Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #221

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #221

…But his brother told him to try Melrose Ave. and he will, even though this stretch of street looks a little seedy; unlike any resort the doctor had ever seen…

Atlantic City Boardwalk by Ira Shander

But three days at university is enough and since he was in the general neighborhood, A.O. had suggested, sort of invited himself, to visit his older brother, Hosea in Atlantic City. “My place ain’t much to look at, Alfrey, saw the picture of your digs, not bad.”

“That doesn’t matter, Hosey, I told mama that I’d see you. It would make her feel better. She blames herself for you runnin’ off to Jersey.” Amanda Campbell will die without having seen her 38 year old son again.

“Okay, Alfrey, I live on Melrose Avenue, ask anyone fo me, they knows where I’m at.”

hookers sign

That conversation took place the month before, when A.O. first found out that he would be going to Boston. It is a leap of faith for the doctor, who had the nagging feeling that his generally irresponsible sibling might forget the day of his arrival. But perhaps he will be pleasantly surprised.

Upon arriving at the resort town, he takes a cab to Melrose Avenue. For Atlantic City, a wildly popular summer destination for New Yorkers and Philadelphians, the streets are mostly deserted. If he would venture out to the ocean, he would have the Boardwalk to himself. But Hosea told him to try Melrose and he will, even though this stretch of street looks a little seedy; unlike any resort he had ever seen.

And of course A.O. is impeccably attired, rarely seen without a freshly pressed 3-piece suit, so he sticks out like a sore thumb. Most of the people he passes stare at him, not used to seeing a Negro so natty, with the possible exception of the ostentatious Hosea.

Of those people, some of the female varieties are scantily clad, never mind the chill, with a fetching look on their face, not a stare. He chooses the most proper “lady”, which would be like being the world’s tallest midget, asking, “Could you tell me where I could find Hosey Campbell?”

“Who’s asking, Cutie?” she answers while unfastening yet another button on her glittery blouse.

“My name is Alpha Omega Campbell, Hosea’s brother.” He tries not to stare at the woman’s ample breasts, fearing God would put one or more of his eyes out.

 “I work for Hosey, Alpha honey… and you can have one on the house.”

“What house?” Ignorant and innocent, A.O. should know better. When he goes into Frenchtown down home, less elegant ladies of the evening do exist. It is the oldest profession after all.

What else does he think they are doing on street corners?

“My house, my bedroom, are over there in that hotel.” She points to a three story structure with a crooked neon light, half lit, reading, Melrose Arms.


Alpha Omega M.D.

.Hosea-001

Episode #221


page 206

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #198

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #198

…Please tell me what it was like to be knighted by the Queen.” John tries his best to get his cousin to be the least immodest, bringing up a subject of great pride to a loyal subject…

Knighted

Knighted by Eva Hollyer

John Ferrell interrupts the polarized opinion exchange about golf, “I have heard of the sport, in fact we have a club in Tallahassee, on the university grounds.”

“Splendid! I will show you how to play when we take you up on your kind invitation to visit. It sounds like you have the perfect climate.” He grips his mashie niblick.

“Don’t be aswingin’ those things in the house James, remember the chandelier?” Mrs. Barrie warns.

“One of my best passes, it was.”

“Me thinks you should be in France, shurein the Germans would flee to home at the sight of you and that stick.”

Please tell me what it was like to be knighted by the Queen.” John tries his best to get his cousin to be the least immodest, bringing up a subject of great pride to a loyal subject, when a carriage comes barreling up the winding trail leading to the Barrie country home. “That will be Harv Pearson and his bride, the publishers of that magazine I brought you.”

“Good work… with stories that match the finest photographs I have ever seen,” high praise from an accomplished judge of word and people.

     “That is Sir James Barrie,” Judith nudges her husband, who may not know, “saw his first production in London, now he is one of the most prolific playwrights – ever.”

“Welcome to bonnie ol’ Scotland set a spell and let’s talk about the generosity of America!”

Judith, who almost never drinks alcohol, accepts a spot from the host. She is smart enough to sip, yet unable to prevent the inevitable shiver, as it burns a path down her esophagus.

“Thank you, Mister Barrie. My wife has been following your career from the beginning, as she will surely tell you later.” Harv speaks, Judith is recovering. “And it is good to see you, John. We were surprised at your cable, quite an undertaking in these troubling times.” He does not recall extreme bravery as one of this man’s character.

“Matthew, that’s what his friends call him, told us of the terrible suffering in the Isles and I was moved to gather the excess bounty that God has blessed us with and share them.”

Neither does Harv remember him as an excessively Godly man.

 “I am so inspired by John’s kindness that I myself feel twinges of guilt. I see the suffering, yet continue on with my flights of fancy.”


Alpha Omega M.D.

Episode #198


page 186

World Leaders Meet – Presidential Retreat

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Camp David’s

Unique Role in

American History

It was American involvement in the Second World War which led to the selection of the site known to the world as Camp David as a presidential retreat. President Hoover had established a rustic camp in Virginia during his administration, purchasing it with his own money and donating it to the government, but the camp was too rustic for FDR. Accommodating his wheelchair was impossible. FDR preferred to relax on the presidential yacht during his first two terms, but when German U-boats cozied-up to the American coastline the Navy was horrified of the threat to the president they presented. Another site near Washington for the president to relax away from the White House was needed.

The site, selected by Roosevelt personally after considering several options, was one of a series of camps in the Catoctin Ridge, the northernmost extension of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Called Hi-Catoctin by the Works Progress Administration that built it, FDR renamed the camp Shangri La. It was initially staffed by officers and crew of the USS Potomac, the presidential yacht, and has been operated by the Navy ever since as Naval Support Facility Thurmont, from the name of the Maryland town near the base of the mountain upon which it sits. Since then it has been updated, modified, and changed to reflect the personalities and needs of the president’s who have resorted to it, and has appeared on the world stage as the site where major decisions affecting world history have been made. Here are just a few of the roles it has assumed in its over 75-year history.

8. Winston Churchill loved the place for the seclusion it afforded

During World War II, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill made several trips to the United States – the first only weeks after Pearl Harbor – and stayed as a guest at FDR’s White House. In May 1943 the war had progressed to the point that another conference between FDR, Churchill, and their delegations was conducted in Washington. During the meetings at the Washington Conference – code named Trident – FDR invited Churchill to spend a weekend at Shangri La. By accepting, Churchill became the first foreign leader to visit the presidential retreat, where the two leaders went fishing, worked on FDR’s stamp collection, and continued their discussions of the situation in Europe, including plans for the invasions of Sicily, Italy, and across the English Channel. An aide commented they were protected from mosquitoes by cigar and cigarette smoke.

Between planning for the liberation of Europe, and discussing the situation in the Pacific, FDR and Churchill relaxed over the brief visit. A longstanding story in the nearby town of Thurmont is that Churchill visited a local establishment and became intrigued with what Americans call a jukebox, feeding it coins on at least one occasion. Whether true or not (some dispute it, though it would not have been out of character) his visit to Shangri La in the spring of 1943 marked the first time the presidential retreat was the site of discussions between world leaders which led to decisions that altered world history. It was during the Trident Conference the decision to invade France in the spring of 1944 was made.

7. Harry Truman hated it because his wife did

Harry Truman was not fond of Camp David. The views from the mountaintop were not pleasing to the Missouri farmer in him, but the real reason he infrequently used the camp was that his wife, Bess, did not like it. She found it boring and dull. It was Truman, however, who designated the site as an official presidential retreat, on land owned by the National Park Service. He also had the camp winterized by installing steam heat in the cabins, and enlarged its grounds. US Navy Construction Battalions – Seabees – did the bulk of the work. Yet he visited only 10 times during his presidency. He preferred the Little White House at Key West.

Despite his lack of enthusiasm for the camp, it was Truman who made it available for the president’s use year-round, and the improvements led to it playing a much larger role in subsequent presidencies. When he did visit, he used the paths throughout the camp and on the mountains to indulge himself in his favorite form of exercise. He took long walks, enjoying the seclusion. Truman, who supposedly once recommended people get a dog if they wanted a friend, had a dog named Feller which he received as a gift and had kept at the camp. He seldom, if ever, asked to see it during his visits, and when he left the presidency to return to Independence, Missouri, the dog remained behind.

6. Eisenhower gave it the name of Camp David

Initially Eisenhower was not enamored of the expense of maintaining a presidential retreat for infrequent use, especially one so near his Gettysburg farm, only about thirty miles away. He planned to get rid of Shangri La, as well as other presidential “luxuries.” His Attorney General, Herbert Brownell, persuaded him otherwise. It wasn’t long before Eisenhower was using the facility frequently, for both business and relaxation. He expanded the camp, held cabinet meetings and conferences there, and installed a three-hole golf course. He renamed it Camp David (in honor of both his father and grandson), stating that the name bestowed by FDR was a bit “fancy.” Numerous world leaders were brought there as the Cold War grew chillier, including France’s Charles de Gaulle, and Britain’s Harold MacMillan.

He also decided to invite the leader of the Soviet Union, Nikita Kruschev, to visit the facility in 1959. The word camp carried different connotations in the Soviet Union, and Kruschev was at first reluctant. During his visit, which was the first of any Russian leader to the Western Hemisphere, Kruschev toured the country for nearly two weeks, the last two days being spent in private meetings with Eisenhower at Camp David. In Eisenhower’s view the meeting accomplished little in concrete terms, but the press coined the phrase “the spirit of Camp David” as a result of the outwardly friendly nature of the relationship between the Soviet and American leaders. Eisenhower disliked the phrase.

5. Jackie Kennedy loved it because she could ride horses without photographers stalking her

Eisenhower found himself returning to Camp David early in the administration of his successor, John F. Kennedy. Ike made the brief trip down from his farm to meet with JFK in the aftermath of the Bay of Pigs invasion. By the time of JFK’s abbreviated presidency many of the facilities were somewhat run down, and the rustic nature of the site did not seem to mesh with the glamorous nature of the Kennedy’s, especially Jackie. But she quickly came to love the facility. Unlike in Washington, or at some of the various Kennedy compounds, she could do as she wished on the grounds without the constant presence of photographers hounding her.

Jackie rode about the estate with other members of the extended Kennedy family, including the president, and the First Couple enjoyed using the skeet range during their visits. Kennedy also allowed family members and officials serving in his administration to use the facility when he was not staying there. President Kennedy once personally went by car, accompanied by a Secret Service agent, to retrieve a wayward guest who had gotten lost on a hike – Supreme Court Justice William Douglas. Kennedy also enjoyed the opportunity to drive his own golf cart, a mode of transportation offered to all at the camp. The president’s cart is referred to as Golf Cart One.

4. Nixon decided to resign after considering his situation there

It was Richard Nixon who had installed the seemingly above ground swimming pool outside the presidential cabin, Aspen. The pool was built above the underground shelter and command post at Camp David, and thus was erected above ground, with landscaping completed to make it appear to be in-ground. As president, Nixon visited Camp David frequently, sometimes on extended stays, and conducted business while relaxing at the facility. He found the setting more conducive to his work than the Oval Office. In 1973 he hosted Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev at the camp, giving him a welcoming gift of a 1973 Lincoln Continental.

According to Nixon’s memoirs, the Soviet was thrilled with the car, and the two leaders took off with Brezhnev driving at high speed on the narrow roads, narrowly avoiding an accident. While at Camp David the two leaders made progress on the Strategic Arms Limitations Talks (SALT) and agreed that “an objective of their policies is to remove the danger of nuclear war.” But in the back of Nixon’s mind was undoubtedly the unraveling scandal of Watergate. He used the site as the scene for firing John Erlichman and H.R. Haldeman in hopes of containing the scandal. In August 1974, Nixon informed his family that he was resigning the presidency after pondering his fate over a weekend at Camp David.

3. Carter kept Israeli and Egyptian leaders secluded there until they reached a peace agreement

On September 5, 1978, Menachem Begin, Prime Minister of Israel, and Anwar Sadat, President of Egypt, joined American President Jimmy Carter at Camp David for peace talks which led to the Camp David Accords. Begin and Sadat did not like one another, and often refused to speak to each other. Carter and his aides had to conduct a shuttle diplomacy between Camp David’s cabins, with Carter prodding the incalcitrant leaders closer to a mutually acceptable position. The talks ground on for nearly two weeks. There were several instances of Begin and Sadat calling off the talks, only to be enticed to continue by Carter.

Carter refused to allow statements to be issued by the delegations from either side, with all information to the press given by his own spokesman, Jody Powell. Neither the Egyptians nor the Israelis were comfortable at the camp; several wrote of its foreboding appearance. The press was kept in nearby Thurmont, but leaks of the tensions between the parties appeared nonetheless. Carter persevered. Though the Camp David Accords have been criticized by many as a failure, there have been no wars between Egypt and Israel since they were signed in 1977.

2. Clinton tried to do the same with leaders including Yasser Arafat

In 2000, President Bill Clinton brought Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and Israeli leader Ehud Barak to Camp David to negotiate a settlement to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. The Palestinians had not been represented in the earlier Camp David talks under Carter, and Clinton hoped to build upon the earlier Accords to arrive at a solution leading to further progress in the overall Middle East peace process. During the talks Barak made concessions, delivered to the Palestinians by Clinton, and later withdrew them. Barak arrived at the summit having failed to observe the conditions of earlier agreements. Arafat believed a meeting of senior leadership was doomed to fail.

The Israelis offered no written proposals, instead delivering them verbally as possibilities contingent upon Palestinian concessions. The 2000 Camp David Summit did not lead to an agreement between the contending parties, and in the aftermath Israeli settlements expanded in the disputed territory, and another Palestinian “intifada” began in October. The implication that the talks failed due to Palestinian intransigence led to the Israeli claim there was no Palestinian desire for a peaceful resolution of the issues dividing the two, and violence continued, worsening by the end of 2000. Two decades later the same issues divide the parties.

1. It was where Dick Cheney took refuge on 9/11

On September 11, 2001, Vice President Dick Cheney spent the majority of the day following the terrorist attacks in the Presidential Emergency Operations Center (PEOC) beneath the White House. After President Bush returned to Washington that evening, a meeting was held in the PEOC chaired by the president. From that evening on, for several days, the American public was told that the Vice President had been moved to a “secure location,” though he returned to the White House for meetings several times. That secure location turned out to be Camp David. He arrived by helicopter (Marine 2) that evening, having taken off from the south lawn of the White House, a violation of normal protocol, but one of many that day and night.

When he arrived at Camp David, the VP and his family took up residence in Aspen Cabin, the residence of the president at the camp — another violation of protocol. The president arrived at Camp David on September 15, expressed displeasure that someone had been using his cabin (without his knowledge), and over the weekend brought his closest advisers and their aides to the facility to conduct meetings to discuss the American response. September 11 and its aftermath proved that since it opened as a presidential resort camp in 1942, Camp David, operated by the Navy, secured by United States Marines and the Secret Service, has become an integral part of the apparatus of the United States government. It has become vital to the maintenance of the president’s physical and mental health, and the execution of his office.


World Leaders Meet –

Presidential Retreat

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #94

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #94

…“Oh Alpha, my Alpha I think you are vun more victim of Big Daddy Bass…

Meanwhile

Out on San Luis Lake

But if the ongoing wedding has processions, fishing is of possessions—possessing a boat and pole and line and hook and bait, of calm waters and sunshine. And a friendship that spans multiple generations. Doc Ziggy and Alfrey Campbell are no-shows at the wedding, drifting about the calm water across the lake. He had told Frieda, “Veddings is too long and za people is too stuffy.”

   “Didn’t your cork move?” asks the only accomplished fisherman in the boat. The ten pound bass, posed and stuffed on a wall in his den, can testify to the retired German’s dogged diligence to the sport. “Give your pole a tug, Alpha.”

The boy obeys the elder’s expertise, gently yanking his length of cane up and to the side, as he had seen his mentor do, thereby setting his hook in the lower lip in the mouth of a large mouth… bass that is. The tethered fish tows the bobbing cork under the surface, straight to the bottom of the lake, where the fish calls home. The unexpected move by the fish causes the boy to lose grip of his pole. It too disappears under the rippling water.

Big Daddy Bass-001

The One That Got Awawy

The look on the boy’s face provokes the old German into a deep belly laugh, the kind you are powerless to stop, even though the resulting abdominal pain would warrant it. “Oh Alpha, my Alpha I think you are vun more victim of Big Daddy Bass. I have a pole or two tangled in dose veeds too!”

Young Campbell is not amused. He will not be catching any fish this afternoon.

“You called me Alpha, Doc Ziggy.” The half statement half question comes out of the blue, referring to the recent transposition of his given name, Alfrey.

Ziggy reflects, “You are Alpha, the beginning and I am Omega, the end. Holy, holy, holy Lord God Almighty, vich vas, and is, and is to come. Look it up in you mamma’s Bible. Apostle John tells us of the Kingdom come in za book of Revelation.

“You my boy, are the Alpha to my Omega. The future to my past. My greatest hope is for you to carry on for me. Your life is just now starting. Your memories of me: all the doctoring I have taught you, even how to lose a fishing pole to Big Daddy Bass, dese all will live on in you.”

All this talk is as deep as the bottom of San Luis Lake. Someday Alpha Campbell will understand what was said, but he will never forget it.

“Let’s go in. I don’t like za look of za sky.” Ziggy senses the unusual quiet and strange dark haze on the southeastern horizon, as well as the lack of wildlife. “Vere is all za birds?”


Alpha Omega M.D.

Protege-001

Episode #94


page 87

Barf Bags Not Included – WIF Chills and Thrills

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Ridiculously Scary

Theme Park Rides

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If you’re an adrenaline junkie, you probably enjoy going on roller coasters and other high-speed theme park rides. Over the years, park owners have tried to push the envelope to make their rides faster and scarier than ever before in order to attract people to come to pay their admission fee. Sometimes, the attempt to scare the pants off of a crowd may go way too far. These are some of the scariest rides that have ever been built.

10.  The Cannonball Loop

Action Park in Vernon, New Jersey was a perfect encapsulation of what life was like being a kid in the ’80s. If you got hurt, most parents had a “rub some dirt on it” mentality. Action Park was (in)famous for tampering with the rides to increase speed limits, and make it far more exciting than any other park that played by the rules. They earned a reputation of being dangerous enough to fracture bones, and a total of 6 people actually died. Let’s put it this way: this park’s reputation for playing fast and loose with safety was enough to inspire a movie starring Johnny Knoxville. Still, parents kept bringing their kids back every summer anyway.

One of their most dangerous attractions was a water slide called the Cannonball Loop. It was a fully enclosed tube that made you go so fast you did a complete 360 inside of the slide. When the owner of the park first designed the slide, they sent a dummy down and it came out the other end without its head. After a few adjustments, he had to pay park employees $100 to go down the slide, because they were so terrified to even try it.

According to the testimonials, riders would almost get knocked unconscious as their bodies were slammed around inside of this tube that was powered by gravity and a trickle of water from a garden hose. One woman got stuck inside of the top of the loop, so they had to install an escape hatch… because they somehow didn’t even think of that before an incident occurred. Once the authorities at the New Jersey Carnival Amusement Ride Safety Advisory Board caught wind of what was going on, it was eventually shut down in 1996.

9. The Takabisha Roller Coaster in Japan

You know that terrifying feeling of going down an incredibly steep roller coaster, where your stomach suddenly feels like it’s up in your throat, and you feel like your body might fly out of the seat? Well, the one ride that will make you feel this more intensely than anywhere else in the world is the Takabisha roller coaster at Fuji-Q Highland in Japan.

The coaster’s vertical drop is at a 121 degree angle, which makes it the Guinness World Record holder for being the steepest roller coaster in the world. The ride costs $12.50 for the experience, and it only lasts about two minutes, but it just may scare you to the point where you feel like you’ve taken a few years off of your life.

8. The Stratosphere

The Stratosphere Hotel and Casino has your typical entertainment with gambling, drinking, and food. But the thing that makes this casino unique is the fact that it is so incredibly tall, standing 1,149 feet into the air. At the top of the tower, they somehow managed to install several different Thrill Rides. Their “X Scream” coaster is 109 stories high, and it rushes forward at high speeds before the car leans forward to make you feel as if you are about to fall over the tower and into the city below.

Their “Insanity” ride suspends people off of the same building, only this time passengers are strapped into harnesses and spun around in a giant circular contraption that resembles an octopus. There is also a ride called “The Big Shot,” which brings passengers up to the very top of the tower, only to plummet them back down. Last but not least, their “Sky Jump” lets you literally jump off of the side of the building. So, just in case you’ve ever been tempted to try that without actually dying, now you know where to go.

7. The Human Catapult

In the early 2000s, the Middlemoor Water Park in Somerset, England had an attraction called the Human Catapult, also known as the Human Trebuchet. It was exactly what it sounds like: People had to pay a £40 fee for the privilege to be placed inside of a giant medieval style catapult and hurled like a rag doll through the air, with only a net to catch them. The owners of the ride must have known that this was ridiculously dangerous, because every person was given a helmet and neck brace before entering the trebuchet.

However, no one at the park seemed to realized how physics work. Since everyone has a different size and weight, there would therefore never be a predictable trajectory of where they were actually going to land. In 2000, a woman even broke her pelvis after she was flung from the trebuchet. The owners should have taken this as a warning to shut it down, but in 2002, a 19-year old Oxford student named Kostydin Yankov died after landing just a few feet shy of the net.

6. Tower of Terror II

When it was first built in 1997, the Tower of Terror II at the Dream World Theme Park in the Gold Coast of Australia held the record for being the fastest and tallest roller coaster in the world. As you might have guessed, the name of the ride is inspired by the Tower of Terror in Disney Parks, but this Australian version of the ride is far more intense than what you will find in “the most magical place on Earth.” Since it first opened, other rides around the world have beat the Tower of Terror II’s speed record, but it doesn’t make the ride any less terrifying.

Park guests begin the ride inside of a tunnel before they are hurled backward going 100 MPH. Once the reach the top of the 38-story tower, they are suspended vertically in the air before being catapulted back down to Earth from a 100 meter vertical freefall. The ride is so intense that you actually experience 3.25 seconds of weightlessness.

5. The Eejanaika Roller Coaster

So apparently the third dimension is not enough, because a trend in the early 2000s was to make “4D” roller coasters. The first one of its kind was called “X2” at Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia, California. The ride experience included flamethrowers that spewed flames over the passengers, as if you needed to be even more terrified for your life in that moment. But like with most technology, Japan was like, “Y’know what? We can do it better.”

The Fuji-Q Highland Theme Park in Japan created the the Eejanaika roller coaster, which was a remake of the X2, only everything about it is faster and more puke-inducing. The seats rotate 360 degrees as you’re hurting 78 miles-per-hour down a track. The coaster has four rails instead of the usual two, in order to achieve spin control and stability so that the cars can complete 14 rotations during the course of the ride.

4. The Smiler

Located in the Alton Towers Resort in Staffordshire, England, a roller coaster called “The Smiler”holds the record for the most inversions on any roller coaster. But in 2015, riders’ worst nightmares were realized after there was a horrific crash. An empty car lost control on the ride, and passengers crashed into it going over 90 miles-per-hour. CCTV footage captured the entire incident on video, so there was no denying that this was caused by negligence.

Thankfully no one was killed, but five of the passengers now have injuries that are going to affect them for the rest of their lives. Two of those people even had to have their legs amputated. While the others were lucky enough to not have been seriously injured, they still have PTSD and psychological trauma from the crash. Alton Towers was taken to court and forced to pay millions in fines for their mistakes. However, once they made 30 different adjustments to improve the safety of the way they ran their business, the roller coaster was allowed to re-open once again in 2016, and has been operational ever since.

3. The Giant Canyon Swing

The Giant Canyon Swing is a pendulum that is suspended 1,300 feet above the Colorado River. The attraction only takes up to four passengers at a time, because it has a weight limit totaling 800 pounds. Passengers have to sign a safety waiver, absolving the park of any responsibility the pendulum were to suddenly plummet to their doom. It swings them back and forth at speeds of 50 miles-per-hour, which is just as fast as many roller coasters out there. It’s apparently a great way to see the beautiful scenery of the Colorado River — that is, if you can actually keep your eyes open long enough to witness it.

Apparently, the ride is so scary that even the owner of the park, Steve Beckley, only went on the swing once and never again. And he only did it for the sake of TV cameras, because ABC’s Good Morning America was there to film the opening of the ride. He has refused to go on it again.

2. The Perilous Plunge

The Perilous Plunge was the world’s tallest water slide, located at Knott’s Berry Farm in California. The attraction brought riders up 115 feet before dropping down an incredibly steep decline at 50 miles-per-hour. Visitors to the park raved about how fun the ride was, and it became a new fan favorite.

In 2001, just a year after its opening, a 40-year-old woman fell 100 feet to her death, landing in a shallow pool of water below. Normally, passengers were required to wear a seat belt and a lap bar, and employees were required to check the restraints. However, this woman was on the ride at 10 at night, most likely toward the end of a tired employee’s shift. However, investigators could not determine if this was the fault of the park, or if she had jumped from the car on purpose. However, Knott’s Berry Farm was forced to completely redesign the ride to make it safer, so the Perilous Plunge was allowed to stay operational until finally closing for good in 2012.

1. The Formula Rossa

Last but certainly not least, we have the Formula Rossa ride at the Ferrari World amusement park in Abu Dhabi. That’s right — it’s exactly what it sounds like. If you love the luxury car brand, you will absolutely love touring the Ferrari theme park. Don’t be fooled by the fact that this next roller coaster kind of looks like the Cars Radiator Springs Racer ride in Disneyland.  The Formula Rossa is not just for kids.

This roller coaster is shaped like a fire engine-red Ferrari, and it goes from 0-to-149 miles per hour in just 4.9 seconds. It goes so fast that passengers are required to wear safety goggles to cover their eyes, and the skin on their face starts to push itself back from the sheer force generated by the velocity. It currently holds the Guinness World Record for the fastest roller coaster in the world.


Barf Bags Not Included –

WIF Chills and Thrills

Guidebook to America Must-Sees – WIF Travel

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 Must-Visit

Tourist Attractions

in the United States

For all intents and purposes, the United States can almost be considered an entire continent in itself. This means that a person from another country can’t come, visit for several days or a week, and say that he or she has seen what the entire US is all about. But there are several landmarks that every traveler needs to see before they can even begin to consider checking the US off of their travel bucket list. Even though there are plenty to choose from, and these are presented in no particular order, here are 10 must-visit tourist attractions in America.

10. The Statue of Liberty

As far as famous American national monuments go, the Statue of Liberty is probably the most easily recognizable of them all. Officially known as Liberty Enlightening the World, it was a gift from the French to the American people in 1886 – celebrating the centenary of American Independence. It stands at a total of 305 feet tall, of which 151 feet is the copper statue itself, while the rest is comprised of the pedestal and foundation. Designed by French sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi, the statue is in a neoclassical style with Art Nouveau elements, and is a representation of Libertas, the Roman goddess of liberty and personal freedom. Gustave Eiffel was responsible for the framework, while the pedestal was designed by Richard Morris Hunt, a prominent American architect.

While the statue’s construction and shipment were paid for by the French, the building of the pedestal was left to the Americans. Nevertheless, the whole project was under threat when the US government wasn’t able to raise sufficient funds. Luckily, Joseph Pulitzer, publisher of the New York World newspaper, organized a drive to raise $100,000 (roughly $2.3 million today) from readers across the country by pledging to print the name of every contributor, regardless of the sum given – and the construction was finally finished. The site was chosen on Bedloe’s Island, now called Liberty Island, in New York Harbor, and the statue was aligned to face towards the southeast, thus greeting ships entering from the Atlantic Ocean.

In 2016, the Statue of Liberty was able to draw in roughly 4.5 million tourists – a number higher than in previous years. Still, this is a relatively small number compared to other famous NYC landmarks such as Central Park or Times Square, which both draw nearly 40 million visitors annually.

9. Yellowstone National Park

Covering an area of almost 3,500 square miles, mostly in Wyoming,Yellowstone National Park is one of the most stunning and unique national parks in the world. It’s home to a wide variety of wildlife (many of them endangered), vast natural forests, numerous waterfalls, roughly half of the world’s geothermal features, and two thirds of the planet’s geysers (more than 300, the most famous being Old Faithful). The park is also one of the largest intact ecosystems in the northern temperate regions of the Earth. When it was first discovered back in 1869, explorers David E. Folsom and Charles W. Cook described Yellowstone Lake as “a scene of transcendental beauty.” The two later wrote an account about their expedition, but had trouble in selling it since most magazine editors found the stories to be too far-fetched. Nevertheless, Yellowstone became the first ever national park in the world in 1872, even before the states it’s in were… well, States.

Another interesting fact about Yellowstone, and the reason why it is home to so many geological features, is because it sits right on top of one of the largest active supervolcanoes in the world. In fact, much of the park itself is the actual caldera of this huge volcano. There is so much magma below the surface that it’s estimated it could fill up the Grand Canyon to the brim 11 times over. Last time Yellowstone erupted was roughly 640,000 years ago, with a force 2,500 times greater than the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens. Luckily, however, an eruption isn’t believed to be happening anytime soon, even though the ground has bulged up by about 10 inches over a seven-year time frame. In 2016, the park drew in roughly 4.2 million visitors, making it among the most visited natural attractions in the country.

8. Niagara Falls

Now, even though they aren’t the tallest waterfalls, Niagara Falls is definitely a sight worth seeing. Located at the border between Canada (Ontario) and the United States (New York), Niagara Falls is the largest waterfall in terms of volume in the US. Over 3,160 tons of water flow over the falls every second, at a speed of 32 feet per second. There are three waterfalls in total here. The American and Bridal Veil Falls are located on the American side of the border, and are separated by Luna Island. Some 75,750 gallons of water flow through these two waterfalls every second. The larger Horseshoe Falls is shared by both Canada and the US, and with the length of the brink at 2,600 feet, this waterfall sees over 600,000 gallons of water falling every second from a height of 167 feet. Some 12,000 years ago, at the end of the last Ice Age, the falls extended some seven miles down the river. But over time, the brink has steadily eroded away, bringing it to its current location.

Four of the five Great Lakes drain their waters through Niagara Falls before emptying into Lake Ontario. There are two hydroelectric plants that draw water into their reservoirs prior to the falls. Depending on the time of day and the season, the volume of water varies considerably. The best time to visit is during the day, in summertime, when the volume is greatest. People can admire the falls from both sides of the border, by making use of the many observation decks, walkways, towers, as well as a boat tour that takes you to the heavy mists of the falls themselves. Estimates point to roughly 8 or 9 million people visiting Niagara Falls every year, but local business aren’t convinced and believe the real number to be closer to 3 million.

7. The Las Vegas Strip

Sometimes called Sin City, Las Vegas is a must-see for every tourist visiting the US. The city saw its beginning with a group of Mormons that established a fort there in 1855. The settlement eventually failed, but the fort was taken over Octavius D. Gass, an American businessman and politician. Later, in 1905, Las Vegas was connected to the Union Pacific Railroad, and in 1931 the construction on Hoover Dam began. To help draw in workers for the construction project, as well as to help them pass the time, casinos and showgirl venues opened up in Las Vegas’ only paved road, Fremont Street. In 1941, the first official casino was built just outside of the city’s limits, the El Rancho Vegas resort – and the famed Las Vegas Strip began to take shape. Notorious gangster Bugsy Siegel built the Flamingo in 1946 and during the 1950s and ’60s, other mob-backed casinos began to appear, like the Sahara, the Riviera, the Sands, and the New Frontier.

What many don’t know is that the Strip is not inside Las Vegas proper. It stretches for 4.2 miles south of the city and passes through the unincorporated towns of Paradise and Winchester. The famed Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas sign was built back in 1959, exactly 4.5 miles south the actual city limits. Over 39 million people visited the Las Vegas Strip in 2017. Surveys also show that most US travelers marked Vegas as their desired destination for 2018. The Strip has also been designated as an American Scenic Byway, and the only one that’s enjoyable at night. It has one of the highest concentrations of neon lights in the world, and is packed with over 75 years of extravagance, history, and charm.

6. Independence National Historical Park

When it comes to history, Philadelphia is the city every tourist needs to see. Known as the birthplace of American democracy, the Independence National Historical Park, located in Philadelphia’s historic center, is said to be “America’s most historic square mile.”  The park is home to the Liberty Bell Center, Congress Hall, the New Hall Military Museum, the Bishop White House, the Graff House, the Franklin Court, the First Bank of the United States, and Independence Hall, among other historically-important buildings. The centerpiece of the park is Independence Hall, a UNESCO World Heritage site. This is where both the Declaration of Independence (1776) and the Constitution of the United States (1787) were debated and signed.

Among the many other buildings in the park, there is also the City Tavern. John Adams, the 2nd President of the United States, called it the most genteel tavern in America” after he was taken there by the citizens of the city when he arrived to Philadelphia to attend the First Continental Congress in August 1774. This history-packed hot spot draws in roughly 5 million visitors every year, and is a perfect place to immerse yourself in America’s Revolution against the British and the founding of the nation itself.

5. Hawaii’s Volcanoes

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park draws in roughly 1.5 million visitors every year. Located on the island of Hawaii, this national park holds two of the world’s most active and easily accessible volcanoes – Mauna Loa and Kilauea. Mauna Loa is the largest volcano on Earth in terms of volume and area covered – 19,999 cubic miles. The summit stands at 13,680 feet above sea level, and roughly 56,000 feet from the depressed sea floor. This makes it more than 27,000 feet higher than Mount Everest, and the second largest sea mountain in the world after Mauna Kea, which is on the same island and only 110 feet higher.

But despite these record-breaking figures, Kilauea is the more impressive, and rightfully so. As the youngest volcano on the island, Kilauea has not stopped erupting since 1983, continuously spewing out lava over the landscape and creating numerous fountains and rivers of molten rock. Unlike continental volcanoes, which usually erupt in a devastating explosion, these island volcanoes are far less gaseous and more fluid, thus making them much safer to admire from a safe distance. And besides the volcanoes themselves, the park also offers a glimpse into the native flora and fauna of the isolated island, as well as the cultural heritage of the people who’ve called it home for hundreds (and hundreds) of years.

4. The Redwood Forests of Northern California

For the many interesting things California has to offer, almost nothing is more humbling and awe-inspiring than the redwood forests located in the northern parts of the state. But unlike many of the other entries on this list, these forests and the four national and state parks they encapsulate receive a relatively small number of annual visitors – almost 1.5 million in total. Nevertheless, these huge trees have been standing since before the Roman Empire. The Redwood National Park is also home to Hyperion, the world’s largest living tree that we currently know about. Discovered only in 2006, this humongous coast redwood is 379.7 feet tall, or 74 feet taller than the Statue of Liberty. Hyperion is also a relatively young tree – roughly 600 years old (or about 20 in human years). This means that it’s still growing. And it’s not the only one to reach this gargantuan size. Other similarly-tall coast redwoods have been discovered in the area in recent years.

Thanks to their close proximity to the Pacific Ocean, these forests have a relatively stable and pleasant climate all year round. Nevertheless, peak tourist season is during the summer and early fall months, from June to September. Now, besides the redwood forests themselves, the region has other natural wonders to offer. Over 40 mammal species call this area their home, like bobcats, coyotes, black-tailed deer, mountain lions, and black bears, as well as over 400 bird species. There are also several points that overlook the ocean and which are prime locations for spotting migrating gray whales, especially between the months of December and April.

3. Mesa Verde National Park

Another great place to experience American history is to look into the heritage of the Native Americans. The Mesa Verde National Park, located in the state of Colorado, has a total area of 52,485 acres and houses over 5,000 sites, as well as over 600 cliff dwellings. The whole area was inhabited at least as early as 7500 BC by a group of nomadic people known as the Foothill-mountain paleoindian complex. Then, in around 1000 BC, a new culture emerged in the region, the Basket makers. They were then followed by the Pueblo Culture in around 750 AD, and flourished in the region up until the end of the 13th century when they were finally driven out by social and environmental instability. It was during their last 150 or so years in the area that they built the many cliff dwellings that the park is most famous for.

One of the largest and best preserved sites here is the Cliff Palace – which is also the largest cave dwelling in the whole of North America. This settlement once contained 150 rooms and 23 kivas (special rooms used for religious rituals and political meetings). At its height, Cliff Palace was able to house over 100 people – something which doesn’t sound like much, but given its location and the fact that most other cliff dwellings contain only one to five rooms, that’s definitely a lot. Based on its size, the Cliff Palace is believed to have held an important social and administrative significance for the Puebloans before they were forced out of the area altogether. Every year, over half a million people visit the park and admire these unique structural marvels of pre-Colombian America.

2. The Grand Canyon

No list of this kind could ever be complete without the Grand Canyon. It’s nearly impossible for someone to visit this incredible geological feature and not stand in awe at its sheer size. Anyone with any sense of wonder about the world cannot help but feel a little overwhelmed by the power of nature presented here. For over 6 million years, the Colorado River and its tributaries have carved their way through the rock, deepening and widening the canyon to its current proportions. Today, the Grand Canyon measures some 277 river miles long, up to 18 miles wide, and a mile deep, exposing nearly 2 billion years of geological history in its sides.

Native Americans have been living in the area for thousands of years, even building settlements within it and in its many caves. The first Europeans to see it were the Spanish during the 1540s. The first pioneers here were prospectors looking to mine copper during the 1880s, but they soon realized that tourism was a better alternative. In its first year after becoming a national park in 1919, the Grand Canyon received roughly 44,000 visitors. In 2016, than number was closer to 6 million people.    

1. Route 66

Established back in 1926, US Route 66 was the Main Street of America. Also known as the Will Rogers Highway or the Mother Road, Route 66 used to connect Chicago, Illinois and Santa Monica, California. Covering a total of 2,448 miles, this road passed through Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona, as well as the two other states mentioned, and was the main path used by the people who migrated west, especially during the Dust Bowl of the 1930s. Route 66 also supported a thriving economy for the communities it passed through, and harbored much of the country’s distinct style. Among these we have the iconic American gas stations, motels, bars, diners, entertainment venues, and much more.

But as all good things inevitably come to an end, so did Route 66. With the arrival of the new Interstate Highway System, much of the historic route was being bypassed. By 1985, the entire route was replaced. Nevertheless, conservation efforts since then have revived certain portions of the route. Parts of it have also been included in America’s Scenic Byways project, and considered to be an All-American Road. In more recent years, a preservation program has been initiated, aiming to salvage and restore much of the route and its landmarks to their former glory. In more ways than one, Route 66 is a better alternative to capturing real America than taking a stroll through Manhattan or down Hollywood Boulevard.


Guidebook to America Must-Sees

– WIF Travel

 

THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 223

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 223

…The staggering ramifications of Ekcello explaining the McKinney’s fate are lost, overshadowed by the immediate; will a hundred tomorrows erase the memories of the day we/they first met…?

… Indeed that first day on Eridanus was memorable, nothing that the passage of the intervening ten years can erase, though they can only guess how many Earth years have fallen by the wayside. For a man playing catch-up, Sampson will, to this day, swear it was only three, but then again aging does not seem to be a factor here.

And as much as things change, sometimes they do not. Celeste’s propensity for the parapsychological has firmly entrenched her as a favorite of most of the dwellers on this thought-heavy planet. The music she produced in the guise of deep-space computer communications from the bridge of the NEWFOUNDLANDER Explorer has become all the rage.

Deimostra, whose physical development should match her 16 year Earthly age, is lagging behind by ½, while her intellect races to 16².

Sammy Mac is a different story. It is not that he personally feels out of place, but the bravado mannerisms that are irretrievably stamped into his personality are an acquired taste on Eridanus. To be sure, one of the concepts these cerebral people have

the hardest time comprehending is his need for competition, as it applies to gamesmanship or one-upmanship. In Celeste they see refinement and culture / In Sampson they find football, baseball, horse racing, and a burning yearning to win and be the best.

“You must have had some form of sports somewhere along the line,” he would tell them, ignoring the telepathy that they insist he master. “We saw your ancestors on Mars you know and they seemed to be regular guys—no floating or mind-games. In fact, the recreation room on the NEWFOUNDLANDER was filled with one particular weird game… like they were gambling.”

His contention falls on deaf ears, no matter which, they ignore his primitive rants. It was as though they have erased the memory of their ancient forebears, wiped them away and started with a clean slate. What they used to be has been placed in the pay-no-mind column of the collective memory.

These days, they have been forced back in time, in the form of a clunky spaceship and three creatures whose muddling civilization has been mostly forgotten about. Sampson’s stubborn reluctance, or wrongly hardwired brain, most assuredly will remind them to avoid such impulsiveness in the future.


THE RETURN TRIP

Episode 223


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