Monday, June 1, 2015

Nam Wan Tunnel

In December 2009, The Nam Wan Tunnel was opened to traffic in Hong Kong. It has twin tubes of three lanes each. Contrary to popular belief, it is not long enough to reach America through the Earth's core.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

John Elmsley

John Elmsley was the Chief Justice of Upper Canada from 1796 to 1802. Then he became the Chief Justice of Lower Canada from 1802 until his death in 1805. Thus proving, once again, it's always safer to be a top.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Joseph Jenkins House

The Joseph Jenkins House sits at 310 Pine Street in Barnstable, Massachusetts. In 1987 it was listed in the National Register of Historic Places. It's worth noting, however, that my first apartment in Denver is not. Presumably it's still under review. Nevertheless, I've taken the liberty of writing my own history marker: Here, in 2001, an overweight and under-inspired 22-year-old drank a lot of beer and watched a lot of golf. No flash photography.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Zach Gilford

Zach Gilford is an actor who is best known for his role as Matt on the NBC sports drama Friday Night Lights. Though the show was critically acclaimed and noted for its artistic merit, it was, nevertheless, a ratings failure. Two and a Half Men somehow lasted 12 seasons. Cue: Lee Greenwood.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Valérie Dionne

Every year, for about 15 minutes, all liquid in Canada thaws just enough for the women's national water polo team to get in the pool for one good practice. And Valérie Dionne has been there. Having competed in eleven national championships, Dionne was a mainstay for the team, and even helped her country qualify for the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, where Canada finished fifth. Host nation, Australia, won the gold that year. But, to be fair, the Aussies are a true powerhouse in the sport, presumably because their training facility is infested with sharks and box jellyfish. Which is to say they've learned to swim like their lives depend on it. Despite Canada's disappointment in Sydney, at the 2001 World Championships in Fukuoka, Japan, Dionne helped lead Canada to a bronze medal. Australia never made it out of the quarter finals. BOOM! You've been Canada'd! (Sorry.)

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Morton Sherman Bellucci

In the 1980's, there was a Belgian underground music scene and subculture known as New Beat. Among the founders of this trend was the trio, Morton Sherman Bellucci, who, in less than a year, released more than 100 recordings during the peak of the movement. However, in what can only be considered a rather poor brand awareness strategy, many of these recordings came out under different aliases. New Beat was a major moment for Belgium's important role in the development of house music, which actually started in Chicago. Sadly, the most notable Belgian artist to come from this was Technotronic, who had an international hit with "Pump Up the Jam." Lord Jesus, it's a terrible song. Today, the Tomorrowland electronic music festival happens every year near Antwerp. The country is also known for chocolate, waffles, and beer. Seriously, Belgium. I just want to lick you. Everywhere. Especially your Brussels.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Władysław Kulczyński

Władysław Kulczyński was a Polish zoologist who specialised in arachnology. The study of spiders. Screw that. So, let's not learn anymore about Mr. Kulczyński. Instead, I'll tell you about Tall Paul. In 2003, I was doing the European backpacker thing, and, one night in Krakow, a few of us went to a bar. There, we met a Polish guy named Paul. He called himself Tall Paul. Because, oddly enough, he was rather tall. And Tall Paul insisted on buying shots. Something blue. Might've been vodka. Might've been washer fluid. We'll never know. Soon, shots were on the bar. I tried to pay half. Tall Paul refused. "When you are in MY country, TALL PAUL buys the shots." And he did. "When I am in YOUR country, YOU buy the shots." And I will. If Tall Paul comes to America. Anyone recognize the guy on the left? I owe him shots.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Everyman's Rules for Scientific Living

In 2005, Australian author Carrie Tiffany published her award-winning novel, "Everyman's Rules for Scientific Living." While it kinda sounds like a character-driven how-to guide for safely using nipple clamps, the story is actually set in 1934 when a young seamstress finds herself in the last of fourteen cars on a farming train that is traveling across Victoria bringing agricultural science education to provincial farmers. Alas, many agricultural things happen on this train, including a run-in with professional chicken-sexer, Mr. Ohno. This, of course, takes place in the designated chicken-sexing car. Because, you know, if you're going to have chicken-sexing, you need a separate car. Can't just have chickens sexing each other in front of the cows. Unless, of course, they're into that. This was the English-born, Perth-raised former park ranger's debut novel. Naturally, as a true woman of the outdoors, she wrote about the wild world of agriculture. And chicken-sexing.

* Note: This is my third Australian-themed Wiki article in less than a week. I suspect something sinister is going on down under, and I'm determined to get to the bottom of these shenanigans. Just as soon as I finish doing ... other things.

** Note: After writing this, I later learned that a chicken sexer is not one who oversees the proper mating of chickens. A chicken sexer is a trained individual who can quickly identify the sex of chickens and other hatchlings. I'm an idiot.

Monday, March 9, 2015

The New Empire Cinema

About seventy miles south of Sydney, in Bowral, lies The New Empire Cinema. And on September 15th it will celebrate its centenary. Which means that for 100 years the oldest continually operating theater in Australia has been showing the same mediocre Hollywood movies that America gets to see. But in reverse. Because of the Coriolis effect. It's true. Don't look it up. Please. Of course, because movie-goers value full frontal nudity over plot and character development - and rightly so - currently playing at the New Empire is "Fifty Shades of Grey." It's nice to know that smut sells on both sides of the equator. In America, "Fifty Shades" has an R rating, meaning kids under 17 must be accompanied by a parent or willing homeless person. Similarly, but with a two year difference, in Australia, it's only MA15+. Kids mature two years faster down under. It's the Coriolis effect.

Friday, March 6, 2015

St. Gangolf's Church

St. Gangolf's Church sits in the center of Trier, Germany - a charming small town about ten miles from the border of Luxembourg. Which means if ever all six inhabitants of Luxembourg someday decide to wage war on their neighbors to the east, Trier will be among the first places they attempt to conquer. Though, there's only so much harm the small European tax haven could inflict with their arsenal of sharp-edged investment management portfolios. Alas, St. Gangolf's is safe from Luxembourgers. But not from envy, for this Roman Catholic church unfortunately plays second fiddle to the nearby Trier Cathedral, which is known for housing what is said to be the Holy Tunic. Read: The robe Jesus was wearing just before his crucifixion. It is only displayed every few decades, and rather irregularly. In the meantime, everyone just waits around in cycling attire. At least according to Google street view