Sunday, March 13, 2011

Cool, enigmatic types

We've adopted any number of small animals, but they have mostly been warm-blooded and furry - so when my younger daughter mentioned that a friend of a friend needed a new home for a turtle, I shrugged and gave my assent.  The turtle arrived.  And only then did I look up information on red-eared sliders.

They can live 35 years or more!!  And to be healthy and happy, they need all kinds of elaborate equipment - filters and basking surfaces and UV lights and water heaters and large tanks. 

At least little Quincy Gifford is already more than 4" long, and thus not only less likely to die (apparently it's hard to keep very young turtles alive) but also legal.  In 1975, the FDA banned sales of turtles with carapaces less than 4" long, the rather dubious reason being that young kids are more likely to contract salmonella by putting tiny turtles in their mouths.  Unfortunately, this was too late for Fudge and Peter.   Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing was published in 1972, allowing Peter to receive a tiny turtle as a pet - and his brother Fudge to not only put it in his mouth but also swallow it.  Luckily, Fudge did NOT contract salmonella.

Quincy Gifford is a surprisingly energetic and even charismatic little guy, though I find him more enigmatic than most of our pets.  Then again, I'm rather drawn to the aloof and enigmatic male.  As a young teen, I had an enormous crush on the alluringly thin and cerebral Spock of Star Trek.  Mind you, the show was already well into re-runs in the late 70s and so Leonard Nimoy was old enough to be my father and then some, but it was of course the eternal Spock, not the mortal Nimoy, whose smooth, still surface I dreamed of ruffling.

At around the same time, I was reading and re-reading The Lord of the Rings books.  The elves' unflappable calm and ethereal beauty were objects of admiration and awe for me, so much so that all of my school papers and reports from junior high and even my first year of high school bear the middle name Eva Galadriel.  Yep.  And please bear in mind that at this point in time I was lank-haired, painfully thin, bespectacled, and clad in high-water Dittos jeans.

I don't remember sighing over the gallant Legolas back then, but certainly my heart beat a little faster when Orlando Bloom appeared on the big screen, bow slung over one shoulder and long platinum-blond hair sweeping his shoulders.  Yowza!  Gorgeous, brave, athletic, serene, and as unreadable as Quincy Gifford the turtle.

Last Friday, Orlando played a more passionate and volatile role as he leaped and dashed all over the Disney Hall, playing a couple abbreviated scenes from Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet.  He and I were actually in the same building, breathing the same air!  However, although Orlando Bloom is a mere 12 years younger than me, his role as a love-sick teenager made me feel, in comparison, unrelentingly middle-aged.

Scenes from Shakespeare aside, the main event at Disney Hall was Gustavo Dudamel conducting several Shakespeare-inspired works by Tchaikovsky.  Hamlet and The Tempest didn't sound familiar to me, but a warm glow suffused me when I not only recognized Romeo and Juliet but could actually hum along.  How cultured I must be!

But no.  According to Wikipedia, the piece has been featured in dozens and dozens of movies, tv shows, and commercials.  Probably any 8-year-old could hum along with Tchaikovsky's Romeo and Juliet.  And certainly my teenaged daughters both could, as the tune is apparently the theme song played when two Sims characters indulge in a "Passionate Kiss."  Sigh.

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