Hot Air

List Mania

Smithsonian magazine this week released its list of the 100 Most Significant Americans of All Time. The mag divided the names into these categories:

  • Trailblazers
  • Rebels & Resisters
  • Presidents
  • First Women
  • Outlaws
  • Artists
  • Religious Figures
  • Pop Icons
  • Empire Builders
  • Athletes

Smithsonian Magazine

Ali, Lincoln & O’Keeffe Made The Cut

Here are a few of the names listed:


Significant American?

Go ahead, don’t be afraid to click any of the links. I, for instance, had no idea who Ellen G. White was.

Now, there are plenty of names that are sure to raise an eyebrow or two. Secretariat — the horse? And in the rest of the list, Robert E. Lee in Rebels & Resisters along with the likes of Frederick Douglass, Susan B. Anthony, and Tecumsah? Bette Davis? Charles Manson? L. Ron Hubbard? And perhaps the biggest boner of them all, Sarah Palin as one of the First Women.

Think what you want about Palin, she wasn’t the first anything. The actual first major party female vice presidential candidate was Geraldine Ferraro back in 1984.

Of course, the point of such lists is to get people talking about them.

I love lists. I make them all the time. One of my little tricks as an aspiring writer was to make lists when I felt a bout of writer’s block coming on. The idea being even if I couldn’t write real, inspired stuff, I had to keep the brain/eye/hand connection going. Sort of like a baseball player taking batting practice.

Here’s a typical list:

Big Mike’s Five Favorite Albums/Discs of All Time

  • What’s Going On? Marvin Gaye
  • Bryter Layter Nick Drake

Bryter Layter

  • Rhapsody in Blue, An American in Paris, & Broadway Overtures: from the original Gershwin Piano Roll accompanied by the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, Michael Tilson Thomas, music director
  • Ingénue k.d. lang
  • Compact Jazz: Astrud Gilberto with Stan Getz
  • Pet Sounds The Beach Boys
  • Odessey & Oracle The Zombies

So shoot me: I couldn’t cut two discs from that list. Plus, don’t yell at me: Odessey was how the word was spelled on the Zombies disc.

How about this:

Big Mike’s Eleven Most Important Inventions of All Time

  • The electric lightbulb
  • The internal combustion engine
  • The electric motor
  • The microscope
  • The personal computer
  • The toilet



  • The printing press
  • Gunpowder
  • General anesthetic
  • Plastic
  • Antibiotics

Go ahead, make some lists yourself. How about your favorite websites? Make sure to put The Pencil atop that one.

Mayoral Matchup

Now that Bloomington bossman Mark Kruzan has announced he’s quitting his gig when his current term expires, the guessing game begins regarding the next victi…, er, mayor of this mighty metrop. I’ve put out the call for some of B-town’s finest citizens to tell me who they think may run for the office in 2015.


I’ve already received a few replies and the lineup looks, well, eclectic. And doesn’t that fit Bloomington to a tee?

BTW: No I will not run for mayor, as some misguided souls have suggested. My skeletons shall remain safe and secure in my closet where they belong, thank you. Besides, I don’t even live within the city limits, although I can shoot a spitball across the border from my living room window.

Tune in here tomorrow when I list some of the other suggested names.

One thought on “Hot Air

  1. Shayne Laughter says:


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