Archive for August, 2010

A Letter to Knott’s Berry Farm

August 30, 2010

I had not been to Knott’s Berry Farm in some time, I admit.
My daughter went there on a school field trip last Spring and wanted to
go again with the family, so we went yesterday.

Let me start with the two things we found good.

Ray at the General Store was helpful, friendly and delightful. Joan in
the Mystery Lodge store is an absolute gem!

Now, on to the rest of the day.

Your security personnel at the front gate is apparently trained in
Gestapo tactics when it comes to the search for “contraband food”. I was
mortified. While we did not attempt to bring food and drink into the
park ourselves, we saw the manner in which your people treated your
paying patrons as they entered the turnstiles. They were rude, gruff,
insensitive and insulting. They obviously hate their jobs. More on that
later.

We soon discovered why the park is so committed to keeping “contraband
food” from entering the gate. My daughter was hungry soon after we
entered, so we stopped by Sutter’s. Hot dog, bag of Lay’s and bottle of
water, $15.75. Amazing.

These exorbitant prices were accompanied by the rudest food service
people I have ever encountered. I obviously had interrupted their
employee social time by being the only customer they had to wait upon.
They too, apparently hate their jobs. My daughter’s $9.75 hot dog was a
greasy and poor example of the American classic.

We could not help but notice how dirty and unkempt the overall park is.
At 11:45 AM on a Summer Sunday, we could not find a clean picnic table,
leftover food debris obviously still there from the night before. We
boarded the train ride and were presented with sights of trash,
unmanicured landscaping, abandoned service and maintenance vehicles and
their spare parts strewn along the route, simply appalling. One would
never encounter this at Disneyland.

The woman working at the Turquoise Jewelry kiosk next to the General
Store will have no idea how much revenue she lost yesterday after she so
rudely snapped at my 9-year old daughter. My little girl only asked her
if the buffalo head on the wall was a real buffalo. “No!”, she snapped,
startling her. “Is there anything you want to look at?”, she snarled to
me. We simply walked away. She must also hate her job.

At the ice cream counter, I thought I had given the woman five $1 bills,
when in fact I had given only four. “I’m sorry”, I said, “I thought I
gave you five”. “Sure you did”, she snapped back. Why do so many people
at your park hate their jobs?

With the exception of the woman at the Turquoise Jewelry kiosk, my
daughter was thankfully oblivious to the many unsatisfactory things I
have pointed out in this email. Because of that, when my wife asked me
to rate the experience on a scale on one to ten, I gave it a “four”, but
three of that four came from the fact my daughter enjoyed her day.

Your maintenance crew needs to go on an emergency program of cleanup,
sprucing, painting and landscaping. It was quite sad to see such an
institution as Knott’s, presented in such a sorry state.

Sincerely;

Donald Baillargeon

The Last Word on Ground Zero Mosque

August 18, 2010

The first line of the first amendment to the US Constitution reads as follows:
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or
prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”
That’s it.
Our founding fathers were reacting to the practice in Old England of attempting  to have an official religion that everyone was required to follow; therefore, we have freedom of religion in the USA.

For the last couple of weeks, the US Constitution has been treated like a day old  NY Times copy used to wrap fish or line a canary cage. Everyone has been interpreting it for their own purpose and really just making a mess of the whole thing.

Of course, all the hubbub is about the proposed Islamic Community Center or  Muslim Mosque that is supposedly going to be built within sight of the former World Trade Center, devastated so tragically on September 11, 2001, killing thousands of people and forever changing the security landscape of our country.

Supporters of building the Islamic Center or Muslim Mosque near what is known as Ground Zero, point to the US being built upon freedom of religion.

Opponents of the effort point to the fact that building an Islamic Center or
Muslim Mosque in that area is insensitive to the city of New York, the families of the dead and to the country overall, because it was Islamic or Muslim extremists who plotted and carried out the horrific events of 9/11.

We must look like idiots to the rest of the world right now. Even our President came off sounding “John Kerry-ish” this week, being vigorously for it before he was somewhat against it.

When the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor in 1941, there was a similar outpouring of grief among Americans and many people harbored ill feelings towards the Japanese people.
It took several generations to get over that, the Japanese are our great friends and allies now, we buy billions of dollars of Japanese products every year, but I am sure you can still find some people in their late 70s and 80s who still feel the sting of pain and resentment.

If you Google …..Memorial to Japan at Pearl Harbor……. you will get zero
results.

To be against the building of an Islamic Center or Muslim Mosque near Ground Zero, as I am, is not denying anyone freedom of religion. New York is a big city, there are many, many places that an Islamic Center or Muslim Mosque can be built. It doesn’t have to be in such close proximity to an area that is the cause of so much pain and suffering to Americans of all races, religions and creeds.

It’s only been nine years, the new World Trade Center is still under seemingly endless construction, Americans have not had time to heal yet.

If the people behind this project truly observe a religion that they say
represents peace and understanding, then they should put the land up for sale, take the money and go build their Islamic Center or Muslim Mosque someplace else in New York.

Is that really too much to ask?