Wednesday, July 27, 2011

My All Time Favorite...

...ride at Disneyland: The Mark Twain:


  1. Maybe, you've heard of this Polish writer?

    Ryszard Kapuscinski. Born in 1932. Died in 2007. How he got out of Poland is a story onto itself. But he did. I think his first stop was Mao's China. But his reports are so well written ... I'd just recommend you go to Amazon and buy a book.

    He traveled India. And, places in the Mideast. And, Africa.

    And, it's his Louis Armstrong story I remember so well. (Even though I can't name the African country.) But Louis Armstrong went there. And, gave a concert. People listened. But no one in the audience applauded. Later, at the hotel, Kapuscinski (who I think was too shy to approach the great man's table) ... still talked about how disappointing it had to be. To go to Africa. And, the music didn't rouse anyone out of their seats.

    As to the ride at Disneyland, It's a short boat ride that doesn't feel like anything on the colossal Mississippi. Which contains Mark Twain using the NAME once or twice. And, then never again.

    But wow, his lesson of how the captain let him take the wheel. And, left the "boat house." But then? (Hid.) As the others on board began screaming out various "twains."

    Your close to the point where the boat would scrape bottom at Mark Twain. And, you know, as the reader, that the boat is in the bottomless deep end ... But when you're young. And, you're just learning about the mighty Mississippi ... you get a choice.

    Listen to your own guts. Or go with what you're being told. (And, that's what Mark Twain did. He pulled back on the wheel. And, tried to reverse course.) Sure. Everyone in on the joke, laughed.

    But there ya go.

    Either listen to what you know to be true. Or "go shallow."

  2. I highly doubt it was disappointing. Jazz is an American invention. So are Blues and so is Hillbilly & Western which is now called C & W but not back in my father's day: link. The pejorative term "Hillbilly" got dropped.

    If you sent the Grand Old Opry back to lilly white Scotland or Ireland back in the day they'd probably have cringed. One thing those Euros can't stand is white trash Americans.

  3. Trust me. It was disappointing.

    I fell in love with Ryszard Kapusciki's writing. This particular story I remember so well, too!

    You're in Africa! It's hot. And, the bugs are large. I think I remember a scene where someone at the hotel put on a lamp or a lanturn, to force the bugs out of the light.

    You wouldn't forget this story if you read it.

    I think you're expecting an American's reaction. But, as I said. YOU. ARE. IN. AFRICA. They're not tuned into variety.

    No one left their seats. But the music (probably didn't sound familiar.)

    Kapuscinski's story is also really amazing! He had to get out of Poland. Back in the 1950's. When Russia wouldn't let a Pole go anywhere! But he got an assignment. He got to see Mao's CHINA. So, that alone is worth the price of admission.

    I have so many books, this old Kapuscinski book doesn't jump out of me. But the story? It was UNFORGETTABLE.

    Go look at Amazon. It can't hurt.

  4. Ryszard Kapusciki? Sorry Carol, you lost me on that one. I just read his Wiki bio. A Che translator?

    Give me a break. How would I know it wasn't just made up to make Americans (black and white) look bad?

    You should look into the stories in "Last Letters From Stalingrad." Francois Mitterand was so moved by them that he carried a copy with him. The American left in Madison used them to stoke the anti-war movement. It's now thought that they were whole cloth forgeries.

  5. TRAVELS WITH HERODOTUS! Kapuscinski, when he died in 2007, got an obituary from so many people who loved his writing!

    Che? Are you a madman? Didn't you know the Polish People didn't even see freedom until the Vatican opened her vaults for Lech Walesa?

    I've sent you emails. Because among other things, I discovered that GOOGLE answers the oddest questions. And, all I plugged in was: louis armstrong kapuscinski.

    KHARTOUM. THE CONGO. And, then, after the performance. Back at the hotel. The life went out of louis armstrong's "cheer." It held up through the entire outdoor performance.

    But it was a weight. Took it's toll. Where back at the hotel Kapuscinski saw the old man's face collapse in exhaustion ... to wrinkles.

    What's this "schtick" with blacks and whites.

    I'm Jewish. And, I'm telling you there was a Polish author ... who ... using Herodotus ... just went places ... Asked people questions. And, reported what he saw.

    Do you know how rare a feat that is?

    Do you know that you just can't get out of Poland ... when the soviets stuck their boots down the throats of Eastern Europe?


    American blacks got it better than any other blacks in the rest of the world!

    And, as Muhammed Ali REPORTED ... when he came back from a "tour of Africa," ... "GEE, I'm so glad my grandpa got on that boat!"


  6. Your words: Carol: Later, at the hotel, Kapuscinski (who I think was too shy to approach the great man's table) ... still talked about how disappointing it had to be. To go to Africa. And, the music didn't rouse anyone out of their seats.

    Parsing your words I read that he thinks Armstrong was disappointed that he didn't rouse anyone out of their seats. Implicit in your paraphrase is that Armstrong "failed" somehow, but why? I could be chalked up to a simple lack of common culture. And who knows why Armstrong was tired? Travel fatigue, age? Perhaps

    it's too easy for me to imagine that a Polish writer, sympathetic with communism, would find some Schadenfruede in the whole thing?

    In the end Carol, coupled with your comments in the other post, I think you're just trying to say that you don't Disney. I'm fine with that. (But that's why you should like Tex Avery :)

  7. So I read your emails. First red flag: why was this guy allowed to trapse around and report under the noses of Soviet influenced Poland? It must have been his language and reporting skills-but what kind of loyalty did they extract in return? Did he ever try to defect to the West? Or was he some kind of truth teller feared everywhere because of his utter veracity?

    I'm skeptical about this man and his circumstances. I was in Berlin in 1991 a year after the Wall came down and chatted with many Easterners who where allowed to mix freely for the first time with whomever. They were very charming and quaint but very naive when it came to Western culture, especially popular music. They probably knew much much more about "classical music" than the average West german, and certainly more than I did.

  8. I'm with you on the best ride ever. EVER!

  9. He had to feed the soviet beast. But his reports didn't disclose secrets.

    What happened is easily verifiable. Kapuscinski was born in 1932. In Poland.

    Around 1955 he begged for permission "just to cross the border" on an assignment. He said that was all he wanted to do. "CROSS THE BORDER." He got assigned to Mao's China, instead. And, he was handed a Polish translation of HERODOTUS. Which he took with him, everywhere.

    He talks about the first lighted city he ever saw! Flying into Rome's airport!

    He talks about India. Which he saw first.

    Basically, "like Herodotus" ... he just sent notes home ... telling people the stories that came from his encounters.

    Through the eyes of a Pole!

    You think the Polish Pope had better eyes?

    The Polish Pope, when he got to the Vatican OPENED the vault's doors ... and sent the money Lech Walisa needed in Gdansk.

    Gesundheit. You're welcome.

    I happen to like "first hand reports."

    Heck, I can even remember Mort Sahl's joke about Switzerland. He was a sensitive Jew. And, he didn't want to give a German company any business. (I relate to this in a big way.)

    But he wanted a portable typewriter. So he bought an Olympia.

    And, ye said ... Ya know what? The Swiss were the bankers to the Nazis. (This kept Switzerland very safe!) Fascists and Communists want a very safe bank where they can stash their money.

    And, if you want a really good time reading a book ... You'd read Kapuscinski. Why is that? Because you're not going to want to go slumming in India. Or Africa. Yet you can get to read some really great stories.

    That was Kapuscinki's whole point!

    Around this globe are people who tell interesting stories.

    Since Kapscinki wrote in Polish ... he needed translators.

    The Polish Pope? Something tells me he knew a thing or two about communicating. And, he got to talk with leaders from around this world.

    They say the Pope was a lively man to meet.

    I say he had blue eyes.

    And, he had access to the world biggest vault full of money and treasures.

    Yes. You can fund a war! And, even better, you can fund JUSTICE! How rare is that?

    You think you have to be a Catholic? REALLY?

    Go to Amazon. Buy yourself a copy of Kapuscinski's Travels with Herodotus.

    What can be bad? You'll be thrown back 2,500 years! And, you'll relish the story telling. Though at some point it really gets bloody and vile. That's how it was.

    And, that's how it still is.

    Maybe, on the moon we took a few steps forward "advancing." But other things? Rocks are rocks. And, some things never change.

    And, Mark Twain also relished story telling.

    Oh, by the way. Let me share a secret. The WORST thing that happened to germany, is that the wall fell down. And, they were innundated by communists who had the german work ethic beaten out of their skins.

    How do I know? I know when I heard this, I laughed.

    And, I also know that the South Koreans don't want "unification" for the very same reason!

    The more you read ... the more dots you can connect.

    Why do you think people kept translating Herodotus? You think anyone spoke English 2,500 years ago?

    Shakespeare, by the way, read Plutarch. Plutarch hated Herodotus. So what?

  10. Olympia? Nah. It was called OLIVETTI. You carried it in a case. You could take it on board a plane, as carry on luggage. And, you didn't have to plug it in.

    I think you carried onion skin paper. Maybe, a few sheets of carbon.

    My son was born in 1979. I remember telling him, when he was young, about carbon paper. He gave me a look, telling me I was very, very strange.


    Carbon paper. That's how you made copies. It was worse than newsprint on your hands.

  11. I loved the smell of blue mimeograph ink they had in schools in the 60s and 70s. I used to volunteer to pass around the freshly printed stuff. I still had a copy of our 5th Grade Newspaper, printed on white paper with a mimeograph machine.

    I used carbon paper to type up a final research report I wrote in 1982. That was right before people had access to home computers and especially printers. I did start using email very early, around 1985 or so. I had a BITNET address. I never belonged to AOL or any commercial network. I always mooched off an .edu account instead.

  12. Mimeograph ink was purple! Didn't the machine have a big drum with a handle ... that when you turned it ... turned out the printed pages?

    Yes, scientists had BITNET! I remember the first APPLE 2-II ... It had a "regular keyboard" that mimicked an IBM Selectric! And, the first paper went through the printer with DOT MATRIX sides ... You'd have to rip this off, afterward.

    Do you know the first "computer bills" you got in the mail ... in the 1970's ... said DO NOT BEND, STAPLE, OR FOLD!

    Back then, too, we had 8 TRACK ... to put tapes into your car that played before we got to cassettes.

    Oh, AOL was wonderful! It said "YOU'VE GOT MAIL" ... I felt terrible to see this go. It's like losing your doorbell on your front door.

    What was my first Windows application? Was there a 95? I came on board quite late in the series ... But I think I have XP now.

    Don't want a cell phone. Don't want a laptop.

    And, I love to read a real hardcover book when I go out to eat. And, I make sure restaurants have enough light. (Then, there's another book going on tape in my car.) It was quite a discovery to learn that I could listen to books on tape. (I must have started when the technology still used cassettes.)

  13. I must confess that I never made it to Disneyland or Disneyworld or any of those joints.

  14. You got most everything you need in Brooklyn so far as I can tell--why leave?