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Archive for June 18, 2010

Friday Fun Facts – The Statue of Liberty

Remember when that whole thing about hating the French happened a few years ago? Freedom Fries? Freedom Toast? Let’s change everything with “French” in the title to Freedom? What the hell was that? Doesn’t that still cause people to associate freedom with anything French? Wouldn’t it have been a better ploy to change “French” to crap? “Hey, let’s go out for crap fries and gravy!” “This crap toast is delicious!” Quite frankly I never took the time to find out why people were hating France in the first place. I prefer to live about ten years behind the times. But what I’m trying to say is, during this whole debacle, did any of these Freedom Lovers ever think to get rid of the most French thing in this country, the Statue of Liberty? Or can people just pick and choose what they want to hate about France? Anyways, it came to my attention that 125 years ago yesterday, (June 17, 1885) the 350 pieces needed to assemble Lady Liberty arrived on our intolerant shores in 214 crates. Here are some other amazing things I picked up.

-It was used as a lighthouse from 1886 to 1902. So we took a marvel of French engineering and turned it into a giant flashlight.  But I guess there’s not really much you can do with a statue.

-In 1909, Wilbur Wright became the first person to fly an airplane around it. Kind of like when a little kid learns to ride a bike, I imagine Wright taking his plane all over the place and just flying it around stuff. “Oh, you just bought a new house? I’m gonna fly around it!” “Just had a kid? Can I fly around it?” “A new statue? I think I’ll fly around it!”

In 1913, a young pilot, Juan Pablo Aldasoro, was selected to perform the first flight above the statue. All this flying around and over national monuments just doesn’t happen in times like these. I got my toothpaste taken away at an airport one time. My toothpaste!

-An excerpt from a plaque inside the statue:   “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me.”  I get the impression that much of the country has decided to overlook that part of it.

-In 1982, Jessica Skinner was born inside of the statue. I was born in a hospital.

-The design, posture, and dimensions of the statue are modeled after what engineers of the 19th century believed the Colossus of Rhodes to have looked like. Don’t know what the Colossus of Rhodes was? Look it up, you have the internet.

I’m really a big fan of today’s Blong, otherwise I obviously wouldn’t have made it the Blong.

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