America has always been a country with a flare for hyperbole. We Americans like to live large, eat and drink big gulps, and buy in mass quantities. Why, we invented the jumbo-size! We also like to erect landmarks to our out-sized items. If you doubt the veracity of this statement, take a roadtrip while you still have time this summer, and for my readers overseas, if you're planning a trip to the U.S. any time soon, add these fabulous attractions to your itinerary! America's highways and byways are littered with strange, surprising and often hilarious monuments to America's love affair with extravagant exaggeration. Whether it's food, flora, fauna or frippery, we sing the praises of the humungous among us. Let's traipse through the 50 states, shall we, from sea to shining sea, in order of admission to the Union:
1. Delaware: Giant Doctor's Bag with Stethoscope (Newark)
2. Pennsylvania: Giant Cow (Wilkes-Barre)
3. New Jersey: World's Largest Elephant (Margate City)
4. Georgia: World's Largest Peanut (Ashburn)
5. Connecticut: Giant Statue of a Man Holding an American Flag (Norwich)
Why is this on top of a printing company?
6. Massachusetts: Giant Rotating Globe (Wellesley)
7. Maryland: Giant Pineapple (Baltimore)
8. South Carolina: World's Largest Peach (Gaffney)
9. New Hampshire: Giant Pirate (Hampton)
Built by...who else?..a duck farmer
10. Virginia: Giant Milk Bottles (Richmond)
11. New York: The Big Duck (Flanders)
12. North Carolina: World's Largest Chest of Drawers (High Point)
13. Rhode Island: Giant Rooftop Dragon Statute (Providence)
14. Vermont: World's Tallest Filing Cabinet (Burlington)
Perhaps this belongs to the duck?
15. Kentucky: World's Largest Baseball Bat (Louisville)
16. Tennesee:World's Largest Rubik's Cube (Knoxville)
17. Ohio: World's Largest Basket (Dresden)
18. Louisiana: Giant Frog Statue (Rayne)
19. Indiana: World's Largest Egg (Mentone)
Sport and art meet at the Nelson-Atkins Museum
20. Mississippi: World's Largest Rocking Chair (Gulfport)
21. Illinois: World's Largest Covered Wagon (features a giant Abe Lincoln) (Lincoln)
22. Alabama: Giant Hog (Dothan)
23. Maine: Giant Lobster (Hancock)
24. Missouri: World's Largest Shuttlecock (Kansas City)
25. Arkansas: World's Largest Tuned Windchimes (Eureka Springs)
Were you expecting something to do with cheese?
26. Michigan: World's Largest Weathervane (Montague)
27. Florida: Giant Bowling Pin (Tampa)
28. Texas: World's Largest Rattlesnake (Freer)
29. Iowa: World's Largest Strawberry (Strawberry Point)
30. Wisconsin: World's Largest Muskie (Hayward)
31. California: Giant Donut (Ingleside)
Intern Bruce snapped this one
32. Minnesota: Paul Bunyan Statute (Akeley)
33. Oregon: Giant Grizzly Bear with Salmon (Crescent)
34. Kansas: Giant Reproduction of Van Gogh's Sunflowers (80 ft easel) (Goodland)
35. West Virginia: World's Largest Teapot (Chester)
36. Nevada: World's Largest Firecracker (Amargosa Valley)
37. Nebraska: World's Largest Porch Swing (Hebron)
That's one big spud
38. Colorado: World's Largest Hercules Beetle (Colorado Springs)
39. North Dakota: World's Largest Buffalo (Jamestown)
40. South Dakota: World's Largest Pheasant (Huron)
41. Montana: Giant Eagle Statues (Libby)
42. Washington: World's Largest Cowboy Hat and Boots (Seattle)
43. Idaho: World's Largest Baked Potato (Blackfoot)
Barney's fantasy date?
44. Wyoming: World's Largest Jackalope (Douglas)
45. Utah: Giant Pink Dinosaur (Vernal)
46. Oklahoma: World's Largest Concrete Totem Pole (Foyil)
47. New Mexico: World's Largest Pistachio Nut (Alamogordo)
48. Arizona: Giant Sundial (Carefree)
49. Alaska: Giant Rollerskate (Anchorage)
50. Hawaii: Life-size Whale Statue (Kihei, Maui)
You can check out these and many other oddities at RoadsideAmerica.com. Happy trails!
Here in the Chicago area, we are sweltering through a third day in a row of extreme heat (100+ degrees) and many homes in my community were without power for most of the week due to a powerful storm that barreled through last Sunday. All over the state of Illinois and the Midwest, it's been hot, hot, hot. How hot, you ask? Well, a hot librarian knows where to go for answers to all sorts of questions, including those about the weather!
Hot time in the old town tonight?
How how is it?
Hotter than a honeymoon hotel...
Hotter than a stolen tamale...
Hotter than a fur coat in Marfa --Texas, that is...
(Thanks for my friends at Texas Monthly for those!)
How hot is it?
It's so hot that I have found out (the hard way) that my seat belt buckle could be used as a branding iron.
It was so hot today I saw an Amish guy buying an air conditioner.
How hot is it?
Hotter than the backlog o' hell...
Hotter than hell with the blower on...
Hotter'n a burnt boot...
All from Cowboy Lingo: A Dictionary of the Slack-Jaw Words and Whangdoodle Ways of the American West by Ramon F. Adams (Houghton Mifflin, New York, 2000)
How hot is it?
Hotter than a two-dollar pistol - Very hot, an allusion to cheap 19th-century pistols that got hot when fired.
Hotter than Methodist hell - About as hot as it can get; an expression used chiefly in Maine.
Hotter'n a skunk - 1. Very drunk. 2. Very hot weather or anything hot.
Hotter'n love in hayin' time - Extremely hot.
All from: Facts on File Dictionary of American Regionalisms: Local Expressions from Coast to Coast by Robert Hendrickson (Facts on File, New York, 2000)
How hot is it?
Hotter than an iPad 3 after a couple minutes use...
Hotter than a steel playground slide at noon...
Hotter than a habañero orbiting the sun...
How hot is it?
Hotter than a Times-Square Rolex...
Hotter than a brazen hussy in church...
Hotter than blue blazes...
This actually makes sense from a scientific point of view since the hotter the source of light, the shorter its wavelength, and blue light has the shortest wavelength of the visible spectrum. Well, officially it is called violet, but physicists generally refer to the end of the spectrum that includes violet as the blue end and this is due to how our eyes see color. We have three kinds of color sensing cells, called cones, in our eyes. These cones sense red, green, and blue light. So every color we perceive is some combination of red, green, and blue. That includes yellow, believe it or not. So physicists just talk about those three colors. Maybe they never had the 64-pack of Crayola Crayons to color with as children! But I digress... So hotter than red hot, even hotter than white hot, is blue hot. (Or, for purists, violet hot.)
(Thanks to Amazing Space from the Space Telescope Science Institute's Office of Public Outreach
On this day in 1965, astronaut Edward White became the first American to “walk” in space, during the flight of Gemini 4.
White was selected as a member of the astronaut team by NASA in September 1962. He was pilot for Gemini 4, which was a 66-revolution, 4-day mission that launched on June 3, and ended on June 7, 1965. He was outside Gemini 4 for 21 minutes. Other highlights of the mission included cabin depressurization, the opening of cabin doors, and 12 scientific and medical experiments. He was awarded the NASA Exceptional Service Medal and U.S. Air Force Senior Astronaut Wings. On March 21, 1966, he was named one of the pilots of the AS-204 mission, the first 3-man Apollo flight. Tragically, he died on January 27, 1967, in the Apollo spacecraft flash fire during a launch pad test at Kennedy Space Center, Florida.
which makes for blog post fodder on slow days:
***Virginia Woolf wrote all her books standing up.
***Tom Sawyer was the first novel written on a typewriter.
***The Bible has been translated into Klingon.
When a librarian is tired and unable to come up with an interesting post, she resorts to trivia and factoids. Hence, this birthday salute!
Born on this day:
1721 - Madame De Pompadour, mistress of French King Louis the 15th (what would we have named the hairdo?)
1776 - Charles Macintosh, Scotland, patented waterproof fabric (what would the Brits call their raincoats?)
1800 - Charles Goodyear, inventor (vulcanization process for rubber) (how would we get around?)
1808 - Andrew Johnson, Raleigh NC, 17th president (1865-69) (Discuss an alternate direction of the Reconstruction)
1914 - Billy Tipton, American musician (d. 1989) (Jazz pioneer born a woman, who lived as a man for most of her adult life)
1917 - Tom Bradley, American politician (d. 1998) (first, and so far only, African-American Mayor of Los Angeles)
1921 - Robert C. Baker, Inventor of the chicken nugget (d.
1937 - Mary Tyler Moore, actress (Mary Tyler Moore show, Ordinary People)
1938 - Jon Voight, Yonkers, NY, actor (Deliverance, Midnight Cowboy)
1946 - Laffit Pincay Jr, jockey (Kentucky Derby 1984, Belmont 1982-84, Swale)
1946 - Marianne Faithfull, Hampstead England, vocalist (Mick Jagger's main squeeze for a time in the '60s)
1951 - Yvonne Elliman, US actress/singer (Original Mary Magdalene in Jesus Christ Superstar; I Don't Know How to
1972 - Jude Law, British actor (Cute foil for Robert Downey, Jr. in Sherlock Holmes flicks)
1973 - Theo Epstein, the Cubs' new general manager (formerly of Boston)
To find out more about me, click on the Not Your Average Jo tab.