September 2007

quantum cat

I’m not usually into lolcats, but this one from “icanhascheezburger.com” (the name is from the classic lolcat) is great – in a nerdy way.

Moray eel double jawsThis week’s Nature has a report by researchers studying the moray eel. Seems they have found that the eels’ have a second set of jaws (ala the alien in the movie Alien) that helps them to hold on to prey. Unlike Alien, the 2nd set of jaws doesn’t pop out of the animal, but it does move forward to grab on to prey and help the eel swallow. Neat!

Kirsten and I went to see 33 Variations Sunday night at the Arena Stage in Washington, DC. The play, written and directed by Moisés Kaufman, is about a present-day musicologist (Katherine, played by Mary Beth Peil) who (despite her daughter’s objections) travels to Bonn for research on Beethoven’s 33 Variations on a waltz by Anton Diabelli. The daughter, Clara (played by Laura Odeh) begins an initially awkward relationship with her mother’s (male) nurse Mike (played by Greg Keller) and they both eventually follow her mother to Bonn.


The staging of the play is great – for example while a librarian in Bonn is showing Katherine a manuscript of some of the variations, the stage behind the actors shows a projection of the manuscript, with the portion of the text highlighted. Musical accompaniment on stage is by Diane Walsh on piano – she times the music perfectly with the performers. The music is great (hey, it’s Beethoven!), and I picked up a CD by Diane Walsh while there.

The play is at times poignant, as mother and daughter come to terms with the mother’s wasting disease – and at times hysterically funny, as when Clara and Mike go out on a first date.

I really enjoyed this play (as did Kirsten) and highly recommend it. It runs through September 30, 2007.