Tourists get unexpected breakfast buffet with Obama at the White House

Perhaps you read about the tourist couple who recently were ushered into a White House breakfast buffet with President and Michelle Obama even though they did not have an invitation. All Harvey and Paula Darden planned on doing when they showed up at the White House was take a tour that their congressman helped arrange for them. Unfortunately, they arrived a day earlier than they were supposed to.

This turned out to be a good thing. When they arrived saying they were there for a tour, the White House staff person lead the Dardens into the East Room. There the couple found themselves chowing down food in the midst of people who were not dressed in tourist attire.

The buffet was for veterans–something neither of the Dardens are. But, according to the White House staff, because the Dardens had been cleared by security like all the other guests—and since there wasn’t a tour, they were given breakfast instead.

The only reason we know about this incident is because the Dardens became worried after Tareq and Michaele Salahi crashed the state dinner two weeks after the Dardens’ visit. The Dardens, I suppose, felt it necessary to come forward to tell about how their off the cuff visit happened. It wasn’t something they planned. They don’t want people to get the wrong idea about them. They are not event crashers who tried to pull one over on the White House.

Hopefully, the Dardens’ splash into national news won’t halt the unexpected buffet invites for the rest of us who might show up at the White House for a legitimate reason but on the wrong day.

The news story, unfortunately, was written as if this might have been another White House gaff.

No, no, no. Don’t say that. Just say that the Dardens felt uncomfortable with their unexpected luck. To feel better, I suggest the Dardens write a thank-you note and add that it’s nice to know that tourists have access to a White House brunch every once in awhile when they least expect it—with the proper security clearance, of course.

Corn mazes, garden mazes and more via Google Earth

Once a person has seen a video of Sarah Palin’s face in a corn maze, it’s hard to imagine what might top it. This Google Earth video “Amazed” has a response. These mazes aren’t all corn related, however. Some, like the Hampton Court Maze in London, are hedge mazes found in formal gardens.

Where ever these mazes are, Google Earth unfolds them in a kaleidoscope trip to various parts of the world–mostly the United Kingdom.

As a note about corn mazes: They change from year to year. For example, this year The Corn Maze at the Butterfly House in Whitehouse, Ohio is of Toledo Walleye Hockey instead of Sarah Palin.

For the list of where each of the mazes featured in the Google Earth video are located, keep reading. The Butterfly House is not one of them.

This list is found, along with the latidudes and longitudes of each maze on the You Tube video page. Click on “more info.” You’ll also find links to the Web sites for most of them.

1. Dole Plantation Maze; Oahu, Hawaii

2. Spider Web; HeeHaws Fun Farm, Layton, Utah

3. McCall’s Pumpkin Patch; New Mexico

4. “HELP” Maze; Greenwood Village, Colorado

5. Fritzler Maze; LaSalle, Colorado

6. Land of Lincoln Corn Maze; Illinois

7. Peace Maze; Castlewellan, Northern Ireland

8. Hazlehead Park; Aberdeen, Scotland

9. Thoresby Mega Maze; Thoresby Home Farm, Perlethorpe, England

10. Wonderland Pleasure Park Hedge Maze; Nottinghamshire, England

11. Hatfield House Maze; Hertfordshire, England

12. Somerleyton Hall Maze; Suffolk, England

13. de Uithof, Den Haag, The Netherlands

14. Amstelpark, Amsterdam

15. Labyrinth & Tree of Life; Milton Keynes, UK

16. Capel Manor College; Enfield, England

17. Alice in Wonderland Park; Christchurch, Dorset, UK

18. Barton Manor; Isle of Wight

19. Amazing Cornish Maize Maze; Smeaton Farm, Pillaton, Saltash, Cornwall

20. Longleat House; Warminster, Wiltshire, England

21. Foot Maze; Conhold House, Wiltshire, England

22. Crystal Palace Park Hedge Maze; Bromley, South London, England

23. Hampton Court Maze; London, England

24. virtual hedge maze you can walk through; Ruurlo, Netherlands

25. Maze Tree; Emsbüren, Germany

26. Herrenhäuser Gärten; Hanover, Germany

27. Guyancourt, le quartier des Saules; Paris, France

28. Lempdes, Puy-de-Dôme, France

29. Labyrinthe de Bouguenais – France

Tour the White House gardens for free on Oct. 17-18

If you were like me, you loved that Michelle Obama planted a garden at the White House last March.

You can see it for yourself. It’ll be part of this year’s White House Gardens and Grounds Tours on October 17-18.

Also on the tour are the Jacqueline Kennedy Garden, Rose Garden, Children’s Garden, and South Lawn.

Even though it’s free, you’ll need to get a ticket to attend. Pick up your timed ticket at the Ellipse Visitor Pavilion (15th & E Streets) on the dates of the tours, starting at 8 a.m. The tickets are first-come, first-served.

The tours run 10:00 a.m-4:00 p.m. on Saturday, October 17, and 10:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. on Sunday, October 18.

In bad weather, the tours will be canceled, so be sure to check on the status of the event by calling the information line at 202.456.7041.


Gadlinks for Friday 9.4.09

It’s Aloha Friday, and I’m back home in the great USA! It feels awfully good to be home for the Labor Day weekend. I hope you all enjoy the long weekend. Here are a few Gadlinks to get it started.

´Til Monday, have a great weekend!

More Gadlinks here.

Biden says “Don’t Fly,” White House says “Sorry”

The White House issued a non-apology today, clearly practicing a technique that it will use often over the next four years. Vice President Joseph Biden is famous for speaking without thinking “saying one thing and meaning another.” Today, he announced that he would not only avoid Mexico but also suggests staying away from confined spaces as the spread of swine flu contines.

This is exactly what an ailing airline needs … not to mention the 200,000 people expected to lose their jobs in the U.S. travel and tourism industry this year. But, don’t worry about it, Joe. We know you meant well.

White House officials are playing it safe, “clarifying” the Vice President’s remarks.

The feds hope that nobody was “unduly alarmed.” The best part, though, is that “What the vice president meant to say was the same thing that many members have said in the last few days … And that is, if you feel sick, are exhibiting flu-like symptoms….that you should take precautions, that you should limit your travel.”

Yeah, that’s the same thing, right?