#3. Iowans Build a 380-Mile Road on Their Lunch Break
Around the beginning of the 20th century, Americans discovered cars, and then shortly afterward discovered that driving cars over grass and mud really sucked, especially in the cars they made back then.
Well, there’s your problem. You’re using wheels from a 10-speed bicycle.
Iowa decided to get down to business and build a real road across the entire state, and to do it, for some reason, in one day. Presumably, the state of Iowa’s schedule was booked solid for the remainder of the week.
Iowans along the route spent months stocking up on supplies, and one Saturday in the summer of 1910, everyone went to the road at 9 a.m. sharp and started paving. One hour later, the road was done, and by evening, all the road signs were up.
And a ceremony was held for the fleeing wildlife now permanently encased in concrete.
The fact that they’d built a 380-mile-long road in one hour was pretty amazing, but the funniest part is what happened next, in the convoluted journey the road took from physically existing to officially existing as a state highway.
First, they had to wait three years for the Iowa State Highway Commission to come into existence in 1913 as an independent state organization. Three years after that, one of the road’s sponsors finally sent a letter asking to register it with the state. Letters then went back and forth with lags of up to eight months in between, and together with that and an almost farcical amount of incomplete paperwork and bureaucratic mix-ups, it was 1918 before the road was formally registered with the state.
And by then, everyone had one of these. True story.
It had taken one day to physically build the road and eight years to get it registered with the government, which, depending on your perspective, is either a cute funny story about the stupidity of bureaucrats or something to rile up the crowd at your next Tea Party rally.
More on Danny Kaye…(Doug’s piece peaked my interest).
Manic Depressive Pictures Present…
Basil Rathbone, the greatest movie villain with a sword, was in fact a much better fencer than the handsome and swashbuckling stars that he was usually defeated by (Errol Flynn, Tyrone Power, etc…) but in the movie “The Court Jester” he admitted that the comedy star Kaye became his superior after several weeks of practice. He stated in a interview with a movie magazine (that I no longer have) that Kaye was the greatest natural swordsman he ever encountered.
As far as I know, Danny Kaye never commented on this.
Tattoos of Chinese characters have long been a fad in the West as a way of denoting the mystique of their bearers.
But in a reversal of the trend, Chinese ink parlors are reporting a sudden craze among their clients for tattoos in English.
One Chinese tattooist said he had seen a Westerner with the character meaning “gas” on his arm, instead of “spirit”.
Marcus Camby, a basketball player for the Los Angeles Clippers, has two enormous characters on his upper arm with no obvious meaning in Chinese.
In China, meanwhile, the motivation for choosing English letters is simple – any foreign language is mysterious and exotic.
Yang Enna, a 22-year-old television producer in Shanghai, said: “English tattoos are just more special. They are very trendy and they say something about my personality.
“They are much simpler compared to Chinese characters and can hold deep meanings. English letters can be used as acronyms so your privacy is protected and people are curious about what you have written on your arms.
“If I had tattoos in Chinese, everyone would immediately know what they meant,” she said