It is the last 12MC post of 2012 and a perfect time to wrap-up the year with a summary article. I decided to follow the example of Steve of Connecticut Museum Quest who featured his 2012 Top Comments. It seemed like an interesting twist, focusing on the audience rather than the articles, so in the time-honored tradition of bloggers everywhere I stole his idea blatantly and unabashedly. It’s OK. I told him I was going to lift it.
I ran into the same dilemma Steve faced. I read every comment posted during the year and that took a long time. I hadn’t necessarily realized or fully appreciated the volume and quality of the input you provided. It took hours, a classic "nice problem to have." It was also quite a remarkable body of work.
I don’t receive as many oddball comments as Steve gets on his more general-interest website. That’s good from a quality perspective, however that also means I don’t have any oddballs to highlight at the end of the year. Well, by definition those who appreciate geo-oddities are probably oddballs, however that doesn’t necessarily make any of us candidates for tinfoil hats. Comments were sane, rational and pertinent.
Articles offering little puzzles generated the most comments. That’s to be expected.
- 27 comments: Short Distance Namesakes, posted quite recently.
- 24 comments: Longest Google Maps Route
- 23 comments: Busy Days (number of states that could be visited in a single day)
- 21 comments: Pronounced How? (counterintuitive regional pronunciations)
I’d also like to recognize Jon Persky before we get into the meat of the comments. He wrote a guest article as he pondered the shortest road distance between all 48 contiguous United States plus the District of Columbia. I feature about one guest article per year and this year it was Jon. I’m always thrilled to publish guest articles by the way — it doesn’t have to be once per year. Let me know if you have a burning geo-oddity idea that’s too large to fit into a tag-along comment and I’ll be happy to let you expand it into the ultimate comment, a guest article.
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It takes effort and ingenuity to motivate me to actually do something because I’m inherently lazy. Several comments managed to hit that almost impossibly high mark.
- Philip Sites (of the Weekend Roady website) inspired me to take the family to Chincoteague for a long weekend.
- Marc showed me where I could pump my own gas in Oregon.
- Page’s comment led to my Arizona Strip article.
- John of Sydney’s comment brought Captain Thunderbolt to my attention.
- Jonathan Schlesinger’s comment led to Joe Montana. Twice!
- pfly’s comment, although left in 2011, led to a John Day article and my personal visit to the John Day Fossil Beds in 2012.
A related topic I call "reverse inspiration" probably fits here as a subcategory. That’s where 12MC inspired someone to take a specific action.
- I started noticing a weird spike in website traffic originating from Cameroon, a place not noted for 12MC visitors. It was Lyn who was in Cameroon on business and knew I’d appreciate the pings. I did! I’d encourage anyone in the audience to do the same whenever traveling to a remote destination. I will definitely notice the surge because I check weblogs daily and obsess over tantalizing anomalies
- Matthew has never watched the television show COPS. He nonetheless documented a visit to 132 and Bush in Portland, Oregon, and sent photographs. I got to meet Matthew later in the year in person while in Washington state so that was another 12MC highlight.
WISDOM OF THE CROWD
The Ultimate Solution?
I can uncover only so much information as an armchair writer. I’ve learned the wider 12MC audience almost always knows the answer when I’m stumped.
- Craig surmised that the surname Austria was Filipino
- Dave Carroll discovered the source of the weird Potomac River in Oregon queries.
- Brian Casey clued me in that others already knew the most efficient paths across the United States.
- January First-of-May; will find the ultimate solution to just about any puzzle I post, returning multiple times with increasingly elegant solutions. This also provided a source of a steady stream of 12MC visits from Russia as a happy byproduct.
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What’s the difference between and Odd Fact and the Wisdom of the Crowd? I don’t have a clue. It’s a fine line. Some of these are interesting observations that I enjoyed immensely that may not have much greater practical significance.
- Rhodent’s wife has a UK telephone number even though she works from the US.
- Mr. Burns noted that Easton, Kansas is in Eastern Kansas and Weston, Missouri is in Western Missouri, and they’re only about 12 miles apart.
- Drake informed us that Lansing, Michigan was founded by a scam artist.
- Dominique M. discovered a solution for those who fear ferries and bridges that would turn a 40 minute routine drive into a 59 hour adventure.
- Ken once traveled through four state capital cities in a single day for a work-related trip.
- Bill Harris referenced a portion of the Erie Canal that later became part of the Rochester, NY subway system. This one may become a future 12MC article so keep an eye on it.
- Scott knew about perhaps the least used legal crossing between Canada and the United States, a place called Goat Haunt.
- Steve of the previously-mentioned CTMQ told what happened when automobile accidents occurred directly atop a specific state boundary. Hint: it sometimes involved a coin toss.
- Ian referenced a completely bizarre situation where someone would have to travel through three different counties to get home, every time.
- Chris noted that it’s easy to cross from New York to New Jersey from every cardinal direction on dry land. The only thing required is a visit to Ellis Island.
- I can’t add anything to Philip Sites amazing license plate geo-trivia: "it’s Montana state law to feature the state outline on any plate design."
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Sometimes I just had to smile. Some comments may not have added significantly to the larger body of world knowledge, however, they increased the entertainment value of 12MC!
- James D. mentioned that the mayor of Eu, France comes dangerously close to being a French obscenity.
- Joshua D. claimed tongue-in-cheek that the shortest Atlantic to Pacific distance was one block.
- Peter gets a special mention for understanding my dueling high-brow / low-brow dichotomy by working Octomom into a perfectly pertinent comment.
- Fritz Keppler amused us with the unfortunately-named Assawoman Bay.
- Greg commented on the Metric System: "My car gets 40 rods to the hogshead, and that’s the way I likes it!"
- David F-H wishes to design a GPS unit that I will undoubtedly purchase. It will count in units of counties.
- Dale Sanderson thought we should be careful of people from Denver.
- Craig called-out Leadville for ridiculous exaggeration.
- The Basement Geographer (his website) gets either first place or last place for the groaner of the year. He felt compelled to post the comment even though he hated doing it, which feels completely rational to me.
SOURCE: Wikimedia Commons in the public domain.
I could always count on Brent to wave the maple-leaf flag upon request.
SEEING YOU IN PERSON
The Twelve Mile Circle has allowed me to met many like-minded geo-geeks, generally on the Intertubes although sometimes in person. I already mentioned meeting Matthew last Summer. There were a couple of other occasions when that happened last year:
- We held an American Meridian Happy Hour in January. I think we might have to do that again. I can’t believe it’s been almost a year.
- Steve of CTMQ invited me along on my Craziest Geo-Oddity Adventure Ever. I continue to believe we accomplished a specific feat for the first time in human history, absent evidence to the contrary.
Several 2012 comments may lead to 2013 (or beyond) accomplishments.
- Peter said that if I join the Shore Line Trolley Museum in Connecticut they’ll let me operate the railcards.
- Greg let me know that "TheReal12MC" would be a great Twitter account (it was still available as of this morning).
- Mr. Burns will save me from a faux pas when I undertake my crazy five-state adventure in March.
Thank you, everyone, for a great 2012. The Twelve Mile Circle wouldn’t be nearly as interesting without your contributions.