Issue # 59
September 28, 2001
Updated March 16, 2002
358 People, Places, and Things We Love In The United States of America
By Rich Wilhelm, Donna Wilhelm, Henry Singer, Ed Masley, Pat Kelly, Emilie Whealen, Dave Raffel, Jon Raffel, Trish Valenteen, Norma Jane Hair, Lola Pugliese, Susan Wilhelm, Pat Raffel, Tony Fusco, Kevin Bergen, Lisa Wilhelm, Bonnie Stenson, Ann Wilhelm, Susan Cofer, Ellie Barkley, Mark Zustovich, Mike Fisher, Kathy Gallagher, Joan Kimball, Emily Birmingham, Josephine French, Teri Birmingham, John McCabe, Matt Winkler, Claudene McCartney, Mary Jo Davis, Shana Curl, Dave Joseph, and Chuck Shivery

I don't know about you, but the days and weeks that have followed the monstrous terrorist attacks in this country on September 11 have led me to do a fair amount of soul searching.

Something that I have discovered, or I should say, rediscovered during this sad and evil period is just how much I love the United States of America. Displaying patriotism has never felt as natural to me as I would have liked. I've always chalked this up to the fact that I'm just not much of a Lee "God Bless the USA" Greenwood fan. However, I've always had a genuine love for the country in which I've grown up, and in which I've spent all but five days of my life so far.

Witnessing (via television) the brutal attacks on this country on September 11 made me realize just how much I've taken the USA for granted. This is my home, and my family's home, and despite whatever faults this country has, I do love it very much. And I want to express that love.

And so, this list was born. I decided that one very small thing I could do was to begin to list the people, places and things that I love in this country. You'll notice as you scan this list (which is in no particular order) that it veers wildly from the silly to the serious, from the reverent to the wacky. I mean no disrespect by this. In fact, I feel quite the opposite: I believe that it is a tribute to this country that each person who lives here, or visits here, is able to look at the USA through their own eyes to see and appreciate everything about the country in their own individual way. Sometimes the diversity of this country might appear to be a weakness, but to me, it is a great strength. And when I say "diversity," I don't mean any kind of mandated and/or politically correct form of diversity. I mean the diversity that anyone of us with open eyes and open hearts can see simply by looking around us. It's a beautiful thing.

Also, I believe that it is the very range of people, places and things on this list that makes evil men like Osama bin Laden hate this country and the freedom it represents. The United States has proven that, though it is sometimes a painful process, giving people the freedom to engage in "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" works. Like I said, the USA isn't perfect and never will be but this country is an amazing "work in progress," and, anyway, do you think the Taliban would allow an International Bowling Hall of Fame and Museum to be built anywhere near them?

Donna and I began this list while driving home from work one day, but what I would really love would be this: if you think this list is a cool idea, please contribute to it! Send me a list of people, places and things that you love about the USA (or even just one person, place or thing) and I'll add your list to this one. I'll indicate your contribution by adding your name to the byline and parenthetically adding your initials after each of your entries. Also, if you have any comments about the people, places, and things already on the list, please send them along and I'll incorporate them into the list. Send your lists to Rfwilhelm@cs.com.

Don't be afraid to be sentimental or irreverent (or reverent, for that matter) or personal or idiosyncratic or silly in your list. Remember: heinous creeps like bin Laden want us to live in fear. For our sake, our children's sake and even for the world's sake, we can't let him have what he wants.

One final thought: a few years back, one woman published a book that was essentially a list of 14,000 things that make her happy. If she can do that, imagine what we can do with this list.

Anyway, enough of my yakking...

1. Louis Armstrong. Although not born on the 4th of July, as was once popularly believed, Armstrong is a true American original. While listening to Disney Songs The Satchmo Way the other night, Jimmy asked me if Cookie Monster was singing. I told him no, but that this is where Cookie Monster (and nearly every popular vocalist of the 20th century) learned to sing. (RW)

2. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain. Published in 1884, this book is a classic of American literature. (RW)

3. The Autobiography of Malcolm X by Malcolm X, as told to Alex Haley. Published in 1965, this is also a classic of American literature. (RW)

4. Waffle Houses. You know you're not entering a health food restaurant when you venture into a place where certain foods are "smothered and covered" with certain other foods. You know this, but you don't care.(RW)

5. Acadia National Park, Mount Desert Island, Maine.Quite simply, the most beautiful place I've discovered on this earth. Not that I actually discovered it, mind you.(RW)

6. Kevin Eldridge. Kevin is a friend of ours. But he is also a musician, a writer, an artist, a publisher, and he has juggled Spam on national television. If that doesn't make him some kind of national icon, I don't know what does. (RW)

7. Abraham Lincoln. I suppose the inclusion of our 16th president on this list is obvious, but if not, then it's all about this: the man saved our country.(RW)

8. Bowling. Oh, how I love bowling. The only organized sports team I ever belonged to was a bowling team. There is much more for me to say about bowling somewhere down the line. (RW)

9. The International Bowling Hall of Fame and Museum, St. Louis, Missouri. I had the opportunity to visit here in June 1997. This is where I learned that ancient Egyptians invented bowling, and that Martin Luther had a bowling alley (or at least a lane) in his basement. (RW)

10. Holt Cemetery, New Orleans, Louisiana. A cemetery set aside for the poor people of New Orleans. Families of those buried must maintain the gravesites, and most of the headstones are created by family members. The morning I was there I watched as a local family took care of their great-great grandfther's grave. The family told me he had served in the Spanish American War. My visit to Holt Cemetery probably deserves its own DOTD story someday soon.(RW)

11. Mt. Savage, Maryland. My father's hometown. (RW)

12. Altoona, Pennsylvania. My mother's hometown. (RW)

13. The original "Star Spangled Banner." The flag that flew over Fort McHenry when Francis Scott Key was inspired to write the words to what is now our National Anthem is on display in the Smithsonian's Museum of American History in Washington, D.C. The flag is currently undergoing restoration, but it is still on display in the laboratory where the work is being done. (RW)

14. George Washington. Again, a no-brainer. I mean, we're talking George Washington here.(RW)

15. Elvis Presley. Um, yes, Elvis needs to be on this list, thankyouverymuch. (RW)

16. Elvis Presley impersonators. My favorite moment spent with an Elvis impersonator: standing next to a white-jumpsuit-clad "Elvis" on Hollywood Boulevard as we watched actor Nicolas Cage receive his "star" on Hollywood's Walk of Fame. (RW)

17. The Straight Story. This is probably my alltime favorite movie. The true life story that inspired it--an old man, plagued by illness, drives his John Deere tractor hundreds of miles to visit his estranged, dying brother--is a classic American story, and director David Lynch did it justice. (RW)

18. The Colonial Theater, Phoenixville, Pennsylvania. As seen in the '50s monster movie classic, The Blob, this is where Donna and I saw The Straight Story, and where I saw a midnight showing of the original Planet of the Apes with my friends Matt and Pat. Oh, how the audience roared when Charlton Heston spit out the famous "damn dirty ape" line. (RW)

19. Mil-Lee's Luv-In Diner, Rising Sun Avenue, Philadelphia. How can anyone resist a diner that promises "the sexiest food in town?" I know I can't. (RW)

20. Thomas Jefferson. No brainer, part 3. He might lose points with some people for certain alleged indiscretions, but the man basically wrote the Declaration of Independence, so I'm more than willing to give him a place here.(RW)

21. Skyline Drive, Virginia. I haven't been there in years, but another beautiful place I've been able to visit. (RW)

22. St. Ann's Parish, Phoenixville. Donna and I immediately felt comfortable in our new parish when we moved to Phoenixville, and we've made some great friends through the church. (RW)

23. My grandfathers, George French and Joseph Wilhelm. Both of whom did their parts in the South Pacific in the early 1940's to save the world. I only wish that, as an adult, I'd gotten a chance to thank them. (RW)

24. My grandmothers, Josephine French and Frances Wilhelm. Both of whom began raising the children who would become my parents while their husbands were in the South Pacific, helping to save the world.(RW)

25. The Liberty Bell. An enduring symbol of independence around the world. And to think it's only about 30 miles away from me as I type.(RW)

26. Young's Lobster Pound, Belfast, Maine. A no-frills lobster pound. You can eat 'em there, or have them ship 'em to your house. For best results, eat 'em there, on your way up to Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park. (RW)

27. Apollo Theater, 125th Street, Harlem, New York City. It would be a sacred temple of American music if it's only claim to fame was the classic James Brown Live at the Apollo LP, but so much more has happened there. I have never been inside it, but I did ride past it once, with my friend Mark.(RW)

28. Ryman Auditorium, Nashville, Tennessee. What the Apollo is to NYC, the Ryman is to Nashville. The home of the Grand Ole Opry radio show for decades. You should visit it right away and stand on the stage where Patsy Cline and Hank Williams once stood. (RW)

29. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. This is a landmark of animation. Wonderfully dark in spots (that queen doesn't beat around the bush--"Kill her..." is what she tells the huntsman to do to Snow White), but the scene where Snow White dances while the dwarfs play instruments and sing is pure joy. (RW)

30. Johnny Cash. The Man in Black will be forever cool, in all the best ways a man can be cool. (RW)

31. Ray Charles' version of "America The Beautiful." Ray is, of course, a national treasure, and I think his recording of "America The Beautiful" will be treasured by many generations to come. (RW)

32. Andrew Wyeth. American artist, and the most famous resident of Chester County, Pennsylvania, where we live. (RW)

33. Amos, the Giant Amish Guy. Amos is a 12-foot-tall Amish guy who stands outside of Zinn's Diner in Denver, Pennsylvania and says things like, "Try a piece of our shoo-fly pie with lots of whipped cream. I think you're really gonna like it. Ha Ha Ha," when you push a button. (RW)

34. Being in Atlantic City on September 22, 2001. This was the day of the Miss America pageant, and, of course, not long after 9/11, but being on a crowded boardwalk blanketed by life's rich pageant as well as hundreds of volunteers collecting for the Red Cross was an experience in the USA's diversity and generosity that I won't forget any time soon.(RW)

35. Arlington National Cemetery. This cemetery is the USA's hallowed ground. (RW)

36. My great aunt, Sister Mary Ita Lashley and all the other School Sisters of Notre Dame who have participated in Dr. David Snowden's "Nun Study." This study has contributed enormous amounts of information to the research into the causes of Alzheimer's disease. If you're interested, Dr. Snowden's book Aging With Grace tells the whole story.(RW)

37. The Kids of Widney High. Another amazing group of people, these are the kids who have passed through Michael Monagan's songwriting class at Widney High School, a school for the developmentally disabled in Los Angeles. I was fortunate to be able to write a story about the Kids for a recent issue of Cool and Strange Music. Speaking of which...(RW)

38. Cool and Strange Music magazine. Not merely because it's both cool and strange, or because I write for it. Mostly because the creation of the magazine was publisher Dana Countryman's dream and he has worked hard to make it a reality. You can do that in the USA. (RW)

39. The Walt Whitman Bridge, Philadelphia. It is a beautiful bridge and the man for whom it is named would totally understand this list. (RW)

40. "Dock of the Bay"-Otis Redding. My all-time favorite song, and the very first song I ever sang to Jimmy, when he was about 30 minutes old. (RW)

41. The Trump Taj Mahal, Atlantic City, New Jersey. Simply file this under "must be seen to be believed." And to think I've seen Wayne Newton, the Allman Brothers Band and Barenaked Ladies there, all in the same auditorium. (RW)

42. Sounds of Market, Center City Philadelphia. Three or four locations to serve you. Ever been to a generic Mall-land music store? The Sounds of Market stores were just the opposite, at least back in the day. I once saw a Sounds of Market clerk play a wicked air guitar solo to a Prince B-side that was blaring over the loudspeakers. One day, a particularly excitable clerk kept urging us, in an accent whose country I could not locate, "Don't go to the malls! Don't go to the malls." That was Sounds Of Market.(RW)

43. Sparkle City Laudromat. It's a notary public office now, but I spent many hours writing and laundering, along with a United Nations of fellow launderers, at this laundromat in our old Northeast Philadelphia neighborhood. (RW)

44. ValeRio Diner, Phoenixville. Hey, you've got to put your hometown diner on a list like this.(RW)

45. The Rendezvous, Memphis Tennessee. "At least we can get ourselves as decent meal down at the Rendezvous," sings John Hiatt in "Memphis In The Meantime." Indeed, we all can. (RW)

46. Booth's Corner, Bethel, Pennsylvania. "Not one...not two...not three...not four...but five for a dollar." The "auction" may be gone, but the memories are priceless. (RW)

47. Hank Aaron. Although I've never been a huge sports fan, Hank Aaron was a hero to me when I was a kid. I was thrilled beyond belief when my Aunt Teri took me to Hank Aaron Night at a Phillies' game the year he after broke Babe Ruth's record.(RW)

48. Close Up trip to Washington, D.C., January 1983. This weeklong program was truly an education in American government and civics for me. Plus, I kissed a girl for the first time during that week. (RW)

49. Manus Hand's "Dead Presidents" website. A website devoted to one man's travels to the gravesites of dead presidents. A man who, amazingly enough, is not me.(RW)

50. Seeing Conway Twitty live at King's Dominion, Virginia, summer, 1983. Four days after seeing an incredible David Bowie concert in Philadelphia, I saw Conway with my family and the "Virginia Wilhelms." My Aunt Ruth and sister Lisa were beside themselves with happiness, and Ruth actually obtained the cup from which Mr. Twitty drank (I hear the cup is now in a safe deposit box somewhere deep in Virginia). The rest of us were, at the very least, amused. I had a novelty pin maker at the park make me a "2 Legends in 4 Days--Bowie and Conway 7/21-24/83" pin.(RW)

51. The Franklin Mint.It's not that I patronize the Franklin Mint. I just think the concept is hysterically funny.(DW)

52. Flea markets. (DW)

53. Dollar stores. (DW)

54. A walk on the carriage roads of Acadia National Park, followed by tea and popovers at Jordan Pond. (DW)

55. Graceland. (DW)

56. Sun Records, Memphis Tennessee. (DW)

57. The Elvis "Platinum" Tour. (DW)

58. The Air and Space Museum, Washington, D.C. (DW)

59. The Christmas light show at the old Wanamakers department store (now Lord & Taylor), Philadelphia, PA. (DW)

60. Breakfast at the Burlington Diner at 5:45 a.m. (preferably on a cold Saturday, followed by a morning of bad golf with my buddies). (HS)

61. Batsto State Park, Batsto, New Jersey. (HS)

62. Studio 54 at the MGM Grand, Las Vegas, Nevada.(HS)

63. The Bay Trail, San Francisco, California. (HS)

64. Jerry Garcia.(HS)

65. Yard sales.(HS)

66. Bright Angel Trail, Grand Canyon, Arizona.(HS)

67. Lime Rock Park's Vintage Weekend. 3,000 classic sports cars from the '30s-'70s. (HS)

68. Howard Stern.(HS)

69. theonion.com(HS)

70. Mitchell, South Dakota, where a statue of Happy Chef greets you and offers you sustinence on your way to a magical mystery tour of the World's Only Corn Palace. Outside the building, corn husks are arranged to paint a different story every year. For the Millennium, they had an Elvis Presley made of corn beside a husky Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. I told the woman at the souvenier shop I had been there five times, so she asked me where I lived and when I told her Pittsburgh, well, she looked a bit alarmed. I don't know why. I wrote a breakup song about it, too. It's called "(I Wanna Take You To The)Corn Palace:" "I saw the sun rise over Happy Chef today/And I wondered if your new love ever made you feel this way/And I hope this picture finds you wishin' you could run away ('cause I would meet you today)...I wanna take you to the Corn Palace/Forget about the troubles, baby, we been through/See me standin' in the shadow of the mighty Corn Palace/The only thing missin' is you." (EM)

71. Neumann College. My alma mater. (PK)

72. Flying the red, white and blue on the front of my house. (PK)

73. Seeing the red, white and blue flying so gloriously in Norwood Park, Norwood, Pennsylvania. (PK)

74. The World News with Peter Jennings. (muting all the pharmaceutical commercials though.) (PK)

75. Roy Tweedy's Meat Market, Holmes, Pennsylvania. (PK)

76. Libraries. Especially since they connected and I can go to anyone I like. (PK)

77. Harry Savoy Grill, Claymont, Delaware. Super restaurant. (PK)

78. Liberty One and Two in Philly. (PK)

79. Veteran's Stadium for a Phillies game. (PK)

80. National Public Radio. (PK)

81. Traub's Bakery, Prospect Park, Pennsylvania. (PK)

82. St. Raphaela's Retreat House, Haverford, Pennsylvania. (PK)

83. Dave Coos (PK)

84. Glenolden Park, when I married Moe 26 years ago. (PK)

85. Erma Bombeck. (PK)

86. Homer Simpson. (EW)

87. Screwball comedies, such as My Man Godfrey. (EW)

88. Bruce Springsteen's Nebraska LP. (EW)

89. Hires Root Beer. My great great grandfather invented it. (EW)

90. St. Peter's Church of Great Valley. (EW)

91. Dog Walks. Late at night, in the cool of autumn, under a star-filled Kansas sky. (DR)

92. Fields of Amber Grain. Driving through Western Kansas and Eastern Colorado in early summer and watching the sun dance off the wide open fields of wheat. (DR)

93. White Sand of Destin, Florida. Squinting from the bright reflection off the pure sugar-white sand on the beach in Destin, Florida. (DR)

94. Happy Hour in Destin, Florida. Sitting on the beach by the water late in the afternoon with friends and family, watching the sun shimmer off the emerald green waters of the Gulf of Mexico. (DR)

95. Being a Jew in America. Having the freedom to be who I am, and practice my religion as I view it. Living without the fear of being who I am that my ancesters experienced in other lands, and in other ages. (DR)

96. Technology. The freedom to experience the unbelievable advances in technology (i.e. the Internet, the Telephone, Voicemail, etc.) (DR)

97. Grand Canyon. Standing on the edge of the rim of such an awe-inspiring natural hole in the ground that God created through natural processes. (DR)

98. Education. The magnificent public school system and university that gave me an opportunity to think and dream of the future. (DR)

99. Capitalism. The opportunities that are available and the dreams that can be achieved in a free-market system. (DR)

100. Car/Air Travel. The views and experiences I've had travelling across America. Seeing different places in our country and interracting with different people who speak differently, eat differently, and dress differently. (DR)

101. 40 Acres and a Mule Gym Facility, Kansas City, Missouri. (JR)

102. Joe's Crab Shack, Destin, Florida. (JR)

103. Bear, my dog. (JR)

104. The Underdog. (JR)

105. United States of America (Not just America) (JR)

106. The Grambling Band. (JR)

107. Marathon Runners who run 4:48 per mile and 78-year-old women who average 4:48 per block but finish anyway. (JR)

108. Instead of H-O-R-S-E, playing B-E-L-I-K-E-M-I-K-E. (JR)

109. The way a new basketball feels in your hands. (JR)

110. During Pee-Wee Hockey games, seeing 6 and 7 year olds arguing over who gets to be Jagr. (JR)

111. Seeing Mark McGwire pop-up to short...he he he. (JR)

112. My coach, Eric Johnson Sr. (JR)

113. Allen Iverson going to the Finals. Heart and hustle pays off! (JR)

114. The Original Chuck Taylor's (High top Converse). (JR)

115. Iwo Jima Memorial (JR)

116. Liberace Museum, Las Vegas, Nevada. A small tribute to a simple man. VEGAS STYLE!!!!!! (TV)

117. Venice Beach, Venice, California. Every stereotype of southern California, melded blissfully and gleefully together in 10 blocks. The sidewalk is home to the most colorful and innovative street people I've ever met. Among the palm readers and conspiracy theorists, there's a man who sculpts a huge breasted mermaid out of sand every day. Another makes an elaborate design out of the coins he receives, carefully adding yours if you want to wait. There's a bleach blond 80-year-old woman wearing a pink micro-bikini and roller skates. And there's a guy who sits on the beach and bellows into the passing crowd, "Hey! Wanna buy me lunch?" (TV)

118. Exotic World, Helendale, California. Miss Dixie Evans, formerly the Marilyn Monroe of Burlesque, is the curator of the Burlesque Museum and Hall of Fame in this remote desert town. She graciosly guides visitors through her museum, while she breathlessly (just like Marilyn would have!!) traces the history of exotic dancing from Vaudeville to today. (TV)

119. Choco-diles. OK, so you take what I thought was the best food ever, a Twinkie, then you cover it with chocolate!!! Heaven in a white wrapper. (TV)

120. The Strip, Las Vegas, Nevada. On one street, you get Egypt, Camelot, Paris, Italy, The Emerald City, Morocco, the South Pacific, and the Circus, all with complimentary cocktails and cheap buffets! (TV)

121. Jack in the Box. Serves tacos, teriyaki bowls, mozzarella sticks, and triple cheeseburgers. A drive-in U.N., with real ice cream milk shakes. (TV)

122. Acres of Books, Long Beach, California. It ain't pretty to look at, but the name is not an exaggeration. You need a flashlight and a compass to make your way through this amazing ancient warehouse, jammed from floor to ceiling with used books, with narrow aisles leading off to more narrow aisles. There is literally no subject in the world that doesn't have a section in this store. (TV)

123. Griffith Park, Los Angeles, California. Palm trees, the zoo, miles of green lawn, horse rides, steam engines to climb on, the observatory made famous by Rebel Without a Cause, and the "Hollywood" sign. What more could you need from a park? (TV)

124. John Steinbeck's Travels With Charley. Steinbeck seems almost startled by his love for this country, as he motors west, then back again, with his poodle riding shotgun. (TV)

125. Subteranean parking. (TV)

126. Cartoon Network. (TV)

127. Morningstar Tofu Corn Dogs. (TV)

128. Live mariachi music. (TV)

129. Thanksgiving. One of my favorite things I love about the USA is Thanksgiving. Of all the pseudo-religious, religious-but-over-commercial, and strictly greeting-card-profit-making holidays, Thanksgiving is one holiday of which should truly be proud. Thanksgiving is truly American. Because of Thanksgiving's simple concept (though not necessarily accurate history), it has always held a special place in my heart. Family, friends, food and fellowship. That's what life should be all about and what America strives to support. And I predict during Thanksgiving 2001, Americans will realize extra blessings for which to be thankful. (NJH)

130. Dr. Seuss. The greatest American author, in my humble opinion. (LP)

131. Thanksgiving. My favorite holiday! Thanks be to God! (LP)

132. The red, white, and blue Farm Aid tractor sticker that was on Grandma's storm door, Mt. Savage, Maryland. (SW)

133. Construction paper flags created by my fifth grade students. "Do we really have to put fifty stars on there, Miss Wilhelm?" (SW)

134. A fresh Krispy Kreme doughnut from the store. (SW)

135. Disney. Almost everything about Disney and Disney World but especially the song, "When You Wish Upon A Star" (which was used at my wedding) and the greatest ride ever - Dumbo. (PR)

136. The Lincoln Memorial, Washington DC. Everybody has their favorite monument in Washington DC, and this is mine. (PR)

137. The Pennsylvania Dutch area. Especially the horse and buggies and the delicious apple dumplings!! (PR)

138. Those uniquely Pennsylvanian foods. Boyer Mallo Cups (made in Altoona, my birthplace), Tastycakes, Hoagies, Philly pretzels bought from a street vendor, and cream-filled donuts (I know that it is hard to believe, but, we cannot get them where we live in Kansas). (PR)

139. The Steamboat Arabia Museum, Kansas City, Missouri. The steamboat was one of the many boats that sunk on the Mighty Mo. This is not only an amazing look into what ordinary life was like in the "frontier" days but it is also a tribute to the determination of a small group of local citizens to raise the boat, restore the "treasures" and build and operate the Museum. It is worth a visit to the Mid West. (PR)

140. The Plaza III restaurant, Kansas City Missouri. Located in the Plaza area of Kansas City, a beautiful shopping and dining area of the city. The BEST Filet Mignon that I have had anywhere...another wonderful reason to visit Kansas City!! (PR)

141. Arrowhead Stadium - Home of the Chiefs The best smelling stadium in the NFL (according to the crew of Monday Night Football). People really know how to tailgate out here! The stadium is beautiful and a great place to watch a football game. (PR)

142. Cows. These animals have the most beautiful eyes! Cows are so popular that cities are now having Cow Parades, Chicago and New York, and Kansas City this past summer. (PR)

143. Rocks and Stones. I have always loved "rocks"...to collect them or just admire them. It is neat, that in America we can have our own hobbies and interests (no matter how weird they may be). When I was little, I loved to look for Cape May Diamonds, and to have semi-precious stones made into jewelry. I still love stones, but now some of my favorites are aquamarines, tanzanite, and diamonds! (PR)

144. Harry Chapin. His concerts were GREAT! Also, he did a lot to try to alleviate world hunger. (PR)

145. Ethnic festivals. The most recent one I went to was a Scottish festival in Virginia, and it was so cool to see almost every race represented, wearing the tartan, everybody having an awesome fun day together--a wonderful celebration of diversity in the most positve, melting-pottish way. And, although haggis is vile and heinous and probably should be outlawed, it's great to know that I have the freedom to eat it if I want. (TF)

146. Drumsticks. The kind with ice cream in a sugar cone, dipped in chocolate, and covered with chopped peanuts...the best part being that last bite of the cone when you get the chunk of chocolate that served to keep the melted ice cream from dripping on your shirt. (KB)

147. Freedom to go (or not to go) to church. To choose WHICH church to attend even though it may preach vastly different doctrine from the one across the street, but you still smile at those parishoners and pause so they can pull into traffic on the way home from services. (KB)

148. Talk radio and its impassioned exchange of ideas. (KB)

149. Having the Jewish congregation at Temple Ner Tamid accept an offer to use your Christian church building for their services on high holy days because their synagogue wouldn't hold their numbers. (KB)

150. Freedom to congregate via the Internet to share our thanks for America at the invitation of a good man like Rich Wilhelm. (KB)

151. The Nauvoo Temple in Nauvoo, Illinois, both the original that was destroyed in the mid-1800's and the marvelous rebuilding of this incredible structure that can be seen via a webcam atop a bank across the street at http://deseretbook.com/nauvoo/ until its dedication in June 2002. (KB)

152. A Confederacy of Dunces, a remarkably hilarious novel published after the author's suicide through the tireless efforts of his mother, who believed in the genius of her son. (KB)

153. The Getty Museum, where you can park for $5 per car and gain entrance for free and bathe your senses with exquisite art on fantastic display (including Van Gogh's Irises. (KB)

154. The Salt Lake Temple, whose grandeur endures over a hundred years after dedicated pioneers painstakingly spent 40 years to build it out of hand-hewn granite, block by block. (KB)

155. Shostokovich's 5th Symphony, which was magically composed under the oppression of a controlling government whose practices were mocked in this very piece...and being thankful for my freedom to listen...and capacity to hear. (KB)

156. The lights and sounds of the casinos of Atlantic City, New Jersey. I LOVE the sound of slot machines!! I don't have to call 1-800-GAMBLER yet, but it could get to that point. (LW)

157. Firework and Laser Show displays. I've seen some awesome firework displays [Philadelphia, Stone Mountain, Georgia, and of course, Linwood, Pennsylvania!!]. "O's" are my favorites! (LW)

158. Marching bands. My favorites are the Chichester Middle School Marching Band, the Chichester High School Marching Band, and Henderson High School Marching Band of West Chester, Pennsylvania. The Band Front of the Chichester Middle School [and the girls at the high school who were on my middle school squad] are my absolute favorites!!! They're "my girls" and they are all SUPERSTARS!!!! (LW)

159. NASCAR. I actually visited the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in Talladega, Alabama this summer with my Mom and my Aunt Teri. NASCAR is a sport in which you can pick your favorite drivers by how cute they are and how cool their cars are painted. (LW)

160. "America" by Neil Diamond. A GREAT song! Makes an awesome firework display even better. (LW)

161. Miss America Weekend in Atlantic City, New Jersey. My mom and I have gone to Atlantic City for part or all of "Miss America Weekend" since 1994. We are usually accompanied by Grandma, my best friend Shana, and my Aunt Patty has come in from Kansas for the last three years. We each pick our Top Ten contestants and of course none of mine ever win because I pick for their platforms and not their looks. We always have so much fun. (LW)

162. "Older" country music. Patsy Cline, Conway Twitty, and Loretta Lynn. Three of my favorite songs are "Crazy," "Red Neckin' Love Makin' Night," and "You Ain't Woman Enough." (LW)

163. The Cranberries...Oh wait...they're Irish!!!! But if you know me, you know my list wouldn't be complete without the Cranberries!! I have seen them twice in Camden, New Jersey at the Tweeter Center [formerly the E-Center] (LW)

164. The First Two American Born Catholic Saints: Saint John Neumann and Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton. I have connections to both of these saints. First, I graduated from Neumann College twice. John Neumann used to travel on his horse from Philadelphia to say Mass at Our Lady of Angels convent, which is the Motherhouse for the Franciscan Sisters. If you don't know, Neumann College originally was named Our Lady of Angels College and is located right next to the convent. My confirmation name is Elizabeth Ann for Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton. Don't confuse it with Saint Elizabeth of Hungary or any of those other Saint Elizabeths. I've actually been to the Seton Shrine in Emmitsburg, Maryland twice. The last time we went there, the sister at the Welcome Desk thought my friend Shana and I were members of a strange cult because we both had on ADIDAS pants. It was great! (LW)

165. Indoor guard. It's marching band in a gym without the instruments. It's athletic and artistic. The Chichester Middle School Indoor Guard has to rank as my # 1 group. My two other favorite groups are the Chichester High School Guard and High Voltage of Haddon Heights High School in Haddon Heights, NJ. (LW)

166. Menuditis, New York City. A store in New York City that sells nothing but Menudo souveniers. I don't know if it's still there, but I bought a pen there once.(RW)

167. Disco Donut, New York City. A donut shop whose name I loved. If I remember correctly, it ws just down the street from Menuditis.(RW)

168. The Florida Welcome Center on I-75. Especially in the winter. (BS)

169. Any large cross country meet, if the weather is halfway decent (BS)

170. Freedom of Worship. We are able to worship at any church, chapel, synagogue, temple or mosque that we wish or even to worship on the top of a mountain or beside the ocean. We are also free to worship the god of our choice or no god at all. (AW)

171. Singing patriotic songs in church. Though separation of state and church is part of our country, through the years on the Sunday closest to the patriotic holidays of summer (Memorial Day, July 4th and Labor Day) we seem to always sing a patriotic song for recessional. Somehow the sound of "America the Beautiful" or "God Bless America" always sounds special at the end of a church service. (AW)

172. Living in the Northeast. The trees and flowers coming to life each spring, the hot and humid days of summer, the turning of the leaves every fall and the first snowfall or winter are all reminders of the ever-changing climate. The close proximity to New York, Philadelphia and Washington, DC bring history and culture to your life. The New Jersey and Delaware shore and the Pocono and Allegheny Mountains bring the beauty of nature to you in a short car ride. (AW)

173. Visiting the South. The beauty of the emerald waters and the white sand in Destin. The battlefields of Virginia where so many died to make men free. Atlanta, where you can see the Jimmy Carter Library and Martin Luther King's church along with the headquarters of CNN and Coca-Cola. The laser show at Stone Mountain can bring a tear to the eye of someone northern born and northern bred. The Alamo, which is so much smaller than you ever would imagine. The River Walk in San Antonio. The ice skating rink that is actually in the middle of the Galeria in Houston. The Cracker Barrels and Waffle Houses all over the south where southern hospitality is served along with the grits. (AW)

174. Country Music. The lyrics say it all. (AW)

175. Harpers Ferry, West Virginia. The beauty of the mountains dropping to the Shenandoah and Potomac Rivers is breathtaking. The blue sky is truly spacious. The history of the beginnings of the Civil War is so intriguing. (AW)

176. United States National Park Service. All that you need for a vacation. A historic building or battlefield, a movie and it's free. (AW)

177. Gift Shops. A wonderful world of books, maps, wooden objects and cheap plastic souvenirs where a child can find an object to treasure for years to come from their vacation. (AW)

178. Free Enterprise. It could be a child with a lemonade stand, or the concession stand at the local football game, or the person selling flag shirts on the boardwalk but we are free to take the initiative and earn money either for ourselves or for a worthy cause. (AW)

179. Tennessee. Though this state is in the south there is so much there that I love about America. Nashville, with the Country Music Hall of Fame, The Ryman Auditorium and Tootsie's Purple Orchid Bar and Grill. Sadly, Opryland is gone but the memory of a Thanksgiving several years ago sipping hot soup while listening to the sounds of mandolins and dulcimers playing Bluegrass will always be in my heart. And who could ever forget the world's largest Nativity aglow with millions of twinkling lights. In eastern Tennessee there are the Smokey Mountains, Pigeon Forge and Dollywood. In Chattanooga the famed Choo-Choo and Lookout Mountain. (AW)

180. NASCAR. A truly American sport that has grown from a bunch of "good ole boys' getting together on a Saturday night to a multimillion dollar industry. Somehow the drivers still seem to have that boyish charm and never seem to act like overpaid athletes. (AW)

181. Overpaid Athletes. In America a boy, and hopefully soon a girl, can become a millionaire because of their athletic ability. The wonderful part is that a high percentage of them give back to their communities and help others by starting scholarships and foundations. (AW)

182. Comic Strips. A day is not complete without checking up on Cathy, Funky Winkerbeam, Crankshaft, Jumpstart and One Big Happy. For Better or Worse is also a favorite but it is from Canada, which is in North America. (AW)

183. Temple Basketball. Owl basketball is exciting and there is no grouchier old man in America than the one and only, John Chaney. (AW)

184. Malls. The town square of today. No matter where you are you will find the same small stores, with the same anchor stores and the same food courts. People-watching is a great pastime filled with mall walkers, mall rats and busy shoppers. This is truly America. (AW)

185. Soap Operas. If you ever feel like the world is against you, you can rest assured that the life on soap operas is much worse. When was the last time you were kidnapped, had your identity stolen, had amnesia, found your long, lost evil twin and divorced you fourth husband to marry his son by his third wife? (AW)

186. American automobiles. Don't even get me started on this one!!!!! (AW)

187. Commercials. Not all of them but the ones from McDonalds, Kodak and Hallmark that bring tears to your eyes. Also the Campbell Soup ones with the football players and their Mothers and most of the ones the NASCAR drivers make. (AW)

188. Weekend in Wildwood. The first week end in May, seeing over 2,000 high school and middle school students performing their indoor guard routines that they have been perfecting since January. Some routines are beautiful, some funny and some truly bizarre but all of the kids work so hard for this big finale hoping to win one of the medals. (AW)

189. Miss America Pageant. When else will there be people from every state in one city? Atlantic City is alive with family, supporters and "little Miss Everything" for the big event. And the amount of scholarship money is unbelievable.

190. High school football on a cool fall Friday evening!!! I grew up in a small town in Oklahoma and the truth is there was nothing else to do but to go to high school games. That was everyone's social gathering, young and old alike. I had forgotten what fun it was! Then my daughter became a high school cheerleader and we started going again. She graduates this year but we have so much fun at the games, I think we will still go even after she graduates. There is no better feeling than going out on a cool crisp fall evening, sitting in the stands and listening to a bunch of high school kids play the "Star Spangled Banner!" After the attacks, the first time they played it, there was not a dry eye in the stadium! Even though a few trumpets were a little off key, that made it even better!(SC)

191. Linus and the Great Pumpkin. Halloween isn't complete without them. (Ellie B)

192. Weddings. My friends and I recently saw a wedding party flow out of a church in Philadelphia, all smiles and happy confusion. Of course, we all stopped to applaud, whistle, and shout our good wishes for their future. At that moment, religion doesn't matter, race doesn't matter, physical appearance doesn't matter. All that matters is the happiness. Are you allowed to celebrate that in public everywhere in the world, I wonder? (Ellie B)

193. A drive to the beach on one of the last warm days of fall by yourself, and walking across the sand until you're too tired to walk, and sitting right down where you are to listen to the ocean. No passports required. :) (Ellie B)

194. Sitting in the Bleacher Seats at Shea Stadium. My earliest memories as a child revolve around Mets games with my dad. (MZ)

195. The New York City Skyline. In many ways, seeing the skyline NOW is a more moving experience for me. (MZ)

196. Walking on the Beaches of Long Island During Late Autumn. No sun, no crowds, and plenty of empty sand to squish your feet into. Not a bad place to reflect, either. (MZ)

197. Bruce Springsteen. My hero....well, under the new and improved definition of a hero, maybe not a hero to some. But he always will be someone I admire a great deal. (MZ)

198. Sundays watching the New York Giants with a cold beer and absolutely nothing else to do. (MZ)

199. Superman. The old TV series, the movies, the new television shows and, of course, the classic comics I read as a kid. (MZ)

200. Fourth of July Fireworks. I still watch them in awe. Seeing the Macy's NYC show two years ago was unforgettable. (MZ)

201. Playing with my nieces, nephews, and godchildren. Amazing how they can make you forget about the world, huh? (MZ)

202. Driving with No Particular Place to Go. Just wandering aimlessly is good therapy. (MZ)

203. Camping Under the Stars at High Point, New Jersey. We were MEANT to sleep outside. :-) (MZ)

204. My Friends. Craig, Colin, Mike, Eric, Rich, Kevin, Jace, Chris, Duane, Marla, Kelly, and everyone else who makes life liveable. (MZ)

205. My Wife. My reason for living over the last twelve years. (MZ)

206 Life's Little Moments. Like the time I went along with four of my sister's friends on a trip to nowhere. We went to Woodstock and camped out at a reservoir in Upstate New York (totally illegal). No plans, no reservations, no clue. (MZ)

207. Bob Dylan. The original rock and roll poet. (MF)

208. Neil Diamond. Self-explanatory. (MF)

209. Kevin Smith. Director of Clerks (MF)

210. Quentin Tarantino. Director of Pulp Fiction, one of the best movies ever made. (MF)

211. The Marx Brothers. Groucho, Harpo, Chico and sometimes Zeppo, possibly the funniest comedy team of all time. (MF)

212. Blind Dumb Luck Even better than Sha-Na-Na. (MF)

213. John Cusack, at least before he started doing all those chick flicks like America's Sweethearts and Serendipity. From High Fidelity on back is all the good stuff. (MF)

214. Best Buy. Seriously. (MF)

215. Mars Music, Sam Ash, other musicians' stores. For musicians, there is more fun in these places than you can find in any amusement park and it's free! (MF)

216. Wildwood, New Jersey (MF)

217. K-Mart. Not just any K-Mart, but the K-Mart in the Millside Shopping Center in Delran, New Jersey, where tons of celebrity lookalikes hang out. You'll see Marlon Brando, Ron Howard, and maybe even the rappin' granny from The Wedding Singer (not a particularly good film, but it's not everyday you see a rappin' granny--unless you live here, that is). (MF)

218. Fender Electric Guitars. (MF)

219. Bob Dylan's Highway 61 Revisited.My favorite album of all time. (MF)

220. Bruce Springsteen's "Born To Run." My favorite song. (MF)

221. "You talkin' to me?" Robert DeNiro's ever-so-famous quote from Martin Scorsese's Taxi Driver. (MF)

222. This Is Spinal Tap. "These go to eleven." It doesn't get any funnier than this movie. (MF)

223. High Fidelity. Starring John Cusack, Iben Hjejle, Jack Black, Todd Louiso, Natasha Gregson-Wagner, Lisa Bonet, Sara Gilbert, Joan Cusack, Catherine Zeta-Jones, and the man himself, Bruce Springsteen (MF)

224. Fudgesicles. (KG)

225. Linvilla Orchards. We love the place year round, but especially at Halloween. (JK)

226. Christmas time in San Francisco. (JK)

227. A great big hearty "belly laugh" from a child. There is absolutely no better sound in the world--it can brighten any mood. (JK)

228. John Chaney, Temple Owls basketball coach. Anybody who popularizes the phrase "Winning is an attitude" deserves to be on this list. (DW)

229. Sesame Street.Entertained and educated me, even before I got to kindergarten. Now, it's doing the same for my son. (RW)

230. Go Lo's Chinese Restaurant, 604 H Street, Washington, D.C. A Chinese restaurant, located in the house where John Wilkes Booth planned the Lincoln assassination. How cool is that? It's supposed to be haunted by Mary Surratt, its former owner and the first woman executed by the U.S. Federal Government. I don't know about that, but I do know I enjoy the chicken in garlic sauce. (RW)

231. The sound of amplified acoustic guitars. As exemplified by Tom Petty's "Runnin' Down a Dream," the Monkees' "A Little Bit Me A Little Bit You," and, of course, Juice Newton's "Queen of Hearts." (RW)

232. Tom Petty's Full Moon Fever album. The night before my very good friends Rick and Michelle got married, Rick and I drove around a dark lake very late into the evening and listened to this album in its entirety. I hope someday Jimmy and Rick and Michelle's son Dylan get to drive around a lake together and listen to something as cool as Full Moon Fever the night before one of them gets married. (RW)

233. My parents, Jim and Ann Wilhelm. Anything at all about me that's even remotely cool can be traced to either one or both of my parents. Thanks, Mom and Dad--this list wouldn't exist without you!(RW)

234. Chuck Berry. Basically, he's the architect of rock'n'roll. I wouldn't necessarily go knocking on his door to tell him that (or anything else, for that matter), but it's true. (RW)

235. Little Richard. Another rock'n'roll pioneer. Plus, if he didn't make this list, he'd come a-knockin' on my door to yell at me about it. Which, now that I think about it, might actually be interesting. (RW)

236. Sammy Davis Jr. Not exactly a rock'n'roll pioneer, but the man was just too much, you dig? I would imagine he's been doing two shows a night up in heaven since he moved on up in 1990. (RW)

237. My sister, Lisa Wilhelm, and all other teachers as dedicated to their students as she is. (RW)

238. Loretta Lynn. She was born a coal miner's daughter. (RW)

239. High school football games. Surrounded by all your friends and some of the best school spirit around...so many awesome memories!! (Emily B)

240. Cape May, New Jersey. My favorite place in the whole world. I love being there and seeing my family all together. It gives you a special feeling words just can't describe. (Emily B)

241. Ice cream. All the time. :) Steak and shake, Brusters, Dan the Pizza Man's Soft Serve, and TCBY!! Love them all!!! (Emily B)

242. Shady Maple. A lovely place to visit, bordering on the quaint Pennsylvania Dutch Country. There is a gift shop, an old-fashioned department store, a supermarket featuring farm-fresh vegetables and home-baked goodies, and the piece de resistance--the buffet luncheon (or dinner). (JF)

243. Veterans. My favorite veterans are my husband George and my two brothers Paul and John who all served in the army/navy during WWII, my son Bill, and my son-in-law Ed, who served in Viet Nam. They defended the United States and all she stands for. (JF)

244. Mountains in Pennsylvania. I love to look at the majestic mountains while riding up the Turnpike and down the Turnpike and up the mountains and down the mountains on the way to visit my hometown of Altoona, Pennsylvania. (JF)

245. Branson, Missouri. This is the most wonderful place to vacation, especially if you love the Lawrence Welk Show, the Lennon Sisters, the Lennon Brothers, the Lennon Daughters, and my favorite, Ralna English. (JF)

246. Lawrence Welk Show. To me, this is the most beautiful show on TV. If you ignore the colorful suits worn by the gentlemen, the settings and costumes are so beautiful and the music is so good. This is reason enough for this show to be celebrating its fiftieth year on television. When I am lucky, I can see it three times in the weekend. (JF)

247. World Famous Horseshoe Curve.This remarkable construction feat is a must-see for anyone who visits Western Pennsylvania. The railroad tracks are cut into the sides of the mountain. If you travel by train between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, you will go around the curve. You can look out the window and see the end of the train. (JF)

248. Neil Diamond. I love his singing, especially hsi version of "America." (JF)

249. The Wall. This monument in Washington, D.C. is so impressive. Its purpose is to give recognition to those brave soldiers who gave their lives in Viet Nam. (JF)

250. Frank Sinatra. The greatest singer of all times. What a treat it is to see his performances (on video now). He is a handsome man, conservatively dressed, just standing there and singing--no choreography, back-up singers and/or dancers or any other gyrations. I loved him when I was a teen-ager and I love him now when I am an octogenarian. (JF)

251. Steamship Arabia. This is one of the many interesting sites that I visited in Kansas, City, Missouri with my daughter Pat. It was so interesting to see all the merchandise that had been salvaged from this sunken ship. We also met the men who took part in this project. (JF)

252. Shenandoah National Park. I vacationed there several times with my daughter Cathy. The ride along Skyline Drive is beautiful and breathtaking. Cathy, Clay and I saw a big black bear roaming in the woods very close to the highway. (JF)

253. Cape May, New Jersey. My most favorite place to visit. I have spent many weeks there since 1962. In good times and bad times, it made me happy just to be there. I always said it was the closest thing to heaven here on earth! (JF)

254. Eleanor Roosevelt. She is my all-time favorite public servant. She was way before her time in her role of First Lady. She was "the legs" for her husband, who was the only president to be elected for a fourth term. She also served as a delegate to the United Nations. (JF)

255. Social Security. This federal program enables me and all other persons of the "Greatest Generation" to live in dignity after surviving the Great Depression, WWII, post-war unemployment, Korea, Viet Nam, etc, etc, etc. (JF)

256. Family. My greatest asset and my constant source of pride is my wonderful family--one son, five daughters, eleven grandchildrn, and one great-grandson. I also include in my wonderful family my many "in-laws." (JF)

257. Freedom From Fear. The Constitution guarantees the people of America many Freedoms--not the least of which is Freedom from Fear. (JF)

258. Friends.I am so fortunate to have so many true friends. We share our joys, our sorrows and our dreams. Life is great when you are lucky enough to have old friends and new friends. (JF)

259. Willie Nelson. He is one of my very favorite singers. (JF)

260. Religion. I cherish my religious beliefs. I get comfort when I am troubled by saying the rosary. My practice of praying to St. Anthony when I lose or misplace things usually gets results. Never a day goes by that I don't need help finding what I have misplaced. I keep St. Anthony very busy! (JF)

261. Patsy ClineShe was one of the greatest singers, who died too young. She never realized how popular she was. (JF)

262. Figure skating. This is the only sport that I follow closely. With the Olympics coming soon to the United States, I will follow the competitions closely, hoping that my favorite, Michele Kwan, will bring home the gold. (JF)

263. The Railroad Museum. My favorite tourist attraction in my hometown of Altoona, Pennsylvania is the Railroad Museum. Being the daughter of a railroader and the wife of a railroader, visiting this museum brings back memories of days that used to be. (JF)

264. Waffle House coffee. As my button says, "Is there life before Waffle House coffee?" (TB)

265. Beanie Babies. Oh, the lengths we go to to acquire these little plush toys! They are just SO CUTE!!!! (TB)

266. Oprah Winfrey. To me, she is the epitome of reaching your potential, overcoming obstacles and living the American Dream. (TB)

267. Cape May, New Jersey. If you've never been there, it's impossible to describe, if you have--no description is necessary. (TB)

268. The Blue Willow Inn, Social Circle, Georgia. A true southern plantation, awesome, authentic Southern cuisine, the Lewis Grizzard Room and all that blue and white china! (TB)

269. Jimmy Carter. A true stateman, a man of faith, character and humility. My daughter Emily had her picture taken with him twice! (TB)

270. The TED. Officially called Turner Field and the Home of the Braves! On most game days, you see not only America's team, but you can see Jimmy Carter, Ted Turner and assorted guests gobbling down hot dogs. (TB)

271. Diet Coke. The best soft-drink in the world bar-none!!!! (TB)

272. North Carolina. This state has it all--Carolina blue sky, Ashville, Cherokee casinos, mountain towns such as Blowing Rock, beautiful beaches, Charlotte, and now one of my daughters' home nine months of the year.(TB)

273. Little House on the Prairie,The Waltons and Seventh Heaven. Three TV shows that celebrate the American Family and the ties that endure. (TB)

274. My family, my church, my work, my friends, and the God who creates, sustains and renews all that is. (JMc)

275. The concept of this list. (JMc)

276. Roads. Beautiful, tree-lined backroads with no yellow lines and no shoulder that snake their way through farmland, rolling fields, and forests. (MW)

277. The Outer Banks of North Carolina. I shouldn't even mention this place because, although popular, it's still a pretty well-kept secret, don't go there OK? Particular mention to the Currituck Lighthouse and the Whalehead Club.(MW)

278. Doylestown, Pennsylvania. My wife is a native, I am a convert. If you've never been here, make a day of it. We have beauty, culture, history, arts & crafts, fabulous restaurants and a Main Street straight out of a storybook. (MW)

279. Seeing snow in the Rockies on July 1st. (MW)

280. Higher education. Nowhere is access to knowledge so easy and affordable, with so many options. (MW)

281. New Orleans, Louisiana. If you've been there, you get it, if you haven't forget it. You have to experience it. (MW)

282. Country music. Because country songs are so down-to-earth. The songs really hit the truth and sometimes, especially now, listening to such songs as "Proud To Be An American," gives me goosebumps. (CMc)

283. Tennessee. Because they always show their pride by hanging flags and showing their red, white, and blue--not just at times of need. (CMc)

284. Fourth of July. My all time FAVORITE HOLIDAY. The flags, parades, the barbecue picnics and the grand finale - FIREWORKS.(MJD)

285. Battle Hymn of the Republic My favorite patriotic song. (MJD)

286. Beatles "l" CD. (MJD)

287. Jewelry. Rings, watches and bracelets. (MJD)

288. Working in a public high school and making a small difference in the lives of many kids who are lost or falling between the cracks. (MJD)

289. Basketball & football. (especially when the Eagles win). (MJD)

290. Texas, my home for the past 25 years. Some people may think Texans are boastful and obnoxious but if one lived down here you would see how kind and considerate Texans are. Most of the obnoxious people are transplants from other places. (MJD)

291. Pennsylvania, the state where I was born and spend my first 25 years. The beautiful change of seasons (but not the snow). The hills and the trees. (MJD)

292. Cape May, New Jersey. The seashore resort where I spend my summer vacations when I was young. (MJD)

293. Destin, Florida. The emerald water, the white sand and the good memories. (MJD)

294. Veterans - my Father, my Brother and my Husband. I have always been very proud that these three important people in my life were in the United States Army. (MJD)

295. Key Lime Pie and Miller Genuine Draft. (MJD)

296. Air Conditioning. Living in Texas that is very important. (MJD)

297. Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, DC. (MJD)

298. Coca Cola. (MJD)

299. Ball Point Pens. All the different kinds, colors, gel pens, wide markers, thin markers, Sharpies. (MJD)

300. Freedom of Religion. (MJD)

301. Disney World. Place where you can go and forget about everything and enjoy yourself. (MJD)

302. E-mail and instant message. Makes us able to keep in touch with family and friends, especially ones who live far away, on a daily basis. (MJD)

303. My two children. Living in a country where one can make enough income to be able to afford the exorbitant cost of adoptions and therefore make dreams come true. (MJD)

304. Miss America in Atlantic City. Every year for the past four or so years I have gone to AC with my best friend Lisa and assorted family memebers to witness the showing of the shoes on the board walk and the crowning of Miss America. I love the old ladies on the board walk down for the weekened tour with the 'home' and I love the smell of coins on my hands after gambling at the slots for an hour!! (SC)

305. Neumann College My favorite school, and it just happens to be where I graduated from this past May. I loved being a person and not a number and the fact that I got to see my other Mom, Ann Wilhelm just about everyday. I also found a second family in the now defunct (well, really just renamed) Liberal Arts department. (SC)

306. My freedom to travel. I love to fly, and I can handle being in a car for about two hours at time so I can make it just about anywhere-time and money willing. (SC)

307. My freedom to have an education. Yeah Public Schools!!(can you tell I'm a teacher- at least I am trying to be one!!). (SC)

308. Sardonic American Humor, in the face of Tragedy, as found in many places but particularly in National Lampoon magazine.(DJ)

309. My Parents. Hey, I would not be here without them. To be or not to be, they had the answer! They are always there and stick with me through thick and thin. (CS)

310. My Brother Chris. His drive, dedication and devotion are unbreakable. He has a great job flying C-130's for the Coast Guard, currently in Hawaii. (CS)

311. My Brother Pete. Taking his own path, he had made his mark and the world is better for it. He has a great job, mananging TGI Friday's in Center City Philadelphia (or at least he makes it a great job, the hours are long and hard). (CS)

312. Murfreesboro, Tennessee. My home for the past four years, although I am back in the tri-state area looking for a home. (CS)

313. San Diego, California. Lived there from 1989-1993. Coronado is a great area and the weather in San Diego is always good. I was able to experience three earthquakes while I was there. (CS)

314. The Declaration of Independence, Constitution and Bill of Rights. Without these hallowed documents, the United States would be just another European socialist experiment. Maybe even worse, a third world, second-rate (or maybe third-rate) loose confederation of states. We may not exist at all. "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, taht among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. -That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,-That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness." "We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessing of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America." (CS)

315. The Pennsylvania State University. Great school, great education and JoePa to boot. "For the glory of Old State, For her founders strong and great, For the future that we wait, Raise the song, raise the song. (CS)

316. Ford Mustangs. Especially the '65 GT fastback, '68 GT500KR and of course the new Cobra (gone in less than 60 seconds). "Mustang Sally," sung by Wilson Pickett, is a song for the ages. Even today it is cool and hip. (CS)

317. The Microprocessor. AMD or Intel, I go with the underdog (and better product). However, any way you slice it, we would not be in the Information Age without it. (CS)

318. Property Rights. Nothing better than owning your own house, it sure beats serfdom. (CS)

319. Interstates. One of the greatest achievements of our government. Without interstates the USA would have a hard time keeping up economically, given the large distances between cities. Besides, many songs such as "Hello Texas" by Jimmy Buffet, "Interstate Love Song" by Stone Temple Pilots, "Detroit Rock City" by KISS, "Wild Wild Life" by Talking Heads, and of course the trucker's anthem, "Convoy" by C.W. McCall would not have been possible (OK, maybe they would have, but it would not be the same). (CS)

320. The Matrix. One of my favorite movies of all time. "You take the blue pill and the story ends. You wake in your bed and you believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill and you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes. Remember that all I am offering is the truth. Nothing more." On September 11, 2001, I truly felt like I fell down a rabbit hole into a nightmare. God Bless the USA. (CS)

321. R.E.M. Quite simply, the band I grew up with. (RW)

322. Temple University. Since Chuck mentioned Penn State (see # 315), I thought I better mention my alma mater, Temple University in Philadelphia. I mention it for the education, of course, but also for the range of people I met and experiences I had there. (RW)

323. Cowboy Mouth, rock'n'roll band. New Orleans at its finest. (MF)

324. The Simpsons. Oh, come on. It's obvious. (MF)

325. Buster Keaton. The king of silent comedy. (MF)

326. Woody Allen. (MF)

327. Tombstone. "I'm your huckleberry." (MF)

328. My mousepad with dogs playing poker on it. (MF)

329. James K. Polk. (RW)

330. Cresaptown, West Virginia. (RW)

331. "The Love You Save"-The Jackson Five. (RW)

332. Edgar Allan Poe. (RW)

333. Waylon Jennings. (RW)

334. Crayola Factory, Easton Pennsylvania. (RW)

335. Backyard barbecues.(RW)

336. Robert Johnson.(RW)

337. Benjamin Franklin. (RW)

338. Philadelphia Museum of Art. (RW)

339. Casey Kasem. (RW)

340. Sandwich Board Lady. (RW)

341. Taylor Pork Roll sandwiches. (RW)

342. PSFS Building, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (RW)

343. Flatiron Building, New York City, New York. (RW)

344. Station wagons. (RW)

345. Del Rubio Triplets. (RW)

346. The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (RW)

347. Tom Vu. (RW)

348. The Road Dogs, Emily Valentine, Bag of Hammers, The Frogs, Life On Mars, Frampton Brothers, Mount McKinleys, etc. (RW)

349. The sidewalk in front of my mother-in-law's house, Cottman Avenue, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (RW)

350. Los Lobos. (RW)

351. States of Mind by Brad Herzog. (RW)

352. The "Jesus" and "Darwin" fish that people are putting on the bumpers of their cars these days. (RW)

353. Steve Martin. (RW)

354. Monticello. (RW)

355. Love and Theft-Bob Dylan. (RW)

356. Skyscrapers. (RW)

357. Triangle Tavern, South Philadelphia. (RW)

358. Victor Cafe, South Philadelphia. (RW)

More to follow from...you??? Send the people, places and things that you love in the USA to me at Rfwilhelm@cs.com!!

(Please feel free to email to others who may be interested or to print a hard copy for them but remember: The Dichotomy of the Dog is copyright 2001 by Rich Wilhelm. If you plan on making a bazillion dollars from this piece of writing, please let me know so I can sue you or something.)

Home