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Jentasmic: Why Stitch is My Hero

30 Jul

Stitch at MouseFest 2008, getting ready to board the Tomorrowland Speedway

Lilo and Stitch is one of my favorite Disney movies. This week’s Jentasmic! at StudiosCentral is an exploration of why Stitch means so much to me.

It’s easy to live by the spirit of ‘ohana when times are good. Making sure nobody gets left behind isn’t so tough when everybody can keep up with the same pace. And why would you forget someone when they’re still there? And I think we all know life isn’t always like that.

Please visit StudiosCentral for the rest of the story.

“Hawaiian” American Girl? May I Nominate Lilo Instead?

3 Jan

Does the doll above look like she’s a native Hawaiian to you? Me neither. Yet, she’s American Girl’s doll of the year, Kanani. My spouse, Collateral Damage, has a few choice words on this today:

In Hawaiian Kanani means”the beautiful one.” Apparently the beautiful one in Hawaii is Haole. While her last name, Akina, may sound Hawaiian it is actually Japanese (another group known primarily for black hair and eyes and a distinctly non-Caucasian skin tone). So American Girl™®© just decided to appropriate some ethnic sounding names, put a flower in the doll’s hair and call it Hawaiian. Aznuts, as the Hawaiians say. Hell, even Disney – which has a very long history of messing up on ethnic issues — was able to do this right.

I’m surprised to not find more uproar about this on the interwebs. Instead, it would seem that the state is embracing the doll as a way to promote tourism. From USA Today:

The Kauai Visitors Bureau is doing a traditional blessing on the beach for the doll and I’m sure hoping this sparks more interest in the island. Back on the Mainland, girls can take part in Kanani-themed activities at AG stores, including hula lessons, learning about Hawaiian crafts and food. For more information, visit americangirl.com or call 800-845-0005.

If Kanani brings more tourism to the Islands, and creates greater awareness of indigenous Hawaiian culture to the Mainland, then more power to her. But I’m still creeped out.

Full disclosure: My grandparents retired to Hawaii in the 1970s, my parents own real estate there, and I’ve probably spent about a year there over the course of my lifetime. So I’m a Haole too, and a regular visitor, but the fact that I’ve enjoyed poi and spam maki doesn’t make me Hawaiian.

Reno, Disney, and Stitch’s Tongue at 5:30AM PDT

10 Oct

I’m traveling on business today, this time to Reno. It’s a surreal thing to walk through a casino at 5:30am, see the early morning players at the tables and the slots, hearing strains of Johnny Cash from the coffee shop kitchen trying to break through the cheesy pop that saturates the place. My room here looks like an early 1980’s bordello, complete with black and grey furnishings and a mirrored wall behind the bed. Some of my colleagues’ rooms have wet bars, hot tubs, fax machines (fax machines?).

The casinos have a lot in common with Disney, really . . . they’re designed to let you forget about time, forget where else you need to be, disappear into an elaborately themed environment where you won’t think twice about dipping into your wallet just one more time. But while Disney makes me feel like a happy kid again, this morning the casinos make me want the next flight home.

So, what better balm for my homesick soul than an email from Mr Broke Hoedown, pointing me to a couple candy bloggers chiming in on the sweets available at Disneyland and Magic Kingdom? The best of the pages was from Candyblog, with reviews and tips about candy at Disneyland, but I was also entertained by Candy Addict’s comments on a few Disney World products, especially Stitch Xtreme Xperiments: Gummi Tangy Tongue:

Stitch’s “mouth” totally fooled me. I was expecting a totally different texture, based on appearance, than what it really was. It looked firm, but ended up being really soft with the outside being a tad chewy. Very odd! The flavor is gross and tastes like plastic. I didn’t finish it.

The gummi tongue looks really cool as it’s covered in granular sugar (I think for a realistic effect?). The gummi itself is light and fluffy and the sugar coating provides a great texture contrast. The flavor is… actually, I’m not sure. It’s fruity, sweet, sort of pineapple-y. Kinda like fruit punch but not quite, and has a cherry-like after taste.

Somehow this seems just right to me, just surreal enough to transition me from the coffee shop to my morning work.

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