Bhumibol Adulyadej was the king of Thailand for over 70 years. He was actually born in the U.S., in Cambridge, Massachusetts to be precise. (His father was studying public health at Harvard.) His brother inherited the throne from their uncle at the age of 9, but was killed under circumstances worthy of a novel. (A couple of palace aides were convicted of regicide, but there seems to be some evidence that Bhumibol accidentally shot his brother.) I don’t pretend to understand Thai politics, which involved a number of coups over the years, but I do understand that the king was vastly popular. He did accomplish quite a lot economically, including a number of water and soil improvement projects. He held patents on a waste water aerator and on a couple of rainmaking techniques. He was also an accomplished jazz saxophonist. Overall, an interesting guy.
The Gulf: I went to see The Gulf at Signature Theatre on Saturday afternoon. This play, by Audrey Cefaly, has to do with a lesbian couple spending an afternoon on a boat. Kendra (played by Rachel Zameplli) just wants to spend her life fishing, watching football, and drinking beer. Betty (played by Maria Rizzo) wants Kendra to be more ambitious. It’s actually mostly incidental that the relationship here is between two women, which is a plus. Unfortunately, I found both of them fairly unlikeable, which is a big minus. Overall, I thought this was well-acted, but it didn’t really capture me.
Story Swap: Saturday night was the monthly story swap. Given the continuing hell of metro track work, I drove and was lucky enough to find a spot right in front of our host’s house. There were a few random neighbors there, who were friendly enough, but one did fall asleep and snore. I was pleased that a woman who I had heard tell at an open mike showed up and told a lovely African folktale. And Tim had a great Halloween twist on a Jewish folktale.
Sunday: I went out to brunch with a friend and then stopped by her house to meet her new kitten, who proved to be less sociable than she expected. Still, it was good to get out for low-key conversation and such.
Too Much Driving: I had meetings in far-flung locations this week, which meant driving at rush hour. Tuesday’s meeting, in darkest Maryland, was especially annoying, as I gave a lift to a colleague, who drives an electric car with insufficient range. It is bad enough when people eat in my car, but when they leave their trash on the floor mat instead of throwing it in the garbage bag, I am particularly peeved. Wednesday was annoying only because I-66 was absurdly slow, making me nervous about making my late afternoon meeting on time. It did work out and the meeting was a reasonably good one, though it created a bunch of follow-up work for me. But I was still glad to be back to my public transit commute on Thursday. And weekends are even better because, even if I do drive all over creation, there tends to be less traffic.