Archive for December, 2004

Lesson of Christmas

December 25th, 2004 — Wordman

When Robert L. May wrote the verse “Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer” in 1939 for a Montgomery Ward promotional children’s book, he created something of a phenomenon, particularly when his brother-in-law Johnny Marks turned it into a song in 1949, recorded by Gene Autry. Since then, Rudolph, has become one of the many plagues of Christmas, spawning everything from toys to TV specials to inane debates.

Many say that the point of the Rudolph story is that flaws can be turned into assets; however, in one of many holiday shopping moments spent being brutalized by musical Christmas glee, the following lyrics struck me:

Then one foggy Christmas Eve,
Santa came to say,
“Rudolph with your nose so bright,
Won’t you guide my sleigh tonight?”
Then how the reindeer loved him

The point of the song, therefore, seems to be “people who are different will be ridiculed until someone popular says they’re OK.” Or, perhaps, “you are nothing until you prove useful to the elite.”

Merry Christmas.

An idea whose time has come

December 18th, 2004 — Wordman

Being in Las Vegas recently got me thinking about theme hotels. It may be time for a Viking themed resort. Call it Valhalla. You could advertise almost exclusively in the north-central US to get your initial client base (and perhaps New England and St. Petersberg). The hotel could be a mix of modern Scandinavian influence and Viking history. It should feature at least the following:

  • Main tower of hotel built around Yggdrasil, the world tree. Lobby would represent Midgard, with standard rooms (Vanaheim), lesser suites (Ljossalfheim) and master suites (Asgard) above.
  • In-between the lobby and Vanaheim would be the Muspelheim spa, the largest collection of sauna, steam rooms, hot tubs, mud baths all lit by flows of “lava”.
  • Beneath the lobby would be Nifelheim, any icy playground, with ice rinks (including the world’s first x-treme ice rink), pools with slides that look like ice, frozen gateways to restaurants, a passage to Jötunheim mall, more hot tubs, etc.
  • Casino space, with Svartalfheim as the main casino and Hel as the high rollers section. Hel might also hold the nightclub.
  • Naturally, guys with horned helmets at the door and fur bikini wearing cocktail waitress.
  • Shopping mall with animitronic display in central courtyard featuring Erik the Red kicking Columbus’ ass every fifteen minutes.
  • All you can eat lutfisk bar.
  • Something to do with Nokia and/or Ericsson.
  • On the Migard level, a $5 entry buffet held in a large stone room with a central fire, common tables and huge hunks of meat.
  • A networked VR room, where you can take place in daily reenactments of Hoskuld and Tyri’s attempt to sack Constantinople in 860. While this force was turned back (by either a big storm, the Virgin Mary or a massive bribe), had it succeeded, it easily could have catapulted Scandinavia to be the dominant civilization of the world for centuries.
  • Guests can participate in occasional, late night raids in longboats across the dancing waters of the Bellagio to sack the Picasso Restaurant.
  • Ragnarok enacted every hour, on the hour.