Tag Archives: Large Smelly Boy

Wicked good, wicked bad with the LLSB

By Bob Hicks

Breaking theater protocol, Mr. Scatter leaned toward the LLSB* as the show was running and whispered: “She’s like Reese Witherspoon in Legally Blonde.”

Mamie Parris as Elphaba. Photo: Joan MarcusThis nugget of cross-genre enlightenment was met with less than enthusiastic acknowledgement because (a) for the LLSB, who was born in 1994, the 2001 movie Legally Blonde almost counts as prehistory; and (b) the LLSB was deep in the pleasures of the megamusical Wicked and did not wish to be distracted by parental interference.

Yes, Wicked. For the second time in a month (after a surprise Valentine’s Day encounter with Disney’s Beauty and the Beast) Mr. Scatter found himself in the unusual position of attending a touring version of one of those great big overblown kids’ shows of an expense-account mainstream Broadway musical. The LLSB has developed into an MFMT – a Major Fan of Musical Theater – and Mr. Scatter considers it his bounden duty to feed the appetite as generously and frequently as possible. After all, it may well do more for the lad than pre-calculus or physics in the long run of his life.

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Felix/Martha goes a-nutcrackin’

The Snowflakes in the grand finale to Act One of Oregon Ballet Theatre's production of George Balanchine's "The Nutcracker." Photo: Blaine Truitt Covert.

As regular readers may recall, the Small Large Smelly Boy (a.k.a. Felix/Martha) is a lover of the ballet. Not so much contemporary dance — at 13, he’s a classicist at heart — but definitely the ballet. That made a trip to this year’s production of George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker at Oregon Ballet Theatre a command performance, so off we went on Wednesday night. Mr. Scatter had asked Felix/Martha if he’d like to blog about the experience, and he declined. But in the car on the way downtown, Mr. Scatter struck a deal: Write five sentences about the show after you’ve seen it, and I’ll write the post. Done, with a bonus Sentence No. 6. To maintain the verity of balance, Mr. Scatter decided to confine himself to an equal number of segments. Felix/Martha’s sentences are in bold, Mr. Scatter’s in more quotidian light face. Final performances are Thursday night and Friday noon.

By Felix/Martha and Bob Hicks

1. The music is brilliant, better even than the dancing. The story is compelling, and the mixture of it all — plot, dance and music — forms an arguable masterpiece.

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Miss it? Just wait ’til NEXT year

O glorious day and date: it's one for the history books

By Bob Hicks

You have to get up pretty early on a Sunday morning to capture one of the numerically coolest moments of the century, but the Scatter household managed it. The Small Large Smelly Boy recorded this historic highlight with the trusty household palm-size camera thingie, which he took into the kitchen and aimed at the eerie glow of the stove clock.

Did you see it? 10:10 10-10-10 — or 10:10 a.m., on the tenth day of the tenth month of the century’s tenth year. If you missed it, keep an eye out for 10:10 p.m. — you won’t see the likes of this again for a while. If we’d had a digital clock with a second counter, we’d have shot for 10:10:10 10-10-10. How extremely binary!

Next year, on November 11, will be even cooler: 11:11:11 11-11-11.

Can’t you just feel the excitement building?

Large Smelly Reader on the loose

By Laura Grimes

Dante Alighieri, "The Divine Comedy"Sort of like “borrowing” the car keys without asking, the Large Large Smelly Boy took a spin in the adult library recently without saying where he was going. It was the night before a long weekend free from school, and he was obviously looking for new reading material. But I didn’t know this yet. As I cleaned up the kitchen after dinner, his voice mysteriously hollered from the library without warning. (I told you Oscar/Dennis was a walking screenplay.)

“What’s The Divine Comedy about?”

Not sure where his voice was coming from, I hollered back. “What are you talking about?”

“It’s by someone named ‘Dante.’ ”

“Oh, that Divine Comedy.”

Mr. Scatter spoke up. “Just so you know, he’s from the 14th century.”

Oscar/Dennis quickly answered, “Just so you know, I’m putting it back.”

It was quiet for a few moments and then his voice popped up again.

“What’s ‘Coleridge’ about? It looks interesting.”

I was careful not to discourage him. “What looks interesting about it?”

“It says ‘Viking Portable Library.’ “

Night at the opera with Large Smelly Boy

A night at the opera at Keller Auditorium/LaValle Linn

By Laura Grimes

“It’s three hours long!” the Small Large Smelly Boy repeated what he had overheard in a low, urgent voice.

It was minutes before curtain at Portland Opera’s Pagliacci/Carmina Burana on Thursday night. I immediately shuffled the pages in the program to confirm it. He was dead right.

This was no small matter, and I could sense the growing unease we both felt. I already knew he was calculating the clock in his head, not only fretting about a long performance where he wasn’t sure what to expect but also what time he would get to bed on a school night.

He gets sleepy mid-evening, puts himself to bed and gets up on his own bright and early in the morning. He doesn’t like after-school activities because they get in the way of his homework. He long ago gave up on me getting him to school because he knows I cut it close. Instead, he shows up 45 minutes before the tardy bell and hangs with his friends. He is never late and is always orderly.

I, on the other hand, fight sleep like a toddler, except every morning. I’m not sure how he came to be my child (and I’m sure he often wonders the same thing), but because of him I totally believe that story about the Virgin Mary.

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Nice to meet you, Ardi. See you at the family reunion.

Meet the family: Ardi, or Ardipithecus ramidus, in the flesh. Illustration: Jay Matterns, Science magazine

Meet the family: Ardi, or Ardipithecus ramidus, in the flesh. At 4.4 million years old, she’s our REALLY great aunt. Illustration: Jay Matternes, Science magazine

As we all know, modern life seems to be zipping around us at something approaching light speed: Whole trends and movements sometimes flower and die before we’re even aware of them. Whatever happened to the New Kids on the Block?

Thank goodness for science, which tends to take a longer, more measured view of things. It was a pleasure to look at the front pages of my two newspapers this morning and make the acquaintance of Ardi, a distant relative, and welcome her to the sort-of human family.

Ardi — short for Ardipithecus ramidus — is our newest oldest relative. At about 4.4 million years, she’s roughly a million years older than our old friend Lucy, who clocks in at 3.2 million. Ardi and Lucy grew up not too far from each other, about 45 miles distant in what is now Ethiopia. (A couple of even older specimens, Orrorin tugenensis and Saheanthropus tchadensis, might stretch the old family tree back to more than 6 million years, but apparently their fossils are too few for paleontologists to make a definitive case for them.)

Ardi stood about 4 feet tall and weighed a muscle-bound 120 — almost a foot taller and twice the weight of Lucy, according to John Noble Wilford’s typically lively and graceful story in the New York Times. (Brian Switek also has an interesting discussion at scienceblogs.com.) But although Ardi was bigger, Lucy was more advanced in most ways we think of as typically human, including walking. Lucy was much more of a stand-up gal. Despite the drawings, Ardi was likely in climbing mode most of the time: Note the stretched-out arms, huge hands, and relatively short legs.

Ardi’s first bones were discovered in 1992 and scientists have literally been piecing together her story since. At long last she’s having her debutante ball, and — speaking of speed — already she’s a star: Television’s Discovery Channel will air a two-hour special about her, Discovering Ardi, on Oct. 11. She’ll be dressed up in fur for the big event.

This morning, before he left for school, I showed Ardi’s picture to the Smaller Large Smelly Boy.

“She lived 4.4 million years ago,” I said. “That’s pretty old.”

“Yeah, but not as old as you,” he replied. “What was it you were doing on the day of the Big Bang?”

For the record, I was trying to take a nap.

Time Line of the Universe  Credit: NASA/WMAP Science Team; Wikimedia Commons

Time Line of the Universe, with Big Bang. NASA/WMAP Science Team; Wikimedia Commons