Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Juan and Sofia's Great Circus of China

It’s good to see that the Pseudo-Sino Circus is being brought to justice. A front page article in today's SJ-R reports that the "Great Circus of China" that duped families in Springfield with their yellowface act, is now facing heat from the Texas Attorney General. Those Texans don’t cotton to swindlers. I’m sure they’ll take them for every last peanut and dragon-appliquéd silk blouse. But the victims of their ruse do bear some responsibility for having been taken in. Whenever the circus comes to town, a significant degree of caveat emptor needs to be exercised.

The disreputable business practices of your common big top types are well known. Wasn’t it P.T. Barnum who said that “there’s a sucker born every minute”? Well, actually it wasn’t. It seems that another shyster, a competitor, actually uttered the phrase that has been famously attributed to Barnum. Just one more reason not to trust circus folks, they’ll steal the words right out of your mouth.

Circus goers should also have been alerted to the wool being pulled over their eyes by the name of the circus. Going to see the Barnes and Bailey Circus is akin to getting your taxes done at R&H Brock, you have to assume that things may not be entirely on the up-and-up. So it wasn't surprising to learn that the brains behind the act, and the ones being charged in Texas, had the very un-Mandarin names of Juan and Sofia.

I’m not totally anti-circus. Cirque du Soleil is oddly compelling entertainment when viewed from the safety of one’s own home. I’ve never attended a live performance but I’m assuming that the bizarre imagery and trance-inducing music produces a state of suspended consciousness in audience members, allowing a syndicate of French-Canadian pick-pockets to work the crowd undetected.

The last circus I saw live was at the 2005 edition of First Night Springfield. It was a humble act whose performers seemed, as my wife observed, to be practicing to be a circus act. But they were genuine. It certainly was no Earl Derr Biggers production, attempting to lure audiences with the mystery of the Orient as interpreted by a band of round-eyed Caucasians.

The Pursuit of Trivial Excellence
Springfield trivia scene may have witnessed the dawn of a new dynasty this past weekend as Table 5 claimed its first outright Trivia Night championship in team history. After years of steady improvement and many near misses, they finally took home the big prize last Saturday night at the Firemen’s Club. Jumping out to an early lead and never trailing throughout the match, Table 5 tallied an impressive 78 out of 90 (a video category was scrapped due to technical difficulties) to claim the $300, first-place stake. Shortly after the match, the word “Dream Team” was being bandied about by those who witnessed the impressive showing. Unless the team implodes in a clash of egos or is befallen by petty disputes over penmanship, it looks poised to contend for many years to come.


Monkey Boy said...

I have seen quite a bit of trivia in my time but what I saw out of Table 5 last weekend was incredible! Those cats got game!

I know a lot can happen in the next few years but when it is all said and done I wouldn't be suprised to see table 5 in the Hall Of Fame.

Anonymous said...

you think you're so damn smart----what is Hoss Cartwright's Christian name?

BlogFreeSpringfield said...

Those cats are wicked smaht.

I didn't know it was Eric "Hoss" Cartwright until I Googled for the answer. I guess I'm not that damn smart.

Monkey Boy said...

All I know was that Table 5 was smart enough to walk away with first prize which was way more than "anonymous" (identify yourself Man!) won on that night.

I was going to answer the "Hoss" question but Dan beat me to it.

Long live Table 5!!!