You Can’t Buy This Book

bad

This magnificently-produced book is a work of both satire and parody.  It’s rude, it’s crude, it’s dead-on, and it’s hilarious.  It’s funny in the same ways National Lampoon, at its finest, used to be funny.

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And you can’t buy it now, because the publisher took it off the market.

Here’s the whole story.  Basically, a writer over at BookRiot took offense at some of the artwork and captions, then wrote a damning piece on the site calling the book racist and unfunny.  At first the publisher defended the book and its irreverent sense of humor, but the author insisted that they cease publication and pull the book off the shelves.

My personal favorite.  Falwell would be proud.
My personal favorite. Falwell would be proud.

I think that was a huge mistake.  The book got 15 minutes of publicity when it happened, and a few more copies were sold, but humor always sells when it’s controversial.  In many ways I think the aggregate American sense of humor has wimped out since the heydays of Lampoon and SNL.  There was a richness and an anger that fueled comedy and made it unforgettable, and we’ve backtracked so far that the American public loves 2 Broke Girls, which is all sexual innuendoes but no real teeth, and today’s watered-down version of SNL, that makes polite fun but rarely takes a chance.

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There is a secret of comedy that critics and reviewers tend to forget–or ignore–whenever they get their delicate sensitivities all caught up in a bunch: All comedy–every gag, every joke, every one-liner–makes fun of something.

That’s all it is; that’s the whole truth.  All comedy makes fun of something.

And that goes hand in hand with another secret of the best comedians and comic writers:

Nothing is sacred.  Not races, not religions; not children, not Trump, not you, and not me.

So, sorry Book Riot.  Bad Little Children’s Book is not only funny, but at times it’s hilarious.  It’s exactly what we need because it makes fun of cultural paradigms when “correctness” says we shouldn’t.  It’s up there with “My First Blowjob,” Bad Teacher and Blazing Saddles.  I urge you to order a copy online, and then get all three issues of American Bystander, the humor magazine that’s trying to fill the void National Lampoon left.

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Remember: It’s only a joke.  They will kill you.

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A Reading Challenge for YOU

I saw this on Facebook on December 29, and I decided this will be my only resolution for 2017: Take this reading challenge:

reading

Because I started this on December 29, 2016, I accepted the challenge with the fourth category on this list, a Christmas present from the Magnificent Maria published late in the year, and perfect for class-A nerds like me:

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So I challenge YOU, my friends, to take this challenge, and keep us posted on your progress.  By the way, you can order the above epic tome at this link, along with several other new Tarzan novels, along with new and original Doc Savage novels, including two–count ’em, TWO!–guest starring He Who Knows What Evil Lurks in Your Heart, the SHADOW.

Welcome 2017 . . . and you ain’t looking any better than last year

good

2017 comes in with sadness, the death of Dago Red, more commonly known as Father Patrick Mulcahy . . . or in real life as actor William Christopher. And it also comes in with unintentional hilarity and the clusterfuck that was Mariah Carey‘s performance on “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve With Ryan Seacrest.”

And so 2017 begins much like 2016 ended: unexpected deaths and an unexpected train wreck: Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds, and the regime of Donald Trump, respectively.

I was hoping the New Year would bring new prosperity and hope.

Now, I’m not too sure.

Like Jimmy Buffett says . . .

“If we weren’t all crazy, we would all go insane.”

Return to Gatorlando

As I predicted in my post yesterday, Walt Disney World is already installing temporary fences and making new signage for their properties.  You can read the Orlando Sentinel article here.

I failed to mention a thought I had while driving to work this week.  I started to think about how those lakes at the Magic Kingdom are interconnected, and that Fort Wilderness has a long-abandoned water park there on the shore of Bay Lake, the old River Country.  And I thought that, if any place, that overgrown ruin would be ideal for alligators to nest.

Scroll down to the Sentinel‘s video, which is a link to a video made recently and broadcast on Inside Edition.  Looks like someone else had the same thoughts.

Gatorlando

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The photo above, from today’s USA Today, shows you just how close the Grand Floridian Resort is to the Magic Kingdom.

The beach at the Grand Floridian, of course, is the site where an alligator snatched a two-year old from his father’s hand while the family walked just inside the waterline.

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USA Today

The attack occurred roughly forty or so minutes after sunset, and the gator pulled the child under after briefly tussling with the frantic father.

You’ve probably already absorbed all of this from cable or online news sources, so I won’t rehash any more of it.  So I’ll say something unexpected:

Statistically, this should have happened long ago.

I do not think this is Disney’s fault.  Signs were placed along the hotel’s beach warning guests not to enter the water.  You have to ask yourself why those signs are there.  It’s a man-made lake; there are no riptides or undercurrents; and not much of a danger.  Unless there’s something in the water.

This editorial in the New York Daily News gets a lot of things wrong.  Writer Shaun King, an admitted Disney World fan and frequent guest, along with his family, to Disney’s forty-square mile property admits that they had never once thought there would be dangerous alligators anywhere on Disney property.  How could there be?  This is Disney, for god’s sake!  Nothing bad ever happens here!  (Really?  Read this, this, and this.)  And then, to find five alligators in the lake?  That’s simply horrendous!

I can’t speak for the powers-that-be at Disney World, but after working at a major theme park and by studying Disney Parks for four decades, I can make some educated guesses about the signage along the beach.  First, they want you safe, so they clearly tell you that you shouldn’t go in the water.  Second, they don’t want to scare the bejesus out of you, so they don’t even whisper the word alligator to anyone.  They want you to keep coming back,  and frequently; not too scared to never come back.  This is PR basics.

The big secret is that there is no secret at all.  Alligators were already on the Florida swampland that Walt bought up in the mid-’60s, and they’re still there now–and they’re plentiful.

final map
ABC News Online

In summer of 1986, I watched from the deck of the Empress Lilly (at the then Walt Disney World Village) as tourists threw bread from their dinner tables at a three-foot long gator waiting to be fed.

Shortly before Christmas in 1991, I took the monorail from the Grand Floridian to go Christmas shopping for my wife in the Magic Kingdom.  The monorail track can be seen starting right above the upper right corner of the Grand Floridian box in the map above, leading to the station almost directly below the D in Walt Disney World.  See that star you passed on the way?  I placed that on the map.  I was standing in the monorail and happened to look down through the window.  That man-made canal is where Disney docks the Electrical Water Pageant, and that star is where I saw a gator basking in the shallows along the shore, its tail curled in a black question mark.

My wife and I both saw a gator in 1992, when Disney’s Coronado Resort first opened.  As annual passholders we were invited to tour the property, and an employee warned us away from a shallow pool only feet away from us in the grass.  “It’s a gator,” he said.  “We’ve already called to have it removed.”  All we could see were the ridges of its eyes just above the surface.  We crept around it.

On the road that guests drive to get to Fort Wilderness, there used to be a guardhouse less than a quarter mile past the camping resort.  It was customary back then to have the doors open on each side of the guardhouse so the guard could wave to the drivers as they passed by.  One night, an employee told us, the overnight guard heard a noise close beside him, and a gator stood in the road, hissing at him.  He exited through the other side of the guardhouse, and when the gator followed him–and entered the guardhouse–the guard slammed the door shut, then ran around and shut the other door, trapping the gator inside.

Consider this: Remember, the land area of Walt Disney World currently stretches (they sold some land a few years back) about 40 square miles.  To get a grasp of how big that is, look at it this way: It’s the size of the city of San Francisco.  There simply is no way Disney or anybody could build resorts and theme parks on top of forty square miles of Florida swampland, the natural habitat of Alligator mississippiensis, and get rid of gators entirely.  Florida is known for these monsters, so I find it naive that anyone would not expect that, even though they may not see any, alligators are always somewhere close by in the mid-Florida scrublands.  I mean, are visitors to the Serengeti shocked that there are lions roaming wild?  Hell, the Everglades still has panthers, not to mention a host of non-native Burmese pythons breeding out of control.  The wild is alive, and Florida is ground zero for the unexpected.

I don’t blame Disney, and I don’t blame the parents, either.  What happened is the clash between nature and civilization.  The gator did only what it would naturally do (even though they rarely attack humans); and who could fault a family, walking along a man-made beach on a lovely night, for not going in the water, but merely wading at the edges?

No matter.  A boy is dead and a family is broken.  Lawsuits will be filed, I have no doubt.  Money will be passed and settlements made.  Then corporate lawyers will order more signs, more fences, and perhaps even walls built around the resorts to insure that this never happens again.

It was bound to happen eventually.  I just don’t know why it didn’t happen sooner.