Friday, September 28, 2012

Pass the Chips, Please

Thought for the day:  If you think the Twister ride at Universal Studios isn't nearly windy enough, you might be from Oklahoma.

It should come as no surprise that the movie Twister was filmed in Oklahoma, because those folks are blown around by more tornadoes than any other state in the country. But while researching this blustery state, I came across a most peculiar story. Not just once or twice, but many times. I'll leave it to you to judge its veracity:

In Ponco City, Oklahoma, a tornado allegedly picked up a house with a man and his wife inside. The walls and roof blew away, but the floor remained intact. It eventually glided downward...  and set the couple, safe and sound, on the ground.

I'm not so sure about that, either, but it's an interesting tale, anyway. Really gets the imagination a-whirling, and twists it all outta shape.

Okay, how's about some interesting tidbits before we move on to look at some pictures?

  • Boise City is the only city in the United States that was bombed during WWII. On July 5, at about 12:30 AM, a B-17 bomber based at Dalhart Army Air Base (~50 miles south of Boise City) dropped six practice bombs on the sleeping city. (Pity the terrified schnook who picked that moment to get out of bed to go pee.)
  • Originally, the area now known as Oklahoma was simply called the Indian Territory. In 1889,  in what later came to be known as the Oklahoma Land Rush, the territory was opened to settlers for the first time, and on opening day, April 22, fifty thousand people swarmed into the area. To beat the crowd, some people jumped the gun on the noon starting time, and got there sooner. Ergo, the state nickname of the Sooner State.
  • Lots of states have official state songs, trees, birds, flowers, etc. But Oklahoma is the first I've come across with an official state meal: chicken fried steak, fried okra, squash, cornbread, BBQ pork, biscuits, sausage and gravy, grits, corn, strawberries, black-eyed peas, and pecan pie. (I wonder if they also have an official state antacid.)
  • Omulgee, which held an annual Pecan Festival at Dripping Springs Park up until a few years ago, holds world records for the largest pecan pie, largest pecan cookie, largest pecan brownie, and the biggest ice cream and cookie party. (Sweet!)
Ready for some pictures now?

Familiar with the Trail of Tears? This is one of the plaques marking that trail. The words in the center read: In honor of one who endured the forced removal of the Cherokees in 1838-39. In a shameful chapter of our country's history, the Indian Removal Act of 1830 forced the relocation of all Indians from the Southeastern U.S. to the Indian Territory. (present-day Oklahoma) Many were mistreated on this forced trek, and many died. Today, Oklahoma still has the largest Native American population in the country, approximately 250,000, representing sixty-seven different tribes.

The Oklahoma Centennial Monument was built in Oklahoma City to commemorate its hundredth anniversary of statehood. All forty-six massive bronze sculptures were created by Oklahoman Paul Moore. (The cowboy on horseback at the top of this post is another piece of this monumental monument.)

The 101 Ranch Historic District, the birthplace of the 101 Ranch Wild West Show,  was founded in 1893 by Colonel George Washington Miller, a Confederate war veteran. It was the largest diversified farm and ranch in America at the time.

You might be surprised to know that the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame is located in Oklahoma. 

There's also a Toy & Action Figure Museum, a Seaba Station Motorcycle Museum, a Will Rogers Museum, and the National Rod & Custom Car Hall of Fame. Owned by custom car guru Darryl Starbird, this car museum has over 50 eye-popping custom-built, exotic vehicles. Hey! Wanta see them?

Ever hear of Red Dirt music? I've gotta admit, it's a new one on me. It supposedly got its name from the distinctive red soil found in Oklahoma, but I think they called it that because it's easier than calling it bluegrass-country-rock-folk-and-field-hollers. The sound is supposed to be a combo of all those things. Care to listen to a snippet?

Just when ya think you've got the state all figured out for being about all things cowboy, you come across something like this: Prague, Oklahoma holds an annual Kolache Festival. As the town's name suggests, a lot of the people in the area have a Czech heritage, and this festival celebrates it with polka music, dancing, parades, costumes, booths, a carnival, and of course, LOTS of kolaches. They sell approximately 50,000 of  'em every year at this gathering. Oh, not sure what a kolache is? It's a baked good made of sweet dough and various kinds of fillings. Mostly fruit, but some other goodies, as well. (Oh yeah, and since this IS Oklahoma, there are also some rodeo activities at this festival. Natch.) So, if you're ever in the area, go czech 'em out.

painting by Fredric Remington, 1905

Oklahoma City is home to the National Cowboy Hall of Fame. (Surprise!) There, you'll find a massive collection of Western art, a bunch of firearms, displays depicting the history of cowboys, ranching, and rodeos, and Prosperity Junction, a turn-of-the-century Western prairie town. 

If you don't get your fill of looking at firearms at the Cowboy Hall of Fame, you can always visit the J.M. Davis Arms & Historical Museum. Located in Claremore, this museum houses the largest private gun collection in the world. But it isn't ALL about guns. It's historical, too. You'll also find collections of spurs, saddles, local ranch brands, beer steins, WWI posters, military weapons, statues, and Western heritage artifacts. (And a LOT of guns.)

Ever hear of cow chips? Um, no, it isn't something you serve at a party with a bowl of onion dip. It's...  how shall I put this? Cow poop. Dried cow poop. And for some reason or another, once upon a time, somebody decided it would be fun to play with it. To throw it. To compete by throwing it.  Beaver, Oklahoma promotes itself as the Cow Chip Throwing Capital of the World, and every April, the city holds the World Championship Cow Chip Throw. How 'bout that? How'd you like to see some folks throw cow poop? I'm sorry... chips. (Sounds much better.)

Ted Ballard never smoked, but somewhere along the line, he evidently got all fired up about lighters. He and his wife Pat own the National Lighter Museum, located in Guthrie, and not surprisingly, it's the only museum in the country devoted to lighters. With over 20,000 lighters and various antique fire starters on display, it's probably a good thing it's located right next door to the fire station.

The Oklahoma City National Memorial is in remembrance of the 168 men, women, and children who lost their lives in the April 19, 1995, bombing of the Murrah Federal Building. The memorial is comprised of multiple elements,  including: the Gates of Time, which frame the 9:02 time of the bombing, and mark the entrance to the memorial; a reflecting pool; a field of 168 chairs; the Survivor's Wall, which is the only remaining section of the original Murrah building, and is engraved with the names of survivors; and the Survivor Tree, a 100-year-old American elm, whose leaves were ripped off by the blast, but in spite of dire predictions, miraculously grew back the following year. Life goes on.

The Pensacola Dam, built in 1940, is the world's longest multiple arch dam. It's 6565 feet long, and sits on the southern shores of Grand Lake o' the Cherokees between Langley and Disney.

Showing you a static photo of a tornado couldn't possibly give you an accurate idea of what it's really like to be in close proximity to one, just as showing you the aftermath of one can't impress upon you how devastating it is to see all those destroyed homes and ubiquitous blue tarps up-close and personal. So I found an awesome video.

Before I show it to you, a little background. Heidi, of tornado videos, who most kindly granted me permission to use this video, and called it their most extreme video, wrote: The vehicle was occupied by a team of university-backed researchers, driven by someone who was new to storm chasing; the passenger/videographer is a veteran chaser and meteorologist who had seen over 100 tornadoes to that point and was/is quite accustomed to observing tornadoes from very close range. The road they were driving on appeared to lead them due south, while the tornado was traveling generally northeast. Two very bad things happened as the meteorologist navigating instructed the driver to 'go south right now'. First, the tornado made a slight shift in direction, taking a more east-northeasterly path, rather than traveling directly northeast; this made the tornado head more directly toward the road on which they were traveling, cutting down on their time to safely pass in front. The second problem was that the road was not a straight shot south, and actually drifted to the west, cutting down on their time window even more. They absolutely realize how fortunate they were to escape unharmed, and would, of course, have done a number of things differently given the gift of hindsight. Incidentally, later the same afternoon, they found themselves in search and rescue mode from another violent tornado that occurred in Newcastle, OK.

   So, show the video already, you say? Okeydoke. Hang onto your hat...

That delivers quite a pucker factor, doesn't it? YOWZA! Okay, now that we've finished with our whirlwind tour, let's twist on over and take a gander at some of the crazy laws still languishing on the books in the fine state of Oklahoma.

  • It's illegal for a bar owner to permit anyone in his bar to pretend to have sex with a buffalo. (I guess they don't take too kindly to make-believe, huh?)
  • Females are forbidden from doing their own hair without being licensed by the state.
  • Dogs must have a permit signed by the mayor in order to congregate on private property in groups of three or more. 
  • It's against the law to take a bite out of somebody else's hamburger. (How about their fries?)
  • It's illegal to read a comic book while operating a motor vehicle. (Moby Dick it is...)
  • Whaling is illegal. 
  • It's against the law to have the hind legs of farm animals in your boots. (Um, with or without the animal attached to them?)
  • People who make ugly faces at dogs may be fined and/or jailed. (Their faces might freeze, too.)
  • Cars must be tethered outside of public buildings. (Especially Mustangs.)
  • It's illegal to wear your boots to bed. 
  • Fish may not be contained in fishbowls while on a public bus. (So ya put 'em on a leash?)
  • It's against the law to promote a horse tripping event or bear wrestling exhibition. (Okeydoke to have one...  just can't promote it?)
  • In Ada, you can be put in jail if you wear New York Jets clothing. (HA! Now, that's funny!)
  • In Bartlesville, no one may own more than two adult cats, and it's also illegal to cause annoying vibrations within city limits. (If that means no hopped-up leaf blowers, I'm all for this one.)
  • In Bristow, it's illegal to serve water to a restaurant customer unless one peanut in a shell is also served. Failure to comply can lead up to a five dollar fine.
  • In Clinton, it's against the law to molest cars or to lean against a public building. (But can you pretend to molest a car?)
  • In Hawthorne, it's illegal to put hypnotized people in a display window. (I'd love to know the story behind this law.)
  • In Oklahoma City, it's against the law to tip over a casket at a funeral, or to walk backwards downtown while eating a hamburger.
  • In Schulter, women may not gamble in the nude, in lingerie, or while wearing a towel. (Sheesh. Picky, picky, picky.)
  • In Tulsa, you may not open a soda bottle without the supervision of a licensed engineer, and you can't take your elephant into the downtown area. 
  • And finally, in Wynona, birds aren't allowed to drink out of birdbaths, and people aren't permitted to wash their clothes in them, either. 

The time has come for (ta-DA!)

The Weirdest News Stories of the Week

***  It isn't raining rain, you know; it's raining ... seafood??? Sound a little fishy? The truth is, no violets dropped from the skies onto Lazurnaya Bay, Russia this week, but plenty of clams, oysters, crabs, scallops, and fish did. The surprise windfall, courtesy of Typhoon Bolaven, had local residents licking their chops and scurrying around the beach to gather the delicacies. And what do you do when the heavens suddenly dump more seafood than you've ever seen in one place before? PAR-TY! As in, the biggest seafood BBQ of all time. This picture was taken by a local woman named Svetlana. Wanta see more of her pictures?

the current shed, donated by Tuff
***  When Bredo Morstoel's life ended in Norway in 1989,  his unusual journey was just beginning. His grandson, Tryve Bauge, who was living in Nederland, Colorado at the time, had gramps frozen and shipped to a cryonics facility in California. Then Bauge and his mother decided to start their own facility a bit closer to home, and moved the cold Pop-pop to Colorado. How close to home, you ask? Um, in their own back yard... in a storage shed. All was well, or as well as can be expected with a frozen body lounging  in the back yard next to the petunia patch, until Bauge was deported because of an expired visa. Before he left the country, he arranged for a monthly 1700-pound delivery of dry ice to keep the stiff ... er... stiff. Then, uh-oh! Bauge's mother received an eviction notice, and quickly expressed her concerns about the welfare of dear old dad. Turns out, the town didn't know about said frigid father or the DIY backyard mausoleum, and gave the whole idea a big cold shoulder. At first. Then they kinda warmed to the idea, and since 2002, the town has been holding a festival called Frozen Dead Guy Days, where the thousands of attendees enjoy such events as coffin racing, a hearse parade, a frozen salmon toss, snow beach volleyball, and a dance ... Grandpa's Blue Ball. (HA!) So, why am I writing about this now? Bo Shaffer, the fella who's been the official caretaker of the body, and deliverer of all that dry ice, says Bauge isn't paying him enough money to cover his expenses. Hopefully their relationship will thaw before grandpa does, but in case attitudes remain frozen, Bauge is planning to move his grand-popsicle to a cryonics facility in Massachusetts. The town, with or without their most famous, albeit deceased, resident, plans to continue with the annual festivals.

                                            Pssst. Care to take a peek inside of that backyard shed???

*** One last story, and it's about an incredible 102-year old woman named Margaret Dunning, who still drives the 1930 Packard Roadster she bought back in 1949. This car enthusiast first started driving at the age of eight, and got her first driver's license when she was twelve, so she's been driving for ninety years... and, she still changes her own oil and spark plugs! Just last week, she took her beloved (and gorgeous) Packard to a classic car show in Canton, Ohio. I couldn't find any video from that show, but I did find footage from another car show that was taken earlier this year. I hope seeing this amazing woman leaves you with a smile on your face. (I wanta be like her when I grow up.)

Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Brainiacs Just Wanta Have Fun

Thought for the day:  Gravity cannot be held responsible for people falling in love.  [Albert Einstein]

Some people believe science is boring, and think scientists have no sense of humor. Not me.

Most people are aware of the brilliance of Einstein's mind, but didja know he was also very witty? After all, he didn't just delve into relativity and declare that E=MC2. He also said,

Any man who can drive safely while kissing a pretty woman is simply not giving the kiss the attention it deserves.  

Yep, the same imagination and curiosity that leads people to pursue scientific endeavors very often fuels a keen sense of humor, as well. And nothing supports this notion better than the Ig Nobel awards.

Remember them?

Ig Nobel's official mascot, The Stinker
I wrote about 'em last year. If you missed that post, you can find it here

Or, I can simply do a quick recap.

These annual awards, whose purpose is to first make people laugh, and then to make them think, are the brainchild of Marc Abraham, editor of the Annals of Improbable Research.  Ten awards are presented each year at an irreverent ceremony held at Harvard University's Sanders Hall, and although the tongue-in-cheek event is full of hilarity, satire, and tossed paper airplanes, some of the seemingly trivial research highlighted there can and does lead to important discoveries. For example, the 2006 award in Biology went to scientists who discovered some malaria-causing mosquitoes are just as attracted to limburger cheese as they are to human feet. Yeah, I've known some people whose feet smell like stinky cheese, too, so this study is worthy of a snicker or two, but the study also led to mosquito traps being baited with limburger cheese to help combat malaria.

The essence of science: ask an impertinent question, and you are on the way to a pertinent answer. [Jacob Bronowski]

Scientists from all over the world gathered last week for this year's 22nd annual ceremony, and as always, the awards were presented by world-reknown Nobel laureates. As a point of interest, see that frog in the picture? He's alive, and he's being levitated magnetically. Cool, huh? In 2000, that unusual research into frog levitation earned Andre Geim and Sir Michael Berry an Ig Nobel in Physics. Ten years later, Geim won an honest-to-goodness Nobel prize in Physics for his work on graphene. He's the first to win both an Ig and a Nobel, but I doubt he'll be the last.

Facts are the air of scientists. Without them,  you can never fly.  [Linus Pauling]

Without further ado, I present to you (ta-DA!) the 2012 Ig Nobel winners:

 PSYCHOLOGY-  A team of scientists from the Netherlands and Peru won for their research, entitled Leaning to the Left Makes the Eiffel Tower Seem Smaller.

PEACE- This one went to Russian SKN Company for converting old Russian ammunition into nano-diamonds. (WOW! That's even better than turning swords into ploughs!)

ACOUSTICS- Ever been in a meeting or presentation where you wished someone would Just. Stop. Talking? Two Japanese researchers came up with the perfect solution. Their machine, called a Speech Jammer, disrupts a person's speech by enabling him to hear his own time-delayed voice. The speaker is so discombobulated by the effect, He. Just. Shuts. Up.

Basic research is like shooting an arrow into the air and where it lands, painting a target.  [Homer Adkins]

NEUROSCIENCE- A U.S. team showed that if brain researchers used the right statistical tricks, they could measure meaningful brain activity just about anywhere ... even in dead fish.

CHEMISTRY- This award went to a team who discovered why the hair of blondes living in a certain Swedish town turned green.

LITERATURE- Although no one showed up at the ceremony to accept this particular prize, (Gee, I wonder why?) it was awarded to the U.S. Government General Accountability Office, for issuing a report about reports about reports that recommends (you guessed it!) the preparation of another report about the reports about reports.

You cannot depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus.  [Mark Twain]

PHYSICS- Ever wonder why, when a woman with a ponytail jogs, essentially an up-and-down motion, her ponytail swings from side to side? A team of U.S. and British researchers won a prize for exploring the forces governing the shape and movement in a human ponytail.

Nothing can travel at the speed of light, they say, forgetful of the shadow's speed.  [Howard Nemerov]

FLUID DYNAMICS- This award went to a U.S. team who studied the dynamics of sloshing. Specifically, exactly what causes your cup of coffee to slop over when you carry it? (Other than clumsiness, that is.)

ANATOMY- Researchers from the Netherlands and the U.S. pooled resources to discover chimpanzees can identify other chimps from pictures. Not just ANY pictures, mind you, but pictures of their backsides. HUH! I don't know why that should come as such a surprise. Some men are like that, too. I mean ...

The world, after all our science and sciences, is still a miracle, wonderful, inscrutable, magical and more, to whosoever will think of it.  [Thomas Carlyle]

MEDICINE- The tenth, and final award, went to French scientists, who came up with a way to reduce the risk of causing an explosion while performing a colonoscopy. Really? I mean, REALLY??? (I always wondered why a hazmat team stood by when I was having those procedures ...)

Marc Abraham ended this year's ceremony just as he has every year ... by saying, If you didn't win an Ig Nobel prize this year--- and especially if you did--- better luck next time.

Wanta hear a little more about these awards? Take it away, Mr. Abraham! (And, yeah, that IS a brassiere he's holding ...)

                      When I die, I'm leaving my body to science fiction.  [Steven Wright]

                                                              Me, too.

                             Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Eight Ball in the Side Pocket

Thought for the day:  Isn't it amazing how much better our abilities become (in our minds) when we're looking back on them?
I started shooting pool when I was still in elementary school. My father had a pool table ... albeit a lousy pool table... in the basement, so I was able to learn how to bank, apply English, and jump balls at a pretty early age. (And have since forgotten most of those skills in my not-so-early age.) My husband and I still have a one-inch slate regulation-sized table, and we still play every now and then, but once upon a time, we played just about every evening. In those days, we were pretty darned good.  Would you like to see us in action?

Okay, so I fibbed. (OUR felt isn't blue!) 

Isn't that some of the most amazing pool shooting you've ever seen??? WOW.  I think I'd better start practicing again...

Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.

Friday, September 21, 2012

And Awaaaaay We Go!

Thought for the day:  Never argue with an idiot. He'll drag you down to his level, and then beat you with experience.
It's that time again. Time to hop into the back of that ol' truck with Chopsticks and see if we can find some more funny written translations.

Translations from Oriental languages into English often provide an unintended source of humor. I guess you could say, What we have here is a failure to communicate. [Cool Hand Luke]

Once again, sincere thanks to the super duper folks at for granting me permission to share their funny stuff with y'all.

                           (Dunno about you, but I always prefer frank steaks over the liars.)

                                              Smiling? Good. My job here is done.

                             Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.

                              Man who eat many prunes get good run for money.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

I Was There

Thought for the day:  Photography takes an instant out of time, altering life by holding it still. [Dorothea Lange]

A camera is kinda like a mirror with a memory, which is really good, because sometimes my rememberer forgets.

Photography is a way of feeling, of touching, of loving. What you have caught on film is captured forever... it remembers little things, long after you have forgotten everything.  [Aaron Siskind]

And what can be captured on film (or digitally) can also capture the imagination. Can make you wonder about what you see in that picture, what came before, and what happened afterwards. That's why pictures make such excellent writing prompts.

The talented Delores of thefeatherednest has been providing weekly photo writing prompts for the past twenty weeks, and it's been fun to see the pictures she and others have offered for consideration, and to read the various posts inspired by those pictures. Alas, this week's prompts are the last until next spring, so I figured I'd play along for this last round. Better late than never, eh?

 Delores offered four different pictures for this last round. Here's the one I chose:

                                             And here's where that picture led me:

                                                        Kilroy was here.  
                                                        Filled with bravado,
                                                        I left my mark,
                                                        Proving to posterity
                                                        That I was there.
                                                        Do you see it?
                                                        Do you remember me?
                                                        I was there.
                                                        And then...
                                                        Blown away
                                                        By the uncaring winds of time...
                                                        I was gone.

                                                       Footprints in the sand.
                                                       Filled with life,
                                                       I left my mark,
                                                       Proving to posterity
                                                       That I was there.
                                                       Do you see them?
                                                       Do you remember me?
                                                        I was there.
                                                       And then...
                                                       Washed away
                                                        By the uncaring waves of time...
                                                        I was gone.

                                                        Bootprints in the snow.
                                                        Chilled with cold,
                                                         I left my mark,
                                                        Proving to posterity
                                                        That I was there.
                                                        Do you see them?
                                                        Do you remember me?
                                                         I was there.
                                                         And then...
                                                         Melted away
                                                         By the uncaring suns of time...
                                                         I was gone.

                                                        Do you remember me?
                                                        Does anybody care?
                                                        I was there.
                                                        Oh yes,
                                                        Once upon a time...
                                                        I was there.


                                Thanks, Delores. That was fun. (In a melancholy sorta way. HA!)

                                 Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Days Like These

Thought for the day: In times like these, it helps to remember that there have always been times like these.  [Paul Harvey]

A Nebraska one-room schoolhouse [morguefile]
A lot of kids hate to study, and they especially hate to study history. Me, I always enjoyed it. Of course, one could say that when I was in school, there was a heckuva lot less history to learn. Even though that's essentially true, may I point out that it wouldn't be terribly polite for one to mention it.

Because I have no earthly idea what to write about today. history is on my mind today, let's see if there's anything significant about today, shall we?

Hear ye, hear ye. Today is Constitution Day, commemorating the signing of that mighty document back in 1787. Sorry, but since it isn't a Federal holiday, nobody gets the day off, but if you want to wear a powdered wig to work in honor of this day's significance, feel free. I'm sure your boss will understand.

Today also marks the 150th
anniversary of the Civil War's battle at Antietam, the bloodiest in U.S. history. At three o'clock today, the names of all those men killed and mortally wounded during this battle will be read aloud during a remembrance ceremony. Many who survive war say the lesson of war is ... NO MORE WAR. Unfortunately, this is a history lesson the world has yet to learn.

Blame it on Pittsburgh. This is their Civic Arena, our country's first retractable-dome stadium. Since it opened for business on September 17, 1961, cities all over the country have competed to see who can lavish the most money on building bigger and better arenas. Matter of fact, plans are afoot right here in Atlanta to spend $1.2 billion to build our Falcons a cozy little retractable-dome stadium of their very own. Because our current stadium doesn't already have a dome? Um, no. But it isn't retractable. Because our old stadium is falling-down decrepit? Um, not exactly. It's not even twenty years old. Then, why? The politicians, team owner, and players want one, silly.

On this day in 1976, NASA unveiled its first space shuttle, the Enterprise.  See any familiar faces in the picture? In a nifty example of science meeting science fiction, cast members of Star Trek were invited to witness the shuttle's debut.

Brief follow-up on the Enterprise:  on December 12, 2011, she was lowered onto her final retirement home aboard the Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum in New York City.

[photo by David Shankbone]
One year ago today, the Occupy Wall Street movement began in Zucotti Park, New York City. Has the movement accomplished anything? I honestly don't know.                

What do you think?

Oh, in case you missed it, yesterday was the International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer. (I hope y'all did your part by laying off the hair spray.)

                               Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.

The main difference for the history of the world if I had been shot rather than Kennedy is that Onassis probably wouldn't have married Mrs. Khrushchev.  [Nikita Krushchev]

**Last six images from Wikipedia [public domain]

Friday, September 14, 2012

Rock 'n' Rolling Happy Pants

Thought for the day:  I hear Akron is bouncing back from financial difficulties. Makes sense to me. After all, it is the rubber capital of the world.


Now, I can't vouch for the authenticity of those elephant ears and toes offered for your dining pleasure at that Ohio concession stand in the picture, but I know they DO drink a lot of pop up that way. (As opposed to my neck of the woods, where all sodas are called cokes.)

I've only been to Ohio once, but it was a blast. We celebrated our thirty-somethingth anniversary there at the Dayton Hamfest. (WHAT? You celebrate your way, and we'll celebrate ours...) In addition to hobnobbing with thousands of amateur radio operators from all over the world, we also took a side trip to nearby Wright-Patterson Museum, an enormous USAF museum of aviation history. As I recall, it was a monsoon kinda day, but pbbbbt! we didn't let torrential rain dampen our spirits.

                                                Okay, ready for a little picture tour?

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame [Wikipedia]
Let's start with the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, located in Cleveland. An interesting tidbit: Ohio actually has an official state rock song. Neat concept, huh? However, I find Hang on Sloopy to be a rather odd choice, don't you? 

The Great Serpent Mound [Pollinator -en.wikipedia]

Prehistoric inhabitants of North America built earthen mounds for religious and ceremonial burial purposes, and one of the more unusual mounds winds a 411-mile wiggly serpentine path near Peebles, Ohio. The mound varies in height from less than a foot to more than three feet, and winds back and forth for more than 800 feet, ending in a triple-coiled tail. The mouth opens around a 120-foot long oval, which is believed to represent an egg. Similar serpent mounds can be found in Ontario and Scotland.

Map of Serpent mound, circa 1848 [Wikipedia]

Longaberger Basket Company [morguefile]

I'm not saying that working at this company is always a picnic, but come on! Located at Basket Village, USA, in Dresden, this world's largest basket is the seven-story corporate HQ of the Longaberger Basket Company. I wonder if they have a mascot. Yogi Bear, maybe? Yeah, definitely a smile-worthy building. Except for the darned ants...

Pro Football Hall of Fame [Wikipedia]

I'll bet the Pro Football Hall of Fame, located in Canton, would be another fun place to visit. Interesting tidbit: Ohio had the first professional BASEBALL team in the country. The Cincinnati Reds, who started out as the Red Stockings, got their start back in 1869. Kinda makes me wonder why the baseball hall of fame isn't in Ohio. And if a team is the FIRST professional team, who do they play...?

Talking about baseball, didja ever hear of the Great Nickel Beer Night Riot? On June 4, 1974, in an ill-conceived promotion intended to attract fans to the stadium to watch the Cleveland Indians play the Texas Rangers, somebody came up with the bright idea of offering five-cent beers. Yeah. Right. Well, the promotion certainly filled the seats. It was the largest crowd Municipal Stadium had seen in years. But a simple Beer 101 equation should've warned them: big crowd plus dirt-cheap beer equals a big inebriated crowd. The crowd grew so rowdy, the baseball players had to leave the field to escape all the beer bottles raining down from the stands, the Indians had to forfeit, and THAT, my friends, was THE END of cheap booze at any U.S. stadium.

Time for a brief intermission. The phenomenal Dayton Hamvention, the largest hamfest in the country, if not the world, is an incredible multi-day experience for any amateur radio operator. There, it's actually cool, and the norm... to be a nerd. Since it'd be next to impossible to capture the essence of this fest in a single snapshot, how about a short video?

                        Okay, back to our tour.

Sopwith Camel [Chris Light- en.wikipedia]

The Sopwith Camel in the picture (an English plane) is one of a bazillion planes on display at the Wright-Patterson USAF Museum near Dayton. Just about everybody knows about the Wright Brothers' test flights at Kitty Hawk, NC, but didja know Dayton was actually their hometown?

Wright Cycle Company [Wikipedia]

The Wright Brothers' bicycle shop was housed in five different locations in the Dayton area. At right is the Wright Cycle Company location now deemed a national historic site.

Neil Armstrong Museum [Wikipedia]

The Neil Armstrong Air and Space Museum is located in Wapakoneta, Ohio. The first man to walk on the moon is a native Ohioan. I've never been there, but I hear the museum is (ahem) outta this world.

Okay, time to relax and check out some of the laws still on the books in Ohio, and see if any of THEM are outta this world. By the way, how about this flag? It's the only state flag shaped like a pennant.

  • If you ignore an orator in Ohio on Decoration Day to such an extent as to publicly play croquet or pitch horseshoes within one mile of the speaker, you can be fined twenty-five dollars. (Sheesh, talk about ego!)
  • It's illegal for women to wear patent leather shoes in public. 
  • Oh, no ya don't! Sorry, but no fishing for whales on Sundays.
  • It's also against the law to get a fish drunk. (But some days, that's the only way I can convince one to come home with me...)
  • You must honk your horn before passing another car.
  • Participating or conducting a duel is prohibited. (But it's okay to watch.)
  • It's illegal for more than five women to live in the same house. (What? No sororities?)
  • It's against the law to mistreat anything of great importance. (And who, exactly gets to decide?)
  • No one may be arrested on a Sunday, or on the fourth of July. (Better plan that heist for Independence Day, gang!)
  • In Akron, it's illegal to display colored chicks for sale. (Hide 'em!)
  • In Bay Village, it's against the law to walk a cow down Lake Road. (So, do the cha-cha.)
  • Now, this one is just plain foul. In Bexley, it's illegal to install and use slot machines in outhouses.
  • In Canton, if you lose your pet tiger, you must notify the authorities within an hour.
  • In Cleveland, women are forbidden from wearing patent leather shoes, but they at least know the reason here. It's so men can't see a reflection of the women's underwear.
  • Also in Cleveland, it's illegal to catch mice without a hunting license. (Wow! Can ya step on a roach?)
  • Lima laws say you can't sell any maps there that don't show a clear depiction of Lima on it.
  • In Lowell, it's illegal to run a horse over 5 MPH. (Last time I rode a horse, the speedometer was missing.) 
  • In McDonald, it's against the law to parade your duck down Ohio Avenue. (I'm telling ya, people... CHA-CHA!)
  • In North Canton, it's illegal to roller skate without notifying the police.
  • Oxford laws say it's illegal to honk your horn, because it might scare the horses, and it's against the law for a woman to strip off her clothes while standing in front of a man's picture. 
  • Better keep a close eye on your pooch in Paulding. It's legal there for a policeman to bite a dog to quiet him.
  • In Toledo, it's illegal to throw a snake at anyone.
  • And finally, in Youngstown, it's against the law to run out of gas. 

Okay, it's that time again. Time for (ta-DA!)

The Weirdest News Stories of the Week

*** Some people just don't know when to leave. Twelve years after a South Carolina woman broke up with her boyfriend, he was discovered living in her attic, using old coats and insulation to line his "bed"... a heating duct. No telling exactly how long he'd been living up there, but he'd fashioned a peep hole above her bed so he could keep an eye on her. Recently, he made more noise than usual, and after investigating, the surprised homeowner learned the rat living in her attic only had two legs. Which he used to flee when the police were summoned. The cheeky rodent is still at large.

*** Eleven-month old Elvis O'Connor is already a seasoned actor. In fact, the little fella was signed by a talent agency before he was even born... based on his image in a pre-natal scan! Agents said they could tell from that scan that he was going to look like his five-year old big sister Alana, who was already a client. She's a regular on Brit TV show CBeebies, while the talented baby is a regular on Mrs. Biggs. Go figure. I dunno. My grandchildren are all beautiful, but in their ultrasound images, they looked a lot like creepy little aliens to me.


*** Is that a gun in your pocket, honey, or are you happy to see me?  [Mae West]

When a flight from Bangkok landed in India for a layover before continuing on to Dubai this week, security personnel opted to frisk several of the male passengers, whose, um, britches looked a little too...  happy. Turns out, they were smuggling lori monkeys in their underwear. (Bangkok, indeed!) The big-eyed exotic monkeys, who measure about 17 cm, (6.7 inches) are much-sought after as pets, but they're also an endangered species. (Especially if those men had beans for lunch.) Another monkey was found discarded in an airport trashcan, so evidently, one of the men decided carrying two of the furry critters in his undies wasn't particularly comfortable. Oh, and if toting a monkey in a pair of tighty whities isn't bizarre enough for you, Indian officials also recently nabbed a man with ten turtles nestled in his Fruit o' the Looms. Jeez. I've heard of guys stuffing a sock down there before, but this is downright ridiculous.

                        Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.