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Tuesday, July 29th, 2014

Time Event
12:10a
Town to town and up and down the dial

There was one other amusement park in the Cincinnati area we wanted to visit, but we didn't figure it to be a full-day park and after all there's something in the Cincinnati area you just can't pass up if you watched TV at all in the 70s or early 80s. Yes, it's the WKRP In Cincinnati Statue, seen in the opening credits of the show, although if you're going to get technical the actual name is the Tyler Davidson Fountain, unless you get really technical and take its name as The Genius of Water. The statue dates to 1871, and it celebrates water and the Ohio River's importance to Cincinnati and the immigrants coming to Cincinnati.

A little while ago bunny_hugger met someone from the area and learned the statue had been moved from when she was attending Miami University (the one in Ohio, that was there first), as part of renovations, which she thought had to be some kind of weird misunderstanding because how do you move a 43-foot-tall statue spraying water from about eighty different sources without breaking it permanently? But it's a bit of an odd statue, already located over a multi-level parking garage that's convenient but clearly dates to the era when you could put multi-level parking garages underneath fountains.

But it turns out the fountain was moved, so that it's a little farther from traffic and can command more of the center of its park. More, it's been moved in the past, as well, and turned around. The statue used to face east, where most of Cincinnati's immigrants came from. From 1970 to 2006 it faced west, so that's the backdrop WKRP In Cincinnati watchers recognized. Since the newest renovation it faces south. Whatever meaning the statue's direction had is now symbolically quite muddled.

Also the statue manages to be compellingly weird and giggle-generating. Its name is arguably The Genius of Water, and at the top is a woman standing with arms outstretched and water raining from her hands. OK so far. On the pedestal there's icons of people needing water, like a farmer in the field, a workman standing on a burning roof, a boy taking a bath. I still understand that theme, I think. Then there's the outer rim and figures that spit out water where ordinary people can drink (and apparently the fountain used to be a public drinking fountain, besides its service as a massive piece of public art), and you get figures of people ... subduing water-related creatures, I guess, in the most phallic ways possible, such as the boy riding a dolphin, or another one riding a turtle. Then there's the boy strangling a goose --- well, maybe he's just playing with it, or subduing it, but it sure looks like he's strangling it, and the goose sprays water out of its mouth because fountain sculpture just does that, and then there's the one with the snake. Oh, the snake. It's just a fountain that keeps repaying looking at it and realizing they were all a little bit crazy in 1871, especially sculptors.

We stopped into an ice cream shop just off the park. I don't remember the place's name but it's a famous Cincinnati-area ice cream shop and bunny_hugger is sure to know it. It was a bright sunny day so everybody in the world was there, too, and they ran out of the ice-cream-of-the-month flavor bunny_hugger wanted just before it was our chance to order. Can't really fault them for that, I guess.

We also walked around town a bit, as the federal courthouse is just off the park. bunny_hugger had some memories of the courthouse and its vicinity because of one of the many, many long and pointless fights with the Immigration people back when she was married to someone from a suspicious Anglo-Saxon foreign nation. The area's got a number of buildings from the early 20th century so they're pleasant to look at, and in pretty good shape, considering. Apparently Cincinnati's on an upswing. Also while walking around we found an old-time-style candy shop and we bought bags of loose penny candies good for snacking on for a while.

Fun as the fountain is to see, we didn't plan to spend all day there (though while we were out someone did put a necklace of plastic beads on one of the boys), and we drove off, right into the middle of pedestrian traffic gathering for the Reds game. We had one more Ohio amusement park to get to, so naturally, we had to drive into Kentucky.

Trivia: Johann Widman, of the University of Leipzig, appears to have the earliest cited use of the + symbol to represent addition, in his 1489 Behennde vnnd hübsche Rechnüg auff allen Kauffmanschafften, a book about business problems. Lecture notes from a student of his in 1486 also appear to have the symbol. Source: A History of Mathematical Notation, Florian Cajori.

Currently Reading: Descartes' Secret Notebook: A True Tale of Mathematics, Mysticism, and the Quest to Understand the Universe, Amir D Aczel.

PS: Lewis Carroll and my Playing With Universes: to get around to explaining something neat about my infinitely-old universes I have to introduce some notation and what do you know but Lewis Carroll gets into the act.

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