Monday, September 24, 2012

A cirque and two new stories

I like variety.
Maybe I can last a couple of hours, sitting at my desk, staring and typing.
I'd get a lot more writing done if I didn't get up and start doing something which seems really urgent. Just when I get going it's what's that over there? or suddenly the chimney needs to be brushed out right now. Coffee, which I love, just fuels my peripatetic ramblings which bring events and scenes to my eyeballs. 
Last week I attended the Amaluna show of Cirque du Soleil in Toronto. The girl pictured here could contort herself into strange tight formations and later on dive into this oversized glass bowl and not hurt herself. Really amazing stuff to see. Being there with my 88-year-old mother in a wheel-chair (she paid, I drove) we had front row seats. A creepy guy in tights with a large tail slinked around like Gollum and stole people's popcorn. Back when I drove taxi in Toronto men used to get arrested for wearing as little as he did.  Chinese acrobats did amazing flaming routines. The very fit and fearless guys (below) were vaulting onto that basic oversize teeter-totter plank and catapulting each other really high in the air.

If you get a chance, see this. I can't think of a better couple hours of entertainment which isn't digital, animated, pre-packaged, enhanced, dubbed or voiced-over.  Best show I've ever seen. Just start with attractive, talented, extroverted and fearless people, add some persistent effort and physical training and see what happens.

I'm researching Canada's worst train wreck at St. Hilaire Quebec back before Confederation. Itinerant workers, one day off the boat in Quebec are shipped west to work and their 11 car train falls off an open canal bridge. Nobody knows exactly how many people died because nobody knows just how many were on board. No records were kept. No names recorded. They say 99 died, but many bodies were not found. The German, Czech and Polish survivors spoke no English so Grand Trunk Railway employees (no doubt hoping for a bonus) tried to get some of these injured survivors to sign a legal document absolving the GTR of any responsibility.  Welcome to the new world, folks...

Also I'm researching a forgotten DC-9 fire on an Air Canada jet which incinerated half those on board, including folksinger Stan Rogers. (Barrett's Privateers, The Northwest Passage)
Here's a jet just like it. Logo's the wrong decade, but you get the idea. After that fire changes were made, such as smoke detectors (!) automatic fire extinguishers, and lit-up aisles in case smoke fills the cabin. Can't believe they had no smoke detectors on aircraft before 1983, especially with people still lighting up in toilets, but they didn't.
They had free drinks though...

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