All the News that Fits the Puzzle

Spoiler promise: Stay to the end and you will see animated puzzle-creating.

Corruption, Politics, Talking Heads. Not much has changed. Kajmeister photo of Birthday Puzzle.

It is perhaps a personality flaw of mine to analyze Everything, even gifts. On my recent birthday, I received a puzzle based on The New York Times headlines on the day I was born a few decades back. (rhymes with -ixty). Of course, it got me to thinking about so many things.

The world, at first, in pieces. Kajmeister photo.

I decided to do the puzzle without looking at the cover, so it was first a jumble of pieces. But this became a fun analytical exercise on several fronts: first separating light from dark, secondly finding meaning in all these letters, and thirdly evaluating what made news in those days. Letting the meaning rise from the ashes, so to speak. As to the last part and what made the news of yesteryear? plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose, as the saying goes. Things haven’t changed that much.

All you need to see is a headline like “Theobald says Brooklyn class built his boat…” to know that someone is in trouble. I don’t know who Theobald was, but I suspect the Brooklyn class was not supposed to build his boat. It seems odd that such provincial issues for New Yorkers are treated side-by-side with international incidents. But that’s the NYT for you. And they wouldn’t have known–at the time–which of these issues were nitpicking and which would escalate into years of grief. We know now.

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Bones from Dinoland U.S.A.

Bones sinking like stones
All that we fought for
Homes, places we’ve grown
All of us are done for
And we live in a beautiful world
Yeah, we do, yeah, we do

“Don’t Panic” by Coldplay (1999)
King of the Terrible Lizards, New Mexico Museum of Natural History. Kajmeister photo.

Do we know everything about dinosaurs? What if they built cities out of rock that turned to the dust in which their bones lay? What if they wrote stories on parchment which disintegrated and scattered to the winds? We don’t know whether they spoke languages; their brains were too small–we assume–to do so. We know that some dinosaurs ate other dinosaurs based on the bones. That they walked upright, lived near rivers, protected their young, and covered all the continents, including Antarctica. Two hundred million years was a long time to flourish. Some of it is still a mystery.

Humans have only been discovering things about dinosaurs for about 200 hundred years (happy bicentennial Mary Ann Mantell!) There may be a lot more dino-history buried in those formations. We already know quite a lot from a relatively little, a lot to imagine from just a few bones. If a vertebrae is six feet tall, how big must the creature who carried it have been? (A: 75 ft long)

Apatosaurus vertebrae, Dinosaur Ridge, CO. Kajmeister photo
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Eat, Learn & Be Mellow on Route 66

The answer to NYT themed puzzle, which we solved yesterday. Photo by kajmeister.

We had our feet up, on the George RR Martin train yesterday, watching the Santa Fe scrub chug by and sipping beverages. The guitarist was covering train songs, and we got out a crossword which had a themed answer (Hint: Starts at Grant ____ in the northeast, ends at Santa Monica ____ in the Southwest, John Steinbeck called it the Mother ____). I almost fell out of my chair when I saw the answer was WHERE WE ARE.

Through Amarillo, Gallup, New Mexico, Flagstaff, Arizona, don’t forget Winona, Kingman, Barstow, San Bernadino….

Of the many versions, I do like the Manhattan Transfer cover of “Route 66,” as well as John Mayer’s leisurely version from the soundtrack to Cars. We’ve been zipping along what Steinbeck called the Mother Road for a week, and aside from soaking up all the writing advice, we’ve had time to tour, eat, admire the clouds, eat, learn a little history, and eat some more. If you’re bombing through on the Interstate, you might only see asphalt and Applebee’s, but if you meander through the towns, you can hardly help but stumble over one kernel of beauty after another and if you eat a bad meal, you’re not really trying.

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