We’ve been on the road, observing places and meeting people, poring over old newspapers, talking to groups, reading things. Stuff like that. It’s good to get away from the political center of things for a while.
Spoke to a convention of state geologists in Branson the other day. Never talked before to so many people with rocks in their heads.
For those who think there’s never anything new, we offer this note from the Jefferson City Capital News of September 11, 1910:
“The government is planning to build the longest fence ever constructed in the world. It will extend from El Paso, Texas to the Pacific coast, more than 1,000 miles and will divide the United States and Mexico. The fence will be of barbed wire. Work will begin in a few weeks.”
Speaking of walls, we were looking through a recent edition of Archaeology magazine and its article on Hadrian’s Wall, the wall built by Roman Emperor Guess Who. Trivia question: How many miles long was (is) Hadrian’s Wall?
The Great Wall of China is 5,500.3 miles long. Just saying it is impressive. But let’s put it another way. If the Great Wall of China were straightened into one segment and moved to the western city limits of Jefferson City and we started driving on it toward China, we would be able to get 82% of the way there
Hadrian’s wall would stretch from Jefferson City to Lamonte (between JC and Knob Noster). 73 miles.
Here’s a nice place to eat in Cape Girardeau. But it would not be wise to become too enamored of its fine adult beverages while you are there and wait until your bladder was sending such urgent messages that you don’t have time to read some signs and your mind is no longer agile enough to understand them.
Katy O’Neill’s Public House in historic downtown Cape, is at the bottom of a hill. If you go there and your thinking is not as acute as it was before you began to socialize, make sure you read and comprehend the signs.
(They’ll get bigger if you click on them, at least here)
We do wonder, however, why it’s not still St. Patrick’s Day in both rooms.
We’ve checked out the Crystal Bridges Museum of Art on Bentonville, Arkansas. We were told that some of the snooty art folks on the east and west coasts have their noses out of joint because Alice Walton, who dreamed up this place, had the nerve to keep so much great art out here in flyover country, and particularly in such a Podunk place as Bentonville. We were reminded of a comment made by Dr. John Pickard (for whom Pickard Hall is named at the University of Missouri), the chairman of the commission that hired the artists to decorate the capitol. He complained that lot of eastern artists weren’t big enough to see over the Allegheny Mountains. This was in the days well before we were flyover country. But Doc P. and Alice W. had it right.
We recommend a trip to Crystal Bridges which is, itself, a work of art. And it has a very nice restaurant. If you are a little jittery about arachnids, you might want to close your eyes and have someone lead you into the museum….
The sculpture is by Louise Bourgeois and it’s called “Maman.” Linda DeBerry, writing for the Crystal Bridges website, says the thirty-foot-tall spider carrying 26 marble eggs is a tribute to her mother. After you get over your initial shudder at that thought, understand that, as DeBerry writes Bourgeois claimed “The spider…was not an ominous or frightening figure, but rather a representation of the protection and industry of her own beloved mother, who repaired tapestry for a living and died when the artist was 21.” Bourgeois said, “The spider is a repairer. If you bash into the web of a spider, she doesn’t get mad. She weaves and repairs it.”
Hold up your hand if you ever thought of YOUR mother this way.
Spider-mom aside, don’t be afraid to go to the Crystal Bridges museum. It’s spectacular. You are likely to spend enough time looking at the art and sculpture in the museum’s galleries—and at the Frank Lloyd Wright house that was moved there piece-by-piece that you’ll need lunch or dinner. We thought the food was good. And before you leave town, fill up the car at a gas station in Bentonville. It was a buck-98 the day we were there, seventeen cents less than the stations in Jefferson City, where gas prices tend to be suspiciously high most of the time.
Bentonville is an okay place. Pretty much a company town, as is Jefferson City.
Chatting at the Y the other day about baseball’s desire to shorten the games. Curtailing visits to the pitcher’s mound. Requiring pitchers to throw the ball in a certain amount of time. How about restricting the number of adjustments to batting gloves? Limiting the amount of time batters can excavate a place for their back foot?
All of that is just playing games with the game. Here’s what would shorten games: Limiting the number of commercials between innings. And during pitching changes.
Not likely to happen, of course. The Game, whether it’s baseball or basketball or football—any game that is not continuous, long ago abdicated its right to its own clock when it decided to accept big broadcasting fees.
I think I just nibbled a little bit on the hand that used to feed me.
Didn’t get to see any of the Congressional baseball game on the in-room teevee while we were gone. Wonder if the Cardinals had any scouts in the audience looking for bullpen help.