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

From the Flickr Email Inbox: Worlds Largest Saxaphone, Houston TX

From our Southern correspondant, a great shot of the World's Largest Saxaphone, Houston Texas, created by artist Bob Wade.

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

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 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:

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

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Art Network

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:
Compare to the World's Second Largest Cross in Groom TX:
and the World's Largest in Effingham IL:


... 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

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