The world's biggest balls

It was a roadside phenomenon that grew into a country-wide craze; now it seems that every state in the union lays claim to at least one or two record-breaking balls. What compels people to make their balls so big? We may never know -- we can only admire them, and pay homage. Which is just what this list intends to do. So without further ado, here are the world's biggest balls of:


Some pertinent stats: It weighs nearly 18,000 pounds, just shy of nine tons. It has a circumference of 40 feet. It also has its own mini-museum -- more of an enclosed gazebo, really -- in Darwin, Minnesota, where creator Francis Johnson spent four hours a day winding it for 29 years, from 1950 to 1979. The town celebrates "Twine Ball Day" every August. (But all is not well in twine-ball town; a controversy has brewed for years over whose ball is biggest, Darwin's or the one on display in Branson, MO, built by millionaire J. C. Payne of using a system of pulleys. The Guinness Book certified the latter as the largest, but Darwinians claimed that Payne cheated by using machines.) By the way, these are only the largest balls of twine built by one person; the largest community-built ball resides in Cawker City, Kansas, where every year a "twine-a-thon" is held in which townsfolk gather 'round the ball and help it grow.

Michael Carmichael has spent twenty-eight years painting a baseball, which has nearly 20,000 coats on it to date and weighs at least 40 pounds. The town where it resides, Alexandria, Indiana, is also home to the world's largest hairball, which was found in the sewers some years ago and was (an apparently true) feature in the National Enquirer. Even more amazing, the huge ball of paint was identified by the Dept. of Homeland Security as a "distinguished heritage site" which helped qualify Indiana for a slice of its annual terror defense budget.

Sitting in an open field in Texas is the world's largest ball of barbed wire, wound together over 30 years by the same mad genius who created the Guinness-recognized twine ball (see above), J.C. Payne. Weighing 21,000 pounds and measuring 11.5 feet in diameter, it's probably also the world's largest tetanus hazard.

Constructed in a popcorn factor in Sac City, Iowa (doesn't that seem like cheating?), Guinness recognized this ball as the world's largest in 2004. 910 lbs. of popcorn, 1500 lbs. of sugar and 690 lbs. of syrup went into making the seven-foot-tall, 3,100 pound treat.

Oregonian Steve Milton created the world's largest ball of rubber bands with a little help (and about 175,000 rubber bands) from his friends at OfficeMax. It weighs in at 4,000+ lbs and stands 5.5 feet high.

The Real Bay of Pigs: Big Major Cay in the Bahamas

When most people visit the Bahamas, they’re thinking about a vacation filled with sun, sand, and swimming—not swine. But you can get all four of those things if you visit Big Major Cay.

Big Major Cay, also now known as “Pig Island” for obvious reasons, is part of the Exuma Cays in the Bahamas. Exuma includes private islands owned by Johnny Depp, Tyler Perry, Faith Hill and Tim McGraw, and David Copperfield. Despite all of the local star power, the real attraction seems to be the family of feral pigs that has established Big Major Cay as their own. It’s hard to say how many are there—some reports say it’s a family of eight, while others say the numbers are up to 40. However big the band of roaming pigs is, none of them are shy: Their chief means of survival seems to be to swim right up to boats and beg for food, which the charmed tourists are happy to provide (although there are guidelines about the best way of feeding the pigs).

No one knows exactly how the pigs got there, but there are plenty of theories. Among them: 1) A nearby resort purposely released them more than a decade ago, hoping to attract tourists. 2) Sailors dropped them off on the island, intending to dine on pork once they were able to dock for a longer of period of time. For one reason or another, the sailors never returned. 3) They’re descendants of domesticated pigs from a nearby island. When residents complained about the original domesticated pigs, their owners solved the problem by dropping them off at Big Major Cay, which was uninhabited. 4) The pigs survived a shipwreck. The ship’s passengers did not.

The purposeful tourist trap theory is probably the least likely—VICE reports that the James Bond movie Thunderball was shot on a neighboring island in the 1960s, and the swimming swine were there then.

Though multiple articles reference how “adorable” the pigs are, don’t be fooled. One captain warns, “They’ll eat anything and everything—including fingers.”

Here they are in action in a video from National Geographic:

Pop Culture
The House From The Money Pit Is For Sale

Looking for star-studded new digs? For a cool $5.9 million, reports, you can own the Long Island country home featured in the 1986 comedy The Money Pit—no renovations required.

For the uninitiated, the film features Tom Hanks and Shelley Long as hapless first-time homeowners who purchase a rundown mansion for cheap. The savings they score end up being paltry compared to the debt they incur while trying to fix up the house.

The Money Pit featured exterior shots of "Northway," an eight-bedroom estate located in the village of Lattingtown in Nassau County, New York. Luckily for potential buyers, its insides are far nicer than the fictional ones portrayed in the movie, thanks in part to extensive renovations performed by the property’s current owners.

Amenities include a giant master suite with a French-style dressing room, eight fireplaces, a "wine wall," and a heated outdoor saltwater pool. Check out some photos below, or view the entire listing here.

The real-life Long Island home featured in “The Money Pit”

The real-life Long Island home featured in “The Money Pit”

The real-life Long Island home featured in “The Money Pit”

The real-life Long Island home featured in “The Money Pit”

The real-life Long Island home featured in “The Money Pit”

The real-life Long Island home featured in 1986's “The Money Pit”

The real-life Long Island home featured in 1986's “The Money Pit”



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