Memorial Day Weekend plus an Amazing Invention the Likes of Which Has Never Before Been Seen

There are dozens of parades happening this weekend in honor of Memorial Day. Parades can be very nice, especially if you have children or you're a woman and the firemen on the firetrucks are particularly hunky or you're a man and you happen to appreciate antique cars, but sometimes sitting on the sidewalk watching other people just isn't appealing. Maybe you'd rather head out to a state park and celebrate, in a place a little more concrete free. But first, a few words about the bridge people are always trying to sell and the most amazing accomplishment in the history of mankind.

The Brooklyn Bridge is celebrating its 125th birthday with a five day extravaganza, starting on Thursday May 22nd and running through the 26th. There are some nice things listed in the press release like bridge tours, fireworks, films and live music by the Brooklyn Philharmonic. But the most exciting piece of news is buried after "lectures and readings" and "new pedestrian entrance" and the description does not do it justice.

Billed simply as "Telectroscope Connection," it says "The Telectroscope will be on the Fulton Ferry Pier allowing people in London – 3,500 miles away – to help fete the Bridge, thanks to Tiscali UK and the Garfield Weston Foundation." But I've been paying attention to a group called Artichoke, who brought the amazing Sultan's Elephant to London, and the Telectroscope is something I've been waiting months to experience.

According to some secret emails I received, and the official website, nearly a century ago a brilliant, but eccentric, Victorian engineer called Alexander Stanhope St George began the construction of a transatlantic tunnel running from London to New York. He wasn't able to finish these projects in his lifetime but now his great-grandson, the British artist Paul St George is carrying on his work. The tunnel opens this weekend, along with the Telectroscope, which allows you to see all the way from London to New York (or vise versa) and will be open to the public at all hours of the day and night. The whole thing will be open until June 15th and you should definitely plan a trip to see it.

Reed Bingham State Park, home of the gopher tortoise (what is that? A shelled creature that lives under the ground and eats your vegetables?), is having a three day Memorial Day celebration. There is a birding hike on Sunday and animal programs on Saturday, as well as a fishing rodeo for children. Friday you can take part in something called Gators in the dark, because after all, alligators don't have enough of a natural advantage over humans so of course you'll want to hang out with them when you can't see anything. If you feel like camping you'll be glad to know this park offers pioneer camps, which are billed as "primitive, rugged sites for groups of at least 10 persons." Personally I don't think there will be any actual pioneers but I would love to be proved wrong.

Audubon State Park near Henderson Kentucky is offering a wide variety of activities that range from bingo to pottery making to a parade. There will also be sand art, S'mores and fishing. The parade will not focus on firetrucks, ponies and other floats; instead it will feature bikes, trikes, scooters and wagons. All ages are invited to participate. All activities are free, words near and dear to my heart.

Several state parks in Oklahoma are having weekend long celebrations, each offering something a little different. Greenleaf State Park has the Memorial Day Breakout with canoe races and boat rides. The website for the park states that "The lake cabins and other facilities were built in the 1930's by the CCC, WPA and German prisoners-of-war." I'm confused by this because I didn't think we were at war with Germany in the 1930's. Is this an alternate history park or am I just hopeless when it comes to history?

Finally all fans of steampunk can visit the Railtown 1897 State Historic Park in Jamestown, California to catch a ride on a steam-powered excursion train. The train winds its way through gold country and when you've ridden to your heart's content you can take part in the ice cream social, taking place in the Railtown Depot. This isn’t just any train; it's the movie train! Railtown has been used in a large number of movies, television shows and commercials, dating back to at least 1919.

One-Paragraph Review
This week we have two one-paragraph reviews. The first one is again from Lord Shipe who says, "The new Narnia movie was really good. Definitely worth it to go see, even if you're not a fan of the series this movie will turn you into one. On a side note, it is sad when you can recognize the same voice actor from two different subbed animes." The other is from Kit Funtastik, who went to see the Takashi Murakami retrospective at the Brooklyn Museum. Kit says, "I liked him because I think he communicates meanings that can't be put into words, which I think may be the point of visual art. Some of his stuff anyway, not some of the sculpture so much maybe but his videos are really good." Do you have a one-paragraph (or smaller) review you'd like to share? Send it in to me and I'll run the most interesting ones. You can reach me at feedback@qualitytimeweekly.com.