I want you to look at carousel carver Charles Looff a minute


I just wanted to bring to your attention Charles I D Looff, builder of something like forty carousels, a bunch of roller coasters, and other amusement park rides. Particularly I’d like you to look at his photo on Wikipedia, since it shows him in the full flower of 19th Century Moustache Art. What Wikipedia fails to mention is that the photograph was taken from that time in 1895 when he went on a tour-group visit to the White House and was just naturally mistaken for actually being the President. It was fourteen months before anybody even realized! He might have won re-election except he started an unnecessary quarrel with the New York Customs Inspector about public ownership of the bimetallic tariff.

Also by the way he was born in a town called Bad Bramstedt, and I choose to pretend I believe that’s because it was bapped on the nose with a rolled-up newspaper after Holstein’s troubles during the Revolutions of 1848.

Meanwhile At The Carousel-Carving Shop In Like 1920


A giraffe carousel figure. It's got a really camel-ish head.
Exhibit at the Merry-Go-Round Museum in Sandusky, Ohio, which is certainly worth a visit if you’re in the area.

“They want a giraffe?” said the carver, sometime in 1920. “What the dickety-heck is a giraffe? Gimme the dictionary … uhm … `giraffe. African animal. Another name for cameleopard’. OK. I can do a camel leopard. No, Carl, I’m not gonna waste time taking a trip to the zoo. I gotta start carving!”


(This space left open for other people with their own caption ideas.)


Did I mention I had some more mathematically-themed comic strips put up over on my other blog? I had some more mathematically-themed comic strips put up over on my other blog. Make sure I remind you that I had some more mathematically-themed comic strips put up over on my other blog. We’ll both say something about it.

Adventures In Modern Consuming


I want to feel excited. The last big shopping trip we did, we used up all the coupons left in our little plastic folder of coupons. All that remains in it are some receipts with the codes we got after telling companies’ web sites how the shopping experience was and a loyalty card for the carousel ride at the Freehold Raceway Mall food court in Freehold, New Jersey. Being able to use up all the coupons we had feels like we should have unlocked a new achievement, like, “Market-Driven Consumer Capitalism Temporarily Bested: Plus 1”. But deep down I know what it really means is we let an offer of 50 cents off two packs of Sargento cheese sticks expire without noticing it in the middle of May.

We forgot to buy shampoo.

You Might Also Like, Because, I Don’t Know Why?


I was looking at a photo gallery the (Camden, New Jersey) Courier-Post put up about Soupy Island. That’s a small park outside Camden with the historic Philadelphia Toboggan Company Carousel Number 93R (the Philadelphia Toboggan Company didn’t make it), opened so that kids from the city could experience fresh air and a carousel and soup provided by the Campbell’s corporation, and the park’s still there and having kids over and giving out soup. At the end of this photo gallery about a century-old park hosting kids and having charming-looking elderly people who’ve been affiliated with the park for decades came this:

Like this topic? You may also like these photo galleries:

You may also like a photo gallery about this standoff at a Cherry Hill motel, or the shooting in Winslow Township.
  • Standoff at Cherry Hill Motel
  • Camden teens camp in Pine Hill
  • Police involved Shooting in Winslow Twp
  • Kevin Ambrose Arraignnment

So from this, we learn that absolutely horrible people are designing the “you may also like” algorithm at newspaper sites. “Here’s a picture of a cute baby raccoon living in a mailbox! Maybe you’d like to see this adorable grandmom with discarded syringes jabbed through each of her fingernails! Did you like this video of a kid trying to order a pistachio ice cream and saying it wrong? I bet you’ll love seeing us try to spell `Arraignment’! Now, want to see this gallery of the kids who made a Santa Claus costume for the ferret at the rescue shelter? Are you sure you can live with yourself if you do?”

And I realize the joke I’m sounding like here, but can I point out the “Standoff at Cherry Hill Motel” was nearly four weeks old at that point? Wasn’t there some more recent horrible Cherry Hill news they could offer?

There where the lens is wide


So, to summarize, I’d like everyone to know that I do too know how to take a picture on a digital camera. I don’t want to brag, but I have noticed how every digital camera in the world has a little button on the top that you press to take the picture. I’d got this worked out pretty well sometime in like 1978 when I first heard of the idea of taking pictures with anything more advanced than taping the newspaper photograph up to the window so I could trace over it on some paper.

And yes there were too digital cameras back then, models with up to four pixels and the ability to differentiate between one shade of grey and another slightly identical shade of grey, producing photographs that could be shared on the primitive Internet just by running a simple UUencode filter on the file type, then copying it into your e-mail client, which was horrible, and then waiting twenty minutes to find out that your Internet connection died halfway through, and then running down the hall to the recipient and slapping him for wanting to see a picture of this. The point is, every digital camera in the world works by having a button on the top that you press.

Yeah I know cell phones don’t take pictures like that. And I know with iPads you take pictures by standing there holding the iPad up until everyone around you notices how awkward you look and feels bad that you have to do something so embarrassing, and that finally triggers the shame sensors that puts you out of your misery by taking the photo already. Those don’t count. I’m talking about cameras, the kind made of fresh-mined cameraonium ore, and with icons on the side showing that little lightning bolt and the flower representing the climax of Eadweard Muybridge’s vision of a day when the average person could have flowers electrocuted.

Continue reading “There where the lens is wide”