Exhibit 1.7.25

Stock Photography Review


So it’s been a long time since this blog dealt with stock photography on any regular basis, but occassionally someone still sends something along (like Maggi did here). Thanks to B. for today’s image which, let’s face it, is going to be used in some state-sponsored tourism campaign.


Too on the nose.


Heaven isn’t really north, stupid Alaska.


Futura? Really, Oregon?


Getting there.


Strange one to even try, frankly.


A little too subtle.


Perfect but I made that one up.


And there we go. Of course.


Comment / Posted in Advertising, States, Stock Photography

Exhibit 1.5.13


I tried to take the most cliched picture of rural decay I could. Do try to hum a John Cougar Mellencamp song while looking at it please.

1 Comment / Posted in Johns, States, Trucks

Exhibit 1.4.24

Review of the Plains States’ Shapes

Look, I don’t want to get into a big thing here about what is and is not a Plains state. These are the Plains states as far as this exercise is concerned. Does it make any sense that Iowa is one but Minnesota isn’t? No, no it doesn’t. And what about Eastern Colorado? Well, since Colorado pretends there’s no Eastern Colorado, we will too. But what is Eastern Wyoming if not the Plains? Why it’s a desolate dust and despair factory we’d all be better off without.

So in no particular order:


Okay, so Oklahoma is pretty cool looking. This brings us to our first and probably only real conclusion from this exercise: panhandles are cool. Unless they’re Florida’s. Then they’re the worst. But otherwise: cool.

Oklahoma also has the jagged lower edge which sort of makes it look like a whisky jug God broke and is using to fight off Texas. And by sort of I mean: this is happening.

South Dakota

The best thing about South Dakota is that little Minnesota tumor on the eastern border. I don’t think any of us would be surprised to wake up twenty years from now to look at a map and find the tumor had metastasized to cover most of the Black Hills.

I’m really not sure how in that metaphor Minnesota became cancer while South Dakota became an otherwise healthy body. There is nothing healthy about South Dakota except its appetite for the distasteful.

North Dakota

Or Kansas. Who the hell knows. Let’s just say that if this outline came up on a geography test, the answers would range from “Ontario” to “The capital of Oregon is Salem.”


I could talk about how Nebraska’s shape is the country’s best fusion of natural geography, history, and panhandle, but that would be to ignore that the greatest achievement of Nebraska’s shape is that it somehow connotes motion while the state itself remains stuck in 1938. And eastward motion at that.

I mean, it’s a great shape, but it sort of does look like the entire state is a 1992 Chevy Lumina minivan hoping to take a permanent vacation outside Virginia.


Nope, wait, this is Kansas. You can tell because if you go east enough you find some personality.

(As a Western Kansan, even I’m offended).

I know a guy who has a tattoo of Kansas on one arm and a tattoo of Oklahoma on the other (presumably to let everyone know he hasn’t so much lived places as he has lost a fight against luck) and the tattoo of Oklahoma is instantly recognizable. The tattoo of Kansas, however, was a hand spasm away from being Colorado. My thought is, if you need to add tiny wheat fields and tornadoes and Judy Garland to make your tattoo recognizable, you were probably better off just getting Danny Manning’s face. Which, by the way, would make for an excellent state itself:I say, we carve out this shape in the middle of Kansas, give the rest of the land away, and tell the Missouri River we’re not going to pushed around by its whims anymore.


This, actually, might just be Danny Manning’s face in profile. I don’t know. It’s just a good thing Kansas and Iowa don’t share a border because otherwise, we might have trouble. Danny Manning-related trouble.

Iowa is rightly proud of being the face in the Mississippi’s dumpy little person though as a child I always thought that person was probably Chef Boyardee. This didn’t dampen my enthusiasm any, just made me slightly disappointed when I moved to Iowa it wasn’t full of ravioli but fervent Ron Paul supporters.

Let’s face it though, Iowa is basically Ohio turned on its side and told to keep quiet unless it has something to say about John Wayne.

2 Comments / Posted in Plain Babies, Reviews, States

Exhibit 1.4.6


I found this shirt in Madison in anticipation of this week’s game against Nebraska, and I have to say, it’s sort of awesome. That it’s in Nebraska’s colors (only because Wisconsin shares them), that there’s something so linguistically strange about its chosen insult–its concern with ranking and history and that it attacks the state as a whole and not the football team or the university–well, I sort of want it. I wish it had a question mark at the end as if it, like, meant to start a conversation about Nebraska’s place in the country or maybe took more seriously its use of “ever” which confuses everything, but still, it’s a really idiosyncratic shirt which could only have sprung from a rivalry which is not and never will be real.

I love it.

I want Nebraska to answer with their own strange insults when these two teams meet again in the Big 10 Championship game:

2 Comments / Posted in Football, Nebraska, States

Exhibit 26.9

Tattoo Idea for Someone Else

It’s practical and colorful. Although I guess the problem is that it changes sometimes. O, wait, it never changes except for one state where it changes all the time.

Guess which state. Guess.

Yep, that one.

Comment / Posted in America, States, Tattoos

Exhibit 20.10

I Don’t Know

You told me about a place
where some of the others go
but when I asked you where it was
you did not know
so we found a different place
where the people confessed
this is the place
we were looking for initially
this might be true

Comment / Posted in Places, States, Tennessee