The Frogmarch

"I've got to pull up my stakes and roll, man." --Jean-Jacques Libris de Kerouac

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Pioneer of Aerodynamics!

I was looking back over some pictures I took in Paris when an old Pixies tune came up via Random Play All. A song with more than a soupcon of filler about it on an album that had too much of that, but the coincidence was too great to ignore.* So let's look at some tourist-cliche pictures of the Eiffel Tower.

Pioneer of aerodynamics!
He thought big and they called it phallic!
See, I'd always thought of the tower as a sort of masculine thing as well, not just because of its general ratios of height to width, but also because of the steel girders and exposed rivets and so on. But in real life, it's much more feminine than I had expected--for all the hard angles of the girders, the overall shape is much more curved, and the details, not visible from any distance or in any rendering that captures the immense height of the tower, are lacy, even filigreed.

They didn't know it was panoramic!
Gustave Alexander Eiffel built wind tunnels at several levels of the tower, and used it as the platform for atmospheric research and early experiments into what would later become known as aerodynamics. I did not know that.

Little Eiffel stands in the archway
In the winter months there's a skating rink up there on the first level. I think they should take it a step farther and install a ski jump.

They didn't want it but he built it anyway!
Today a beloved symbol of Parisians, maybe, though I didn't see any Parisians actually at the tower unless they were disguised as foreign tourists. Well, how many New Yorkers hang out at the Statue of Liberty, anyway?

Sometimes people can be oh so dense. Keepin' low don't make no sense.
At the time of its completion, this was the tallest manmade structure in the world. It's bigger than it looks on TV, you know. Like, lie-on-your-back-on-the-grass-and-gawk-up-at-it big. Like I-can't-get-the-whole-thing-in-my-viewfinder-unless-I-back-up-a-few-hundred-yards big.

You probably have some similar pictures in your own photo album or hard drive; anyway, these are mine.

*I could just have easily gone with Husker Du's "Eiffel Tower High".


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