Saturday, April 17, 2010

Just so you know, everyone...

...habit is a strong thing. That can be good and that can be bad, depending on the habit. One of my habits is to post every other Saturday. As viewers, you might think that is definitely a good habit, and in general I 'd agree. Whether it was a good idea this week is up for debate though, since we've been busy preparing for this weekend and overnight guests. Anyway, this isn't supposed to turn into a discussion of whether or not I should have posted this week. Obviously, I made my choice, stuck to tradition, and am the one who will have to live with the consequences (namely, lack of sleep). The moral of the story really is: Be careful what habits you make because they are hard to break.

Oh, and if any of you feel strongly that I made the wrong choice, I would recommend the following course of action. Wait until next Saturday to look through this post. (And if you aren't into classic literature and history, don't ever look through this post.)

"The Importance of Being Earnest"

The Mills family invited us to this production in which some of them were performing. Thanks, Mills. We were not disappointed.
While I don't have any admiration for the man himself, Oscar Wilde (the man who wrote the play) was extremely clever. This particular play is a satire on Victorian society, mostly written tongue in cheek. Some examples:

JACK [who is not a clever person] I am sick to death of cleverness. Everybody is clever nowadays. You can't go anywhere without meeting clever people. The thing has become an absolute public nuisance. I wish to goodness we had a few fools left.

ALGERNON [on right] We have.

JACK I should extremely like to meet them. What do they talk about?

ALGERNON The fools? Oh! About the clever people, of course.

JACK What fools!

ALGERNON Do you really keep a diary? I'd give anything to look at it. May I?

CECILY Oh no! [Puts her hand over it.] You see, it is simply a very young girl's record of her own thoughts and impressions, and consequently meant for publication. When it appears in volume form, I hope you will order a copy.


Those are just some examples of Wilde's style of poking fun at people. The main storyline of the play follows two men, Jack and Algernon (pictured in the first photo). Each man adopts the name of the same imaginary person, Mr. Earnest Worthington, in order to woo the woman he loves. This duplicity brings complications:

GWENDOLYN [speaking to Jack] We live, as I hope you know, Mr Worthing, in an age of ideals. The fact is constantly mentioned in the more expensive monthly magazines, and has reached the provincial pulpits, I am told; and my ideal has always been to love some one of the name of Ernest. There is something in that name that inspires absolute confidence. The moment Algernon first mentioned to me that he had a friend called Ernest, I knew I was destined to love you.

JACK [alias Ernest] But you don't really mean to say that you couldn't love me if my name wasn't Ernest? Gwendolyn, I must get christened at once - I mean we must get married at once. There is no time to be lost.

(Meanwhile, the other "Ernest" is running into the same problems.)

CECILY You must not laugh at me, but it had always been a girlish dream of mine to love someone whose name was Ernest. There is something in that name that seems to inspire absolute confidence. I pity any poor married woman whose husband is not called Ernest.

ALGERNON But, do you mean to say you could not love me if I had some other name?

CECILY But what name?

ALGERNON Oh any name you like - Algernon - for instance...

CECILY But I don't like the name of Algernon.

ALGERNON Ahem! Cecily! Your rector here is, I suppose, thoroughly experienced in the practice of all the rites and ceremonials of the Church?

CECILY Oh yes. Dr. Chasuble is a most learned man. He has never written a single book, so you can imagine how much he knows.

ALGERNON I must see him at once on a most important christening - I mean on most important business.

Naturally, there is a showdown. Two woman, each with a diary recording that she is the one engaged to Mr. Ernest Worthington. He'd sure have to be worth a ton to deserve either one of them now.

And to find out how the imbroglio is untangled, you will have to read the play yourself. If any of you were motivated to read the play, let me know, okay. :)

We passed three Rita's on the way to the play, all with full parking lots and extraordinary lines. Dad was starting to consider opening a Rita's franchise, when we found out: Rita's gives away free ice on the first day of spring. So, of course, we stopped.

Sorry guys, we're sold out of everything except Marshmallow Peeps and Sugar-Free Pineapple.

A neighboring parking lot bears witness to the popularity of marshmallow-flavored ice.

We had to agree, though we didn't quite agree with their disposal method.

Play's Have Been the Thing Lately

The director introduces a play based on one of the most beloved novels in the English language, written by Charles Dickens who is often considered to be the greatest English novelist - in short, David Copperfield.

The hero and heroine of the play, two of the best loved characters from all literature - in short, David Copperfield and Agnes.

And who do you, Dicken's fans, think this might be? Nope, not Mr. Micawber, despite all my "in shorts." ;-) Hint: this character is extremely "umble."

Here's dear old Peggotty, though not so very old it would appear.

(About now, I'm starting to feel for those of you who aren't into classic literature. So we'll move on to something else. History - for instance...)

A Trip to Johnstown, PA

Come with us to Johnstown...

...the scene of one of the worst disasters in U.S. History - the Johnstown Flood.

Before we leave, breakfast.

Wondering about the hard hat? He told us he wasn't scared, just taking precautions.

Precautions needed... But I am getting ahead of myself.

Modern Day Johnstown

The book that brought us here.

If I didn't mention Sally, our excellent guide at the museum, and if I didn't tell you that her grandmother was one of the survivors of the flood, and if I didn't post a photo of her... Dad would not approve of this post. :)

Actual flood water - boy, did that get attention.

This tree was one of the most popular sites for photographers back then.

It's still a popular sight today.

High King Peter

Which means that there are only two possible names for the lady sitting beside him.

More things reminiscent of Narnia.
Vive la healthy snacks!

And you always wondered why the SLR is around my neck most of the time.

Despite all its sobering memorials to the flood, Johnstown claims that the Inclined Plane is its most moving landmark. ;-)

In which the importance of units becomes obvious... Five what? Five pounds? Five people?

Five of us cautiously start across the bridge.

Son, you weigh a ton. I think we'd better wait until the rest get off.

Modern Art meets Modern Editing

(I'm trying to make a good point, not a good picture. :)

To the Dam Itself

A highlight was hearing a recorded interview with one of the just-so-survivors of the flood that we had read about in David McCullough's book.

I guess that means no shooting.

We got away with it.

It's good pen-knives weren't prohibited. Dad would be lost without one.

What is left of the South Fork Dam.

For her sake, I hope that railing is more sturdy than the dam that WAS standing on this spot over a hundred years ago.

I trust it with my arm. That's as far as my faith goes.

As we learned more and more about the broken dam, Candace's faith in local structures waned.

It's raining out there.

Conrad runs a gauntlet of raindrops between our van and the restaurant.

A lecture on the long fork versus the short fork for salad.

The long and short of it is, he couldn't figure out which was which.

Did you ever notice what a phony age we live in?