Friday, 31 January 2003
Pix of the Day: World's Best Weasel, Possibly
CREDITS: © Dr. Donald A. Klosterman/Images of Beautiful Places
Image version for larger monitors. Thumbnail clicks for normal view
The Phrase Finder utility contains this entry: 'Stewart Chaplin's story 'Stained glass political platform', 1900, contains 'Why, weasel words are words that suck the life out of the words next to them, just as a weasel sucks the egg and leaves the shell.' Theodore Roosevelt made use of the term in 1916 when criticizing President Wilson. Yesterday I mentioned the second highest bridge in the United States. Today's feature is about the highest bridge, the Royal Gorge Bridge, near Cañon City, Colorado, or about 50 miles southwest of Denver as the crow flies.
Reliable sources, such as the official bridge web site, only claim this as the highest suspension bridge in the world. Clearly in the world of records and superlatives those weasel words have great importance. Other bridges claim the record of highest, always adding their own weasels, such as reinforced concrete or girder. I was unable to discover the highest unweaseled bridge. There is an Indian Army bridge in the Himalayas at an unweaseled 18,379 feet, but we are not discussing that kind of height here. That source for that link says the name of the bridge is 'Bailey Bridge', which shows just how suspect Internet information can be. The Guinness Records web site will respond to 'longest bridge' as a search term (the Second Lake Pontchartrain Causeway, which joins Mandeville and Metairie, Louisiana, USA. 23 miles and 1,538 yds long, completed 1969), but is suspiciously mute on 'highest bridge'. Record buffs may like to read about a jaw dropping bridge that is planned to cross the Straits of Messina, between Sicily and mainland Italy.
This weblog is not about records, however. It is about pictures of excellence or interest. The webmaster is the highest authority in this matter, and brooks no argument. Qualifying pictures of the Royal Gorge Bridge were susprisingly few and far between. My search led me to Don Klosterman's 'Images of Beautiful Places' web site, where today's featured image may be found along with others of the bridge. If you enjoy photo galleries of interesting locations, hit the link at the head of this article for a rewarding tour. What does not seem to be disputed is that the drop from the Royal Gorge Bridge to the river is a vertigo inducing 1,053 feet. Cars were formerly allowed across, but now only pedestrian may pass. There are small gaps between the deck planks, which need regular renewal, and bridge movement can be sensed when crossing. Please note that fishing from the bridge is not allowed.
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Jules Laforgue (1860-1887)
"Ah! que la vie est quotidienne."
Oh, what a day-to-day business life is.
'Complainte sur certains ennuis' (1885)