March 31, 2008

Time Passages

Aloha Airlines just let its employees know it will no longer continue operations. Really too bad as almost 3,000 people drew their income from this inter-island Hawaiian carrier. Families are in shock and trying to reevaluate their lives and their future.

This closing impacts two good friends of mine, pilots who have served this airline and its passengers for many, many years. I do not know what they will do and how this will affect their families in the long term. I do know this, the God they serve will be present in this hard time and will give them hope and direction in the midst of it all. They have placed their faith in Him long ago- and now, again, it is time to have this faith tested- and for it to be proven true.

The promise of life in Jesus doesn't mean things are easy. It just means He is true when He says He will never leave us or turn away from us. That is where our peace and our comfort remains, not in the circumstances in which we find ourselves.

Pleasure Island's Past

During our first trip to Walt Disney World in 1982, we really enjoyed the peaceful and serene Disney Village. Seven years later, journeying with three kids to see the month old Disney-MGM Studios, we discovered Pleasure Island adjacent to the Village.

Below are two pictures from that trip- one of the now defunct Merriweather's Market and the other the Fireworks Factory. The Factory was home of some terrific and varied barbeque, and the Market, if memory serves me right, was the place to go for deli sandwiches and snacks.

The last photo below is from 1992: the Rock N Roll Beach Club. Even with a pretty cool logo and some fine design touches, at this point in time, the place was pretty empty and soon on its way out. Rollerskating here was a thing of the past as well.
Downtown Disney became the name of this complex once the West Side was added. Surely, Disney's plans for this ever growing piece of real estate will continue to change and evolve as the years go on. The T-Rex Restaurant is on its way and a rumored Apple Store, too. Hopefully, Disney will see fit to save one of the original nightspots- the truly original Adventurer's Club.

(Photos copyright Mark Taft.)

March 29, 2008


Annie Lennox never fails to surprise.

Pairing with Dave Stewart as the Tourists but later finding fame as the Eurythmics, Annie crafted some of the most haunting songs of the era: "Sweet Dreams", "Would I Lie to You?" and "Here Comes the Rain Again" to name a few. Just when we think we've got her figured out, Annie makes us hear her afresh, dueting with Aretha Franklin- and easily holding her own with the Queen of Soul.

Her solo career is also full of the unexpected: It's a gutsy move to cover the Clash's "Train in Vain" and change it into a new pop masterpiece, add new emotional depth to Paul Simon's "Something So Right" or a sing along vibe to "Walking on Broken Glass". Previewing an inspired concert pairing, she and Sting brought new life to his classic "We'll Be Together". With both of them working it out, it's a brand new song.

Her voice strong yet vulnerable, her songs choices bold and inspired, and her image ever transforming, Annie Lennox has carved out a place in pop history- one that will not be easily replaced.

March 28, 2008

Our Future in Colors

Still on my Tomorrowland kick, so here is another piece of Disneyland history. This map comes from the 1957 souvenir book. After an introduction by Walt, each land has a color map, an introductory description and then a detailed list of shops, restaurants, attractions (many labeled "rides"), exhibits and services. To top it off, all this is followed by some great period photographs.

If you enlarge this piece, in addition to the "nifty" graphic artwork, you'll clearly see an empty space where the Matterhorn now sits and a section labeled "International Land (Future Development Area)". Major additions like the Submarine Lagoon, the Carousel Theater and Space Mountain have yet to be added as well. Interestingly, most of the core buildings in place then are still around today.

As we speak, Tomorrowland continues to evolve. Internet rumors say change is on its way. What will the future hold? Only the Imagineers know for sure, but I bet it will be colorful.

(Art copyright The Walt Disney Company.)

March 27, 2008

Happy Friends Reunion

Didn't you smile just seeing this picture? Can't you hear the Friends theme song now? We welcomed this very lovable group of misfits into our home on a regular basis, and we quickly discovered we couldn't stay away. These folks were kind and warm, quirky, funny, and 100% dedicated to each other. Though they were far from perfect, we cheered for them to succeed, laughing most of the time, crying others.

As much as we loved them, their eccentricities reminded us of people we knew and hurt with: Chandler and his rotten self image and unfortunate childhood; poor abandoned Phoebe, trying everything and anything to find peace and purpose; Lovable, childlike man-whore Joey, who thought the solutions to his problems were to be found in endless sexual escapades; the ever popular Rachel- rich and spoiled, she struggled when things didn't go her way and she had to live within limits; and our majorly disfunctional siblings Monica and Ross- one such a control and neat freak that she drove most men away and the other so controlled by his emotions that he jumped from marriage to marriage to find value.

Thankfully, at the end of a decade, we got to see them grow up! Still far from perfect but now making more healthy adult choices. If they can do it, there's hope for all of us. Gotta love them- and I do- at least enough for late night TV reunions.

March 26, 2008


The last few months I've seen an increasing amount of marriages fall apart. Shattered lives and dreams, broken kids and broken people. Most of these marriages could have made it, but there were a few recurring themes that caused each of these to fall apart.

Forgiveness is at the top of the list. It's to be expected that two people sharing lives are going to hurt each other, sometimes seriously. I've seen forgiveness heal the toughest of circumstances and lack of it turn a small offense into the root of destruction. Please don't let your hurts build up. Work it out.

Secondly, selfishness is a huge culprit in destroying love. Grow up a bit, buckle down, and learn to prefer the other partner. Focus on meeting their needs. If both do that, each person's needs are met and love grows. It is not all about you.

Lastly, please talk. Good communication builds love and respect. Gentle honesty adds to trust and reassures commitment. It amazes me how the simple art of talking, which caused love to grow in the first place, becomes relegated to drudgery. This issue goes all the way back to the first marriage. Had the residents of the garden practiced talking before action, chances are that forbidden fruit would have stayed on the tree. Somewhere, somehow, we need to learn these lessons or we'll pass on a heritage of pain.

Old Tennants of Pirates of the Caribbean

Here's another piece of concept art from my 1972 Walt Disney World souvenir book. Pirates of the Caribbean finally arrives. 

This was used as part of a promotion for upcoming attractions, and it included new art for Space Mountain and Western River Expedition as well. The above depicted scene is actually part of history now, as Captain Jack Sparrow currently rules the roost on this location. When this scene was fully realized, it made a nice "topping off" of the attraction as well as adding something unique from Disneyland's version. Again, as with all concept art, rights belong to Disney.

(Art copyright The Walt Disney Company.)

March 24, 2008

The Many Faces of "It's A Small World"

At this point in time, most everyone knows about the proposed changes to this Disneyland classic. Whether or not Disneyland gains character additions similar to those that will surface in Hong Kong Disneyland's version has yet to be seen. What we do know is this wouldn't be the first time this Anaheim classic takes on design elements found in another Disney park.

Although the white and gold exterior remains the definitive version in California, for a few years, Anaheim's "It's A Small World" adopted a similar color scheme to its Paris cousin. Seeing it for the first time in 1994, I was struck by the way the change in color made me view the building differently. It was whimsical and friendly, fresh and fun. And it was short lived. But, much like a few other photos that are rare shots I'm glad I took, it's here!

Whatever happens by the end of the year, one thing is certain- Disney will continue to change their parks. Now whether it is "plussing" the park, making it better as Walt himself used to say, is certainly in the eye of the beholder, but in Disney's land, nothing lasts forever.

(Photo copyright Mark Taft.)

March 22, 2008


Want a little uplifting music for this Easter Sunday- or maybe something to brighten everyday? Try Chris Tomlin's See the Morning. It's filled with heartfelt and inspiring music, passionate vocals, and a healthy dose of Rock and Roll! This guy is wonderful live! I had the opportunity to see him in Anaheim a couple of years ago and was not disappointed. Pick up this disc when you're looking for a break from a tough day. You'll be glad you did.

Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft

(Thinking of Karen and Richard Carpenter? I have tons of Carpenters related posts on this blog- including album. by album reviews. Just not this article... but keep reading for something Carpenters related. )

Still on the Tomorrowland kick... I wanted to post this for quite awhile, but couldn't find it until now. 

I took this photo in 1990 of concept art for a new use of the Carousel Theater at Disneyland. I believe the name was to be Plectu's Intergalatic Revue. This was back in the day before characters invaded, when aliens from other planets came and staked territory first. 

As with America Sings, these friendlier aliens were to put on this show, and in a different attraction, an angrier alien was to make his appearance at the West Coast version of the great Alien Encounter. Plans change, ideas change, and this concept art was eventually removed from the public eye. The building would have looked great- and I left the enlarged image quite big so that the details can be seen.
Below is part of a continuing series of posts on the albums of Karen and Richard Carpenter. Below is the list of my initial reviews and then my "Revisited /Fresh Look" reviews a decade later. 

My Initial Reviews of the albums:

March 21, 2008

The Controversy Continues

It's Good Friday for we who believe and so commemorate the passion of Jesus of Nazareth.

Just like Mel Gibson's movie masterpiece, Jesus is controversial- and His story timeless. Magazines still devote cover stories to Him, books continue to be written, songs composed, and films made. Each piece brings to the forefront Jesus' own question to his disciple Peter, and it is one we all must answer: "Who do you say I am?"

March 20, 2008

Disney's Real California Adventure

From this man's opinion, things are looking real fine at Paradise Pier at California Adventure. Thanks to Darkbeer and his photo updates, this landlocked man gets a glimpse every few days of how the construction on Toy Story Midway Mania is progressing.

For the Walt Disney Company, I believe the real California Adventure involves much more than turning attendance around and upward at this theme park. There is alot more at risk- and much more to prove now.

Let's be honest- most of us Disney park fans were hoping for so much more than what we got in 2001. Some was good, even excellent, but a large portion of this park was mediocre at best. I will not rehash the details. Here's where things stand- the public at large has spoken, and Disney has acknowledged the challenge.

The Real California Adventure for Disney? This challenge:

  1. Differentiate the Disneyland Resort as a unique experience from the other Disney resorts worldwide but especially Florida. Brand this resort as being worth our money and our time. Here in Denver, it is often cheaper to go to Florida than California. Convince us to make a trip to the West Coast.
  2. Build a foundation for the future. Whether it is the anticipated Third Park, additional hotels, or more entertainment and activity options, plan for long term investment not just short term profits.
  3. Show commitment to the original intent of the park. Drop adding any cloned attractions, think through the character additions, and continue adding fascinating and varied experiences which celebrate the great diversity of California as it is now and as Walt Disney found it decades ago. No one can duplicate the wonderful beaches and the breathtaking Yosemite area that God created, but attempt to make any additions as good as they can be when paying tribute to that which is man-made.  Yes, bring in character based attractions where they fit. (I am looking forward to The Little Mermaid and Carsland- but please come up with a better name!) That is part of the Disney heritage and future. In the midst of that plan, however, continue to strive for the elegance of Epcot, the fun of Disney Studios, and the discoveries of Animal Kingdom. It can be done. Disney is the best at what it does when it remembers each park needs to be for all ages to enjoy. No one else comes close in standard setting theme park execution. No one.
Which leads us to the biggest Real Adventure and Challenge, point #4:
Regain the great Disney reputation that was lost. Show the world once more that you can wow us by telling great stories in wonderfully immersive environments and by using new technologies unavailable elewhere. Think about what Indiana Jones Adventure did for Disneyland and top it! Don't make us fly to Tokyo to be mesmerized. We will love you for it- and we'll pay for the chance to experience it for decades to come.

(By the way, the above image for a proposed look for California Adventure came from this site. There's a nice painting of Frontierland in Disneyland Paris, too. As always, all concept art is property of Disney.)

Facing Mountains

Living in Colorado, the Rocky Mountains are always before me. The colors constantly change from "purple mountains majesties" to the sparkling white of snow. When the sun sets in the summer and fall, the brilliant oranges of the sky cast an incredible tint to this creative and varied handiwork of God.

Yet, I am not the only one that faces mountains on a daily basis. We all do.

Life is really one set of challenges positioned between seasons of blessing and peace. The trick is to find this peace in the midst of our difficulties. We are not always responsible for the circumstances we find ourselves in, but we are responsible for how we respond to them. It's alright to be angry, fearful, disappointed or frustrated, but we can't let it stop us from pushing on and conquering what lies in front of us.

One great book for me in this area, Hinds' Feet on High Places, and one amazing song, Anything's Possible, encourage me to keep going when I let worry and fear keep me stuck. Check them out. You'll be glad you did. Whatever mountains you are facing, be encouraged and keep pushing on!

March 19, 2008

Ok, So We're Enchanted, Now What?

Yes, Enchanted is a very good film- and everyone associated with it should be proud.

As I watched it last night with my wife and youngest daughter, it was an enjoyable couple of hours. (And the "Making of" features alone are worth the price of the disc. Make sure you see this fun flick.) I love animation as much as anyone, then it hit me: What about us guys, Disney?

There are alot of good looking upcoming features, but mostly all geared toward women and children. Even Pirates 4 is up in the air. So, what about us men? Calling Indiana Jones! May 22 can't come fast enough.

March 18, 2008

Sting and the Dead Man's Rope

This uncommon Englishman is known for some of the most interesting lyrics and musical arrangements in modern Rock and Roll. With or without The Police.

What makes Sting so interesting? The man is a chameleon, changing personalities and styles as he pleases. One momenent an ordinary man, then a prostitute, then a cowboy on a mission. I love the variety of both the music and the words. Sting blends philosophy, politics and social commentary, with questions on faith, love, and lust. He includes literary and historical references, even snippets of his own older songs, in the lyrics and vocals. Extremely engaging.

Dead Man's Rope is the title of a gem found on the Sacred Love CD. Once again, Sting examines the life of the main character:

"A million footsteps, this left foot drags behind my right
But I keep walking, from daybreak til the falling night
And as days turn into weeks and years And years turn into lifetimes
I just keep walking, like I've been walking for a thousand years
Walk away in emptiness, walk away in sorrow,
Walk away from yesterday, walk away tomorrow,
If you're walking to escape, to escape from your affliction
You'd be walking in a great circle, a circle of addiction
Did you ever wonder what you'd been carrying since the world was black?
You see yourself in a looking glass with a tombstone on your back
Walk away in emptiness, walk away in sorrow,
Walk away from yesterday, walk away tomorrow,
Walk away in anger, walk away in pain
Walk away from life itself, walk into the rain
All this wandering has led me to this place
Inside the well of my memory,
sweet rain of forgiveness I'm just hanging here in space
Now I'm suspended between my darkest fears and dearest hope
Yes I've been walking, now I'm hanging from a dead man's rope
With Hell below me, and Heaven in the sky above
I've been walking, I've been walking away from Jesus' love
Walk away in emptiness, walk away in sorrow,
Walk away from yesterday, walk away tomorrow,
Walk away in anger, walk away in pain
Walk away from life itself, walk into the rain
All this wandering has led me to this place
Inside the well of my memory, sweet rain of forgiveness
I'm just hanging here in space
The shadows fall around my bed
When the hand of an angel,
The hand of an angel is reaching down above my head
All this wandering has led me to this place
Inside the well of my memory, sweet rain of forgiveness
Now I'm walking in his grace I'm walking in his footsteps
Walking in his footsteps, Walking in his footsteps
All the days of my life I will walk with you
All the days of my life I will talk with you
All the days of my life I will share with you
All the days of my life I will bear with you
Walk away from emptiness, walk away from sorrow,
Walk away from yesterday, walk away tomorrow,
Walk away from anger, walk away from pain
Walk away from anguish, walk into the rain"

Sting's character discovers there in freedom and hope found in relationship with Jesus Christ. In exchange for our life of brokenness and disappointment, He gives us peace and victory over death. Just like Christ himself experienced in his death and resurrection.

I have to say, I think Sting missed a great opportunity for a play on words. He should have included this verse from the Apostle Paul:
"Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?" I Corinthians 15:55

Le Visionarium at Disneyland Paris

This painted mural at Disneyland Paris stood near the entrance to the excellent and elegant Le Visionarium attraction. In some ways, this was the emotional and philosophical centerpiece of the park's Discoveryland, paying tribute to great visionaries of the past such as Jules Verne. A few years ago, this was replaced with a smaller but very popular version of Buzz Lightyear's AstroBlasters. It's too bad, really.

The good news is you can find a video of the stateside version of this attraction at this YouTube link.

(Photograph copyright Mark Taft.)

March 17, 2008

Rare WDW Space Mountain Concept Art

Here is something that I believe is pretty rare: concept art of the Florida Magic Kingdom's Space Mountain. This scan comes from the last page of a pictorial souvenir dated 1972. I do not think this concept piece has been used anywhere else.

What makes it unique? Look closely and you can see the large entrance area- similar in size to the entrance to the Land pavillion at Epcot, maybe larger. An even closer inspection reveals rockets circling the outside of the mountain. To my understanding, these rotating rockets were only for show and illusion with no intent to have thrill seekers actually go outside the structure.

This same souvenir guide also has renderings for Western River Expedition, an unbuilt Marc Davis masterpiece in the tradition of Pirates of the Caribbean (now vaguely rumored for Disneyland Paris); Thunder Mesa, the huge complex that would include Expedition, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, and other smaller attractions; and a newer version of Pirates itself. Of course, these are all stories and scans for another day...

Update: Check out this mega post on Space Mountains all over the world.

(Art copyright The Walt Disney Company.)

March 15, 2008

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

Last summer my wife and I had the wonderful blessing of traveling to Europe for three weeks. By ourselves, no kids, no friends, Our intinerary included the U.K., Italy, Germany, and France. After many requests from family and friends, here are a few high resolution photos, including some from Disneyland Paris. I left some quite large to give an idea of being immersed in the places.

Let's start in the U.K. Can't take credit for this wonderful photo- my wife snapped this right at dusk while we walked the London streets. The detail is amazing. And it hangs in a very large size in our home.

Venice was highest on my list of places to visit this trip- and it did not disappoint! It's busy, noisy, and full of contrasts, totally unique- and enchanting at night. As you can see in this first photo below, the buildings in St. Mark's Square are the foundation of the Italy pavillion at Epcot. The second photo is of a sign outside a restaurant in one of the hundreds of small alleys that fill Venice.

Gondolas and gondoliers everywhere. One gondolier passed by our rented apartment, text messaging while he "drove". Twenty-first century technology merged with Renaissance transportation! The last Venice photo is from the top of a campanile (bell tower) overlooking the islands.

Next stop: Florence. We stayed in a mesmerizingly beautiful 14th century fortress overlooking the valley. All the main tourist sites were seen, but also a small museum that was our favorite in all of Florence: Museo dell' Opera di Santa Maria del Fiore. This actual location once included a studio where Michaelangelo carved David but now houses a collection of various kinds of art. His Florence Pieta is here: a magnificient marble sculpture he never finished due to his discovery while carving Christ that this portion of the marble was imperfect. The photo below is of a haunting carving of Jesus on the cross, displayed in another gallery. Unfortunately, I cannot remember the name of the artist.

Lenvanto is on the northwest coast of Italy. This charming seaside resort serves as the gateway to Cinque Terra, five towns built in the hillsides accessible once only by train. To visit all five, it takes about 2 hours to drive the curving roads that hug the rugged cliffs.

Rothenburg, Germany is a quaint little village surrounded by the fortress that protected it. You can walk the tops of the fortress walls and gain a terrific view of this beautiful town in Bavaria. Highly recommend stopping here if Germany is on your agenda. Munich was also a stop for us while we were here. Driving the Autoban is quite the adventure, since there is no speed limit. FUN!

Last by no means least, Paris. My favorite European city- even if Disney had never touched down here. The city itself is a theme park, full of beautiful architecture, gardens, and museums. This was our second visit. The two clocks below are from the Musee de Orsay, a converted train station that now houses the ultimate galleries of Impressionist art. If you can name it, it is probably found here. Photos do not do the museum, or the art found here, justice. The colors are rich and varied, the complex is stunning. We found it more charming than the Lourve and still worth several hours. The balcony off the 3rd (or 4th) floor cafe has terrific views of the Seine river and the city. Do not let the reputation of the Parisians keep you away- they are kind and helpful, if a bit reserved for American tastes.

Prior to our evening's boat ride on the Seine, we happened to be walking and looked down to the riverbank below. What did we see? The Ratatouille premier! We didn't stay more than a few minutes as Paris was waiting, but it was a fun little bonus. Paris, Pixar, French culture? What's not to like?

Finally, here are the Disneyland Paris pictures. The first two photos are taken from our tethered hot air balloon ride. One looking toward the Newport Bay Club and the other toward the park with the Disney Village entertainment center below.

The park itself: Disneyland Paris, pure and simple, is a design masterpiece. Given this park is located in one of the world's most beautiful cities, it had to be spectacular- and it is. You enter the park through the Disneyland Hotel and gardens. Once inside, the centerpiece chateau is at the end of Main Street as to be expected. Almost as large as Florida's castle but it is designed to be explored. Tapestries, stained glass and statuary tell the story of Sleeping Beauty in the upper galleries, while a huge fire breathing dragon resides in the dungeon below. Tomorrowland here is known as Discoveryland, tributing Jules Verne and other visionairies.

This park has to be seen to be believed. Details abound, and each attraction is reImagineered both inside and out. Pirates, Phantom Manor (Haunted Mansion), and Space Mountain almost seem like entirely new attractions, and we could have spent a day in each land just exploring. 

Yes, we did spend a few hours at the Studios- mostly out of curiosity- and it was more than enough. A second rate park that needs more than Tower of Terror to make it Disney quality.
Our three week adventure included time with some friends of ours who had recently moved to Wales. It was a delight and blessing to reconnect with them on their home turf in the U.K. Originally from Scotland and now landed in Cardiff, Fraser, Anna, Beth, and Aidan prove that friendship is not limited to those we see everyday. Hope you've enjoyed the photos and the narrative!

(Photos copyright Mark Taft.)

March 14, 2008

Inevitable Post

Just ask my family. This post was inevitable.

Karen Carpenter lives on. Count me in with millions of other fans.

This woman could sing. No theatrics, no gimmics, no "special work" in the studio to enhance her voice. Her brother Richard's terrific arrangements and songwriting teamed with this voice and produced some timeless classics. "Close to You", "Yesterday Once More", "Top of the World", "Superstar", "Rainy Days and Mondays", and the wedding song for a generation, "We've Only Just Begun". (Go ahead, you can sing along.)

Dozens of hits all over the world. Don't stop at the hits, and you'll find the definitive versions of some other songs you know- great songs covered by other artists after the Carpenters introduced them: "This Masquerade", "A Song for You", "I Just Fall in Love Again". Sure they did their share of covers, and "Desperado" on the Horizon album is among their best, but Karen and Richard crafted a legacy by being original.

Go deeper into their catalogue and discover the bluesiest classic you've never heard: "Ordinary Fool", a Paul Williams penned ode to lost hope with one of the best saxophone solos ever put to record. Check it out here.

A World on the Move

Can you feel the buzz of excitement? It's in the air all over Disneyland.This is a great old photo of Tomorrowland 1967. Perhaps the definitive incarnation of the land. Truly, a world on the move- the Peoplemover glides, Rocket Jets twirl in the skies, submarines enter liquid space while Atommobiles explore Inner Space, monorails pass by, and Skyway cars sail over all the activity. Not a character -even a Buzz- in sight.

Wide Awake at 4 am

Late night/early morning reflections are sometimes the most profound- and certainly the most challenging.

So what's on my mind at this hour? The longing of the human heart. Seems to me, we all go through life looking for one thing, to be significant and make a difference. It's how we do it that determines what we leave behind. Who we are, how we treat others.

Do something to make this world a better place. Invest in someone. Provide for those less fortunate. Feed a kid, lend an ear to a hurting friend, use your money for something important, invest your time. Check out Compassion International if you want to meet the needs of a kid who has a difficult life.

Why look for significance when you can easily find it? The Creator of the universe says we are important enough that He wants to know us. That works for me. And since we are designed to be like Him, caring for others, let's make good use of that and serve someone else.

March 11, 2008

A Waste of a Life

Just got the news: a cousin of my wife's passed away last night from a drug overdose. Wow. Unexpected? No, not really.

Sad story of a young guy at 13 who started messing with the bottle, moved on to pot, then onto hardcore stuff. All the while Danny thought he had it under control, but I guess in the long run, it really controlled him. Funny how we start doing stuff that we shouldn't and think it's ok, and then we look back years later and wonder how we got in this mess. Danny leaves a grieving family, heartbroken and shocked. Please, if you need help, get it. Don't wait thinking you've always got tomorrow... Cry out to Jesus for help.

Tomorrowland 1998

Just kind of perusing my Disney stuff, and I found this now decade old Tomorrowland poster. Hopefully in a time to come, another poster will come out- and this one with a new PeopleMover type vehicle pictured with the Rocket Jets back where they belong- front and center! Attraction posters!/ Gotta love them!

(Art copyright The Walt Disney Company.)

A&M Records Fan Appreciation Day

Let me go on record as saying that Herb Alpert and Jerry Moss'  A&M Records was probably the greatest independent label that ever existed. Just the scope of artists that were signed reads like the greatest hits of rock and roll, pop, jazz, and country. Everyone from co-founder Herb Alpert to gospel legend Amy Grant, to Sting, to Peter Frampton, to Quincy Jones, to the Carpenters, all found their home and starts on this great label.

If you want to find out more, check out A&M Corner. The folks there are a great source of information and history- and their boards are filled with industry folks and fans that love the artists and art involved. Trust me, you won't be disappointed.

March 9, 2008

Just Reminiscing...

Last weekend, our extended family traveled to San Antonio (a great town!) to celebrate my parents' 50th wedding anniversary. We had a  terrific time- lots of fun, very sweet, and a special way to honor my folks. I have two wonderful grandmothers- one still with us, one not.

I was thinking about my Italian grandmother, Nona, who is now only with us in spirit. Boy, I miss her! You can see her gentleness and her love for people when you look in her eyes. She knew how to serve others. What a legacy. Later on last week, I read a proverb that reminded me of her again. "The memory of the righteous will be a blessing". That stuck with me. And it really is a blessing. Thanks, Nona. Thanks for everything.

Old Tomorrowland Circa 1975

I have just tons of old Disneyland memorabilia. Boxes and boxes, book upon book. All this talk on line about the changes in Tomorrowland got me thinking about posting an image or two. It's the Disney land with the most changes. Here is one from the Disneyland Guide Summer 1975, the small books that were in place before the more lightweight guide maps they give out now. Just looking at it, you get a good idea of what that land looked like- and a small photo of America Sings to boot. Probably post more pics later. Enjoy!

(Art copyright The Walt Disney Company.)

Notable and Quotable: Walt Disney

Here's the coolest Walt Disney quote ever:

"Think beyond your lifetime if you want to accomplish something truly worthwhile.

Ran across this quote a few months back as I was reading about Walt and his plans. Boy, did Walt really love up to that quote!

Can't even remember which book or article it was, but what a find!
If we took this advice to heart, it seems to me that we would live a little bit differently as we make our mark in the world. Maybe a little more kindly, maybe a little more generously, maybe with a bit more purpose.

March 7, 2008

Random Thoughts

The biggest question on my mind today is "What am I doing here?" Or if I was in a fairly obnoxious mood, it might be "What are YOU doing here?"

Random thoughts is a good name for this first post because I really don't know what I'll be sharing everytime I add something. My hunch is this is where you'll hear about what interests me, what I think about what's going on in this world, what I'm trying to figure out, or how we can really make a difference. Maybe I'm really just looking for a place to journal...

Why "Insights and Sounds"? A play on words. Kinda thought it would be fun sharing reflections and revelations, music and movie perspectives, travel experiences and photos, and thoughts on faith. Regarding that last piece, a verse out of a letter called First Corinthians happens to be my favorite : "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him."

If you check in here often, you'll discover that I'm really a geek at heart, pretty sentimental, not sophisticated, and for the most part, that I really like people. Hope that works for you!