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Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Trees at the playground

This picture was taken immediately after the ridgetop view of Plymouth Mountain, and is 180 degrees in the opposite direction. I thought the trees were nice, but the playground fence spoils much of the view. In the background you can see the mountains to the south of Nanticoke - I've shown these before. It wasn't until I was reviewing this photo this morning that I noticed the things in the foreground - more examples of the Unidentified Playground Equipment that Chloe wrote about some time ago.
We never had anything like this when I was a kid. The purpose is unclear, although one commenter on Chloe's site suggested that they were part of a game that involved tossing a ball into the top and having it come out one of the four* openings below. Chloe said that the holes are too small for a basketball, so some other sort of ball must be involved. Probably a tennis ball, but I think it would be more amusing if it were something heavier, like a baseball. And I'm not certain that we're actually seeing the grass at the base of each post, but if we are, then the lack of wear is consistent with Chloe's observation, which suggested that this is not a very popular piece of equipment.

In appearance these things are somewhat sinister, like the Tripods from War of the Worlds or the periscope / speakerphone / mind control devices from Teletubbies. They almost look like they have been designed to inflict pain while maintaining an air of indifference to the suffering they cause. Maybe they're really some sort of monitoring device. Or a pill dispenser - all the kids are on some sort of pills these days. Back in my day the only pills we took were Fluoride tablets (which tasted horrible and were discontinued after first or second grade), plaque disclosure tablets (which were really, really pink and showed all the places you missed when you brushed your teeth, and the stains took forever to brush out), and of course Flintstones Chewable Vitamins. Or maybe...naaah. My cousin, who is a teacher, says that they really are used for some sort of basketball game. Does anybody out there know for sure? Has anybody actually ever played with these things?

*Correction, 10/29/2005: There are only three openings on these things. Perhaps they are a precusor to a Martian invasion.

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