The Casual Reporter: 2008

Monday, December 15, 2008

Bush Dodges Iraqi Shoes



Surreal moments seem to arrive more regularly than they used to. Watching the events of 9/11 unfold certainly felt surreal at the time and still does in many ways. But so, for me, was watching the neoconservative movement convince Americans that Saddam Hussein and 9/11 were directly linked and that invading Iraq immediately was essential to ensuring the safety of the American public. Then, after these claims were proven false, it was surreal that the Republican machine still managed to convince Americans that electing G.W. Bush for a second term was the only way to ensure the "safety" of our great nation. Watching Barack Obama get elected President - perhaps largely a backlash of the G.W. effect - also felt surreal - especially, it seems, to blacks and other minority races.

Whatever the final verdict is on G.W. as President, most would agree he's been colorful. He's not out of the White House yet, though, and the surreal moments keep coming. His latest surreal moment: dodging shoes thrown by an Iraqi journalist. Eight years of dodging bullets by the press seems to have paid off - he looked as agile as Vince Vaughn in Dodgeball. The event was so silly and absurd, yet at the same time disturbing, that I felt compelled to include it in The Casual Reporter.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

WNFR 2008 Final Revised: Jesus Still Wins

In an earlier post announcing the final results of the 2008 WNFR Wild West Show Pool I didn't notice that my Excel file at the time hadn't added the average score for each athlete into each person's total. I've re-posted the results to include the average in the total, although it didn't change much where it counts. The top three winners remain the same: Jesus, Byron, and Lucas. Check it out here.

WNFR 2008 Final: Jesus Wins!

Image borrowed from Desert Tickets

The results are in for the 2008 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo Wild West Show Pool
. With the averages figured in, Jesus is the winner followed by Byron and Lucas. See all the results here.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

WNFR Round 9: Let's Just Get This Thing Over With

Howard's winning. Jesus, Byron, Kave and Hogue are likely to win one or more of the averages so in the end it could be one of them who win. I was in 5th place only in my imagination (I forgot one score and incorrectly assigned another) and even that's out of the winning. Let's please just get this thing over with. See the results HERE.

Friday, December 12, 2008

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WNFR Round 8: Trent Jumps 5 Places

logo courtesy of boyd gaming

After round 8 of the 2008 Wrangler's National Finals Rodeo, Howard keeps the lead with 305 points, followed by Byron (302.5 pts), Jesus (280.5 pts) and Kave (254.5 pts.). But the big surprise is Trent, who jumped from 9th place to 5th place with 225.5 points. For all results, click here.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

WNFR Round 7: Byron Leads by 1/2 Point

In Round 7 of the Wild West Show WNFR 2008 Pool, Byron has sneaked into the lead over Howard, but only by a half point. Normally half-points aren't awarded but in Round 6 three sets of Team Ropers split the $2,700+ payout meaning their winnings totaled less than $1,000 for that round. Howard suggested giving each Header and Healer from those teams a half point. Now that he trails the lead by a half point I wonder if he wishes he hadn't made the suggestion. Check out all the scores here.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Half-Points Awarded in 6th Round

After talking it over with Howard, I changed the grid to allow for the 3-way split in Round 6 Team Roping in the Wild West Show WNFR Pool. According to the normal rules half-points are not given - all thousands are rounded down. In this case however the winnings were less than $1,000 so the rule would have meant 0 points. It didn't seem fair to reward 0 points so half-points were awarded as a compromise. Howard is still in the lead. See the changes here.

WNFR Round 6: Howard Takes the Lead

Photo courtesy of Boyd Gaming Corporation


The Round 6 results of the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo (WNFR) are in and the grid for the Wild West Show WNFR 2008 Pool has been updated. Howard leads the competition with 243 points, Jesus follows in 2nd with 223 points, and Byron is in 3rd with 217 points. The Casual Reporter (Trent) is in 9th place with 157 points. See the rest of the scores here.
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Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Don't Get Put in the Doghouse!

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WNFR Round 5: Jesus Leads Pool by 4 Points

Following Round 5 of the WNFR (Wranglers National Finals Rodeo) Jesus took the lead from Kave in the Wild West Show grid pool. Byron and Howard pushed Kave into fourth place. Jesus has 200 points, Howard 194, Byron 185, and Kave 176. The Casual Reporter only has 131. Click on the cowboy to the right for more information on WNFR and WWS Grid results.

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Monday, December 8, 2008

WNFR Pool: Kave Leads by 7 Points

Round 4 results are posted for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo and the grid is updated on the Wild West Show WNFR Pool. Assuming I have correctly allocated the athletes, which is by no means 100% certain, Kave leads with 160 points followed by Byron and Jesus tied with 153 points. Click on the cowboy in the right-hand column to see all WWS Pool scores.

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Saturday, December 6, 2008

Wrangler National Finals Rodeo Pool Begins


The 50th Wrangler National Finals Rodeo (WNFR) has begun in Las Vegas Nevada. The WNFR is the ultimate competition for cowboys and cowgirls. Fifteen of the cast of Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show (La Legende de Buffalo Bill) Disney Village, Disneyland Paris France, have started a friendly pool to follow the 10-day rodeo. Each participant in the pool draws at random a number from 1 - 15 which refers to the PRCA athletes' world standings on the day after the 1st round (we were late in making the draw). Over the course of the rodeo, one point is awarded for each $1,000 earned by each athlete, all winnings rounded down to the nearest $1,000. The player with the most points at the end of the WNFR wins the pool.

The Casual Reporter has created a web page to track the winnings as the rodeo advances. Allocations of the athletes are based on my assumptions according to my understanding and are not official. I will adjust them if needed after consulting with Byron and Brice. Just click on the cowboy anywhere in The Casual Reporter to access the site.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Trent Makes Shameless Plug for Sponsors

Need help with gift-giving? To assist in the process of long-distance gift-giving during the holiday season, The Casual Reporter provides readers with banners and links to some of the best gift-giving opportunities on the Internet.

I admit, though I'm proud of this fine service, I have an ulterior motive: The Casual Reporter has an affiliate relationship with these internet companies. That means if you click on one of the banners and then purchase an item or service from the online business, The Casual Reporter, in theory, gets a tiny percentage of the sale. The same is true for the Google Ads sprinkled throughout the blog.

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I've had banners and links on this blog since the beginning and so far I've been credited a grand total of $5.13. I genuinely thank all of you who clicked through and made this happen, but it's clear that as a fortune-building enterprise The Casual Reporter is hopeless so far.

As a time-waster though, it's fantastic. I figure I'm spending somewhere between 100 - 200 hours per dollar. If only time really were money.

So if you haven't yet done so feel free to subscribe to The Casual Reporter to read all my exciting posts, or simply log on anytime you like and click through to any of the sites or advertised links you see on this blog. Bookmark The Casual Reporter for sure - better yet make it your home page! If you have a particular service or product that you feel would work well on The Casual Reporter, I'd be eager to hear from you.

Poll Indicates Obama Will Be Good for U.S.A.

According to a recent Casual Reporter poll asking readers if President- elect Barack Obama will be good for the United States, 83% of those who participated voted "yes" and 16% voted "no". That only six people voted, one of them being me, diminishes in no way the relevance of the poll and it's result. The Casual Reporter readers are among the wisest people on the planet and when they speak, all should listen. With the Casual Reporter poll as proof, we can all relax in the comfort of knowing for sure that Barack Obama will be 83% good for the United States and 16% bad. Who knows about the last 1%.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Trent Whacked in Head with Tennis Racket

The sad part is it was self-inflicted. To say my back-hand needs improvement is like saying the Mojave Desert could use a little moisture. I have no back-hand. A hand with a back, yes, but backhand, not so much.

Why did I even swing? I was racing after a ball that was way out of bounds anyhow. Maybe a better question is HOW did I swing? How did I manage to miss the ball completely but nail my forehead? I can assure you that grace was not involved. The idea, as I ran full-speed away from the net, was to give a hefty enough flick backwards to return the ball from far out of bounds, just to keep the volley going. So I hefted and I flicked, but ball I hit not. Forehead though, I hit squarely. (As my hairline recedes and my forehead expands, when do I drop the "fore" and just say "head"?)

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Why am I admitting all this? Because the bump on my head is pronounced enough to be potentially distracting on stage tomorrow and people are bound to ask what happened. Best get the humiliation started early to end early. Yeah right. Perhaps this is penance for the fun I poke at Pinkie. Ah well, it's a small price to pay.
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Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The Pinkie Chronicles: Face Plant into the Arena

Ah Pinkie, why does it always happen to you?

It started so innocently during the Medicine Ball Pass when Pinkie climbed over the rail to enter the arena. He turned around so he was facing the arena, his heels balanced on the wooden lip 3 feet off the surface of the arena and at the base of the rail, ready to step down into the arena. Only after he started tipping his weight forward to hop into the arena did he sense his spur was caught in the only hole in the entire side of the arena (in which a sprinkler head is hidden).

Pinkie's head went south but Pinkie's foot stayed north. Like a tree, or maybe a tall shrub, Pinkie teetered over, gravity accelerating his descent. His face hit sand first, the foot still lodged for a split second well above his head, before he quickly kicked himself free and jumped to his feet. Pinkie looked around nonchalantly in the hope nobody had seen his face plant. I said over my microphone, with an amused but incredulous tone, "Pinkie, did you fall out of the Ranch?"

"Oh, man!" he said, crimson-faced with a big Pinkie grin. "Why did you have to say anything?! Nobody noticed until you said something!"

Horse Wreck Stops Wild West Show

Last night a horse wreck stopped the Stagecoach scene in Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show (La Legende de Buffalo Bill) Disney Village, Disneyland Paris Resort France. While making the final sharp left turn into the center of the arena, the left wheeler (horse closest to the Stagecoach) stumbled and fell. The right wheeler, who was also pulling left into the turn, tripped over his fallen partner, his momentum carrying him over the tongue of the hitch and on top of his partner. The Indians, many of them authentic Native Americans, and the Horse Team immediately worked to untangle the mess.

About 10 - 15 tense minutes passed, the night-time lighting scheme low and music vamping, before enough straps were cut to free the horses, who, amazingly, were completely unharmed and were lead off stage to a wide round of applause. The guests seat-belted inside the stagecoach when the wreck happened were safely escorted back to their seats during the ordeal and the stagecoach, once freed, was pushed off stage by the cast members.

I entered and improvised for a moment, inviting another round of applause for the expertise with which the ordeal was handled. I reassured the audience that the finest veterinarians in France would look over the horses but, as far as I could see, they were unharmed. I then positioned myself for the start of the Champagne scene and said, "Now then, let's finish this show up." The technical team, on that cue, set the lights and started the music.

The show continued as usual up to the Final Revue when the Horse Team paraded the wagon horses involved in the wreck around the arena, further reassuring the audience that all was well, at least as far as horses and humans were concerned.

The stagecoach, on the other hand, was out of commission for the second show. An emergency team formed in the corridor backstage and we worked out a way to improvise using one of the Chuckwagons, renamed the "Deadwood Express" by Didier and described by me as an authentic western freight wagon used to transport gold during the gold rush. The exemplary professionalism and expertise with which the second show's "Deadwood Express" scene was performed did not surprise me given the team we had on hand but I think it surprised and impressed those who initially sought less creative solutions to the problem.

Without rehearsal or even a cohesive meeting, we worked out the details among ourselves - technicians, managers, and performers working as a team. Performers and technicians adjusted individually and improvisationally during the scene and we nailed it. Even the "guests", necessarily planted in this instance for insurance reasons, performed perfectly. Their "professional" status put them at the mercy of their "Indian warrior" colleagues and they were waffled with bedrolls and nearly dragged from the wagon.

The experience proved once again that the talent and competence of the Wild West Show Performers and Technicians should not be underestimated. Kudos to management for having faith in the team and letting us find a creative solution that utilized our talent and optimized the guest experience.

Friday, November 28, 2008

WWS Hats Summoned Using Shaman Magic

Each guest at Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show receives a free cowboy hat, roughly 10 million so far, each one created by a member of the Wild West Show staff using a shamanic technique practiced by aboriginal tribes for centuries but virtually unknown in modern society until now. The video below contains never-before-seen footage of this extremely rare and delicate art form, called "summoning," which involves channeling the natural forces of the universe. With hundreds of hats to summon nightly, the process is virtually never-ending. This video was shot following a recent informal dinner engagement with friends.

Trent Hauls a Washing Machine

Pickup trucks are relatively rare in France and when I first arrived every time I saw one I pined for the truck I'd sold before moving here. I'd say to my wife something like, "Wow, look at that pickup. We should get one. They're so practical, like if you need to haul a washing machine or something." My wife would smile sympathetically and we'd go on our way.

When we were shopping for a vehicle and came across a van for sale I'd always make a similar comment. "That'd be good," I'd say. "It'd be great if we ever needed to haul a washing machine or something." This went on for years, me seeing a van or pickup or truck and absentmindedly making the comment, "That'd be great if we needed to haul a washing machine or something."

Finally, after one such comment, my wife said "What is it with you and washing machines? How often do you need to haul a washing machine? Is that what you do in Wyoming for fun, haul washing machines?" We laughed, but she had a point.
A few days later I was talking to Kevin about the PT Cruiser he'd just bought. He was proud he'd gotten it for 3,000 Euros less than the sticker and it was comfortable, had a nice stereo, etc. Then he opened up the hatch back to show me the inside and said, "This is what I really like. The back opens up and you can push the seats forward. It's big enough you could haul a washing machine in it."

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A Porsche? Who the hell owns a Porsche and needs to haul a washing machine? Through the woods, when there's no road? Who would haul one in a Porsche even if they could? How did we men get into our heads that we all need to be able to haul washing machines? Perhaps it's a symbol of virility: being able to haul a washing machine is like being able to satisfy a woman. Size does matter.

In any case, I was very pleased a few years ago when we bought an Opel Zafira, a family minivan-type car that can seat seven but can also quickly convert into a large cargo space. Yesterday when I pulled up to the Indesit Factory Outlet store to buy a new washing machine I knew my moment had arrived. We selected our unit and waited for the guy to dolly it out to the car, then I opened up the back door. The Indesit man and I lifted the corner of the machine up to the bumper. As we tipped the machine upwards, he said of the opening to my car, "I'm not sure it's going to be tall enough." I smiled, confident, as we easily slid the washing machine into the car. I said, "Now THAT's a good car." He chuckled and smiled knowingly as if to say, "Indeed, my good friend, indeed. That IS a good car."

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Kave Wins Golf Tournament

(image borrowed from the Bestpar Blog)

Last Sunday it snowed for the first time this season in Marne la Vallee, France the home of Disneyland Paris Resort, but this didn't stop the golfers participating in the annual Beaujolais tournament. According to Kave, a Native American from the Crow tribe in southern Montana who plays Sitting Bull in Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show (La Legende de Buffalo Bill) Disney Village, Disneyland Paris Resort, the golfers started playing in cold rain. Although the tournament organizers shortened the tournament to just 9 holes in light of the poor weather, the golfers didn't escape the snow as small snowflakes started spiraling to the ground during the final hole. By the time golfers were in the clubhouse enjoying the fine feast that also marks the tournament, the snowflakes had grown considerably in size and number.

But the real news is that Kave won the tournament! Kave, a Crow Indian, is proud to have learned golfing purely by playing it and watching others play. He's never taken a lesson and doesn't use the driving range. Yet during the Beaujolais tournament he competed against two golf-pros and a number of other golf veterans and won! Kave jokes that he's not a professional, he's a Crow-fessional. He won a piece of baggage that, he says, will be perfect for his upcoming short trip to Oregon in the United States to visit the grandfather he's never met.

Wild West Show Offers Meal/Seat Upgrades!

In efforts to control costs over the years, general managers of Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show (La Legende de Buffalo Bill), a dinner spectacle that plays nightly in Disney Village, Disneyland Paris France, have fiddled considerably with the menu. The result at times has been that the meal is often noted by guests as the least favorable element of the Wild West Show experience.

Until now.

The newest management team has divided the seating into a two-tiered system of VIP and regular seating. The Disneyland Paris website now contains this information:

NEW !

Relive the action and adventures of the "Old West" in 1st category seating:

- Privileged seating with the best view
- A non-alcoholic welcome cocktail
- A special Barbecue Texan Skillet*

In addition to the menu:
Nachos & sauces and sweet treats with your tea or coffee*

*for adults only.

RATES:

1st category seating:
Adult rate - public rate: £50**
Children's rate - public rate: £40**

2nd category seating:
Adult rate - public rate: £42**
Children's rate - public rate: £32**

BOOK NOW!
At least one cast member has stated that the added 12 Euros is a good value, so if the quality of menu has been a concern of yours, you now have the option of enjoying the food almost as much as the amazing, thrilling, sometimes hilarious, often soul-stirring performances of the incredibly talented Wild West Show cast. See you soon!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Cowboy Finishes Ride from USA to Jerusalem

Couy Griffin, ex-Cowboy in Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show (La Legende de Buffalo Bill) Disney Village, Disneyland Paris Resort France, has spent the last several months traveling horseback (as much as possible) from the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco to the Gates of Jerusalem in a quest to glorify the name of Jesus. The video below shows the culmination of this rather incredible journey.

Last week I overheard someone saying they'd seen Couy in Paris, apparently on his way back to Ireland and the United States.

Happy Thanksgiving from Wild West Show Cast Members

This video is of some of the Americans and their French colleagues who work at Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show (La Legende de Buffalo Bill) Disney Village, Disneyland Resort Paris France, sharing their thoughts about Thanksgiving. The first part of the video was taped in and around Plymouth and Plimoth Planatation in Massachusetts during a family holiday there last summmer.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Ex-Buffalo Bill Steve Rally Interviewed on KTLA


Steve Rally, Playgirl's "Man of the Year, Man of the Decade and Man of the Millenium", star of Playgirl's workout video "Hunkersize" and ex-"Buffalo Bill" in Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show (La Legende de Buffalo Bill), Disney Village, Disneyland Paris Resort, FRANCE, recently gave an interview on Hollywood's KTLA morning news as "Sebastian the Black," the character he plays in Pirates Dinner Adventure in Buena Vista, CA. He is every bit as magnificent a pirate in the interview as he is a hunk in "Hunkersize" giving me hope that I, too, can have an illustrious career beyond Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show if ever my Buffalo Bill gig peters out. Steve is truly shameless and for that I have the warmest affection for him. Go Steve!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Armistice Day 2008 - A Video Remembrance by Trent Vance



About a half hour from my home here in France lies an area where several fierce and bloody WWI battles were fought. To commemmorate Armistice Day, I took my family to see one of the battlegrounds and two American monuments. This is a video from that trip.

At the cemetery, church bells toll to mark the hour, then a series of tunes from the WWI era are played. Walking among the graves and listening to the tones of the bells bending and mixing with the breeze, playing tunes that these soldiers would have listened to, is eerie, haunting, yet comforting. These men are well-honored.

All sound and video was recorded with a consumer-level Digital 8 camera with no special equipment and no rehearsal.

The Pinkie Chronicles: Pinkie Gets Whipped

As I made my way towards the corrider backstage for my second entrance tonight I heard the unmistakable sounds of sophomoric male rough-housing: someone groaning in pain and someone else laughing and ooooh-ing in sympathy. The pain was from Pinkie. What was he up to now?

A few more steps forward into the corridor and there he was, moaning yet laughing as he grasped his right forearm in agony intense enough he couldn't speak. Brock looked on from a couple feet away, chuckling at some spectacle he'd clearly just witnessed.

I looked further up the corridor and saw Brannon, our newest cowboy, a quiet, respectful, young man, a talented roper, and an excellent horseman, standing there with a big grin and holding the handle end of a 6 foot bullwhip. Brannon cracked the whip. I filled in the "what" from there and decided the "why" didn't really matter - it's just Pinkie.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Will Obama be Good or Bad for the United States?


With Obama elected I'm curious what you think: Will Obama be good or bad for the United States? Log on to The Casual Reporter to vote (anonymously). You can also leave a comment below, either anonymously or authored, and don't forget you can subscribe to Casual Reporter Posts and/or Comments, all from The Casual Reporter blog.

Annie Oakley Sick, Principles Improvise

Last night the actress playing Annie Oakley fell ill before the show and was not able to do the entire show. Remarkably, and this is testimony to her toughness, she somehow managed to get through her two main scenes without incident, but the male principles - Buffalo Bill, Sitting Bull, and Auguste Durand-Rouel, were challenged with improvising on the judges stand in her absence. While we were all concerned for her well-being, the improvisational challenge made for a welcome break from routine. The Annie Oakley actress will likely be back in full-form very soon.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Super-Dave Thrills Guests with 1-man Rodeo


French cowboy "Super-Dave (David) Trucker" earned his pay last week when his horse Shadow bucked her way around the arena at Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show, Disney Village, Disneyland Paris Resort, France. The unplanned spectacle started when the Cowboys were "escorting Annie Oakley out of the arena" and the Gold Star banner somehow landed square in the middle of the Stage Left exit. Sphincters tightened, leather was grabbed, and banners were dropped as horses skidding and lurched. In the end it was just me on my horse Paco, who was getting pretty nervous at this point, and Super-Dave on Shadow, the French Flag Banner somehow wrapped around her legs and flanks.

Shadow bucked, hopped, and lurched clockwise around the arena trying to shake off the banner. The harder she bucked, the more and tighter the banner wrapped around her, and the harder she bucked. Super-Dave, terror etched in his face, did well staying on for several seconds but in the corner of the Green Mountain ranch he came off and hit the ground, wrenching his neck slightly as his head bumped against the wood at the base of the arena. Despite the fall, David held on to Shadow's reins for another second but she quickly broke away and bucked upstage.

Paco didn't like this spectacle at all. His neck strained against his tie-down, his ears pricked forward, and his nostrils flaired as he snorting like a tuba-player and danced like a bladder-engorged child.

As Shadow bolted for the exit, French intermittent Benjamin stood tall in the opening, arms stretched, intending to stop Shadow and catch her. A few arm-waves later it must have dawned on Benjamin that he was about to become a human bowling pin and he leaped out of sight just in time to miss her bewildered stampede off stage.

Super-Dave Trucker walked off mostly unscathed to a big round of applause.

And the show, as it always does, went on..

Friday, October 31, 2008

World Champion BOYZ and WWS Indians Make Magic



The article below is a rough English translation of an article published "Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show," a blog written in French about our show:

The "BOYZ", a group of Native Americans singers/musicians from Twin Cities, Minnesota, USA, were recently in Paris to participate in "The American Festival" in Vincennes, a suburb of Paris. They took advantage of their visit to come see Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show (La Legende de Buffalo Bill), in Disney Village, Disneyland Paris Resort France on September 29, 2008, and meet some of the Wild West Show "Indians". The BOYZ are two-time world champions among Native American groups who sing with drums. They performed 26-28 September and 30 September for the United Nations.

The BOYZ are: Lakota "Hokie" Claimont, Everet Moore, Quanh Larose, Mervel Larose, Michael Sinette, James"Bud" Day, Jerome "Rocky" Morin, and Floyd Old Bull. They are joined in the photo above by Wild West Show Native Americans Wiley, Byron, Kave, Tuffy, and Darcy, and adopted Native American P'tit Loup. During their visit, the BOYZ and WWS "Indians" gathered backstage around a traditional drum and sang two songs. It was a magical moment.

Supporting Actor is Offended by Article

I have offended one of the Supporting Actors in our show (although I'm not sure who) in observations I made in the article Christian Starr Featured on ESPN. Unfortunately, before I learned I had offended someone, I revised the original article because I didn't like the wording. Now we can't refer to what might have been the offensive material. Frustratingly, the offended person hasn't yet identified himself or left a comment on the blog so I must rely on hearsay to understand what was offensive, which probably is what got me into trouble in the first place.

Nonetheless I'll try to simply clarify a few things:

-- I started as a member of the Stunt Team (now officially called "The Supporting Actors" but I'll call them "The Comedy Team" to differentiate) so I fully understand and respect the team's contribution to each show.

-- I agree the members of the Comedy Team are Supporting Actors, but I argue that so are the Cowboys, Indians, and Musicians; just not everyone has text (including one member of the Comedy Team).

-- That the Cowboys and Indians don't have text does not reduce them to "Extras", which would be the next level down on the so-called theatrical hierarchy of roles. They are Stunt Men and Supporting Actors like the Comedy Team but with non-speaking roles.

-- At various moments each of the above groups of Supporting Actors transcend "Supporting Actors" to become starring actors, with spotlights and all eyes focused on them. Thus on a practical level "Supporting Actors" doesn't really differentiate the Comedy Team from the rest of the non-Principal actors much better than does "Stunt Team".

-- I strongly disagree that "Comedic Actors" and "Comedy Team" are derogatory terms. (The Artistic Coordinator hinted this evening that the offended person(s) felt I was diminishing their status by suggesting they be called "The Comedy Team" or "The Wired Ones" - a comedic name for the Comedy Team.) Up until I became Buffalo Bill I only played comedic parts and even now I lean towards comedic moments. I take issue with anyone who feels comedic acting is somehow not distinguished, as I'm sure would many actors.

-- I agree that being comedic does not necessarily mean acting like a blathering fool, though in rare cases that's the perfect choice. Good comedy is much more difficult than just acting silly. It involves understanding human nature, empathic listening, being emotionally accessible and responsive, having an excellent sense of timing, being willing to play the straight man, empathic listening (it's worth mentioning twice), having a strong sense of character and scene structure, etc.

-- Comedy is tough. Distinguished comedic actor Desi Arnaz writes "An actor who is good at comedy can also be very good at drama, but not necessarily vice versa." Ben Stiller said, "I don't devalue comedy as compared to drama. Not one bit."

-- The Comedy Team has an important responsibility and as such is a highly distinguished team in my view. Being part of The Comedy Team should be considered an honor in my opinion.

As an example of how difficult comedy is, the sideline comments I made in Christian Starr Featured on ESPN were meant to be light-hearted, fun, and even comedic. Obviously that didn't translate universally. Any offense given was unintentional.

Keep in mind that you can leave comments, anonymously if you like, by clicking on "Comments" below an article. It's a very efficient means of expressing discontent or disagreement, or agreement, with things I write.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

NOW is the Time for ex-BBill's New Book


Ex-Buffalo Bill Jim McMullan (that's not him in the video below) has just announced the release of his latest creative endeavor, the "Do It Now! Book and Clock Set" - just in time for Christmas. The book's website says,

"This collection of quotations from such luminaries as Ernest Hemingway, Eckhart Tolle, and Goethe teaches us to live in the NOW—not in the past or future, but the present. Their wit and wisdom will help center the mind and give the NOW all of your attention. Just as Eleanor Roosevelt once said, 'Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, and today is a gift; that’s why they call it the present.'"

This is a fine quote and I'm sure reflects the contents very well, but the video recommendation below is better entertainment:

Those who know Jim know he has a great sense of humor which is reflected in the video above and which is likely reflected in some way in the book/clock set. It sounds like a great gift!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Code of the West Revealed

France has many wonderful qualities including a temperate climate, good food, and affordable health care, but last night I was commiserating with a French colleague on a perceived attitude difference between the French and Americans. Many have observed that Americans seem more likely than the French to accept responsibility for their mistakes, consider errors as learning opportunities, and graciously forgive others for mistakes made. Of course this is far from universal; I know plenty from both cultures who do not fit the profiles above (including a French performer who just the other night winged a Medicine Ball as hard as he could from half-way up the Blue Moon Ranch and accidentally beaned me in the head, nearly knocking me over, then subsequently claimed responsibility and apologized sincerely) but this seems to be more or less a fair generalization. For those who wish to better understand the gist of the stereotypical American attitude towards social responsibility, I offer the following from a guy named Jim Boyd who I don't know. I pasted this from an email I recently received from an American friend.

The Code of the West

1. Live each day with courage
2. Take pride in your work
3. Always finish what you start
4. Do what has to be done
5. Be tough, Be fair
6. When you make a promise, Keep it
7. Ride for the brand
8. Talk less and Say more
9. Know where to draw the line
10.Remember that some things aren't for sale

Friday, October 24, 2008

The Casual Reporter Endorses Joe Biden


Although "Presidential" in name, this Presidential Election's Vice-Presidential candidates are perhaps more significant than ever. Consider the following:

1) Of the 43 U.S. Presidents so far, 4 died, 4 were assassinated, and one resigned, meaning 20.93% of Vice-Presidents took over the office of President by default. That's a 3.65% "default rate" calculated in person-years, compared to a 3.92% death rate for military personnel fighting in the Iraq war. Being U.S. President is 93% as dangerous as being a member of the U.S. military deployed in Iraq.
2) Number-crunching bloggers give John McCain, based primarily on his age, a 38.6% to 55.1% chance of dying while in office, although the actuarial firm Bragg Associates puts the figure at 24.44%, still nearly a 1 in 4 likelihood. (Note: The firm also states that "age and health are not issues for two terms of service" based on health expectancy.)
3) Unfortunately, closet organizations like the KKK still exist in the U.S. and Obama is part black, which may increase his risk of race-motivated assassination if he's elected.
4) McCain's Robocall campaign, designed to scare the American public into thinking that Obama is all but a terrorist himself, risks igniting already-paranoid Americans into tragic action if Obama is elected.

Considering the above, I feel it's more likely than usual that either Joe Biden or Sarah Palin will become President by default. I voted (already, by mail ballot) as much for the Vice-Presidential as the Presidential candidates.

Sarah Palin is considered by many to be charming, beautiful, and even sexy. As someone who holds deep respect for women in general, I'm thrilled there's a woman in the running (although I'm not sure a sex-symbol is what feminists had in mind). Palin adds excitement to McCain's campaign and has re-energized the Presidential race in general. I understand her appeal on a superficial level, but in my opinion, having watched all three debates, investigated the profiles of all four candidates, and updated myself daily on campaign news, Governor Palin is nowhere near qualified to be Vice-President let alone President of the United States (still the leader of the free world). Among her deficiencies, she lacks not just experience, but knowledge of the world beyond Alaska, let alone beyond the United States, including basic information about the office she seeks.

I have great respect for the service John McCain has rendered our country as both a war hero and a distinguished Senator, but that he would choose as his running mate someone so glaringly unqualified says all I need to know about his decision-making capability: it's alarmingly inadequate for the office he seeks.

So, although I don't agree with their position on every issue, Joe Biden as VP in an Obama Whitehouse is, to me, the obvious and only viable choice. I'm so convinced of the importance of this election that I've even contributed $25 to their campaign.

If you are as concerned as I am at the thought of Governor Palin being a heart's beat away from the Presidency, you can also contribute to Obama's campaign but the final deadline is tonight.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

(Revised) Christian Starr Featured on ESPN

Christian Starr, one of the newest members of what used to be called the "Stunt Team" (now called "The Supporting Actors") has returned to the Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show (La Legende de Buffalo Bill, Disney Village, Disneyland Paris France) following several months spent back in the states waiting for his working papers to be processed. While in the states, Christianfeatured in an ESPN lead-in to a big college game in Colorado. Here is the video captured from the ESPN feed.


Watch Christian's Tempest on ESPN in Funny Videos, Celebrity Videos, and Entertainment Videos View More Free Videos Online at Veoh.com

On a side-note, I agree that perhaps "Stunt Team" may not be the most differentiating description of the team to which Christian belongs. Most Wild West Show performers engage in stunts -- in many cases more dangerous stunts than the "Stunt Team. " However "Supporting Actor" differentiates even less since virtually all non-principal performers are Supporting Actors, whether or not they have audible lines of text. Moreover, excluding the cowboys and Indians from the category of "Supporting Actors" risks having the effect of making them feel that management respects less their contribution. This serves no purpose but to lower morale. Cowboys, Indians, Stunts, and arguably Musicians, are all supporting actors in the show.

In my view at least two things differentiate the team to which Christian belongs:
1) three among the team have microphone-enhanced text which drives the show forward in the text-based scenes where no principal actor is present and
2) every intentionally comedic moment in the show is performed by the "Stunt Team"

So if "Stunt Team" is to be discarded, I think this team should be called "The Comedy Team" or "The Comedians" or, to highlight the fact three of four are wired with microphones on any given night "The Wired Team". Then if Jason ever came back again, considering he's dyslexic, we could call it "The Weird Team". When he's here, it fits so nicely..

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Trent Has Stall in Brocante This Sunday

In 1995 I moved to France with roughly 400 pounds of stuff - the shipping limit set by my Disneyland Paris contract. Since I've been here I've gotten married, had two boys (now ages 9 and 11), bought a house, 7 cars (and sold 5), 6 computers, 8 printers, 5 televisions, probably a dozen VHS and DVD players, several TV's, dozens of DVD's, electronic appliances, and heaps of toys, clothes, tools, furniture and assorted useless crap. It accumulates so rapidly I built an extra shed half the size of my house to accommodate it all, only to realize I had enough stuff to fill up two sheds the same size. Or so it seems.

In the United States we have garage sales or yard sales to get rid of accumulated stuff, or maybe we take it to a swap meet. In England they have car boot sales - similar to the swap meet concept.

In France they have Brocantes, or Vide-Greniers, similar to a Swap Meet or Flea Market. An association within the village usually sets it up, printing flyers and collecting rent for space. Participating villagers drag their stuff to the brocante where other villagers hopefully browse through it and buy some of it. I've participated in these before and got rid of handfuls of stuff, but there's usually so much stuff - a village full - that it's simply overwhelming. While there are professionals who sell interesting antiques and collectibles, the regular folks will try to sell anything from rusty hardware in an old bucket to slobbered-on baby toys not touched in 10 years, complete with missing parts and broken things to almost certainly nonfunctional DVD or VHS players to unsuspecting neighbors. It seldom works. Most of the stuff packed to the brocante is packed back home at the end of the day.

I'm going to put some of my treasures up for sale this October 26 in a Brocante/Vide-Greniers (Flea Market/Attic-Emptying) in St. Germain sur Morin, in the Leader Price parking lot. I've learned over the years not to take stuff that isn't sellable so I spent today putting all the useless crap in the trash. I'll only be displaying high-quality name-brand clothing, kids' costumes, maybe some DVD's and CD's, a never-used pool heater, some other stuff, and a bucket of not-so-rusty hardware. And other really neat stuff.

What makes me tired already is that set-up time is 4am. That's 4am. Gee that's early.. or late considering I get home from work at midnight the night before. If you're in the area come on by when you roll out of bed and say hi.

Reader Claims Disneyland Paris Owned by Accord Group

One of my rare and much-beloved Casual Reporter readers posted an anonymous comment on Cowboys & Indians Must Learn French or Die stating that Disneyland Paris Resort is owned by the Accord Group and expressed his or her thoughts regarding foreign workers in France learning French and U.S. immigrant workers speaking English. I posted a couple comments in reply. Check it out and let me know what you think.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Cowboys & Indians Must Learn French or Die

Americans playing Cowboy or Indian in Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show (La Legende de Buffalo Bill,Disney Village, Disneyland Paris France) must know enough French to obtain a Diplome Initial de Langue Franciase (DILF) according to new French Immigration Laws, or they will die. Well, not really, but they might not be able to get their 10 years-valid Carte de Resident, and therefore could theoretically be asked to leave once their 3-year Carte de Sejour expires. (As far as I can tell, 1 and 3 year Carte de Sejour applicants aren't required to know French.) For those who don't know enough French to obtain a DILF, the French government provides 400 hours of French courses. Free French lessons may sound great to some, but at least one of the Cowboys in our show who is required take 6 months of lessons, 3 hours per day, 3 days per week expresses frustration that despite his best efforts he doesn't feel he's learning anything. As someone hired as an American to play an American in an American show for an American company, albeit in France, speaking French was never a requirement for the job; since learning French was never a desire otherewise, this particular cowboy doesn't know a lick of it. Well, after three years maybe a lick but that's about it. The French classes so generously offered through Disneyland Paris Resort apparently require students to understand far more than just a lick from the outset. That means the cowboy, although a great guy and a hell of a good hand in the show, is sweating his job because he may not be able to learn enough French in time to renew his work papers. Whatever happened to the Wild West?

Monday, October 20, 2008

Buffalo Bill Horse Dies Unexpectedly


Mochilero died unexpectedly earlier this week of cholic. Mochilero was the horse ridden by Jeffrey Concklin, one of two actors who exclusively play the role of Buffalo Bill in Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show (La Legende de Buffalo Bill) Disney Village, Disneyland Paris Resort France. Concklin reports that "Mochi" was moving restlessly in his stall before the show, and during the show would not hold still when he was supposed to but wouldn't go when he was asked to. At first the horse team thought Mochi was suffering from allergies, which he has suffered from before, but after the first entrance of the second show, they realized it was more serious. Concklin finished the second show on Paco, the other Buffalo Bill horse, while the Veterinarian was called to diagnose Mochi's illness. The veterinarian quickly recognized that Mochi had cholic and ordered an emergency operation. Mochi seemed to recover somewhat, but after a couple days his health declined and he passed away. Our hearts go out to Mochi's parents, wherever they are. He was a celibate bachelor, and so has no surviving spouse. No children survive Mochi, since he was gelded years ago.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Ex-Cast Update: Scott Bramble

Scott Bramble, who played the Stunt position at Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show (La Legende de Buffalo Bill) Disney Village, Disneyland Paris in the late 90's, is now Director of Post Production at BASE Productions in Los Angeles, according to my latest web research. Prior to that he was a Post Supervisor for GRB Entertainment where he worked on A&E's Intervention, Post Supervisor at VBP Productions, and Assistant Editor at Aardvark Post. Those who have seen Intervention give it high reviews. Now that he's a Director we can all anticipate seeing his name more often in the trades papers.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

CPR Training Using Live Actors

The stunts performed in Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show (La Legende de Buffalo Bill), Disney Village, Disneyland Paris France are dangerous enough that regulations require a set number cast members be trained to perform CPR. In fact all teams at Disneyland Paris are required to have CPR-certified employees on duty, so I guess accounting has its risks as well. I thought it might be of interest to The Casual Reporter readers to view a video of the CPR training process here at the Wild West Show using live actors, taught by a German company. Here it is:
video

Monday, September 22, 2008

The Pinkie Chronicles: Not the Chicken...!

The Cattle Trail scene unfolded as usual up to the chicken shooting scene. Beli shot the first chicken and Pete grabbed it. The next line is usually, "That's too small, we need another chicken" but Brice said instead, "Pete's got a chicken, I want one too" so Beli shot another. Instead of calling for a third chicken, which leads to the musicians entering, Brice said, "Well, we each got our chickens. Let's eat! Come on, boys!"

Continuing further at this point would have meant jumping the scene forward several minutes and not allowing the musicians to enter, so the team was stuck for a few seconds, the guys making their way for the cooking pot.

Then Pinkie stepped in, shouting loud enough I could hear him off stage through the other microphones "I want a cheeckin too! I'm hungry!"

So Beli shot the large, roasted chicken to the ground. Pinkie leaped on it, a fun and innocent choice had it not been Pinkie, and Brice on the microphone.

Brice said, "Not here, Pinkie! This is Disneyland!"

And the scene continued..

Lights Out at Wild West Show

The lighting person at Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show (La Legende de Buffalo Bill), Disney Village, Disneyland Paris France, had his hands full during both of tonight's shows. The show has around 200 lighting set-ups programmed into its automated, computer-controlled lighting console, which has never failed in almost 17 years. Tonight, however, it failed, making the lighting person have to work with a higher level of awareness and expertise than is normally the case. Wait, that's an understatement. The console's failure struck panic and fear into the hearts of the stage manager and technical team, almost resulting in the show's closure. OK, maybe that's a slight overstatement, but only slight. The show went on, but tonights lights were manipulated entirely by hand and memory judgement of the technical team, making for a much less dynamic-looking show. One difference I noted in particular was while exiting downstage into total darkness. Neither I nor my horse could even see where the exit door was, so rather than gallop offstage we walked, sensing our way forward.

Joke of the Month: Chinese Sick Day


Joke of the Month: Chinese Sick Day

Hung Chow calls into work and says, 'Hey, I no come work today, I really sick. I got headache, stomach ache and legs hurt. I no come work.'

The boss says, ' I really need you today. When I feel like this, I go to my wife and tell her to give me sex. That makes everything better and I go to work. You try that.'

Two hours later Hung Chow calls again. 'I do what you say and I feel great. I be at work soon...You got nice house.
(Image source: http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/44233000/jpg/_44233807_chinese_worker416ap.jpg)

Sunday, September 7, 2008

UCLA vs Tennessee Game Ending Revealed

I recorded the UCLA vs Tennessee football game a few days ago and finally gave it to the Cowboys to watch, only to discover that although I added an extra 30 minutes to the scheduled time to allow for unforseeable time delays such as overtime, and indeed there was an overtime, the game stopped abruptly with about 1:30 left - the best part of a very close and exciting game. Although I can't produce all of the final moments, ESPN has a video that highlights the last few seconds and the video below is a solid review of the most exciting UCLA moments, including the final seconds of the game.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Join Wild West Show NFL Fantasy Football League


Thursday is the first day of NFL (American Football) season play. A few of us who work at Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show (La Legende de Buffalo Bill), Disney Village, Disneyland Paris Resort, have started a fantasy football league. Each person invited to join the league creates a team name on Foxsports.com (my team is The 7th Cavalry) then, starting Thursday, each team drafts NFL players to make up the team roster. Over the course of the NFL season Foxsports.com automatically keeps track of certain statistics of your team, such as touchdowns, yards rushing and passing, interceptions, etc. and calculates which team is statistically superior. You can trade players and replace one or two injured ones (I'm not sure the exact rules). At the end of the season, one team triumphs.


It's a fun way to watch the NFL because nearly every game has significance to your fantasy team, regardless which NFL team is playing. Send me your email address if you want to join the league and I'll send it to our commissioner who can then send you an invitation to join, until the league is full. There's still plenty of space and it costs nothing, so if sounds fun, give me a holler! But best to do it quickly so you can get a good draft position.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Mickey Mouse to Appear in Wild West Show

What follows is unofficial, insider news that I may not have the right to reveal. It's hearsay in any case. As a precautionary measure, please disregard everything you read here and forget where you heard it.

A couple months ago the results of a Disneyland Paris survey revealed that guests want more contact with Disney characters. I assume this survey-informed revelation was the driving factor for another decision made by someone of high importance somewhere in the upper Disney heirarchy, probably in marketing, to make mandatory that all live shows, starting sometime in 2009, will be required to feature Disney characters in some fashion.

This means that if all goes according to plan, Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show (La Legende de Buffalo Bill), Disney Village, Disneyland Paris Resort, France, will feature Mickey and/or Minnie Mouse in the show itself. So far the rumor is that their appearance would be limited to the introduction of the show.

This clearly is not in keeping with the illusion that is created when guests enter the Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show building of being transported back in time and space to the 1890's, but let's be honest, painful as it may be: few people were likely ever really transported very effectively anyway, at least not since Peter MacLean left the show, yet the show was and is wildly popular and successful.

If Buffalo Bill himself were alive today, making a living producing or participating in circus-like shows that represent the American West as it is today, would he be eager or appalled to include Disney characters? Cody had great affection for children, and he certainly seemed to appreciate the input of a powerful producing partner, so he might have been quite happy to include Mickey and Minnie in the introduction to the show had they existed in his time, if Disney was footing the production bill.

Still, as much as I love the Disney company and its products and as much as I appreciate the marketing intent behind the idea of having Disney characters in all the shows, featuring Mickey and Minnie in this particular show somehow cheapens the legacy of one of the greatest showmen of all time, the first global superstar. W.F. Cody was a real man representing a real era and real people, which differentiates our show from others, which are purely fictional. It just doesn't seem ethically correct to disregard the legacy of a real person as if it were Disney fiction. What're your thoughts?

Casual Reporter Visitors are Worldwide!

My apologies for the dramatic drop in number of posts. After much effort I have convinced my lovely wife to take a year's sabbatical leave and have thoroughly enjoyed her company over the summer, along with that of my two sons. We spent much of our time these past couple months remodelling our modest home and swimming, and me doing shows. Where I once had oodles of spare time I have recently had virtually none - my reason for not doing much blogging.

I am delighted to discover that The Casual Reporter is still attracting visitors, however. Curious just how many visitors, I attempted to find a "gadget" that would display exactly that figure. Instead, I discovered a gadget that displays on a Google Map the location of visitors to The Casual Reporter. It's nearly as diverse as the audience we play to each night! Cool!

I have also recently started receiving more comments for articles previously posted in The Casual Reporter, some several months old. Check them out! I'm thrilled that my efforts continue to draw attention. Thanks to all!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Cody Steps in Human Poo

For those among you who imagine France as a beacon of sophistication, I relate to you a story that should temper such idealistic sentiments. My sons Cody and Zach embarked on a 3-minute walk to deposit our glass bottles in the local bottle depository down the street (such recycling policies are what contribute to the myth of Europe as the mecca of forward thought and sophistication).

Ours is a lovely residential street much desired among locals, in a safe, quaint, friendly community about 40 minutes from the heart of Paris - middle class suburbia in the form of a roman-age French village.

Not far from the house, Cody stepped in a pile of crap. Not dog, or cat, as one might not be surprised to accidentally step in, but human excrement. Our street features a number of off-road parking areas and not far from the incident a bank with a wooded area where one who might be so desperate could choose to squat in emergency, but whomever did this thoughtlessly and carelessly deposited their load in the middle of the sidewalk.

Happily, this isn't a regular occurrence and as a rarity surely not particular to France, but it does reflect a tendency among the French, from my experience, of being severely self-absorbed. Despite having spent nearly 13 years here, I'm still disappointed to be constantly reminded by such crass examples that I live among people who can be so incredibly mindless to stop and take a crap right in the middle of the sidewalk.

I don't recall ever hearing this happen to anybody in any decent residential neighborhood anywhere in the USA.

So fair warning, or gentle reminder: despite the oft-deserved accolades of sophistication among the French, self-absorbed idiots are at least as much a part of the fabric of French culture as anywhere else in the world. Watch your step.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

The Pinkie Chronicles: Pinkie Loses Hat Both Shows.

Pinkie lost his cowboy hat in both shows tonight. In the first, it came off as he was crossing to the Gold Star Ranch during my introduction of the Rough Riders, landing at the edge of the arena in front of Gold Star - an innocent enough error, but because the hat was Pinkie's, it became a target.

Most horses will notice something out of the ordinary like Pinkie's hat on the ground and will prick their ears at it, maybe snort, usually making an effort at least to avoid stepping on it. When I rode near it to get out of Annie Oakley's way so she could shoot the candles of the candelabra, for example, my horse lurched sideways enough to elicit a hearty laugh from the line of cowboys.

Annie's horse is not at all like my horse. Her horse took absolutely no notice of the hat, enabling Annie to subtly but intentionally aim her horse to nail Pinkie's hat perfectly, stomping it and kicking it forward several yards, eliciting an even bigger laugh from the cowboy line-up. The scene continued until, as Annie circled for her exit, I subtly said over the microphone, mainly for the cowboy's benefit, "one more chance". Annie bowled into Pinkie's hat again, sending it forward another few yards.

The cowboys' exit punished Pinkie's hat further, but it stayed on stage. Later, when the Chuckwagons entered for the Cattle Trail scene, Chad was able to run his team and both right hand chuckwagon wheels directly over Pinkie's hat. It's a small thing, losing a hat, but it provided ample entertainment for the cowboys.

In the second show, Pinkie beat Brice's roping time by 0.3 seconds, winning it for Gold Star. Brice feined fury over the call. It might have ended there had it not been Pinkie. When Annie handed the winner's flag to Pinkie and Pinkie started the winning round, Brice galloped after him, grabbing and wrestling with him as they circled. Pinkie tried in vain to fight Brice off, but with one hand on his reins and the other carrying the flag, his only defense was to try to awkwardly hit Brice with the flag. Not only did this appear awkward and endearingly pathetic, it utterly failed to deter Brice and resulted only in Pinkie's own hat being knocked off in front of Gold Star.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Didier Pulls His Ass with His Crotch

Didier, who plays Auguste Durand Rouel in Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show (La Legende de Buffalo Bill), Disney Village, Disneyland Paris France, and Cacahuete, the ass, or burro he rides into the arena for his second entrance, have a special relationship marked most famously by the "mounting episode" years ago. Tonight their relationship has added another layer.

To appreciate the visual I am about to create, you need to know that Cacahuete's halter rope is tied back onto itself beneath Cacahuete's chin to create a closed loop similar to roping reins. The Auguste character uses these "reins" to ride Cacahuete into the arena and half-way across it before dismounting, at which time a handler leads Cacahuete the remaining distance to the upstage exit.

Recently Cacahuete has begun the bad habit of ducking out from under his rider and rolling in the sand for several seconds, upstaging everyone and upsetting the rhythm of the show. To help school Cacahuete out of this habit, Didier was instructed to keep hold of Cacahuete's reins and lead him across the arena if he tried to stop and roll.

Tonight, when Cacahuete ducked and stopped, Didier slid over Cacahuete's head and, as instructed, kept hold of the reins. But rather than step over the "reins" and pull Cacahuete beside him, Didier remained straddling the looped rope, holding it in one hand just above his crotch. The lines of the loop extending from his hand pulled down along the sides of his genital area and cut into the creases separating thigh from genitals, effectively framing and highlighting his crotch area. Cacahuete pulled from behind, making taut the "reins" and further highlighting Didier's crotch. For several meters Didier continued to awkwardly lead his ass with his crotch, seemingly amused and bewildered by the predicament he had gotten himself into and apparently not sure how to get out of it when finally a handler rescued him, rescued all of us from what can only be described as absurd, borderline obscenity. And so their love saga continues...

Despite the absurdity of the entrance, Cacahuete did NOT roll in the sand.

Nik Receives Wedgy of the Century

I've never seen a more severe wedgy in my life.

The Green River cowboy had just won the Pony Express race. Nik, Green River's clown for the night, capped off the audience cheer with his trademark backwards pratfall off the ranch rails into the arena while Gene, an Indian playing "dancer" for the evening, was at his post in front of the downstage doors.

As I explained to the audience the rules for the the Rescue Relay race, I noticed Gene trot over to Nik and start rough-housing with him in the arena. As Nik tried to climb out of the arena into the Green River ranch, Gene pulled Nik back down by his clown pants, breaking the back buttons of Nik's suspenders in the process and revealing the top band of Nik's underwear.

Gene then leaped over the rail into the ranch to block Nik climbing out of the arena, when apparently he got the idea to give Nik a wedgy. Standing about 6'3" against Nik's about 5'5", Gene had little trouble leaning over Nik, grabbing hold of his shorts, and pulling, essentially suspended Nik in mid-air.

The black fabric of Nik's underwear stretched up his back nearly to the base of his shoulderblades. The leg-holes of Nik's underwear came so far up his backside that not just his butt cheeks but several inches above his butt cheeks were fully visible from the judge's stand. Nik hung helplessly, his body tense but not flailing for fear of serious injury to his private parts, his upward progress blocked by Gene's body.

Then Gene started bouncing Nik in his own shorts, revealing even more skin through the leg holes and covering more of Nik's back. Nik's future as a potential father was only saved by the start of the Rescue Relay race. This time the warriors really did rescue someone.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Two New Cowboys Arrive from the USA

This is old news by now for those still working in Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show (La Legende de Buffalo Bill) Disney Village, Disneyland Paris France, but over the past month ago or so a couple new guys joined the show: Ryan and Justin. Justin is from Roswell, New Mexico, home of the UFO center and a host of sightings of extra-terrestrials. He's not one of them, as far as I can tell. Justin's a nice guy doing his best to make the transfer from being a team roping header to roping ol' Cremelo in the arena.

Ryan is from my home state, Wyoming, having spent the last 8 years in Cody, Wyoming. I thought it was a coincidence that Jesse James Townsend had a similar past to my own, but Ryan's is even better. His step-father started in the show back in 1992 when Ryan was about 14. Ryan's family operates a wilderness outfitting operation similar to my families, only 50 miles or so from where my family's is, near Meteetsee Wyoming. He knows my adoptive father Nate Vance first hand, as well as all those "old mountain men" as he refers to the outfitters in the area. He's a nice guy, thrilled to be in the show, and a dang good hand. It's a pleasure to have them both on board.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Didier Marries Two Gay Men


DIDIER COURQUET MARRIED TWO GAY MEN the other day. Here's the whole story:

One remarkable aspect of Disneyland Paris Resort is the vast diversity of the workforce. Dozens of countries are represented, dozens of languages spoken. Men, women, straight, gay, single, married, black, yellow, white, with and without children, small people (politically correct lexicon for “dwarves” or “midgets”), big people, Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Jewish, Atheist, god-fearing American conservative, Liberal socialist European – all are represented at Disneyland Paris. It should come of little surprise then that at the same time former cowboy Couy Griffin is riding across France in a self-proclaimed one-man crusade to spread the message of the love of Jesus, our own Didier Courquet, a self-proclaimed Buddhist who plays the character Auguste Durand Rouel in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show (La Legende de Buffalo Bill), Disney Village, Disneyland Paris Resort, France, recently performed a marriage ceremony for a gay couple.


Here in France, both gay and straight couples can be legally bound through what amounts to legally recognized common-law marriage, with similar benefits as couples who are married via legally binding ceremonies. When couples are married in a civil ceremony, the town mayor performs the official duties, but mayors are strictly forbidden to preside over ceremonies for gay couples.

This is where Didier comes in. One gay couple, keen to marry as straight couples do, decided to hire Didier to play the role of the mayor in a faux-ceremonial marriage. So effective was Didier’s performance (says Didier) that the guests were initially uncomfortable that (they thought) the mayor was performing an illegal ceremony. In addition to functioning as the faux-mayor, Didier sang a French love song for the gay couple, at their request. Didier said it was all very nice and beautiful, but the kiss at the end was a bit uncomfortable. With good food, a festive atmosphere, and plenty of gay couples to draw from, I think Dider may have discovered an enjoyable and sufficiently lucrative second career for himself.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Arnold Does Face-plant

Arnold planted his face in the sand during the Pony Express. Arnold, (Arnaud), a French intermittent performer who sometimes plays Cowboy at Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show, attempted to make his second mount during the event but couldn't get on. It seems little wonder to me - although a very nice guy by all accounts he's only slightly bigger around than a toothpick. I'm a little surprised each time he does make the mount, which is most times despite his delicate build. This time however he fender-dragged around the corner of Green Mountain before finally giving up and letting go, the momentum of his forward motion propelling his face into the sand with considerable force. He got up in good spirit, delivered the letter, and ran to his ranch regardless. Annie Oakley disqualified him and I explained, "That's right Annie.. your face cannot hit the ground." Byron laughed.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

The Boys Watch The Palio in Italy


Mike, a Stuntman and Buffalo Bill Understudy, and Brice, Cowboy and Stageocoach driver - both in Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show (La Legende de Buffalo Bill), Disney Village, Disneyland Paris Resort - took some time off recently to visit ex-WWS Cowboy Jean Carlo and his wife Tracy at their remote horse ranch in the Tuscany region of Italy. Ryan was also there, still on his European visit from Canada. While there, Mike and Brice got a front-row view of the famous no-holds-barred Palio horse race, featured in these videos. I was talking to Brice about his experience and I mentioned to him that before I moved to France I imagined Europeans as generally more sophisticated and less wild than Americans, especially cowboys. That stereotype gets badly thrown out of kilter, however, with European traditions like the Palio. These videos show the Italians who ride in the Palio, as well as their frenzied supporters, as downright crazy, at least during the brief time of the race.

Brice also told me about some volcanic tombs they visited where the density of the pourous volcanic stone was so low he could easily pick up a calf-sized chunk with one hand. Of course stuntman Vincent can do the same with solid granite. He is so very LAARge.. he will Mess you UP!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Bald was Beautiful at July 4th Wild West Show


Paris-based American singer and voice coach Barry Johnson sang The Star Spangled Banner a capella on July 4th 2008, American Independence Day, during an extended version of The Final Revue in Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show (La Legende de Buffalo Bill), Disney Village, Disneyland Paris Resort. Barry was introduced by Buffalo Bill with the following text:

"Ladies and Gentlemen, on this day, July 4th, back in 1776, a group of colonists gathered and signed The Declaration of Independence, thereby with the stroke of a pen creating The United States of America and laying the foundation for democracy as we know it today. To commemorate that historical event, Mr. Barry Johnson has agreed to lead us in the American National Anthem."
Barry was accompanied in the spotlight by a "Cowboy" carrying the American Flag and an "Indian" carrying a live Bald Eagle (Barry's also bald, hence Bald was Beautiful). The talent, accompanied by fireworks prior to the scene and stars and stripes lighting effects decorating the arena, emotionally moved the show's managers according to the Artistic Coordinator.

Unfortunately, the emotionally moving production failed to keep from moving many Spanish guests who left early, as is their habit, during the Final Revue of the second show. Why the Spanish customarily leave before the end of a show remains unclear but both personal observation and testimony by our previous Spanish manager confirms this to be true. I've learned not to take it personally but it's a shame they missed Barry and the Eagle. We'll just see how much celebration happens on Spain's Independence Day. Two can play at that game. Maybe I'll just not do the Final Revue.

The Eagle, a truly majestic bird whose name escapes me at the moment, has become a regular feature of the guest photograph area in the pre-function of the show. In addition to appearing alongside Barry, the Eagle also flew during the Buffalo Dance portion of the show, from the Canyon to a Bird Handler in the arena.

Independence Day and Thanksgiving are important holidays in the United States but expatriates know that neither day has special meaning to cultures overseas. The small added scenes in our show were the only tangible deviations for many Americans in the show, but backstage wishes of "Happy 4th of July" were plentiful. The Casual Reporter extends a "Happy 4th of July" to its readers as well.

July 4th also was the 2008 debut of the 6:00 p.m. Wild West Show Parade through Disney Village. The parade will continue daily, weather permitting, through the end of August.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

10,000 B.C. Released for iTunes

The film 10,000 B.C. featuring our own Afif Ben Badra as the main bad guy, has just been released for download on iTunes. Ben also plays Cowboy or Indian on an intermittent basis for our show, Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show, (La Legende de Buffalo Bill), Disney Village, Disneyland Resort Paris.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Documentary Being Made of Couy


Couy Griffin, as part of his quest to ride horseback from the Golden Gate Bridge to the Gates of Jerusalem, spent the last few days riding around Paris horseback. He rode from the Eiffel Tower down to the Arc de Triumph and along the Champs Elysees, as I recall him telling, and then rode through some other parts of the city as well. He has been accompanied by a documentary crew interested in his story and although navigating the city and keeping in contact with the crew was challenging, Couy feels they got some good footage. A few guys from the show were interviewed as part of the documentary including me, today. I tried to sound real smart but we'll see how it actually came off in a few months when the documentary is finished. I'll let you know here what happens as the story continues.

In the interview and off camera I talked with Couy about many things ranging from the state of the human spirit in modern society to the state of Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show. He still has a passion for Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show and admitted he missed performing. He is keeping open the option of one day returning to the arena.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Jesse James Nearly Crushed by Horse

Jesse James Townsend, who plays Cowboy and sometimes Stunt in Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show (La Legende de Buffalo Bill), Disney Village, Disneyland Paris Resort France, was nearly crushed during the Roping Contest of the Rodeo Games when the Bay mare he was riding stumbled and fell. Jesse was launched over her front left shoulder and landed hard, his head thwacking against the packed sand surface of the arena. As he landed, Jesse struggled to scramble to safety but the horse's momentum carried her over the saddle and onto her right side, pinning Jesse's legs and leaving him directly exposed to her hooves with no way to escape. She kicked frantically for several seconds trying to right herself, each kick seeming as if it must be connecting with Jesse. Finally she found her footing and struggled to her feet. I expected Jesse to have something broken or twisted and need immediate medical attention, but he rose slowly to his feet, visibly shaken but apparently sound. He dusted the biggest chunks of muck off his clothes and walked over to the mare without assistance. The cowboys and the actress playing Annie Oakley had lead the mare away from Jesse and re-adjusted the saddle, which had come askew in the process. As all true cowboys do when they come off a horse, he didn't walk off stage but simply got back on and did his job. The second time around Jesse's horse didn't stumble and he caught Cremelo handily. Afterwards backstage Jesse said that he was kicked and pinned just as it appeared but he was lucky enough not to sustain serious injury. From what I saw I'd say very lucky. Nice work, Jesse!