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bawd extra: The Worst Paper Toy in the World
2003-03-25

egular readers know of the Ukulele King's wide and varied interests, and are aware that, as much as he tries to focus his energies on creating the very worst poetry he can, sometimes he gets distracted. Easily distracted. And, by "sometimes" we mean, "continually," of course.

There's nothing like an optical illusion to steal the Ukulele King's attention. When he is not fiddling with PhotoShop to create freevision 3-D images, the Ukulele King can often be found staring at Victorian paper toys, and, lately, he has developed a peculiar fondness for one such example, called the "Thaumatrope." This little paper disc, when spun, creates the illusion that two separate images are blending together to form one complete illustration.

In 1826, an English physician named John A. Paris developed this weird little toy. He made use of a phenomenon called "persistence of vision," the very process by which it is possible to make movies. If you run images together at 24 frames per second, the eye will retain one image just long enough so that the two images appear continuous. In the same way, when the Thaumatrope is spun, the two images on either side of the disc appear to be as one.

As always, it is not enough for the Ukulele King to stare at such a thing. He feels obligated to you, his loyal readers, to create some new ones and give them to you freely as an expression of thanks for your ongoing interest in his terrible poetry. So he has done so, using the very images that must by now be so familiar to you, as it is the very clip art that he used to illustrate his lavishly illustrated free chapbook, The Great Whiskee River, available for download from this very Website! So he has done so, and will spend the rest of the afternoon trying to break this strange affectation of speaking about himself in the third person. Seriously, what is up with that? It's like he's gone crazy or something.

Crazy about Thaumatropes! Remember, folks, it's not magic, it is science.




How to use the Thaumatropes:

  • Print up this page.

  • Cut out the large rectangles. Color them if you like.

  • Fold along the dotted center line. Hold the paper up to the light to be sure the circles line up. Put some glue on the back of the circles and stick them together.

  • Cut out the circle. Use a pencil or hole punch hole punch to make small holes where each of the black dots is marked. Use a needle & thread to tie a short string to each of the holes on the sides of the circle. If you like, you can also use rubber bands.

  • Rub the strings between your fingers to twirl the Thaumatrope. Watch the two images merge into one.

  • As you twirl it, recite this poem, composed by the Ukulele King specifically for this event:

    Wretched, wretched little toy
    for every wretched girl and boy;
    Spin it, spin it, on its rope!
    Behold the wretched Thaumatrope!

  • Faint. Exciting, isn't it?

Cheers!

© Max Sparber. Click for republication information.

Posted by UkuleleKing at 10:03 a.m.

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