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Frankenmap is Now Complete!

Last summer I first noticed two things; Al Franken’s strange and wonderful parlor trick, and it’s fatal flaw.  It seems that Al Franken, when he was a child, was given by his parents a wooden map puzzle of the United States.  I was also given by my parents a wooden map puzzle of the United States.  That’s where the similarity between me and Al Franken ends.  Although I was left with a better than average sense of geography, and can still put the map together pretty quickly, Al Franken can actually draw the thing from memory.

Franken’s childhood map did not have separate pieces for Alaska and Hawaii.  Hawaii was just a series of painted dots, and Alaska was a square island off the coast of California, so Franken never included them in his map. I lamented this fact last summer, and apparently this omission was also noted by a Begich staffer who informed the Senator.  After a couple letters back and forth, one of which from Begich included a handy connect-the-dots guide, I am happy to tell you that both Alaska and Hawaii are now included on the famous Frankenmap.  Links to both letters HERE.








51 Responses to “Frankenmap is Now Complete!”
  1. pvazwindy says:

    August 16th, 2009 at 7:04 AM
    Samper – I’ll vote with you. While he does include the UP (unlike the MI Tourism commercial), it is pretty blobby. There’s no need for this. His 2 hands provide the perfect model of MI. Right hand, pointng up & palm facing him, is the LP. Left hand, pointing left & palm facing him, thumb sticking up, pinkie sticking down, is the UP. And Lake Superior is a wolf’s head, with Isle Royale the eye. (The things you learn growing up there). Now, who all knows the mnemonic for the Great Lakes?
    ********************************************************************************well lets see, how about HOMES

  2. leu2500 says:

    Oops, that should be left hand pointing Right.

  3. leu2500 says:

    Samper – I’ll vote with you. While he does include the UP (unlike the MI Tourism commercial), it is pretty blobby. There’s no need for this. His 2 hands provide the perfect model of MI. Right hand, pointng up & palm facing him, is the LP. Left hand, pointing left & palm facing him, thumb sticking up, pinkie sticking down, is the UP. And Lake Superior is a wolf’s head, with Isle Royale the eye. (The things you learn growing up there). Now, who all knows the mnemonic for the Great Lakes?

  4. Spaz says:

    That’s very impressive!

  5. Martha Unalaska Yard Sign says:

    @ redrabbit in Seattle

    Oh, I beg to differ that Sarah can draw her own house! It’s the simplest thing in the world – draw in a big ugly square frame with kind of ugly windows, and those are easy cause they are square, too and everything lines up just so, like legos. The hardest thing of all would be drawing all of those skeletons running between the closets, but if she can draw stick people, I’m sure she’ll figure it out.

  6. Gramiam says:

    I say pvazwindy is BLUFFIN’!! LOL! mental note…NEVER play poker with pvazwindy!

  7. redrabbit in Seattle says:

    Awesome! I dare airhead Sarah Palin to pull that off. She probably couldn’t even draw her own house.

  8. AKPetMom says:

    OT alert, but no on is around….
    AKM live on Shannyn’s show with shannyn….looking for people on chat but I’m only one there…..AKM and Shannyn on radio!

    So nice to hear their voices w/Steve Heimel!

  9. That just makes me giggle. I love the letter from Begich to Franken, and the drawing the now includes all 50 states.

    And I am totally amazed that he can do that – freehand, no less. I don’t think I could come close if I had the outline of the 48 to begin with. Amazing.

  10. Trini says:

    I heart Franken. I would be jealous of Minnesotans that they have him, but then I am reminded that they also have Bachmann! She might be able to draw a map of her district, but he can draw the entire country! He is really going to be an asset for Minnesota, instead of being an ass.

  11. Empish says:

    Never mind, she just posted.

    Steve Heimel will be guest hosting The Shannyn Moore Show tonight on Smart Radio AM 700 KBYR from 9pm-11pm EDT/6pm-8pm PDT/5pm-7pm ADT.

    Shannyn will be calling in with a live report from Netroots Nation!

  12. Empish says:

    Is Shannyn doing her show tonight or is someone sitting in for her? Anybody have info?

  13. Ryan H. says:

    And just think, some people say that our elected officials are completely useless.

  14. pvazwindy says:

    Samper @ 32, this is not hard to do. If you want I can even name the depth, of each one of them. I can give you a list of lakes that cause the most damage, from “ice jacking.” I find it easy to do, will you let me start with the coastal lakes first? Or will you try to stump me, by making me start with the inland lakes first? I mastered this feat one day while sitting atop the elevator bridge in Duluth.

  15. samper says:

    Leenie: LOL! 🙂

  16. samper says:

    Michigander: I STILL think that! LOL! 🙂

  17. samper says:

    Somehow, I remember a huge piece of plywood with a map drawn on it. It was up to us kids (the neighbors, me and my sister) to color in the states. It was a huge deal, but I don’t recall the origins…. the Neighbor Mom must have set it up for us.

    And for whichever BIG STINKY LIAR (pvazwindy, but not namin’ names! 🙂 !) above said she/he could name ALL the lakes and locations in MN, I CHALLENGE YOU!

    Isn’t MN the “Land of 10,000 Lakes”????? Come ON! You can name/locate TEN THOUSAND of them?????

    We are the Great Lake State and I bet I’d run out of names around 50! And we have ZILLIONS of inland ones, never mind the GREAT ones!!!!

  18. leenie17 says:

    Years ago when my sister joined the navy, she requested to go to Alaska after boot camp. She got orders for Hawaii instead.

    I teased her that, on most maps, the insets of the two states are next to each other so, when they couldn’t send her to Alaska, they figured Hawaii was right next door!

  19. michigander says:

    Martha UYS, Nice story! Us kids had a wooden puzzle with Alaska drawn on the upper left corner. I thought it was a yr. round frozen island until about 3rd grade (o:

  20. Martha Unalaska Yard Sign says:

    Frankenmap – from a kid growing up in the Pacific NW, with a mother who was Aleut and born/raised in Alaska – I remember asking some teachers where Alaska was on those maps they would pull down over the chalkboard. They were mostly clueless with the exception of one wonderful fourth grade teacher who had spent his early teaching years in Bush Alaska. He became my friend and favorite teacher because he knew a lot more about Alaska than the fact that it was so often left off our maps! Thank you Mr. Meeker, for teaching kids in a small town in OR that there really was an Alaska and what it was really like!

  21. michigander says:

    What a fun story – thanks AKM (o:

  22. WakeUpAmerica says:

    Impressive. Not to be petty, but, uh, “Al Franken Draws the United STATE of America” is perhaps a bit too hopeful that we could actually all get along.

  23. jojobo1 says:

    I bought my grandson one of those wooden maps and no they don’t show either Hi, or Alaska just the lower 48 and these were bought maybe5 0r 6 years ago so nothing much has changed. LOL

  24. Claw Washout Palin says:

    I still have a US puzzle. But I can’t draw the States. Maybe, Begich should invite Franken to Alaska. I think the 2 would get along very well.

  25. samper says:


    No one CARES about the poor representation of the Upper Peninsula of The Great State of Michigan?


    I think he’s awesomely cool, too, then, also there too. Don’t want to be left out in the admiration club!


    What oh WHAT will we do tonite? I’m betting Shanny won’t be doing her show.

    Chat on other stuff, I suppose?

  26. Bonnie says:

    Love that and did no one complain about the booing when TX was drawn? 😀

  27. slope_walker says:

    I’m with C.Rock — how cool that we have smart senators with a sense of humor. I only hope that they have a moral sense as well.

  28. honestyinGov says:

    For…. carol from Minnesota….. and other Pups up there..

    I mentioned on the Netroots thread late last night that when I Googled Netroots for stories I saw that the person running against Bachman (Tarryl ?) in the next election came to Netroots and spoke to some of the people attending. Hopefully she was able to get support from some of them and they will be helping her when the election comes up. Keep your eyes and ears open… you may be able to help in some small way.
    You might even email her in the next few weeks, tell Her you saw that she was at Netroots and ask how you can help. Maybe she has her own blog where you can post info. Contact Her though. Bachman has GOT TO GO!
    I am sure Sen. Franken will get involved as well when the time comes.

  29. overthemoon says:


    Given that many people decline themselves any artistic ability with the disclaimer “I can’t draw a straight line”, i’d say you’re well on your way to a career in the arts!!

  30. futurexpat? says:

    Very cool. I knew that he could do this, but this is the first time I’ve seen it.

    I’m content with being able to name each state on the map.

  31. NMJ says:

    Begich is a senator that I like more every time I hear of something new he does…like this letter! It’s so much more refreshing than the usual politician that I like less when I hear of the latest idiocy.

  32. penny says:

    A wee bit off topic, but please indulge me…

    Huffington Post is looking for the top 100 people using the new media to change the world. Please nominate our gal!

  33. Ashkee Colorado says:

    I can draw an outline of the State of Colorado. Yea!

  34. Polly says:

    Now Franken and Begich are real people I can identify with. Serious public servants who don’t let power get to their heads.

  35. pvazwindy says:

    And I can place all the lakes in Mn, geographically correct!

  36. teutonic13 says:

    Thank God it wasn’t Coleman. He reeks of old style, back room , good ole’ boy politics.

  37. zyggy says:

    Frankenmap is a great name for his maps. =)

  38. daMamma says:

    I can draw the outline of the United States, as well as AK and HI. I can even point to and name all the states on a map without the aid of each being a different color. I cannot draw them all, nor could I ever hope to do it like Sen. Franken.

    That is so cool!

  39. zyggy says:

    The map is great. I did read about the Begich letter last week, and thought it quite nice for Franken to add Alaska and Hawaii to his map.

  40. C.Rock says:

    Two Senators with a sense of humor . How cool is that .

  41. carol from Minnesota says:

    Yea ! Finally a good thing said about Minnesota in contrast to our infamous Sarah clone Michelle. How in the world did the great hopes for the women’s lib movement end in the cesspool with these two. It makes one nearly ashamed to be a woman, even a 70 year old one. I hope I live to see the day where these two terrible representatives of our fair sex no longer are inflicting their hate and ignorance on the people of the USA.

  42. leenie17 says:

    What a delightful addition to the Senate these two are proving to be. Smart, funny and a sharp contrast to the stuffy old codgers that we most often see in the news. And, while both of them seem to take their responsibilities very seriously and have already made important contributions, they don’t seem to take themselves seriously. Way to go, gentlemen!

  43. samper says:

    I like Franken. Not so much that he has a quick wit, but because he conducted himself with extraordinary PATIENCE and DIGNITY during the 6 month long recount in MN. I didn’t see a single arrow slung by his camp during the ridiculous appeals and counting over and OVER. There might have been some, but I didn’t see them.

    I love that he has this skill and that he was involved with the kids identifying the states.

    Now… the picture he drew. Never mind that he neglects AK and HI (I’ve lived in HI, and so therefore also too wish it was included as well as AK, where I now have so many friends). However, I fail to see the “masterful craft of the U.P. of MI.” It looks more like he just kind of threw a couple of lakes in for good measure.

    Those of you with REAL maps will note that our U.P. actually kind of looks like a bunny running. So we have the whole mitten thing going on PLUS the bunny thing. While I see a sort of fishie above WI, I see no running bunny above our mitten.

    I’m going to get Jenny (my Gov) to write a letter requesting he perfect his rendering of the “State that’s divided in two.” Maybe she’ll include some “Briefing Papers” to assist in the endeavor.


    As you were!

  44. overthemoon says:

    Oh how we need good laughs these days. That was a great letter and a better briefing paper!! Thanks!

    I have a funny feeling Franken is going to be one special Senator. Begich has wasted no time in making his mark, as well!

  45. LiladyNY says:

    Oh this is delicious! Al Franken and Mark Begich are good news in the Senate!

  46. peninparadise says:

    Huffington Post is looking for the top 100 people using the new media to change the world. Please nominate our our gal!

  47. DrChill says:


  48. Ben in SF says:

    I should be making maps rather than checking Mudflats this morning, but that’s an impressive video and I love the “important briefing paper.”

  49. pvazwindy says:

    I was the first to do this

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  1. […] Posted by Charles II on August 16, 2009 Mudflats has an amazing demonstration here. […]