Friday, November 23, 2012


There are several books that I've read just because the title caught my fancy.  Two that spring to mind are Carpe Jugulum, by Terry Pratchett, and Elvis, Jesus, and Coca Cola by Kinky Friedman.  In both cases I had never heard of the author before, but just had to find out what the mind that came up with that title would come up with to fill the book.
There's only one movie that I watched for a similar reason. The title, Inhaling the Spore, caught my eye in a Netflix search for documentaries about museums.  Calling up the blurb, I saw:

A fascinating look into an obscure institution, this documentary visits the Museum of Jurassic Technology in Culver City, Calif.
 The Museum of Jurassic Technology.  How wonderfully impossible.  I watched it.  Then I watched it again.  I was entranced.

The prolog takes us through plain LA area streets.  I grew up near similar streets, so this looks familiar to me. Then and accordion starts playing and soon we see a shopfront with that odd name.

If this isn't the first time you've watched, you know that the name gives it all away. The name, like the museum, is impossible and intreaguing. It is a deliberate lie and an invitation to whimsy.

The title of one section of the museum is Tell the Bees, and even at first watching I knew what that meant.  That display is in a section displaying a collection of "vulgar knowledge" or superstitions. Having read Sharyn McCrumb, I know that the bees are supposed to be told when their owner has died to prevent them from thinking themselves abandoned and leaving.
Dark corridors and glass cabinets hold the collections of those who were never rich or famous, but who collected marvels. In one corner phones on the wall explain an arrangement of objects. One tells the story of the natural philosopher who trapped a bat that could pass through solid objects, magnetically freezing it within a rectangular mass of lead as it attempted to flit through.
The Garden of Eden on Wheels display gave me an urge to find something to collect. Perhaps the recorded sounds of dogs that can warble, to match the film of the barking man that was playing.
A display of old nitrocellulose dice, misshapen with age, made me wonder whether there is a Dungeons & Dragons museum somewhere. And I was touched by the curator's story of the crying man who said that the museum was like a church.
I wonder how often the displays change. I would like to study the display titled Obliscence: Theories of Forgetting and the Problem of Matter.  Thoughts that the documentary was about a museum that only existed in the documentary were soothed when I looked and found a wiki page and the museums website. 
I'll be watching Inhaling the Spore again.  It's like a poem.  A trip to the museum, itself, is on my geek vacation list. 

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