Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Favorite Five Quirky Kansas Sites...

... off to the editor! I'll keep you posted on publication. And, it's in by the end of the year - whoop!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Monday, December 29, 2008

Back to work, World's Largest!

It's amazing how much can stack up in a brief time away from the computer - up next (with deadlines at the end of the year - yikes!) are article ideas, January WWLW, and a 5 Favorites list for writing projects, financial wrap-up with the accountant and reports for the Kansas Arts Commission, thank-yous, a Member Renewal, some email address updates, and we're still not quite to the printers for the last issue of Big Idea 2008 ... Whew!  So what am I doing typing here? 
 
Thanks, everyone, for Living Large, and putting up with small delays...
 
-Erika Nelson, Director
WLT Inc.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Martha's Bloomers Teapot, Navasota TX

 


Subject: World's Largest Teapot

I hate to disappoint but the teapot in Chester West Virginia is not the largest!

The one at Martha's Bloomers on Highway 6 in Navasota Texas is. I've attached a picture for you.

I'll have to get you the dimensions but it's definitely bigger. The owner of Martha's Bloomers has visited the Chester teapot in person, took a picture with it and can confirm it's smaller than our's.

Tammi Veronesi
tammi@marthasbloomers.com
www.marthasbloomers.com


Oh, the Chester folks will be disappointed, but I'm so glad to know about this teapot - it's great!  Please do provide dimensions when you get a chance so I can build a complete page for the Martha's Bloomers Teapot.
 
Thanks for sharing!
-Erika Nelson, Director
World's Largest Things, Inc.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Another World's Largest Dreidel, Chabad Jewish Center, Basking Ridge NJ



World's Largest Dreidel at Chabad - as reported in the Somerset Reporter



BASKING RIDGE, NJ -- (November 26, 2007)

T

T he largest Chanukah dreidel in the world stands 18-feet tall, a local landmark, in front of the Chabad Jewish Center in Basking Ridge, New Jersey. As the toy of choice on Chanukah, the dreidel is reminiscent of the spinning tops played by the Jewish children leading up to the first Chanukah more than 2,000 years ago. The four letters that adorn the dreidel are an acronym for the Hebrew words, nes gadol hayah sham, a great miracle happened there.

We're trying to recreate the miracle of Jewish survival and growth right here," said Rabbi Mendy Herson, director of Chabad of Greater Somerset County."

Another World's Largest Dreidel, Montreal

January 03, 2006
When most people put up Chanukah decorations, they typically involved some streamers, paper banners and maybe an oversize menorah. But unlike the project recently undertaken by West Island Hillel in Montreal, scaffolding and a 25+ ft. pole aren't usually required.

Those two pieces of equipment were vital, though, as local students constructed what is possibly the world's largest dreidel in the lobby of a Montreal synagogue. Under the leadership of Yoni Petel, a law student and acting chair of West Island Hillel, a 23-person team came together with hammers, nails and blowtorches to build the 22-ft., 2.5-in. dreidel. And yes, it does spin.

"Nobody realized just how big it would be when we started out," Petel said. "I'm 6'2" and four of me standing on my head wouldn't even make it to the top."

The idea for the dreidel grew from a brainstorming session between West Island Hillel leaders. Bored with the same old Chanukah ideas, Petel jokingly suggested they build a giant menorah, and to his surprise, it was a hit.

"It was 100 percent a joke, but everyone said, 'Let's go!'" Petel said.

But the cold Canadian winter prevented them from building the menorah outside, and lighting one inside would be a fire hazard, so the students decided to construct a dreidel instead. According to Petel, no record currently stands in the Guinness Book of World Records for the tallest dreidel, though he heard that the Chabad at Rutgers University had previously built one that was 16 feet tall.

The students proudly unveiled the finished dreidel last Tuesday during a Chanukah celebration at the Beth Ora Synagogue. Though only 60 people attended the party, a bounty of news coverage by local and national media helped the dreidel draw a steady stream of visitors until it was taken down yesterday.

The project is a prime example of the creativity behind West Island Hillel, a community-based division of Hillel Montreal that serves the large number of Jewish students who live in the city's West Island region. After formally coming together last year, it kicked off with a Shabbat dinner featuring "The Apprentice" finalist Andy Litinsky. Defying all expectations, the event quickly sold out. Other programs, such as a version of another reality TV show, "The Amazing Race," a benefit concert for Hurricane Katrina victims and Hypnotic Shabbat, have continued to draw in many new faces.

"In the past, the synagogue was the only center of Jewish life for students in the West Island, and for many of them, it's not too exciting to go to activities at a synagogue," said Yossi Lanton, the Israel affairs coordinator at Hillel Montreal. "These programs have really opened people's minds about Hillel and what it's about."

from Hillel, the foundation for Jewish Campus Life:  www.hillel.org

From the Email Inbox: World's Largest Dreidel

From an item on Ebay: 
 
...the worlds largest dreidel which is 5.5 meters high!!! Displayed in Caserea port...

Thursday, December 18, 2008

From the Email Inbox: New World's Largest Dancing California Raisin, Fresno CA

 
I am one of 8 Marketing Students at Fresno State who just broke a world record. We have created the Worlds largest California Dancing Raisin for our Marketing 188 class at Fresno State. Dr. Rice, Our teacher has done these things with past classes and we decided to do it as well. I have attached a link that was on the news and also a picture. Thank  you very much, Andrew Ferrua
 
 
Re: California Raisin
Wonderful - thanks for the information!  Was there a previous record for a Dancing Raisin, or did you set a new one?  And, where will this new record-breaker live after your semester ends?

I'm familiar with Dr. Rice's class, and even sat down to chat with him five years ago about the Marketing 188 projects.  Glad to see them revived!
-Erika Nelson, Director
World's Largest Things, Inc.


WLT and the American Road...

... surely a good match!
 
Check out the magazine online, and who knows, there may be submissions from WLT Inc. in the future!
 

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Giving the Gift of Flickr

WLT Inc. just sent out four Flickr Pro and Pro Extension gifts to photobloggers who document World's Largest Things.  Our mission is to promote and preserve these giants of the American Road, and we really appreciate those who do the same...
 

Check out their photo streams:

Agility Nut, a.k.a. Debra Jane Setzer

Brian Butko

Queen O' Design, a.k.a. Kelly Ludwig

Southern Cub Reporter, Paul McRae


Merry Christmas!
 
(Oh, and the Santa is from Santa Claus, Indiana.)

Chilly, with chili...

Oh, wintertime, how bright and frigid you are...

The perfect time to get work done!

Just compiled the list of online networking results for a board report, and a meeting at the end of the month.

Also, new member! Packet being assembled for mailing tomorrow.

License Plate Mona Lisa

...now appearing on a French Blog, which seems to specialize in appropriations of Mona Lisas:
 
 
Here's to Networks!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Art Network

...Expanding!
 
Just chatted with friends from all over the US - one teaching at RISD, one on the board at Greensburg KS Art Center, one teaching at yale, one retired from international performance art, on doing amazing science-related stuff in NY, and an activist in SF CA... Join in the rural/urban arts and architecture conversation via Facebook!
 
Search for Erika Nelson or World's Largest Things, or even Lucas Kansas, include a message with your friend request, and get the inside poop on how projects happen...
 
-EN, WLT Inc.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Small Town USA Documentary in Lucas - Webisodes

IMG Pictures has just posted their first webisodes from the Lucas visit, gathering footage for their newest project.
 
They interview Erika about small town promotion, take a look at the WLCoWSVoWLT, and jog around the Chair-E Tree.
 
They also talk with Rosslyn Schultz about art in small towns, and explore Brants Meat Market and the Flying Pig Studio.
 
Webisodes here:
 
and their blog of the visit here:
 
Enjoy!  And, it'll be fun to follow their travels. 
 
-from the staff at World's Largest Things, Inc., from the home base in Lucas Kansas - one of the most amazing places to live in the entire world.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

From the Email Inbox: Cross in St. Augustine FL

While this isn't a World's Largest, it certainly is a gorgeous shot of a Very Large. What a great shot from one of the newest WLT Members from Kilby Creative: http://www.kilbycreative.com/
 
Compare to the World's Second Largest Cross in Groom TX:
 
and the World's Largest in Effingham IL:

FINALLY...

... we found a printer. Our local printer lost the ability to produce the WLT Newsletter "Big Idea", and we've finally tracked down one with comperable prices. We are sad to lose a local resource, but will keep on providing News of the Large with the next issue, due out this Winter.

Thanks for Living Large!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

WLT Tee Off!

... to Olathe. We'll be updating the WLT Souvenir Stand soon, to reflect a new line of tees. Until then, enjoy the classic selection!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Finding Minnesota: North St. Paul's Giant Snowman

It has stood in stoic silence against traffic's constant hum for more than 30 years.

People around Highway 36 and Margaret Street in North St. Paul, Minn. said they just take it for granted because it's been there so long.

The welcoming sight of a 44-foot-tall snowman along the busy highway began as a pipedream during one man's Disneyland vacation.

Carol Koesling is the widow of the snowman's creator.

"He saw the structures (at Disneyland) and that's what he thought North St. Paul could use,'" Koesling said.

Lloyd Koesling was the local businessman who hatched the idea, after some warm winters spoiled the city's festival fun. In 1972, plans were drawn and work began on a permanent snowman, made of stucco and steel.

"When you're going up the highway and they see that snowman, they know they're in North St. Paul," Carol Koesling said.

Unveiled in 1974, the snowman quickly became the city's symbol. It was put onto postcards, iron-on patches, stationery and street signs.

"Well they say it's the world's largest snowman," Carol Koesling said.

It wore a 16-foot smile until March 2002, when Lloyd Koesling died.

A young child was so saddened by the news, she colored a picture for Carol Koesling. It showed the snowman crying.

"She drew this picture and sent it to me, and then of course it wasn't just the snowman crying, Carol was crying," Carol Koesling said.

While Mother Nature poses no threat to the stucco snowman, the Minnesota Department of Transportation might. The snowman sits very close to Highway 36 and major improvements are on the way.

"We will be lowering Highway 36 at Margaret Street and there's as much interest in the snowman as the new bridges along the way," said city engineer Dave Kotilinek.

Kotilinek promises protection saying there are currently no plans to move the snowman, unless the city finds something better.

Lloyd Koesling's gravestone will forever bear an etching of his legacy, of the snowman that is symbolic of a city's warmth.

"It's a nice memory of Lloyd that will last for quite awhile," Carol Koesling said.

(© MMVIII, CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.)

Broken Record

from http://www.thesmartset.com:80/article/article11260801.aspx
Why the unending quest to get into Guinness?
By Greg Beato
 

At first glance, you might mistake Guinness World Records 2009 for a book-sized can of some energy drink. Its metal foil cover shimmers with such pulsating greenish-gold intensity it could give a disco ball a headache. Inside, its pages are jam-packed with factoids and photographs, including life-sized 3-D portraits of the world's tiniest man and the world's largest tarantula. Such touches are gimmicky but necessary: While the phrase "world record" once conveyed a sense of accomplishment so palpable no 3-D glasses were required to see it, those days are long gone.

The first edition of Guinness, then called The Guinness Book of Records, was published in England in 1954. As journalist Larry Olmsted recounts in Getting Into Guinness, his new history of the book that has sold more copies worldwide than any other title in history save the Bible and the Koran, it was the brainchild of Sir Hugh Beaver, a Guinness Brewery marketing executive who'd gotten into an argument over which European game bird was fastest — the golden plover or the grouse. When no reference volume readily yielded that information, Beaver saw an opportunity. Why not publish a book made up solely of facts about world bests? Beaver suspected it would be a big hit in his country's 81,400 pubs, where drunken patrons regularly jousted over such quandaries, and thus a great promotional item to emblazon with his company's name.

A year after its English debut, Guinness showed up across the pond. At a time when America was determined to put a man on the moon, end poverty and disease, and find a cure for black-and-white TV, The Guinness Book of World Records, as it would eventually be known here, was an apt companion piece for our optimism. It showcased the extraordinary feats human beings could accomplish. It encouraged the pursuit of elite achievement by broadening its domain — world records weren't just for sports anymore; they were for everything. It was a serious book, the product of a purposeful culture that still had faith in the power of Science, Industry and, most of all, Progress. The four-minute mile? We could break it. A skyscraper taller than the Empire State Building? We could build it. The future was surely going to surpass the past.

As it turned out, though, breaking the four-minute mile didn't cure cancer. Sending a man to the moon didn't end poverty. Things were getting better in some ways (cable TV, super-premium ice cream, infinite varieties of tennis shoes), but also worse (AIDS, homelessness, global warming, custom ringtones). Our faith in progress was eroding, and The Guinness Book of World Records was contributing to the malaise. Whereas it once championed elite achievement, it now trivializes it. Thousands of people want to earn a place in its pages as the world's best something-or-other, and Guinness, in need of new content to keep its annual updates fresh, is happy to accommodate them. For example, Guinness World Records 2009 includes entries for "Most snails on the face." And "Fastest time to push an orange one mile with the nose."

Instead of inspiring us, such pseudo-records merely remind us that we value publicity more than achievement now. They reinforce how purpose-driven our lives have become, how silly and trivial we are. Before Guinness, world records signified something important, the mastery of something that was considered worth pursuing, even if that something was no more ennobling of the human heart than competitive hamburger eating. After Guinness, world records didn't need to have a context, or a purpose, outside the context of Guinness itself. The goal is no longer to demonstrate the capacities of the human spirit; the goal is merely to get into Guinness.

In Missouri, attendees at a science fair recently broke the world record for blowing up balloons in one hour. In Germany, 15,000 puzzle fans assembled the world's largest jigsaw puzzle. As Wall Street implodes and the War on Terror percolates, we've pretty much stopped believing that tomorrow is going to be better than yesterday. At this point, we'll be ecstatic if Social Security lasts one week longer than the polar ice caps do. To distract ourselves from such depressing notions, we create the world's largest plastic duck, the longest ballpoint pen, the most expensive ice cream sundae, and Guinness treats these endeavors as if they're noteworthy achievements. In truth, they're all so meaningless that even drunken Englishmen have better things to argue about. • 26 November 2008

Saturday, November 29, 2008

New Display Component!

We've found a new display component for mobile displays of World's Smallest Versions of World's Largest Things... Will be developed for this year's Kansas Sampler Festival in Concordia, first part of May - woohoo!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

QuickBooks

... seems to be a great tool! Started setting up program and accounts, with a tutorial from a pro.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Up and at em!

For today:

Copying DVDs of newly completed Digital Documentary about the Post Rock Scenic Byway, measuring for the mural about same, making sure the Member Archives of Weekly Whats Large Where columns are current, fixing typos from the recent batch of renewals, and double-checking appointments for next week's grant work.

From the Email Inbox: The Rock - Utah

Sent in by member and World Famous Artist, Eric Abraham of the Flying Pig Studio and Gallery here in Lucas Kansas.
 

Thursday, November 20, 2008

1000s Gather for Stuffing of Giant Rockefeller Center Turkey

from The Onion: http://www.theonion.com/content/node/90339

NEW YORK—In what has become a Thanksgiving tradition, more than 10,000 locals and tourists alike braved the cold Monday to watch the annual stuffing of the Rockefeller Center Turkey.

The nationally televised event, which has rung in the holiday season for nearly 80 years, began at 5 p.m., when workers propped open the skin flaps of the 55-foot-tall bird, and pushed an 11-ton mixture of bread crumbs, onions, and other fixings into its massive trunk.

"This year's stuffing is shaping up to be the best one yet," said Mayor Mike Bloomberg, addressing the crowd from a podium next to the giant avian carcass. "Look at that beautiful glistening turkey!"

"Let Thanksgiving begin," Bloomberg added as he ceremoniously picked up a handful of salted butter and coagulated grease from the pile and threw it into the cheering crowd.

Moments after a 150-foot-tall crane stuffed the raw turkey to overflowing, ground crews fastened the bird's gargantuan legs together with nearly 200 yards of kitchen string. According to organizers, the Rockefeller Center Turkey will be basted hourly with 30,000 gallons of natural juices, pumped from industrial hoses, to prevent it from drying out.

The largest Thanksgiving centerpiece to date, the 70-foot-long turkey was personally selected by the mayor from a Maine farm and transported to Rockefeller Center on the back of a flatbed truck. Throughout its journey to the Big Apple, a record number of onlookers greeted the enormous, vacuum-sealed animal, with many a passerby scrambling to get their picture taken alongside it.

"The guidelines we use to find the perfect turkey are based not only on height, but also plumpness and just the right amount of dark meat," said David Murbach, who has helped procure Rockefeller Center's giant turkey for the past 25 years. "While this year we did opt for a commercially grown bird, in 2007 a family living in Vermont donated a 45-foot-tall turkey they had in their backyard."

Crowds reportedly started arriving before noon to watch the festive turkey-stuffing spectacle, which included live musical performances by Josh Groban and American Idol–winner David Cook. In addition, the entire cast of NBC's Chuck received the honor this year of walking inside the turkey's abdominal cavity to retrieve the 1,000-pound giblets packet.

"I knew the crowds were going to be huge, but I wanted my son to be here on the day all the stuffing went in," said Cleveland resident Dean Carlson, who was visiting New York with his family. "You should have seen the look on his face when they peeled back the skin with that giant skidder. This is something he'll remember for the rest of his life."

On Tuesday, gravy boats came up the Hudson River, while dump trucks heaped with mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, and boiled corn lined Sixth Avenue for nearly a mile. Several dozen workers have also been added to the payroll to shovel congealed fat and gristle off the sidewalks until the end of December.

"You know the holidays are right around the corner when you can smell raw turkey from 50 blocks away," SoHo resident Stephen Finney said. "Thanksgiving in New York just wouldn't be the same without it."

According to historian Steve Medina, the custom of stuffing a Rockefeller Center turkey first started in 1931, when exhausted workers laying the plaza's foundation kept their spirits up by preparing a 10-foot-tall bird right on the construction site. The tradition quickly caught on, and has only grown in pomp and popularity since.

"The Rockefeller Center Turkey has given us so many wonderful memories over the years," Medina said. "From the first honey-glazed bird in 1957, to that image of Mayor LaGuardia raising those giant gizzards above his head to signal the start of another Thanksgiving season."

"Through depression, war, and even food shortages, this incredible tradition has always endured," Medina continued. "Except of course for 1951, when the enormous bird rolled off a cargo train and crushed 64 people before plunging into the East River."

The Rockefeller Center Turkey will be slow-roasted from 5:30 p.m. to midnight each day until Thanksgiving, when the red button pops out, indicating that the bird is fully cooked and ready to be served.

Officials claimed that the turkey would not be wasted this year, as its leftovers will be used to make enough sandwiches to last for the next 10 months.

Monday, November 17, 2008

We're in Serbian!

Voice of America came through Lucas, and evidently they also posted a Serbian version of the story on their news site:
 

From Vision TV - 2008 - 2009 Seasons

It sometimes pays to google yourself:
 
Found a press release from VisionTV, Canada's multi-faith and multicultural television network.  This was in their list:
 
Documentary Series: NEW SEASON
Driven By Vision - Airing 2009
All over North America, eccentric visionaries have created homemade shrines and holy sites to share their devotion with the world. The new season of this Gemini Award-nominated series from creators Judy Holm and Michael McNamara will introduce viewers to more of these unusual – and sometimes inexplicable – creations, from the legendary Beer Can House of Houston, Texas to artist Erika Nelson's World's Largest Collection of the World's Smallest Versions of the World's Largest Things in Lucas, Kansas.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Re: World's Largest Clams in Pismo CA

Subject: World's Largest Clams in Pismo CA
FYI, the two clams in Pismo were created by my Grandfather, Freeman Davis, a local resident and sculptor for many years.  He died around 1982, can't remember the exact year, think I was in  third grade at the time.

Thanks for making a web-site about them.  The historical society should be able to confirm he is the sculptor.
-K.K.


Thank you for the information!  I had talked with the Chamber of Commerce, but will ask the Historical Society for the rest of the story.
 
And, I still think about the great clam chowder I got while there...
 
Thanks again,
Erika Nelson, Director
World's Largest Things, Inc.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

NEW POSTCARD: World's Smallest Version of the World's Largest Badger, Birnamwood Wisconsin

 

Workin'!

Up early to go to an Amazing 100 Miles banquet, but first:

Started arrangements for another Kansas Humanities Council talk, for April in Lansing KS...

Developed proposal for non-profit designation help for a sister entity...

Checked on shipping for new postcards...

Wrote draft brochure design funding request...

And that's it. Had a nice brunch, passed out more information about WLT and Lucas and upcoming Digital Documentary Premier for the Post Rock Scenic Byway, and home.

And, in the mail, one new member request, and three renewals. And, a message on the phone that the re-done new XXL tees are in and ready for pick-up.

Now, off to City Council to present the 2008 Governor's Tourism Award to the Community of Lucas, and propose some infrasture enhancements that will benefit both WLT and the City of Lucas.

And, somewhere in there I took out the trash, too.

NEW World's Largest Ball of Twine, Highland WI

Man Creates 10-Ton Twine Ball Nearly 30 Years in Making

Thursday, November 13, 2008

SUPERIOR, Wis. —  Jim Kotera says the challenge hit almost three decades ago and got the ball rolling, so to speak.

He heard of people claiming to have amassed the largest ball of twine in the world and decided to beat them.

Kotera told Superior's online newspaper, The Daily Telegram, that he started his twine ball April 3, 1979. It now stands about as tall as he does.

He's weighed the twine as he added it, including the bags of string saved for him by friends and neighbors, and he estimates the ball weighs just under 20,000 pounds. If it could be unraveled, he claims it would stretch from northern Wisconsin to the Wyoming border.

Kotera, who lives in the town of Highland near Lake Nebagamon, has worked at the Highland dump for nearly 30 years.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

WLT Green-ness

Just did the calculations, and we use approximately 38 trees a year in our paper consumption.
 

Veteran's Day Poem

In Flander's Fileds: -By John McCrae-

In Flander's fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place, and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flander's fields.

Monday, November 10, 2008

World's Largest Baltic Sprats Tin, Mamonovo Russia (proposed)

As found on EnglishRussia:
 

In the Kaliningrad they are planning to make a monument for Baltic Sprats tin can (like on the picture ...) .

As "Radio Baltics" mentions, in the downtown of the city Mamonovo would appear a giant bronze tin would be built. As people from the local goverment say: "Such a monument should comemorate the fact, that the most tasty sprats in tin cans are being produced in this city".

The construction of the monument would cost approximately 5 000 EUR (around $6900), and probably would be collected from the volunteers who like the sprats.

Lily-Tulip Cup, Springfield MO

From the Email Inbox - a Springfield fan who named her dog Lily Tulip!

Why Drive an Art Car? A story from Kansas.

From the driver of an Art Car, the daily driver "Scout", which is used in conjunction with independent artist and educator Erika Nelson's travels and lecture circuit.
 
This weekend's trip was a great reminder of "Why Drive an Art Car?"  On the way from my home base in Lucas Kansas, home of the Visionary Art Environment "The Garden of Eden", to a Kansas Humanities Council lecture in Park City KS, I remembered some of the many varied reasons.  Driving an Art Car brings art into an everyday, unexpected experience, which has great impact on both the viewer and the driver.
 
While driving the back roads of Kansas, I'm often passed.  The reasons for this are varied - I tend to drive between 60 and 65, as that's the very best mileage speed for my vehicle.  Sometimes, that means that I'm just on the speed limit, while others really really really need to pass.
 
Also, it's not a good idea to speed in an Art Car, as you're the first one a patrol man sees in the sea of automobiles, and the long yellow topknot sprouting from the cab of the vehicle makes for good a good tracking point for aiming your radar.
 
One of the hazards of being passed in an Art Car is the occasional "WHOA!" moment of the other vehicle, which usually occurs right in your blind spot.  The passing car slows down in the middle of the pass, hovering in your blind spot, while they or their passenger hunt for a camera or try to figure out the camera function on their phone. 
 
This trip was no different - I could see the "WHOA!" coming, from a white SUV.  We were on a two-lane, small-shouldered blue highway, with grain truck traffic coming the other way.  They didn't pause too long, but passed and accelerated over the next hill.  A few miles later, I saw it parked in a farmer's pull-off, with a man standing by the road.  As I passed, he raised his camera.  I waved and chuckled.
 
Within another mile or so, they'd moved up in traffic again, car by car.  They passed, slowly.  I waved.  As they got past the blind spot and parallel, I saw that the back window sprouted a large, long camera lens. 
 
Once again, they sped over the next hill and became indistinguishable in the Saturday afternoon country traffic.
 
As I entered the next town, I was eyeing the gas gauge, doing mental calculations of regional price differences, projecting potential fuel savings in the next 40 miles (as prices were dropping approximately 2 cents per mile while driving Southwards), and approximate remaining fuel level as divined from tank capacity divided by automobile manufacturer's interpretation of level marks modified by point percentage difference as determined by past AAA-calling events.  This, coupled with Kansas weather predictions in relation to warmth of emergency fleece (in case I needed to walk or stand outside for an extended period of time), and approximate car density on the next rural route (adjusted upwards with harvest time activity) didn't have me too worried, but I checked out the posted Co-Op prices anyway.
 
While passing the Co-Op with math sections of brain buzzing, I saw the white SUV again, parked at an angle in the 'out' drive.  Once again, camera, wave, and smile.
 
As this particular Kansas town marks the intersection of two main routes, it was unlikely that I'd see them again.  I continued South, enjoying the day.
 
The white SUV appeared three more times, twice in passing, and once in wait at the entrance to a college campus.  By this time, I realized that they were intent on getting all angles and views of the truck, and one of their company was a stickler for getting the perfect shot.  By now, I was feeling like an exotic bird being captured by a friendly photo shoot, or perhaps, more appropriately, like the GEICO gecko in the current run of commercials.  It was a good reminder of the purpose of driving an Art Car, and I hope it planted the seed in the minds of my photographer friends.
 
The weekend continued with three more "WHOA!" blind-spot moments on two-lane roads, one more pull-over to see (this one was a very nicely tinted Mary Kay Cadillac, with the pink pearl automotive paint changing with the sun, housing three nicely done ladies, who had no reservations about turning completely around in their seats and waving), a Dixie horn toot from a large rumbling 80s Ford pickup, and an extended thumbs-up from a passing Prius while on interstate. 
 
Art Cars are a wonderful way to travel, and passing out postcards of your vehicle is an easy way to brighten even the moodiest surly teenager.  Art Cars can open doors that you didn't even know were there, and will make you a better, more aware driver.  You develop a habitual wave and smile, which carries over to non-Art Car vehicles, as well. I strongly recommend the experience, as there's a whole network of friends just waiting for you over the edge.

Park City KS World's Largest Things lecture







What a good weekend. Yet another Kansas Humanities Council lecture, booked through their Speakers Bureau, in Park City KS. Good crowd, great technical setup, illustrating how a community can work together to get some great things done. Their PRIDE program puts out a monthly newspaper, sent out to everyone with a Park City address, to keep the citizens posted on what's going on. Amazing!

And, got more information about the old Red Apple Restaurant that used to be a part of the Wichita area landscape, remembrances from some citizens and resource hints from local library staff.

You can (virtually) visit their community here: Park City Kansas

Friday, November 7, 2008

Reminder Postcards sent to Members

Here's yet another perk of Becoming a Member of WLT, Inc. - you're renewal reminder postcards are neat!
 
Just sent out the fall batch today...

Thursday, November 6, 2008

World's Largest Tuned Musical Windchimes, Eureka Springs Arkansas

Hey Erika,
Ranaga Farbiarz here, of The World's Largest Tuned Musical Wind Chime  (TWLTMWC), in Eureka Springs, Arkansas.
...

So, when are you going to come down and finally see it and make a replica?  ..  Anyway, hello from Arkansas and ...I hope you'll be able to  come down soon and visit.  I'll be looking forward to meeting you!
et's a man,
N. Ranaga Farbiarz
Celestial Windz Harmonic Bizaar
Home of the world's largest tuned musical wind chime
381 Highway 23 South
Eureka Springs, Ar 72632
Here are links to stuff you might like to read or hear.  Please feel  free to distribute to anyone and everyone.
Thanx for your friendship & support, Namaste, et's a man, Ranaga 
Farbiarz
NPR-National Public Radio-Jan. 15, 2007-"All Things Considered"
Wind Chime Puts Arkansas Town in Guinness Records
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=6861078
This is a short 3 minute piece, but it was broadcast nationally
KUAF-University of Arkansas NPR affiliate
Dec. 31, 2007-"Ozarks at Large"
*Those large chimes just outside of Eureka Springs are getting more attention...this time for setting a world record*
http://www.publicbroadcasting.net/kuaf/news.newsmain?
action=article&ARTICLE_ID=1020846&sectionID=1
This piece was closer to 10 minutes long and was broadcast regionally  in the Northwest Arkansas area only.  Fast forward 25 minutes into  the broadcast.
Arkansas Democrat Gazette-Jan. 15, 2007-Perspectives Section
The Holocaust and me:  A son tells how his parents survived the war by Natan Ranaga Farbiarz
This is the permanent archival link for the article, it has the full  text, graphics and photos:
http://epaper.ardemgaz.com/Repository/ml.asp?Ref=QXJEZW1vY3JhdC8yMDA3LzAxLzE0I0FyMDk1MDE=&Mode=HTML&Locale=english-
Eureka Springs, Arkansas weblinks:
Eureka Springs Artists: http://www.eurekaspringsartists.com

CAPC/Festivals Website: http://www.eurekasprings.org/
Chamber of Commerce: http://www.eurekaspringschamber.com
Spirituality: http://www.spiritofeureka.com/
Tourism Information: http://www.eurekasprings.com

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Postcards! We've got Postcards! We've got Brightly Colored Fun and Fabulous Postcards!

OK, so we don't HAVE them yet, but they're both ordered and uploaded.  The Post Rock postcards are for invitations to the upcoming Digital Documentary Premeir, Wed. Nov. 19th at the Lucas Area Community Theater, and the others are for World's Largest Things. 
 
From my favorite postcard printers, Overnight Prints.

Doh!

...it's a busy week, so time is precious. Got a call from the printers, saying the NEW BATCH OF WLT TEES is ready, so drove the 130 mile 'round trip, only to discover that they used the wrong design...

On the good side of the wasted trip, gas is under $2.00/gallon in that region, so it didn't hurt as much as it could have!

And, I always solve some sort of problem while driving, so not completely useless.

Monday, November 3, 2008

World's Largest Skateboard, Wilmington Ohio

Just got a call from the woman who purchased the World's Largest Skateboard for her community - take a look at the article when it was delivered!
 
Honey, I shrunk the skateboarders

GARY HUFFENBERGER
Staff Writer

Either the riders had shrunk, or it was one ginormous skateboard.

Motorists driving Thursday morning on Main Street couldn't help but be all agog when they saw a 31 1/2-foot-long skateboard on the bed of a tow truck from Michigan.

Residents will have plenty of opportunity to check out the world's largest skateboard. Skateboarding enthusiast Jen Stewart of Jen's Deli in Wilmington acquired the skateboard, and she said it will show up at local parades and serve as a stage at fundraisers for the Clinton County Skatepark Association.

Its first appearance will be a 5 p.m. Nov. 7 fundraiser at the Clinton County Family YMCA for a costume dodgeball tournament.

The huge skateboard, a product of an engineering class project, is recognized as the world's largest skateboard in the 2009 edition of the "Guinness Book of World Records." In order to qualify to be in the book, a "Big Wheel" skateboard has to be operational just like a normal skateboard.

"There's no motors, no brakes, and it moves side to side. It has a 50-foot turning radius. Takes 12 people to ride," an elated Stewart said Thursday after her first time on board.

A while back, Stewart and her father Dan talked about building a float for the upcoming second annual Holidazzle Parade in Wilmington.

"So we thought it would be really cool to build a skateboard for the parade. And we thought if we're going to go to the time and trouble to build a skateboard, why don't we build the world's largest skateboard?" Jen recalled.

She began googling to find out how big the largest existing skateboard is and heard about this 31-1/2 feet long board. Jen's subsequent phone call was answered by an engineering professor at Bay de Noc Community College located in Michigan's Upper Peninsula.

The professor told Jen it was funny she had called because he and his students were thinking of putting the skateboard up for sale the following week, and he asked her whether she wanted it. After an exchange of e-mails, Stewart bought the skateboard, with all the money going to Special Olympics, Toys for Tots, and to the school's engineering department to engineer a special walker for a man with a handicap so he can exercise.

The community college's engineering department regularly takes on these larger-than-life projects, according to Stewart. The department also can lay claim to having built the world's largest tricycle. As a learning experience, they build the world's largest things and then sell them with the proceeds going to charities.

There are still some logistics to figure out with the skateboard, Stewart acknowledges.

"We're excited. Maybe we can be in the 'Guinness Book of World Records' for riding the longest distance on the world's largest skateboard. So, we're hoping to get some sort of world record along with it," she said.

"I pity the fool who wants to build a bigger one. Because how are they going to move it?" laughs Stewart.

World's Largest Horseshoe Crab, Blanchester Ohio


photo credit: Freedom Worshop Babtist Church

In the conversation with Jennifer Stewart, World's Largest Skateboard owner and active fan of World's Largest Things, she mentioned another odd Big Thing in her area - a giant Crab, which is part of the Freedom Worship Baptist Church. 
 
Excerpt from the Wilmington (Ohio) News Journal:
 
(Pastor Jim) Rankin has lived quite an interesting life thus far, and yet there is still more to tell. He is known for his ministry and work in the entertainment field, but he also is affiliated with the "World's Largest Horseshoe Crab," which is housed at his church in Blanchester.

Rankin explained how he acquired the crab. "The giant crab was built by the group that helped design the Tower of Terror at Disney World and that also worked on special effects for the movies 'Star Trek V' and 'The Little Shop of Horrors.' It was built for the Columbus Center Maritime Museum in Baltimore, but to regain revenue, the crab went up for sale and was purchased for the future Creation Museum in northern Kentucky. As this museum was nearing completion, they realized the crab was too big for their purposes, and ultimately our church agreed to take it."

Rankin explained why his church was interested in the crab, "The biblical purpose was to counter the evolutionist claim that all things have evolved because the fossils of the horseshoe crab are still the same. Plus, this animal is a true gift from God, with its blood being used as a clotting agent for disease in scientific research. Thus, the World's Largest Horseshoe Crab is now surrounded by a beautiful scripture garden and fossil courtyard."

The crab is 68 feet long, 28 feet wide, with a 13-foot domed ceiling. It has gained much fame, and on Aug. 30, Rankin's church will even host a Crabfest. The fest will feature a nationally televised firewall motorcycle jump over the crab by Gene Sullivan, Evel Knievel's former bodyguard.
 

Friday, October 31, 2008

Kansas Musuem Association Conference

... Manhattan Kansas - debuts the Post Rock Scenic Byway Digital Documentary, through the Kansas Humanities Council.

We haven't seen it either. Off early with fellow Lucasites, promoting the area!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Small Town USA Movie

... stopped by this morning to talk about Lucas, Grassroots Art identity, the plight of rural America, and where it all ties together. I don't think they realized just how much Lucas had to offer in this field, with our amazing array of doers that work to make this a thriving rural community in the middle of an out-migration area, so they'll just have to come back and talk some more!

Small Town USA Movie

Email Submission to Good Ink

Reason # 128 to look at online newsletters - sometimes, there's a marketing giveaway! Here's the entry we just sent to Good Ink, pleading our case for a marketing package focused on potential corporate and foundation sponsors for the development of the new World's Largest Collection of the World's Smallest Versions of the World's Largest Things Traveling Roadside Attraction and Museum:

WLT Inc. is a federally recognized 501(c)3 non-profit corporation, established to research, collect, and disseminate information relating to the history, preservation, production, and promotion of Roadside Vernacular Architecture known as World's Largest Things.

We collect stories of rural communities who have chosen to erect a World's Largest Thing, which often serves as a key to understanding community identity. We collect these stories through photo-documentation of the sites and primary and secondary research, and share the stories and images with the rest of the world through articles, lectures, community programs, home website and associated online blog and image archives. These community icons and their stories are used in an effort to promote economic development in the represented communities through tourism, community-building, aid in marketing or branding of their community, and renewed interest in rural life.

One of our major educational outreach tools is a Mobile Museum which houses photographs and stories of these rural communities as illustrated through their World's Largest Thing. The museum also holds the World's Largest Collection of the World's Smallest Versions of the World's Largest Things, which features miniature replicas of World's Largest Things, used as a catalyst for sharing these unique community profiles. The interactive nature of the museum speaks to all ages, and creates an atmosphere conducive to learning in a unique, approachable way. We liken the WLCoWSVoWLT Mobile Museum to a cross between the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile and a Bookmobile.

We recently retired the old Mobile Museum, and are embarking on the development of a new, expanded mobile educational unit. As the collection has grown, we outgrew the original grassroots version. We need help in developing a fundraising campaign package, for use in presentations to potential corporate and foundation sponsors.

The nuts-and-bolts operations of World's Largest Things has been supported mainly by volunteer hours (we have no paid staff), with memberships covering costs for membership letters, website maintenance, and grants funding specific projects. We simply do not have the capacity to develop a professional campaign with our current volunteer personnel, and cannot expand our capacity without sponsorship of the current project.

We are looking for an information packet that will explain the concept of the museum, showcase the plans for new Mobile Museum development, and make the case for sponsorship of the project. The 'hook' is there with the World's Largest Collection of the World's Smallest Versions of the World's Largest Things, while the importance of the project to sustaining rural culture through the sharing of the stories is harder to convey. We need help in presenting this fun concept in a serious way to people who have the resources to fund the development.

We feel that our project examines an important port of our national identity, which is rapidly disappearing. The preservation of these icons doesn't quite fit into the established preservation programs, even though the communities that create and care for them know the importance of their World's Largest Things. Through the increased awareness of these unique monuments and the stories behind them, we act as a catalyst for economic development and rural renewal, as well as documenting a marginalized section of roadside culture.

Thank you for your consideration, and please, don't hesitate to contact us for more information.

-Erika Nelson, Director
World's Largest Things, Inc., home of the World's Largest Colleciton of the World's Smallest Versions of the World's Largest Things.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Kansas Sampler Foundation 8 Wonders of Kansas Art

It's official!  Lucas Kansas is one of the 8 Wonders of Kansas Art, as determined by public vote.  See the Kansas Sampler Foundation's description of Lucas at their website:
 
 
and a description of the 8 Wonders of Art project:
 
 
Kudos, Lucas! There's an additional story in the Hays Daily News

Monday, October 20, 2008

New WLT Tee Off to NY Member

It's in the mail to Member #2! One of the exclusive, new, dripping with sarcasm tees that Only Members got first dibs on... All you others on the mailing list will find out in Vol. 2 # 2 of the Big Idea newsletter, scheduled for mid-November.

Arts Infrastructure Work

... started looking at the QuickBooks Simple Start, and ordered the NonProfit premeir version. Sometimes, it pays to leave things 'till the last minute, as we happened upon a $100 off sale, and got to use an additional $30 coupon donated by a WLT Board Member... Yay!

Great Mail Day Item #3: PBS Lincoln Highway Sneak Preview

That's the advantage of having historians and authors on your Board of Directors - Advisory Board Member Brian Butko, author and co-author of many books, sent along a sneak preview of the upcoming documentary about the Lincoln Highway.  Premiers on PBS October 29th - check your local listings!
 
Our book recommendations, with one of Brian's on the top right column:
 
 
 

Great Mail Day Item #2 - Canada Big Things Book

From a contact from the September SCA Conference - a book about Canada's Roadside Attractions!
 
 
Thanks, New Canadian Friend!

Great Mail Day Item #1 - mini member cards!

It was a great snail mail today for WLTs - Item #1, a new batch of World's Smallest membership Cards from Moo!  Here are the new designs that will go out this year to new and renewing members of WLT, Inc.
 
 

Friday, October 17, 2008

OK - backtracking to Friday...

... It WAS a busy day! Wrote a script for a Digital Documentary for the Post Rock Scenic Byway - only slightly related to WLT, but is because a WLT project is prominantly featured on the PRSB Info Kiosk... W.L. Souvenir Travel Plate is a centerpiece in the Lucas section...

Sent images to be included in a PowerPoint for the Kansas Tourism Conference, pput on by TIAK (which stands for ???) with the Kansas Travel and Tourism Division of the Department of Commerce, next Tuesday, illustrating WLT Projects in Lucas and the area...

Packing up for a KHC WLT talk about Roadside Attractions and the like, happening in Small Towns Thinking Big, in Partridge KS on Saturday

AND, backyard visitors in the morning. I think we're good to go!

TBTB

... too busy to blog - will update later....

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Sunday, October 12, 2008

From the Email Inbox: Roanoke VA Star

Postcard for sale on Ebay!
 

Re: Robert Wadlow

According to the Guinness record listing (GWR, 2002) Robert Wadlow weighed 491 on his 21st birthday, but dropped to 438 when he died in 1940. (B. 1918)
 
Thanks for asking!
-Erika
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Sunday, October 12, 2008 4:05 PM
Subject: Robert Wadlow

                 Hi,
 
 
 
 
Do you know if Robert Wadlow at 490 pounds was the correct weight for his height?
 
 
 
Matt.


Win £3000 to spend on whatever you want at Uni! Click here to WIN!


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Thursday, October 9, 2008

From the Email Inbox: Wade City FL Muffler Man

From member brother Dave Kilby...
 
And, check out the Member website - creatives love WLTs!  www.kilbycreative.com

From the Snail Mail Inbox: W.L. Cuckoo Clock, Wiesbaden Germany

From the back:
 
WORLD FAMOUS * UNIQUE
 
Overall height to tip of antlers 5.25m - Height of flanking figures 2.6m - Diameter of dial, show face 2m
 
Cuckoo call, music and dnace every half hour

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Members Only Updates

... out in today's mail also...

Featuring the NEWEST WLT Tee Design! Only four have gone out so far, as we wanted Members to have the first crack at 'em... You'll see in the mail, Dear Members!

Member Packet off to Minnesota!

Member number 109 is a Minneapolis MN fan, and is the latest to step up to the World's Largest Plate of Bigness. If we hadn't mentioned it, Member #108 went out to Florida, showing the broad geographical reach of Roadside Americana.

Thank you again for your support!

North Dakota map of Big Things

 
This is how to do it!  North Dakota has a great site of their tourism icons, with a map showing exactly where the Big Things are - kudos!
 

Monday, October 6, 2008

From the Email Inbox: World's Largest Laddarback Chair, Pequot Lakes MN

Just under the Pequot Lakes Fishing Bobber Water Tower...Built by Nature's Concepts for tourist photo opportunities, billed as Paul Bunyan's chair.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

World's Largest hand carved Tiger Muskie working ice fishing decoy by JAG

From Flickr:
 
This monster of a muskie fishing decoy measures over 7 feet long and is entirely hand carved from a cedar beam from an old fireplace mantle. While it would have been a great deal easier to use power tools, my doggedness determination wanted to see if I could do it my hand.

I started working on it late Saturday afternoon and finished today on Wednesday, 52 plus hours total labor. I had some slip-ups and blunders but in the end, I'm quite satisfied with the end results.

I diligently searched the internet for hand carved tiger muskie fishing decoys and could not find one larger than this, so I'll lay claim to it. 
 
See the photo stream and comments here:

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

From the Email Inbox - New World's Largest Cupcake

Record holder: Duff Goldman


Location: Mall of America, Minneapolis


March 30, 2008


The Food Network's Duff Goldman lives up to his Ace of Cakes title by baking the largest cupcake in history — now entered in the Guinness Book of World Records. The 61.4-pound creation is more than a foot tall and entirely edible. Reportedly 150 times the size of a regular cupcake, this record-breaker called for 16 pounds of butter, 10 pounds of sugar, and three ounces of food coloring. The mammoth confection supported the Great American Bake Sale, which raised $10,000 and awareness for Share Our Strength, a charity working to fight hunger across America.