September 11th, 2013

krazy koati

You'll crack 'em up when you stand in front of all the crazy mirrors

I felt my heart sinking when we reached Idlewild: there didn't seem to be anybody at the parking lot, and it was a drizzly 7 pm, and it barely looked like the gates even had attendants. It wasn't that dismal. There was one gate still open. She warned us that the park was only going to be open about two hours, but we weren't going to have a better chance; Sunday we were to head up to Erie and take in Waldameer, what had been intended to be our first park. She scanned our pre-purchased tickets --- discounted, again thanks to bunny_hugger's American Coaster Enthusiasts membership --- and I managed to get lost on the way to parking. I parked at the picnic pavilion parking instead, and we entered the park from what really, really looked like the secret back entrance, not going past any obvious welcoming gate. Since Kennywood we'd been at a lot of Pennsylvania parks where it felt almost like you were being invited to walk on the grass and sneak around back, and Idlewild felt like we were there to sneak into the whole park.

It's a small but handsome park, with an antique carousel, a 1938-vintage roller coaster, an odd vintage [ Edit: it's not so old as I thought ] wild mouse roller coaster, and a setting which seems to be about where George Washington almost got himself killed in 1758. (He was trying to break up accidental shooting between men from his unit and men from George Mercer's.) It's not certain exactly where this bit of the French and Indian War occurred, but it was at least nearby.

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The amazing thing is, at the time, I thought that was the wildest bit of crazy roller coaster operation imaginable. I would learn better.

Trivia: Around 1702, the astronomer Ole Rømer used a period of home confinement following the a broken leg to set his thermometer scale, on which the (fixed) boiling point of water was 60 degrees and the freezing point 7 and a half degrees. Blood temperature happened to fall at 22 and a half degrees. Source: Absolute Zero and the Conquest of Cold, Tom Schachtman.

Currently Reading: Easy To Remember: The Great American Songwriters and their Songs, William Zinsser. It's a nice chatty bit in which Zinsser just talks about songs he liked and the composers behind them, and I'm delighted that someone went through and made notes through it all, including pointing out the claim that ``nobody ever wrote a better musical than Guys and Dolls'' in one caption is also made for Annie Get Your Gun. (I can't find where he said that about Annie Get Your Gun but I love this sort of commentary.)