January 26th, 2011

krazy koati

Look out! Here comes the Spider-Man

One of several things left over from bunny_hugger's trip that I forgot to mention for no clear reason. We got up into Manhattan at the Port Authority, naturally, and walked due east for Bryant Park. This took us along 42nd Street where we passed things like Ripley's Museum and, what I hadn't realized going in, the theater where a ragged bunch of survivors is trying to put on Spider-Man: Turn Off The Electricity, It's Connected Right To Our Stage Flight Harnesses And The Agony Is Intolerable. We were telling jokes about having to hurry so we get out of the blast radius.

And then we noticed that the Channel 4 news van was parked just up the street. There's no letting an opening like that go unmentioned; we got to speculating whether there had been a new catastrophe, or whether the news van was just hanging out there because surely something would turn up. Which would all be a slightly amusing little side joke of marginal taste except that before we got to Bryant Park, there was another news van --- I think Channel 11's --- driving in the direction of the theater.

It turned out that there wasn't any particular catastrophe and the van presences may have been perfect coincidence. After all, they have to be somewhere and it's not like the Times Square district is lacking in stuff to point local news people at. But there was one of the poor Spider-Man afflicted actors making a statement of confidence that someone will surely make it out alive, and possibly one of the vans was covering that statement. I can't say with confidence but I am glad it wasn't something to make joking about the catastrophe something in poor taste.

Trivia: Mechanical engineer Richard James had the inspiration for the Slinky come to him when, while working on ships' suspension systems, a torsion spring fell off his desk and flopped over in an amusing way. The name was picked by his wife Betty, after paging through a dictionary. Source: Flash of Genius And Other True Stories Of Invention, John Seabrook.

Currently Reading: Infinite In All Directions, Freeman Dyson.