Peanuts

Many, many books have been written about the significance of Charles Schulz’s comic strip Peanuts. These books can never accomplish the goal they strive for, because art, by its very nature, is experienced by individuals who bring their own unique experiences to the table. I can’t even sum up what the strip means to just me, so let me just say that the first thing I remember reading regularly was Peanuts in the Sunday comics of the Kansas City Star. I was enjoying the strip before Kindergarten at least, because it’s well-documented by family members that I based several school projects at that time on the strip.

I credit the strip not just for encouraging me to read, but for giving me an appreciation of the sublime sense of humor that showed up on our doorstep every Sunday. As I read the collected comic strips in book form now, I can begin to appreciate the layers and depth that Schultz wove into his comic. It’s funny and witty on multiple levels.

Today is the tenth anniversary of Charles Schulz’s passing, and I wanted to share with you a layer I never really fully appreciated in his work. I found this fascinating exhibit called Schulz’s Beethoven that I want to share. It’s on the American Beethoven Society’s website. Enjoy!

http://absadmin.users.sonic.net/schulz/pages/page1.html

Blue Man Group

BlueManGroupHow To Be a Megastar 2.0 Tour.  The Blue Man Group.  Where to begin talking about this concert.  Well, more than a concert…an experience.

Angie and I decided to have an “appetizer-dinner” at one of our favorite restaurants in Columbia, Old Chicago, which, incidentally is where this odd group is originally from (the city, not the restaurant).  Once we got to “The ‘Zou” we were greeted by the music and video of Mike Relm, the opening act.  We didn’t have the best seats in the house, but once the Blue Men started their show, we felt like we were in the thick of a great rock concert.

The show was much more than that, though.  It was music with inventive percussion instruments and a full backup band.  It was comedy with audience participation.  It was special effects with crazy lighting and luminescent clothing.  It was gross, with half-eaten food being used as an art medium.  It was art with paint flying and splattering.

All of these elements added up to a slightly off-kilter look at the phenomenon of fame and rock stardom.  Angie and I really enjoyed it on every level.

Meet Graviton!

If you will indulge me for just a moment, I’ve created a superhero in the time between family visits this holiday season.

Graviton is the superhero persona of Dr. Mortimer Albee, an astronomer who was studying a previously unknown gravitational phenomenon five times the intensity of a black hole.  During his night of observations, he noticed something very peculiar.  The phenomenon was highly directional, and, in fact, was traveling right at him!  The effects were focused by the telescope he was using, and his entire body was exposed to the intense gravity phenomenon.

After being realigned on the subatomic level, Dr. Albee found he could “bend” gravity to push objects, regardless of their mass.  What he could push, he found he could pull, too.  In fact, he could even bend light around him to become invisible!

Discovery

Albert Einstein. “The process of scientific discovery is, in effect, a continual flight from wonder. “

An interesting quote.  Sure, discovery removes the shroud of the magical unknown and gives us the tools to understand and tame these processes. For me, though, reading about discoveries inspires me to wonder even more.  Wondering is exciting.  It’s what humans were made to do.  The dance of discovery between the mind and nature casts light on things that had been dark.  But with new illumination, comes new shadows.

Here are some recent discoveries that have given me a “wonder-rush.”

Scientists Scan Data From Saturn’s Moon (AP). AP – Saturn’s largest moon contains all the ingredients for life, but senior scientists studying data from a European probe ruled out the possibility Titan’s abundant methane stems from living organisms.

Those who follow this weblog know I’ve been eagerly anticipating this one. I can’t stop looking at the pictures and imagining what it’s like there. Yes, I’m quite clear on the fact that it’s deadly to life as we know it, but I’ve been imagining things like that ever since I read a book in grade school, Mission to Mercury (at least I think that was the title, I can’t find it on Amazon to make sure). With lakebed coastlines, flowing liquid methane rivers, soft “soil”, rains, winds, storms…yes, I know we have much less toxic versions of those things here. Why am I entranced by a sunset over the lake when I’ve seen hundreds of them before?   Continue reading Discovery