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Help with Research Needed

I'm doing research for a ghost-writing gig I have now for the Web site SmashingLists.com. I'm putting together a few lists and could use suggestions for them:

1. Top 10 Most Surprising Banned Books
2. Top 10 Words That Sound Dirty But Aren't
3. Top 10 Most Unusual U.S. Town Names
4. Top 10 Funniest Looking Pets
5. Top 10 Amazing Sculptures Made from Unusual Items
6. Top 10 Geekiest Places to Visit in the U.S.
7. Top 10 Unusual Instruments in Popular Music

If you have suggestions for any of these lists, please share them!

Comments

( 22 comments — Leave a comment )
roina_arwen
Mar. 29th, 2013 03:12 pm (UTC)
I'm not sure what you'd qualify as an unusual town name, but some nifty ones here in KY are:
Beaverlick (I mean, I get Salt Lick, but really??); Confluence; Do Stop; Monkeys Eyebrow; Rabbit Hash; Possum Trot; Rooster Run; Thousandsticks; and Yeaddiss.

As far as Geekiest Places, that would depend on what sort of Geek flag one flies, but the UFO Museum in Roswell, NM needs to be on your list!
alycewilson
Mar. 29th, 2013 03:20 pm (UTC)
Great suggestions. Thanks!

Kentucky had some creative town namers!
caile
Mar. 29th, 2013 05:06 pm (UTC)
For unusual instruments, I nominate the theremin! Played without touching anything!
alycewilson
Mar. 29th, 2013 05:14 pm (UTC)
Great idea. Can you think of any specific pop or rock songs that use it (any time period)?
miranda_lane
Mar. 29th, 2013 05:52 pm (UTC)
The Star Trek Theme, of course. And other SciFi classic soundtracks, including "The Day The Earth Stood Still". The Wikipedia page has a section on current music, too: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theremin
alycewilson
Mar. 30th, 2013 02:08 am (UTC)
I'll check that out. Thanks!
miranda_lane
Mar. 29th, 2013 07:14 pm (UTC)
Dirty sounding words: Thespian. Maybe this was a high-school reaction, but when I was a part of the "International Thespian Society" I always had to make sure I enunciated properly. People giggled anyway.

Towns: Of course, there's the PA standards of Intercourse and Bird-In-Hand. According to this website (http://www.coolquiz.com/trivia/usa/towns.asp) there's also an Intercourse in Alabama. That site also lists a town named Bath Addition (which sounds more like a home improvement project, rather than a place with a zip code). But it also lists Pottstown and King of Prussia as odd place names... but maybe I don't think those are weird.

And there's also a Nowhere in Oklahoma. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nowhere,_Oklahoma) I guess you literally take the road to Nowhere to get there. But doesn't Nowhere have to be somewhere? I wonder how that place naming went.

Edited at 2013-03-29 07:16 pm (UTC)
alycewilson
Mar. 30th, 2013 02:07 am (UTC)
Thanks for all the ideas! I think I'll probably do the "Funny Town Names" list next, because I've been getting so many great suggestions.
malruniel11
Mar. 29th, 2013 08:02 pm (UTC)
My favorite word that sounds dirty but isn't is "masticate."
alycewilson
Mar. 30th, 2013 02:07 am (UTC)
That's definitely going on the list!
tatdatcm
Mar. 29th, 2013 08:17 pm (UTC)
There's a No Name, Colorado. Cracks me up every time I drive by the sign.
alycewilson
Mar. 30th, 2013 02:06 am (UTC)
Guess they couldn't decide.
leilia
Mar. 29th, 2013 11:05 pm (UTC)
I used to have a list of these when I worked repossessions because I'd run into them on my repo orders.

Here's a list of those I remember:

Truth or Consequences, NM
Climax, MI
Boring, OR
Sweet Lips, TN
Cranky Corner, LA

Banned Books:
Twilight - for religious themes and violence
The Dictionary (for having definitions of things like Sex, fellatio, etc.)
James and the Giant Peach - for Obscenity
Diary of Anne Frank - for religion and violence
A Light in the Attic - for promoting violence
Harry Potter books - for witchcraft and violence


My favorite word that sounds dirty but isn't - Defenestrate/defenestration - aka to throw someone out of a window.

alycewilson
Mar. 30th, 2013 02:06 am (UTC)
Thanks for all the terrific suggestions. What sort of obscenity is in "James and the Giant Peach"?
leilia
Mar. 30th, 2013 02:15 am (UTC)
Not really sure. Just that is what is cited when it was challenged/banned in a few schools a while back.

I also know that several Judy Blume books are challenged/banned. Along with the book, Once Upon a Potty.
alycewilson
Mar. 30th, 2013 02:29 am (UTC)
It's sad about the Judy Blume books, because I got so much out of them when I was a preteen. My mom, being a good parent, looked through my books and talked to me about anything she thought needed to be discussed. That's what good parents do. "Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret" was the reason Mom and I had our first talk about the "birds and the bees."

We have "Once Upon a Potty." KFP loves it. It's a great informative book that can get little ones excited about potty training. I imagine some squeamish people didn't like the fact that it actually talks about the process!
miranda_lane
Mar. 30th, 2013 03:13 am (UTC)
Gee, I don't remember my mom looking through my books to "approve" them before I read them. In fact, I recall the very first novel I read that had sex scenes in it (and the main character was sleeping around, too) was a book I picked up in Williamsburg. It had a time-travel / historical romance theme, but looked very self-published as the print was obviously from a dot-matrix printer. Sorry, I don't recall the name of the book. Nor do I remember the exact time we were on that family vacation, but it had to be in the mid 1980s. I made sure to pick up the sequel the next time I was in their gift show - which wasn't until 1997!

But when I read it, I remember feeling embarrassed reading it at the swim club that summer, which was really silly, since nobody was looking over my shoulder to see what I was reading.

I still don't think that was enough to ban the book. Now, I may appreciate the research and detail he went into describing all the food on the table, but when I was a kid, I would skip ahead of those parts, much like the "Choose your own Adventure" books which were my usual swim-club reading fare.
alycewilson
Mar. 30th, 2013 03:33 am (UTC)
To clarify, Mom wasn't looking through my books to "approve" them. She never once made me take a book back to the library. I'm pretty sure she was aware of the fact that I was reading a romance novel I tried to hide from her, because shortly after that, she brought me a copy of "Our Bodies, Ourselves" and told me she wanted me to read it so we could talk about it.

I hope one day to be as cool of a mom.

I can identify with feeling guilty about reading things in public that may be risque. Still feel that way, even if it's something on my Kindle!
miranda_lane
Mar. 30th, 2013 10:58 pm (UTC)
The timing of your getting "Our Bodies, Ourselves" is kind of funny. Or at least it made me smile.

Oh, and I remembered the name of that book: "Nicholson Street" I even found it used on Amazon. Looking at the picture of the cover now, I wonder why on earth I picked it up. But it was the 1980s...

http://www.amazon.com/Nicholson-Street-M-G-McManus/dp/B000JI20XI/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1364684203&sr=8-1&keywords=nicholson+street

And now when I read romance (or erotica) on my Kindle in public... I don't feel so much guilty as sort of devilish - like I'm getting away with something delicious. It almost makes me giddy sometimes.
alycewilson
Mar. 30th, 2013 11:09 pm (UTC)
You're right; that looks dreadful.

I don't remember the name of the one I mentioned, but I do remember it was bad enough that I decided that "read one, read them all" and never really sought out another romance novel. Now erotica, on the other hand, that's an entirely different story; but I didn't get into that until MUCH later.
teaberryblue
Mar. 30th, 2013 06:12 pm (UTC)
In New York City, you can visit the building that was the Ghostbusters' headquarters.

You can also do a tour of all the locations from the Marvel movies.

I'd also suggest looking at the list of locations from Neil Gaiman's book "American Gods" to see which of those are open to the public.
alycewilson
Mar. 30th, 2013 11:12 pm (UTC)
Great ideas. The Ghostbusters thing sounds cool. I'll check into the other two suggestions, too. I wrote an article for Yahoo! a little while ago about how to plan the perfect Valentine's Day date for someone based on their favorite TV show, and there were some good links I came across when I was looking for ideas for fans of "Big Bang Theory."
( 22 comments — Leave a comment )

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