Weird And Wonderful Internet Things

August 25, 2015

I haven’t written about random Internet whimsy in awhile – but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been on my ceaseless hunt to be constantly amazed by stories that are too wonderful to be fiction.

Here’s a round-up of what’s piqued my interest in recent history:

1) ‘King Lear’ performed with one man and many sheep. 

Photo by The New York Times

This is Cordelia. Really. Photo by The New York Times.

This is not a joke. It’s an actual staged adaptation of Shakespeare’s iconic tragedy that stars one actor and 9 sheep – and while it’s meant to be funny, the production’s writer and director, Heather Williams, also aimed to tap into the more complex themes of the original. Plus, how many times in your lifetime will you read a New York Times graf like this: “In an email, the play’s lead actor, Alasdair Saksena, said that the production was his first experience working with sheep and called the animals ‘remarkably punctual and calm.'”

In my dreams, I’m hopping a plane to catch the production at London’s Courtyard Theater this fall.

2) The niftiest interactive map of American literary road trips.

atlas obscura photo

When I discovered this gem, compliments of a weekly newsletter from one of my favorite publishers of whimsy, Atlas Obscura, I spent two hours on a Saturday morning ignoring my road bike and tracing the the madcap adventures chronicled in 12 American classics. The map is a living document of books ranging from Mark Twain’s ‘Roughing It’ to Cheryl Strayed’s ‘Wild,’ and “To be included, a book needed to have a narrative arc matching the chronological and geographical arc of the trip it chronicles. It needed to be non-fictional, or, as in the case of ‘On the Road,’ at least told in the first-person.”

Now I simply need an entire two-week block of time to read some of the books I haven’t yet checked off my list. ‘The Cruise of the Rolling Junk’ by F. Scott Fitzgerald, anyone?

3) Dorothy’s ruby slippers at the bottom of a Minnesota lake?

ruby slippers

In a “relatively simple burglary” in 2005, a mysterious thief ran off with the pair of ruby slippers worn by Minnesota’s own Judy Garland in ‘The Wizard of Oz,’ the prized possession of the Judy Garland Museum. Rumor has it that the famed shoes were tossed into a lake at the bottom of the Tioga Mine Pit in Cohasset, Minn. – so in June, divers spent two days searching for the $2 million heels during The Wizard of Oz Festival (of course).

If this were a movie about the theft of movie shoes, then another mystery would unfold somewhere over the rainbow.