Friday, March 31, 2006

Disney Buys The Gap

For the record, this was an April Fools Joke. Thanks for playing along.

Quality Family Entertainment and Consumer Products Leader Acquires Retail Clothing Trendsetter
BURBANK, Calif. & SAN FRANCISCO, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Apr. 1, 2006--The Walt Disney Company

• Paul Pressler Named Chairman over combined Disney, Pixar, and Gap Brands
• Cynthia Harriss Named Chief Store Operations Officer
• Byron Pollitt Named Chief Financial Officer

Furthering its strategy of finding new applications for its creative content, Robert A. Iger, President and Chief Executive Officer of The Walt Disney Company, announced today that Disney has agreed to acquire retail clothing trendsetter The Gap, Inc. in an all-stock transaction, expected to be completed by this fall.

Under terms of the agreement, 0.67 Disney shares will be issued for each Gap share. Based on The Gap's fully diluted shares outstanding, the transaction value is $16.24 billion (a).

This acquisition combines The Gap’s talented executive leadership, preeminent retail resources, location presence, brands, clothing, and accessories expertise with Disney's unparalleled portfolio of world-class family entertainment, characters, theme parks and other franchises, resulting in vast potential for new landmark retail output and brand extension that can fuel future growth across Disney's businesses. With an impressive 3,000-plus stores worldwide, including throughout the United States, as well as in Canada, the United Kingdom, France, and Japan, The Gap's exceptional executive team and 150,000 employees generated USD$16 billion in revenue in 2005.

"With this transaction, we welcome and embrace The Gap’s unique brands, which include the Gap, Banana Republic, Old Navy and Forth & Towne names, including GapKids, babyGap and GapBody, which are some of the most fashionable worldwide. The talented Gap team has delivered outstanding retail sales coupled with compelling brands that have clothed customers of all ages worldwide and redefined the industry by setting a new standard of excellence," Iger said. "The addition of The Gap significantly enhances Disney Consumer Products, which is a critical financial engine for driving growth across our businesses. This investment significantly advances our strategic priorities, which include -- first and foremost -- delivering high-quality, compelling creative content to consumers, the application of new technology and global expansion to drive long-term shareholder value."

Gap President and Chief Executive Officer Paul S. Pressler will serve as Chairman of the new Disney, Pixar, and Gap Worldwide Brands reporting directly to Iger. In addition, Gap brand President Cynthia Harriss will be Chief Store Operations Officer, where she will provide her expertise in retail branding and operations to operating all Disney-owned stores worldwide, including those inside Disney's theme parks, as well as all Gap, Banana Republic, Old Navy, and Forth & Towne stores, reporting directly to Pressler. Gap, Inc. Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Byron H. Pollitt, Jr. will be named Chief Financial Officer of The Walt Disney Company.

"Disney and Gap can now collaborate on strengthening brand names, expanding store operations, and distributing Disney content," said Pressler. "Disney shareholders will regain a presence in the mall and shopping center market."

"At Gap, our brands are about building compelling stories - ones that our customers see themselves in, are passionate about and want to be part of," said Pressler. "That's very much in line with Disney. Also, Gap's executive culture has its roots in Disney. We are excited to bring our additional clothing, accessories, retail, and outlet experience back to a magical company," said Pressler. "Gap brands will have access to Disney characters and content, and, in turn, Gap clothing and accessories can supply the clothing needs for Disney's Resort Guests as well as the costuming needs for Disney Resort Casts and Disney stage, television, and cinema productions."

The acquisition returns to Disney the talented managerial team behind the Disneyland Resort and Disneyland Paris Resort expansions, who will now be involved in the nurturing and expansions of these properties and others. Paul Pressler joined Gap Inc. as President and Chief Executive Officer in September 2002 after 15 years with Disney, including the roles of Chairman of Walt Disney Parks & Resorts, President of The Disney Stores, and Senior Vice President of Disney Licensing. Cynthia Harriss joined Gap Inc. in February 2004 as President of Gap Inc. Outlet after many years with Disney, including roles as President of the Disneyland Resort and Senior Vice President of Stores for The Disney Store. Byron Pollitt assumed his position as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Gap Inc. in January of 2003 after 13 years with Disney, including the role of Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts.

As Chairman of the new Disney and Gap Worldwide Brands, Pressler will oversee all Disney, Pixar, and Gap-branded products, services, and operations, including Walt Disney Pictures, The Disney Channel, Toon Disney, Radio Disney, Walt Disney Feature Animation, Pixar Animation Studios, Disney Consumer Products, Walt Disney Parks & Resorts, Disney Vacation Club, Walt Disney Imagineering, Disney Cruise Lines, Gap, Banana Republic, Old Navy, and Forth & Towne.

"We are always looking to partner with other entities, and leverage synergistic opportunities to increase shareholder value with strategic executive recruitment," said Iger. "Returning these executives to Disney, acquiring the Gap properties, and aligning Disney and Gap segments accordingly will provide worthwhile integration of both talent and content. With Paul Pressler overseeing the Disney, Pixar, and Gap brands, I will be able to confidently concentrate on growing our other brands, including ABC, ESPN, Touchstone, Miramax, Hollywood, Hyperion, and the Muppets."

Doris and Don Fisher opened the first Gap store in San Francisco in 1969 as a place to buy blue jeans. Today, the company has expanded into several brands. Gap is about fresh, casual American style. Banana Republic is an affordable luxury brand. Old Navy brings fun, fashion and value to the whole family. Forth & Towne is a destination offering a new shopping experience for women. On March 2, 2006, the company reported net sales of $865 million for February. On Feb. 23, 2006, Gap reported that fiscal 2005 earnings per share were $1.24. Net sales for the fourth quarter were $4.8 billion, net sales for the fiscal year 2005 were $16 billion.
The Boards of Directors of Disney and Gap have approved the transaction, which is subject to clearance under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antritrust Improvements Act, certain non-United States merger control regulations, and other customary closing conditions. The agreement will require the approval of Gap's shareholders.

The Disney Board was advised by Goldman, Sachs & Co. and Bear, Stearns & Co. The Gap Board was advised by Credit Suisse.

(a) Based on Disney's closing share price of $27.89 as of 3/31/06.

About The Walt Disney Company:
The Walt Disney Company together with its subsidiaries and affiliates, is a leading diversified international family entertainment and media enterprise with four business segments: media networks, parks and resorts, studio entertainment and consumer products. Disney is a Dow 30 company, had annual revenues of nearly $32 billion in its most recent fiscal year, and a market capitalization of approximately $53.7 billion as of March 31, 2006.

Investor Conference Call:
An investor conference call will take place at approximately 2:15 p.m. PT / 5:15 p.m. ET Monday, April 3, 2006. To listen to the Webcast, turn your browser to or

If you cannot participate in the live Webcast, re-plays will be available for domestic callers at (888) 286-8010 (PIN 56666399) and for international callers at (617) 801-6888 (PIN 56666399), or at until 4:00 p.m. PT on Tuesday, April 18, 2006. An .mp3 version of this Webcast replay will also be available approximately 24 hours after the Webcast concludes at

Posted: April 1, 2006

Monday, March 27, 2006

Ken Quoted

LA Daily News - Some Bridges Still Need Retrofits
By Troy Anderson, Staff Writer - Daily News

>>"The six bridges the county is committed to upgrading in the unincorporated areas are mostly in rural areas, and as such are awaiting regulatory and environmental approvals due to the location of the bridges," Public Works Department spokesman Ken Pellman said.

The remaining 49 bridges are waiting for local funding match commitments from the cities where the bridges are located.<<

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Ken Pellman's Latest Column Now Online

The moment you've been waiting for is finally here!

The latest edition of Kenversations(TM) was posted today at

In this column, Ken reminisces about the expanding winter holiday season at Disneyland Park. He also reviews a DVD featuring video of the holiday happenings at Disneyland Park this past season.

Check out the column and tell Ken what you think by using the feedback form at the end of the column. Talk about the column with others by following the link at the end of the column to the discussion boards. Then, spread the word. Thanks!


Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Ken Pellman Quoted

LA Daily News - Parking, Stopping Banned on Widened 'Hamburger Hill'
By Eugene Tong, Staff Writer

>>"It's going to be 'No stopping any time,"' Ken Pellman, a county Department of Public Works spokesman, said Monday about the new signs. "It was one lane in each direction. Now it's two lanes in each direction, so there is no room for parking. The restriction against the trucks was redundant."
"It's basically a traffic flow situation," Pellman said.<<

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Ken Quoted

Wireless Hookup Will Let County Adjust Traffic Signals
By Alison Shackelford Hewitt
Copley News Service -

>>The signals -- near Del Aire, Hawthorne, El Segundo, Athens and Gardena -- are the first to be connected to the county's new traffic management center. Signals in other unincorporated areas with heavy traffic, including Marina del Rey, will eventually follow, said Ken Pellman, a spokesman for the county Department of Public Works.

"These signals right now are timed, and most of them are synchronized ... and the only variation (in how long they stay red or green) is caused by detectors in the pavement, which are triggered by the cars passing over them," Pellman said.

"We're going to equip these signals so that they can be controlled and monitored," he continued. "We can change the timing to alleviate some problems, and we can respond to malfunctions faster because we'll be able to see what's going on from the traffic management center."
"If there's an accident, and one intersection is blocked, we'll want to change the timing on nearby intersections to clear up traffic. Or if we need traffic to go straight through for an extended period of time -- maybe for a presidential motorcade -- we can put the cross streets on red for a longer period of time," Pellman explained.<<

The technology has been proven elsewhere, and it will save County money, so it is a very good thing.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Pictures From Movieland Wax Museum

As I blogged earlier, Kori and I had been at the last weekend of the museum. Here are some pictures taken by our friend Frank. Our friend Rick is there with us.

The first picture is us outside of the musuem, with handprints and signatures in the concrete blocks.

The second picture is of us in a library scene, and some of the books were removable.

The third picture I included because... well, because I like it for some reason. Hmmmmm...

Ken Pellman Quoted - County of Los Angeles Switching to Franchise System For Trash Collection
By Shirley Hsu - Staff Writer
San Gabriel Valley Tribune

>>ROWLAND HEIGHTS - A proposed trash franchise system for Los Angeles County's unincorporated areas has some residents worried about higher rates and limited choices.<<

In reality, what we've seen in the "free market" system is that residents in unincorporated areas are paying more for the same or fewer services than their neighbors in incorporated cities mere blocks away, because the city is negotiating in bulk rather than family by family, and expecially in more remote areas, smaller waste hauling firms are being bought up so that only one company serves an area.

>>"We've left it up to the free market, but it hasn't worked out in a free-market way. We've seen monopolies. ... What we're trying to do is switch over to a system much like many cities have," said Ken Pellman, spokesman for the county's Department of Public Works.

"It's better for us to negotiate as representatives of the public," he said. "We want to make sure residents in unincorporated areas are getting services and rates that are competitive."

Under the proposed system, the county can require that the haulers they contract with separate recyclables from trash, Pellman said.
Pellman said he doesn't know how rates would change because the county has not yet put out a request for bids.<<

Movieland Wax Museum Auction

At Wax Museum, the Ending Is Bidder-Sweet - Los Angeles Times
About 400 fans turn out to make offers as the defunct Movieland in O.C. holds an auction featuring star figures, props and memorabilia.
By David Haldane -Times Staff Writer
March 12, 2006

Kori and I went for the final weekend.

>>Daniel Roebuck showed up at Buena Park's Movieland Wax Museum on Saturday with one major goal.

"I want their Frankenstein to live in my house," said the 43-year-old Los Angeles actor, writer and monster collector.

Roebuck was one of about 400 movie fans who came to bid in the daylong "Everything Must Go" auction at the museum, which closed last Halloween after a 43-year run. Owners attributed declining attendance to rising competition from nearby amusement parks.

The auction, which featured about 500 items, happened simultaneously over the Internet.

Items included movie characters with their sets, props and a collection of cinema memorabilia dating to 1963.<<

More Southern California Traffic Hell

Pasadena Star-News - Interchange Weave Becomes Real Snarl
By Ben Baeder - Staff Writer

>>One engineer calls the traffic-weaving interchange between the San Gabriel River (605) and San Bernardino (10) freeways "The Autotopia" - after Disneyland's wacky car ride.

That nickname is as good as any for the delay-ridden interchange.

One thing that engineers do agree on: the crossing of two of the nation's busiest highways desperately needs an update.
The Baldwin Park 10-605 interchange was designed in 1964 and was supposed to accommodate traffic until 1984, according to Caltrans spokesman Dave White. Even though it's about 22 years overdue for an update, no major changes have been undertaken there since it was built.

An average of 438,000 cars use the interchange each day, making the intersection the 19th busiest in the state, according to statistics from Caltrans.<<

I think, in general, the engineers at Caltrans do a great job and public service. It is just that the transportation systems of the area haven't kept up with the population, and that has to do with a lot of factors, including funding and NIMBY issues. Although I think it will be hard to every beat the personal automobile for customization of your trip and door-to-door delivery, I think some of the traffic could be reduced if a private company was allowed to build and operate a regional monorail system.

Where We Get Some of Our Place Names

Founding Families of South Bay Left Their Mark on History
The legacy of the Carson, Del Amo, Dominguez and Sepulveda names extends beyond road maps.
By Stephanie Walton
Daily Breeze -

This kind of local history fascinates me. I strongly suggest clicking on the link and reading the full story.

>>Dominguez: Juan Jose Dominguez received the 75,000-acre Rancho San Pedro land grant in the 1780s in appreciation for many years of military service to the Spanish crown, according to The Rancho San Pedro by Robert Cameron Gillingham. The sweep of the grant extended from western Long Beach to Redondo Beach.
Del Amo: Dr. Gregorio Del Amo became part of South Bay history when he married Susana Dominguez, whose inheritance included a parcel of land in the heart of present-day Torrance, where Del Amo Fashion Center and Del Amo Financial Center now stand. Oil was later discovered on their land.
Carson: George Henry Carson's influence on the local lexicon also came through marriage to one of Don Manuel's daughters, Maria Victoria.
Sepulveda: Juan Jose Dominguez's executor, Manuel Gutierrez, moved onto the ranch after Dominguez's death and allowed the family of Don Jose Sepulveda to graze cattle and build a family home on the Los Palos Verdes portion.

Sepulveda refused to leave although ordered to do so by Spanish authorities in 1822 and died in 1824 during an Indian attack at Mission La Purísima Concepción.<<

Friday, March 10, 2006

Disney Shareholder Meeting - Ken's Report

The Walt Disney Company Shareholders Meeting 2006
Friday, March 10, 2006

Fridays are the first day of my three day weekends after working long hours Monday through Thursday, yet Kori and I got up at 7am (her with very little rest) to make our short drive to the Los Angeles Pond of Anaheim.  I wasn't going to miss the first shareholder meeting in Anaheim since Michael Eisner faced everyone after Mike Ovitz left and got scores of million of dollars for his year with the company.  For some reason, the meetings seemed to stay away from the traditional Anaheim and Orlando locations after that.

Registration was supposed to start at 8, seating at 9, and the meeting at 10.  We arrived shortly after 8am, and were able to go right in and get our seats, which was good, being a chilly day for Anaheim.

Outside, there were "free speech zones" with nobody in them (I had been told that cast members were going to make a showing), LOTS of Disney characters, and a merchandise tent.

Guest Relations cast members were everywhere, and every person through the door was getting a single-day passport.  Copies of Enviroport and the Shareholder Report were available.

I was surprised to see many families (or at least parents) with small children in attendance.  These events have to be horribly trying for a young child.  The crowd was also full of elderly folks.  Scanning the crowd is a reminder that American shareholder corporations are owned by you, me, and your grandmother, and when you hear someone saying that we should "make corporations pay", they are really talking about making these people pay… some of whom rely on their investment income to survive.

Chairman, Senator George Mitchell got moderate applause when he started off the meeting.  I'd say about 75% of the available seating was full, maybe less.

Mitchell's mention of Steve Jobs got applause.
Roy E. Disney got hearty applause.

There was a video shown about all of the wonderful things Disney is (I think the score was from "Curse of the Black Pearl").  There would be several videos throughout.

President & CEO Bob Iger was not introduced; he simply walked out and started talking.  He really seems like a nice, sharp guy, but also kind of plain – which could have had to do with the task at hand.  He's at a shareholder meeting, not a dinner show.

Iger got applause at the mention of the meeting being in Anaheim for the Disneyland 50th Anniversary.  He talked about acquiring great storytelling, wanting us to think of Pixar, but he was really talking about Oswald, which got some more applause.  He said that every part of the company was focused on three things:

Creativity & Innovation
Application of New Technology
Global Expansion

When he showed a video of what is going on with the theme parks, there was no mention and very little emphasis (images) focusing on Disney's California Adventure or Disney Studios Paris.

The mention of Tim Allen got scant applause.  "The Shaggy Dog" was released today, and "The Santa Clause 3" is coming.  So, Allen is staring in yet another Disney remake, and yet another sequel.  That could have been the reason for the lukewarm reaction.

Iger insisted that Feature Animation is "top priority", pointing out what we all know – that from Feature Animation comes most of the rest of the company's products.  Brining up Pixar and Steve Jobs got applause, and the mention of John Lasseter was strongly applauded.

John Lasseter was very well received when he was introduced, and was the most engaging speaker of the event.  He mentioned that attractions and films should be developed simultaneously to capitalize on the success of the films.  As much as I agree, I also see the risk if the film doesn't do well.  The attractions must be able to stand on their own as great attractions.
He showed a new "Cars" preview trailer, and then a scene from the film.  We also got a bit of the 2007 Pixar film, "Ratatouille".  Both were well received.  Lasseter talked about being a cast member and when he first worked for Disney in animation, and going to work for Lucas.  He talked about Jobs buying the operation from Lucas in 1986, and how they lost a lot of Steve Jobs' money over the next ten years before things started to take off.  He told us that Bob Iger is a great guy.  It is interesting that someone who is "new" to the company would be the one who made us feel better about our own CEO, but we know that Lasseter is an old-school Disney guy.

Tom Staggs took the stage to talk about the financial performance of the company, and told a cute story about his son.  Since the "entertainment" was through, a lot of people left.  Mitchell returned to conduct the formal business of the meeting and then host the general questions from those in attendance.

The questions (paraphrased) and the gist of the answers along with some comments from me, not necessarily in order:

We should buy/build our own factories in China.  This was more of a suggestion, not a question, so I don't recall there being a response.

Disneyland cast members should get better contracts.  Two different cast members brought this up (since negotiations are at a head right now).  Iger's response was that other cast members have accepted similar terms (perhaps he's referring to the Foods cast members, who have departed in huge numbers?) and that Disney is competitive in this area.  I thought Disney is supposed to be better, not just competitive, but I do understand his point that it is not typical for a company to provide benefits to people who work only 30 hours a week.  What wasn't mentioned was that just about all of the people who are only "required" to work 30 hours a week in fact work 40+ hours a week most of the year, and are required to work 40 hours many weeks out of the year.  As Iger noted, health care costs are high.  On the other hand, I know how hard it is to attract and retain good hourly cast members at the Disneyland Resort, and how the pay rate doesn't go very far in southern California.

Why isn't there more classic programming on the Disney Channel – stuff for the baby boomers? My wife Kori had thought of the same thing earlier… why not have a Disney version of TV Land?  Iger said there was no plan to change the programming strategy of the Disney Channel to bring back Vault Disney and the like.  He encouraged people to buy the home video product featuring classic programming and that he himself enjoys the "Spin & Marty" stuff on DVD.

Why don't you release Song of the South on home video? This got considerable applause.  Iger said he had viewed the film recently and that he and others were not comfortable with everything in the film, even considering the context, and that he thought it might not be received well by the general public, which may not even consider the context of the production, and that he's rather protect the image of the company from such a risk than make money on releasing the film on DVD.  So, the answer for now is "no" but it may change in the future.

With the success of the Haunted Mansion overlay, is it true that we may lose Tim Burton's cooperation and talent?  Iger didn't know, but Dick Cook assured people that Disney is on good terms with Burton.

Is Anaheim going to get a third theme park?  Iger said there are no plans in that area right now – that DCA needs more help first and there are things to do with Disneyland Park.

After the Anniversary celebration at Disneyland Park, then what?  What's going to keep people coming?  Iger referenced an earlier video and said there are things coming our way, included the new version of the submarine attraction.  No mention of a new E-Ticket.

What about hand drawn animation?  Iger took the opportunity to talk about new technology Glen Keane is using for "Rapunzel Unbraided" where the animators draw by hand into a digital tool.

An advocacy group brought up the topic of banning smoking in the films.  Iger stated that he hates for smoking to be glamorized in films and that they are working to reduce it in Disney-label films, except for certain period piece depictions.

Can't Disney have a Hall of Fame to recognized and publicize the people who have given their entire careers to the company -  but keep Michael Eisner out?  Iger referred to the Disney Legends ceremonies and annual service anniversary ceremonies that the company conducts.  As for me, I think something could be set up, especially with the space at Walt Disney World Resort, complete with a Walt Disney Archives and perhaps even a display of select "extinct attractions".  As I like to say, nostalgia is very powerful.  As for Eisner, that's ridiculous.  Michael Eisner and Frank Wells preserved the company and had a good run.  After Wells' life was cut short, Eisner did a lot of things that were not successful and/or were not well received, but that doesn't erase the fact that he left his mark on Disney in many positive ways as well.

Someone asked why cameras weren't allowed at the meeting.  Mainly due to the video presentations, including some of which had not ever been shown in public before.

Are there plans for Disney's California Adventure?  Yes.  Iger says he likes the park.  His mention of Soarin' Over California got a lot of applause.  He does NOT come across at all like a DCA apologist, however.

Will the entrance of DCA be changed?  There are some plans, but they are a surprise.

Are there plans to spin off more parts of the company? That's always a consideration, as are acquisitions.

Does Disney accept unsolicited submissions?  Iger said everyone from the person who does his hair to the person who does his teeth pitches ideas to him, but that no, Disney does not, because it is a legal liability.  Often Disney is already considering something very similar to what people want to submit, and doesn't want to be accused of stealing those ideas.

Someone complained about lack of nighttime lighting at Disneyland Park.  Iger noted that many cast members were in attendance and he was sure it would be taken under their consideration.  I really don't like questions like this as I do not think it is the time and place for such topics, unless it is brought up in the larger context of a lack of upkeep, but even the person asking the question said the park looked great in the daylight.

I think the same person as above asked about avoiding the problems in China by making the Disney products in the U.S.  After all, when you charge $25 for a t-shirt, surely a profit can be made with American-made t-shirts.  Iger talked about the realities of international trade and that these other countries are also Disney consumers, and Disney does do business domestically as well.  The question, in my mind, showed a lack of understanding about economics.  Yes, the shirt can still make a profit if made in America, but not nearly as much of a profit.  Yes, the shirt is expensive, but if people are willing to pay it, why should Disney charge less?  Also, as Iger touched on, these other countries also buy American products (especially American entertainment).  If they do not develop their own economies and a consumer base with purchasing power, how will the people there ever be able to buy Disney products or travel to our resorts?

Will the Disneyland monorail be extended to other locations in the area, and will Downtown Disney be expanded?  The answer was no to both – at least there were no plans to do so.

The meeting was adjourned some time after noon but before 1pm.


All in all, Mitchell and Iger handled the questions well.  At one point during the meeting, cast members in the audience were asked to stand up and received applause.  That was nice touch.  If there was anything lacking that I really wanted to see more of, it would have been more recognition and promotion (and thereby demonstrating a commitment to) Walt Disney Imagineering, but then there was a lot that wasn't mentioned because the meeting was only so long and the company is huge and diverse.  Specifics about the future were a little sketchy and scant as well, other than that there are some films coming our way over the next couple of years that we already knew about.  Although the Muppets briefly appeared on screen, they were also glaringly absent in mentions of the past and the future.

Bob Iger stressed that keeping "status quo" is not an option, but also noted that as much as Disney is embracing technology, he knows that technology is not a substitute for good storytelling.

The overall mood was light.

We saw Doug Marsh and we also saw my friend Dale, and bumped into current cast member JVW.  Another current cast member I chat with about Disney matters in general stopped by to talk with us where we were seated.  Other than that, we didn't have interaction with familiar faces.

After the meeting, we returned home for a nap.

[Edit - Kori reminded me of how she asked, when they mentioned that the Pirates of the Caribbean attractions were going to be updated with stuff from the films: "What, are they going to stick in half a Johnny Depp figure into the one at Walt Disney World? Heh.]

-Ken Pellman
©2006 Ken Pellman, all rights reserved.

Monday, March 06, 2006

KISS' Gene Simmons Inspired by Disney

The Outrageous Entrepreneur
Gene Simmons of KISS has built a mini-empire with his in-your-face media marketing.
By Josh Friedman, Times Staff Writer
March 4, 2006

>>Simmons, who calls himself "Disney without the overhead," still occasionally dons his KISS get-up to perform as the Demon.
Born Chaim Witz in Haifa, Israel, Simmons immigrated to New York at age 8 with his mother after his father abandoned the family.

A matinee showing of Walt Disney Co.'s "Pinocchio" helped inspire Simmons to think big, he said.

"When Jiminy Cricket sang 'When You Wish Upon a Star,' I thought that little bug was singing to me," he said. "I walked out of that movie theater, and he had done more for me than any religious figure ever could. I was empowered. It was electrifying."<<

I wonder what Walt would think?

San Pedro Swimming

Another part of my childhood as a competitve swimmer is gone...

Club's End in San Pedro Upsets Local Swimmers
Competitive organization that's decades old grew too big, coach says. YMCA board wants to put more focus on basic courses.
By Donna Littlejohn - Daily Breeze

>>A decades-old competitive swim club at San Pedro's YMCA has been abruptly disbanded, leaving some 300 youngsters and their families high and dry.<<

I distinctly remember competing in swim meets there.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

AT&T and the BellSouth Will Rise Again

BREITBART.COM - Reports: AT&T, BellSouth Near$65B Deal
(Hat Tip:

So basically the company that was broken up in 1984 is being recreated.

Sheesh. I remember signing up with a smaller, spunky ISP known as FlashNet. Then it was Prodigy FlashNet. Then SBC Prodigy FlashNet. Then SBC Yahoo! Prodigy FlashNet. Now it is AT&T Yahoo!. And I remember when my phone company was Pacific Bell. Can't wait for the new AT&T to merge with Edison, General Electric, General Motors, and Toyota. Maybe throw in Disney, Wal-Mart, and Apple, too.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

The Back-to-Disneyland Dream

I had another dream last night that I had gone back to work a "per diem" shift at Disneyland Park. I have these dreams every so often -at least, I remember having them- since I left in the middle of last year. In the dreams, people are always surprised to see me back. I guess after fifteen years, it becomes a deep part of you.