“Picture yourself in a boat on a river, With tangerine trees and marmalade skies.Somebody calls you, you answer quite slowly, A girl with kaleidoscope eyes.” (The Beatles)

Walt Disney was a radical. Sure he wore a suit and tie and had difficult dealings with “lefty” labor unions during the Depression but his chimerical vision was so fantastic and absurd that it bordered on megalomania. It’s easy to imagine Lewis Carol freaking out as his teacup spins around in the otherworldliness of the Magic Kingdom. Midnight showings of Fantasia became synonymous in the college counterculture for dropping acid and taking the wild ride inside. Biographers still quibble over the numerous paradoxes in Disney’s life but generally agree that his singular ability to combine and showcase the imaginary with the innovative is only rivaled by Leonardo da Vinci or PT Barnum or Steve Jobs. Disney constantly put himself in hock to underwrite the next cool thing – film colorization, television, animatronics, Imagineering and neo-amusement parks. A showman to the end, Disney was always giving us previews of coming attractions. The future promised in Tomorrowland has come and gone while we currently adjust to our EPCOTian present. Only Disney could have imagined that the wetlands of humid central Florida could become the top tourist destination in the world. (more…)

St. Augustine the brilliant Bishop of Hippo and Professor of Rhetoric at Milan crafted the Christian Neo- Platonist world view of an unseen and untouched world residing above the earthly one scourged by the infidels and idolaters of the day. His catchphrase credo ut intelligam, “I believe in order that I may understand,” encapsulated this world view throughout the Dark Ages. Ironically, after centuries of aggression and regression secular universities reignited science and empirical inquiry into the workings of nature.  Renaissance Man cleverly turned the phrase on its head to become the rallying cry for progress – intellego ut credam, “I think so that I may believe.” (more…)

The laws of probability, so true in general, so fallacious in particular.” ( Edward Gibbon)

Retired center Wayne Gretzky is still referred to as the Great One because he holds the record for the most goals scored and assisted in the history of the National Hockey League. In the frozen North Country his legacy of splitting defenses with spectacular serpentine maneuvers and the individual and team victories that followed him endures as the watermark of excellence on skates or otherwise. What is often overlooked is that Gretzky also ranks near the top of the list for total shots on goal taken. That is attempts to score that did not result in a goal. Gretzky followed a simple formula – the more shots on goal the greater the probability of scoring. We find this same swing and miss approach in peers from other sports like footballer Pelé or baseball’s Henry Aaron both among the most celebrated athletes of their age. (more…)