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Roadside News: Jan. 30, 2009

Peanut Capital of the World: These have been rough weeks for Blakely, Georgia, whose peanut processing plant has become America’s latest salmonella hot spot.  Blakely’s claim to be “Peanut Capital of the World” was always undermined by its insufficiently large civic peanut, and we wonder if the town’s lack of follow-through was somehow reflected in the plant’s reported lack of hygiene.  Georgia communities with truly gargantuan goobers, such as Plains and Ashburn, have been untouched by the current scandal.  Big peanut pride = pure peanut safety — something to think about….

Little Rock’s Little Rock: A feature article in the Wall Street Journal reports that Little Rock, Arkansas, is spending $650,000 to dig up what remains of its actual “little rock” (a mass of sandstone) and “restore it to a place of dignity.”  Tufa Rock.The story credits civic boosterism as the motive behind this expense and effort, but there may be envy as well — for Tufa Rock, which already has a place of dignity in the more popular Arkansas city of Hot Springs.  Whatever the reason, it’s always good to see a community lavish attention on its rock.

Hog Killing Day: The Tobacco Farm Life Museum in Kenly, North Carolina, will have its annual Hog Killing Day and dinner on Saturday, January 31.  “Demonstrations on salting meat and sausage, and other parts of hog killing, will be held beginning at 8 a.m.,” according to the Wilson Times, and “participants can enjoy a lunch of traditional hog killing day dishes.”  The town of Kenly is also a year-round travel destination, as it’s the home of the Goon With a Top Hat.

Secret Ball Facility: After years of drama and ballyhoo, the Museum of Neon Art in Los Angeles has finally been given a Union Oil 76 gas station ball.  Future generations will be able to ponder the strange allure of this rusty-orange orb — but you probably won’t, because the museum is storing the ball out in the desert.  “We have to keep the location undisclosed to protect [it from] theft,” says the museum’s director.  However, “expeditions to the secret facility are a distant possibility.”

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