed, social-distanced, and cleaned.
April approached and churches were closed. “There won’t be an Easter,” the world supposed.
“There won’t be church services, and egg hunts are out. No reason for new dresses when we can’t go about.”
Holy Week started, as bleak as the rest. The world was focused on masks and on tests.
“Easter can’t happen this year,” it proclaimed. “Online and at home, it just won’t be the same.”
Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, the days came and went. The virus pressed on; it would not relent.
The world woke up Sunday and nothing had changed. The virus still menaced, the people, estranged.
“Pooh pooh to the saints,” the world started grumbling. “They’re finding out now that no Easter is coming.
“They’re just waking up! We know just what they’ll do! Their mouths will hang open a minute or two, and then all the saints will all cry boo-hoo.
“That noise,” said the world, “will be something to hear.” So it paused and the world put a hand to its ear. And it did hear a sound coming through all the skies. It started down low, then it started to rise.
But it wasn’t depressed. Why, this sound was triumphant! It couldn’t be so! But it grew with abundance! The world stared around, popping its eyes. Then it shook! What it saw was a shocking surprise!
Every saint in each nation, the tall and the small, was celebrating Jesus in spite of it all!
It hadn’t stopped Easter from coming! It came! Somehow or other, it came just the same!
And the world with its life quite stuck in quarantine Stood puzzling and puzzling. “Just how can it be?” “It came without bonnets, it came without bunnies, It came without egg hunts, cantatas, or money.”
Then the world thought of something it hadn’t before. “Maybe Easter,” it thought, “doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Easter, perhaps, means a little bit more.”
And what happened then? Well....the story’s not done. What will YOU do? Will you share with that one or two or more people needing hope in this night? Will you share the source of your life in this fight?
The churches are empty - but so is the tomb, and Jesus is victor o'er death, doom, and gloom. So this year at Easter, let this be our prayer, as the virus still rages around, everywhere.
May the world see hope when it looks at God’s people. May the world see the church is not building or steeple.
May the world find its faith in Jesus’ death and resurrection, May the world find a Joy in a time of dejection. May two-oh-two-oh be the year of survival, but not only that - Let it start a revival.
(Poem by By Kristi Bothur.)

April 3, 2021

Dancing in the Moonlight

Happy Anniversary to my amazing wife! Since we're both working at home now, I appreciate her more than I ever did. What a blessing to realize you still love each other and are such good companions after all these years. This precious photo was taken at our oldest daughter's wedding; at her request a beautiful backyard event, with perfect weather, lots of flowers and twinkling lights as we all celebrated under the stars. Magical.

April 1, 2021

No Fooling! Disneyland's Unbuilt Discovery Bay As You've Never Seen It

Discovery Bay. The name either brings about a collective "That would have been great!" or a blank stare as newer Disney park fans don't know about this proposed but never built land for Disneyland. The land once designed by Tony Baxter and the Imagineers for the northern area of the park is now occupied by Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge.  The project is now Disney legend and lore along the lines of Walt Disney World's Western River Expedition and Thunder Mesa complex at the Magic Kingdom

What would this imaginative land hold? Picture a Barbary Coast San Francisco bridging the thematic gap between Fantasyland and Frontierland. The line up of attractions included an Island at the Top of the World water based attraction, a thrilling roller coaster, an innovative shooting gallery, and undersea restaurant, and - get ready for this - an attraction that had a host and friend very similar to Journey into Imagination's Dreamfinder and Figment. No fooling!

The whole story and more concept art can be found at this post. And that's not the only one here about Discovery Bay. There's more art to be unearthed here. Last count, I recall writing twelve more articles as I continued to discover more concept art and ideas for this amazing never built location!

(Art copyright The Walt Disney Company.)

March 29, 2021

Lil Nas X Knows Luke 10:18, but Does He Know Revelation 20:7-15?

The immensely popular Old Town Road artist, Lil Nas X, has a new single out, Montero (Call Me By Your Name), but his biggest media splash is over a limited edition pair of altered Nike shoes by his collaboration with a company named MSCHF. These shoes include a drop of blood in the heel, a reference to Luke 10:18, and are aptly named "Satan's Shoes". Isn't that cute? But it's not a joke.

He may be aware of the Luke passage (which actually speaks of Satan's fall from Heaven), but I'd suggest for him to read Revelation 20. This passage tells of his forthcoming judgment. From the Bible:

"The Defeat of Satan

7 And when the thousand years are ended, Satan will be released from his prison 8 and will come out to deceive the nations that are at the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them for battle; their number is like the sand of the sea. 9 And they marched up over the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, but fire came down from heaven and consumed them, 10 and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.

Judgment Before the Great White Throne

11 Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. 12 And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. 13 And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done. 14 Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. 15 And if anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire."

So, as you read for yourself in all of Revelation, Jesus wins and Satan is eternally defeated. Kind of a perfect message for Easter, don't you think? Jesus- always the victor and never the defeated.

March 26, 2021

Art Surfaces for Disneyland Paris Log Ride

Disneyland Paris' Frontierland is the best incarnation of the land since the original in Anaheim in the early 1960s. But it was going to get even better! How? Imagine riding in a log down a slippery flume! Sounds like Splash Mountain- but it wasn't. The concept art showing that long empty plot of land out in Frontierland really was set aside for a log ride attraction at Disneyland Paris! The Imagineers had plans. Again, the art is unclear on the story, but was it for the beloved and iconic Splash Mountain? The answer is a solid... maybe but probably not. In a park where attention to theme reigned, a more likely scenario is one true to frontier life the wilderness. One without cartoon characters- be it rabbits and foxes, country critters, or silly old bears.

The great big Cowboy Cookout restaurant.
More than enough nearby space to hold a few new epic attractions!

This piece at top is entitled "Trapper's Cabin- Frontierland". Take a closer look, and you'll see passengers floating by on the flume.  The mountain is certainly added for effect, but the environment says classic Frontierland. 

Why was this never built? Financial woes plagued the resort due to overbuilding of the hotels and a decent amount of overages on the castle park itself. That money problem continued when the woefully ugly but legally required Walt Disney Studios Paris came into being. Right financial pal move, wrong end result for sure. That theme park made California Adventure look like Tokyo Disneysea!

So for now, the huge chunk of land in the most beautiful Magic Kingdom of all sits waiting next to the hastily designed kids area. It was once called Pocohontas Indian Village. Now it is the not very imaginatively named "Frontierland Playground". (There's one more never built attraction for Frontierland, a full blown stunt show! Read about it and see the art here.)

(Art and photograph copyright The Walt Disney Company.)

March 25, 2021

Third Park at Disneyland Resort?

No, it is not WESTCOT, but some people think Disney is planning a third theme park for the Anaheim property. It would be quite the coup if it could be pulled off, but I'm thinking this could be a hoax or at least a ploy to gain new concessions. California Adventure needs so much help as it is. Disneyland is, however, running out of space once Mickey and Minnie's Runaway Railroad is built. (Will Tomorrowland ever be brought into the future?) 

The article by the Orange County Register does give it credibility. The plans are real. The project is part a DisneyForward, a new plan for mixed use development over the next few decades. But the city was the victim of bait and switch years back when the elegant Westcot was swapped for a cut-rate Six Flags meets Universal Studios (of olden days) park ie California Adventure. Fool me once...

The Imagineers can dream can't they? But will the suits can stop it in a flash. We shall see. No dates are given, but the additions include loved properties like Frozen and attractions from all over the world that Disney park fans have been longing for.

Check out more about WESTCOT here and here.

(Art copyright The Walt Disney Company.)

March 24, 2021

Karen Carpenter Strikes Up the Band!

Karen Carpenter- the woman with the golden voice that the whole world loved- strikes up the band with the opening to their concert at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas circa July 1978. She and brother Richard as Carpenters created magic together. Here's proof-

Starting out with a unique vocal version of George Gershwin's Strike Up the Band, Karen calls on Richard to get the concert going. Then once it begins, the duo and band cut into ABBA's Thank You for the Music, and later a beautiful version of the classic When I Fall in Love. Of course, there's her drum solo, Richard's version of the Star Wars / Close Encounters themes and all the hits.

If you can't see the link above, catch it here before it disappears.

March 23, 2021

Disney Goes Big Brother

Disney has decided to use facial recognition software in a test at Walt Disney World. Sure, it seems innocent enough, but if you take a look at China and their use of it there, this is just opening the door to a growing lack of personal freedoms in our country. Of course, evil is always packaged as good so the masses will accept it. Are we in the US on the road to follow them? Check this out:

Freedom Housean organization focused on preserving freedom for all people, publishes an annual report that ranks each country based on a series of issues.  Their 2020 report shows China near the bottom of the rankings of countries where its citizens and information are free. Traditional news agencies  are controlled by the government. Social media networks and other applications and platforms  are monitored by the government and regularly made unavailable during specific times of the day or altogether inoperable during times of protest and political unrest. Number of children is limited. The ability to travel or purchase freely varies. Facial recognition technology is now in use in China's public transportation and continues to be rolled out with even more applications throughout the country. 

It all begins somewhere. Let's hope Disney abandons this idea.

March 22, 2021

Could This Be the Change to the Haunted Mansion?

What's this? Jack Skellington and friends may have a brand new environment in which to play around should this imagineer have their way! Could it be the mysterious loading area for our doombuggies has an enhancement or two coming? This piece of concept art would certainly suggestion that Disneyland's Haunted Mansion is eventually ripe for something new. Lord knows, the park has been closed long enough to fix some existing problems and provide some new surprises! 

(Art copyright The Walt Disney Company.)

March 21, 2021

Hello From Harambe!

How's this for a Sunday morning photograph? Our very friendly visitor during our Kilimanjaro Safaris trek decided to bless us with his profile. As the premier experience at Disney's Animal Kingdom, the journey never fails to impress me- or make me wish I could do the real thing in Africa. But then again, it is experiences like this that make Walt Disney World stand apart from all theme parks.

(Photograph copyright Mark Taft.)