The Muscleheaded Blog

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Welcome to the new home of the Muscleheaded Blog.

My name is Chris, and I’m a mature Southern power-lifter who likes to hear himself write.

I’m a veteran of the U.S. Navy, a graduate of the Brown Institute, and currently compete in Masters Strongman.

Snarky humor, vintage pinups, and weirdos in the news are just a few of the things I like ……

And I’ve been known to sneak all kinds of things in this here blog.

You really never know what’s gonna be showing up next.

So, my advice would be to subscribe, and try to visit right-regular like.

My blog theme is called ‘Dusk to Dawn’, and it’s kinda appropriate, since I’m usually here in the late evening/early morning EST.

a1It’s also rather androcentric and iconoclastic—

so, if you offend easily, can’t stand sexual references, or if you just hate men,

please take a raincheck on the follow, with no hard feelings.

How you read my posts, whether you want to take them at face value, or whether you want to look harder, well, I leave that up to you.

Art, if that’s what it is, always means something different to the viewer than the creator… so, don’t let that worry you none.

If you want to know more about the Muscleheaded Blog,
you can read my post:  ” Just What The Hell Is It All About Anyway?
or
a random passerby’s opinion: ” The Bastion of Bad Taste ” .

You can also visit my online gym, which features articles about fitness, strength, and gym culture–
at http://muscleheadgym.wordpress.com .

Check out this week’s Muscleheaded Blog ‘featured post':
” What Color is Your Rose? ” on most of these fine stations.

I love motorcycles–
my most popular post, on British Motorcycles, is here.

How about a post about travel…
like: ” The Beaches of St. John, USVI

Like Pin Ups?
Check out : ” The Pin Up Art of Gil Elvgren ” —

or– ” The Sensual Art of Raphael Kirchner ” .

( There’s an index on that post that will lead you to a lot of other posts about Pin Up Artists, too. )

You can read what I like to call my best general art blogs:
The Art of Maxfield Parrish
or
The Poster Art of Leonetto Cappiello” .

You could read one of my humor blogs like:
“Weirdly Radioactive “,
Misogyny and You
or
“Advice for the Hopelessly Hopeless“.

Yeah…

I’m thinking one of those posts might let you know what you’re really letting yourself in for.

lossecannonA loose cannon?

Sure.

Hey, like it or lump it …

I never said this blog was for everyone.

Submissions are always welcome-

I’m trying very hard to make this blog interactive,

… and I love to get mail !

Please send them to carolinamuscle@outlook.com .

I sincerely appreciate visitors, and enjoy reading comments to my posts.

So, jump on and hold tight…

The only thing I’ll promise ya is a wild ride.

HOY!

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Having Fun At The Trolley Park

glenechoSometimes I think we don’t know how to have fun any more.

Those innocent days of getting a nickel’s thrill–

slamming somebody with a ‘bumper car’,

waiting for a skirt to blow up in the ‘fun house’,

taking aim at funny moving targets in the ‘shooting gallery’,palisde

— or participating in a little heavy petting session in a dark ‘tunnel of love’,

Most of these are long, long gone …

( well,
you can still do much of this stuff out in public, I guess,

—but you could get yourself in serious trouble …. )

And even if the Amusement parks in which they were found turn out to have been just another lost relic of modern Western civilization,

(.. which would be a damned shame ..)

—- they sure were fun while they lasted.

They all started with the ‘Trolley Park’.

trolleyThe 1890’s were a time of drastic social changes for American society.

Industrial mechanization, improved transportation infrastructure, and the electrification of urban areas improved the living conditions for many working people–

They had more income–

and much more time for leisure and recreation.

And it was the combination of these factors that led to the rise of a unique American phenomena– the Trolley Park.

Sometimes called ‘Electric Parks’,

they were the forerunners of modern Amusement Parks…trolley

They were usually operated by local transport outfits ( like street-car companies )

or utility organizations (like electric companies) —

— to keep the money rolling in during off-peak times like the weekend and holidays.

This idea spread like wildfire across the country–electric
while in 1895, there were only about a hundred and fifty in operation,

by 1910, there were over 2,000-

– just about every city in America had at least one.

The first ones weren’t much more than scenic picnic grounds and band pavilions, but they quickly evolved into much more–

swimming pools, trail and boat rides, skating rinks, ball parks, and food kiosks quickly followed —

then, mechanized amusements like Ferris Wheels, Carousels, Roller Coasters, and game arcades were added to many parks.

dreamlandThe activities offered at one park, Central Park in Hot Springs, Arkansas were described in 1907 as including:

“…. baseball, bicycle racing, glove contest, football, barbecues, revivals, baptisms, fireworks, badger fights, and sharp shooting”.

Coney Island, New York had four operating trolley parks at one time–
…. in the early 1900’s, including the famous “Luna Park”, and “Dreamland”.

Dreamland in particular was described as one of the most beautiful parks ever built–

It was especially dramatic at night, to a populace who was still relatively unaccustomed to such a display of electric lights — the park used over 1 million light bulbs.

dorneyparkTrolley parks ranged in size from small parks like the 25 acre Lenape Park near West Chester, Pennsylvania ( founded in 1892, no longer extant ) —

…. to larger parks like the 200 acre Dorney Park, near Allentown, PA ( still operational ).

Interestingly, four major Trolley Parks are still prospering in Pennsylvania, the highest number among the 50 states…. namely, Kennywood (Pittsburgh), Dorney (Allentown), Lakemont (Altoona) , and Waldameer (Erie) Parks.baltimore

Parks also offered an interesting variety of themes…

One park opened in the 1890’s in Jacksonville, Florida, was called the “Florida Ostrich Farm”,

…. and gave visitors a chance to watch ostrich races, pet ostriches, and even buy ostrich plumes — sometimes costing upwards of 40 dollars each.

The oldest surviving Trolley Park is Lake Compounce Park near Bristol, Connecticut, founded as a ‘picnic park’ in 1846—

While it looks very much like a modern Amusement Park, still retains a good deal of it’s original rustic charm–

The 1911 Loof-Murphy Carousel still uses it’s original Wurlitzer 153 band organ,

palisadesAnd the Wildcat Roller Coaster, built by the Philadelphia Toboggan Company in 1927 to replace an earlier structure, still thrills wooden coaster fans today.

One of the best remembered of these parks was the world famous Palisades Park, near Fort Lee, New Jersey, opened in 1898.

This park was easily accessible by trolley and ferry from the city of New York– it could actually be seen from Broadway on a clear night.

It offered a large salt-water swimming/wave pool, the largest of it’s kind at the time.

I remember, as a child, seeing advertisements for this park on the back of comic books, and wondering what it would be like — aa

—- unfortunately, I grew up a long way from the place, and never got to see it.

There was even a hit song about it —
Palisades Park” by Freddie Cannon, in 1962.

All in all, the large assortment of shows, events, rides, games, and all kinds of other attractions on offer made Palisades Park a favorite of people all over the Northeast, until it’s closing in 1971.

The site, visible from the George Washington Bridge, is now covered with condominiums and parking lots.

undesirablesIn my adopted hometown of Charlotte, most residents are completely unaware that the state’s first roller coaster was located in a 100 acre park two miles northwest of uptown–

…. not to mention a zoo, a casino, a Ferris Wheel, a dance hall, and a large lake complete with ‘unsinkable boats’.

Called Lakewood Park, the only remaining trace of it is some railroad tracks on which used to run the trolley to the park.

Even the lake is gone.

(For those interested, the site is between Glenwood and Rozelles Ferry Road, in a wooded area southeast of I-85.)

Most trolley parks are gone, now, of course.

lakewoodThose that remain hold out a tantalizing taste of what was ,

and what will probably never be again —

A token, a trace–
of something innocent, wonderful,

…….. and oh so American.

Hoy!

For more on the subject of Amusement Parks, see my posts on:

Lost Florida Amusement Parks

Weeki Wachee Springs

Lost Amusement Parks: Heritage USA

.

fun

Doctor Teed’s Strange Experiment

1In 1869, a Doctor who had been dabbling in physics, alchemy and electricity–

had a mystical experience in which he is supposed to have received divine illumination.

He discovered what he believed to be a secret truth about the world —
…… and he set about spreading the good word.

Have you ever heard of something called “Cellular Cosmogony” ?

How about a “Geodetic Survey”, or the “Koreshan Unity Movement” ?

Ahhh…

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Well, sit back and let me spin you a tale.

You might know of the religious enthusiasms of the 1830’s and 40’s…

Revivalism and new religious movements were so popular is the northeastern part of the United States, that upper New York State became known as the “Burned Over District”.

From this atmosphere of religious fervor and innovation, came many new voices and some strange ideas….

…….. and one very peculiar fellow in particular– Doctor Cyrus Teed.

Teed, a medical Doctor, and veteran of the War Between the States, was a man keenly interested in the scientific studies of electromagnetism and electricity, and was an avid experimenter.

3One experiment went badly wrong, and Doctor Teed received a massive electrical shock which knocked him unconscious.

It was then, at that moment, that Teed had his “divine illumination”,

It came in the form of a “beautiful feminine deity” who proceeded to impart to him the secrets of the universe —

She further informed him that he, Teed, would:

“.. interpret the symbols of the Bible for the scientific age “.

To that end, Teed was to take on the biblical name “Koresh”:
(from Isaiah, 44:28- “he is my shepherd, and shall fulfill all my purpose” ) — and that his mission was to “redeem humanity”.

Some of the secrets that the vision disclosed had to do with the actual physical state of the Earth.

In this view, the Earth was a hollow sphere around a center core in constant motion containing the planets and the Sun.

We were said to be living on the inside skin of a concave outer layer, on which we are held by centrifugal force.

4from Teed’s book:

The sun is an invisible electromagnetic battery revolving in the universal center on a 24-year cycle.

Our visible sun is only a reflection, as is the moon, with the stars reflecting off seven mercurial discs that float in the sphere’s center. Inside the earth there are three separate atmospheres:

the first composed of oxygen and nitrogen and closest to the earth; the second, a hydrogen atmosphere above it; the third, an aboron (sic) atmosphere at the center.

The earth’s shell is one hundred miles thick and has seventeen layers.

The outer seven are metallic with a gold rind on the outermost layer, the middle five are mineral and the five inward are geologic strata. Inside the shell there is life, outside a void.”

Actually, Teed’s ideas weren’t all that new, but rather, are a variation on the old hollow Earth theory, of which Edmond Halley and John Leslie were subscribers.

What took Teed’s concave hollow earth hypothesis to a new level was his book, “Cellular Cosmogony“, and his attempt to build a utopian communal society around it.

He initially joined the Shaker Community of Lebanon, New York in 1878 to observe the workings of an intentional society, and then set up his own in Moravia, NY, two years later.

This community was faced with many difficulties and moved around a good deal, but quietly gained membership, and by 1892, Teed had over 100 followers at a communal home called “Beth Ophra” in Chicago.

Teed’s dream was to move his community of followers — the so-called “Koreshan Unity”– to a place that he had determined to be the “vitellus of the great cosmogonic egg”, or belly button of the Earth, where the second coming of Christ would occur.

This place was just south of Fort Myers, Florida, at Estero.

Teed initially had chosen a site near St. James City for his “New Jerusalem”, but had found the property out of his price range.

He headed back to Chicago, but not before leaving some of his ‘Cellular Cosmogony’ tracts behind.

A homesteader named Gustav Damkohler came across one of those tracts, and invited the group to settle on his holdings, about 300 acres.

By 1894, his following had grown to about 200 members and the group began relocating to Estero.

There, the Koreshans built a print shop, along with boat and cement works, a sawmill, bakery, store and even a hotel, along with homes, a three story communal dining hall, and a home for Teed- “the Master’s House”.

One of Doctor’s Teed’s first priorities was to use the community as a base for his efforts to prove the scientific validity of his convex-hollow-earth theory of Cellular Cosmogony.

He said: “To know of the Earth’s concavity and its relation to Universal form, is to know God; but to believe in the Earth’s convexity, is to deny God.”

He was going to prove it all, using something he called a “Rectilineator“.

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Developed by a believer, Professor Ulysses Morrow, this massive device would measure the curvature of the Earth…

Using ten huge, double T-squares made of mahogany, set horizontally on ten carefully balanced mounts, Morrow and twelve Koreshans worked for a month to set it up, and another 5 months to perform the measurements — collectively called the Koreshan Geodetic Survey.

In 1897, Teed declared the experiment a success, since the end of the instrument touched the surface of the water’s edge, agreeable to his premise that ” a straight line extended at right angles from a perpendicular post will meet the surface of the earth at a distance proportionate to the height of the perpendicular “.

Needless to say, whatever really was proved by the experiment, science was still a bit reticent to accept Teed’s claims.

The experiment itself caught the imagination of the press , but just seemed to irritate the people in the surrounding areas…

The locals had always been a bit wary of the growing community at Estero….

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New Jerusalem was booming — their cottage industries were doing well, and the Koreshans even opened the area’s first gas station.

The Koreshans had became known to the locals for their bakery products, particularly something called “Risin’ Bread”, and they also generated power, the excess of which, they sold to the homes in the area.

They had also opened a community performing arts center called the “Art Hall”, in which plays and concerts were open to the public.

Still, hostility was brewing toward the new inhabitants calling themselves Koreshans.

Their ever growing numbers, their strange ideas and their prolific building made the locals nervous…..

And when the Koreshans became active in area politics, the situation got nasty.

In 1904, the Sheriff in Fort Myers and others were implicated in a fight in which several Koreshans, including Teed, were seriously injured—

This event is said to have contributed to the death of Teed in 1908….

One of the tenets of the new religion taught that Doctor Teed- Koresh – was immortal, and that he would be resurrected.

And Teed had died a few days before Christmas, predicting his return on Christmas Day.

So, after his death, he was not immediately buried.

It wasn’t until well after Christmas, when the county coroner finally had to order the Koreshans to bury the body– was Teed interred.

His body was placed into an iron bathtub, interred in a brick vault, and guards placed around it, alert for any sign that Koresh had somehow reanimated his body and wanted out.

Thirteen years passed, and then a hurricane hit Southwest Florida– and washed Teed’s vault, and Teed, out to sea for good.

The non-event of his non-resurrection sounded a death knell for the community at Estero, and it’s population dropped off drastically, until, in the 1960’s, only a half dozen of followers remained.

Of course, some folks chose to believe that Teed had actually been resurrected, since his body was now nowhere to be found.

And, there are still a few people today who subscribe to the Koreshan system of belief.

As for the community itself:

It’s extensive library of records are still extant, and were held by the Koreshan College of Life Foundation in trust until 2009, when they were turned over to the State.

The Estero site itself is now owned by the State of Florida, and is called the Koreshan Unity Historic Settlement District.

It is open to visitors all year round , and is on US-41 at Corkscrew Road in Estero.

It’s an interesting place to visit, and I highly recommend it .

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