Fun With Chess Sets

Back in April, Anne and I rode Trailnet’s first annual Art and Tweed ride. Cyclists were encouraged to dress up in garb of old, lots of wool please, but no spandex thank you very much. Our costumes made up the tweed part of this ride, while the five art museums that we toured contributed the art. One of the five was the World Chess Hall of Fame. One of the exhibits there was an eclectic collection of chess sets. I’d like to share a few of them with you. Here are three of the ones that I thought were the most fun.

First up is Hollywood vs. Broadway. This Doug Anderson creation is fun to look at, but I would find it difficult to keep track of these pieces in a game. Up front are Cabaret, a Hollywood pawn and Dream Girls and Little Shop of Horrors, Broadway pawns. Fiddler on the Roof is a Hollywood rook, while Phantom is the Broadway king All of these pieces could go either way, if you ask me, so go figure?

“Pooh had forgotten how
to play chess and the more
he thought about it, the more
muddled he got in his mind”
– A. A. Milne

The above A. A. Milne quote adorns the four sides of the board, of this Winnie the Pooh chess set, but other than this quote, this is a Disney Pooh set. Both sides have the same pieces, differentiated by color. Pooh is rightfully the king. Kangaroo is the queen. Both bishops are Owl, both knights are Eeyore and both rooks are Tigger. All of the pawns are somehow fittingly Piglet.

The Barack Obama vs. John McCain chess set is from the 2008 presidential election. This was the latest of a series of presidential race inspired chess sets that were on hand. Some of the chess sets in this presidential collection dated back to the 19th century. Maybe next time we visit the World Chess Hall of Fame, Mitt Romney will be there too?

PS – Checkout my brother’s new video, Where We Live, it is fantastic!

Solar Impulse

In Saint Louis, the Solar Impulse was opened to the public today. The Solar Impulse uses four electric motors to propel itself to an altitude of 28,000 feet. These electric motors are in turned powered by solar cells that completely cover the upper surface of its wing. It is capable of staying aloft both day and night. It is a manned aircraft, but otherwise, it theoretically could stay aloft forever. It is a good thing that this plane has such long endurance, because with a cruise speed of 43 MPH, it takes it a long time to get anywhere.

This Swiss made aircraft is currently flying across the country, as a demonstration of the viability of this technology. Saint Louis is its third stop across America. It began this cross country flight in San Francisco and made stops in Phoenix and Dallas, before landing in Saint Louis early Tuesday morning. Its final destination on this trip will be Washington D.C. In two years, a larger and more capable prototype will attempt to circumnavigate the globe. The Solar Impulse will be on display tomorrow. Reservations are required.

Dawn Patrol

Fisheye View of the Grand Basin from Atop Art Hill

Fisheye View of the Grand Basin from Atop Art Hill

Memorial Day weekend is here, at least mine is finally here. Other people (You know who you are.) had skipped out of work days earlier. I knew that today’s workforce would be lighter than normal, when I pulled into my parking space at work. The lot was unusually empty, but not as empty as it was when I left work. Many of those that did make it into work showed up late and left early. I had the fortitude to make it through the work day, because I rode in the park this morning. I woke up at five this morning, to a cacophony of predawn birds, chirping through our open bedroom window. I could have just snug the comforter tighter and rolled over and gone back to sleep, but instead I got up and journeyed down to our now quite dry basement (Yea for the sump pump!) and rode out into the dawn’s early light. It was a cool (45° F), crisp, calm, clear morning. I rode east, squinting into the rising sun.

I followed my regular course until I reached the far end of the park, then I began to ramble around somewhat aimlessly about the park. I ended up touring a selection of venues for this weekend’s entertainment: The Science Center is opening a new exhibit on ancient Egypt this weekend. The African Arts Festival is at the Worlds Fair Pavilion this weekend. Finally, this year’s Shakespeare Festival premieres Twelfth Night tonight. These were just the possibilities within the park’s environs. Researching this post by way of checking the paper, I found a number of other possibilities: There is the Greek Festival for vittles. I’m sure that the garden has something going on too. Trailnet has their Great Pizza Ride on Monday. There is a blues festival downtown. We won’t need to drive hundreds of miles this holiday, I’m sure Anne and I will find lots of fun things to do about town.