May 16th, 2007


Another travel meme, with annotations

I saw this travel meme in allthatjazmyne's journal the other day and dropped it into my temp folder to complete when I had more time. Then I decided that the meme was offensive to my aesthetic sensibilities, and that bringing it up to my standards would take too much time and effort. (I'm not saying jaz has low standards, just that I'm kind of anal when it comes to formatting and alphabetization and other presentational issues.) Then I changed my mind again, and decided I would do the meme and make fun of it at the same time.

First though, a couple of general comments. For starters, what the hell is this a list of? It looks like a pretty random selection, and there are some curious omissions. Fenway Park is not the only thing worth seeing in Boston. In fact, it seems to me that New England in general is under-represented on this list. Second, why does it only have 95 entires? If you get all the way up to 95, you may as well go for the nice round number.

  1. the Alamo
         OK, right off the bat, it bugs me to no end that the word "the" appears
         uncapitalized when it's used as the first word of an attraction as it is here.
  2. Aleutian Islands
  3. Amana Colonies
  4. the Arch (St. Louis)
         If they had called it the Gateway Arch -- you know, its name -- it wouldn't
         be necessary to specify the location.
  5. Aspen, CO
         I'm of the opinion that US Postal Service abbreviations should be used only
         for postal purposes. I use the AP Style Manual abbreviations.
  6. the Badlands
  7. the Berkshires
  8. the Big Ball of Twine
  9. the Winchester Mystery House
         Out of alphabetical order!
  10. the Black Hills
  11. Broadway
         Ambiguous. Broadway runs the entire length of the island of Manhattan. I
         suppose they mean the Broadway theater district, but if that's what they
         mean they should say so.
  12. Brooklyn Bridge
         I don't have a problem the the Brooklyn Bridge being on this list, but shouldn't
         the Golden Gate Bridge be on it as well? It's at least as iconic as the Brooklyn
  13. Busch Gardens
         Ambiguous! Tampa, Williamsburg, or either?
  14. Cape Cod
  15. Carhenge
  16. Carlsbad Caverns
  17. Central Park with boliver, jenelope, katie_m, and ananda999
  18. Chimney Rock
  19. Chinese Theater
  20. Churchill Downs
  21. College World Series
         Oh please. In terms of iconic American sporting events, the College World
         Series doesn't even make the top ten. I wouldn't rank it higher than fourth
         on a list that only included baseball.
  22. Colonial Williamsburg
  23. Crater Lake
  24. Death Valley
  25. Disneyland (CA)
         Oh, that Disneyland.
  26. Disneyworld (FL) Downtown Disney only, with boliver
         It's not Disneyworld, it's Walt Disney World.
  27. Door County
  28. Empire State Building
  29. the Everglades
  30. Fenway Park
  31. Fisherman’s Wharf
  32. Florida Keys with boliver and rustydog
  33. French Quarter/Bourbon Street
  34. Gettysburg
  35. the Hamptons
  36. Hoover Dam
  37. Independence Hall
  38. Johnson Space Center
  39. Joshua Tree
         All the other national parks on the list are named as national parks, so for
         consistency this one should be also.
  40. Kennedy Space Center/Cape Canaveral with boliver and rustydog
  41. Lake Placid
  42. Lake Tahoe
  43. Las Vegas – the Strip with boliver, allthatjazmyne, and astrablue... I feel like I'm forgetting someone
  44. Mackinac Island
  45. Madison Square Garden
  46. Mall of America
  47. Mammoth Cave
  48. Mojave Desert Las Vegas is in the Mojave, so I guess technically I've been there. The best kind of being there!
  49. Monticello No, but there's sort of a funny story why I've never been there. I'll post about that later.
  50. Mt. Rushmore
  51. Mt. St. Helens
  52. Mt. Vernon I can only assume they're referring to Mt. Vernon, Iowa, where I went to college.
  53. Napa Valley
  54. Niagara Falls
  55. the North Shore of Maui
  56. the Ozarks/Branson
  57. Petrified Forest
  58. Pike’s Peak
  59. Redwood Nat’l Park
         They should have spelled out "National" instead of using the contraction.
  60. the Road to Hana
         Had to look this one up, which to my way of thinking means it's not notable
         enough to be included in a list like this. There are more notable scenic drives.
  61. Rocky Mountains
  62. Rodeo Drive/Beverly Hills
  63. Route 66 Many times, since Michigan Avenue and Adams Street in Chicago were part of Route 66
  64. Sea World (any location)
  65. Sears Tower
  66. Sequoia Nat’l Park
  67. Sierra Nevada Mountains
  68. Smithsonian Institute Museums
         It's the Smithsonian Institution. And museums shouldn't be capitalized.
  69. Smoky Mountain Nat’l Park
  70. Sonoma Valley
  71. South Padre Island
  72. Space Needle
  73. Statue of Liberty
  74. Stone Mountain
  75. Times Square
  76. United Nations
  77. Universal Studios The one in Florida, and only the CityWalk portion, with boliver
  78. Vail, CO
  79. World of Coca-Cola Both the Atlanta and Las Vegas brances, the latter with allthatjazmyne and possibly boliver and astrablue
  80. Wrigley Field
  81. Yankee Stadium
  82. Yellowstone Nat’l Park/Old Faithful
         Not sure why Old Faithful is listed alongside the name of the park in which
         it's located. It's not like you can visit the latter without visiting the former
  83. Harper's Ferry
  84. Yosemite Nat’l Park
  85. Zion Nat’l Park
  86. Pike Place Market
  87. Pearl Harbor
  88. The Mystery Spot
  89. Six Flags Over Texas
         Why is this one particular Six Flags theme park listed, when other theme
         parks with multiple locations (e.g. Sea World, Busch Gardens) are lumped
         together? For the record, I have been to two other Six Flags parks.
  90. Old Town San Diego
  91. Huntington Beach, CA
  92. Ford's Theater
  93. Mark Twain's Cabin
         I guess they're talking about this, but I can't be sure. Whatever they're
         referring to, it's so obscure that it's not even mentioned in Wikipedia.
  94. Leavenworth, WA
         I call shenanigans on this one, too. I think it'd be hard to justify including it
         on a list of the top 95 tourist destinations in Washington state, much less a
         national list like this one.
  95. South of the Border
         If this is on the list, Wall Drug should be too.

Ten random things: May 16

Ten Jerry Falwell quotes:

  1. "I do not believe we can blame genetics for adultery, homosexuality, dishonesty and other character flaws."
  2. "Grown men should not be having sex with prostitutes unless they are married to them."
  3. "AIDS is not just God's punishment for homosexuals; it is God's punishment for the society that tolerates homosexuals."
  4. "Textbooks are Soviet propaganda."
  5. "I had a student ask me, 'Could the savior you believe in save Osama bin Laden?' Of course, we know the blood of Jesus Christ can save him, and then he must be executed."
  6. "Homosexuality is Satan's diabolical attack upon the family that will not only have a corrupting influence upon our next generation, but it will also bring down the wrath of God upon America."
  7. "I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People For the American Way, all of them who have tried to secularize America. I point the finger in their face and say 'you helped this happen.'"
  8. "Joseph Farah raises a clarion call to action in his new book, Taking America Back. He hits the nail on the head on every issue. What's more, he lays the blame for America's problems right where it belongs -- in the lap of liberalism. His insightful analysis of what he calls 'this evil ideology' is worth the price of the book. Don't miss it!"
  9. "It appears that America's anti-Biblical feminist movement is at last dying, thank God, and is possibly being replaced by a Christ-centered men's movement which may become the foundation for a desperately needed national spiritual awakening."
  10. "The whole [global warming] thing is created to destroy America's free enterprise system and our economic stability."

Quite a guy, that Mr. Falwell. I'm loath to say I'm happy anyone is dead, much less a fairly odious person like Falwell, but I can't say I'll miss him.


Why I've never been to Monticello

One day I decided to go to Monticello, so I hopped into my car and headed south on US 15.

When I reached Warrenton, I decided to stop and wander around Old Town for a while.

When I reached Orange, I decided to stop for lunch at an old firehouse converted into a nice cafe.

As I headed out of town on Va. Route 20, I passed Montpelier, James Monroe's house, and decided to stop there.

And when I finaly got to Monticello it was so late that it had closed for the day, so I turned around and drove home.

The end.


Former Deputy Attorney General James Comey's testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday, in which he details an attempt by then-White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales and then-White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card to get then-Attorney General John Ashcroft, who was hospitalized in intensive care at the time, to overrule Acting AG Comey's refusal to sign off on an eavesdropping plan, makes for fascinating, if somewhat horrifying, reading. (If you don't want to read the entire transcript, Dana Milbank's report on the hearing hits the highlights pretty well.) One passage in particular really jumped out at me:

While I was talking to Director Mueller, an agent came up to us and said that I had an urgent call in the command center, which was right next door. They had Attorney General Ashcroft in a hallway by himself and there was an empty room next door that was the command center.

And he said it was Mr. Card wanting to speak to me. I took the call. And Mr. Card was very upset and demanded that I come to the White House immediately.

I responded that, after the conduct I had just witnessed, I would not meet with him without a witness present.

He replied, What conduct? We were just there to wish him well.

I cannot read that last sentence without hearing it in my head in the voice of Louie, the stereotypical hit man character often seen on The Simpsons. It's not hard to imagine Card following up that statement with, "This is a nice Department of Justice you got here. It would be a shame if it got... damaged." Which is not really a bad analogy. Karl Rove is the capo, Alberto Gonzales the consigliere, Card (and Monica Goodling and Kyle Sampson and God knows who else) the enforcers... it's really quite repellent.


Not that anyone asked

Re: the travel meme I posted earlier, my nominees for the top ten iconic American sporting events are, in no particular order,

  • World Series
  • Super Bowl
  • BCS Championship
  • NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament
  • Indianapolis 500
  • Daytona 500
  • The Masters
  • U.S. Open Tennis Tournament
  • Boston Marathon
  • Kentucky Derby

Other nominees welcome in the comments. And if someone wants to defend the honor of the College World Series, feel free.