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Chattanooga Lookouts 18

Notice: All logos on this page are included within the parameters of 17 U.S.C. § 107, which states that the reproduction of a copyrighted work for purposes of criticism and/or comment is not an infringement of copyright. No challenge to the copyrights of these logos is intended by their inclusion here.
Posted 2014 April 26

Despite having been born in the 1970s, for some reason I can't hear the word "Chattanooga" without instantly thinking of the song "Chattanooga Choo Choo". I have no idea why. Until I began work on this review I'd never heard more than a few bars of the song. I only knew two lines from the song, and got one of them wrong to boot. (The two lines in question were "Pardon me, boy, is that the Chattanooga Choo Choo" and "I can afford to board the Chattanooga Choo Choo", which I misremembered as "I can afford to ride the Chattanooga Choo Choo".) But the song — or at least a small fragment of it — is nevertheless permanently lodged in my head, ready to torment me any time I hear the word "Chattanooga". That is, in fact, why I finally got around to listening to the whole song when I began work on this review: I couldn't focus on the actual review until I got the damn song out of my head.

Being the sad geek that I am, one thing about the lyrics jumped out at me immediately:

You leave the Pennsylvania station 'bout a quarter to four
Read a magazine and then you're in Baltimore
Dinner in the diner, nothing could be finer
Then to have your ham and eggs in Carolina

Here's the thing. If you're going to Chattanooga from anywhere in the northeast (and the singer must be coming from the northeast if he passes through Baltimore), you're not going to go through either of the Carolinas. It simply makes no sense, because a direct route would bypass the Carolinas entirely, going straight from southwestern Virginia to northeastern Tennessee. And indeed, when I checked out a map of old railroad alignments (I told you I'm a sad geek), I found not only that you would indeed bypass the Carolinas unless you specifically chose a roundabout route just so you would go through the Carolinas, but also that any route that did go through the Carolinas would require you to actually travel northwest for a significant portion in order to get through the Appaliachians. In short, if you want to have your ham and eggs in Carolina, then I suggest you forget about the Chattanooga Choo Choo and hop on the Charleston Choo Choo instead. You'll probably still hit Baltimore about the time you finish your magazine.

Anyway, the baseball team in Chattanooga is not and never has been called the Chattanooga Choo Choos, because the song was written in 1941 but the name Chattanooga Lookouts dates all the way back to 1885. Yep, it's another one of those names that we're not really supposed to criticize because it's so old. Fortunately, it's not a bad name. The name actually comes from nearby Lookout Mountain, but of course "lookout" is also a term for someone watching for potential danger. It's a military term, or it least it can be. It may not be the most heroic job you can have in the military, but pretty much any job in the military involves a certain amount of bravery because people are trying to kill you. I've never faced that sort of danger. Hell, even someone who turns tail on the battlefield and runs like a coward is still facing more danger than I ever have, because he's running away from people trying to kill him. I've never had anyone try to kill me, and I like it that way.

There is a problem with the name, of course: how do you express the concept of a lookout in a logo? Sure, you can depict an actual lookout, but a man holding binoculars up to his face isn't that exciting. So the Chattanooga Lookouts went with an approach which is a bit on the silly side but still works rather well: they drew a pair of eyes. No face, just eyes. And they stuck the eyes in front of a stop sign the letter "C". It's iconic in an odd sort of way. I like it. I suspect I shouldn't, but I do. I also appreciate that the eyes are looking off to the side. Having a letter staring at me would just be strange.

As opposed to a letter looking off to the side. That's perfectly normal...

Final Score: 18 points.
Penalties: Letter, 24 pts.
Bonuses: Local, -6 pts.


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