The wonderful world of Disney

Disney Co. announced today that it would be "loosening grooming rules" for employees who work at its multiple theme park locations.

I always thought the "disney culture" was a bit freaky. The "Disney Look"has always been nonnegotiable and strictly enforced. Friends of mine who worked at Disney retold horror stories of being sent home for not wearing hosieries in 99 degree weather.

Other 'grooming requirements' include: Fingernails may not extend more than a quarter-inch beyond fingertips. No more than one ring per hand is allowed, except for wedding sets. Necklaces and bracelets are prohibited. Men must have conventional haircuts. Beards, mustaches and sideburns beyond the ear lobe are prohibited. Earrings, necklaces, bracelets and visible tattoos are forbidden.

Would you work for a company with such appearance specific regulations?


And they wonder why I haven't bought property in DC?

Unit 902

1 bedroom/1 bathrooms

1030 sq ft.

Price: $424,900

Estimated Condo Fee: $267.96


The money machine

This article about K Street lobbyists is worth a quick read. Unfortunately it's very true.

Going home and back again

For the first time in years, I enjoyed a perfect vacation with friends and family. I fly to Massachusetts/Rhode Island at least once a year for the Christmas holiday. Sometimes I manage to visit for Easter or Thanksgiving, but Christmas is the sure thing.

Since moving to DC 8 years ago, I've celebrated the Fourth of July with friends who travel from NYC, Boston, London, LA (etc.) to crash on my couch and partake in the city's festivities. This is the first time I've traveled north for the holiday.

Usually when I come home (to DC) from a visit, I'm exhausted and frustrated.... tired from the chaos of too many people and squeezing in too many brunch/ lunch/coffee/drinks/dinner dates. I also rely on people to chauffeur me around because I usually fly.

So I drove up on a Saturday. And when 95N turned into a parking lot outside Connecticut, the landscape brought back memories and I started to get really excited. I spent most of the traffic jam chatting on the phone with people I cared about but hadn't focused on in a while.

The best part was that I arrived with no schedule. Just a vague idea of who I wanted to spend the Fourth with. And instead of rushing around like a crazed woman, I relished the chunks of time with people I'd lost touch with - like my grandparents, my brothers, my mom and dad, cousins, and friends from high school.

The weather was perfect. And I was treated like a princess. My parents were also on vacation so dad grilled everyday while I lounged on a swing, cool beneath an enormous leaf canopy. Or went to the beach with mom and my bro. No sharks last week while I was there.

And on the one day it rained, I dragged my mom to the RISD Museum of Art. I couldn't believe she'd never been there (their house is a 15 minute drive away). Her favorite part was the Egyptian exhibit with the sarcophagus and mummy.

For the Fourth, I headed to Newport with my baby brother. We hung out at a party where I met up with people I hadn't seen in a eons (well... a decade, but it certainly felt like well over a lifetime ago).

Time passed at a different pace. I felt like each day lasted a week "DC-time". I spent the week in isolation. My parents don't subscribe to a paper, so I gave up on figuring out what was going on in the world after making a few attempts to find and buy (and read) the Providence Journal and watch CNN.

I didn't touch a computer for 9 days and never suffered the effects of internet withdrawal .

After a blissful week, I packed up the little silver Ford Escort and started my drive home at 5:00 a.m. on a Sunday to avoid the holiday traffic. I pulled into the city at noon and time immediately reverted to the DC schedule.

I didn't have an opportunity to do or see everyone that I had planned to. But the full week was just right - a few more days and it may have ruined the entire experience. It was enough time to whet my appetite for the area and make me miss it, but not enough for annoying behavior and true colors to make an ugly appearance.... the ideal illusion.

The question of the week was, "So, when are you moving back?" Knowing how depressed the economy is up there, coupled with the rise in housing prices and the *local* nature of life (most conversations include the Red Sox, Patriots, Celtics, Bruins and stories based on colorful local personalities), my answer to that question is an emphatic "Never."

But just this once, it was nice for me to experience the possibility of a different, slower path.

Depleting resources

My air conditioner blasts on high 24/7. At 6:00 a.m., my television turns on to herald a new day. I flip a series of light switches on my way to the narrow, windowless kitchen. Every morning I fill a kettle with water, turn on the gas and then step into a steaming hot shower.

I know I should do my part to save the environment and conserve energy. Deep down, a tiny voice whispers that these resources won't last forever and my air conditioning, light sources, and tea kettle are part of the problem. But, hey - my utilities are included and I live in the land of plenty right?

Apparently not. U.S. News & World Report reports that the U.S. is starting to look overseas for supplies of natural gas.

'"There is no way we can be self-sufficient," Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan told a congressional committee recently. Greenspan decided to speak out after observing that the price of contracts for natural gas deliveries several years out were skyrocketing past those of oil. '

The Department of Energy (DOE) predicts natural gas use will increase 52 percent by 2025 while production will rise only 35 percent.

It's bad enough that our policymakers go into panic mode when they consider our depleting oil reserves. What will happen now that our domestic supply of natural gas is running short? What are our options? And how open is the American public to investing in alternative sources of energy?


Cartoon by StudioBendib

If only he could take it back....

On January 29, President Bush used his State of the Union address to inform the American public of Iraq's active nuclear weapons program.

"The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa. Our intelligence sources tell us that he has attempted to purchase high-strength aluminum tubes suitable for nuclear weapons production. "

One month ago, Bush complained about the political pundits and congressional members who were expressing doubts that the allied forces would ever find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

And today, the administration acknowledged that Bush never should have stated in his address that Iraq was seeking uranium for it's nuclear weapons program.

I'm not saying Saddam isn't a very bad man. I'm not saying that I disagree with taking him out of power. But I do believe the United States went about it the wrong way and in doing so, has lost the goodwill of nations and confidence of the United Nations.

Any thoughts?

Going off the deep end

I couldn't agree more with Alex Beam.

I'm back from 8 heavenly days spent in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. I have an obscene number of emails to get through before I consider reporting on my vacation.

I hope everyone enjoyed a memorable holiday weekend!