Table of Contents The Curbside Chronicleâ€™s Road Trip Challenge Travel
3 Road Trip Munchies Food
7 At the Movies with Marcos Entertainment
HOW IT WORKS
10 How I See OKC
The Curbside Chronicle employs the homeless population of Oklahoma City.
12 The Geniuses of Oklahoma Community
24 Meet Jerry
26 Employment Cards Advocacy
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The Curbside Chronicle’s Road Trip Challenge by T.O. Bowman
You don’t have to go far to have an adventure this summer. In fact, you don’t even have to leave the state. Oklahoma is full of wacky and bizarre roadside attractions, and we’ve compiled a list of Oklahoma’s best. So grab some friends, hop in your car, and take a trip down the offbeat path this summer with The Curbside Chronicle Road Trip Challenge! Follow the steps below to be entered to win a mysterious, yet AMAZING prize! The Curbside Chronicle Road Trip Challenge: 1) Visit one of the roadside attractions on this list. 2) Snap a selfie or take a group pic with this issue of The Curbside Chronicle at the site. 3) Post your picture on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook and make sure to tag The Curbside Chronicle (@CurbsideOKC), and use #CurbsideRoadTrip.
photo courtesy of The Blue Whale
The Blue Whale 2680 N. Hwy 66, Catoosa, OK 74015
The Blue Whale in Catoosa is an iconic Route 66 attraction, standing 20-feet tall and 80-feet long. Using pipe and concrete, former Tulsa Zoo director, Hugh Davis, set out to create a whale-shaped playground for his kids on the banks of a little pond in 1970. By the mid-70s, The Blue Whale had become so popular that the little pond was turned into a local swimming hole. The Blue Whale remains open to the public, though swimming is no longer available.
Mini Statue of Liberty 1 N. Mission St., Sapulpa, OK 74066
This fiberglass version of the famous gift from France is now enlightening the world from a landscaped curb in front of a Dominos Pizza in Sapulpa.
World’s Largest Totem Pole Hwy 28A, Foyil, OK 74031
Ed Galloway (1880-1962), a Spanish-American War Vet and woodworking teacher at a Sand Springs orphanage, retired in 1937 and started crafting the world’s largest concrete totem pole. Twelve years later and countless loads of concrete, scrap metal, and sandstone rock, and the 66-foot tall totem pole was complete. A turtle serves as the base for the 30-foot circumference monument.
photo by David Hardy
424 S Main St., Roosevelt, OK 73564 This 15-foot creature, made of metal and tires, wields a large sign that reads “HOWDY.” Local legend has it that Tire Man emerged from one of the nearby sprawling salvage yards to protect the 248 residents from train robbers. The Curbside Chronicle can neither confirm nor deny whether Will Smith has been contacted about a Wild, Wild West sequel.
World’s Largest Praying Hands 7777 S Lewis St., Tusla, OK 74136
This not-to-scale model of praying hands stands 60 feet tall, weighs over 30 tons, and is the largest bronze sculpture in the world. According to Roadside America, while one might like to imagine them as strong, American hands, evangelist Oral Roberts actually outsourced their casting to Juarez, Mexico in 1980.
Twister Museum 101 W Main St., Wakita, OK 73771
What could be more Oklahoman than a quaint museum situated in a small town commemorating a movie about tornados? 2015 marks the 20th anniversary of the classic Oklahoma film Twister. Make the drive up to Wakita this year and take a photo next to Dorothy 1, the tornado research machine from the movie. We hear the paper sign taped to the door most always says, “Closed,” but don’t be afraid to call the number. They’re quick to open up for visitors, as they don’t want to risk losing your business to the booming metropolis of Medford.
photo by Jim Saw
Bowling Ball Yard Art E021 Rd., Nowata, OK 74048
Chris Barbee started his bowling ball yard art collection in memory of his wife Carol, who decorated her rose bed with bowling balls. There are now more than 1,400 bowling balls in various artistic arrangements on his property. Be sure to bring some unwanted bowling balls with you, because Chris relies on donations to add more sculptures to his collection.
(Not) The World’s Largest Peanut 300 W. Evergreen, Durant, OK 74701
Durant is home to The World’s Largest Peanut monument, dedicated to peanut growers and processors in Bryan County. It also serves as a time capsule, which will be unearthed in 2023. Despite donning the title of “World’s Largest Peanut,” Durant’s monument is unfortunately just one of the world’s largest peanuts. The actual World’s Largest Peanut rules from its post along Interstate 75 in Ashburn, GA.
OK 1 / US Hwy 270, McAlester, OK 74501 Don’t pick up any hitchhikers on your way to this monument, vestige of the state penitentiary prison rodeo. The Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester hosted an annual prison rodeo for 69 years, until financial woes and a crumbling stadium forced the event to cease in 2010. Despite the event’s hiatus, the Convict Cowboy statue still rides proudly in the median of OK 1/US Highway 270, and there are talks of bringing it back in 2015.
photo by Mary Morton
Windmill Museum 120 E. 11th St., Shattuck, OK 73858
The Shattuck Windmill Museum & Park was established in 1994 and is lit for the holidays each December. Ranging from 5 to 18-feet tall, the 50+ vintage windmills can be seen by anyone blowing through town on US Highway 283.
Cement Mixer Space Capsule E. 300 Rd. and S. 4130 Rd., Oologah, OK 74080
In 1959, a concrete mixer wrecked on its way to construct a bridge over Oologah Lake. The truck was hauled off, but for whatever reason, the cement mixer was left on the side of the road. It’s been painted many times by various artists and currently resembles a crashed NASA spaceship.
World’s Largest Fishing Pole Located on the Grand Lake of the Cherokee outside of Grove, OK
This 45-foot fishing pole resides in a private backyard but is visible from the waters of Grand Lake near Grove, Oklahoma. With this pole, you’re definitely gonna need a bigger boat.
photo by C.B. Buntz
The corner of Oklahoma Ave. and 11th St., Woodward, OK 73801 Drink the Kool-Aid folks. We now have “statuary proof” that Stegosaurus roamed the earth only 5,000 years ago alongside humans. According to the Stegosaurus Creationist Statue (and new interpretations of Biblical scriptures), a nearby sign reads, “A Dinosaur like this roamed the Earth 5,000 years ago.” Tourists are encouraged to ride the baby Stegosaurus statue and spread the good news that science is probably wrong about carbon dating.
The Holy City of the Wichitas 262 Holy City Rd., Cache, OK 73051
The Holy City of the Wichitas is the site of the nation’s longest-running Easter passion play, “The Prince of Peace.” More than 225,000 people attended the play in 1939 (And you thought H&8th parking was bad). The buildings and generally dusty environment make this section of the Wichitas look like Biblical Israel, and nearly life-size dioramas fill the area in reference to various Biblical passages.
Spider VW Bug
830 N. Main St., Lexington, OK 73051 If you suffer from arachnophobia, this roadside stop isn’t for you. It’s a Volkswagen Beetle made into a 15-foot tall spider and the perfect place to snap an “ERMAHGERD” pic with friends.
Round Barn & Pop’s Soda Bottle 107 E. Hwy 66., Arcadia, OK 73007
The famous Route 66 Round Barn was originally built in 1898 but faced a roof collapse in 1988. Thanks to a group of local retirees that called themselves the over-the-hill-gang, it was restored to its original glory and re-opened to the public. Located within walking distance from Pop’s Soda Ranch, home of the world’s tallest soda bottle and more than 600 flavors of soda, visitors can enjoy a maple bacon or buffalo wing soda, while gawking at the intricacy of the Round Barn’s woven roof.
Toy and Action Figure Museum
111 S. Chickasaw St., Pauls Valley, OK 73075 For $6.oo admission, you can waltz into the recreated bedroom of Pauls Valley native, Kevin Stark, and view his collection of over 11,000 moveable-joint heroes, villains, monsters, and accessories. Kevin bought an empty storefront, filled it with his collection, and opened it as the Toy & Action Figure Museum in October 2005. The museum now displays over 13,000 action figures, many in their original packaging.
Upended 18-Wheeler 16600 W. Fountain Rd., Tonkawa, OK 74653
This curious billboard is an 18-wheel semi-truck and trailer that’s taken a nosedive and appears to be stuck in the ground near Wilkins Oklahoma Truck Supply.
Trash Eating Buffalo
1925 Woolaroc Ranch Rd., Bartlesville, OK 74003 A taxidermy buffalo that “eats” the trash right out of your hands is situated in the heart of one of Oklahoma’s hidden gems - the Woolaroc Ranch. The Woolaroc Ranch is a 3,700-acre wildlife preserve, home to many species of native wildlife, such as buffalo, elk, and longhorn cattle. Woolaroc is a mustsee for any Oklahoma resident or visitor. photo by May Chan
Road Trip Munchies by Ashley Dekat
You don’t have to lower your food standards just because you’re traveling this summer. Ditch convenience store snacks and stock up on these delicious, local goodies instead. They’re the perfect road trip treats for your next adventure!
photo courtesy of Jerky.com
918 N Hudson Ave., OKC, 73102 (877) 975-3759 In the Midwest, meat reigns supreme. And thanks to dehydrating preservation, jerky makes meat available at all times. With its first brick-and-mortar location, Jerky.com, in Midtown, has every kind of jerky known to man. There’s beef jerky, pork jerky, chicken jerky, bacon jerky, buffalo jerky, elk jerky, wild boar jerky, kangaroo jerky, alligator jerky, venison jerky. But that’s not all! They have even more exotic types of jerky like fish and ostrich. Prices vary per item, but there is definitely something for everyone. Their top-selling gift bag ($29.99) comes with 20 assorted meat sticks and gives the perfect sampling of their various flavors. Their mini beef sticks (3/$1) and individually wrapped meat sticks ($1, $1.50, and $2,50 dependent on variety) allow you to taste their exotic meat jerkies without the commitment of a large bag. With other items like seasoned pretzels, a bajillion flavors of licorice, and deep-fried whole peanuts, it is the perfect place to stop and shop before hitting the road.
Popcorn Fharmacy 7518 N May Ave., OKC, 73116 (405) 840-4505
Before jetting out of town, stop by the Popcorn Fharmacy to remedy those “are we there yet” wiggles. The Popcorn Fharmacy offers 37 flavors of popcorn, all popped and flavored on site. Favorites include classics like Buttered and Salted, Cheddar Cheese, and Caramel. Much longer is their list of gourmet offerings, like savory Sour Cream and Onion, Jalapeño, and Dill Pickle, or delectable sweet flavors like Butter Rum, Pina Colada, Bubblegum, and Vanilla Butternut. The list goes on and on! Bags of popcorn range from size small ($1.95-$5.00) to extra-large ($16.75-$36.80). 1-gallon, 3.5-gallon, and 6.5-gallon decorative tins are also available. Already have a tin at home? Bring it in to the Popcorn Fharmacy for a discounted refill! With flavors for the entire family, this local snack is just what the doctor ordered.
Teapioca Lounge 1101 NW 23rd St., OKC, 73106 (405) 525-4108
Before hitting the road, travelers often flock to the nearest gas station to fill up on fountain drinks. Instead of your usual soda stop this summer, why not go with the road less traveled? Located in OKC’s Asian District, Teapioca serves the delicious Taiwanese beverage known as Boba Tea in a variety of flavors. Boba Tea is a tea-based drink, where black or green tea is mixed with fruits and milks to make a sweet and refreshing drink similar to a smoothie. Then boba balls, which are balls of fresh tapioca, are dropped in the bottom of the cup for a chewy addition to each slurp. When it comes to selection of flavors, Teapioca has them all, with unique flavors like cantaloupe, almond, and Thai tea to name a few. They also have delicious and strong Vietnamese coffees, frozen coffees, premium hot teas, slushies, and every smoothie flavor you can imagine. Avocado smoothie? Yes, please! With each drink being in the $3-$4 range, Teapioca is the perfect thirst quencher for your next road trip! photo courtesy of Uptown Candy
5840 N Classen Blvd. #3, OKC, 73118 (405) 418-8881 Who can take a sunrise, sprinkle it with dew? Cover it with chocolate and a miracle or two? Uptown Candy can. Uptown Candy at Classen Curve is the Candy Man of Oklahoma City. It’s a sweet tooth’s dream with an abundance of chocolates, gummies, and toffee. Shoppers can get a little bit of everything when they buy candy in bulk ($12.99 per pound). Uptown Candy has a variety of Jelly Beans for every belly that will keep kids entertained with their loot for hours. Think of how much fun they will have building a candy Lego city infested with sour neon crawlers and chocolate covered gummy bears in the back seat! Additionally, Uptown Candy has candy bars, boxes of candy, giant lollipops, and humongous ooey-gooey Crispy Cakes ($5). At almost a half-pound each, Crispy Cakes come stuffed with fun ingredients like Oreos, Fruit Loops, caramel popcorn, colorful sprinkles, and so much more. For extra indulgence, their assortment of beautiful truffles ($2.50 each) is sure to make the Wonka in anyone giggle with delight.
Ingrid’s Kitchen 3701 N Youngs Blvd., OKC, 73112 (405) 946-8444
How could someone not love a cookie? Crispy. Chewy. Sweet. And Ingrid’s Kitchen has them all. They have classic Chocolate Chip ($1.49), but they also have other favorites like Ginger Snaps (75¢), Thumbprints (75¢), and Iced Cut-Outs ($1.99) to name a few. To sweeten the deal for special dieters, they have a variety of sugar-free favorites like Sugar, Peanut Butter, and the beloved Chocolate Chip. They also serve a few gluten-free options, such as the Chocolate Chewy Cookie (cocoa, egg whites, sugar, and nuts). Or venture out and try some of Ingrid’s unique offerings, like their Rum Pecan, Russian Rocks (with honey, pecans, raisins, and rum), or Marizpan (all 75¢). Cookies can be purchased individually or combined to make a Baker’s Dozen for just $9. With so many delicious options, cookies from Ingrid’s Kitchen are sure to sweeten any trip!
Native Roots Market 131 NE 2nd St., OKC, 73104 (405) 310-6300
Gas stations and chain convenience stores seem to be the stop of choice when it comes to grabbing snacks before a road trip. Why not opt for a healthier, local alternative? Native Roots Market is located in the heart of OKC in the popular Deep Deuce district just north of Bricktown. With convenient access to I-40 and I-235, it’s the perfect stop before any road trip adventure. They offer an ample variety of fresh, locally sourced snacking options like roasted nuts and nut brittles from Valley View Pecan Company, buffalo jerky from the Wichita Buffalo Company, and several flavors of the beloved Bedre chocolates made by the Chickasaw Nation. And what sodas could be more perfect for cruising on asphalt than the many flavors from Route 66 Soda Company ($2.50) or Triple AAA Soda Company ($1.60)? For a sack lunch, stop by their deli counter for custom sandwiches ($7) and an assortment of fresh salads made with local ingredients. Or grab a hummus snack pack ($4.95) with fresh cut veggies, pita, and their various homemade hummus flavors for the road! photo courtesy of Uptown Candy
by Marcos Powell, vendor for The Curbside Chronicle photos courtesy of respective films
The 2015 deadCENTER Film Festival is just around the corner. Luckily, Curbside Chronicle vendor and movie buff, Marcos, got a sneak peek of some of the films! Check out what he has to say about the flicks, and catch their screenings during the deadCENTER Film Festival, June 10-14, in downtown OKC. For more info and a complete list of festival films, go to www.deadcenterfilm.org.
I’ve been into movies since I was a kid. It can be the plot, the angle of the camera, or the actors that draw me in. I grew up watching Siskel and Ebert on television, and they influenced a lot of movies that I watched as a kid. I didn’t always agree with everything they said, but they disagreed sometimes too. Siskel and Ebert made the thumbs up/thumbs down model popular for movie critiques. They were an iconic duo, like Starsky and Hutch or Cheech and Chong, when it came to movie critiques. Being a movie critic is just about voicing your opinion. In the following movie reviews, I’m just giving my opinion from my experience watching movies. I don’t really believe in telling people what to think about movies because people interpret movies differently. I always suggest watching a movie for yourself and determining your own interpretation. So check out my following movie reviews and be sure to make their screenings at deadCENTER before “the balcony is closed.”
The Last Sandwich Narrative Short, 4 minutes Directed by Mark Potts
“The Last Sandwich” is a comical narrative short about a man who has lost his ability to make a sandwich. Unfortunately, sandwiches are a huge part of this man’s life, and he has difficulty coping with the loss. Even though the movie is supposed to be funny, to me, the movie symbolizes a deeper message - that you can have something in life that you cherish or are proud of and lose it. This is a realistic message. Whether you are a writer, artist, singer, or dancer, over time people can lose touch with their ability to create. I think this is what this movie symbolizes. Also, the ending scene definitely came as a surprise, but I don’t want to spoil anything for you.
Daddy’s Little Girl Narrative Short, 5 minutes Directed by Chad McClarnon
“Daddy’s Little Girl” is a short horror film. The story revolves around a little girl conducting an experiment on her father’s brain. You can tell that her father is abusive towards her, and she is trying to fix him. I think the film symbolizes trying to reform someone who is abusive. The idea that good can outweigh evil. They did a good job on small details throughout the film and showing the little girl’s innocence. It is definitely creepy. It reminded me of the horror movies The Bad Seed and The Good Son, which feature child murderers. But unlike Macaulay Culkin’s character in The Good Son, the little girl in this film doesn’t want to hurt anyone on purpose.
This Way Up
Narrative Short, 28 minutes Directed by Jeremy Cole
“This Way Up” is a dramatic narrative about a man named Charlie living in a storm drain beneath the Las Vegas strip and trying to keep it hidden from his daughter. But like every secret, it eventually must get revealed. It is an interesting story about a man trying to hide the fact that he is homeless. While I liked it, I don’t think the movie is a realistic portrayal of homelessness. In the movie, Charlie’s home in the storm drain looks like a real bedroom from a house instead of a makeshift home. While there are very creative homeless people that manage to make impressive shelters out of various things, they do not look like complete bedrooms. Some other movies about homelessness that I would suggest are Surviving the Game, Life Stinks, and The Pursuit of Happyness. Ice-T stars in Surviving the Game, which is about a group of wealthy men that hunt homeless people instead of animals. Life Stinks stars Mel Brooks and is a comedy about a wealthy man that bets he can live 30 days on the streets. Unfortunately, those 30 days turn into a lot longer. And The Pursuit of Happyness is a drama based on a true story about a father and son.
Harry and Avis
Narrative Feature, 76 minutes Directed by Nathan Hollis
“Harry and Avis” is a romantic comedy about two lovers that go on a camping trip together. While on the trip, they find themselves in the middle of a murder mystery. The film is shot in the style of realism, which makes it drag on in parts because the scenes are almost in real time. My biggest critique of this film is that I didn’t think it had much of a plot. I kept waiting for something big to happen and was disappointed with the climax. Despite the lack of plot, I thought that the actors did a good job in the film. I encourage you to check this film out for yourself and not take my word on it!
How I See OKC A l o o k i n t o t h e l i ve s o f O KC ’ s h o m e l e s s .
by Robert Hatcher, vendor for The Curbside Chronicle
“How I See OKC” is a photography project showcasing what life in Oklahoma City looks like through the eyes of individuals experiencing homelessness. Local professional photographers were paired with Curbside Chronicle vendors like myself. Together we went around Oklahoma City taking photos that told parts of our stories. Our goal was to provide a glimpse into the life of someone experiencing homelessness. Our hope was that the public would learn from and be moved by our photos. When The Curbside Chronicle first asked me to participate in the “How I See OKC” photography project, I was tentative. At first, I was reluctant to allow total strangers into my private
life and my daily struggle to survive. But after careful reflection, I came to understand that it’s not just about me but also about the bigger issue of homelessness in our community. No child ever says, “When I grow up, I want to be homeless.” However, homelessness is a reality in our community. Many homeless men and women have lost hope. But through these photographs, I strive to restore their hope. Even in my darkest hours, I never gave up. And after living a year on the streets, I am back in housing. Homelessness is just part of a journey and not a destination. People need to know about our journey. Nowadays, everything is available online. You can read all about homelessness and never see the real
people who are struggling daily to survive. It was important for me to participate in this photography project to put a face to the issue. Through my photos, I extended my eyes to the people of Oklahoma City who have never been homeless. Many of the sights that homeless people see every day are concealed from most Oklahomans. I hope that the following photographs can open people’s eyes, hearts, and minds to the issue of homelessness in our community. The entire collection of photos from the “How I See OKC” photography exhibit is available for viewing on The Curbside Chronicle’s Facebook page (www.facebook.com/CurbsideOKC).
My Home by Robert and Ryan West â€œFor over a year, I slept on Level 5 of the Oklahoma County Parking Garage. This was my home. I treated it like a home. I swept and made sure it was always clean. This place is important to me.â€?
Refuge by Robert and Ryan West “This stairwell might look like it contains trash, but this is someone’s bedroom. The cardboard acts as a mattress that helps insulate heat. The Styrofoam block is the pillow. The box on the right is a dresser filled with personal belongings.”
Insider’s View by Robert and Geovanny De Leon “This is what the inside of a shelter looks like. Lots of beds in rows. It can be difficult being so close to strangers.”
First Time by Robert and Ryan West “This is the first place I slept when I became homeless. It rained and stormed through that first night. This bench was my bed. Sometimes, I revisit where I stayed during the hard parts of my life and reflect.”
Time by Robert and Geovanny De Leon “Time passes slowly on the streets. It is a waiting game. Most tasks cannot be accomplished quickly on the streets.”
Mental Stimulation by Robert and Ryan West “The library is not only a place to get out of the weather, but also a place to stimulate your mind. It’s important to keep your brain stimulated. I go to the library every day and read the newspaper. Many homeless individuals visit the library daily.”
Abandoned by Robert and Ryan West “People light fires to stay warm in the winter in abandoned homes. Sometimes they accidently set fires. Sometimes people die just trying to stay warm. It is tragic.”
Wooden Tipi by Marcos and Shannon Cornman
A Good Night’s Rest by Marcos and Shannon Cornman
“This is someone’s home. They made it out of different things that they could find to protect themselves from the elements.”
“There’s a lot more that goes into getting off the streets than people think. I worked hard to get my own place, but for a while I didn’t have any furniture. This is where I slept until I got my bed.”
Hands by Marcos and Shannon Cornman “You need your hands to work. This man was fixing his tent. Sometimes you have issues with your tent and you have to be able to fix it using whatever you have around you.”
Indiana Bridge by Marcos and Shannon Cornman “This was my home for a year. There were 10-12 people who stayed under this bridge on any given night.”
Landfill by Booker and Joshua Officer “People use this place as a landfill. And you know what happens in a landfill? People bring trash, but I’m not trash.”
Washing Machine by Booker and Joshua Officer “Laundromats are expensive, so I made a washing machine out of an ice chest. Just because I am homeless that doesn’t mean that I wear dirty clothes. I do laundry once a week.”
Best Friends by Booker and Joshua Officer “Man’s best friend is true regardless of your situation.”
Thank You For The Meal by Jerry and Christian Bruggeman “At first, I felt ashamed that I had to get food from feeds. It humbles you to depend on others for food.”
A Temporary Home by Jerry and Christian Bruggeman “This is where I slept for about a month. Lying on the concrete isn’t comfortable, and you never feel rested.”
Sleepin’ by Gary and Christian Bruggeman “I spent over a year sleepin’ in Big Red. It’s pretty hard to stretch out and get comfortable, but I did my best.”
Dashboard Confessional by Gary and Christian Bruggeman “I kept a picture of Jesus, my drinks, and my snacks on my dashboard. I kept the picture of Jesus for safety. He watched over me on the streets.”
â€œ Goodness is the only investment that never fails. ~ Henry David Thoreau
We could not agree more. To the Curbside Chronicle, their mission of empowerment and those who choose a brighter future we give our hearty thanks and support.
Genius, a term typically reserved for those times when you’re making a sandwich, realize you’ve run out of bread, but find a bag of tortillas in the pantry. “Genius!” But what does genius really mean? The dictionary defines genius as an exceptional natural capacity of intellect. But how can you tell the difference between a genius and just another hipster with over-sized glasses in the Plaza District? Enter Mensa, the largest and oldest high IQ society in the world. Mensa has been passing out pocket protectors to people with IQs in the top 2% of the population since 1946. To become an official Mensan, you have to test in using a standardized
IQ test. And no, that new app you downloaded doesn’t count. Mensa isn’t about what you know, but how you think. The tests aren’t designed to determine how many European countries you can name or what decimal place of pi you can recite. Rather, they test your deductive reasoning and intellect. It’s cool that you can name every state in alphabetical order, but unless you can figure out if Jack or Sally will get home from school first if leaving at different times and at different speeds, you’re not going to win any street cred with the real geniuses. By the way, Sally gets home first because Jack stopped at the corner store for some bubble gum.
Despite their high IQs, Central Oklahoma Mensa is not just a group of bona fide nerds. A lot of them are teachers, artists, and entrepreneurs, not just mathematicians and computer programmers. And most of them talk about everyday things instead of debating the space-time continuum. So really, Mensa is just a regular group of people. A regular group of people who are really, really, really, smart. We talked to some of the members of Central Oklahoma Mensa to get the inside scoop on what a proven genius looks like. Here’s what we found. And if you think you have what it takes to be a Mensan, take the Mensa practice test at www.us.mensa.org.
Name: Graham Allen Curtsinger Age: 11 IQ: Top 0.1% Occupation: 5th grader What’s it like being a genius: Being a genius doesn’t change who I am. That part of me doesn’t come out unless I really need it. In every other way, I am just a normal 11-year-old boy. Hobbies: Minecraft, researching airplanes, Google Maps Awards: 3rd place in Lifetime’s Child Genius Competition Unique fact about yourself: At the age of five, I memorized the World globe. At six, I memorized the U.S. atlas. At seven, I memorized the NADA (National Automobile Dealers Association) website. At nine and ten, I memorized everything there is to know about hurricanes and knew all their paths and strengths. At eleven, I now love airplanes and have memorized all the commercial airplanes and know almost all of the commercial crashes. Dream job: I would love to design a new airplane. Mensa Practice Test Questions What is the 4-digit number in which the first digit is one-fifth the last, and the second and third digist are the last digit multiplied by 3? Hint: The sum of all digits is 12.
Jane went to visit Jill. Jill is Jane’s only husband’s mother-in-law’s only husband’s only daughter’s only daughter. What relation is Jill to Jane?
photos courtesy of respective geniuses
by Whitley O’Connor
Name: Daniel Koehler Age: 26 IQ: 137 Occupation: Research and Teaching Assistant Education: B.S. in Environmental Engineering, currently working on M.S. of Environmental Engineering What’s it like being a genius? People either think you’re very bright and blessed, or they think you’re weird and nerdy. Hobbies: Sushi, cooking, videogames, tennis, and hug collecting Awards: Best Hair in High School Unique fact about yourself: I’m from a rare tribe of Delaware Indian known as Lenni-Lanape. Favorite equation: Manning’s Equation Favorite genius: Albert Einstein, of course! Would you call yourself a nerd? I’m a nerd. I’m a bona fide bibliophile. Dream job: Supreme Judge of Water Rights Words from the wise: Empathy and compassion are the pillars of example needed most in this world. Name: Larry Edwards Age: 72 IQ: 191 Education: B.A. Asian Studies, minor Japanese, University of Hawaii Occupation: International Business What’s it like being a genius? Having to take almost no notes and reading at 2,000-4000 wpm at 100% comprehension came in handy in college. Otherwise, for the most part you don’t feel any different than anyone else and don’t think about it much. Hobbies: Sports, sailing, reading Awards and Recognitions: Highest score on the FSEE entrance exam in Hawaii history and highest score ever given in the U.S. Navy aptitude test in Hawaii in 1972 Unique facts about yourself: I once sang in a musical with Bette Midler. I wrote a nationally-distributed Chinese cookbook and produced the first Chinese cooking show on national TV (PBS). I played AAA Baseball with the Hawaii Islanders in the Pacific Coast League. I was the first foreigner invited to attend the annual Rwanda Presidential Retreat. Would you call yourself a nerd? I read the dictionary along with hundreds of other books as a kid. Name: Anne Foletta Age: 51 Education: B.S. in Mathematics. I started about 8 Master’s Degree programs and never finished any. Occupation: State of Oklahoma What’s it like being a genius: I can solve problems and am very rational and logical, but I’m not creative. I can’t write a poem or draw. There are a lot of things that other people are so much better at than me. Hobbies: Hiking, watching wildlife, astronomy, archeology, zoology Unique fact about yourself: I have prosopagnosia, also known as face blindness. Favorite formula: The Fibonacci sequence and how it’s found in nature. Favorite genius: Hunter S. Thompson had an amazing life and death. Dream job: I would love to open a chain of all-you-can-eat vegan buffets. Would you call yourself a nerd? I’ve never been a nerd. I was always one of the cool kids in a weird way. Words from the wise: Being able to put yourself in another’s shoes is true intelligence. But don’t stop there. Put yourself in another’s hooves, gills, and wings. Two men, starting at the same point, walk in opposite directions for 4 meters, turn left and walk another 3 meters. What is the distance between them? Which word of four letters can be added to the front of the following words to create other English words? DATE, AGE, CARD, SCRIPT, MARK
Name: Allison Rachele Ribera Age: 26 IQ: 143 Education: I’ll be graduating in the Fall of 2015 with a B.A. in Psychology and Philosophy from OU. Occupation: Professional Pole Dancer Hobbies: Taking my cat on walks, creating stage sets, reading Awards and Recognitions: I was Miss Pole Dance Oklahoma 2013 and just competed in Miss Pole Dance America 2015. Favorite theory: Right now, I’ve been reading a lot about the different philosophies of time, personal identity, and the autoinfanticide counterfactual in relation to the possibility of time travel. Do you have any unique collections? Growing up, I collected rocks, pinned butterflies, and Hot Wheels. Now, I get to collect 8-inch stilettos as a tax write-off. Favorite genius: Sheldon from Big Bang Theory Dream job: I am one of the lucky ones. I’m living my dream out on the stage and in the studio.
Name: Jesse Robertson Age: 25 IQ: 142 Education: Master’s Degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering Occupation: Software Developer What’s it like being a genius: I think it’s too soon to call myself a genius. 1 in 50 people have the intelligence to be a Mensan, but “genius,” I think, should be saved for those who do great things with their intelligence. Hobbies: Supercomputing, philosophy, soccer, gaming, and cats Unique fact about yourself: I’m colorblind. Not completely, but enough to matter. Favorite equation, formula, or theory: I’m pretty passionate about interference in Markov Networks. Favorite genius: Nikola Tesla Would you call yourself a nerd? Oh, yes! For fun, I study mathematics, logic, probability, programming, and philosophy. I’ve even bought textbooks for fun. Dream job: Run my own Google-sized software company Words from the wise: Don’t confuse intelligence with wisdom.
Name: Vincent Johns Age: 68 IQ: 155 Education: B.S. in Mathematics, M.Ed. in Educational Technology Occupation: Experience Enhancer at Science Museum Oklahoma Hobbies: Computer programming Awards and Recognitions: Caltech Honor Key; U.S. Air Force Meritorious Service Medal Unique fact about yourself: I occasionally act in plays at The Jewel Box Theatre. Favorite theory: Atomic hypothesis: the notion that pretty much everything we see consists of large numbers of tiny particles of a few dozen species. Favorite genius: Mr. Spock from Star Trek Would you call yourself a nerd? Yes. I love writing computer programs or solving puzzles. Dream job: Already doing it at the Science Museum. I also enjoy developing apps that make life easier for people.
Name: Jessica Salmans Age: 32 Education: B.A. and Master’s of Fine Arts Occupation: Public School Teacher What’s it like being a genius? That word…yikes. It always makes me feel like I’m playing dress-up in my mom’s high heels. There’s a certain amount of pressure there. It makes you think automatically that it’s some kind of superpower. I WISH! Do I believe that I’m intelligent? Well, sure. But there are all different kinds of intelligences. Mine just happens to be “testable.” There’s also this misconception that if you’re smart, you are smart about EVERYTHING. Totally not true. I once made a 6% on an algebra test. Hobbies: Photography, cooking, baking, roadtripping, reading, writing, and napping Awards: I’m pretty sure my big brother bought me a World’s Greatest Sister mug once… Unique fact about yourself: I was born in Germany and am a dual citizen. Favorite theory: Moral Relativism Theory vs. Moral Absolutism. Are there absolute “right” and “wrong” behaviors, or must we always apply context to our moral decisions? Is there an actual standard of pure morality? What about pure truth? Favorite genius: Two-Way Tie: Sherlock Holmes and William Murdoch. Would you call yourself a nerd? I’m a SuperWhoLock. Dream job: A full-time novelist. Sally likes 225 but not 224; she likes 900 but not 800; she likes 144 but not 145. Which does she like - 1600 or 1700? Pear is to apple as potato is to? Banana, radish, strawberry, peach, or lettuce.
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MEET Jerry compiled by Ranya O’Connor photo by Christian Bruggeman
You can find Jerry selling magazines near Quail Springs Mall at N. Penn Ave. and W. Memorial Rd. Jerry maintains a Twitter to update his customers on when he’s out selling. Follow him at @jerryvendorokccurb, and follow The Curbside Chronicle at @CurbsideOKC to stay up to date on all things Curbside.
Are you originally from Oklahoma?
I was born in Seoul, South Korea. My parents met in Korea while my dad was there in the Army. My mom is half Korean and half Chinese. My dad is German and Chickasaw Indian. I was a baby when we moved back to the United States. We moved to Kentucky and then Ohio and then he got a job with the VA Hospital and we moved here. I’ve been here almost all my life. I grew up around SE Central in Oklahoma City.
Was Korean culture a big part of your life? Just the food. We ate a lot of rice, seafood, bean sprouts, tofu… It was real good. I love seafood. Squid, shrimp, and crab, especially squid. My mom would cook it in soy sauce, and it was delicious.
Tell us about your childhood. My parents were horrible with money. My dad made good money working for the VA, but he was always in debt and couldn’t manage the money whatsoever. He would always say he knew what he was doing, but nothing would get better. My dad played with credit cards and stuff like that. It is kind of hard to explain. Your dad makes good money, but you have nothing to show for it. It’s not poverty, but it is. I try not to live like that.
Were you close to your parents? Not very. My dad was very controlling and stressed himself out so bad that he had a stroke. He was bedridden for a year after that and then passed away. It was pretty sad. I helped my mother take care of him. My mother is illiterate. She got a 4th grade education in Korea. With a 4th grade education in America, it is difficult. Growing up, I was always helping her out.
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What did you learn from your parent’s financial problems? You never know when things are gonna go bad. Keep everything simple because you never know what’s going to happen next. What did you want to be as a kid? I wanted to do music. Rock and Roll music. I was in choir, and I have a good voice. I like to write songs. I was in high school when I started writing songs. I got into rock and started writing stuff. My favorite rock bands are Stryper and Dream Theater.
What are some of your hobbies? I love video games. Some of my favorites right now are Tanki, Social Empires, Final Fantasy XI, and Raze.
What are some jobs you’ve worked? After high school, I worked at Taco Bell, Braums, and a lot of temp services. You learn a lot going through temp services. I learned how to sheet metal a roof through temp services. That came in handy with my house later on in life.
How would you describe schizophrenia to someone? You just think weird thoughts and don’t know what’s real. Sometimes I get audio and visual hallucinations. When I first got sick, I saw this guy in a purple suit that represented Satan. I know that was a hallucination now, but at the time he was real. The hallucinations push you in a certain direction, where you think this could be what’s really going on. You sit there and question everything. It’s really hard because it makes it look so real to your mind. Your mind is telling you something that’s not the truth, but you are processing it as the truth.
Do you take medicine? I take Risperdal and Trazodone. The medicine makes you extremely sleepy. It sedates you to where you can barely think. I take most of my medicine at night because of that. You just want to sleep and do nothing on the medicine. I don’t enjoy it, but it helps.
What was it like being diagnosed?
What’s been your favorite job? I kinda think this one. There’s a little bit more freedom doing this. I really like that about Curbside. I can set my own schedule and go at my own pace. When I got sick, the vocational lady said that I could get a job pretty easily but keeping the job would be very difficult with my mental illness.
When did you get sick? In 2009, I got real sick. I noticed that I was up for long periods of time and couldn’t remember when I went to sleep. I completely spazzed out. I felt like my mind was turned backwards. Like my conscious and my main brain had switched spots. It became really hard to control myself, and I realized something was wrong. I went to the doctor. The diagnosis was that I’m bipolar and schizophrenic.
How do you feel the poor are stereotyped? People say things like, “You don’t deserve social security. There’s nothing wrong with you.” Stuff like that. If you get food stamps, people are looking down at you like you’re just a poor bum. But they don’t know your life. I had never been on food stamps before because I had always worked, but when I was diagnosed with schizophrenia all that changed.
How would you describe bipolar disorder to someone? Bipolar is a sudden rush of emotion, like if someone gets angry real fast or real excited or real depressed. When you’re bipolar, it is like a super strong sense of emotion. It’s very hard to control. When I get angry, it’s way different than just being angry. It’s like Hulk rage.
It was really difficult. After my diagnosis, I couldn’t find work, so I had to start attending church feeds to get help with food and stuff. The temp service I was working for didn’t really want much to do with me after my diagnosis. It was hard to control the hallucinations at the time, so I couldn’t keep a job very well. Before I got sick, I was too stuck up to come to the feeds or get food stamps. When you’re poor, there’s a stigma surrounding you. You don’t want to be ashamed about your situation, but you are because of all of the stereotypes.
I tried hard to go back to work at the temp service after my diagnosis, but I realized that I couldn’t do as much work as before. My father left me his house after he passed away, and I wasn’t able to turn the water back on. Since I have a house, I’m better off than most, but I still need to come down to the day shelter to take a shower because I don’t have running water.
Have you ever been homeless? I came close many times because of my family. As much as I love my parents, they were never great role models. After I got sick, I hung out about 2 years on the streets. I stayed outside of City Rescue Mission on the streets for about 2 months. People would walk by a lot at night and wake me up.
What do you wish people knew about mental illness? We all don’t think right at times. Some people just don’t think right more often. And it’s hard to help someone with mental illness. Sometimes, you just want to push people away. That’s how I am. You got so many problems in life that you don’t know who to trust. You want to trust others, but it is very hard. All you know is that you can trust yourself, but then I opened up. It was scary at first. But the churches and the day center helped get me through something like this.
Do you feel like you are moving forward? I am in a better place now. I use the magazine to eat better and buy things that I need. I really love selling the magazine and being back at work. God and my faith have also helped me get through everything I was going through.
What are your plans for the future?
Jerry as a child in Seoul, South Korea. Photo provided by Jerry
I’m interested in moving to California or New Orleans. I’d love to be close to the ocean and get a boat to be able to fish. I enjoy fishing. I used to fish at the river, but I’ve never been fishing in the ocean. That would be so cool. I’ve never been to the beach. I’ve seen it on TV and in movies and things. That’s why I want to go.
What do you value? I just try to be a good friend for everybody. I just try to be the person who I am and no one else.
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Hoboscope by Mystic Milly
TAURUS This month, you will find that you are especially dexterous. Newfound skills such as knitting, calligraphy, and model building will play a big role in your future. You might even become ambidextrous and perfect some impossible chord progression on electric guitar. You could become one of the nation’s coveted 1%, not for your financial status, but for your equal skill at writing with both hands.
You’ve always been stuck in the middle, Libra, but this month you will feel extra split between the forces of good and evil, selfishness and altruism, pride and humility. I suggest in investing in a Magic 8 Ball to help you make any tough decisions this month.
Have you ever played metaphysical I Spy? Instead of looking for physical objects, you look for metaphysical objects like peace, sincerity, and love. Honestly, it’s extremely difficult to be the person guessing in a game of metaphysical I Spy. But frustration and suffering through a game of metaphysical I Spy builds strong character and helps cure warts.
GEMINI Start training for that marathon now. Tomorrow will be too late. You have weird ankles that will hurt without proper training. You should also get some arch support from that Dr. Scholl’s kiosk in Wal-Mart.
Your glycogen storage in your liver is low. I see you’ve been tampering with another low-carb diet. Enough with these fads. Store up on carbs. Did you know that strawberries are carbs? So are carrots. Fruits and vegetables are carbs people. Do not fear the carbs. Embrace them and give your liver the glycogen levels it deserves.
AQUARIUS I know I’ve been saying this for a while, but you REALLY ARE going to find the love of your life this month. I promise. Seriously. It’s going to be THE one. It’s going to be great. Are you excited? Cake tastings, mortgages, and eternal monogamy are in your future!
All your life you’ve delighted at the ease in which you find parking spots. It was a bragging right amongst friends—“Oh there’s Craig,” they would say, “the parking wizard.” You would smile softly, proudly. But this month, you will find yourself scouring parking lots for even the worst spot in the back under the tree with the bird poop. This will be a humbling experience with mild suffering that will, in turn, make you an even better parker.
PISCES Because of the orbit of Jupiter, fast food and red meats will give you gastrointestinal distress this month. You may have to spend a few extra cents on organic apples at that pretentious organic grocery store down the street, or plant your own garden in the backyard.
Does the disparity of social norms between guys and girls seem too much to bear? While there is a physiological difference between sexes, biological distinctions of nature are not indicative of much. Yes, society has perpetuated certain social customs, but don’t feel burdened or pressured to live within those boundaries. Break some social norms this month and flip society the genderqueer bird.
SCORPIO Go ahead and plan for doomsday. Stock up on Twinkies, build a bunker, and marvel in the fact that most grocery store items are processed in a way that makes them eternal. Face the facts; a can of soup will last longer than you in an apocalypse. The good news is that you have warning ahead of time to prepare! This is the end of the line, Scorpio, and you’re the only astrological sign I’m letting in on the secret. The universe has other plans for everyone else, but Scorpios better hunker down underground for a while. We’ll see you on New Earth.
Due to the location of Saturn and the position of your galaxy group, you will find yourself at odds with everyone you come in contact with this month. Despite this preemptive warning, you will be helpless in combatting your feelings of ill will. The only way to capitalize on this moody month is to pitch your sad story to a desperate reality TV producer. The imminent conflict in your everyday life will entertain others and give your cantankerous self a newfound purpose.
VIRGO You are skilled in subtle manipulation, Virgo. So subtle, in fact, that you might not even be aware of your talent. You might want to consider using your power to advance your own career! I would suggest becoming a Mary Kay or Pampered Chef consultant. You’ll reach the million-dollar earner’s circle in no time. You’ve got the skillz, Virgo. I support you and your deceptive lifestyle.
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