The NeufTown Entertainment Review
So, as you expected, I'm not going to blog about high ideals, political ideology, theological or moral concepts, or the great questions and challenges facing our nation and mankind. No! I'm going to blog about recent bits of entertainment that I found suitably amusing...sort of a “Neufertainment Tonight” but in blog format.
First off, Shakespeare in the Park, or "Free Will". We went for the first time last year, to see "Henry V", which is probably my favourite of his works (how can you not love a play that climaxes with plucky, outnumbered English infantry kicking the living snot out of a horde of arrogant French chivalric knights?). This year it was the McDonald's of Shakespeare, the Bud Lite of Shakespeare, the Velveeta of Shakespeare: Romeo and Juliet. We went last night, and it was actually quite good! A bit of a downer in the second half, you might be surprised to hear. But the gentleman who played Romeo was the same guy who played Henry/Harry last year...a role in which he was eminently more likable. Romeo is just an annoying character, a melodramatic teenager with rich parents that would have been better off getting a job, than spending all his days pining, wailing, and gnashing his teeth over whatever female his hormones happen to be targeting at the moment. As my wife points out, he's rather like Wodehouse's “Bingo Little” character, an interminably shifting character apt to profess the most extreme undying, woeful, and unrequited loves for a girl, only to turn on a dime and do likewise for the next thing to cross his path sans a Y chromosome. I rather liked Bingo, because at least he was cheery and we weren't supposed to identify with him, we were supposed to laugh at Bertie's exasperation at dealing with such a vacillating, emotional fellow. I suppose that is Mercutio's role? Speaking of, good lord, you never quite “get” how bawdy these plays are until you see them. Somehow when a lecherous, drunken character delivers a line (to roaring laughter) complete with hip thrusts, it puts a bit more of an off-colour nature to some of the lines!
On to more specialized (read: less interesting/appealing) bits o' entertainment. First off, and I've been meaning to write copious praise and adulation of this film for several weeks, but the film “Zulu” has skyrocketed to being one of my all-time favourites. It is based in South Africa in 1879, and chronicles the incredible and unlikely defence at the Battle of Rorke's Drift, following on the heels of the tremendous Zulu victory/British defeat at Isandlhwana. This particular film is a thousand times better than the later “Zulu Dawn”. It is silly how many times I have watched this film in the past couple months.
Thomas Pakenham's “The Boer War” is a good volume for history buffs. I've taken a tremendously long time reading it, because I keep it at work and take about 10 minutes at most to read it, on the occasion that I am eating in the lunch room. So it has been a while. It is exhaustive, and quite easy to lose track of names and places, but it remains a very interesting history that puts much-needed context behind my introduction to the Second Boer War, which was the movie “Breaker Morant”.
Anybody have a Martini-Henry taking up space in their attic? I've got $20 and I'll gladly take it off your hands!
Well, it was worth a shot.
Oh, and I found out that the Lee-Enfield No4MkI that I purchased (WWII British rifle) is unsafe to fire. It has an extreme headspace issue, meaning it has too much space between the bolt face and the chambered cartridge when the bolt is closed, which can cause ruptured cases and general bad things for any human faces that might be right there in close proximity to the bolt (such as the face belonging to the individual aiming and firing the rifle). The wonderful historical value notwithstanding, I don't wish to have a bolt implanted into my eye socket, that would just be a bad day. After informing them what my gunsmith told me, the swines that sold it to me insisted it was safe, and that all Lee Enfields were like this. I did my homework, and they were very, very wrong. They offered to take it back, but I decided against it for the following reasons:
1. I would have paid for the rifle ($130), shipping ($15), FFL transfer fee ($25), gunsmith safety check ($25), and return shipping ($15+), and the only thing I would get in return is the rifle cost; I'd have to just eat the rest.
2. I have sort of an adoptive spirit with these guns...even if unsafe as a shooter, they are great pieces of history for a collector, and I felt somewhat attached to this poor, sick rifle.
3. Having this rifle unmodified would give me a standard, stock No4 for collection purposes (I was planning on mounting a scope and using it as a precision rifle).
4. If I returned it, they would just sell it to someone else since they refused to acknowledge there was a problem. I don't want someone blowing their head off with this gun; at least it is safe with me as I know not to shoot it.
There you are, I've justified not returning it. It'll just go into retirement, like a war horse retiring in its later years to green pastures.