The Quick 10: Nine Fallen Natural Landmarks (and One That's Stumbling)

Forget about London Bridge "“ it seems that everything is falling down. When it comes to natural landmarks, at least, it seems that you'd better catch "˜em while you can. Erosion "“ and occasionally vandals "“ are making nature's birthmarks a thing of the past. Here are nine landmarks that you can no longer view and one that's headed that way.


1. The Old Man of the Mountain was a natural landmark in New Hampshire up until about six and a half years ago. The way it was positioned on the side of the mountain prompted Daniel Webster to write, "Men hang out their signs indicative of their respective trades; shoe makers hang out a gigantic shoe; jewelers a monster watch, and the dentist hangs out a gold tooth; but up in the Mountains of New Hampshire, God Almighty has hung out a sign to show that there He makes men." Unfortunately, God Almighty apparently saw fit to close up shop in April 2003, because his "sign" collapsed down the side of the mountain. You can still see it, though "“ New Hampshirites (New Hampshans? New Hampshirians?) voted to make the Old Man the emblem on their state quarter a few years prior to its demise.


2. Jumpoff Joe used to be a huge rock formation "“ a sea stack, to be exact "“ on the beach in Newport, Oregon. For most of the 1800s, it was impossible to walk along the beach without somehow climbing over or walking through the 100-foot chunk of stone. By the 1890s, erosion created a small gap between the cliffs and the rock, and without the support of the cliffs, the arch collapsed in a severe storm in 1916.

3. Similarly, Wall Arch of Arches National Park in Utah, is no longer. At one point it was 33 feet tall and 71 feet across and was the 12th largest arch in the park, which is no small feat considering that the park is home to more than 2,000 of the majestic structures.

gods finger
4. El Dedo de Dios "“ "God's Finger" "“ was once located in the Atlantic Ocean by Las Palmas, Spain. The spindly stone vaguely resembled a finger sticking up from a closed fist, sort of like the "#1" gesture. At least, it did until November, 2005, when Tropical Storm Delta broke the finger off like a vengeful mobster.


5. Honeymoon Bridge. I'm kind of cheating with this one "“ it's not exactly a natural landmark, but a bridge spanning a natural landmark. Also known as the Upper Steel Arch Bridge or the Fallsview Bridge, this structure opened in 1898 and spanned 840 feet at Niagara Falls. For years after its installation, the bridge swayed with heavy winds and unexpected weights. Of course, the bridge was built to sway a little, but this one moved so much it made people hold their breath when driving over it. And with good reason "“ after an ice storm in January 1938, the bridge collapsed under the added weight of the ice on the bridge and the support structures. It was replaced in 1941 by the Rainbow Bridge, located about 500 feet away from where the Honeymoon Bridge originally stood.

6. No doubt you're familiar with the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, at least by name. They were built by Nebuchadnezzar II for his ailing wife sometime around 600 BC who was terribly homesick for her native Persia. He decided that if she had a place where she could visit the beautiful plants and fragrant aromas of home, she might feel better. Legend has it that the gardens were destroyed by earthquakes sometime during the second century B.C., but there's also some debate as to whether the gardens actually existed at all.

7. Eye of Needle in Montana was another arching natural landmark that collapsed over Memorial Day in 1997. Unlike the others, though, this topple wasn't an act of God. When park rangers went to investigate the situation, they discovered beer bottles, footprints and trash. By itself, perhaps that wouldn't have been an indication, but when coupled with the fact that several other sandstone structures had been toppled "“ smaller ones "“ it was concluded that drunken vandals purposely destroyed the 10,000+ year-old monument. The perpetrators have never been caught, but if they are, they could face 10 years in jail and $250,000 in fines.


8. Jeffrey Pine at Sentinel Dome in Yosemite is probably most famous from the photography of Ansel Adams and Carleton Watkins. We're lucky that they saw fit to record the gnarled pine for posterity, because the four-centuries-old tree fell to the ground in 2003. It's a wonder the tree stayed erect that long, actually "“ it died during a drought in 1977, despite heroic efforts by park rangers to save it by carrying buckets of water out to the remote location. The dead trunk was left there.

fallen apostle

9. One of Australia's Twelve Apostles limestone stacks took an eternal swim in the ocean in July 2005. The rock pillar, which took 20 million years to form, crumbled away into the water right before the very eyes of some tourists photographing the formation. This photo was taken shortly after the fall.


10. Ah, Chimney Rock, a milestone for Oregon Trail-blazers everywhere. The real ones and the Apple ones, I mean. But should citizens of the United States decide to head west in the future, Chimney Rock probably won't be there to guide the way: the landmark is eroding at an alarmingly fast rate, losing more than 30 feet in the past century and a half. Like the Old Man of the Mountain, Chimney Rock has been preserved on the Nebraska state quarter, so if it does abruptly crumble, at least we can still see it etched in silver. And there's always the Oregon Trail app, I suppose"¦

Did anyone make it to any of these before they bit the dust? Share your experience in the comments. I'm sorry to say I haven't seen any of them!

You can follow Stacy Conradt on Twitter.

10 Sweet Facts About Candy Canes

The sweet and striped shepherd’s hooks can be found just about everywhere during the holiday season. It's time you learned a thing or two (or 10) about them.


While the origins of the candy cane are a bit murky, legend has it that they first appeared in hooked form around 1670. Candy sticks themselves were pretty common, but they really took shape when the choirmaster at the Cologne Cathedral in Germany got the bright idea of twisting them to look like shepherd’s hooks. He then handed them out to kids during church services to keep them quiet.


It’s no surprise, then, that it was a German immigrant who introduced the custom to America. The first reference we can find to the tradition stateside is 1847, when August Imgard of Wooster, Ohio, decked his home out with the sugary fare.


Candy canes without the red don’t seem nearly as cheery, do they? But that’s how they were once made: all white. We’re not really sure who or exactly when the scarlet stripe was added, but we do know that images on cards before the 1900s show snow white canes.


Most candy canes are around five inches long, containing only about 50 calories and no fat or cholesterol.


The world’s largest candy cane was built by Geneva, Illinois chef Alain Roby in 2012.  It was 51 feet long, required about 900 pounds of sugar, and was eventually smashed up with a hammer so people could take home a piece.


Fifty-four percent of kids suck on candy canes, compared to the 24 percent who just go right for the big crunch. As you may have been able to guess, of those surveyed, boys were nearly twice as likely to be crunchers.


According to the National Confectioners Association, about 1.2 billion candy canes are made annually, and 90 percent of those are sold between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Which honestly begs the question: Who’s buying the 10 percent in the off season?


Bobs (that’s right; no apostrophe) Candies was the first company to really hang its hat on the sweet, striped hook. Lt. Bob McCormack began making candy canes for his kids in the 1920s, and they were such a hit he decided to start mass-producing them. With the help of his brother-in-law, a Catholic priest named Gregory Harding Keller (and his invention, the Keller Machine), McCormack was eventually able to churn out millions of candy canes a day.


December 26 is National Candy Cane Day. Go figure.


Here’s how they make candy canes at Disneyland—it’s a painstaking (and beautiful) technique.

10 Actors Who Hated Their Own Films

1. Sylvester Stallone, Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot. Sly doesn’t pull any punches when it comes to his film career. Despite co-starring with the delightful Estelle Getty as the titular violence-prone mother, Stallone knows just how bad the film was:

"I made some truly awful movies. Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot was the worst. If you ever want someone to confess to murder, just make him or her sit through that film. They will confess to anything after 15 minutes."

2. Alec Guinness, Star Wars.

By the time he played Obi-Wan Kenobi in 1977’s Star Wars: A New Hope, Guinness had already appeared in cinematic classics like The Bridge on the River Kwai, Great Expectations and Lawrence of Arabia. During production, Guinness is reported to have said the following:

"Apart from the money, I regret having embarked on the film. I like them well enough, but it's not an acting job, the dialogue - which is lamentable - keeps being changed and only slightly improved, and I find myself old and out of touch with the young."

The insane amount of fame he won for the role as the wise old Jedi master took him somewhat by surprise and, ultimately, annoyed him. In his autobiography A Positively Final Appearance: A Journal, Guinness recalls a time he encountered an autograph-seeking fan who boasted to him about having watched Star Wars more than 100 times. In response, Guinness agreed to provide the boy an autograph under the condition that he promise never to watch the film again.

3. Bob Hoskins, Super Mario Brothers. He was in Who Framed Roger Rabbit?. As far as I’m concerned, Bob Hoskins is forgiven for Super Mario Bros. Hoskins, though, doesn’t seem to be able to forgive himself. Last year the Guardian spoke with the veteran actor about his career and he summed up his feelings rather succinctly:

What is the worst job you've done?
Super Mario Brothers.

What has been your biggest disappointment?
Super Mario Brothers.

If you could edit your past, what would you change?
I wouldn't do Super Mario Brothers.

4. George Clooney, Batman & Robin. Sure, Batman & Robin made money. But by every other imaginable measure, the film was a complete failure, and a nightmare to the vast majority of the Caped Crusader’s most fervent fanatics. Star George Clooney recognized what a stinker he helped create and once plainly stated, “I think we might have killed the franchise.”

5. David Cross, Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked. When actors have a movie out, it's customary that they publicize the film by saying nice things about it. Earlier this year David Cross took a different approach. When it came to describing his new film Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked, the veteran comedian — better known for Mr. Show and Arrested Development — went on Conan and called the film a “big commercial for Carnival Cruise Lines” and told people not to go see it.

6. Katherine Heigl, Knocked Up. Judd Apatow’s unplanned pregnancy comedy was a huge hit and helped cement her status as a bankable film actress. After the film’s release, however, Heigl didn’t have all good things to say. In fact, what she specifically said about it was that the film was:

"…A little sexist. It paints the women as shrews, as humorless and uptight, and it paints the men as lovable, goofy, fun-loving guys.”

7. Charlize Theron, Reindeer Games. The 2000 action film Reindeer Games starred Ben Affleck, Gary Sinese and Charlize Theron and was directed by John Frankenheimer. But it all somehow failed to come together. In the end the film lost a lot of money and compiled a wealth of negative reviews – including one from its star actress who simply said, “Reindeer Games was not a good movie.”

8. Mark Wahlberg, The Happening. Mark Wahlberg doesn’t exactly seem like a guy who lives his life afraid of trees. But that is the odd position M. Night Shyamalan’s 2008 film The Happening put him in. Wahlberg, as it turns out, doesn’t look back too fondly on the film. He went on record during a press conference for The Fighter when he described a conversation with a fellow actor:

"We had actually had the luxury of having lunch before to talk about another movie and it was a bad movie that I did. She dodged the bullet. And then I was still able to … I don’t want to tell you what movie … alright “The Happening.” F*** it. It is what it is. F***ing trees, man. The plants. F*** it. You can’t blame me for not wanting to try to play a science teacher. At least I wasn’t playing a cop or a crook."

9. John Cusack, Better Off Dead. John Cusack reportedly hated his cult 80s comedy so much that he walked out of the screening and later told the film’s director Steve Holland that Better Off Dead was "the worst thing I have ever seen" and he would "never trust you as a director again."

10 Christopher Plummer, The Sound of Music. The Sound of Music is considered a classic and has delighted many generations of fans. But the film's own lead actor, Christopher Plummer, didn't always sing its praises. Mr. Von Trapp himself declined to participate in a 2005 film reunion and, according to one acquaintance, has referred to the film as The Sound of Mucus.



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