THE SEVEN WONDERS OF LONG BEACH: Every once in awhile, usually after a column about Jesus' wife or gun control, we get notes from readers who want us to stick to stuff like where can you get the best hamburger in Long Beach. That's the kind of correspondence that makes us feel like the Beach Boys, who go through all that trouble and put their career on the line to write the cutting-edge "Kokomo" in 1983, and still get people telling them to stick to "Surfer Girl" and "In My Room."
That's right. We're calling "Jesus' Wife" our "Kokomo."
Still, you have to give the people what they want, so today we're firing up another What's Hot! Democracy in Action feature, in which y'all tell us what you consider to be The Seven Wonders of Long Beach.
We were chatting with some members of our Action News Team on Tuesday and we declared that the Gerald Desmond Bridge Replacement Bridge is, when it's completed and less cumbersomely named, will be one of the wonders of Long Beach.
"Beating out, what?" sniped one of our more cynical colleagues. "The fountain at the duck pond at El Dorado Park?"
What's wrong with the fountain at the duck pond at El Dorado Park? That's got to be at least one of the Seven Wonders of El Dorado Park. It's certainly more dazzling than the build-your-own- gazebo gazebo at Councilwoman Gerrie Schipske's near-mythical Good Neighbor Park just down the street.
But, no, the El Dorado fountain probably wouldn't make the top seven citywide.
There is some nationally recognized architecture in town, examples of which could easily crack the localized Seven Wonders list.
Like it or not, the breakwater is a pretty remarkable (that is, wondrous) undertaking that has certainly achieved its purpose in protecting the fleet and ensuring that no mega-tankers have tipped over in the harbor after being savagely battered by a wave.
We've built harbors here, and airfields. We've done weird things like adding to the continent by bringing land in to cover the ocean. Seawater, in fact, still runs wild just below our suite of luxury offices at the Molina Center on Oceangate.
And what of our series of canals and bridges in Naples? Or Marine Stadium?
The Rainbow Pier, if it hadn't been done away with, would certainly be a wonder of Long Beach. Does the extant Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier inherit that spot now?
And we need to discuss the Queen Mary. It's certainly the city's icon-in-chief, but should it qualify as one of the city's seven wonders? After all, Long Beach didn't build it, we just bought it and had it towed in for our amusement. We could go either way, especially since we're the sole member of the Rules Committee. But on this subject we're going to take a Pilatean approach and just wash our hands of the situation and let the people decide the fate, wonders-listwise, of the Queen Mary.
In fact, we could unilaterally decide the entire list, and we'd enjoy doing that, but what fun would that be for you? You'd read it, vehemently disagree with it, call for our immediate termination or, at best, tell us to stick to easier matters, like gun control and "Surfin' USA."
The only rule that we are imposing is that your wonders be of the man-made variety. And even then you get a lot of wiggle room. Is a garden, for instance, man-made? Yes. While it's true that only God, or Mother Nature, or a Giant Faceless Corporation can make flowers and bushes, they tend to just scatter them all over the place. It takes a human to arrange them in a more symmetrical pattern. Plus, man does a better job with dependable irrigation. So, wide-open fields of wildflowers? Not an eligible wonder. Earl Burns Miller Japanese Garden at Cal State Long Beach? Eligible, plus koi!
Bike path at the beach? Eligible. Sand off to either side of the bike path at the beach? Ineligible. Horny Corner at Alamitos Bay? Dicey. Beautiful sunbathing god/goddess at Horny Corner? With our luck, ineligible.
We are confident you get the idea. Now all you have to do is ruminate on the wonders of Long Beach. You don't need to limit yourself to seven, though it would demonstrate admirable discipline if you would. Then, send them to us, with whatever remarks you'd like to throw in to shore up your case, along with your name and address.
Our favorite way to get them is by email, at firstname.lastname@example.org, but you can also send them in the way your grandparents used to send us stuff - Press-Telegram, 300 Oceangate, Suite 110, Long Beach, CA 90844.
Or, in a pinch, you can phone them in and make us transcribe your message - 562-499-1256.
However you wish to do it, we'll give you through the weekend to do your list, and we'll publish our findings some time next week.