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Act!vated Stories
Family friendly folktales and travel tales
Act!vated Stories is presented by Act!vated Story Theatre a national touring theatre troupe for children and their families. Since 1988, the Act!vated Actors have toured the continental US and beyond, bringing live educational theatre to students at schools and libraries. Podcasting comedic folktales to you from somewhere on the road once a month or so since 2006.

May 3, 2007

"The Baker and the Judge" is a story that has been told many times, perhaps most notably by the great French writer Francois Rabelais in his epic masterpiece of satire "Gargantua and Pantagruel". But it may have originated in Israel, and in one version of the tale, the judge in question is the legendary King Solomon, who also is reported to have offered an unusual solution to the problem of two mothers quarreling over the same child.

We bring it to you from Chicago, where we've been holed up for the entire month of April--well, except for Kimberly, who's spent the past week visiting her parents and grandmother in Nevada. This is the first podcast that Dennis and Zephyr have done on their own.

Why did we choose this particular story? Well, if we must have a reason, let's say we did it because Rabelais gave us the word "gargantuan", and that describes the Sears Tower in Chicago, which we visited this past week. It's the tallest building in North America, and for 25 years it was the tallest in the entire world. The 110-story titan stands 1450 feet tall, with the antennae on top adding another 275 feet for a total of 1725. The structure is actually a cluster of nine towers of various heights, with only two going the distance (The base is laid out like a tic-tac-toe board!) One of the designers allegedly illustrated the concept to a colleague by pulling cigarettes out of a pack at different lengths. And you thought those things were utterly worthless!

We also saw another famous tower, the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Well, not exactly. We saw its twin, the Leaning Tower of Niles. Well, okay, so it's only a half-size twin. It still is a close enough copy to save us airfare to Italy. Standing 94 feet tall with a tilt of 7 feet off center (as opposed to the original's 177-ft. height and 15 and a half ft. tilt), the Leaning Tower of Niles was completed in 1934, only 700 years after its famous lookalike.

And we visited another building in Chicago, the Old Post Office. Normally, there's not much interesting about it, but this week it was the location for the shooting of a scene from the new Batman movie. We didn't arrive in time to to see any filming, but we were able to get a glimpse of the set, which represented Gotham National Bank.

Happy Listening!

Dennis (Narrator and Sniffer), Zephyr (Baker and Judge) and Kimberly (mime)