K is for kaleidoscopes (ABC Wednesday)

There are certain things, such as fireworks and kaleidoscopes, that are never as impressive in graphic representation than they are in real life.

If you read the definition, you get no idea just how wonderful kaleidoscopes can be: “An optical instrument with two or more reflecting surfaces inclined to each other in an angle, so that one or more (parts of) objects on one end of the mirrors are seen as a regular symmetrical pattern when viewed from the other end, due to repeated reflection.

“The reflectors (or mirrors) are usually enclosed in a tube, often containing on one end a cell with loose, colored pieces of glass or other transparent (and/or opaque) materials to be reflected into the viewed pattern. Rotation of the cell causes motion of the materials, resulting in an ever-changing viewed pattern.”

I was reminded of this when I was helping The Daughter clean out her room recently. I came across one of my old kaleidoscopes which I either lent her or she “borrowed.” It was so much fun looking through it that I borrowed it back.

NASA has provided instructions on making a kaleidoscope, appropriate, since its Hubble looked into a cosmic kaleidoscope last year.

I’ve just discovered that the Guinness-certified World’s Largest Kaleidoscope is not all that far from where I live, on Route 28 in Mount Tremper, Ulster County, New York. It stands 56 feet tall and is 38 feet in diameter. The family NEEDS to go this year!

Of course, my first thought involving the word is to the song Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds by some Liverpudlian band on their Sgt. Pepper album, featuring the line “The girl with kaleidoscope eyes.” Apparently the reference is to one Yoko Ono.

Listen to Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds:
The Beatles, from the movie Yellow Submarine
Elton John, #1 in the US for 2 weeks in 1975, with the Reggae guitars of Dr. Winston O’Boogie.

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