Metropolis Illinois – the offical home of Superman

To most people, Metropolis is the fictional city where Clark Kent writes for fictional newspaper “The Daily Planet”. To diehard fans, and residents of Metropolis, Illinois, their town is the real, and only home to Superman.

In fact, the Illinois state Legislature passed a resolution back in 1972 declaring Metropolis the “Hometown of Superman”, so the law is on their side.

Metropolis is more than just a funny name – the town is home to a large Superman statue, a Superman musuem and an annual Superman celebration. Their newspaper is called the Metropolis Planet and once a year, residents are allowed to swap their regular license plates for special Superman plates.

Of course, with just under 6500 people, Metropolis, IL is not as large as the fictional one, but that doesn’t make the residents less proud of their superhero.

Nessie spotted! … in Minnesota

WTF is a Scottish mythical beast doing in Lake of the Isles??

This is messed up, people. The Loch Ness monster is alive and well and living in Minneapolis. A few years ago, I went to Inverness and saw no monster. Now, I know why. How on earth did he/she(/it?) get there?

Here’s my theory: Nessie can probably only survive for a limited amount of time on land, or there’d be more sightings of her in forests and such reported. Still, with her ancient wisdom, as well as her enormous size and generous length — and possible inchworm-like movement capabilities — she might be able to move rather quickly across land. As of yet, there are no rumors that Nessie can fly, so we’ll go with that. This big, long monster would have had to slither her way over northwest Scotland into the Scottish Sea of the Hebrides and veer north to avoid Ireland (or perhaps she stopped off for a pint of Guiness, who’s to say?). Then, there must have been a long trek over the Atlantic Ocean — hopefully she picked up the fabulous blue jewel dropped by the old lady at the end of “Titanic” — and an eventual, weary arrival somewhere between Labrador and Florida. Caribbean and Greenlandian detours are unlikely, unless this is all the result of an elaborate yaycation.

Once arriving in North America, thanks to the glaciers, Nessie must have had a fabulous selection of lakes to hop to and from, and really, it’s no surprise that she finally settled in Minnesota’s Lake of the Isles, where she’s nice and close to the city (optimal for terrorization), but no motors are allowed (no irritating speed boats to swat).

According to, she’s been there for quite some time now and you can actually follow her on Twitter. I don’t know how she’s getting reception out there — I think she must be stealing from that nearby church, which is a conspicuous, if somewhat innocuous act.

Open letter: Dear Nessie, what do you want? Is it Sebastian Joe’s ice cream? Do you have an evil plan? I understand that my mom’s friend Patty recently paddled out to you in her kayak and gave you a firm smack with her oar to see what you were made of, and you barely flinched. Are you going to let Patty live? What are your plans? And my biggest question of all, your majesty, is: do you know how freaking cold it’s about to get?

Write me here, Nessie. I’m waiting.

Detroit, home of the Uniroyal Giant Tire

Interstate I-94 East from Ann Arbor, Michigan to downtown Detroit is a monotonous drive. Low-rise housing complexes, mall parking lots and the Detroit Metro airport pass you by on the mostly flat route, snaking its way towards the heart of the Motor City. But if there’s one weird landmark you’re not likely to miss along the way, it’s Detroit’s very own Uniroyal Giant Tire, rising more than 80 feet above the roadway.

This giant disk of premium rubber has been greeting Detroit-area commuters for more than 40 years. First built in 1964 as a monument for the World’s Fair in New York, the tire was originally a working Ferris wheel which could hold 96 riders. After the Fair’s conclusion the wheel was moved to its current home along the interstate. It’s been confusing and delighting motorists ever since, suddenly rising into view like a celestial hubcap sent from the heavens above.

It’s fitting that Detroit, a city that has long staked its reputation on the auto industry, would have such a landmark. But perhaps these days, with all the doom and gloom that’s been forecast in the state of Michigan, it’s become more a ghostly reminder of glory days past than a symbol of Detroit’s hopes for renewal. Still, for anyone who’s ever driven that flat road East towards Detroit, it’s a much needed symbol of whimsy and pride that never fails to make you smile.

The famous ghost lights of Marfa, Texas

Way out in West Texas, near the sleepy little town of Marfa, there is an unexplained phenomenon that can often be seen on the darkest of nights, when strange, colorful lights appear in the sky, giving the surrounding landscape an otherworldly glow. These “ghost lights” of Marfa have been manifesting themselves for decades, with some saying they date back all the way to the 1800’s, and yet they still remain a mystery today.

Described as roughly the size of a basketball, the lights generally appear along U.S. Route 67, just east of Marfa, near an area called Mitchell Flat. The orbs have been reportedly spotted in a variety of colors, including white, red, green, yellow, and sometimes even blue. The strange lights are said to hover just above the ground, generally motionless, although some witnesses claim to have seen them moving very slowly, and in regular patterns.

There doesn’t seem to be any way to predict when the lights will appear, but sighitngs do occur, on average, between 10 and 20 times a year. Those that have seen them claim that they may hang around for as little as a few seconds or a long as several hours, with their appearance coming anytime between dusk and dawn.
There are a number of theories as to what exactly the lights are. Some say that they are reflected from traffic moving through the area, while others blame them on some unusual astronomical phenomenon or atmospheric disturbance. The existence of the lights has been confirmed by several independent studies however, there just doesn’t seem to be a consensus on what they are exactly.

For Marfa, the lights are another tourist attraction for a town that has a thriving art community and plenty of outdoor activities as well. There is an official viewing platform for the lights and even a plaque to mark the best place to look for the odd phenomenon, and each year, thousands of X-Files fans drop by just wanting to believe. So, if you head to West Texas, pack an open mind, and be ready for some fun in the dark.