But what about Mount Rushmore? Are there similarly all kinds of alternative Mount Rushmores tucked away in obscure corners of the world? I would have thought so. After all, it's one of the most famous landmarks in the world and seems ripe for creative re-interpretation.
However, the only alternative Mount Rushmore that I'm aware of is Florence Deeble's Mount Rushmore in her rock garden in Lucas, Kansas. Am I missing something here? There must be more Mount Rushmores out there, but where are they?
The residents of Aroostook County, Maine constructed a scale model of the solar system which you can see as you drive along Route 1 from Presque Isle to Houlton. The sun, located at Presque Isle, reaches up to the third floor of the Northern Maine Museum of Science. The earth, a mile away at Percy's Auto Sales, is a styrofoam ball 5.5 inches in diameter. Drive another 4.3 miles to see Jupiter. And Pluto, forty miles away at the end, is a one-inch-diameter wooden ball.
Everyone seems to use a different mnemonic to remember the planets in the Solar System. The one I learned is "My Very Elegant Mother Just Sat Upon Nine Porcupines."
To remember the points of the compass I always have to repeat the phrase "Naughty Elephants Squirt Water".
While others are off at church on a Sunday, why not stay in and have a pagan breakfast celebration, with Baconhenge.
Let Baconhenge be the site of your seasonal celebration! Let bacon stand in for the sacrificed Year King, French toast for the Grain Goddess, the eggs in the frittata for the Cosmic Egg, and the vegetables for the bountiful Earth on which we live.
Ingredients include 12 pieces of french toast, a pound of bacon, a potato, onion, mushrooms, and a dozen eggs. I can't wait to try it! (via J-Walk)
Continuing the travelogue, on Friday my wife and I drove up north from San Luis Obispo and did the tour of Hearst Castle. It was worth seeing, but for my money it wasn't as interesting as "Nit Wit Ridge" located about fifteen minutes away in nearby Cambria. Nit Wit Ridge is like the anti-Hearst Castle, being a mansion built entirely out of junk. From sierrasol.com:
[Nit Wit Ridge] is considered a fine example of folk art and is a California State Historic Landmark. It was built by one man (Arthur Harold Beal) over the course of 51 years. Art began his creation in 1928 by digging out a hillside in Cambria. He used rocks, abalone shells, wood, beer cans, tile, car parts and other assorted junk to create his "Hearst Castle".
They're not kidding when they say it's built out of assorted junk. How many toilets can you spot in the picture below? (I see at least four.) Unfortunately Nit Wit Ridge is not open to the public, so I was only able to admire it from the outside.
Reporting in from the road: I spent Thursday night at the Madonna Inn in San Luis Obispo. It was as over-the-top kitschy as promised. One of the main tourist attractions there is the urinal in the downstairs men's bathroom. People make special trips to see it. The novelty is that it's a waterfall urinal, but unfortunately it was out of order when I was there... so no waterfall. Still there was a steady trickle of tourists wandering into the restroom to see it, including many women with their giggling young daughters following behind. So if you're a guy who actually wants to use the restroom, you're out of luck.
The upstairs men's urinal featured a trough. Interesting, but there were no tourists lining up to see it.
While in San Luis Obispo we also checked out Bubblegum Alley, to whose walls people have been sticking used bubblegum for decades. Opinion about the alley is split between those who think it's really cool, and those who think it's filthy. For instance, while there we overheard a mother ordering her obviously fascinated son, as they walked through it, to keep his hands behind his back and not touch anything. No one seems to know exactly how the tradition of sticking gum to the walls started, but Wikipedia reports a rumor that it may have originated during the 1950s out of a rivalry between the students of San Luis High School and Cal Poly: "As soon as the Poly students suspected that the High School was trying to out-do them on the gum walls, the college students stepped up their game and immediately became more creative, thus launching Bubblegum Alley."
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Books Selected and Endorsed for Pure Weirdness by Your WU Team