Ever since the 1930s, Americans have sought to memorialize their achievements, both the ridiculous and the sublime, in secular temples of worship known as halls of fame. Today more than 200 such museums dot roadside landscapes, from baseball's illustrious Cooperstown to Fort Worths National Cowgirl Hall of Fame. But if their subject matter is diverse, the spirit behind the halls is the same - a celebration of American can-do attitude and enthusiasm.
Consider the hot dog. J. Frank Webster has. His Hot Dog Hall of Fame in Fairfield, Calif., boasts more than 2,500 frankfurter items, including the Lamborweenie, a dog on wheels that "Uncle Frank" hopes some day to race against the Oscar Meyer Weinermobile.
Across the country at the International Checker Hall of Fame in Petal, Miss., millionaire checker-champion Charles Walker presides world's largest checkerboard, challenging one and all to "king me" in his fiefdom of red and black.
Visiting all 200 august institutions would exhaust even the …