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Kansas City Star, August 22, 1888. His marine bicycle?! His aquatic shoes?! Professor Alphonse King: Live Like Him!



  1. Note the “few hundreds of people” — Alphonse King is nothing but a showboating hot-dog! I go down to the Ohio every day with my pelagic garters and estuarine collar-stays, but I don’t make a spectacle of myself.

  2. That’s Professor Alphonse King to *you.* According to the rich resources of the internet, that same marine bicycle carried Prof. King across Niagara Falls in 1887. “The wheel with paddles was erected between two water-tight cylinders, eight inches in diameter and ten feet long.” I’m having a hard time picturing that, I must admit.

  3. Melynda: what I picture is the cylinders being like the floats on a water plane, one on each side of the bicycle, and the paddle wheel in the center for propulsion. The description makes it sound like the cylinders turned to move the bicycle, but I think they were just stationary floats.

    Also, I could have sworn that the king of Sweden who died after eating a huge meal and became known as the king who ate himself to death was King Alfons, and was going to make a joke about Alphonse King being the reverse of that, but it turns out that the king in question was King Adolf Frederick. (AFAIK, there never was a King Alfons.)

    This random bit of knowledge came to mind because one of the components of King Adolf Frederick’s fatal meal was semla, the traditional pastry eaten on Shrove Tuesday in Sweden, and on the Sunday before the start of Lent in Finland. That’s this Sunday, and I will be enjoying a few of these pastries this weekend (although hopefully not enough to be fatal).

  4. HP: do you get those pelagic garters and estuarine collar-stays at the Natatorial Men’s store downtown or do you just order them off Amazon?

    • is the gentleman’s preferred riparian outfitter.

  5. Jackie: Not only is your commentary erudite , and your artistic output great,but your grasp of the technical aspects seems quite firm as well.What can’t you do?

    • Aw, thanks. 🙂 There are still a great many things I can’t do. For example, there have been many unsuccessful attempts to teach me to juggle. Also, anything related to graphical arts is pretty much out.

  6. Oh, I get it! It’s like Squidward’s bicycle, but with outriggers. Many thanks, Jackie. (Pancakes are traditional for Albion’s seed on Shrove Tuesday, although if I serve them, it will be to the music of my Quaker ancestors spinning in their graves and moaning, “We died in pursuit of the principle that no one should have religiously-themed fun of any kind.”)

    • What is Quaker cuisine like, anyway? I know they don’t do mince, but beyond that I’m in the dark. Is it mostly oat-based?

        • Jackie
        • Posted February 13, 2010 at 7:07 pm
        • Permalink

        I don’t know about Quaker cuisine, by Pennsylvania Dutch cuisine is fantastic. If you ever find yourself in East Earl, PA, the Shady Maple is definitely worth a visit. (No, I am not affiliated with them, but I have eaten there and it’s unbelievable.)

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