The 5 ugliest states in the country

They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder. San Francisco Examiner writer and occasional Gadling contributor Bob Ecker doesn’t behold much, at least for a few unlucky states. Ecker previously named the prettiest US states including coastal California, exotic Hawaii, diverse New York, historic Virginia, and verdant Washington. He’s now determined the unfortunate ugliest states, measured by landscape, not people:

  • Connecticut: the Constitution State is called a “suburban hell”
  • Delaware: small and boring
  • Kansas: land-locked and a “throwback,” in a bad way
  • Nevada: outside of Las Vegas, it’s a “desolate and forbidding wasteland” (what about Lake Tahoe, Bob?)
  • Oklahoma: another flat, hot, and boring state (don’t tell Lonely Planet’s Robert Reid, an OK native)

Obviously the article is tongue in cheek — there are beautiful corners in every great state in this country — but Ecker’s skewering provides a good starting point for thinking about vacation destinations. Do these places deserve to be called ugly? What do you think the ugliest states are?

Photo courtesy Flickr user Gage Skidmore

The Ugly Truth: Gadling’s revolutionary new video series to launch in May

With the goal of improving its cross-platform social media presence, Gadling proudly announces the Ugly Truth, a new video series hell-bent on capturing the viler dimensions of the travel blogger lifestyle.

The Ugly Truth series will revolutionize the sanitized travel show media with depictions of a host of things designed to provoke intense, visceral reactions from viewers.

There’s some great hardcore gross-out material, of course, and there are also plenty of examples of a newly-diagnosed condition referred to by doctors as TBRC (Travel Blogger Rage Syndrome).

“We’re excited to bring the more disgusting side of travel to the attention of Gadling’s audience,” says Gadling Editor-in-chief Grant Martin. “And really, who cares about boring travel news or how-to posts dealing with travel logistics, flight upgrade strategies, or museum discounts when you’ve got video footage of Meg Nesterov consumed by TBRC, beating a defenseless Turkish cat? Or a video of Jeremy Kressmann having eating one too many Big Macs in Thailand, losing his lunch in a tuk-tuk?”

Which Gadling writer chewed so much khat in East Africa last summer that he puked for days? We’ll tell you–better yet, we’ll show you.

Which Gadling writer had a torrid affair with the head of a major European national tourist board? We’ll show you that as well, with crystal-clear HD footage that leaves nothing–not even some unfortunate back acne–to the imagination.

There is also a mine of simply baffling, unclassifiable material on tap, like the dreamy sequence documenting the Gadling contributor so in love with the room’s décor at São Paulo’s Fasano that she arose from a nap to lick the edge of her desk.

Martin, again: “We’d really like to become the first place people turn to for disgusting travel videos, and we’re really pushing our stable of writers to take the lead by getting themselves into some truly gross situations. I can’t wait to see the enormous traffic these gems are going to get!”

And as for rumors that Martin’s recent TBRC episode involving an inefficient airport employee at Kastrup will appear in a The Ugly Truth episode to be released on June 17? “No comment.”

Check out the first installment of The Ugly Truth in early May.

Happy April Fools’ Day!

[Image: Flickr | Mike Burns]

From The Country That Brought Us The Great Leap Forward

This has to be a joke right? Beijing has just been annointed as China’s most beautiful city. Mmmm, maybe Shanghai’s Bund and a moonlight journey on Hong Kong’s Star Ferry aren’t as flash as I thought.

Sadly it’s not an early April Fool’s prank. The grandly titled China Insitute of City Competitiveness Survey has nominated the Chinese capital as the most stunning city in all of China. Thankfully, Hong Kong came in second, but the craziness returned with the southern boomtown of Shenzen registering third. That’s about as legitimate as the bogus iPhones that are currently on sale in a thousand Chinese streetmarkets.

I know the Olympics kick off in a year or so, but I really thought China’s PR practitioners were a little more savvy.

Via Reuters and thanks to dbaron on Flickr for the gorgeous Beijing cityscape.

World’s Ugliest Dogs

Poor pups. What a horrible blow to the self-esteem of all these poor doggies that they are being judged in the “World’s Ugliest Dog” contest. That’s the kind of treatment that would cause one to bite the hand that feeds it. This series of photos of scrawny, mangy, bug-eyed canines from this year’s Sonoma-Marin Fair is enough to make you want to give poor Miss Ellie a Scooby Snack laced with strychnine. Just to put her out of our misery. But then again, the dog bears an amazing resemblance to Phyllis Diller, and she turned out to be pretty successful, right?