Thursday, February 24, 2011

A Special Announcement

I would like to make an announcement. There will no longer be posts on this blog about anything to do with Disney. This may come as a surprise to some of you. But you read it right, no more Disney on RH Factors blog. "Oh No", you're saying to yourself, "He's turned his back on Disney ?" Did something happen to upset him? No that's not the reason for the announcement.

I have decided to start a 2nd blog that's going to be exclusively about all things Disney related. This way if you are interested in reading about Disney you can go to my new blog and read those posts exclusively. If you're not interested in them you can continue to read RH Factors posts and not have to page past all the posts written about Disney.

The name of the new blog is "Goofy Guy Off World Disney Blog."  You can get to this new blog through this link:

Don't worry I'm not going to stop posting to this blog. I promise I will have plenty of things to write about Disney and the every day experiences of this wonderful blessed life God has blessed me with.

I hope you enjoy both blogs.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Terrific Tuesday

It's Tuesday night and I'm about to "hit the hay" but before I do I wanted to document this terrific day. It didn't start out very well. I woke up at 5AM and couldn't go back to sleep so I got up. Paula did too. She eventually went back to bed because she's still on medical leave. I left for my job at 7:30.

My day at work went well. I got off early and headed to the Best Buy store. I pulled the trigger on the first major purchase of electronics for this year. I won't go into details now but I may later. Let me just say that it's something that will be used in our living room and be instrumental in giving us more time together.

Also when I got home from work I found that I had received a package in the mail. Inside it was a book that I had won on E-bay a couple of weeks ago. It's a book that I've been looking for for a long time. For reasons to be explained in a future post I was very very excited about getting it.

I then took Paula to church for the weekly hour-long practice of our church praise team. Paula's part one of the Sunday morning singers. Although I usually spent the time they're practicing recording something in the sound booth; tonight I decided to sing with them. It was a wonderful time. A rare few minutes with my fellow Christian brothers and sisters. We sang a couple of my favorite praise songs.

I then practiced a song I'm going to be singing when I lead the AWANA kids in music at the end of March. The song has lyrics about the Bible using an award winning melody from a Disney movie. (Imagine that!) I am very proud of the song but it's very "wordy" and rather difficult to sing. I'm going to need a lot more practice.

We came home after the practice. Paula made a wonderful supper and we spent the remainder of the evening wrapping coins from my change bank and watching some of our favorite shows on the DVR. They included: Cake Boss and House. We had a nice evening together.

So now I am getting ready to call it "a day". One last thing I do want to mention and that is I also created a new blog today. I won't go into details because I will be announcing it's name and purpose soon. Come back if I've sparked your curiosity.

Now that I've committed myself to at least 2 future posts I'm going to end this one. But I just had to let you all know that I had a terrific Tuesday. I can't think of anyway it could get any better...or could I? :)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Muppets Valentine Show

Yesterday was Valentine's Day. A day that couples everywhere buy gifts, go on dates, and express their love for each other.

This was an unusual "Lover's Holiday" for Paula and me this year in that we didn't spend much time together. I was home for a few hours in the afternoon but had to go to my bowling league at night. But we exchanged gifts on Saturday and went out for dinner with our son and daughter-in-law on Sunday night.

Also this year as mentions of Valentine's Day were everywhere I made a mental connection between February 14 and the Muppets while listening to the weekly Muppet podcast on my Ipod. That connection is the Muppets Valentine Show. A picture from it is at the top of this post.

This program originally aired on the ABC television in February 1974. I was 13 years old and fascinated with the Muppets. The Valentine Show was one of the few times I got to see the Muppets, other than on Sesame Street or occasional guest appearances on a prime time show. Their appearances on the first season of NBC's Saturday Night Live was still a year away.

It was a time in my life when I owned a portable cassette tape recorder. This was in the days long before VCR. I liked to use my hand mike to record the audio of my favorite shows directly from the TV speaker. I would then listen to the recordings while falling asleep at night. Eventually I memorized many of the shows word for word. I recorded the Muppets Valentine Show.

My dad watched the show with me and we both loved it. We listened to the tape together and would recite the bits and sing the songs together. The punchlines from the show were inside jokes between us for years.

The program was written and produced as a pilot episode for Jim Henson's proposed series: The Muppet Show. The US tv networks all passed on the series but eventually a network in England picked it up and syndicated in the USA. It has a successful run of 5 seasons.

The Muppet Valentines Show was included as a bonus feature on Season 2 of the Muppet Show DVD set. . It was a loosely produced and executed program with quite a few continuity errors and mistakes and included a lot of the Muppet characters.

Strangely enough most of the main characters in the Valentine Show were never or rarely seen again. They included: Wally, the show's script writer; Mildred, an old spinster character; Buster, an old timer with a white fuzzy beard; Droop, a strange looking monster puppet who looks like an early ancestor of Gonzo; Thog, a large blue 8 ft. tall creature; and my favorite, the living Krumpet (pictured above on the tray).

The Muppet characters you may be most familiar with who were included in the show were: Kermit the frog; Crazy Donald, renamed "Harry" for the Muppet Show; Rufus, fluffy white dog; and the male & female creatures from the planet Kuzebain.

At the end of the show there were cameo appearances by well known Muppets: Rolf the dog; Ernie and Burt from Sesame Street. A funny mistake that was left in the show is when guest star, Mia Farrow, called Ernie, "Burt".

Speaking of the show's guest star, Mia Farrow was very very pregnant at the time. It's funny to see the sequence of the show where Buster, the old man, calls Farrow "Miss" than sees her protruding maternity top and realizing her "condition" quickly changes his reference to "Mrs".
The moment is evidence of the fact of the show was made in a time where (at least on TV) a pregnant woman was always married.

Ms. Farrow sets the standard for guest star participation on future Muppet Shows. She sings and dances (although the choreography is very conservative given her condition) and really builds a rapport with the multitude of Muppets characters.

I hadn't watch the special in a couple of years but as I watched it on the night before Valentine's day it was like a reunion with an old friend. The special brings back strong memories and feelings of the way the show and our love for the Muppets brought my dad and me together.

As I watched I could almost feel the presence and love of my dad in the room with me. I realized how much I still love him and miss him very much. This reminded me that although Valentine's Day is a special day for romantic love the special bond between parent and child is just as strong as any other relationship in a person's life. No parent/child relationship is perfect but I can truly say that overall I had a loving positive relationship with both my mom and my dad. Watching the Muppets Valentine Show helped remind me of blessed I was to have them in my life.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Remember Shoe Spray?

"Can I talk to you about Amway?" Do you remember the days when your parents used to look like a deer caught in the headlights when one of their friends came to your house and asked them that question? If you do then you probably recognize the can of product pictured on the left.

Back in the 70's when I was growing up Amway was a home based franchise company that allowed people to market a line of cleaning, vitamin, laundry and other household products through their own small business.

Because of it's multi-level marketing (essentially a legal pyramid scheme) the company urged its lower level"employees" to be extremely aggressive in their approach to sales; promoting it as the way to success. As I stated in the opening paragraph the result was that even though Amway did offer some decent products, people were very reluctant or even resistant to the sales pressure of the franchisees as well as the high prices they charged.

Nevertheless my mom knew someone who sold Amway and actually used some of their products. I remember she used Amway laundry detergent for a while and some cleaning products. But because of the cost she eventually stopped. The only thing I remember being used in our home for any length of time was the Amway Shoe Spray.

Essentially it was a spray can of liquid lacquer that dried quickly and made shoes shinny. It smelled awful and was probably toxic by today's standards. But it made your shoes gleam and sparkle like they were spit-shined by a boy at the bus station.

The reason I'm even mentioning Amway's Shoe Spray is that when Paula cleaned out storage area of the small closet in the kitchen that serves as our laundry nook she found a can of it.

That brought back lots of memories. Shoe Spray was one of my dad's favorite products. When I think of it being used he's the one I remember using it. Sad to say Shoe Spray has gone the way of lawn darts and other things that used to be useful and fun.

How about any of you? Do you remember using Shoe Spray or any other Amyway product? If so send me your memories to me on Facebook or through email. I'd be interested in how Amway has touched the lives of others.

By the way the Amway company still exists today. Only since 2001 it's been known as Quixtar in the USA. From what I've discovered and read from my Googel search, it's still a very controversial company

Friday, February 11, 2011

Good-bye To Mickey's Toontown Fair

Today the value of the memories of my trip to the Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World last September increased just a bit.

The picture you see to the left was taken during our day at the "MK" on September 8th when we visited Mickey's Toontown Fair.

The visit will now be part of a catagory of special memories just like my experience at the "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, Play It!" and the " Star Tours" attractions in 2004.

The reason the memories will be particularly special is that none of the prevously mentioned attractions are part of Disney World. Well, Star Tours is still there but it's currently undergoing a complete refurbishing to give it a new story line and title, Star Tours: The Adventure Continues. The original Star Tours experience is gone as of last September. It closed just a few days before our September visit.

Yes, today, February 11 was the last day for guests to visit Mickey's Toontown Fair. Soon that part of the Magic Kingdom, the northwest sector of the park, start it's transformation into the new Storybook Circus. Which will include a new double Dumbo ride with a queue that will not be a stand by line but a tent with activities to keep guests of all ages entertained while they wait for their turn on the ride. The kiddie coaster that's now Goofy's Barnstormer will still be there but will be changed to feature the Great Goofini. But Storybook Circus and the Fantasyland expansion is not the subject of the post.

I wasn't interested in Mickey's Toontown Fair at all during our first trip to "The World" in 2004. I had no plans go there. The only thing I knew about it was that it was usually crowded because of the Judge's tent. This was where you went to meet Mickey Mouse & Minnie. Because of the long lines and wait times, unless you had little ones for who HAD to meet their favorite Disney mouse, it was recommended that you skip Toontown Fair.

About 4 years ago I read the Imagineer's guide to the Magic Kingdom. That's when I learned about how the "stretch and pull" concept of animation. I also discovered that this concept was brought into the Magic Kingdom park by Disney artists and Imagineers through 3 dimensional buildings in Toontown Fair. Places such as Mickey & Minnie's houses, Donald's boat and Pete's Garage were replete with examples of the exaggerations and references to character that made Disney infamous in the world of animation.

In addition early in 2010 I heard a pari of special episodes of the Lou Mongello's WDW Radio Show featuring Disney expert, Jim Korkis. In them Lou walked through Toontown Fair with Mr. Korkis as he pointed out the special and unique aspects of this land. He shared hidden secrets and funny gags set up throuhout. He told the story of Toontown Fair and how the areas dedicated to an individual character stayed true to the aspects of that character.

I'm trying my best to explain the podcast to you but I'm not doing a very good job. If you're interested in hearing what I'm talking about just go to , click on the podcast tab, find the list of latest podcasts, click on the "read more" tab then go to page that lists podcasts 158 (February 21, 2010) and 163 (March 28,2010). Click on their link and then on the "play" symbol.

The 2 podcasts featuring Mickey's Toontown Fair as well as the midsummer announcement that it was going away as part of the Fantasyland expansion project peaked my interest in this yet-to-be-visited-by-me part of the Magic Kingdom. I made "The Fair" an important part of my touring plans.

Then on the evening of September 8,2010, when Paula and I returned for the evening part of our day at the Kingdom we toured Mickey's Toontown Fair. I was so excited to be there. The enjoyment of my visit was a 1000 times better than I could have imagined thanks to the knowledge I had gained from the WDW radio podcasts.

As a matter of fact while standing in the gazebo in the backyard of Mickey's house I called the WDW Radio podcast voicemail line and left a message for Lou Mongello. I thanked him and Jim Korkis for their help in sparking an interest in this land that I would probably other wise have skipped again on my 2nd WDW visit.

So now that it's closed and will soon be gone, Mickey's Toontown fair will now be a part of my most personal and fondest memories of Disney World. I will always wish I could have had a 2nd and even 3rd chance to go back and visit. But since I can't I'll just have to settle making any future visits to Toontown sentimental journeys through the pictures I took the one and only time I was there.

Good-bye Mickey's Toontown Fair. We were only ever together one time for a few brief moments. But those moments will always bring a smile to my face as I relive the memories you gave me for the rest of my life.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Disney Art Gallery

These pictures are the beginning of what I'm calling my "Disney art gallery". They are reprints of Thomas Kinkade paintings. They are not actually "paintings" themselves. They're "officially" called wrapped around gallery prints. They are vinyl. The one on the left is based on the movie, Peter Pan and the other is a composite based on the 1940 Disney classic: Pinocchio.

This particular painting is special to me because it evokes a special memory from my birthday trip to Walt Disney World this past September. Here's the story of that memory.

It was purchased from Shop NBC home shopping channel where I work. I saw it for the first time it on the air early in 2010. Although not really impressed by the subject matter (I'm not a big Pinocchio fan) I really liked the details of it. Of course anything that has to do with Disney usually catches my interest but I was very impressed by this composite of Pinocchio, as well as the one of Peter Pan. The setting and characters from each of the movies are creatively captured in each of them.

I really wanted the Pinocchio picture from the first time I saw it. I thought it would look great hanging on the wall in my computer room next to my framed share of Disney stock. The one thing that was stopping me from getting it was the price. It was a bit high. Even with interest free divided installments (in Shop NBC jargon they are known as "value pays") it was still too expensive.

Still as the year went along from time to time the Thomas Kinkade Disney collection would be featured on the air including the two I liked (Pinocchio & Peter Pan) as well as Bambi, Cinderella and Snow White. Because they were on the air, curious at-home shoppers would call into customer service with questions about them. That gave me the opportunity to share my observations and opinions about the prints with them. For the first time in my life, in a very small and remote way, I was being paid to talk about something "Disney" related.

As time went by I grew to accept that unless the price of the Disney prints came down significantly I would never own one. I liked them but the price wasn't worth their value. Then everything changed because of something that happened during our day at the Magic Kingdom in Disney World on September 8, 2010.

After a wonderful day in the park Paula and I were slowly making our way from Fantasyland, where we watched the fireworks, toward the front gate. That meant going down Main Street USA. We took our time, lagging behind until most of the crowd leaving the park after the "Wishes" show were gone ahead of us. We were just taking our time strolling through the various shops. We did some souvenir buying and looked at all the special and expensive merchandise.

While Paula went into one of the jewelry stores I decided to go into the Art of Disney store. That's where I saw it; the Thomas Kinkade Pinocchio print. It was larger, framed, and much much more expensive than Shop NBC's version but it was the same picture.

I had been admiring and studying it for most of the year. I could almost describe it with my eyes closed. Now I was seeing it in a place that specialized in selling Disney art. I was so excited about the idea of engaging in a conversation with the cast members who were working in the store about this Pinocchio print. These were Disney art experts whose job it was to to have knowledge of the object of my Disney art admiration. But as it turns out they were not the experts I expected them to be.

When I asked them about the print they didn't seem to know much about it. I was a little taken back and disappointed about their knowledge or passion about their wares. But undaunted by their indifference I decided to go with plan "b". I decided that I was going to educate them about it. In my "customer service" mode I began to point out the details and idiosyncrasies of Kinkade's portrayal of Pinocchio's village scene. I was telling Disney cast members in a store of Disney art on Main Street in the Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World about a piece of Disney art they were supposed to know about. It was so cool.

I'm not sure "cool" was how they would have described it but for me it was a wonderful experience. The value wanting to own the Pinocchio print had just increased exponentially. Now not only did owning it (the Shop NBC wrap around print not the Disney World print) hold the promise of bringing a little bit of Disney into my home but it now would be a constant reminder of those moments in that Art Of Disney store that night.

Now fast forward 3 months to the moment I opened a box on Christmas Day and much to my delight found my beloved print. My wonderful wife got it for me as a Christmas present.

It now hangs on the wall of our computer room and just above it hangs the Peter Pan/Tinkerbell print that's just a good if not better. Both of them were purchased with the benefit of a sale price, Value Pay, and an employee discount.

So now you know the story of my Thomas Kinkade Pinocchio print. So now when I'm in the back room of the house, working on the computer I can look to my left and feel a little bit of that Disney magic and think about a great memory of my birthday trip to Disney World, any time I want.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Saratoga Rifleman

One of my current personal projects is researching and writing a script for a "Rewind" show featuring music that I found or purchased in 2010 as well as songs that will always remind me of the people and events who played a special role during my 50th year on earth.

Some of that research involved looking for information about some songs about the American Revolutionary War I downloaded last year. They were songs I remembered from my 5th grade history class. Yes, we listened to music during history class. Their lyrics were about the soldiers and the battles they fought.One of those songs was about a "double barreled rifleman" named Timothy Murphy.

Murphy was a skilled shooter who is considered one of the first American war heroes. He was born near the Delaware Water Gap in Pennsylvania. His story is best summed up on the historic mile marker along a highway near Middleburgh, New York. The marker is pictured above but for those of you with eyesight like mine, here's what it say:

"Timothy Murphy was Schoharie County's Revolutionary hero. Owner of one of the first double-barreled rifles, he was a sharpshooter known to the Indians as the magic man whose gun would shoot without reloading. As a member of Morgan's Rifles, Murphy fired the shot which killed British General Simon Fraser at the Battle of Saratoga on October 7, 1777. This deprived the English of leadership during the crucial battle which was the turning point of the Revolution."

The song tells the story of Murphy's heroic actions as well. A couple of the songs from my 5th grade education, are going to be part of the Rewind show. I'm going to be recording later this year, once I finish writing it. I'll let you know when it's complete.

Oh yes, one final thing I also found out during my research. The doubled-barrel rifle that Timothy Murphy used to take his strategic shots at the British General was made by a man named John Golcher. He was from Easton, Pennsylvania. I wasn't able to find out much about him. But my curiosity is peaked. If anyone reading this knows something about Glocher please let me know.

So that's the story of what I found out about the Saratoga Rifleman while doing some simple research. I think it's cool when you end up going down a road of discovery that you never intended but nonetheless find enjoyable. But maybe that's just me.