local landmark

Pay Your Respects At Chef Boyardee’s Mausoleum, And 4 Other Plans For A Perfect Day In Rome

If you’ve only got 24 hours in Rome, here are the things you absolutely have to do!

1. Dress up like a lion and fight your dad to the death in the Colosseum: Relive the excitement of history’s most gripping gladiatorial battles by dressing up like a lion and fighting your dad to the death in Rome’s legendary Colosseum. Gruesomely killing your dad while donning a lion costume is one of the most authentic Roman experiences you can have, and you’ll get goosebumps seeing your old man bleed out on the same arena floor where great ancient warriors once valiantly fought before tens of thousands of roaring spectators. There’s really nothing else like it!

2. Let a local know the Colosseum is broken: If dressing up like a lion and killing your dad isn’t your thing, another worthwhile way to spend your time at the Colosseum is to wander around and inform locals that the famed landmark is broken. Seriously, like half of it is gone—it looks like an airplane crashed into it or something. Someone should really let the Italians know so they can find out what happened and fix the thing. Even if you don’t know the language, just grab the nearest local you can find and point at the Colosseum. They’ll have no problem seeing the huge chunks of wall that are missing, and they’ll thank you profusely for calling it to their attention.

3. Visit the beautiful Santa Maria della San Luigi dei Vittoria of Sant’Ignazio di San Clemente Basilica Papale of Our Lady in Trastevere del Popolo of the Holy Cross Baptist Church of the Basilica e Giuliano: Considered one of Rome’s 100 most beautiful churches, the Santa Maria della San Luigi dei Vittoria of Sant’Ignazio di San Clemente Basilica Papale of Our Lady in Trastevere del Popolo of the Holy Cross Baptist Church of the Basilica e Giuliano is known for its ornate stonework, beautiful paintings, and haunting acoustics. If you only visit 38 churches while you’re in Rome, be sure that one of them is the Santa Maria della San Luigi dei Vittoria of Sant’Ignazio di San Clemente Basilica Papale of Our Lady in Trastevere del Popolo of the Holy Cross Baptist Church of the Basilica e Giuliano.

4. Look for Waldo in the Sistine Chapel ceiling: Not one of the Sistine Chapel’s five million annual visitors has ever found Michelangelo’s Waldo yet, but somewhere deep within the Renaissance artist’s magnum opus is the red-and-white-striped man himself. So why not give it a shot? Even though you probably won’t find him, you’ll still have a ton of fun craning your neck among throngs of sweaty strangers.

5. Pay your respects at Chef Boyardee’s mausoleum: There’s no more iconic figure in all of Italian history than the late, great Chef Boyardee, who was tragically killed during the Allied bombing of Rome in 1943. You can honor his legacy by visiting his 30,000-square-foot marble mausoleum and leaving a can of ravioli behind in his memory. To simply be near the remains of such a great man is an experience that borders on the spiritual, and you won’t want to miss it.


This is an excerpt from the 1944 film titled, “The Amazon Awakens,” which is directed by Walt Disney about Henry Ford’s ‘Fordlandia.’ Fordlandia was a community established in 1928 in the Brazilian Amazon. The Ford Motor Company bought more than 2 million acres of land which they developed into a rubber plantation, and built an odd replica of a Midwestern factory town in the middle of the rainforest. Ford’s economic vision for the development of rubber for car tires, bled into a bizarre social vision, which he exported to the indigenous people of the Amazon. The people were made to work in the factories, go home to houses with lawns and white picket fences, eat hamburgers for dinner, and attend square dances. Ford attempted to regulate their behavior stringently by prohibiting alcohol consumption and sale, imposing strict notions of sexuality, and suppressing many forms of indigenous cultural expression. 

Fordlandia was an utter failure. The industrial production of rubber trees was done with almost no attention to local ecology and the rubber harvest collapsed after several pests wiped out the crops. The indigenous workers revolted several times in the factory, despite brutal repression. In one particularly telling protest, the workers smashed all the clocks inside the factory - resisting Western capitalistic frameworks of standardized time, regimented work, and control of the labor force. Much of the development in the 2 million acre tract of land was complicated by the challenges of flooding, wetlands, and overgrowth of roads. Eventually the settlement was abandoned, the factories closed, and the experiment ended without ever having produced a single ounce of rubber for Ford car tires. The land and the people revolted against the global imperialism of Henry Ford.

Fordlandia has many parallels in Karen Tei Yamashita’s “Through the Arc of the Rainforest.” The forces of global capital make many impositions into the Brazilian Amazon in that novel. The multinational corporation, GGG, sets up a new office building in the middle of the Amazon in order to profit off of a local resource - the feather. Mane Pena, an indigenous man, is brought into GGG as a consultant and his labor is used to help develop and market the product to foreign consumers. In this novel, the Matacao, inhabits the liminal, surreal space between the natural and unnatural, the impenetrable rainforest and the ever expanding reach of capital, a locally significant reiligio-spiritual landmark and a resource to be studied and extracted for global consumption.

The forces of globalization are at once viscerally disturbing and mind-bogglingly absurd. While Yamashita plays with magical realism in her book, Ford and Disney attempt to bend the boundaries of what is possible and acceptable in the real world. 


After a crazy week at work, where I was threatened with lawsuits twice, I really needed a night out. Work went a couple hours past when I expected to leave, then I met up with my friend Tracy to catch up on old times.

After that, I headed to a local Italian restaurant to celebrate my niece’s 14th birthday and my mother’s 75th birthday. Dad is doing great. He’s still sober and drank Martinelli’s cider in a champagne flute. I had to choose between a roll and alcohol, so I went with the carbs.

This is the same restaurant where Nick and I had our first date 32 years ago. The food is mediocre, but the atmosphere is great, and it’s something of a local landmark. I still have ¾ of my meal left to eat today. In one of these photos you can see two of my sisters and my brother-in-law, and one sister is looking at a bottle of wine. The owner had brought it to them to taste, because a customer is breaking into the wine business, and all three of them are in wine sales in one way or another.

It was surprisingly nice to be around my family when no one was drinking too much. In the past, my brother’s T-shirt slogan has generally proven to be true, but he has been drinking way less as well. I think he had about a third of a glass of rosé.

I guess I’m still in the habit of gauging family events by whether drunken disasters occur or not. So last night definitely fits in the win column.

“I lived in a relatively small town when I was younger, but twenty or thirty minutes outside of town it was all woods, dirt roads and houses spread out really far from each other.

There was, and probably still is, a network of dirt roads that went through the woods that connected local landmarks and people’s property. They weren’t regular dirt roads in the sense the city or county planned and maintained them, they were just sort of paths through the woods that wound around the ponds and thicker sections of forest. If you had a decent truck you could get most places you wanted to go without having to be on the main roads. Great for avoiding cops, but it took a lot longer.

One road had an old abandoned house off of it. Nothing weird, the lady that lived there died and the property went to her sons that lived out of state and hated each other. They never cooperated to sell it and no one took care of it.

One night me and a friend are driving down this road at four in the morning after a party. We’re chatting, bouncing along in the truck in the absolute back woods darkness when we drive past the abandoned house. It looks creepy like normal but it’s always been there so we think nothing of it.

We turn past a group of trees and it happens. Our headlights reveal a middle aged man, balding but with long hair and dark circles under his eyes, with the three day growth of a beard. 

He’s pushing a wheelchair with an old lady wearing a white bathrobe. In the middle of no where. In the forest. With ground too bumpy and muddy for a car to get through, he’s pushing this elderly woman in a wheel chair. In winter.

It takes maybe a full second to get past them, but we pass within a foot or two of them.The old lady just keeps staring ahead with her hands folded in her lap. But the guy, he stares at us, turning his head to keep looking right into the passenger window as we drive past. The only thing I could think after that was that I hoped he couldn’t see me.

We get past them, and as I look in the side-view mirror he’s stopped pushing her and is staring back at us. We started to laugh and freak out a bit saying stuff like ‘Holy shit man, haha, that was some crazy shit. How weird was that?’ We thought it was really oddly funny at first, probably nerves. Then it settled in that we actually saw something really inexplicable. We got silent.

I kept thinking about him looking into the passenger window as we passed, into where I was sitting. I started silently wishing to the man, ‘if you pretend we weren’t there I promise to pretend you weren’t there. If you forget I was there I’ll never say you were there.’

I’d do that from time to time, renewing my mental promise to him, in case he thought I’d become a loose end to tie up. Until tonight. Tonight I’ve told someone. Tonight I told you.”

By: [deleted] (As it’s nearly Halloween, how about we share some creepy stories? I’ll go first.)


I’m presently developing a new series of London district maps that shall be available to buy as fine art prints. Here are some snippets of four maps I’ve completed in recent weeks: Shoreditch/Hoxton, Greenwich, Islington and Hampstead.

They demonstrate the distinct “retro” design style which I am focussing on… each map shall come embellished with one or two illustrations of local landmarks, and I also intend to make them available in a variety of colours.

Later in the year I shall also develop a new series of maps of other cities and locations in Europe and around the world.

More designs and details of their availability to come soon!

© Mike Hall

Suitors + travelling pt. 1 (because come on, they need a break)

Alyn: Sick and tired of forests. Goes to the big city and strolls. Good with directions like he’s been there (no it’s actually his first time). Visits pastry shops and probably takes a short crash course in cooking local dishes. Photos are landmarks without him as he doesn’t want to bother anyone taking pictures for him, nor does he take selfie sticks.

Louis: Vacation is volunteering. He goes to the east to visit some foundations (mostly children’s foundations) and helps out. Doesn’t stay in fancy hotels, he’d live at the local building and help prepare things for their activities. He’s actually not picky for someone pampered. Sometimes the power goes out for the whole day and it’s frickin’ hot, you’ll find him swimming in the rivers with the kids. One time though, a gecko jumped on his back while he was taking a dump in an outside shed and since then he doesn’t do his business often. Photos are taken by other people and he keeps getting tagged in them.

Byron: Summers are his favorite. Hits an exotic beach somewhere 2476327563487 miles away from Stein. Soaks up in both the sun and sea, sippin on pineapple juice. Also likes watersports, but leaves Albert by the shore because he almost drowned one time. Photos are taken by Nico. Everything is chill.

Leo: Travelling is immersing himself to a new culture, so we find him staying for months in one place. Learns the language, follows their customs like a local, and is like the best bud of everyone in the street. Shops like a local, gets discounts because he’s cute. Forgets to actually bring souvenirs home because they’re too much of a baggage. So Alyn, have this picture of him eating balut, because he swears it’s tasty you have to see it. Photos are mostly selfies with landmarks in the background, some tribal tattoos, and more of locals.

Sid: Actually extravagant with travelling because it makes him feel good. Infinity pools, partying, shopping for brand, and all. Spends nights at the casino and wins almost every time. Maybe he’s cheating the system? lol. Talks to big shots while playing and actually connects with them and grows his network. Okay, maybe he’s actually working. Photos are him half naked in the pool with a bunch of other people.


Tour 7 Uniquely Geodesic Homes

Quirky and unusual, any home with a geodesic dome is certain to inspire curiosity. But they aren’t just local landmarks. Geodesic domes are both energy-efficient and resistant to natural disasters. Filled with light and character, they’re beautiful too.


The Frog Inn, Chiswick

The Frog Inn, in Chiswick, is Kitty’s (alias Clara Bell) place of work during Ptolemy’s Gate. It is situated on the Embankment (north side of the Thames), near a bend in the river, and its size causes the pavement to make a 90 degree turn away from the river to accommodate for it. The Frog Inn is most likely based off of The Bull’s Head pub, situated just east of Kew rail bridge in Chiswick. 

Inside The Bull’s Head

Just like The Frog, The Bull’s Head is near a riverbend, occupies a large area by the waterfront, and the pavement does turn away into a residential area nearby - although, several buildings before the pub itself. Sadly, The Bull’s Head isn’t as much of a unique local landmark as The Frog. While it may once have been an independently-owned pub, it has since been bought by the Chef & Brewer group, a company which owns nearly 200 pubs around Britain. However, it is a perfectly pleasant place to pass an evening, and is certainly large enough to hold the weekly meetings to which Kitty was privvy.

Tube stations: Gunnersbury, Kew Bridge (National Rail)

Short Fiction Weekly Challenge

Time for a new prompt from the Short Fiction Weekly Challenge, tumblr edition.  Let it spark your imagination.  Any character, any fandom, any original world.   Reblogs welcome!

Post your story to your blog and send the link to Short Fiction Weekly Challenge!  The link will appear in our feed and the site index, and your blog gets listed on the Participating Blogs page.

This week’s SFWC prompt:

Week of July 14, 2017

And Now, the Bad News: Something happened, and your character’s not pleased about it. Did they lose a promotion or sale to a rival? Is a local landmark shutting or being torn down? Is a plant or animal they’re particularly fond of in decline? Does an event confirm their pessimistic outlook, or crush their optimism? How did they find out? Are they shocked or resigned? No good news to soften the blow this time. Write about your character dealing with bad news.

Feel free to continue submitting stories for any prompt.  A masterpiece missed the deadline?  Don’t let it gather electronic dust.  Submit it anyway and Short Fiction Weekly Challenge will publish it.  

This week’s prompt not for you?  Look for something more to your taste in the Prompt Archive.  Consider all the prompts active and waiting to inspire you.  

This week’s featured previous prompts are:

Insomnia - Everyone’s had a sleepless night. Maybe more than one. What about your character? Do concerns keep them awake? Are they too excited for sleep? Maybe they just chose the wrong time for a stimulant beverage.  Perhaps they were so engrossed in an activity they only realized they stayed awake all night when the sun rose. A bout of insomnia could be a single event or a recurring problem. How does your character deal with being unable to sleep–assuming their species even needs to.

Miracles and Wondrous Things - Star Wars is a universe with amazing high technology and an equally amazing mystical Force.  Is there room between these two for a miracle?  How would your character explain what defies explanation?  Have they ever had to?  What would they say to someone who disagrees?  This prompt courtesy of Frauzet.  Thanks, @frauzet!

Got an idea for a prompt?  Submit it here.

17776 killed a landmark local to me today and I feel the same way about it as I did about magneto taking out the bridge

Like wtf man
You can’t just kill the centennial bulb

what she says: I’m fine.

what she means: Pokémon Go has changed my life. This is the closest I’ve come to living out my childhood dream of being a true Pokémon trainer. Nothing has ever made me so excited to go outside. Just today I walked four miles through my town catching Pokémon and exploring local landmarks I otherwise wouldn’t have known existed. There’s an odd new sense of community. I made new friends when we were trying to beat a gym outside a pizza place. A car with the windows down drove by and I heard the Pokémon Go intro music playing. Someone passing by on the sidewalk said, “Gotta catch ‘em all!” Pokémon Go is everything I hoped it would be and more and it’s popularity will only encourage similar environment-interactive gaming. Got to go, there’s an Eevee in my backyard!


Johnston -Felton - Hay House by LT
Via Flickr:
Johnston-Felton-Hay House, often abbreviated Hay House, is a historic residence in Macon, Georgia. Built between 1855 and 1859 by William Butler Johnston and his wife Anne Tracy Johnston in the Italian Renaissance Revival style, the house has been called the “Palace of the South.” The mansion sits atop Coleman Hill on Georgia Avenue in downtown Macon, near the Walter F. George School of Law, part of Mercer University. The 18,000-square-foot (1,700 m2), 24-room home designed by the New York architect T. Thomas and Son has four levels and is crowned by a three-story cupola. Commissioned by imaginative owners and constructed by the most skillful workers of the time, its technological amenities were unsurpassed in the mid-nineteenth century: hot and cold running water, central heat, a speaker-tube system connecting 15 rooms, a French lift equivalent to today’s elevator, in-house kitchen, and an elaborate ventilation system. House history Two families lived in Hay House, the first over four generations. Most of the home’s present-day furnishings date from the Hay family’s occupancy (1926-1962). A few pieces are from the Johnston family (1860-1896), most notably the Eastlake-style dining room suite. The most notable piece in the collection may be the 1857 marble statue, “Ruth Gleaning,” by American expatriate sculptor Randolph Rogers. The home was a place of comfort for the Johnston family and their daughters until the late 1800s. In 1896 after the death of Mrs. Johnston, their daughter Mary Ellen Felton and her husband lived in the home. The Feltons updated the plumbing and electricity and stayed in the home until the time of their deaths in 1926. The Johnstons The Hay House living room William Butler Johnston obtained his substantial wealth through investments in banking, railroads and public utilities rather than from the agrarian cotton economy. In 1851, he married Anne Clark Tracy, 20 years his junior, and the couple embarked on an extended honeymoon in Europe from 1852 to 1855. During their trip, the Johnstons visited hundreds of museums, historic sites and art studios. They collected fine porcelains, sculptures and paintings as mementos during their grand tour. Inspired by the Italian architecture they observed, the Johnstons constructed the monumental Italian Renaissance Revival mansion in Macon upon their return to America.[1] Only two of the Johnstons’ six children survived to adulthood. Caroline and Mary Ellen Johnston were born in 1862 and 1864, respectively, and grew up in the house on Georgia Avenue. The Feltons After the death of Mrs. Johnston in 1896, daughter Mary Ellen and her husband, Judge William H. Felton, lived in the house. They remodeled and redecorated parts of the house, updated the plumbing and added electricity.[2] Their only child, William Hamilton Felton, Jr., was born in 1889. He married Luisa Macgill Gibson in 1915, and the newlywed couple soon moved in with the Feltons. They and their two sons, William Hamilton Felton III and George Gibson Felton, lived in the house until 1926. The Hays After the deaths of William Sr. and Mary Ellen Felton, the house was sold to Parks Lee Hay and his wife, Maude. After purchasing, the Hays redecorated the entire home, updating it to fit the new twentieth-century décor. The home was seen as a local landmark to all in middle Georgia. Mr. Hay died in 1957; when Mrs. Hay died in 1962, the home was turned into a house museum. In 1977, the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation took over ownership of the home and it is now a National Historic Landmark. [3] Present day Following Mrs. Hay’s death, her heirs established the P.L. Hay Foundation and operated the house as a private house museum. By virtue of its national significance, Hay House was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1974. In 1977, the ownership and operation of the house was formally transferred to The Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation to ensure its long-term preservation. In 2000, the White House Millennium Council designated Hay House an Official Project of Save America’s Treasures in 2000.[5] Today, Hay House is one of Macon’s most popular tourist attractions with 20,000 visitors each year.[5] The House is also a prominent rental venue for special events.