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And finally…

The circus. Our semi-official end of Summer.

We’ve been going to this one since before we lived down here, so it’s about as old a tradition as we have together.

This year’s show was excellent. I mean, for a little podunk small town circus. As usual, everybody did multiple acts, and when the jugglers weren’t juggling, they were selling balloons and popcorn.

Every year we hold our breath, waiting to see if the circus comes. The owner (and ringmaster) wants to keep going; the rest of the family is tired and wants to quit. That’ll be a sad year, my friends…


Comment from Uncle Al
Time: August 28, 2013, 11:01 pm

Yes, I hope he’s able to keep it going for a while yet. But times change, tastes change, and nothing is quite as permanent as some would like. I hope the owner/ringmaster and his family come up with some modest changes that will keep the ticket-buying public entertained. There’s historical reason to be hopeful: bear-baiting is no longer around, thank goodness.

Comment from thefritz
Time: August 28, 2013, 11:07 pm

Hey Swease, just caught a mention of spotted dick on Fox’s 3am chat show RedEye….http://www.foxnews.com/on-air/red-eye/index.html
Don’t know if you can watch this show but I think it would be right up your alley.

Comment from QuasiModo
Time: August 28, 2013, 11:31 pm

Clowns *shudder* …creeps me out, they does.

Comment from Uncle Badger
Time: August 29, 2013, 12:20 am

There was one act that really had me stumped. It was a quick-change routine. A bucket of gold sparkly stuff was thrown at a woman who, before my very eyes, changed from one outfit to another. Except she didn’t change. One second she was in one costume.,.. the next… another.

Now, I’m a sceptical old mustelid and The Weasel is even more so. And yet neither of us could work out how they did it. And that damn Teller wasn’t in our row to ask.

I used to hate the circus (I still do despise clowns – not with a phobic hate, just withering Anglo-Saxon contempt for ‘sophisticated Continental humour’) but the existence of this tiny circus, dragging its ailing body around like a tired, old animal, somehow managing to keep alive the flickering magic that is real people doing wonderful things in front of your own eyes, giving children experiences they will never forget and will never experience from the idiot’s magic lantern…

When we lose this, which we will, we will lose a part of our souls. And even if we do not realise it, we will be duller, greyer, lesser people as a result.

Comment from Deborah
Time: August 29, 2013, 12:34 am

I am confoosed. Twice you have mentioned that the circus signals the end of summer, and I don’t understand why. Because your neighborhood is the last stop every year for this particular circus? (Just ordinary buttered/salted popcorn? They don’t sprinkle vinegar on it or something?)

And—have you read “The Night Circus” by Erin Morgenstern?

Comment from Feynmangroupie
Time: August 29, 2013, 2:53 am

Uncle Badger,

Did you just describe clowns as “sophisticated continental humor?” or am I in an alternate reality where clowns are considered sophisticated humor? Because…you know, clowns!

Comment from Uncle Badger
Time: August 29, 2013, 10:00 am

Feymangroupie yes, I know, amazing isn’t it? Continentals love to sneer at the unsophisticated Anglos but, you know, a fart joke is a fart joke and a bucker of water over someone’s head is hardly King Lear.

What’s even worse are those who study clowning and the circus with same the earnestness they reserve for Proust.

Talking of fart jokes…. Proust could have used a few of those.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: August 29, 2013, 10:49 am

Deborah, every year Uncle B keeps a running list of Things to Do. After the last of the village fêtes, after the Maritime Festival and the Raft Race, the circus is the last event of the Summer. It spends the whole Summer in our area; we could go farther afield and see it at the beginning or in the middle, but it comes closest to us as their last engagement of the season.

After this, we go right into the Fall/Winter Bonfires. Every year, I extract a promise that we’ll go to the panto (Christmas/New Year season), but we haven’t yet.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: August 29, 2013, 12:57 pm

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Comment from Deborah
Time: August 29, 2013, 4:40 pm

I don’t like clowns either, but that’s because I have red hair, and (apparently) red hair is just hysterical if you’re a clown. When my son was two or so, someone gave him a toy battery-powered Bozo the Clown telephone. One of the “phone calls” said, “Do you think my red hair is funny?” I have a thick hide, but I had to take the battery out of that toy phone.

Comment from mojo
Time: August 29, 2013, 7:41 pm

Something bad happening to somebody else is the essence of humor.

Banana peel, anyone?

Comment from scottthebadger
Time: August 29, 2013, 11:15 pm

i don’t care for clowns, I think it’s the cop in me reacting to someone who won’t show me his true face. On the other hand, I live in Baraboo, WI, home of the Ringling Brothers. The State of Wisconsin has Circus World Museum here,which encludes a small operating circus. I went to the circus earlier this August, and enjoyed myself.

They have a display of circus musical instruments, such as a carillon wagon owned by the Ringlings, tuned bells, and a set if tuned pipes that are played by sliding a hand in a rosin impregnented glove down the length of the pipe. It is similar to a Glass Armonica. The curater of music at the museum gives a short concert on the instruments every morning at 9:45.

Of course, they have a calliope, which the people at the museum insist, when owned by a circus is a Cally-ope, rather than a Cal-aye-o-pe. The curator said that a calliope could be herad from 5 to 7 miles away. This made me think of the days of steam passenger liners on the Great Lakes. There would be what were called Excursion Boats, that would run up and down the lakeshores. In hot summer weather, in the days before air conditioning, it would be a pleasant way to cool off by taking an excursion boat from, say Chicago to Milwaukee and back. A nice, cool trip on a hot summer night. Up on the top level deck, called, for some reason, the Texas Deck, there would be a Steam Organ, which is just another name for calliope. The calliope in a circus would be driven by a small boiler, called a steam generator. If a steam generator powered calliope could be heard up to 7 miles away, think of the volume of noise to be obtained from a Staem Organ powered by an auxilary line off of the ship’s main drive!

The woman changing costume with the accompanying sparkle effect sounds like a transporter to me. All they transported was the outer clothing, revealing the outfit below. 🙂

Comment from Uncle Badger
Time: August 30, 2013, 10:17 am

That sounds very Something Wicked – and perfect.

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