Sunday, May 05, 2013

South America, Take Me Away!

I wish I could have been in South America today...or anywhere but here. I started a sunny, slightly cooler day with Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Pancakes. In honor of Cinco Del Mayo, I pre-empted the Beatles show and ran the "Donald Duck In Latin America" movies, starting with The Three Caballeros. Oh boy, where do I begin with this one? Donald receives several Latin-American-themed presents for his birthday. The film opens normally enough with three shorts, the first about a penguin who wants to find a warmer home, the second on birds of the Amazon (including the nutty Aracuan), and the third about a little gaucho who races a flying donkey.

The movie picks up - and gets seriously strange - when Donald opens the Brazilian gift and his old buddy Jose Carioca appears. They first encounter a (real life) cookie seller who leads them on a wild mixed-media romp, then meet noisy Mexican rooster Panchito when they open his pinata present. Donald's been lusting after women throughout the film, and after the ladies of Acapulco get his libido going (and he and the other two sing the famous title number), he has a lunatic "surreal reverie" that takes in South American floral designs, dancing cacti, and live-action women dancing with three very lusty animated birds.

If you're a big Donald fan like me or are a fan of Jose Carioca (I've heard he's very popular in his native South and Latin America), this one of Disney's wildest and most creative films. Don't come here looking for a standard plot or anything that makes sense, though. This isn't for folks who like a lot of story in their animation.

I quickly called Mom before I headed off to work. Though our short discussion mostly went well, we did disagree over my job. Again. While I'm obviously not leaving the Acme job any time soon (or as quickly as I wish I could), Mom insists that because it's a union job, it'll keep supplying me and providing health insurance in my old age. At this point, I don't think about half the companies in the country right now are going to be around for my old age, whether they're union or not. A union can't stop companies from closing or changing. I'm sick of waiting for the ground to drop out from under me. I'd rather make companies come to me, instead of me going for them. I also don't see why I have to wait until retirement to make decent money or enjoy my life. What's wrong with making decent money and enjoying your life now, instead of in 20 years?

On the other hand, I do understand her concern. Mom and Dad-Bill have never had steady employment, except for the two years Mom worked for Michael's...which she hated. Dad-Bill has always worked as a commercial fishing boat captain, sometimes making a good check if the fish were out, sometimes not. Mom ran her own boat-cleaning business and worked for several small bakeries and restaurants in Cape May on and off through the 80s and 90s. None of these, including Michael's, offered retirement packages or benefits. They don't have any money put aside, and Mom's worried.

I was already in a bad mood when I finally hurried off to work, and work just made things worse. The Acme was almost as crazy as Donald and his buddies all day long. This is a very busy weekend. In addition to the beginning of the month, we had Cinco Del Mayo, local spring festivals and events, a Phillies game (they got run over by the Marlins, 14-2), Kentucky Derby Weekend, and weather that was perfect for impromptu barbecues. People were obnoxious and rude. The lines were long, even with extra help. People wouldn't help bag, despite holding up long lines. Two customers in a row put back a quarter of their order because it came out to far more than they assumed. I was tired and angry and ready to tear out my hair when it finally slowed down enough for me to close with no relief.

I was half-way down Kendall Boulevard when I heard a strange sound...and my bike's pedals suddenly jammed. I managed to get on the sidewalk with only a scratch, but when I checked the bike, I discovered that the chain had come off. I couldn't help it. After my lousy day, this was the very last straw. I cried all the way home. I know I shouldn't have, but I was so angry and frustrated. Why did this have to happen now?

Thankfully, my neighbor Michael was at home when I arrived. I changed into regular clothes and was about to see what I could do when he saw me and came over. He ended up putting the chain back on, fixing the loose tire guard, and pumping the tires.

Spent the rest of the evening quietly watching the other Disney Latin American-themed movie, Saludos Amigos. While still not a traditional linear animated film, this one is a tad less nutty than Three Caballeros. This short film focuses on four shorts. Donald has a visit to "Lake Titicaca" that goes astray when he ends up in a high place with a skittish llama. "Pedro" is the little mail plane whose first flight over the Andes almost turns disastrous when he encounters rough weather. Goofy takes his "How to" series to the Argentine Pampas as he demonstrates how an Argentine gaucho differs from an American cowboy. The film ends with "Aqualia De Brazil," a lush, surreal watercolor tone poem that brings Donald back in and introduces Jose Carioca.

This one is a bit more family-oriented than the lusty Caballeros, and somewhat less weird. In fact, if your younger kids are Donald fans, I'd start them off with this one before moving on to the sequel. (Also note that the Goofy cartoon has been slightly edited to remove smoking content.) Otherwise, same caveats apply here - for fans of Donald, Jose, and adventurous animation.

Finished the night with a related episode of Get Smart. In the early third season episode "Viva Smart," Max and 99 dress as fandango dancers in order to rescue the deposed president of a fictional South American nation. When the current dictator who overthrew him figures out what they're up to, he has them both thrown in jail. It's up to Max to get them all out...and out of the reach of the firing squad.

No comments: