Friday, December 06, 2013

Little Prince

Some photos of Little Prince, the giant crown lying on its side in front of the Rose Garden Moda Center sports arena. The RACC page for it says:

The Little Prince is a partially buried copper crown located at the south end of the arena in the Rose Quarter. It is a piece about imagination, desires and aspirations, conquests and struggles. It is the job of the viewer to create the story that goes along with the crown. Is it a victory and position of honor waiting to be claimed, or is there another story? Only the viewer can say. Ilan's inspiration for this piece was the "Little Prince" by Antoine De Saint-Exupery, in particular, the first chapter where he talks about his drawing of a boa constrictor swallowing an elephant being misunderstood as a hat.

I have to say this crown really doesn't evoke The Little Prince for me. The baobab tree I saw recently did, but the crown seems to miss the point, somehow. I mean, it's been ages since I read the book, maybe there was a tipped-over crown in it that I've completely forgotten about, one that symbolized a key idea of the book, or was the focus of a major plot twist. I kind of doubt it though.

Legend has it that the crown will be tipped vertical if the Trail Blazers (who play at the, uh, Moda Center) ever win an NBA championship. It's been there since 1995 and we've never been in serious danger of finding out whether the legend's true or not. Some might argue that the tipped crown (or just the crown, period) brings bad mojo, sort of like the inverted trident logo the Seattle Mariners used to use. Others might argue that the Blazers have been cursed by the sports gods since 1984, when they chose not to draft Michael Jordan, picking the fragile, all-but-forgotten Sam Bowie instead, along the lines of the 84-year curse incurred by the Boston Red Sox when they traded Babe Ruth to the Yankees. On the bright side, if it's an 84 year curse, it won't be long until we're fully 1/4 of the way done with it. So there's that.

Speaking of baobab trees and such, it turns out there really is an asteroid B612, more or less: Asteroid 46610 Besixdouze, discovered in 1993 and named (I think) in 2002. The name is "B six twelve" in French, and the hexadecimal number B612 is 46610 in decimal. It was a cute idea, and why not? As of right now, there are over 380,000 asteroids whose orbits are known well enough to earn permanent ID numbers, and only 16,000 have been given actual names so far. Further off on a tangent, my first desktop PC at my first real cubicle-based job was named "\\Asteroid B612", which gave the IT department fits because of the space character in the name. I seem to recall that Windows versions after Windows 95 refused to let you create hostnames containing spaces. I could be wrong, I haven't tried it recently.

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