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THE LAW IS A ASS for 05/06/2003
"Court's Adjourned" Installment # 4
Originally published on World Famous Comics May 6, 2003
Forget what you read in the first paragraph below. Last week I wasn't in Orlando. Last week I forgot.
Forgot to sent in last week's column last week, that is.
See, when I prepared the three "Court's Adjourned columns I'm running while I find the time to scan the columns I'm missing computer copies of, I prepared all three columns at the same time. I also thought I sent all three to Justin at the same time. I hadn't. Which explains why I didn't send in a column last week and you got a re-run during May Sweeps.
It'll never happen again.
And if you believe that, there's a Nigerian governmental official who'd like to discuss a little financial transaction with you.
Installment # 4
Last week I was in Orlando. You weren't This week I'll be in Walt Disney World, as you can see. You still aren't. Sometimes life, like Lassie can be a ...
Sorry, on to my not-regularly scheduled trip report. Here's the set-up you'll need. On Tuesday Thom Zahler, Roger Price and I arrived in Orlando several days before MegaCon to go to Disney World On Wednesday, we had Disney Day One.
Thom is the oldest of several brothers, which, while important to Thom, isn't important isn't for our purposes. What is important for our purposes is that one of Thom's brothers knows people who work at Walt Disney World; people who still room left on their "I have out-of-town acquaintances who want to sponge off of my free Disney World passes" account. Room for three out-of-town spongers for two days. We met up with her, Rachel by name, picked up our park hopper passes and, after she told us we had to try the margaritas in the Mexico section of Epcot, we entered what must be, if the signs outside of Disneyland are to be believed, "the second happiest place on earth."
First stop was The Magic Kingdom. Not much to report here. Space mountain is still Space Mountain. Splash Mountain is still Splash Mountain. It's a Small World is still unbearable. I let Thom call the shots in the park. He hadn't been to Disney World in ten years, it hadn't even been ten months for me. So I let him tell me which rides he wanted to ride and we rode them.
Then we used our park hoppers to hop over to Disney/MGM, a joke which, I think, has gone into re-runs. Rock 'n' Roller Coaster (Hi, Jim.), Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, Star Tours, and Muppet Vision 3D were musts. The Great Movie Ride and The Voyage of the Little Mermaid were closed for refurbishing. Bear in the Big Blue House was like unto It's a Small World. But we did do Who Wants to be a Millionaire Play It!
Interlude: I had two friends who have been contestants on the syndicated version of Who Wants to be a Millionaire, Tom Condosta and Herd brother Thom Zahler. I was a Phone a Friend for both. By the time you read this Tom Condosta's appearance will have aired and Zahler's appearance will be airing in a few weeks. (It's tentatively scheduled for Good Friday, but that could change. For reasons of secrecy, the contestants sign multi-page documents pledging their first-born or their slabbed copies of It, the Living Colossus as collateral and will forfeit all their winnings if they reveal how they did. So, I can't tell you how they did, because I don't know how they did.
But I digress, which I must point out, is a phrase I used in my CBG column years before Peter David even started up his. We were proud of Thom, when he walked into the Disney attraction, which is a replica of the actual set, including background music, he didn't have a flashback and run screaming from the room.
The way the Disney attraction works, everyone in the audience has a key pad. They do a traditional Fastest Finger competition, with one change; everyone in the audience participates not just the people in the Fastest Finger chairs and the fastest finger in the whole audience goes into the Hot Seat. I never do well in the fastest finger. I suffern from an accute case of hand-eye spasticism. But in this Disney attraction, the audience answers all the questions, not only so that the answers are already locked in when the poor shlub in the Hot Seat uses the Poll the Audience life line to learn what color George Washington's white horse was, but each audience member gets a score computed from the speed and correctness of their answers. At the end of the run for whomever is in the Hot Seat, the next occupant is the audience member who has the highest score.
As expected, I didn't do well in the Fastest Finger. But, while the contestant who won the Fastest Finger was in the Hot Seat, I noticed that the kid next to me was constantly pressing the buttons on his number pad, like they were the fire button on a PlayStation. You're supposed to wait until a light on your keypad goes on to answer. If you push the button before the light goes on, that answer is not accepted, so you do have to wait for the light to go on. But the rapid fire technique--repeatedly pressing whichever button corresponds to the correct answer as soon as you know which button to push--guarantees that only scant fractions of a second will pass between the "Go Ahead" light and your answer registering. So, as long as you have the right answer, you should have a high score. Considering that Disney pretty much wants everyone to reach at least one thousand points to win a set of five pins and a baseball cap, answering correctly isn't hard, because the questions aren't hard. About on the line of "Who's buried in Grant's Tomb? A) Grant; b) Grant; c) Grant; d) no, really it's Grant." Anyway, after noticing the kid next to me's trick and seeing that he was the contestant in second place for getting into the Hot Seat, I decided I'd use the same trick while the second contestant was in the Hot Seat. To see if I could win that round and be the third contestant in the Hot Seat.
The second contestant started answering questions. So did I. 100, 200, 300, 500 and 1000 point questions. He hit them all. Then they showed the audience score. And there it was Seat 463, my seat on top of the Leader Board.
The contestant went on. 2000, 4000, 8000, 16000, 32000. He was sailing through the questions. And, when they showed the scores again, there it was again Seat 463 on top of the Leader Board.
As soon as this guy went out, I'd be in the Hot Seat.
He went on. 64000, 125000, 250000, 500000. He answered them correctly. He answered correctly. So did I. Most--such as "When complimented on his writing style, which author said 'I leave out the parts most people don't read?' A) Thomas Wolfe, B) James Ellroy, C) John Grisham, D) Ernest Hemingway?"--I knew. (For the record, I was stumped at first, but suddenly remembered that Ellroy now has a cropped style that leaves words such as prepositions out of sentences, so his sentences read "The cops in the restaurant" as opposed to "The cops were sitting in the restaurant." And I an interview in which he referred to that as leaving out the words people don't read. For one--"Which of these is sometimes referred to as a 'Lady thumb' A) insect, B) desert, C) weed, D) soap"--used the trick I learned playing NTN trivia in TGIFriday's, eliminate the two answers that are obviously wrong--an insect is a ladybug and a desert is a lady finger--and pick the remaining answer that seems the most correct--a lady thumb struck me more as a weed than a detergent. And for one, I don't even remember the question, I flat-out guessed and guessed correctly.
So on he went. And so did I.
All the way to the Million Point question. I may not be remembering it quite correctly. In fact, I'm probably not remembering it quite correctly, but it was something like: "A carbohydrate has the chemical ration of A) 1-2-1, B) 3-3-2, C) 3-2-3, d) 2-1-1?" If he answered it correctly, he'd win a complete set of the collectors' pins, an exclusive leather jacket, and a four-day Disney Cruise Line cruise for four. The tension was on, but he remembered glucose was C6H12O6 and correctly answered A) 1-2-1. And the crowed went wild. Confetti and streamers dropped. He celebrated
Lost in all the excitement was the fact that I, also, answered the question correctly. I admit it was one of those "that sounds right," slightly-educated guesses. I didn't chose it because I knew it was right at the time, but because it just seemed right to me for some reason I couldn't express. realized later I had subconsciously chosen A) because 1-2-1 was the only one that had the correct ratio of a hydrate of 2-1, so my sub-conscious must have latched onto it. But it was correct.
Anyway, after the celebration died down, they showed the Leader Board and there I was. Number One. The next to go into the Hot Seat. My fifteen minutes of fame...
You can see it coming, can't you.
Yes, by going all the way to the million point question, the contestant before me used up all the time they had left. I would have been in the Hot Seat, if they had had enough time do a third contestant. They didn't. I wasn't. And I had the shortest fifteen minutes in history.
But I'm not bitter.
Next it was dinner and a show. Literally. Dinner at one of the MGM restaurants which had a reserved seating section for Fantasmic. After that we hit Downtown Disney for some shopping. All the things we saw in the parks that we really wanted but held off buying, because you can get your Disney Club discount in these out-of-the-park stores. The little Mouse boy gets enough of my money as it is, why not, I figured, use a discount so I didn't give him money I didn't have to give him? Then it was back to our home-away-from-home hotel and another extended visit with the rear of eyelids.
Which led to Disney Day Two: Thursday. It started at Epcot, where we met Thom's brother's friend, Rachel, and got our free tickets and a pleasant surprise. She had the day off, so she came with us. As I said a pleasant surprise, because she was a very pleasant lady.
Epcot, for the three of you who might not ever have been there, is divided into two sections: Future World (or the world of the future as they thought it would look in the early 70s, when planning on the park started) and World Showcase. Future World is where most of the rides are, and it opens first. World showcase, which is largely recreations of various countries, each with its own restaurant and stores and some movies about the country, two with rides, and the audio-animatronics extravaganza in America, opens two hours later. That, Rachel reminded us, is when we'd be able to go to Mexico and get those margaritas.
So we did some of the rides in Future World--Test Track, Journey Into the Imagination, The Living Sea--for the first two hours, then wandered into the World Showcase. (Wandered is probably the wrong word. Epcot is too big to wander in, you hike through it and hope you have the stamina to last the hole day.)
We dined at Alfredo's, a recreation of the famous restaurant in Italy that invented Fettuccini Alfredo, where we had food that was served so quickly, we figured it had to have been pre-prepared and heated in the nuker. The taste confirmed our suspicions.
After lunch we went to The American Adventure. Thom and Rachel watched it. They're younger. Me, I took full advantage of a twenty-minute show in a darkened theater. I fell asleep.
When we came out of the American Adventure, we discovered that the weathermen in Orlando had finally learned Roger and I were in town together; it was raining. Anyway, we all waded our ways over to Mexico where we finally had those much-hyped, much-anticipated margaritas, or as they should have been called the margarita-flavored Slurpee. All we were lacking was Apu Nahasapeemapetilon offering to warm up our burritos for us. These things had all the alcohol content of a Sno-Cone. They didn't give me a buzz, but they managed to give me a wonderful ice-cream headache. And, to add insult to injury, the lady didn't care me, the way she did some of the others in our party.
Rachel had to someplace she had to be so left us. We decided to return to MGM, so that all three of us could try the rapid-fire trick in Who Wants to be a Millionaire Play It and see if one of us could into the Hot Seat.
One of us did: Thom. Yes the boy who had already done the real show(as I hope to report next month) hogged theme-park version, too. (Actually, it came down to the final question between Thom and me. The question was how quickly does a stomach replace its lining? By our own admission, we both guessed. Thom guessed correctly--every two days--, I--every week--didn't.)
Anyway, Thom went into the Hot Heat and was sailing along. Then the 32,000 point question came up: "The clavichord was a predecessor to what instrument A) guitar; B) xylophone; C) piano; D) pipe organ? Thom knew the answer, but as he went through it in his mind, a kind of a blank expression suddenly came over his face. I leaned over to Roger and said, "He's over-thinking it," a fact that Thom later confirmed. He said to himself, the clavicle is in the neck, the guitar has a neck and suddenly switched from piano to guitar.
Oh well, the exclusive five-pin set and baseball cap are lovely.
We went back to the hotel to decompress then tried the impossible task of finding a restaurant along the tourist trap that is International Drive in Orlando that didn't have a one-hour wait for a table. Which is how we ended up at Café Tu Tu Tango, which isn't a mixture of dance styles but a Mexican restaurantwith rather an ecclectic approach to dining. And art.
The restaurant bills itself as "Where starving artists go to eat." And, sure enough, every night there is a local artist in residence there at the restaurant producing artwork which is then hung on the Tu Tu Tango walls and, hopefully, sold. There is also a troupe of flamenco dancers, who obviously regard their act as something of a spoof. The Cisco Kid's and Lucy's "Tryin' to get into the show" outfits were more sedate.
The food is equally eclectic and unconventional. The menu is a mix of Mexican, Chinese, and Spanish food, but cooked as it were all Mexican. Everything they serve is appetizer-sized portions and there are stacks of empty plates at the end of the table. The theory is, everyone in the party orders two or three such selections and you all share. In principle it's a good theory, it just more of a challenge with our party.
Fish is Thom's personal Green Kryptonite. The two times I've seen Thom really sick was one morning after one night on Bourbon Street and last year in LA, when he tried one small bite of Roger's ahi tuna. Roger feels about sour cream about the same way that Thom feels about fish. So we had to pour over the menu several times to find dishes that lacked both these Mexican staples. But we did and I can tell you the food at the Tu Tu Tango was quite good.
Herein endth Thursday. When next we meet on this page, I'll tell you about MegaCon itself and beyond.
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