A Long Time Ago In Japan

Dear Mr. George Lucas Ltd.,

Sir I am gravely concerned. Quite frankly I haven’t been this concerned since, well let me see, Roe vs. Wade. No better make that Bush vs. Kerry. Nope, I don’t believe that shows the true gravity of the situation. How about Rocky IV vs. Ivan Draco? There, I think I’ve made my point.

You see, I have long been a fan of yours. You run a close second to the Cleveland Browns in my book. I grew up with cousins who lived and breathed Star Wars, and thus I had second-hand Star Wars passion as a result. I love to go to the premieres, sometimes I will wait as long as three hours in line!

But you see I am moving to Japan next week on Thursday at 7:24 AM. This puts me in a bit of a pickle, and hopefully this is just a misprint, but the premiere for Japan is not till July! Why? Are you trying to torture me? Have I not given you enough of my money over the years?

One other concern I have, and I really apologize for being so negative. I personally think Jar-Jar-Binks was a brilliant idea. Classic! My other question is whether or not Yoda will be speaking in Japanese when the movie finally does come out? Yoda is confusing enough to me in English, and I would hope that you could retain his grammatically incorrect English for the Japanese version of your great movie.

I thank you for your time. Please inform me that it was a misprint.

May the force be with the United States AND Japan,
Blake Blackwell


A Life Complete

I can die a happy man. I have now lived. That's right, I am, as of March 19th, 2005 at 5:00 PM, a member of a very exclusive club. That is, I am now an honorary duck master.

pictured from left to right: Stephen Maddux, Blake Blackwell, Travis Powell, Joy Rainey Posted by Hello

I feel it best to give you a moment by moment account of the entire experience to acquiesce the true emotion and glee felt during this once in a lifetime honor.

2:30 PM: Arrived at Peabody hotel, a self-proclaimed 5-Duck Hotel smelling of campfire smoke and wearing a Bass Pro Shop's aerated hat.

3:00 PM: Waddled down to the pool and swum, circular fashion, for half an hour.

3:30 PM: Checked my email.

3:31 PM: Bathed and prompted for the huge occasion.

4:30 PM: Heart palpitating, rushed to the concierge's desk to receive official orders as honorary Duck Master along with cohorts Joy, Stephen and Travis.

4:45 PM: Official ceremonies begin with the head duckmaster espousing the great tradition started 76 years ago, with such fervent emotion as to cause glistening upon his forehead.

4:59 PM: One moment till ducks exit the fountain.

5:00 PM: Ducks exit, one by one, single-file.

5:01 PM: Follow ducks down the red carpet and receive a standing ovation from the crowd. One crowd member joyfully calls out: "Hey look! It's Jerry's kids." I think he was jealous.

5:05 PM: Arrive at the ducks' resort, and they retire for the evening. I feel emotionally exhausted and drained by this exuberant event, wanting to retire myself.

There you have it! There are plenty of pictures of the event, and since a picture is worth a thousand words, or in case of a 3.2 mexapixel camera, three thousand two hundred words, the details will be filled in better by visiting my picture blog.


The Peabody: 3 Days and Counting...

The day of prestige and honor nears as we prepare for our final destination: the Peabody Hotel. I am going to take today off, as I have for about the last two weeks, from writing an email to a deserving corporation to educate you on the ways of the Peabody Hotel. It has come to my attention through various conversations that not all of you know of the luxuries, traditions, etc. that follow the self-proclaimed 5-Duck Hotel.

Below is an excerpt from the Peabody's website:

"The Peabody Ducks have become a national icon, not only as a symbol of quality in the hotel industry, but also as symbols for conservation and preservation through the annual art contest for the Federal Duck Stamp at the Department of the Interior in Washington, DC.

The March of The Peabody Ducks, which is performed at 11am and 5pm each day, 365 days a year, has been taking place for over 76 years in the Lobby of The Peabody Memphis."

Read More

Here is another interesting read about the one, true Duck Master, a position I can only one day hope to be worthy of.

See Story

I will have pictures for you after the big day! Stay tuned!


5-Star Treatment!

Good Day Everyone! The anticipation is certainly building as we prepare to be honorary duck masters. I bought a sports jacket yesterday just for the occassion, and Joy has quite the elegant dress picked out. There is of course no telling what Travis will wear. And Stephen? Who knows!

Here is the latest on the Duckmaster story in email form of course:

Dear Linda,

We are going to be camping before we get to Memphis. Do you know if there is any way we can get an early check-in time so we can clean up and look presentable for the special occassion? 3:15 would be a great check-in time. Our reservations said we couldn't check in before 4:00 o'clock. Who would we talk to about that? Also, add one more name to the list. Stephen Maddux will be joining us - the chance to be an honorary duckmaster was more than he could pass up so he will now be joining us on our road trip. We will be at the Bellstand to meet with the Duckmaster by 4:30. Thanks for all your help and prompt responses!

Joy Rainey


Joy, all I can do is request an early check-in, but I cannot guarantee it. The problem is the night before your arrival we have a very high occupancy. Since we have a large number of guests checking out on your day of arrival, our challenge is getting the rooms cleaned before 4:00. If a guest is late in checking out, that also delays our process. I am forwarding your request to Mireille, our Front Office Manager, and we will do our best to comply with your request, but, again I must reiterate, we cannot guarantee it. If your rooms are not ready, you may have the option of using our Athletic Club to freshen up.

Mi, the names of the guests requesting an early check-in by 3:15 on March 19 are:

Joy Rainey
Blake Blackwell
Travis Powell
Stephen Maddux

Mi, they are going camping before arriving at The Peabody, and they are all going to be Honorary Duckmasters at 5 pm on March 19. Naturally, they would like the opportunity of cleaning up so as to be presentable at 5 pm. The Peabody means a great deal to them. Two of the four are going on to Japan for an extended period of time, and they are splurging on staying at The Peabody.

Linda Greenwald
Executive Assistant
The Peabody Memphis149 Union Avenue
Memphis, TN 38103901
529-4167 phone
901 529-3677 fax


Happy Birthday Ann Sensei!

While I try to keep my blog focused on the issues of consumers, today I have a special post to wish my friend Ann a happy birthday! Ann has the blessing of being in Japan right now which means she gets to celebrate her birthday for 40 hours!

Anyways, Ann is a great blessing to all who know her. She embodies the spirit of Christ in every way but one; she is not a Republican. Just kidding! No, but seriously, she has one of the most humble hearts and helpful attitudes that it is just unbelievable. I have been blessed by knowing her and she will certainly make my move to Japan about ten times easier with all of her patience and understanding.

So Happy Birthday Ann! As my birthday present to you, I'm going to attempt to increase your readership of your blog. Everyone go visit Ann's Blog.


Note: There have been more developments in relation to the Honorary Duck Master story. Stay tuned for updates...


Honorary Duckmasters

We will accept this responsibility with all the gravity that such an honor deserves. Good going Joy!

Also, in response to Matt's question, I do indeed take submissions. Remember the motto of this blog is "Consumers Unite!" Please send all emails to blakewell@gmail.com.

Joy, you and your friends may be the honorary duckmasters on either Saturday, March 19, at 5 pm, or Sunday, March 20, at 11 am. Please let me know which time you prefer. What are the names of your friends? We are so glad that you will be staying with us and hope you have a great experience!

Linda Greenwald
Executive Assistant
The Peabody Memphis
149 Union Avenue
Memphis, TN 38103
901 529-4167 phone
901 529-3677 fax


Hopeful Peabody Marshals

To whom it may concern:

My friends and I are coming to Memphis for a road trip over Spring Break and staying at your hotel. For the past six years a group of us has come to work with several "church plants" in the Memphis projects through the Memphis Urban Ministries organization. Now that we all have full-time jobs, we are not able to come and spend the entire week with the church plants. However, we are coming back to Memphis over the course of a short road trip for one reason, and one reason alone - to stay at the Peabody Hotel. We've come to watch the ducks every Thursday each year the past six years during our mission trip. This year after scrimping and saving, we are going to be legitimate Peabody guests. The only reason we are splurging like this is because two of our road trip participants are moving to Japan a week after our trip. They want to go out in style! I was wondering if there is some way we could arrange to ride up in the elevator with the ducks Saturday afternoon when they go to the roof, or ride down with them Sunday morning when they come to the fountain. Who would I talk to about that? The date we are arriving is Saturday, March 19th. This would be a great life-long memory with which to send our friends off to Japan. Please contact me and let me know if we can be "duck marshalls" Saturday evening on the 19th. Thanks for providing some Okies (not from Muskogee) with years of solid tradition!

Joy Rainey (hopeful Peabody Duck Marshall)