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September 2017

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It's the last full week of letters on my mathematics blog and its Summer 2017 A To Z project. Did you miss them? Did you miss the chance to put them on your RSS reader? Then here, please, read these now:

And in story strip news? Want to know What's Going On In Gil Thorp? Sure you do. There, that's what.

This pictures-every-day policy is kind of working out. I'm already up to the Saturday of Holloweekends last year! Let's revisit Cedar Point.


Cedar Point's Resorts Gate, which I keep calling the Hotel Gate. It's been obliterated since this photo was taken, replaced with a new and less dated entrance. We had a sense that it might get radically changed last year, which is why we got pictures of what it looked like and mysterious things like how it sure looks like you can just go around it? Not sure what that was all about.


The other side of the Resorts Gate, featuring the sign for Splash Zone, the now-replaced designation for the water park. It's become Cedar Point Cedar Shores.


Glimpse of the Magnum XL200 roller coaster (the red track, up front) and the Gemini racing coaster (the wooden-support circular track in the background), as viewed from the start of the underpass. The road leading to the Hotel Breakers ran over the pedestrian tunnel; the Resorts Gate itself was on the hotel side of the underpass, so you enter --- as at Kennywood, Festyland, DelGrosso's, and Holiday World --- under a highway.


Looking into the light. The Gemini roller coaster queue, with a modest number of people in for early in the Saturday day.


So a thing they'll do with Gemini. It's a racing coaster, designed to send out a red train (left) and a blue train (right) at the same time. The train carrying the heavier load of passengers will, normally, get back to the station first (by a few seconds). But on a light day, they'll only run one side of the racing coaster. But they'll run two trains on that side, loading one while the other is going around the track. Because this way they get the same capacity to give people rides, while spoiling the whole point of a racing coaster. (And, admittedly, doing so with half the ride staff, which is surely why they do it.)


Secrets of the Gemini roller coaster: weights! Without passengers the roller coaster doesn't have enough momentum to surely get through the whole course, so, weights have to be put on for testing. I notice that the ride crews from 1998 and 2016 seems to have signed the interior of the locker, but can't make out other groups.

Trivia: Pope Julius II established a ``college'' of 101 secretaries, each of whom was to pay him 7,400 florins for the honor. Source: A World Lit Only By Fire: The Medieval Mind and the Renaissance, William Manchester.

Currently Reading: Binary Fusion and the Millennium Bug, Beth Bridgman.

Let me first give you some more pictures from the Lansing Pinball League costume contest last Halloween:


And who's that fine-looking peacock? It's my dear bride, in her kigurumi, plus some gloves and a mask that she decorated herself to complete the look.


Winners of the Lansing Pinball League costume contest. League president WVL is in the center doing, I think he said, something or other from Stranger Things, a media product I know not a thing about. Note that [profile] bunny_hugger made use of some old bird-foot slippers to add to her look

Nice, huh? Well, here's my mathematics blog's activity the past week.

Also, What's Going On In Rex Morgan, M.D.? Besides my discovery that I wasn't scheduled to be writing about Gil Thorp this week?

And now some of our pumpkin-carving from last year. Enjoy, I hope!


[profile] bunny_hugger hard at work carving out her pumpkin. My pumpkin's at the far end of the table and much more rushed through, really. On the left is her father's jack-o-lantern.


[profile] bunny_hugger's jack-o-lantern, which last year was giving something reminiscent of a Popeye squint, along with the electric candle inside to test out how it looks illuminated.


[profile] bunny_hugger's parents got a pack of (reprinted) Halloween cutouts like the kind they saw when they were kids. We estimate the art style to be mostly 1930s. [profile] bunny_hugger got a similar pack of (reprinted) cutouts from when she and I were kids. They're more 60s-styled.


Our pumpkins set up outside [profile] bunny_hugger's parents' house. Her father's is on the left, and her mother's next to that. Mine is the tall, wide-smiling thing and you know [profile] bunny_hugger's already. I needed so many test shots to get one where there would be lens flare from two jack-o-lanterns.

Trivia: A Pittsburgh paper boy was arrested for shouting out the (accurate) news that trading firm Jay Cooke & Company had failed on 18 September 1873. Source: Devil Take the Hindmost, Edward Chancellor.

Currently Reading: Creditworthy: A History of Consumer Surveillance and Financial Identity in America, Josh Lauer.

My mathematics blog did its usual for the past month: comic strip essays on the Sundays and A To Z entries on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Did you miss them? Here's your chance to read them again:

And did you know What's Going On In The Phantom (Sundays)? May - September 2017 Now's your chance to find out!

Some more of the museum at Earlham, including the exciting basement.


[profile] bunny_hugger shrunken and walking around the base of an aquarium. Part of the museum's basement, besides the mummy that they don't quite know what to do with, are exhibits of the wildlife, land and sea, of the area.


The Devil's Corkscrew: an odd bit of fossil that they have on exhibit upstairs. It's a fossilized prairie dog burrow, which only makes it more interesting to my eyes.


Just to give the flavor of the museum, here's the entry room and gift shop and place to talk with a staff member and a portrait of Joseph Moore, namesake for the museum.


And then wandering around once more, this time towards Bundy Hall. In [profile] bunny_hugger's time it had been the most ancient and decrepit dorm, complete with cockroach races (she wore the T-shirt for one of the last runnings of the cockroaches). It was heavily renovated in her time there, and now it doesn't have such activities attached to it, at least so far as they'll admit to alumni nosing around.


Just hanging around the heart of campus in the late-afternoon glow. Earlham Hall's on the left side of the picture.


The class dinner! Hanging out with fellow classmates, in a group photo that I was almost late for because I somehow got the tablecloth caught up and tugged it a foot and nearly made the plates and glasses and everything crash on the floor.

Trivia: About 17 percent of bridegrooms in England in 1875 were illiterate. About 1 percent of Swedish conscripts were. Source: The Age of Capital, 1848 - 1875, Eric Hobsbawm.

Currently Reading: Acceptance, Jeff Vandermeer.

And how's my mathematics blog looking? Here's some of its content, in aggregate. Or you might look at the next-to-the-last link there.

Also, What's Going On In Mary Worth? June - September 2017 Now you know.

So what did it look like last year when we went to [profile] bunny_hugger's reunion weekend at Earlham College? Here's a glimpse at Friday.


Earlham's Class of 1996 reunion table: we missed the other person who was there. The dining hall was a center of many recollections of the eating process at the school, though, and we were visiting ahead of a renovation that would probably just ruin everything. Not ruined: they had more vegetarian options than back in the day.


More of the dining hall, and the balcony from which were always hung banners advertising whatever activity or protest the Earlham students were on about. [profile] bunny_hugger was disturbed to see no banners hung, and would be more distressed to learn that after the renovations due to start the next week, there wouldn't be any more balcony banners. Students would just send their images to be shown, in rotation, on the TV screens instead.


Hanging out in the student center: a bunch of people with board games (do you see Betrayal at the House on the Hill there?) and playing what looked like some video game version of Apples To Apples.


The Heart, center of the Earlham campus, behind the main student center/building. Note the students vanishing to warp speed by the sign there.


Scary steps to one of the computer labs that had, back in the day, been where you could go do Internet stuff all night long if you wanted. There was still evidence of the card reader that [profile] bunny_hugger used back in the day, but it had been replaced by a new card reader.


Stencil graffiti in the scary steps to the former(?) computer lab.

Trivia: There were five thousand liquor stores licensed on the 5th of December 1933, when Utah ratified the repeal of prohibition. (At 5:33 pm, Eastern Time, so most stores could not get now-legal stock in that day.) Source: The Poisoner's Handbook: Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicine in Jazz Age New York, Deborah Blum.

Currently Reading: Sail and Rail: A Narrative History of Transportation in Western Michigan, Lawrence Wakefield, Lucille Wakefield.

One more busy week in my mathematics blog. What was there, waiting to be on your RSS feed? Some, frankly, great writing on my part, including:

Meanwhile over in the story strips, do you know What's Going On In Mark Trail? Thanks to me, yes, you do now!

Now let me give you pictures from last year when they made a miniature golf course out of the local ballpark.


The ball field! A rare chance to see the Lugnuts stadium almost completely shut down, except for the miniature golf course carved out of the right outfield and a little bit of the infield. Note the apartment buildings past center field; they're built on the edge of the park, for everyone who wants home living to come with the threat of being beaned by a long fly ball, in case someone hits one. (It is lower-level A baseball.)


And here's the main action, a couple rows of golf holes carved into the to-be-replaced grass of the outfield. There were way more people than we expected, although after the initial line to start everything moved at a pretty good clip.


The grab-bag of golf balls available for the course. Where did they come from? I'm guessing someone asked everybody they knew to bring in all the spare golf balls they had, and then someone went to Goodwill with like twenty bucks and directions to scour the sports section.


Panoramic view from on the actual outfield grass, where we were allowed to walk like that was a normal sort of thing. This was also when I decided I was going to master my camera's panoramic options even if it killed me.


Look, it's people having fun! Me being arty and photographing through the wrong side of one of the scenic foregrounds set up as a minigolf prop.


This should give you a good idea what the holes really looked like. The greens were carved out of the actual grass, which plays way slower than the artificial stuff on every miniature golf course ever. And sports equipment was used for most of the obstacles or features of the course; see the base on the left side of the picture, not pressed into the ground and used as something to bounce the ball against.

Trivia: The 1924 filibuster of a new state constitutional convention was broken after six months when Republicans hired a thug to set off a stink bomb behind the Senate rostrum. After the evacuation the Republican legislators fled to a hotel in Rutland, Massachusetts, preventing a quorum from assembling. Source: Rhode Island: A History, William G McLoughlin.

Currently Reading: The Improper Bohemians: Greenwich Village In Its Heyday, Allen Churchill.

And on to another busy week at my mathematics blog. What might you have had on your Reading Page if you added this to it?

Plus, What's Going On In Gasoline Alley? May - August 2017 So that should clear some things up. And now the big moment ... our last ride on Mean Streak!


Catching the sunset behind Mean Streak as the green train makes one of its last ascents.


Finally! We waited for a front-seat ride and here we are, ready to get it when the green train pulls out.


Ride operator taking a picture for the people in the front row.


Our chariot awaits! The gold train approaching the station for what would be our final ride on Mean Streak. Note the hill it drops down, a bunch of gravitational potential energy that couldn't be put to some entertaining use.


The pall-bearers gathered as nearly off-stage as possible. The eulogy for Mean Streak was being delivered here, even as the ride was still, you know, crowded and running two trains. (The third had already been taken off and set up as a prop in the ride graveyard.)


o/` People take pictures of the summer ... o/` The funeral ceremony for Mean Streak, guarded by people recording or photographing the whole thing. Behind it, Mean Streak rumbles on, heedless of the jokes about how rough it supposedly was

Trivia: Light bulbs became a comic strip standard for representing inspiration only in the 1930s. Source: American Cornball: A Laffopedic Guide to the Formerly Funny, Christopher Miller.

Currently Reading: A Gambling Man: Charles II's Restoration Game, Jenny Uglow.

It's been a second week of this summer's A To Z on my mathematics blog. Bit closer to an ordinary publishing schedule, too. Here's what you were missing:

And on the comic strip side of thing, have you wondered What's Going On In Dick Tracy? June - August 2017 is at your easy read now. It's got more Chumbawamba than you would have guessed if you haven't been paying attention. Meanwhile eleven months ago in Mean Streak's last day of operations:


I told you Mean Streak Henry was in high demand. We never rode with him, what with not being single riders.


Mean Streak's ride photo booth, which I never saw in operation all the time I've been going to Cedar Point. It still wasn't operating. When we visited Cedar Point in June we saw the photo booth was still apparently untouched. Underneath the overhang on the left is a table set up; this is where they were giving away souvenirs to the riders for the last day: pins commemorating our presence there and Mean Streak keychains, one of which I'd already had.


The exit queue for the Mean Streak, and some of its massive structure. You can spot the green train partway through the loop there.


Now there's a line. Queue spilling out of the Mean Streak queue --- none of the switchbacks that hide the queue length were open --- and onto the midway.


I told you there was a line. People waiting on line extended past the train that separates Mean Streak from the rest of that region of the park, and threatens to reach towards Maverick (the red loop in the distance, center right). We rejoined the queue, supposing that if we were on line we wouldn't get kicked off before a second ride.


It's Alkali! Well, no. But it is ... I'm guessing some high-level park official, dressed up as U.R.Dade and ready for Mean Streak's eulogy.

Trivia: Syncom III, which transmitted television from the 1964 Tokyo Olympics to the United States, carried only solar cells, with no batteries. It could not transmit while in shadow. Source: How The World Was One: Beyond The Global Village, Arthur C Clarke.

Currently Reading: Under A Flaming Sky: The Great Hinckley Firestorm of 1894, Daniel James Brown.

My mathematics blog, as seen on your Reading page or on your RSS feed (I know, it's not either) had a busy week as the A To Z got started! Here's what's run since last Sunday:

And let me answer this question: What's Going On In Prince Valiant? May - August 2017 It includes a deep dive into the Prince Valiant archives.

Now let's draw visually closer to the closing of Mean Streak at Cedar Point last year.


The other running train climbing Mean Streak's lift hill on its final day of operations. This time, I believe, we noticed the people on the ride and figured it was our big chance to get one more ride in for the last few hours of the roller coaster's operation.


Funeral stand set up outside Mean Streak's entrance. U.R.Dade was the name given to one of the undertakers for the park's Halloweekend events, and some park official dressed as the undertaker would give the ride's eulogy.


Some of the flowers set out around U.R.Dade's podium. Among the cards: 'It's going to be a lot quieter around here - Lusty Lil's Cast'. Lusty Lil's is one of the theaters in the area by the park. 'Whelp, See Ya Later! - Maintenance'. 'Don't Get Well. - The Carpenters'.


'So sad to see my friend go away - The Beast'. The Beast is the big wooden roller coaster and beloved star of Kings Island, now a sister park to Cedar Point. Other cards, in pictures not included: 'It's been a great streak! We'll miss pushing your buttons! - Ride Operations' 'Your apparel was nice while it lasted. RIP - Merchandise' 'Please accept our condolences. We will miss him very much - Sam Seagull' (along with some doodles of m-birds.) 'We will miss the way you made our jobs easy by not having to do any work around you or in your infield. Never change ... with love, Landscaping'.


And around back of the podium, with a couple bouquets that I suppose must have been intended for the ceremony which we couldn't hear very well, it would turn out. One of Mean Streak's return legs is visible on the left there.


Someone kindly took a photo of us together outside Mean Streak's entrance. We wore the shirts we had gotten in August, when we learned of the ride's closure and that Cedar Point had t-shirts for all their roller coasters. Note that the approximate wait time was still listed as five minutes, here, for the last hours of the ride's existence. It was a bit longer than five minutes then, but still, wasn't very long considering.

Trivia: On 15 April 1805 Napoleon decreed the Jacquard loom public property, and compensated Jacquard with an annual pension of 3000 francs plus royalty of 50 francs for every loom brought into use in France over the coming six years. Source: Jacquard's Web: How A Hand-Loom Led To The Birth Of The Information Age, James Essinger.

Currently Reading: Luna: Pittsburgh's Original Lost Kennywood, Brian Butko.

My mathematics blog is getting ready to launch its new A To Z project. Are you? Meanwhile, here's what it's run the past week.

Were you wondering what's going on in The Phantom? In its weekday edition? I've got your back. Here, enjoy! And now to the closing day of Michigan's Adventure, just under eleven months ago. I need to do more all-photo weeks and catch up.


You know it's late in the season when people are just giving up on their socks near the Tilt-a-Whirl.


Pumpkins! For at least the second year running they were growing pumpkins just off of Shivering Timbers. Why? Hard to guess. Michigan's Adventure does nothing for Halloween. Other Cedar Fair parks do, but surely they could grow their own pumpkins or get from local providers if they need fresh pumpkins for something or other.


Sea Dragon, the swinging ship ride, put to bed for the season: the crowds are gone and there's just the crew securing it for a long winter's nap.


Main midway of Michigan's Adventure, put to bed for the season: the Corkscrew, its first roller coaster, is on the left, and the Lakeside Gliders, the flying turns ride that replaced a go-cart upcharge attraction (!) a couple years ago is in the center of the picture.


Cedar Fair has the Peanuts license and that's fine. The core problem is that the Peanuts characters don't really have anything to do with amusement parks. I'm aware of only, like, one time they even mentioned going to anything with rides, which is kind of a surprising thing for the gang never to have done. Anyway, this results in some weird contorted efforts to drag the characters into something salable. Peppermint Patty's Candy Shop at least passes the ``Yeah, I guess Peppermint Patty likes candy'' test. But as it was the end of season, discipline had clearly broken down as the shop in this photo mostly has silly hats.

Trivia: In October 1772 the Royal Navy performed an experiment for Benjamin Franklin, pouring oil on the water from a longboat at Portsmouth. Observers agreed this did appear to diminish the waves around the vessel. Source: The First American: The Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin, H W Brands.

Currently Reading: Sabrina The Teenage Witch: Complete Collection, Volume 1, Editor Victor Gorelick.

My mathematics blog had what counts as a sleepy week, because I am getting ready for a new A To Z project (featuring art by [personal profile] thomaskdye, who's open for commissions) and I need to gather my strength for it. But freshly published there anyway the past week have been:

Also, you know what's going on in Alley Oop? Would you believe it still involves the mind-control ray gun? Now you do. With that content aggregated let's get back to Michigan's Adventure and closing day of last year.


A barrel of fun at Michigan's Adventure's petting zoo!


That llama posing for the cover to his acoustic album.


Talks between [profile] bunny_hugger and a pen full of ducks and fluffy chickens continued into the night.


Actually, [profile] bunny_hugger and the goat parted on good terms and would be happy to help each other with projects should some deserving cause present itself.


Bunny sinking beneath the waves of bunniness in a pile of bunnies in bunny bunny bun rabbit bunny floof twitch nosewiggle.

Trivia: Joel Schumaker wrote the screenplay adapting The Wiz to the movies. Source: A Brief Guide To Oz: 75 Years Going Over The Rainbow, Paul Simpson.

Currently Reading: The Story Of Story Book Land Tina Skinner.

How about that mathematics blog? I've got one, yeah. Here's what it's run this past week:

Also if you were wondering: What's Going On In The Amazing Spider-Man? I know and I can tell you. Meanwhile, back at the Calhoun County Fair:


The drop tower, reaching up from dusk to night. I think it wasn't all that enormous, maybe forty feet or so, but that's still plenty to get a breathtaking view of the fair grounds and to rival the Ferris wheel's view of things.


Also here's the Ferris wheel. At the bottom the ride operator had this cozy-looking seat and just put his foot up on the ride platform while there was little to do but let the big wheel keep on turning.


Platform and lots of reflections from the Wipe-out ride, which is one of those many spinny platform rides that are a good deal of fun. I couldn't resist what the lights did to the metal plating, though.


Another view of the merry-go-round and the ride operator helping it brake to a stop. Or maybe helping it get up to speed; it's hard to tell just from his body language. But I think he had to help stop it more.


Farewell shot of the fairground rides as they closed up for the night and we tried to find somewhere that still had elephant ears for sale. We found them.

Trivia: In 1977 Spain had the highest per-capita fish consumption of any Western country, and almost no fishing grounds within the 200 miles of its coastline that could be reserved to itself. Source: Cod: A Biography Of the Fish That Changed The World, Mark Kurlansky. (That year Canada's Exclusive Economic Zone cut Spain from many cod grounds.)

Currently Reading: Introvert Doodles, Maureen 'Marzi' Wilson.

Meanwhile how's my mathematics blog doing? If you don't have it on your Reading page? It's been busy with stuff like this:

And for the sake of symmetry: What's Going On In Gil Thorp? April - July 2017. Curiously, it's not that much, but it's complicated to summarize. Now some more of the incredibly busy day at Michigan's Adventure. Warning: bunnies!


The Funland Farm petting zoo bunnies want you to know they're under the table because they have had enough pettings for right now, thank you. When we first saw the animals early in the year we worried about how their rabbits didn't have somewhere to get away from people and sun, but they'd improved things some. The Flemish Giant on the right made us think of our Stephen, of course, and how poorly he was getting around and how maybe he'd be better off with fellow rabbits as companions.


``Can I help you?'' Goat at Funland Farm in Michigan's Adventure sizing me up to see if I have any food. I did not.


Operational mishap on a busy day. Stuff from the Chance (fiberglass) carousel at Michigan's Adventure, with something having gone and spilled an operations report sheet and booklet and somebody's pop.


So yeah, this is how busy it was: the ride queue for Shivering Timbers spilled out into the main walkway. The line was not that long in duration, as the various switchbacks inside the queue area weren't set up to hold people, and in fact the wait time was something like twenty minutes. But still, I'd never imagined the park could get that crowded. And yet here we were.


Further signs of how crowded it was: the queue for Sea Dragon, the swinging ship ride. I mean, wow.

Trivia: In 1971 TRW estimated that the use of data buses, instead of conventional avionic wire bundles with a separate wire for each signal or function, for the space shuttle orbiter would save 2500 pounds of weight and 500 watts of power requirement. Source: Development of the Space Shuttle 1972 - 1981, T A Heppenheimer.

Currently Reading: Eight Flavors: The Untold Story of American Cuisine, Sarah Lohman.

And now a week of mathematics blogging, as represented in a list for people without RSS feeds, which is everyone.

And, lest we be imbalanced, What's Going On In Judge Parker? 8 April - 2 July 2017. Some big stuff got resolved.

When we got to the Mean Streak station the operator mentioned how they had just announced the ride's imminent closing. This caught some of the people in the queue by surprise. It was about an average crowd, maybe a ten-minute wait, which for an August visit to Cedar Point is really underperforming.


Upskirt shot of Mean Streak's lift hill. There's a big long chain pulling roller coaster cars up there, so they have the energy to get all the way through its three minutes-plus length. The lift hill has been altered quite a bit as of June 2017, and the platform where the cars actually ride is currently not there. Not sure what's going to go there instead, but it'll probably be named Vicious Streak.


Underneath the Mean Streak station. The long, thin horizontal bars connected to vertical pipes are the mechanism for the queue gates. They all open or close together.


Jaunty-angle view of the start of Mean Streak's lift hill --- the track turns around immediately after leaving the launch station --- with a hazy view of Lake Erie beyond it. Somewhere off in the distance, to the left, is Sandusky.


Stuff hung up in the Mean Streak operator's booth. Mean Streak Henry would be there the last day for the ride. The Cedar Point flyer on the right I imagine is from the early 90s when the roller coaster was new; the logo is certainly of that era.


Mean Streak's retirement coincided with what would have seemed impossible: the creation of Mean Streak merchandise, eg, the T-shirt there. We learned that trip that Cedar Point had made ride shirts for all its roller coasters, and all of roughly the same style, with the ride's logo atop a circular badge and some rendition of a part of the ride behind it. By September the Mean Streak shirts were sold out.


Also discovered: they made faux vintage shirts for rides and attractions now gone. Jumbo Jet is a roller coaster --- two roller coasters, in fact --- that Cedar Point had in the 70s; the latter of it has since been relocated to Minsk, Belarus, where it's still running. Beneath that, Fascination was a ball-rolling bingo-like game that the park had until the 1990s, and that we discovered this decade is a lot of fun, which is a pity because there's like four parks left that still have the frightfully complicated machinery for it. (Indiana Beach, Knoebels, and Wildwood are three of the spots, though.) The spot's now a Johnny Rocket's.

Trivia: The BBC's August 1936 ten-day trial run of television broadcasting, dubbed The Radio Show, began two hours late owing to a blown fuse, and two women hired as the ``super women'' announcers were out, sick. Jasmine Bligh was in hospital for an emergency appendectomy; Elizabeth Cowell was at home with a throat infection. Source: Please Stand By: A Prehistory of Television, Michael Ritchie.

Currently Reading: The Gem Collector, PG Wodehouse.

My mathematics blog putters along as it ever does. Here's what you could've had on your Reading Page or your RSS feed if you weren't just waiting for me:

And for symmetry: What's Going On In Rex Morgan, M.D.? April - June 2017. A lot of low-level dating drama, turns out.

Now to close out my Kennywood photos, sad to say, since it means closing out the day at Kennywood. The good news: should be back at Kennywood in about a month! So you know how far behind I'm running here. Some week I should just do a bunch of pictures and try catching up instead.


Yes, amusement parks always look better in the twilight glow, but you know what's better than that? The post-rain twilight glow, that's what.


From one line to another: people lined up for Thunderbolt as seen from The Phantom's Revenge and you know, I bought this camera because it had a 21x optical zoom and could do up to ISO 3200 but deep down I hadn't believed it really could.


Lasers! Kennywood does a half-hour laser show in the evenings, weather permitting, and it's everything you might have hoped for from 1985. Yes, they include Neil Diamond's ``America''.


Jackrabbit after dark, with the full neon stars on display. Kennywood does a lot with neon and it's all magnificent.


Selfie! View of the Kennywood Grand Carousel from one of its mirrors. On looking at it, I now think I took this photo just as [profile] bunny_hugger was taking a picture of herself in one of the interior mirrors.


The lagoon by night picture that we're required to get every Kennywood visit. A tree's grown enough to obscure the Jackrabbit logo, but you can sort of make it out on the right.

Trivia: In a single week in the early 19th century London's fourteen largest gin houses served 270,000 guests. Source: Tastes of Paradise: A Social History of Spices, Stimulants, and Intoxicants, Wolfgang Schivelbusch.

Currently Reading: DC Showcase Presents: Superman, Volume 3 Editors Dan DiDio, Mort Weisinger. Not sure if it's more poetically beautiful or creeeeeepy beyond measure that Superman and Supergirl build a life-size duplicate of Krypton populated by robots. Also, the story where Supergirl gets revealed to the public after years of acclimation to Earth and being Superman's ``secret weapon''? Is twelve pages of not much happening except the world celebrating that there's a second Kryptonian superhero, and it's kind of neat that way. It makes the thing feel like a real event, and if it's a lot of things like Supergirl-inspired fashion shows and stuff? So what if it's small stakes? They're believable stakes too.

Won't fib, I'm excited by my mathematics blog this week since I got into perturbation theory and talked about it, I think, coherently and even logically. RSS feed mention and all that but here's the week's items:

Also, What's Going On In Mary Worth? March - June 2017 if you missed any good cruise ship action. Now let's check back in on Kennywood, back in August, when everybody was happy and Pokemon Go was a thing and all that.


Mascot! I spotted the Kennywood Arrow being waked into place while we were on the Grand Carousel, but this is the best photograph I could get of the mascot. We didn't see Kenny Kangaroo walking around this time either.


Statue of George Washington in his French And Indian War livery, along with a marker pointing out that while some of the key action in the war happened kind of near the park nobody's actually sure that anything happened quite here. But it could have and anyway a bit of history makes an amusement park more wholesome.


Stuff no longer in operation at Kennywood's main arcade. Among the nickelodeon movies: Johnny Comes Marching Home, Little Old New York, Movie Queen, and Whipping The Huns.


More stuff no longer in operation at the main arcade: miniature carousel horses, a vibrating chair, another nickelodeon, and an 1877 ``Indian Head'' penny mysteriously gigantified and recovered from the Batcave.


Kennywood's train ride includes a visit past billboards showing off the park's history. Sad to say this isn't a vintage photo of the exact spot you're riding past on the train at this point. I think the building on the left of the billboard photo is currently a Johnny Rocket's, if I'm making out the geography right. I might not be.


Another fascinating old billboard: they had an Alice In Wonderland On Parade week in 1950? And that's a year early for the Disney animated movie, although I suppose Alice In Wonderland is a perennial for whimsical places like amusement parks.

Trivia: An English East India Company clerk, in the 1680s, could expect a basic annual salary of £5, not much more than a domestic servant in England received. Source: Empire: The Rise And Demise Of The British World Order And The Lessons For Global Power, Niall Ferguson. (One lesson: a salary of £5 pa encourages your clerks to take on side projects of imaginary legality.)

Currently Reading: Storm In A Teacup: The Physics Of Everyday Life, Helen Czerski.

You know what I've noticed in my mathematics blog? That a serious post like one in my Why Stuff Can Orbit series eats up my writing energies for other stuff. Run the past week was just this:

But I think it's some good stuff anyway, especially the post about second derivatives. Thanks for reading, if you read it.

Also, since you wondered, What's Going On In Mark Trail? March 2017 - June 2017. You're welcome.

Kennywood's big feature attraction for 2016 was the newly renovated and restored Noah's Ark ride. It's a kind of ride that used to be all over the place, and this seems to be the last of its kind left. So here's some pictures of it.


Noah's Ark, renovated and restored for 2016. Also set up with a couple of dumb jokes for kids to like while in line.


Noah, Ark, and giraffe (right). I love how the shingles are ``broken'' by the giraffe.


[profile] bunny_hugger entering the whale's mouth that leads into the Noah's Ark, a feature that makes sense because that's just how these rides work? Not sure.


The back of the whale's mouth, leading into the Ark and a storeroom.


In the storeroom, a bunch of glow-painted boxes containing things like Apples and Corn and Crickets and, well, there you are. If I remember right you can get near this box and it'll blow a spray of warm air at you.


One of the few animatronic scenes I photographed after I remembered oh yeah, I have a new camera that's much better at dark scenes. Yes, it's one of the few with bunnies. I don't remember that this one had any punch lines or surprises, just like, mild motion.


One of the other animatronic scenes in the Noah's Ark that I could photograph: owls. I was helped by the lighting here. I forget what was in the other cage within the cage.

Trivia: In 1658 the Province of Massachusetts ordered the death by hanging of any Quaker who entered the colony a third time after being twice put out. Source: Rhode Island: A History, William G McLoughlin.

Currently Reading: Pacific: Silicon Chips and Surfboards, Coral Reefs and Atom Bombs, Brutal Dictators, Fading Empires, and the Coming Collision of the World's Superpowers, Simon Winchester.

My mathematics blog can appear on your Reading page, if you're on Dreamwidth, or on your Friends page if you're on LiveJournal. Or if you just have RSS you can put it there too. Or you can catch up now, with my roster of what ran the past week:

And then What's Going On In Dick Tracy? March - June 2017 was my comic strip briefing for the week gone by. Now on to what occupied us the day after Pinburgh closed: Kennywood!


An old friend: The Red Roof Inn parking lot, with my car filling it to capacity.




Plans realized: the parking lot at Kennywood, where [profile] bunny_hugger and I were along with MWS and his friend K. This is the ski lift that brings people to the most distant parking lot, which we've never seen in use. We've heard of it being used as recently as a couple days after our Pennsylvania Parks Tour visit, though.


Ah, one of these: ceramic flowers that hide loudspeakers spreading music to the area.


The ramp down from Kennywood's entrance area (with ticket booths and all) to the underpass beneath the highway. The park proper is through the tunnel on the right. It was about a half-hour before the opening of the park, as they open the doors well ahead of any rides opening, to better let people spread out and not all crowd the stuff at the front.


Stuff at the front: the candy shop and, above, storage lockers. We weren't able to show MWS and K this, but we had discovered the lockers there are numbered, as you'd think, except that any number which might end 69 is instead marked 68A, for example, locker 168A or 268A. And yes, there's a locker 665A instead of a locker 666 instead. This is so delightful.

Trivia: Mayonnaise was a seasonal food when Fred Allen was hired to produce the Best Foods Salad Bowl Revue for fall of 1933. (Best Foods had previously sponsored The Musical Grocery Store.) Source: Fred Allen: His Life And Wit, Robert Taylor.

Currently Reading: The Mighty Music Box: The Golden Age Of Musical Radio, Thomas A DeLong.

And, what the heck. Here's the LiveJournal feed for my mathematics blog, and here's the Dreamwidth feed, and here's the RSS feed, and if that's not your fill, here's what I posted there the past week:

And what the heck, for symmetry. This week's humor blog Sunday story strips low-daisy review:

What's Going On In Gasoline Alley? February - May 2017

And now let us make the final venture into the Pinburgh convention floor for a little more view of the novelties on display.


Searching for Kennywood. No sign of it yet but there's at least three bridges in view looking opposite the ball park.


Merch table. First of all, Pinball Breakaway, eh? Second of all: boy, remember the days when you'd try to rip off the Atari 2600? Trust me, kids, there were days when people did that.


Some of the many, many, many old game cartridges available. Catching my eye: so, wait, a WarGames game? If you can actually play it I think you've missed the point of the license.


Some last-minute games. Here, Bally's Minizag, and go ahead, guess if the game is from 1968. Not a Christiaan Marche game, incredibly! Now go ahead and ponder what the main playfield might look like.


So, as you might expect, the main playfield for Bally's 1968 Minizag is indeed groovy.


Middle playfield of Stern's 1979 solid-state game Magic which I include just because, man, whatever you want in game art, it's there, somewhere.

Trivia: The morning of the day President James Garfield was shot he had roused his teenage children from bed, lifting Harry and Jim, one under each arm, while singing ``I Mixed Those Babies Up'' from Gilbert and Sullivan's HMS Pinafore. (Jim later said his father swung them around ``as if we were in fact two babies''.) Source: Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine, and the Murder of a President, Candice Millard.

Currently Reading: The History of the Calculus and its Conceptual Development, Carl B Boyer.

I believe I've got the important problems with images worked out. And I'll return to posting stuff from Pinburgh later this week, barring surprises. Not today, though. I just don't have the energy to deal with it. I'll keep my postings about mathematics-blog content, though. It does exist as a Dreamwidth feed, and is still available on the LiveJournal feed, and as an RSS feed too. This was a quiet week in the number of articles posted, but one of them was a monster, big and I say important, so I feel satisfied:

So that was the week. As I say, pictures to come.

Meanwhile how about a bit of symmetry? What's Going On In Prince Valiant? February - May 2017 is the most recent post on my humor blog, and it describes the last couple months of action in the time of King Arthur there. Valiant and company are way out of England right now, off tromping around Tibet Or Something. Not to worry, they've found refugees harassed by brigands.

Trivia: In late fall of 1928 long-term loans from the United States to Germany and the rest of the world fell from $1.5 billion per year to just over half a billion per year, the start of the fiscal crisis that would ruin the German democracy. Source: A Nation of Deadbeats: An Uncommon History of America's Financial Disasters, Scott Reynolds Nelson.

Currently Reading: The Number Mysteries: A Mathematical Odyssey Through Everyday Life, Marcus du Sautoy.

Be one of us

May. 15th, 2017 12:10 am
austin_dern: Inspired by Krazy Kat, of kourse. (Default)

Had another average week on my mathematics blog, despite my plans for one piece getting interrupted by the power outage, so if you didn't see it on your RSS feed here's your second chance:

We didn't just spend all Sunday at Pinburgh looking at odd pinball games and weird performances. We also looked at old arcade and console games. For example:


Ancient console system playing what I guess is Pong maybe? I love how 1978 it all looks.


This is what every modern game console looks like to me. Well, they're having fun.


For the era that's an impressive shot of Generic Stadium. Also but heck that's a disheartening score for the ATLs. I mean, that's the kind of score you don't see since the Tripartite Agreement.


Person with a rather good costume chatting with an Imperial Stormtrooper. You would totally believe she's a little girl!


View of one of Pittsburgh's many bridges outside the side windows. I saw this a bunch of times because there was a vending machine with cheaper Diet Pepsi in it, most of the time, than any of the in-venue dealers offered.

Trivia: In 730 the Venerable Bede set out to prove the spring equinox did not, as commonly supposed, happen the 25th of March. Though a year of observation with his sundial he found the spring equinox of 731 did not happen on the same day as the year before, indicating the estimate of the year of 365 and a quarter days was not quite right. Source: The Calendar: The 5000-Year Struggle to Align the Clock and the Heavens --- and What Happened to the Missing Ten Days, David Ewing Duncan.

Currently Reading: Heat And Thermodynamics: A Historical Perspective, Christopher J T Lewis.