Awesome office Halloween party or a spectacular family gathering. Either way, this group loves Legos.
Strange roadside attractions are an American phenomenon that followed mass production and widespread use of the automobile, after the America highway system made long-distance road travel popular in the 1930s. Bizarre roadside attractions were meant to catch the eye of travelers, luring them in to stop and spend money. While many roadside attractions are free, they often come complete with diners and gift shops that help collect tourist dollars.
The advent of super-fast road travel on the interstate highway system in the 1950s caused many roadside attractions to go out of business, but a few of the more well-known strange attractions managed to stay alive, using billboards to bait travelers, often for hundreds of miles in advance. After all, who wouldn’t want to stop and pay a dollar to find out what “The Thing” is after being enticed for over 200 miles by signs advertising “the mystery of the desert?” Although often considered tacky or kitschy, many bizarre roadside attractions are iconic to American highway travelers.
Even if you don’t do road trips, if you live in America you’ve probably heard of Wall Drug (South Dakota), the Douglass Jackalope (Wyoming), or The World’s Largest Ball of Twine (Kansas). While Nebraska’s “Carhenge” may sound a bit more exciting than potatoes, here are a few, lesser-known roadside attractions out west that you won’t want to miss if you’re on the road this summer.
Bishop Castle, Wetmore, Colorado
Located outside Colorado City in the San Isabel National Forest, Bishop Castle is the ongoing, lifelong project of a single man: Jim Bishop. The strange castle has been under construction since 1969, and now stands over 70 feet tall. Working alone, Bishop harvests the rocks from the national forest and has been building his own castle for 41 years. The multi-room castle boasts a tower, stained-glass windows, and a fire-breathing dragon, with future plans for a moat, drawbridge, and possible second castle. The exhibit is free and visitors are welcome to enter and explore the castle at their own risk after signing the guestbook (waiver of liability).
UFO Watchtower, Hooper, Colorado
While in southern Colorado, swing on over to the UFO Watchtower. In 1999, former cattle ranch owner Judy Messoline built the tower as a bizarre tourist attraction in the San Luis Valley, known for its UFO sightings and other strange phenomena. Although the “tower” is actually a second-story platform, the view of the Sangre de Cristo mountains and nearby sand dunes is spectacular, and one could easily spot a UFO in any direction. In addition to the tower, the strange attraction features a domed gift shop with alien info, articles, gifts, and souvenirs; an alien alter where it is customary for visitors to leave offerings; and a healing garden. Admission is free, but donations are accepted, at this odd roadside attraction, and visitors must sign the guest book.
Gilgal Garden, Salt Lake City, Utah
Mormon bishop Thomas Battersby Child Jr. spent the last 18 years of his life building his bizarre attraction, Gilgal in his backyard as a retreat from the world. Featuring a giant sphinx with the face of Joseph Smith and a statue of himself in brick pants, the Utah State Park is both a rock sculpture garden and religious shrine. In addition to a number of other odd sculptures, the garden is complete with a sacrificial alter, rocks bearing literary and religious inscriptions, walkways, and fountains. Admission to the garden attraction and its mishmash of cool, strange and bizarre sculptures is free.
Oregon Vortex, Gold Hill, Oregon
Visitors flock to this odd roadside attraction to experience paranormal activities and optical illusions, rather than man-made structures. Those who have lived on the former mining claim over the years have both witnessed and scientifically studied the strange activities that occur there. In the vortex area, the positioning of magnetic fields renders the laws of physics void, sometimes even reversing them (as in the case of a ball that reportedly rolled uphill). Other phenomena that regularly occur there include the inability to stand up straight (the magnetic fields will pull you toward either the north or south pole), and people appearing to be both taller and shorter than they really are, depending on where they stand in the vortex. Ailing visitors frequent the vortex due to claims of its healing powers. Located outside Medford in southern Oregon, this bizarre attraction currently collects $7-10/person over age five.
Idaho Potato Expo, Blackfoot, Idaho
As their website states, the Idaho Potato Expo is “dedicated to the history and current information regarding the potato.” The expo doubles as the Idaho Potato Museum and Gift Shop, and Blackfoot is reportedly “the potato capital of the world.” You can visit the museum (formerly the railroad depot were potatoes were picked up for export) to learn about all things potato in America, including historical and nutritional information. Other strange roadside attractions include the world’s largest styrofoam potato (now topped with sour cream and butter), a Mr. Potato Head shrine, a “potatoes in space” exhibit, and a sampling of potato based treats, such as potato fudge and potato ice cream. Although admission for children over 6 is $1, and a whopping $3 for adults, each adult receives “a box of yummy hash browns to take home with you” (in place of the free baked potato they used to give away).
Spud Drive-In Theatre, Driggs, Idaho
If you haven’t had enough of potatoes after visiting the potato expo, head northeast to Driggs, Idaho to catch a flick at the Spud Drive-In. Although the Drive-In offers camping and hosts concerts and other events in addition to it’s regular movie screenings, this odd roadside attraction features the “Spud Truck”—a vintage truck carrying the world’s largest (concrete) potato.
american phenomenon Bishop Castle Carhenge colorado city drawbridge fire breathing dragon Gilgal Garden harvests highway travelers Idaho Potato Expo interstate highway system jackalope jim bishop largest ball of twine lifelong project man jim Oregon Vortex phenomenon road road travel roadside attractions room castle san isabel national forest sand dune Spud Drive in Theater tin tourist dollars ufo sightings UFO Watchtower wetmore colorado
In many North American regions, August is synonymous with mushroom hunting and you will see many hikers out on the trails harvesting these gourmet delicacies. Rare, coveted mushrooms like chanterelles can go for over $20/pound at the grocery store during the few weeks they are in season each year.
As with any wild-harvested food, certain precautions must be taken when foraging wild mushrooms, because many varieties are poisonous and/or deadly. Furthermore, many edible varieties can be easily confused with poisonous look-a-likes. Until you become familiar with the types of wild mushrooms you like to eat, it is imperative that you take a few precautions to ensure that you don’t eat something deadly, or feed it to your friends.
Basic Mushroom Foraging Precautions:
1. Take a class – many areas where wild mushrooms are in abundance offer field classes where novices can learn to both identify and cook wild varieties.
2. Go with a friend – team up with someone who is familiar with wild varieties and has successfully foraged mushrooms in past summers.
3. Purchase a good field guide with color photos – this is a good item to have in your backpack while learning to identify, but all field guides will also tell you not to eat anything that you can’t identify with 100% certainty.
4. Spore Print – this is the most definitive way to identify a mushroom with certainty and can be learned from a field guide or website, although the best way is to learn hands-on from an expert or by taking a class.
5. Research – there are dozens of websites on each edible mushroom variety, and many will discuss their poisonous look-a-like neighbors. Other sites are dedicated to identifying multiple varieties.
Here you could link out to one or more websites like these:
Chanterelle Cantharellus Cibarius
The chanterelle is a favorite in August and September, and can be found in many forested areas of the county at some point in the summer or fall. Often described as “flutes,” chanterelles are funnel or cone-shaped yellow-orange mushrooms with gills and uniform color, usually with 1-3 inch caps.
Despite their bright color, chanterelles are often hard to find; however, once you discover a “hot spot,” the area is usually a place you can return to year after year to forage chanterelles. They are usually found under conifers or birch trees and prefer old growth or mature trees. They will emerge from underneath needles, moss, and other duff on the forest floor, growing in groups or “fairy circles.” Nearby water, such as a lake, is often helpful in providing the right amount of moisture during the dry summer months in which they emerge.
The taste of a chanterelle is rich, buttery, and fruity. It is often paired with meat or poultry dishes, but works excellently in savory vegetarian dishes as a “meat.” A favorite breakfast dish is chanterelle mushroom biscuits with mushroom gravy.
King Bolete Boletus Edulis
More commonly known as the porcini mushroom, this gourmet delicacy is both popular and easy to find due to its large size. The King Bolete is often caricatured in mushroom art (think Smurf house). Its unusually stout, fat stem is whitish, and the caps range from light brown to bright orange and deep red, 2-10 inches across. The caps have pores underneath (instead of gills), which can sometimes make them look inedible. Indeed, many remove the pore layer before cooking, although it is edible as well.
The king bolete can be found abundantly in many areas in the fall, especially August. They get so large you can often see them from a distance in groups, and can be very easy to find. They are most common under oak, hemlock, and spruce trees, but are also often found under birch trees and in mixed forests. They emerge 1-2 weeks after a good rain, in or near areas that tend to stay moist.
Boletes have a distinct nutty flavor and meaty texture. Their size, taste, and texture make a great substitute for meat in a dish, but they also work well served as a side dish with meat. They are also good deep-fried in a tempura batter.
Puffball Calvatia spp. and Lycoperdon spp.
Puffballs are extremely common, growing all over the continent, year round in milder areas. Most of us have found at least a few puffballs in our time, but many people don’t realize they are edible. They are easy to find and identify, and their mild taste can make them a great first mushroom to both find and eat.
Puffballs can be as small as a nickel or penny, and can get significantly larger than a watermelon! They come in all sizes, shapes, and colors, but they are distinct and easy to identify due to the round and puffy nature that gives them their name. They are often stemless, although some varieties have a stem. When edible, they are cushiony yet firm. Later, they dry out and become airy, visibly releasing spores when touched. At this point, they should no longer be eaten.
Puffballs like open areas and grow well in fields and even on lawns. Most common varieties are white and are easy to spot growing in groups. There are a few similar looking poisonous varieties, but these can be identified by slicing them in half. A puffball, when edible, has clean, white, uniformly-colored flesh. They can be sautéed, fried, and are an easy substitute for common store-bought mushrooms in recipes.
Shaggy Mane Coprinus Comatus
The shaggy mane is a very beautiful mushroom, but it doesn’t look like the kind you would want to eat. It’s a good idea to overlook its shaggy exterior, because it grows in a variety of areas and is easy to identify. It is also rather tasty.
The shaggy mane is also found all over the continent, particularly because it prefers to grow in disturbed areas. It is easy to spot for the same reason, and it grows in groups or fairy rings.
These mushrooms tend to be on the smaller side, with skinny stems and bullet-shaped caps ranging in size from half an inch to a few inches. They are especially easy to spot and identify due to the cascading scales on the caps the give them their “shaggy” appearance. The caps are either white or grayish, with the gills turning black and “inky” as they mature. They should be eaten before reaching maturity.
Shaggy manes can be prepared similarly to the above listed mushrooms, but they are particularly popular as a soup, such as cream of shaggy mane soup, or as a mushroom sauce.
Hedgehog Hydnum Repandum
The underside or gills of the hedgehog mushroom look like the spiny back of a hedgehog, making them look inedbile. However, they are closely related to the chanterelle and many foragers think they are just as tasty and easier to find and identify.
Hedgehog mushrooms have thicker stalks and caps that can be 2-8 or more inches across. The caps can ripple or have a lot of indentations on top; underneath are the tooth-like gills that have earned the mushroom’s other nickname “sweet tooth.”
The hedgehog mushroom ranges in color from creamy white to pale tan to reddish-orange, and can be fairly uniform in color like a chanterelle. They can grow alone or in groups and are found in hardwood forests, such as birch, or under conifers. They are found throughout North America and tend to grow in the same spot year after year.
Hedgehog mushrooms should be eaten when small; if harvested when larger, you may want to remove the “teeth” or gills before eating. These mushrooms are very thick and meaty, so they work well in slow-cooked dishes like marinara sauces, stews, collards, and crock-pot recipes. They have an intense flavor that comes out when they are cooked, and it becomes even more intense when they are dried. Chanterelles don’t deep-fry well because they are so moist, but this drier and similar tasting alternative works great when battered and deep-fried.
- The 7 Weirdest Drugs in World History (makethelist.net)
- How to pick wild mushrooms (guardian.co.uk)
- 7 Tips for Enjoying Nature’s Mushroom Bounty (treehugger.com)
abundance american regions backpack chanterelle chanterelle mushrooms chanterelles color photos edible mushroom edible mushrooms edible varieties field guide Food fun gourmet delicacies grocery store Hedgehog Hydnum Repandum hikers identifying wild mushrooms Lycoperdon spp mdc mushroom mushroom foraging mushroom hunting mushrooms neighbors North American regions outdoor recreation Puffball Calvatia spp Shaggy Mane Coprinus Comatus spore print tin tips for foraging for mushrooms types of wild mushrooms wild-harvested food
Trimspa, Hydroxycut and Meridia
Trimspa worked for Anna-Nicole Smith, right? But then she died…(Too soon?). Trimspa is still available, but there are concerns about its safety. Hydroxycut was pulled off of shelves for causing liver damage. Another problem with both pills is that they’re just a blend of caffeine, and a bunch of other ingredients to make you feel hyper so that you move around more. The best part about Hydroxycut was the commercials. Hydroxycut Commercial from YouTube. As a result of their super-broad statements, the makers of the drug were sued in 2003 for false advertising. They lost.
Meridia was a bit more serious. The FDA pulled the drug from shelves after its main ingredient, Sibutramine was shown to cause heart problems and risk of stroke—just like obesity. I can’t imagine that the company was doing so well to begin with if the drug came with a warning against using it if you have a history of heart problems. Don’t most morbidly obese people have a history of heart problems and a higher than normal risk of stroke? Just a thought.
There were the belt machines that would shake your fat away from the early days of health consciousness—although apparently not self-consciousness. Then came the electric shock belts that contracted your stomach muscles so you could do crunches all day without moving. There’s even a belt out there that just makes your stomach warmer so that, in theory, the extra heat melts away the fat. Sounds familiar—like a shirt. I think burning fat from the outside is a bad idea. If you added tanning, it’s exactly the same thing as a pig roast.
‘Nuff said. I guess it doesn’t kill you but it’s a pretty funny innuendo.
Yeah, tape worms–as a diet plan. In China, some websites got in trouble for selling roundworm eggs that could be potentially deadly. The worms are illegal to intentionally eat or sell in the US (I can’t believe I’m writing this) but some websites sell them since they technically do eat fat.
So if ALL of those are bad ideas, what’s a guy to do to lose weight? The best way to lose weight quickly is easy and obvious—cut off a limb. If you want to lose weight safely and keep it off and retain use of your appendages, take your time and start eating less and better and move around.
-by David Mattera
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For many runners, running races takes the fun out of running, especially for those who run for fun instead of competition. Indeed, running is often a solo sport in which you can compete against yourself, breaking your own time or distance in order to improve, so some runners may not feel the need to run in groups or take part in races.
Fortunately for the non-competitive runner, there are plenty of fun and quirky running races that don’t focus on who comes in first or last. Especially when running for charity, the most important factor is simply being there to take part in the event.
Following are some mellow running races—10K or less—for all levels that promise to be just as much fun as run. These races are also (mostly) low-key, so the entry fees tend to be lower, along with the pressure. Another added bonus is that many of these races do not take place during the summer months, when heat on pavement can really ruin a good run.
Most of these races are happening soon, in the remaining 2010 months, but I’ve included a few to keep in mind for 2011 as well.
Drop Your Drawers and Run Wild, August 27, 2010 – check next year
This fundraiser/race is hosted by Underwearness and takes place on Friday, August 27 at the Denver Zoo/City Park at 6:30 pm. Participants of all ages can do a 5K run or walk through City Park, or a 1-mile walk through the zoo. The running fee is $30 for all ages and the walk is $10 for kids under 13 and $20 for adults. Underwearness provides new underwear to children in need, and the proceeds from the race go to Denver public schools to assist homeless students. Participants are asked to bring a new package of children’s underwear to donate at the door, thus proverbially dropping their underwear. Racers who bring new underwear packages get the chance to win additional prizes, and all entry fees include admission to the zoo, which is open after-hours for the race.
Run for the Ferry, August 28, 2010 – check next year
Although this race is on the last Saturday of August, mid-day temperatures on Bowen Island in British Columbia will feel like fall. This race is a fundraiser for the Bowen Community Housing Association and is part of Bowfest, an annual event on the island. The race starts at the ferry terminal and provides a foot tour of scenic Bowen Island with both a 10K and 5K race for adults and a 1.5K race for kids. The $30 entrance fee (kids are $15) includes admission to Bowfest after the race, as well as a raffle ticket to win a Helijet trip for two. Competitive race runners can win cash prizes as well.
Cactus ChaCha Trail Runs, October 9, 2010
This course outside Avondale, Arizona parallels the White Tank mountains in a beautiful desert setting. The race starts early—7:15am—in order to beat the heat. Runners and hikers of all ages can enter the 3-mile Mini Cha Cha for $20 or the 7-mile Full ChaCha for $25. The entry fee includes a t-shirt, raffle ticket, goodie bag, parking, and a fiesta!
Run Like Hell, October 29, 2010
At 7:30 on the Friday night before Halloween, runners can compete in this Cincinnati 5K costume race to benefit the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. The race course winds through a cemetery and at the finish line, the race turns into a costume party and contest. The $35 entry fee gets you a t-shirt and an extra ticket to the party afterward.
Thanksgiving Turkey Trail Trot, November 25, 2010
This annual race promises to be way more fun than run. And from the pictures on their website, it appears as though costumes are required. Their website also asserts that the Pilgrims landed at Seal Rocks off the shores of San Francisco, not Plymouth Rock. Racers in the 5-mile Turkey Trot (run) compete for prizes of food and wine, with an entry fee somewhere around $30 (TBA for 2010). Walkers take part in the Pilgrim Promenade 3-mile race, while kids compete in the Gobbler Chase. Events start at 8:15am in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park on Thanksgiving day.
Fig Leaf 5K, April 2011
Don’t like costumes? How about a clothing optional race instead? This 5K race at the Paradise Valley Club optional clothing resort in Dawsonville, Georgia benefits the American Cancer Society. The race fee is $20 and includes a t-shirt, goodie bag, door prizes, and a day-pass to the resort after the race, including the Saturday night dance party. Clothing is optional, so racers are encouraged to wear as much or as little clothing as they are comfortable running in; however, nudity is required in the pools and tubs at the resort.
Skirt Chaser Race Series
This event was designed under the Skirt Sports mission that “fitness should be fun,” and replaced a previous female-only race promoting women to wear skirts while running. To get the men involved in the 5K competition, the women are given a 3-minute head start and then the men are invited to “chase” them. The winner, male or female, receives a $500 cash prize. Participants and encouraged to wear a skirt, but it is not required.
I don’t like cats much. Okay, I had two cats that were awesome, but most cats are not my cup of tea. Why? Well, this comic by Jim Benton tells the tale very well. Cats are often mean for no reason. Dogs rule. Oh, yeah, Jim Benton is pretty cool too.
It’s a sticky wicket when you decide to write about something you actually like. You spend all day being snarky and clever, and then you get this great idea, and you’re afraid you’re going to come off, I don’t know, less right than you want it to. That’s the danger of writing about anything, and if your chosen medium is the word, you do your best, just like someone who draws with pencils, paints with acrylic, or sculpts with clay, mashed potatoes or excrement. Expression is…expression.
Nobody understands that like Amanda Palmer does. She’s taken artistic expression to a wholly public, yet totally authentic place in a world that is absolutely and virtually (yes, literally) flooded with mass-market crap and agenda-ridden corporate ad-work. (Rather than artwork. See what I did there? Twas a play on words). Unlike most young not-yet-musicians, Palmer did not dream of being a rockstar. She saw the career of rockstar as a means to her ultimate end – throwing the ultimate party. You can read her entire, beautifully written bio on her webpage, in the press section. I won’t steal any of Jonathan Perry’s thunder – check it out for yourself.
If the ultimate party is Palmer’s goal, she seems to accomplish it in almost everything she does. Almost a decade ago she formed The Dresden Dolls with Brian Viglione and immediately the duo’s performances were complimented by local drama students and often The Dirty Business Brigade.
The release of her 2008 solo album, Who Killed Amanda Palmer also saw a companion book of the same name, penned by Neil Gaiman, who is now her fiance. Palmer has hosted many online “Twitter Parties” called the “Losers of Friday Night on Twitter” and is known to perform “Ninja” gigs at cities where she travels. She has a webcast channel called PartyOnTheInternet.com. Her projects are numerous. Her energy is, truly, indescribable. And her fans? Well, they (we) love her.
Taken from Twitter, I submit 9 fan-created Amanda Palmer pieces of art JUST SINCE July 31, 2010. In less than a month, and these are just the ones she’s tweeted that I’ve caught. What this says to me is that here we have a woman who not only makes art wherever she goes, she inspires it as well.
Twitter: @cassandralong – a simply amazing artist
Twitter: @scissorhandvamp – Shawna from Alaska
Twitter: @QTHC215 – Big AFP fan, and obviously a fan of The Dresden Dolls – tattoos are 4-ever!
Twitter: @SoCoSeth – he says he makes everything look sexy
This ukulele is actually named “Amanda,” probably because she can, of course, play a mean ukulele, and has recently released and EP called Amanda Palmer Performs The Popular Hits of Radiohead on Her Magical Ukulele. And yes, it is awesome. Don’t believe me? Go download it.
See more Amanda Palmer fan art. And can I just say, thank heavens there are still people out there who are willing to have a good time, and who make sure the rest of us do too.
- How to Use Twitter for Beginners (amazinginfographics.com)
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AFP Amanda Effing Palmer Amanda Palmer artistic expression authentic place brian viglione companion book dirty business drama students dresden dolls fiance jonathan perry local drama neil gaiman paints Party on the Internet pencils play on words rockstar solo album sticky wicket twitter ukulele ultimate party webcast channel Who Killed Amanda Palmer
American roads and road travel are a rich part of U.S. history, as we first built west-bound wagon roads, and later highways, in order to fulfill our manifest destiny. The modern American highway comes complete with rest stops, historical sites, roadside attractions, and government-preserved natural spaces.
Sadly, the American interstate system made many of America’s most interesting roads obsolete, while homogenizing road travel with its chain hotels, service stations, and restaurants.
Many of us have never been on some of America’s most infamous roads, even though we know them well thanks to American pop-culture. Even if you’ve driven part of the beloved Route 66, how much do you really know about the road and how it gained its notoriety?
Route 66 is America’s best-known and most-loved road, thanks to both its historical function and its widespread use in American pop-culture. Route 66 runs from Chicago to Los Angeles, coving a total span of 2,448 miles. It passes through eight states—Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California—so it was a major route west before the interstate highway system was created in 1956.
Route 66 began as a government-funded wagon road in 1857. During the Dust Bowl years of the Great Depression in the 1930s, the road was heavily traveled as farmers migrated westward to find work in California’s agricultural mecca, providing some prosperity to towns along the road. Due to its heavy use, Route 66 became America’s first completely-paved highway in 1938.
During the 1950s, Route 66 was the main highway used by Los Angles-bound Mid-Westerners, and a plethora of roadside attractions popped up along the highway. Route 66 was actually removed from the American Highway system in 1985, but it is now a National Scenic Byway and advertised by the states it runs through as “Historic Route 66.”
Route 66 is also known as the Great Diagonal Way, the Will Rodgers Highway, the Main Street of America, and the Mother Road. In American pop-culture, it is also a song and a TV show, in addition to being featured in many movies and John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath.
Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles
The Hollywood road and icon, Sunset Boulevard, was already pretty well-known before it became the title of Billy Wilder’s 1950 film. For all practical purposes, it is a major road running through parts of Los Angeles, linking downtown LA to the Pacific Coast Highway for a span of 24 miles. Traveling west, the road begins at Figueroa Street in downtown LA and winds through Hollywood, West Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Bel-Air, and Santa Monica to the Pacific Coast Highway.
As portrayed in the film Sunset Boulevard, the road covers both extremely wealthy and destitute areas of LA, and in Hollywood many struggling actors still take up residence along the boulevard. There are many famous places located on Sunset, including UCLA and the Beverly Hills Hotel. Also known as the Pink Palace, the Beverly Hills Hotel is featured on the cover of Hotel California, The Eagles best-selling album.
Elsewhere in pop-culture, the film Sunset Boulevard was adapted into a 1993 Andrew Lloyd Webber musical by the same name. The street was featured in a 1960s TV show called 77 Sunset Strip. A section of the road was also the subject of the 1960s Jan and Dean song Dead Man’s Curve.
Lombard Street, San Francisco
San Francisco is known as America’s hilliest city, and Lombard Street is known as the crookedest street in the hilliest city. Lombard Street is very steep and includes a series of severe switchbacks in order for cars to be able to drive down the decline. Lombard Street is also well-known because it is a beautiful brick street lined with Victorian mansions, featuring some of the most expensive real-estate in a city full of very expensive real estate.
The crest of Lombard Street happens to provide a beautiful view of the city and bay area. From the crooked part of the street, Lombard Street continues east to Telegraph Hill and Coit Tower, and it also continues west to the Golden Gate Bridge. So Lombard Street not only functions as a major road in San Francisco, but also as a major site to see (and see other sites from) while in the city.
Bourbon and Canal Streets, New Orleans
Bourbon and Canal are both very well-known streets in New Orleans’ famous French Quarter, but they may stand as an enigma to those who have never visited the city. Bourbon Street is probably the more well-known of the two, as the place to party in the city of carnivals, notably Mardi Gras. It was named after The House of Bourbon in Europe by the French Royal Family.
Bourbon Street spans the length of the entire French Quarter, known as the hub of New Orleans. The eight-block area known as Upper Bourbon Street is particularly popular with tourists, beginning at its intersection with Canal Street across from the Central Business District. The Bourbon–Canal Street corner is notorious for its plethora of strip clubs and its open-container law (in effect throughout the French Quarter).
Since Manhattan’s Canal Street, linking lower Manhattan to New Jersey, is probably even more well-known, Canal Street in New Orleans deserves its own distinction. Canal Street was designed, as the name suggests, to accommodate a canal, making it the widest street in the country to be designated a “street.”
Dividing the French Quarter from the Central Business District (formerly the American Sector of the city), Canal Street has three lanes of traffic on each side, divided by a set of street car tracks. Canal Street is formerly known as New Orleans’ main shopping district and is still home to dozens of large hotels. It’s wide streets, palm trees, views of the river, and still-running street cars give Canal Street a unique look you won’t see in Manhattan, or elsewhere.
US Highway 50
Highway 50 is otherwise known as “the loneliest road in America.” Drivers on either end of the road that begins in Ocean City, Maryland and ends in West Sacramento, California may balk at this designation, but travelers of its rural middle-section will understand the byline all too well, sometimes driving for hours without ever seeing another car.
Highway 50 was built in 1926 as part of the original US highway system. Once the interstate system was implemented, the highway provided a slower, more scenic alternative. If you’re driving across the country anytime soon and have a few extra days to spend on the road, Highway 50 is a pretty straight shot across the continent, covering just over 3000 miles through 12 states. It is far more scenic than the interstate, and it provides a much richer sense of American history and culture.
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Potty Mouth? No, More Like Potty Pen
I spend a good amount of time in dive bars. Yesterday, in fact, I spent a significant portion of my day sitting outside my favorite watering hole with a group of friends. As it was my favorite (and theirs), we all noticed the most recent addition to the bathroom’s ever-evolving graffiti collection, telling us if we keep fighting over politics, well, then we all “loose.” Hmm…misspelling? Do we all “lose” because politics and bars should be kept far, far apart? Or is it slang “like, yo, we all loose up in here, politics be damned!”
What people choose to write in a restroom is a study of psychology, language, art, and manners. Why do people feel the need to share their ideas to a semi-anonymous audience while on the toilet? In this internet age, when a Facebook update is usually easier to accomplish than a grocery list (“do we, like, have any paper?”), the statements continue to appear, though they are doing so less and less.
Sharpies and tile that doesn’t belong to you have gone together as long as public restrooms and portable ink have been around. While the most obvious place to see graffiti these days will be found in dive bars, we all remember childhood and going to the far back stall at school, armed with a magic marker, telling our little insular world who to call for a good time.
Last year, Troy Keon’s book A Regular Robert Frost: Bathroom Prose and Graffiti was published. The author travels around dive bars in the United States capturing the most striking graffiti he can find. Noticing how more and more chain restaurants and faux-cosmopolitan eateries keep popping up in the American landscape, he seeks out the underbelly’s underbelly: its toilet—a place becoming less common in the average American’s drinking and/or dining experience. Keon says, “Many of the bathroom walls that once hosted art or graffiti are now freshly painted over, spruced up with a fake plant or a doily. Forever gone is some of the most provocative art, but this book has captured it.”
Luckily, Keon isn’t the only person with this idea. Magnifying the normal bathroom by leaps and bounds, legendary NYC punk club CBGB’s had the bathroom to end all bathrooms when it came to graffiti. When they closed in 2006, all the street art, phone numbers, and drunken sentiments slashed onto its walls were apparently lost forever. Enter artist Justin Lowe, who has recreated the iconic loo for the upscale Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford, CT.
New Englanders can now pay a fee to view where Joey Ramone peed.
While Keon and Lowe are recognizing something we all have come across our entire lives as an art form above its face-value definition—which is at the very least destruction of property—at its worst defamation of character, libel, or profanity; the most fascinating part of their work rests in the ability to make everyday people (Ivy League preppies, even) pay for the pleasure of looking at pictures or recreations of places they’re scared to step foot in. While this is also the case for, say, war journalism or certain exotic National Geographic locations, it’s different in that the subject matter exists here in our own cities, its creators are our neighbors, its message the struggle of the youth and the drunk in our own backyard.
Graffiti’s made its way into journalism too. As we mark the five-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, photographer Richard Misrach is releasing Destroy This Memory, a book whose entire text is the words written on the boarded up or abandoned properties of 2005 New Orleans. There is no human being in any of the seventy pictures in the book, yet, as NPR recently stated in its review of the book, “voices are at the center of every frame.”
A Regular Robert Frost: Bathroom Prose and Graffiti american landscape artistic expression bizarre stuff CBGB's chain restaurants creative crafts creative vision Destory This Memory dive bars eateries facebook graffiti grocery list Hurricane Katrina insular world internet age Joey Ramone keon language art magic marker National Geographic NPR public restrooms restroom Richard Misrach robert frost sharpies slang study of psychology Troy Keon underbelly watering hole
Dirty Car Art by Scott Wade gives you a reason or an excuse not to wash your car…you are preparing the canvas for your masterpiece!
I happened across this artist’s site today. I believe the Internet community loves cats, so I thought I’d share some of Marja Hagborg cat drawings and paintings with the readers of Bizarre Bytes. You can visit her website by clicking the link below.
A Midsummer Cat
A Cat’s Gotta Look Good
Kitty Phone Home
Cats on a Plane
Love that the one cat has a goldfish in his drink.
Cats Eating Sushi
Makes Sense to me.
See more animal and cat illustrations and paintings by Marja Hagborg.
- Cats Eating Pizza (thisblogrules.com)
- Cats on Skateboards (thisblogrules.com)
- Animals In Odd Places (digitalbusstop.com)
- Top 10 Funny Demotivational Posters Feauring Animals (toptenz.net)
A magnet-powered method of pouring beer from the bottom up that works nine times faster than traditional methods, further proof that great ideas can be fueled by alcohol.
The cup features a small hole at the bottom, covered up by a circular magnet. Pressurized beer lifts the magnet up, filling the cup until the weight of the beer on top of the magnet pushes it back down, sealing the bottom. This system is not only faster (serving 56 draft beers in a minute), but minimizes spilling, to the joy of sticky-footed concert-goers everywhere.
Josh Springer, head of GrinOn, was originally developing a pitcher with a latch on the bottom, but when it turned out that would cost $30,000 to develop, he switched his focus. The GrinOn cups cost only 30 cents more than normal disposable cups, and the magnets also serve as an advertising device for drunken buffoons, who steal them to put on their refrigerators. Selling that space to advertisers generates extra revenue
- Good Brews, Good Food at Capital Ale House (eatinginrichmond.com)
- The Ten Most Torturous Drinking Games (thisblogrules.com)
- Beer Pong and the Supreme Court (jeffgeigercounters.com)
A wasp looks like it is doing a daring trapeze act while being dangled from a blade of grass by four red ants. The insects lifted the wasp by his wings as they carried him back to their nest. Photographer Uda Dennie captured the team work outside his home in Batam Island, Indonesia. He said: “I love taking close-up photos of insects because it reveals things you rarely see. I went outside to look for insects and found these ants working together to carry the dead wasp back to their nest.”
- Could Apes Really Take Over the World? Possible Threats to Humanity (bizarremedical.com)
- Top 10 Secretly Badass Animals (toptenz.net)
- Black and Yellow (thelordianrants.wordpress.com)
I don’t claim to understand fashion design or the clothing manufactures and while we are certain these fashion designs aren’t for everyday wear, I wonder at the true meaning behind this art. In any case, these bizarre dresses are from the mind of Ryan Yoon.
Teddy Bear Dress by Ryan Yoon.
Yes, she is bare breasted, so who is looking at the dress.
Diet Coke Dress
Well, at least we know how this fashion model kept so slim.
M&M Dress by Ryan Yoon
Which is yummier? The candy dress or the fashion model?
Not sure what to make of this, but I am definitely looking into a dog walker this week.
Tide Detergent Box Dress
I don’t know why I have avoided the laundry mat all these years. If I knew blondes like this were hanging out there.
The World’s Most Technologically Advanced Dress
The iPad is the new black, especially with a leopard print screen.
Thanks, Ryan. Great ideas, hot women and a bit of weirdness. Perfect for Bizarre Bytes.
via, Ryan Yoon
- Trashy Dresses & Recycled Wardrobes (digitalbusstop.com)
- The Best Sites for On-Trend Plus Sized Clothing (verybestsites.com)
- Great Actresses, Golden Statues, Horrible Clothes (makethelist.net)
Something never change and just get better with age. The Fonz is one of those thing. Those were indeed, Happy Days, Henry Winkler.
The Fonz animated gif.
No reason to post this photo of Kristin Wiig other than she is awesome. Love this photo of her. She is also the one of the funniest women in the history of the world.
Another Kristin Wiig photo, showing her angry side.
My close friend, pictured below, is also one of the funniest women in the world, just slightly less famous…by choice, of course.
Is this t-shirt sexist? Maybe. Is it humorous? Definitely. Is this young lady attractive? Of course. Do I like asking myself questions that I can then answer. Resoundingly, yes! This “Nice Tweets” t-shirt is fun and hopefully no one was offended. Hey, girls have breasts, guys like looking at said breasts. It is the order of things; don’t fight it. Bu the shirt here.
- Best Cancer Treatment Information Websites (verybestsites.com)
- Twitter Statistics Infographic (infographicsinspiration.com)
- Top 10 Most Irresponsible Online How-To Guides (toptenz.net)
The Simpsons Animated Series has been on television long enough to be a part of our pop culture for generations to come. I guess it should be unexpected that this beloved tv show should have made its way into other pop culture phenoms such as Star Wars, comic books and…ugh, the Twilight series. What are your favorite TheSimpsons mashups?
Star Wars Simpsons
Lady & the Tramp Simpsons
Marvel Superheroes Simpsons
Simpson in their Twilight
All New All Different Simpsons (Giant-Size X-men #1)
The Real Simpsons
Comic Book Simpsons
- Superhero Movie Statistics (infographicsinspiration.com)
- Top Ten Fictional Brands from Movies and TV (toptenz.net)
- Spot the Kelsey Grammer Voiceovers (digitalbusstop.com)