Head and Shoulders Above the Rest
A beacon of freedom and an emblem of unity, Mount Rushmore towers above all other national monuments. This titanic sculpture draws countless crowds of tourists annually, offering pristine views of the Black Hills of South Dakota and opportunities for patriotic ponderings and reflections. Although the sculpture gracing Mount Rushmore may seem as old as the hills themselves, its journey to fame began in 1923. A historian named Doane Robinson, later called the Father of Mount Rushmore, proposed the carving as a means of attracting visitors to South Dakota. Robinson enlisted the expertise of Gutzon Borglum, a Dutch-American sculptor, and the project officially began on October 4, 1927. Utilizing an impressive amount of manpower, the Mount Rushmore carving required the skill of over four hundred laborers, many working with the Civilian Conservation Corps. These doggedly determined workers faced a plethora of daily struggles; their morning began with a trek up 506 steps to the Mount Rushmore worksite before handling the dangerous explosives used to mold the earth into human profiles. Miraculously, no lives were lost in the creation of the Mount Rushmore Monument. However, on March 6, 1941, Borglum passed away prior to the completion of his masterpiece leaving his son, Lincoln, to complete the sculpture. In accordance with his father’s wishes, the young Borglum and his artistic team completed their illustrious project on October 31, 1941, taking a grand total of fourteen years and twenty-seven days to finish. The completed sculpture showcased the likenesses of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln. Each of the presidents stretch sixty feet in height. Their eyes span a distance of eleven feet, and their noses stand twenty feet tall. Since its completion the Mount Rushmore National Monument has served as a pillar of the American identity. By exalting the American spirit, this colossal carving continues to promote liberty and equality as an enduring reminder of the promise of democracy.
The Fabulous Flamingo
They are absolutely everywhere: from front yards to zoos and from aquariums to amusement parks, flamingos brighten up any environment! Although these brilliant birds originally hail from tropical climates, they have found their way into the hearts of avian enthusiasts across the globe. In this edition of The StickerTalk, we have assembled a flamboyance of flamingo facts to flatter our feathered friends.
Fiery Feathers Named for their colorful plumage, the word, “flamingo'” is derived from the Spanish word for fire, “flamenco.” Although flamingos are typically shown with bright pink feathers, a portion of the population remains white or gray. Flamingos that do sport a vibrant array of hues procure their pigment from certain nutrients found in their diet.
Featherstone’s Flamingoes If you have ever admired a plastic lawn flamingo, thank Mr. Don Featherstone! Featherstone, a Massachusetts native, invented the now-iconic pink lawn ornament in 1957, triggering a cultural revolution. Today, there are more plastic lawn flamingos in America than real flamingoes!
An Answer to an Age-Old Question Many of us have wondered why flamingos prefer to strike a pose with one leg tucked underneath their bodies. Wonder no longer! Animal experts have deduced that this baffling behavior is designed to conserve heat.
The Keys to Musicality
The piano is perhaps the most versatile musical instrument in existence. From sophisticated concert halls to adrenaline-fueled rock concerts, the humble piano boasts the unique capability to transcend a plethora of genres. Easy enough to seem approachable to young students yet simultaneously daunting to even the most seasoned musician, this instrument entertains a variety of enigmas. In this edition of The StickerTalk, we will examine the intricate harmonies of the piano’s past.
Ancient Melodies: While the piano is a relatively new instrument at an approximate 300 years of age, one of its musical relatives, the hammered dulcimer, dates back to the year 900 A.D. The piano itself was invented in 1698 in Italy. Its original name, fortepiano, payed homage to the instrument’s impressive range.
Some Strings Attached: A standard piano requires 230 strings to achieve its full range of sound. Each of the strings holds an average of 168 pounds of tension, placing the piano’s total tension poundage at over 18 tons!
High-Priced Harmonies: The most expensive piano in recorded history was sold for a staggering 3.22 million dollars at auction. Called the Crystal Piano, this pricey piano’s transparent structure garnered the world’s attention at the 2008 Olympic Games.
Sensational San Francisco
Boasting sweeping scenery, a diverse culture, and a vivid past, the city of San Francisco entertains an assorted array of tastes and curiosities. From the pristine waters of the San Francisco Bay to its endless blocks of historical architecture, San Francisco represents the epitome of all things American. Due to its complex identity, the city harbors a variety of surprises; in this edition of The StickerTalk, we will delve into the secrets of San Francisco, celebrating the city’s unique aspects and uncovering hidden stories of a bygone era.
Always on the Move: The streets of San Francisco play host to an incomparable historical spectacle. The city’s famous cable cars are the only National Historical Monument capable of movement. In fact, these products of antique engineering travel at an unchanging speed of 9.5 miles per hour.
The Sound of San Francisco: Surprisingly, the official instrument of San Francisco is the humble accordion. The city’s Board of Supervisors bestowed the title upon the instrument in 1990 as the result of a 6 to 4 vote.
The Orange Gate Bridge?: An example of chromatic confusion, the Golden Gate Bridge is actually painted International Orange. Although the original plans called for the bridge to sport black and yellow stripes, the chief architect fell in love with the bright red color of the sealant.
Pickleball: It’s a Big Dill
The noteworthy sport of pickleball has recently garnered attention as a favored pastime of innovative athletes. A relatively new sport, pickleball harbors an array of enigmas to the average observer; because the sport is a complex blend of other games, it may seem difficult to understand or enjoy. However, pickleball’s vibrant past teamed with its specialized set of rules make the sport a unique experience for any athlete!
Pickleball was created in 1965 by a trio of fathers desperate to entertain their bored children. The game was a success! Even Pickles, a cocker spaniel owned by one of the first families of the game, reveled in the excitement, chasing the ball any time it escaped the control of the athletes. The dog’s enthusiasm for the sport prompted the name, “pickleball.” Pickleball borrows objectives, equipment, and rules from a variety of sources, deriving inspiration from tennis, badminton, and ping-pong. Played on a court, pickleball players may play one-on-one or compete in teams of two by utilizing solid paddles to hit a wiffle ball to their opponent(s) across a net. While the sport is a favorite of young athletes, professional pickleball players regularly vie for titles and prizes. Regardless of your skill level, pickleball proves an exciting form of both exercise and entertainment!