All the Unfit Kings and Riot Grrlz

It’s time to go back and see some live theater! Even if it’s on film.

We took a long weekend to trek up to Ashland for three plays, so if you’re thinking this is like free advertising for Oregon Shakespeare Festival, you’re probably right. But the performances were excellent, and all three have been filmed. If you can’t make the trek up to the rolling hills of the Rogue River Valley before the seasons ends,  then you can watch the films live next weekend or on demand. Check out the options here.

My particular goal was to get my bingo card punched, which is to say that I had seen 36 of the 37 plays of Shakespeare and was only missing “King John.” (You’re going to point out that “The Two Noble Kinsmen” makes it 38 plays, and I’ll counter that it’s never staged and besides, John Fletcher co-wrote it. If you find a version of it somewhere, send me a link, and I’ll watch it.  Meanwhile, I’m calling B-I-N-G-O.) And Shakespeare was his name-o!

Who Wants to Play a Weenie?

We were speculating as to why “King John” is almost never staged, when the history play that precedes it, “Richard III,” is done all the time It may be the nature of villainy in the central character. Even though Richard is one of the worst scoundrels that ever walked a stage, he controls his own destiny. He pillages, rapes, and murders with glee. A good actor will get the audience laughing at his roguish charm, while Richard woos his enemy’s widow or plans the assassination of the princes in the tower. Don’t believe me? Watch the Ian McKellen 1995 “Richard III.”

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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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