Stinking Hunger Strike…

I’m on a hunger strike!  I have been on a hunger strike since yesterday.  The last time I actually ate anything was Sunday evening, and it is currently Tuesday evening.  I am approaching the 48-hour mark.  I felt a little light-headed last night. Tonight, I’m feeling okay.

Why, you may ask, am I on a hunger strike?  Well, I figure I’m going to do the hunger-strike thing until Nebraska quits sucking.  In other words, I’m going to starve to death.

Last year, about this time, I posted about my experiences with the wonderfully craptastic County of Scotts Bluff.  See, the county commissioners and the county assessor are in cahoots and regularly pull random property valuations out of their asses in order to charge more for property taxes for the abused residents of Scotts Bluff County.  Last year, my taxes inexplicably went up.  I filed a formal protest and appeared before the county commissioners.  I intelligently stated my case and was quickly talked-down to and brushed off.  I wrote a post about my experience last year.

Well, last year’s increase was like 2%.  I filed my protest, appeared before the commissioners, was shot down and humiliated, and wrote a blog post about my experience.  This year, the jackwads at the county decided to increase the value of my property by 6%.  SIX FREAKING PERCENT! How can they keep doing this?

They can keep doing this because they are government — and government sucks!  All forms of government suck, which is why I can’t understand liberals.  Liberals want more government.  Liberals think the government (through more taxation of those who work for what they have) should take care of those in need (those who don’t work for what they have).  Screw that noise!  I used to be a conservative… until along came Bush Jr.  Seems to me Bush Jr. talked a good conservative game, and his tax cuts seemed like the conservative thing to do… then he created all of these billions of dollars in debt with all of these stinking bail outs.  Bush Jr. was nothing more than a liberal in a Texan’s clothing.

All politicians suck.  Period.  There is not one person who is serving in politics who is doing it for 100% the right reasons.  Every politician alive is doing it for:

  • Money
  • Power
  • Influence
  • Personal agenda
  • Attaching his/her name to a legacy

People will disagree, but people are idiots.  There is not a politician alive who is serving for the good of all people.  There is not a politician alive who truly puts the best interest of whatever he/she is representing (country, state, city, county) based on his/her actions.  These jerkwads always have an agenda.  These jerkwads are always looking to help either themselves or help whatever constituent provided the most kickbacks.  I hate politicians.  And Scotts Bluff county commissioners are politicians.

So, let’s see, what new and great things are happening around Scotts Bluff County that would justify a 6% increase in my home’s value (and, of course, the obligatory tax increase associated with that hike):

  • New employers with great new high-paying jobs?  Hell no!  Walmart may be hiring…  The only people making good money are people in the medical field and trust-funders.  Even teaching is considered a good paying job in the craphandle.
  • New amenities?  Are you kidding?  I suspect the newest round of tax-gouging is just to maintain the infrastructure at its current level.  I guess there may be a new drug dealer in the trailer park in my neighborhood.  Drug dealers = idiot drivers looking to score = a not very safe neighborhood for my kids to play. Yeah, increase the valuation of my property based on that…
  • Strong existing economy?  I don’t think so.  Gering recently had a new grocery store open, which replaces the grocery store that Walmart drove out of town years ago.  I don’t know how long that new store in Gering will stay open, but if it were publicly traded, I wouldn’t buy its stock.  In just the last couple of months, our local bookstore (Copperfield) has gone out of business, as has a pottery store downtown (Create Away).  JC Penney recently announced they will be closing their store in our joke of a half-dead mall.  I know about businesses closing.  Closing businesses don’t seem to be the kind of indicator that point toward the kind of strong economy that would justify a 6% increase in a property’s value, does it?
  • The county figured out a way to block the wind, filter the allergens, get rid of the feedlot/sugar beet smells, or make the stinking old Germans drive faster?  Of course not.

The pile of crap that falls from some county administrator’s mouth and gets printed in the local newspaper is that we aren’t being hit as hard by the housing crash as the rest of the country.  We don’t have the big rises in real estate, and we don’t have the big crashes in real estate.


Yeah, I guess if my property value is increasing with me making no improvements to my property, it would be hard to say the market here is crashing.  Stupid Nebraska.

I know, I know… I should be happy that the value of my property is increasing.  A small part of me is happy.  The rest of me is afraid that (if the local economy continues to sucktastically slide, and my wages remain stagnant while the cost of everything — property taxes included — continues to rise) I will find myself in the near future not able to afford my stinking house.  That thought pisses me off beyond all comprehension.

So, I am not eating.  I am not eating as a way to protest the suckiness that is Nebraska. I am not eating to showcase my displeasure in the idiots who run stuff around here.  I figure I will probably make it about 2 to 3 weeks.  And I will happily die knowing that my tombstone will read:

Here Lies Adventurer Rich.

He Died Because Nebraska Sucked…

The Life Right Out of Him!

Oooh, what’s that smell?  Is that chocolate chip cookies?  Damn it, I think the wife made chocolate chip cookies!  She knows I’m on a hunger strike!  Can she not stand behind just one of my attempts to show my displeasure at life in Nebraska?!?  DAMN IT!!!


I’m gonna go get me a cookie.  Then, it’s off to McDonalds and its dollar menu… ’cause that’s what we have here for affordable fast food that allows me to STILL PAY MY FREAKING PROPERTY TAXES…

If the mood suits you...

Best McDonald’s Story EVER!

Okay, true story.  100% true.  I was going to wait to post it until after April Fool’s, but it’s just too good to not get out right away.

Yesterday, a coworker of mine comes back from lunch and has the most amazing McDonald’s story I’ve ever heard.  Actually, this is one of the most amazing customer service stories of all time!

The coworker’s name is… well, I don’t want to use his real name, so I’ll just call him Ron.  Ron goes to the drive through at the McDonald’s in Gering, NE to order a little lunch for himself… as is his wont  for lunch.  “Wont”… not “want” or “won’t”… look it up.  I’m all fancy-languaged and whatnot.  He orders his grub and is told to “Please pay at the first window.”

So, Ron drives to the first window.  Inside, he sees the middle-aged cashier-dude who informs Ron of the total due.  The dude appears to be of Hispanic decent.  I know that mentioning race seems a little silly, but it will have relevance a little further along in the story.  The cashier gives Ron his change.  I know, I know, this all seems pretty boring right?  We’ve all been through this same experience probably hundreds of times.  Typical McDonald’s experience.  Typical, until the cashier decides to go completely insane.

“I’ve always wanted to say this to someone before I quit,” says the cashier.  He looks Ron right in the eye.  “F$%k you, you fat white f$%*&r.  Don’t eat here.  Don’t bother telling my manager, ’cause I’m going to quit right now.”

Ron, stunned, watches the window close and then pulls forward.  Still in amazement, he is handed his food by another McDonald’s employee who closes her window before Ron has a chance to say “boo.”

Back at the office, Ron is finally laughing as he relays the story to the rest of us.  Ron has already gotten over it and thinks it’s funny.  Some of the other coworkers feel the same.  I, like with most things in life, get a little pissed off.

First, who is stupid enough to speak to a customer like that?  It’s not like this guy was some teenager who still has the reason of being young, immature, and ignorant.  The dude was just a middle-aged wash-out who is immature and ignorant.  Even if you are planning to quit, why would you talk to someone in that manner who has done absolutely nothing bad to you in any sort of way other than try to support the company that pays your wages?

Second, imagine if roles were reversed.  Imagine a white dude saying to a Hispanic person, “F#$k you, you fat brown f$%*&r.”  McDonald’s would be looking at a lawsuit like no other.  “Racism” and “hate crime” would be thrown around and the white dude would have to go live in the hills in Idaho for the rest of his adult life.  The cashier from this incident will probably just get another job at another fast food restaurant.

Third, what kind of middle-aged dude works as a cashier at McDonald’s?  And the fact that he said “I’ve always wanted to say this to someone before I quit” makes me think that he has had a sting of drive-through cashier jobs… all of which he’s quit.  I’m thinking this dude needs to knock over another convenience and land himself back in prison, which is apparently where he’s spent most of his life up to this point.  Can you think of any other reason a middle-aged dude would be working a string of fast food drive-through jobs… all of which he’s quit? Neither can I.

So I’m just steamed that this punk had the nerve to talk to someone like that, right?  I go home and I’m still all torked out of shape.  And then I really start thinking about it.  I’m almost ashamed to admit it, but other than the whole racist-aspect of the ordeal (the punk needs a little bitch-slap for that), I kind of respect the dude.  Here is this loser who is in a really crappy, dead-end job, and he goes out with a bang.  He gets off his chest something that has been building up probably forever.  I mean, I feel for poor Ron, ’cause he didn’t do anything but try to buy some lunch (and he really isn’t what I consider to be fat… although he is the whitest dude I know), but you have to hand it to the punk.  He did something that most of us only dream of doing… every waking hour of every day of our lives.  Good for him.

Now this middle-aged dude just needs to find a career where he can utilize his skills, where he can find peace, where he can fit in.  Like I already stated, knocking over a convenience store…

If the mood suits you...

CCCP… or Communist California Collectivism Patrol

I have lately been so wrapped up in harboring hard feelings towards citizens in my own backyard that certain national events have apparently passed me by.  I completely missed the fact that San Fransisco passed a law late last year that outlawed McDonald’s Happy Meals toys.   Seriously.   Outlawed them.  In an effort to reduce childhood obesity.  McDonald’s will be violating a law if they sell Happy Meals and offer a free toy if the meal has more than a certain amount of fat and calories and crap in San Fransisco and Santa Clara County.  And the really strange thing is that there are people who don’t see a problem with this.

I have never been much of a crusader for McDonald’s because… well… McDonald’s sucks… but how can anyone look at this law and not be slightly taken aback.  A government telling a business that it cannot offer as an incentive legal products in an effort to change consumer behavior.  I can only imagine what a conversation with one of the idiots who passed this law would be like:

Sane Person (SP):  So, you outlawed Happy Meal toys, huh?

California Moron (CM):  Yup!  We have to look out for our fellow man.

SP:  But, shouldn’t it be parents’ responsibility to chose if their kids get a Happy Meal or not.  And if McDonald’s wants to offer a “free” toy with each meal, what’s the big deal with that?

CM:  Childhood obesity is increasing at an alarming level in this country, and we in California are doing our part to put an end to this.

SP:  So, childhood obesity is the fault of McDonald’s alone?

CM:  Of course not.  We are in the process of enacting similar legislation to cover other foods that we feel are inherently dangerous to children.

SP:  Uh… like what?

CM:  Well, any sugary cereals that offer toys are just begging kids to get fat.  Parents aren’t smart enough to make nutritional decisions for their families, so the government needs to step in.

SP:  So, no more baking soda submarines with Cap’n Crunch, huh?

CM:  No, no toys with cereal.  Also, Cracker Jacks will have to do away with their nefarious “prizes”.

SP:  But I love those little tatoos…

CM:  Tough cookies.  Speaking of cookies, we will be outlawing those as well.

SP:  Cookies… really?

CM:  Yep.  Cookies and cake and pie and anything made with sugar.  In fact, we will be outlawing sugar.  Also, any processed foods.

SP:  Processed foods?  You mean, 95% of what a grocery store carries?

CM:  Processed foods, and also meat.

SP:  Meat?

CM:  Yes, meat.  It’s not good for you, so it will be illegal!  Same with most starches, you know, like potatoes and breads and rice and stuff.

SP:  … so… what exactly will people be allowed to eat?

CM:  Oh my goodness, there are all kinds of healthy things that people will be able to eat.  I have a whole list!

SP:  What exactly is on the list?

CM:  Well, for one, broccoli.

SP:  … you realize that broccoli tastes like butt…

CM:  Yes, broccoli tastes like butt, but it is good for you.

SP:  … I guess with a little cheese it’s not so bad…

CM:  NO CHEESE!  No dairy products.  Just broccoli.

SP:  What else is on your list?

CM:  Organic oatmeal.

SP… and?

CM:  That’s really about it.  Broccoli and organic oatmeal.  This is all you need to survive.  Think of how thin and healthy everyone will be… and how simple the food pyramid will become.  I always had trouble with that stupid food pyramid when I was in school.  The new pyramid will be so easy to remember!  Just broccoli and organic oatmeal.  I guess it will be more of a… well… just a line than a pyramid… but it will be easy!

And people in California wonder why the rest of the country looks at them like they escaped from a circus sideshow.  I guess this is what Hilary Clinton meant by “It Takes a Village”.  I guess this is also part of the reason why I despise Hilary Clinton.  Seriously, isn’t our stinking country liberal enough without the government trying to force us in our purchasing decisions?  If you want to outlaw fast food, that’s one thing.  But, if fast food is legal, and hundreds of thousands of teenagers use fast food restaurants as a miserable stepping stone to a disgruntled life of crappy jobs serving others, why take away the toys?  The toys are the best part of a Happy Meal.

You know, if you really want to get rid of childhood obesity, set even more specific guidelines on what can and cannot be purchased with food stamps.  Only the healthiest food for those most at risk for health problems.  Or, maybe force women in a certain income bracket to have their tubes tied after a certain number of children.  We all know that the poor cannot raise healthy children.  Of course, I’m being completely facetious; but, really, once the government starts getting involved in something, we all know how likely they are to back down.  It’s only a matter of time before we are all sterilized and forced to eat a diet of butt and cardboard broccoli and organic oatmeal.

If the mood suits you...

Why I Avoid Black Friday…

My wife has this crazy ritual of getting up well before the butt-crack of dawn on the Friday after Thanksgiving and, with her sister, heading out to various retail locations to fight mobs of people for a very limited amount of sale items. I love my wife, and I know she is muy inteligente almost all of the time… but this yearly ritual makes me doubt her sanity.  In fact, she and her sister sit down after Thanksgiving dinner and draw out a game plan (war plan?) for the following day’s shopping blitz.   They almost always gets what they were shopping for, and they always have interesting stories to relay to the men-folk (who are usually just crawling out of bed upon the return of the shoppers).

There was apparently some hot deal at Walmart that had people lined up all the way back into the laundry soap aisle.  Apparently, there was a pair of young couples who had the foresight to grab some folding chairs from  the “folding chair” aisle at Walmart, and these couples had set-up camp in the laundry soap aisle.  By “set up camp”, I mean they had their Walmart folding chairs strung across the aisle and their laps and the shelves beside them loaded with some McDonald’s fast food and other heart-healthy treats.  And, according to the wife, each couple had a baby with them, and each mother was breast-feeding her baby… right there in the laundry soap aisle… sitting on the Walmart folding chairs.

Of course, being a guy, I’m thinking to myself, “uh huh huh… breastfeeding… that’s cool.”










The wife, sensing the smirk on my face and the glazing of my eyes says, “Remember, this was in the laundry soap aisle at Walmart.”

“So, they weren’t hot?” I ask.

“Seriously… the laundry soap aisle at Walmart… what do you think.”










After clearing the image from my head, I let the wife continue with her story.  Apparently at 5am, the Walmart people cut the shrink wrap off of the “special item” and the laundry-soap aisle cleared quickly.  The trailer trash that had set-up camp in aisle seven left as quickly as everyone else… leaving behind an aisle and shelves filled with chairs from another department (for all other shoppers to navigate around), their uneaten fast-food remnants, and a bunch of trash.  Seriously, someone needed to yell at these trashtastic couples, “Really?!?… I have to watch your ugly kids suck on your ugly wives’ knockers, and now I have to move through your filth to make it down this aisle?”  This would probably have led to the trailer trash yelling obscenities (’cause that’s what trailer trash does) and the holiday season could have started with a real bang!  The amount of disrespect that certain people seem to exude at any given opportunity is one of the reasons that I do not venture out on the morning of Black Friday.

According to the wife, the shoppers at Walmart were actually quite pleasant this year.  The real jerks seemed to be the upper class shoppers at Menards.  Apparently the upper class isn’t used to having to venture out early on a Friday morning and deal with other shoppers en masse in attempt to complete their holiday shopping in an cost-effective manner.  Thanks, crappy economy 😀  I love it when the beginning of the Christmas season brings out the worst in people… which is what it’s all supposed to be about anyway, right?  Apparently the Menards shoppers were pretty careless with their carts full of appliances and… bean bag chairs (I don’t know what marketing genius came up with the grand idea of  having a Black Friday special on some stupid 70’s relic that easily can load up a shopping cart and make it very difficult to see where one is going when one is loaded up on them, but he/she should maybe find something else to do career-wise).  A bunch of pissed-off people pushy around carts full of crap and not being able to see (nor apparently caring) where they are going… sounds like fun, huh?  Yeah, if I had been there and some inconsiderate boob had banged me with his/her cart, there would have been a tipped over cart flying down an aisle and a string of obscenities flying from my lips (’cause I’m kinda trailer trash like that 😀 )

People, in general, tend to suck.  I’m pretty sure that many of the really sucky ones come out early on Black Friday morning… so I find it’s best just to avoid it.

If the mood suits you...

“Deadwood”… or “Where Not to Eat While in South Dakota! Part 1”

Okay… I’m gonna be completely upfront and honest about my idea of a vacation.  When I travel on business or pleasure (and the wife feels almost as strongly about this as I do), my one rule is that I do not eat at any place that I can eat at in the Craphandle of Nebraska.  Even if the kids are screaming bloody murder ’cause they are “starving”, we will not stop at McDonald’s while on the road.  If our only choice is between Applebees and the scary looking place with all the Harley’s parked outside and the two fat dudes with leather vests and ZZ Top beards duking it out in the parking lot… well, I’ve discovered that drunk bikers will usually leave you alone if you’ve got kids… and you don’t touch their bikes nor look them in the eyes.  At least 50% of the fun of a vacation is trying new places to eat!

Eating at new places is an adventure of a sort.  There is little chance you can be hurt by trying a new place to eat (as long as you keep your eyes off the biker’s babe… no matter how short her shorts are, or how low-cut her t-shirt is…) and the potential reward is humongous.  You may just discover a favorite place that will become a necessary stop every time you visit a certain local.

The wife and I just celebrated an anniversary, and we spent the weekend in the Black Hills of South Dakota.  We love the Black Hills, but on our few visits over the past 12 years or so, we have had kids in tow.  When you have kids in tow, your sense of adventure is diminished by the fact that you have to go somewhere that serves something that the kids will actually eat.   TGI Fridays, Burger King, Red Lobster, Olive Garden… these are the kinds of places you are stuck going when you travel with kids.  These places all are not available in the Craphandle, and they all have kids menus.  Thus, the wife and I decided we were not going to go anyplace that we would have chosen had the kids been with us.  We were so excited!

For our anniversary, the wife and I usually go to the Estes Park, CO area.  Estes Park has all kinds of cool places to eat and all kinds of fun things to do… and if you tire of Estes Park, you can always go on an excursion to Boulder or Longmont or even into Denver for restaurants and excitement.  We usually stay at a little place right outside of Lyons, CO called Shelly’s Cottages .  Shelly’s cottages is an awesomely romantic place to stay.  They are like rustic little apartments right on the St. Vrain river.  If you go in the fall, you can pick apples and pears right off the trees growing by the river.  If you get one of the cottages with a hot tub (which I highly recommend), you can sit in the hot tub and (if the time of year is right) bask in the warm water as snow gently floats around you.  Awesome!  However, we thought that this year, we would try something new.

Because we really like the Black Hills, and because we really like the hot tub/cottage vibe of Shelly’s Cottages, we looked for a place like Shelly’s in the Black Hills.

Enter Legends .

Legends is AWESOME!  We stayed in the Lakota Suite, and to say the decoration was radical would be a major understatement.  This cabin was all hardwood, from the floors to the vaulted ceilings.  We could actually smell the wood when we walked in.  The Native American decor was really cool and… was… everywhere.  In fact, there was Native American music playing on the CD player when we arrived.  I could go on and on… but that would detract from the fact that I wanted to write about how much food in Deadwood sucked!

Although Legends has a Sturgis address, it is way closer to Deadwood than it is Sturgis. Our check-in wasn’t until 2 pm, so we thought we would stop at one of the casinos for lunch before checking in.  One of the great things about Deadwood is how they get your money at every opportunity.  Parking anywhere near any of the casinos costs money.  As we were driving down the main street, we noticed that Tin Lizzie had free parking… for their guests.  Well, we weren’t going to be forced to spend our money at a place just to get free parking!  So, we drove all the way to the other end of town into a residential area.  We parked in the first free parking spot we could find, and we proceeded to hike.  We walked and walked and walked, popping into every casino that had a restaurant, in an attempt to find something that sounded good.  After like an hour, we found ourselves standing outside Tin Lizzie… and we were “starving”… so we went in to have lunch.  Hindsight, huh?

So we go in and the lady at the food counter tells us that the special of the day is the shrimp dinner.  That sounds great and all, but the shrimp dinner comes with baked potato and I’m kinda craving fries, so I order the shrimp basket (which is the same thing but it comes with fries).  The wife orders the same.  We sit and wait and finally the little light-up-thingamajig that they gave us goes off and I go get the plates.

After I sit back down, the wife says, “Didn’t you order a basket?”

Sure enough, where the fries should be sitting is resting a baked potato.  Damn it!  I get up and start toward the order counter to get my fries.  I am not going to let our anniversary weekend start like this!

Directly in front of me, I see a severely overweight lady of about 30 in a moo moo walking with a cane.  She is with an older lady who looks very similar to her.  The two are obviously sisters or mother and daughter.

“What’s that over there?” the older lady asks of the young gimp in the moo moo, pointing at the salad bar.

“That’s the salad bar,” says the gimp

The older lady looks at the gimp, confused, and asks again, “What’s that over there?”

“It’s the salad bar!” screams the gimp.  “Put in your f#%&ing hearing aid, you stupid b#@ch!”

I immediately turn around and sit back down with the wife.  “Baked potato sounds kinda good,” I conclude.

After we finish our shrimp dinners with the stinking baked potatoes, we are forced to walk by the hearing impaired lady and her very disrespectful gimp-sister/daughter/gay lover or whatever.  I happen to catch part of the  conversation going on between the gimp and the unfortunate lady that chose to sit at the booth beside her.

“Yeah, I spent some time working at the Hampton Inn,” says the gimp.

“Oh, and how are things going over there?”  Asks the other lady, and you can tell by the meek way that she asks it that she really is looking for the conversation to end.

“Wouldn’t know,” says the gimp.  “The son of a b#@chs wouldn’t let me come back after my fifth surgery.  I’m gonna sue the s%*t out of them b%#*@$ds!”

As we were leaving Tin Lizzie, I came to the realization how much of a resemblance there is between a casino and Walmart.  Needless to say, this was actually the best meal we had in Deadwood.

So the wife and I go and check out our awesome cabin up in the hills.  We are so impressed with the cabin that lunch is soon forgotten.  The owners of Legends leave all kinds of personal little notes all over the cabin in a welcomed attempt to make your stay more enjoyable.  In one of their notes, they make some recommendations of local restaurants.  The place that they point out as their favorite is a place the wife remembers seeing very positive reviews of online before we left.  It is called Deadwood Thyme Cafe and Bistro, and we suddenly know where we are going for supper.  Now, all of the reviews that the wife remembers reading were for breakfast and lunch; and even on the menu that is in the binder of menus of local restaurants in our cabin, there is no mention of dinner.  But, hey, we figure if the place is that popular for breakfast and lunch, they have to serve a killer supper, right?

A sign by Thyme states that there is parking in back, ’cause there definitely ain’t no parking in front.  We drive around back… and find parking meters at every parking spot.  Crap!  So, we fork over some change to park, and I’m already thinking, “This had better be good.”

We walk in and the waitress… the only waitress in the entire place… brings us our menu.  The menu is on one side of one piece of paper.  Every meal on the menu is around $20, and most of it looks like fancy crap that is not going to fill a guy up.  The waitress tells us of the special, which is a New York strip with starch and vegetable for $19.  The wife orders the special, and so do I.  Turns out that starch means either rice or broiled potato… no fries.  Damn it!  We both order the potato.  The meal doesn’t come with any soup or salad… those are extra.

The wife ordered a Sprite, to which the waitress says, “Uh, we don’t have Sprite.  Would you like a… (and this is the point where one would expect the waitress to say something like ‘Sierra Mist’ or maybe ‘7-Up’, but instead she comes back with)… lemonade?”

“Uh… I guess that would be fine,” says the wife.

I order an iced tea and the waitress is off to fulfill her duty of waiting.  The waitress pops her head out of the kitchen and says to me, “Uh, it appears that we are out of iced tea.  Would you like some hot tea, or perhaps some coffee?”

“Uh, how about a Coke?”

“Fine, coming right up,” smiles the waitress.

So she brings out the lemonade for the wife and she brings me… a very expensive looking glass bottle of Coke.  Apparently no fries… and free refills on the cola are out.  Crap!

“Heh heh, make sure you keep that water coming,” I smile.  I don’t think the waitress heard me, or if she did, she wasn’t amused.

As we are waiting for our food, the place starts to fill up.  Of course, right next to us, they seat a young couple… and that young couple’s three toddlers!  We drive for over four hours for a relaxing weekend away from our kids to spend an expensive evening next to someone else’s noisy, can’t-sit-still kids.  C’mon!  At least we like our kids!  At least I’ve already seen the menu, and I know there isn’t a kids meal in sight.  The yuppies are going to be forking over some major cash to feed the toddlers.  Sometimes, life can be a little sweet!

Our food arrived.  I wish there was a way to de-emphasize the typed word… you know, like how you can emphasize a word by italicizing it.  If such a de-emphasis existed, I would have definitely used it when I typed “Our food arrived”.  A few thin slices of carrot, four or five very small chunks of potato, and a small steak that appears to be at least 1/5 fat.

“You’ve got to be kidding,” I say to the wife.  She just starts to laugh.  “What’s so funny?”

“This whole thing is funny,” she laughs even harder.  She is having a hell of a time cutting through her New York Strip. I try to cut mine and see exactly where she is coming from.  It’s like trying to cut a rope in half with a butter knife.  “Maybe we just need sharper knifes.”  She takes a bite and chews… and chews and chews and chews.  By now we are both laughing and chewing and laughing and chewing.

“No, I don’t think it’s the knifes,” I say.  “I think they served the wrong part of the cow.  I don’t believe a New York Strip is usually cut from the hide.”

I take a bite of potato.

“Tastes like cardboard,” I say, and the wife laughs all the harder.

“The carrots are good” says the wife, and she’s right.  Best thing on the plate is the stinking vegetables… you know, the thing you usually don’t eat when you get a steak dinner… and there are only four or five thin slices.

I hear a grunt come from the yuppie table next door and I see the young wife, near tears, attempting to cut up a steak to divide amongst her toddlers.  The husband is working on his own steak, his face red, beads of sweat on his brow.  The kids are relatively quiet.  They look hungry.

“Here, you work on this for awhile,” says the yuppie wife as she shoves the partially shredded steak-on-a-plate at her husband.

The husband mumbles something under his breath and starts working on the children’s steak, as the smallest of the three children, crying, says quietly to the mother, “I’m hungry, Mommy.”

My wife and I look at each other and we stop laughing.  We both realize that if we distract the young parents from the cutting of their children’s food, a child may die.  This steak is the kind of steak that your parents warned you about when they said, “You might choke on this if you don’t chew it all the way.”  Well, there ain’t no chewing this crap all the way to anywhere, so the wife and I stop the laughing and let the yuppies concentrate.  Quiet weekend away from kids or not, no one wants to see a child choke on cowhide.

When the waitress comes and asks us if we are interested in desert, we start the laughing all over again.  The waitress, somewhat confused, walks away.  I notice the yuppies again.  The young wife is weeping openly, the husband has his head in his arms on the table, and all three hungry children are crying.  My wife and I stop laughing and leave.

Before going back to the cabin, we decide to get some snacks.  We’re both still hungry as hell and know we won’t make it ’til morning on what we just ate.  Just a couple of warnings to you if you ever decide to go to Deadwood:

1.  Deadwood does not have a grocery store.

2. Expensive convenience stores in Deadwood close at 10:00 pm… at least on a Friday night… and even though many of the casinos are open 24 hours a day, aside from the casinos, there is no where in Deadwood to get food after 10:00 pm.

We ended up driving to Lead a few miles away to find an Exxon at which to grab a couple of bags of chips and some pop.  Like $30 later, we went back to the cabin.

This is only the first day of our adventure.  Day two actually went much better… and I have a couple of really cool places to recommend for you to eat in Rapid City… but this post is already way too long to hold the interest of the average reader, so I’m calling it quits for today.  Consider this “Part 1”.  “Part 2” will follow shortly 🙂

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Happy New Year!

What did you do for New Year’s Eve?  Did you party?  Did you make some resolutions that you will never keep?  Did you check out the blue moon?  Did you even stay up until midnight to watch the new year come rolling in?  I’m going to share with you how I spent part of my New Year’s Eve.

I had to work for part of the day.  Our office closed early (1pm) and it was a pretty uneventful morning.  We did a little potluck at work amongst those of us who actually worked and I made Cincinnati chili.  Never heard of Cincinnati chili?  Neither had I until I came across the recipe in the local newspaper.  Sounded interesting.  Tried it, liked it, will probably have it again.  Anyway, the potluck was a success.

After work, me and the family went shopping.  We were getting some munchies for our little New Year’s celebration and some seafood for the Cajun boil we were having New Year’s day.  Well, we decided to avoid Walmart because, well, Walmart sucks.  On a normal day, Walmart sucks.  On New Year’s Eve day I imagine Walmart super-sucks, so we went to Family Thrift (which is a Nash Finch grocery store… and Nash Finch sucks too, but they usually have decent seafood.)

Anyway, so we go to Family Thrift and we suddenly realize that, as much as Walmart sucks, Walmart really does have the lowest prices.  Family Thrift just kind of sucks, but Family Thrift is sooo overpriced that it’s not even close to funny.  So, we’re walking around picking up crap that is like twice as expensive as it would be at Walmart when we get to the seafood counter.

Now, usually for the Cajun boil, we get shrimp and snow crab (along with the corn, sausage and potatos.)  It just so happens that Family Thrift is out of shrimp and snow crab.  So, we check out the king crab.

The lady working behind the counter says, “The king crab is on sale for $15.99 per pound.”  We really don’t want to spend $15.99 per pound for much of anything, so I happen to notice a little freezer with prepackaged crab in it.  “That’s king crab bits and pieces,” says the counter lady.

Now, I don’t know exactly what “bits and pieces” means, but I do know that the “bits and pieces” are about half the price of the stuff behind the counter.  For some reason, this difference in pricing makes me mad.  I know this sounds stupid, and it probably is, but the “bits and pieces” look about the same as the stuff behind the counter yet there is a drastic difference in price… and I smell some stupid marketing ploy… and stupid marketing ploys tick me off.

“Why would we pay twice as much for the non-bits-and-pieces stuff,” I practically yell at the wife.  Now, it’s not the wife’s fault by any stretch of the imagination, but I’m really yelling at the lady behind the counter indirectly by yelling at my wife directly… it’s a beta male thing and the wife, God bless her, is used to it and takes no offense.

Now, the point I’m making is that we’re gonna buy the bits and pieces because buying the $15.99 crap would be stupid.  The lady behind the counter seems to think I’m looking for a deal.

“I’ll tell you what,” the counter lady says, “I’ll let you have the king crab for $15.99 per pound, but that’s as low as I can go.”  She is dead serious.

The lady behind the counter seems to think I’m looking for a deal… and semi-retarded.  I don’t even bother looking at the counter lady.  I don’t want to know if she really thinks I’m stupid enough to fall for the fact that she is offering me a “deal” price that is the same as the sale price she quoted to me only moments earlier.  I don’t want to know if she is offended at the fact that I indirectly yelled at her by directly yelling at the wife.  I just want to pay for the overpriced crap we have in our cart and I want to go home.

So, we check out, get to the car, and start for home.  Now, the wife has this brilliant idea to pick up some McDonald’s for supper.  That’s right… New Year’s Eve and me and the family are having McDonald’s for supper.  You can’t live in Nebraska and not have at least a touch of trailer trash running through your veins.

“Alright,” I think to myself, “at least it will be quick.  Yep, a couple of minutes in the drive-thru and we’ll be on our way.”

We place our order, pay at the first window, and proceed to the second window to pick up our order.  A total of about 60 seconds have passed.  So, we’re sitting and waiting and excited to start our night of board games and snacking (yeah… we’re party animals.)  A couple of minutes go by and I’m starting to get a bit upset.  The adolescent people working on the other side of the sliding window won’t even make eye contact.  What’s taking so long.  This is “fast food,”  for crying out loud.  Finally, the zit-faced teenage girl who should be handing us our food opens the little sliding window and says, “Uh, your order isn’t, like, ready… so could you, like,  pull forward and we’ll, like, bring it to you or something?”

“Uh… ok,” I say.  How could some fast food be not ready?  Isn’t the purpose of fast food to be ready?  I pull forward and am getting pretty hot under the collar.

“How can it not be ready,” I yell at my wife.

“I don’t know,” she smiles.

“What the hell,” I yell.  “Do they need me to go in there and make it myself?”

“I don’t know,” she smiles.

We sit out there for almost 15 minutes.  Meanwhile, cars behind us are pulling up to that stupid window, getting their food, and driving around us.

“What in the hell are they ordering that is so much faster than our order,” I yell at the wife.

“I don’t know,” she smiles.

Finally, some skinny teenage boy comes rushing out the door of the restaurant with our order out in front of him.

“Here you are, Sir,” says the boy, his voice crackling and I can’t tell if it’s because he’s nervous or if it’s just because he’s a teenage boy.  “Sorry for the wait.”

By this point I can’t even look at the boy ’cause I’m so upset.  I’m afraid if I look at him I’m gonna start yelling at the wife again… and she’s had enough for one day.

“Uh… ok,” I say to the boy, take the food, and drive away.  I’m so ticked, I don’t say anything the whole way home.  When we finally get to the house, we head to the dining room to dig into our McDonald’s feast.

After getting my part of the order out in front of me, I ask, “Can someone pass some ketchup?”

“Looks like we didn’t get any ketchup,” says the wife.  “I’ll go to the kitchen and get some.”

I can feel my face turning red.  I am on the brink of really letting the wife have it when I think better of it.  It is, after all,  New Year’s Eve.  Instead of yelling or cursing, I begin to weep.  My salty tears fall silently on the fries in front of me and are every bit as good as ketchup… or so I tell myself.

That is how I spent my New Year’s Eve.  I have spent all time since then doing everything I possibly can to avoid contact with the outside world which seems hell-bent on driving me insane.

Happy New Year!

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Stinking McDonalds:)

I remember growing up in a small Montana town.  I remember a small Montana town without a McDonald’s.  I remember, on any trip that my family took, eating out at McDonald’s and a trip to McDonald’s being an exquisite experience!  We would each order two fat-encrusted hamburger patties slathered in mounds of special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles and onions served on a whimsical sesame seed-encrusted bun and enclosed in magic Styrofoam castles!  With this magical burger, inside the “to go” sack that contained the wonderful burgers and their irresistible deep-fat fried french fry counterparts, rested a seemingly-endless pile of small packets of ketchup!  A fry not covered in a conspicuous covering of the wondrous tomato-sugar mixture was not worthy of finding its way to your mouth.  I remember that, after a trip to McDonald’s, my mom would not purchase ketchup for several weeks because we would rely on the small packets of  ketchup from McDonald’s to provide our ketchup needs for several weeks after a visit to the restaurant chain 🙂

Flash forward to the year 2009.  You are going through the drive-through at your local McDonald’s is an effort to provide sustenance for your body in an extremely rushed environment.  You order a burger and fries and, most likely, some form of liquid refreshment.  You pay at the first window in a clinical manner not reminiscent of your youth… you pull up at the second window and are hurriedly handed a grease-spotted bag containing the magical food-items ordered a few moments previously at the large order-stand at the back of your local restaurant… you drive away in a rush to get home and enjoy this meal in a friendly environment.  Often, you will reach your hand inside the warm, moist bag to pull forth a limp fry.  This fry will make it to your mouth… and, even more satisfying, your stomach… and in the front of your mind you are thinking about how good that burger will taste when you get home… and how good that piece of deep-fried potato will be with a little KETCHUP!!!  And then you get home and… guess what… you forgot to ask for the STINKING KETCHUP… SO YOU HAVE NO STINKING KETCHUP!!!

Oh sure, you may have some ketchup in the fridge, but that just isn’t the same.  The ketchup in the fridge is cold, and you had to purchase it seperate from the McDonald’s food… and purchased cold ketchup just doesn’t seem to go quite right with fast food.  You need those little packets of ketchup that have been heated by resting against the heat-lamp-warmed food in the greasy bag on the ride home.

You can’t tell me that McDonald’s doesn’t take into account the cost of ketchup when they price their products!  They budget a certain amount of those little bags for each customer for each purchase.  So, when you go to McDonald’s and forget to ask for the ketchup, they are literally RIPPING YOU OFF!  When you consider that there are even some freaks out there who do not partake of the ketchup while enjoying their fries, then you really start to get enraged.  There are people who don’t take full advantage of what they are paying for and yet the staff at McDonald’s is still now being trained to not give me my stinking ketchup unless I ask for it?!?  What’s next… the drink that comes with the “value” meal?  You get home and realize they didn’t give you your Diet Coke (’cause we all know that a McDonald’s meal is a healthy choice as long as you order a Diet Coke).  You will have to turn around and go back to the restaurant.  Can’t you hear the response already:

“Well, you didn’t ask for it, so I didn’t think you wanted it.”

Ok, so let’s say you aren’t brain-dead like me and you actually remember to ask for the ketchup at the drive-through window.  They don’t ask you how much you would like; instead, they look and rummage around for a good 20 – 30 seconds (as if no one ever asks for ketchup and you have just interrupted the magical flow that makes fast food fast).  When they finally find the hidden vault of the nightshade-delight, they reach in and grab what looks like a large handful of the wonderous packets.  They shove them in the bag (in an apparent attempt to wedge as many of them as possible in between the actual fries) and throw the bag in your general direction.  Apparently asking for ketchup makes you somewhat of a nuisance.  The really strange thing is, when you finally get home, you discover that large handful of packets that appeared to be placed into your bag is actually only four packets.  Four (4) packets!  Four packets is not enough to get me through a small bag of fries let alone the super-sized version that I let the fancy graphics on the stinking drive-through order-stand talk me into!  You would think the amount of time and money that McDonald’s apparently spends on training its employees the make-it-look-like-a-handful-while-only-grabbing-four-bags technique could be better utilized by, oh, I don’t know… GIVING US AN ACTUAL HANDFUL!?!

I blame my addiction… er… normal, healthy attachment to ketchup on McDonalds!  They are like the drug dealer that used to hook you up with the crank for free, until you got addicted, and now expect you to pay for it.  Ok, they really aren’t like a drug dealer selling crank… maybe more like sex and marriage.  At first, you get as much as you want, so you become quite fond of it.  Over the years, you get less and less until it gets to a point where you actually have to beg for it… or so I’ve been told by people in less-than-perfect marriages unlike my own marriage which has been, as of tommorrow, 15 years of perfection!  Yes, my wife reads my blog 🙂

At McDonald’s, the staff has no problem asking if you would like to purchase anything else before the transaction is completed; the correct thing to do would be to ask if you would like ketchup with those fries.  After all… one way or another… you’ve already paid for it!

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State Slogans: for the most part, craptastic

Ok, I planned on this post being a gripe-fest on western Nebraska (if you’ve even passed through here and think it sucks, try living here), but part of my research (yes, I’m an idiot and have already run out of fresh ideas so now I actually have to research ideas to blog about) led me to the Wikipedia listing of state slogans. I was immediately struck at how absolutely ridiculous many of these state slogans are.  Some of the slogans are simple, some are somewhat profound, but many of them are misleading marketing ploys that people with half a brain will find absolutely and astronomically ignoramical (is that even a word?… nope, just Googled it and it is most definitely not a word, but I’m leaving it because I think you get my drift).

Following is a list of the U.S. states and their slogans, as well as my observations on those slogans.  Take my observations for what they are worth, and they are worth about the same as the price of admission to this blog.  Since this is a blog and not a term paper, I am not going to reference or footnote or anything like that; Wikipedia took care of that and for the anal among you, go to Wikipedia for references.

  1. Alabama:
    • Share the wonder; “Share the wonder”… not bad; not overly original, but it’s simple and it’s catchy.
    • Alabama the Beautiful; “Alabama the beautiful” was just some ad dude being lazy.  “If people like ‘America the Beautiful’… well… Alabama can be beautiful too!”
    • Where America finds its voice.  Alabama.; This is just silly.  What “voice” is exactly found in Alabama?    Other than the country music group Alabama, I can’t think of anything famous voice-wise  about Alabama.  If the state of Alabama wanted to try to ride the weathered and worn coattails of the musical group Alabama, the state would have been better off going with “Dixieland Delight.
  2. Alaska:
    • Beyond Your Dreams, Within Your Reach; The folks in Alaska have their stuff figured out.  When I read Alaska’s slogan, I think of beautiful wild country which it would be very possible for me to visit; it makes me want to visit.
  3. Arizona:
    • The Grand Canyon State; Like the bright people in Alaska, the folks in Arizona know how to keep it simple. Everyone has heard of the Grand Canyon, the Grand Canyon is in Arizona, so capitalize on your states biggest attraction. Much smarter than, say, “The John McCain State.”
  4. Arkansas:
    • The Natural State; Yeah, ’cause we all know that the rest of the states are artificial.
    • (formerly) Land of Opportunity;  Ok, one of the poorest states in the Union full of rednecks, Walmart corporate offices and Bill Clinton libraries.  Opportunities?!?  Guess “The Natural State” isn’t so bad after all.
  5. California:
    • Find Yourself Here; Lower your communist-style taxes and de-liberalize about 73% and the majority of normal Americans may consider paying your freaky, circus-like state a visit.
  6. Colorado:
    • Colorful Colorado; This slogan is way more boring than it is colorful.
    • Enter a Higher State; … especially if you spend a little time around the potheads in Boulder.
    • Pike’s Peak or Bust; This was used from 1858-1861… why it is listed as a slogan on Wikipedia is beyond me… although it is better than any of Colorado’s current slogans.
    • Rocky Mountain High; Think “Enter a Higher State”… but toking with John Denver’s spirit.
    • Where the Columbines Grow; If you think of what I think of when you put together Columbine and Colorado… not really something you would think Coloradans would want associated with tourism, is it?!?
  7. Connecticut:
    • Full of Surprises; Yeah, Adolph Hitler was full of surprises, too, and I wouldn’t have wanted to vacation with him.  I think Connecticut needs to be more specific.
    • (formerly) Better yet, Connecticut; Seriously, that doesn’t even really rhyme, does it?  Apparently who ever thought up this gem spent a little too much time with John Denver in Boulder.  Connecticut really is full of surprises.
  8. Delaware:
    • It’s Good Being First (Delaware was first state to ratify the Constitution); The portion in parentheses isn’t actually part of the slogan… but it probably should be since no one outside of Delaware probably gets it.
    • (formerly) Small Wonder; Uh… in a “size matters” society, trying to go opposite of the blowhards in Texas probably isn’t too bright.
    • (formerly) Smaller, Faster, Smarter; I understand the preoccupation with the size thing, but how can a piece of land (and a small piece of land at that) be fast and smart?  And does saying that your state is faster and smarter than another person’s state really make that other person want to visit your gloating LITTLE state?
  9. District of Columbia:
    • The American Experience; Seriously, is there a single person on the face of this great country of ours (who does not work for the government) that believes that the true American experience is in any way, shape or form displayed in even the most minuscule way in DC?!?
    • Taxation without Representation; They ADMIT it!!!  They ADMIT it!!!  It’s on their stinking LICENSE PLATES! Although this slogan is meant to pertain to the voting rights of residents of DC, I think it pretty much sums up what happens in DC that affects the nation as a whole! Guess it’s about time for Congress to give themselves another raise.
    • (formerly) Celebrate & Discover; There should be nothing “former” about this.  DC is a place to discover our history and celebrate our nation.  DC should have left a good thing alone.
  10. Florida:
    • Sunshine State; Yeah, Florida has sunshine. It also has loads of old people waiting for their suns to set.
    • (formerly) The Land of Good Living; Apparently all of the old people sucking up the social security dollars down there in Florida took away the “good living,” but they didn’t phase the sunshine.
  11. Georgia:
    • Georgia on My Mind; Well, if you aren’t original… see if anyone has written a song about your state and just go with that; it looks to the outside world like you are incredibly lazy but you are most likely too busy trying to put spray cheese on your Chicken in a Biskit to worry about what those stupid Yanks think.
  12. Hawaii:
    • The Island of Aloha; Most people know that “aloha” is a greeting in Hawaii, so this slogan hits the mark; it’s simple and it conveys something unique to Hawaii. Apparently a state has to be disconnected from the lower 48 to get the slogan-thing right like Hawaii, Alaska… and, uh… Arizona?
  13. Idaho:
    • Great Potatoes. Tasty Destinations. ; Uh… I didn’t know Idaho was known for its cuisine. “Tasty Destinations”? I know Idaho has the whole “potato” thing going for it, but is that really the only thing you got going for you tourism-wise? I love a good potato as much as the next guy, but when I think of potatoes having something to do with a travel… for some reason I think of traveling Irish people foraging for hidden potatoes during the Irish potato famine.  What about the beautiful mountains… or the small colonies of radical white-supremacists you have tucked away in them; you should put that in a slogan.
    • (formerly) Famous Potatoes; Alright, we got it already.  They grow potatoes in Idaho!  Oh… I get it!  If you peel a potato, what color is the meat inside?  And what does Idaho have tucked away in it’s mountains?  It’s all code for, “If your skin isn’t the same color as mashed potatoes… stay away!”
  14. Illinios:
    • Mile After Magnificent Mile; i.e. Flat, boring country. Do not attempt to drive across alone or you may fall asleep and die at the wheel!
    • Right Here. Right Now. ; That’s the name of a Van Halen Song!  Any state that tries to work a little VH into its slogan is okeedokee in my book.
  15. Iowa:
    • Life Changing; Come on. Are you serious? “Life changing”… Iowa… I seriously doubt it. You can’t just lie in your slogan.
    • Fields of Opportunities; If you’re a farmer, maybe.  How is this supposed to attract the rest of us?
    • (formerly) You make me smile; I don’t know who you are or why I make you smile… but you’re creeping me out so STOP IT!
  16. Indiana
    • Restart Your Engines; I can just picture it: a young couple pulls up to a service station on a trip through Indiana. The young man in the driver’s seat pulls the car up by a gas pump and steps out to fill the car up.  The young couple is extremely happy because they have always wanted to go through Indiana because… well… ok, I have no idea why this young couple would be happy to be in Indiana.  Maybe they are passing through on there way to some state that actually has something going on… like Iowa (after all, Iowa is “Life Changing”).  Anyway, as the young man starts to pump some gas, a mob of Indianans slowly start to walk toward the car.  The descending mob stares at the young couple with bloodlust in their eyes, each and every one of the mob drooling as they limp toward the car and moan with arms outstretched toward the young travelers.  The young woman screams out to the horrified young man, “Jimmy, for the love of everything sacred  and holy, get back in the car.  Restart your engine… restart your engine…”  Ok, I think Indiana needs to restart the slogan-creation process.
    • (formerly) Enjoy Indiana; Yeah, a little hard to do with all the stinking ZOMBIES!
  17. Kansas:
    • There’s No Place Like Home; Not bad. Most people think of Kansas and The Wizard of Oz as kind of interrelated.  Seems to be a little more original than something to do with Kansas the music group or some silly song about Kansas (is there such a thing?)  After all, The Wizard of Oz is a Classic.
    • Kansas, as big as you think; I’m thinking China… so see, Kansas, you’re not as big as I think.
    • (formerly) Simply Wonderful; Simple… but kinda boring.  I like the “No Place Like Home” reference better.
    • (formerly) Land of Ahhs (pronounced lke “Land of Oz”); What a craptastic slogan!  Let’s not spell it so anyone gets it (i.e. OZ).  Instead, lets make it ridiculous so we have to explain it to everyone.
  18. Kentucky:
    • Unbridled Spirit; Not bad.  Makes me think of the wild frontier.  Makes me think maybe I can go a little “wild” in Kentucky.  I doubt this is the case… but Kentucky has a pretty good gimmick going on here.
    • It’s That Friendly; … which makes me think of the dog that buries its nose in your crotch.
    • Where Education Pays; Apparently education is worthless everywhere else.  If you’ve been wondering why you wasted all of that time and money on a college education and are currently a shift supervisor at McDonald’s, move to Kentucky!  That education actually pays in Kentucky, so you may actually make assistant manager.
  19. Louisiana:
    • Fall in Love with Louisiana all over again; Ok, but what if I never fell in love with Louisiana in the first place.  Can we still just maintain our existing platonic relationship?  I think the possibility of a platonic relationship should be left on the table.
    • Come as you are. Leave different. ; Somehow this makes me think of Ned Beatty’s character in Deliverance… which I find deeply disturbing.
    • Sportsman’s Paradise; This I can live with; a land of fishing and hunting where there’s a buck behind every shrub, a bass on the end of every line, and PETA is banned forever.
  20. Maine:
    • Worth A Visit, Worth A Lifetime; This eerily reminds me of the plot of some Stephen King novel: an unsuspecting family visits some backwater Maine town only to find out that they have entered a different dimension and are destined to spend the rest of their lives in that town unless they sacrifice one of their own to the wild satanic beast that lurks in the local irrigation ditch. Man… I love that Stephen King!
    • The Way Life Should Be; Again, a Stephen King novel about the folk in a small town that attempt to “conform” any visitors to the town’s way of life.  Those who fail to “conform” end up as food for the possessed toaster that lives in the kitchen of the old man who everyone suspects is the spawn of Satan.
    • Where America’s Day Begins; In this story, Stephen King takes his “dear reader” on a voyage to a wonderful town in Maine where time actually begins and ends; a town on the verge of a civil war between the forces of good and evil that could result in the end of time as we know it.
    • Vacationland; Stephen King’s timely tale of terrorism in America’s favorite amusement park.  Things get interesting when the vampire carnies show the Islamic Terrorists the true meaning of terror!
    • It must be Maine; Of course it’s Maine; where in the hell else would it be?  It’s where Stephen King lives, right?
  21. Maryland:
    • Seize the Day Off; I already do this.  I seize every day off I can get… and I don’t have to drive half-way across the country to do it.
    • (formerly) America in Miniature; I really have no desire to visit a dollhouse, which is what this slogan makes me think of.
    • (formerly) More Than You Can Imagine; I imagine a land with self-refilling buckets of gold on every corner, free unicorn rides, and a land where democrats and republicans can just get along; can Maryland really offer more than that?
  22. Massachusetts:
    • Make It Yours; So what, it’s for sale? Doesn’t Ted Kennedy live there? Yeah… I think I’ll pass.  Not only is it gonna reek of alcohol, the things gonna lose half its value as soon as you drive it off the lot.
    • The Spirit of America; I was wondering where the American spirit had gone; it doesn’t seem to be on the streets of average America.  Massachusetts stole our stinking spirit.
  23. Michigan:
    • Pure Michigan; …’cause if you’ve got any Wisconsin mixed in, the whole kit-and-kaboodle starts to smell like cheese.
    • Getting the Upper Hand; On what?  I am afraid that I really don’t want to understand this.
    • (formerly) Great Lakes, Great Times; More To See; This wasn’t half-bad.  I don’t understand these states that have something semi-good going and then they change to something semi-tarded.
  24. Minnesota:
    • Explore Minnesota; Yeah, not a lot of thought put into this one… but you have to remember these people elected Jesse The Body Ventura as their governor.  It appears those cold winters wreck havoc on brain cells.
  25. Mississippi:
    • Feels Like Coming Home; So if you have those reoccurring dreams of your youth where your daddy used to lock you in the closet while he beat your momma… you probably want to avoid Mississippi.
    • The South’s Warmest Welcome; I like this one.  Makes me want to go down to Mississippi just to see if it’s true.
  26. Missouri:
    • Show Me State; i.e. Flashers welcomed!
    • The Cave State; uh… your guess is as good as mine?!?  I guess they got caves in Missouri.
    • (formerly) Where The Rivers Run; Caves and rivers… who could ask for more?
  27. Montana:
    • Big Sky Country; It really is, you know, unless you’re in the western part of the state where all the mountains are, but there ain’t nothing but a bunch of Californian rejects that can afford to live in the western end of the state, and there ain’t much prettier a place than Glacier National Park in this whole country of ours.  If you’re in the western end of the state, you will be so taken with the beauty of the mountains that you won’t even notice how small the sky is.  If your in the eastern end of the state… I dare you to find a bigger sky.  This is my home state and will always be my first true love (… at least as far as states go:)
    • (formerly) The Treasure State; This fact is not listed at Wikipedia, which I find to be a crying shame!  How can this not be documented.  There was a gold rush in Montana at one time and Montana was known as the Treasure State.  I can remember it being on our license plates when I was a kid.  I would actually make my first actual addition to the great institute of knowledge that is Wikipedia… except I’ve been working on this blog entry on and off for three days and I’m slightly over half-way though.  Why do we have to have so many stinking states?  I think we should give Iowa to Canada… I’m sure there’s a few Canadians that would like to have their “lives changed”.  If a visitor to this blog could kindly add this information to Wikipedia, I would be forever grateful… and please let me know!
  28. Nebraska:
    • Possibilities…Endless; My current home, and all I have to say is, “What a load of CRAP!” The Nebraska State Tourism people are a stinking pile. This slogan should read, “We tax so much out of you and pay you so little that your possibilities will be severely limited and you will die here miserably poor and discontented.” Ok, I know this wouldn’t make much of a slogan… but at least it would be true.  Nebraska does offer things that certain people are looking for: simplicity, a slower pace of life, squirrels and prairie dogs… uh, I think that’s about it, but I’m sure they could capitalize on those ideas and not have to lie to get visitors and new residents to come to the state.
    • (formerly) The Good Life; Ok, at least the folks on the tourism commission realized that this hummer was a lie and finally pulled it.  If your idea of the good life is lots of wind, low paying jobs, high taxes and the lack of any kind of meaningful social scene… this slogan would have meant something to you.  If you think I’m being too hard on my current state, go back and read the intro to this post.  I had planned to devote an entire post to the things I dislike about Nebraska.  That post is still to come.  Still, I think “The Good Life” was better than the current slogan.  There are people who think having nothing to do most of the time (aside from puttering around the back yard or going for a 35 mph Sunday drive on the backroads) is the good life… focus on those people.
  29. Nevada:
    • Wide Open; Simple.  It’s got simple going for it.  Simple is about all it has going for it. For me, this slogan doesn’t provoke any kind of response; perhaps that is because I have spent a good deal of time living in states with “wide open” spaces and this doesn’t particularly make me want to visit.  I think they should have worked Vegas into their slogan somehow… since that’s really about all Nevada has going on.
  30. New Hampshire:
    • You’re Going to Love it Here; Wow, that’s a pretty bold assumption. However, I like this slogan; it makes me want to visit to see if New Hampshire can live up to its promise.
  31. New Jersey:
    • Come See For Yourself; Sounds like a dare, doesn’t it.  “You know, I’ve heard New Jersey is a stinking pit, but how bad can it really be?”   Then the voice of New Jersey tourism pipes-up, “Come see for yourself!”
    • (formerly) New Jersey and You: Perfect Together; Seriously, if I wanted some kind of freaky matchmaking service that’s gonna hook me up with some mate from the wrong side of the tracks, I’d go to
  32. New Mexico:
    • Land of Enchantment; I like this one.  Makes me think I’m going to see little fairies flying around touching everything with their magic wands… and in a good way, not a San Francisco freak-me-out kind of way.
  33. New York:
    • I Love New York; Whether you agree or disagree, this one is classic.  If you hate New York, you’re going to avoid it anyway.  If you love it, you love it, and this slogan works.
  34. North Carolina:
    • A Better Place to Be; I guess it depends where you’re coming from as to whether this one works for you or not.  If you’re currently a resident of Guantanamo Bay, yeah, I’m sure North Carolina is a better place to be.  However, if your chillin’ at the Playboy Mansion… I don’t think NC is where you want to be.
    • First in Flight; Another one I like.  I know, I know, I don’t usually seem to gravitate to the slogans that have anything to do with history, but the whole Kitty Hawk think is pretty cool and it works for North Carolina.
  35. North Dakota:
    • Legendary; Uh… really? I’ve been to North Dakota… in fact, I used to live mere miles from North Dakota. The only legendary thing I can think of regarding North Dakota is the movie Fargo. I know that North Dakotans get mad because they don’t think they talk like the movie portrayed… but they do… and it’s really funny… both the movie and the way North Dakotans talk 🙂
  36. Ohio:
    • So Much to Discover; Uh, aside from Cleveland or Cincinatti (which really ain’t much to discover), what would that be?
    • Birthplace of Aviation; Ok… so the Wright Brothers, John Glenn and Neil Armstrong were born there.  Aside from being born there, what accomplishments did these men fulfill in Ohio?  We can’t chose where we are born, but we can kinda chose where we accomplish stuff… if we are so inclined.
    • (formerly) The Heart of It All; This is pretty good.  If Ohio were actually at the center of something, this would make sense.  Since Lebanon, Kansas is the Geographical center of the US… and Kansas really isn’t that close to Ohio… I don’t know what Ohio is supposed to be the heart of.  Yep, I’m just gonna let that preposition dangle.
  37. Oklahoma:
    • Oklahoma is OK; So, how are things in Oklahoma?  Well, you know, they’re OK.  They’d be better if we could come up with a decent slogan
    • Native America;… ’cause the rest of the states stole land from Oklahoma.  Oklahoma actually lives on a reservation now and is troubled with alcohol problems.
  38. Oregon:
    • We Love Dreamers; … and their productivity proves it.
    • Things Look Different Here; Not “things look good here” or “things look beautiful here”… “Things Look Different Here.”  If you are having a colonoscopy and the doctor tells you things look “different” in you colon; I don’t think this is a good thing.
    • Pacific Wonderland; I like this one.  Who wouldn’t want to visit a wonderland?
  39. Pennsylvania:
    • State of Independence; Sounds like a child that has finally grown up.  Of course, when a child first reaches the state of independence, there is often a lot of wild partying… not exactly a family friendly prospect.
    • You’ve Got a Friend in Pennsylvania; No, I don’t.
    • America Starts Here; Ok, no matter which direction you come to the United States from, Pennsylvania will never be the first state into which you run.  The first state to ratify the Constitution was Delaware.  How America starts in Pennsylvania is beyond me.  Apparently there are some slogan-makers in Pennsylvania who are as cracked as that famous Pennsylvanian bell.
  40. Puerto Rico:
    • La isla del encanto; First of all, I don’t think Puerto Rico is a state. This loosely translates to “the island of enchantment”. Don’t really know much about Puerto Rico so I don’t know if it’s enchanted or not; I have my doubts.
  41. Rhode Island:
    • Unwind; I like this. Very simple yet catchy. I imagine sitting on the cool sand of a quiet beach munching on lobster. Ok, I’m probably giving Rhode Island a little too much credit for this oversimplified slogan… but I’m hungry, and lobster sounds really good, so cut me some slack.
  42. South Carolina:
    • Smiling Faces. Beautiful Faces. ; A little corny, kind of simple, but not too bad,… I guess.
  43. South Dakota:
    • Great Faces. Great Places. ; A little corny, kind of simple, but not… uh, hold on… you’ve got to be kidding me?!? Ok, who stole from whom? One of these “South” states is a major stinking copycat!
  44. Tennessee:
    • The Stage Is Set For You; No one wants to see me on stage, so this must mean the stage is set for me to watch.  As long as it’s not country music or that a really bad Elvis impersonator, we should be cool.
    • Follow Me To Tennessee; Who are you and why do you want me to follow you? Ooh, ooh… is that candy?
  45. Texas:
    • It’s Like a Whole Other Country; … so if you’re wanting to get out of the USA, head to Texas!
    • (formerly) Don’t Mess with Texas; That really sounds like a threat.  I don’t like being threatened… especially by a state that is trying to attract my tourism dollars.
    • State of the Arts; So, what, now the Dallas Cowboys are considered to be art?  I guess that makes sense since the Cowboys are obviously not a football team anymore.
    • Every thing’s bigger in Texas; No, every thing is NOT bigger in Texas. In fact, the only thing bigger in Texas is the egos.
  46. Utah:
    • This Is The Right Place;… to commit polygamy.
    • Life Elevated;… if your idea of an elevated life is having more than one wife.  For crying out loud, dealing with one wife is hands-full… can you imagine having more than one?
    • (formerly) Greatest Snow on Earth; Get it?  It’s a play on words.   Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey’s Circus was billed as “The Greatest SHOW on Earth” and Utah is “The Greatest SNOW on Earth”!  Yeah… I think it’s kind of stupid too.  I’m surprised the circus doesn’t sue for corny slogan infringement.
    • Utah!  Where Ideas Connect; Yeah, ’cause Utah is known for connecting ideas.  Ok, Utah is known for Mormons and that tabernacle choir thing… but that’s kind of like connecting ideas.
  47. Vermont:
    • Vermont, naturally;. You really should have seen it when it was full of preservatives and other chemicals; it was horrifying. Ted Kennedy kept trying to squeeze Vermont into a martini glass. Natural is much safer for Vermont.
    • (formerly) I LoVermont; Someone actually came up with this.  What’s worse is that I’m guessing a small group of representatives actually approved that this slogan be used in public as a way to… uh… make people from Vermont look… uh… special.
  48. Virginia:
    • Virginia is for Lovers; Seriously, this is Virginia’s slogan.  Look it up if you don’t believe me.   I looked it up to list it here and I still don’t believe it.  Virginia… for lovers… who knew?
  49. Washington:
    • SayWA! ; Dentists and orthodontists in Washington laugh their butts off every time they see this. The rest of us just think this slogan is stupid.
    • (formerly) Experience Washington; … and part of the experience is a dental cleaning, “SayWA!”
  50. West Virginia:
    • Open for business;… and thank goodness. When my lover and I got to Virginia it was closed so we had to redirect to West Virginia.  If West Virginia had been closed, we would have been forced to go to Vermont… and lord knows I LoVermont.
    • (formerly) Wild and Wonderful; This is a great slogan… for Alaska.  West Virginia?  Seriously…
    • Almost Heaven; If this is the case, I may have to start sinning with more frequency.  If West Virginia is the afterlife for those who pass the pearly gates… brimstone ain’t sounding so bad.  Ok, that’s not nice… I’ve never been to West Virginia, but I’ve seen pictures.  It looks very nice… but heaven… I don’t think so.
  51. Wisconsin:
    • Live like you mean it; Yeah, no more of this mamsy-pamsy wimpy living!  Live like you mean it (i.e. don’t be afraid to order cheese on that double quarter pounder at Mickey Ds.)
    • America’s Dairyland; I like this one!  Besides cheese, what do you think of when you think of Wisconsin?  NOTHING!  Oh wait, there is that semi-pro football team they have there in Green Bay…
    • Life’s so good; Life’s not just good, it’s “so” good.  What in the hell is that even supposed to mean?!?
    • Escape to Wisconsin; Seriously, everyone in Wisconsin looks like a convict… you’ll blend right in.
  52. Wyoming:
    • Like No Place On Earth; This is the truth; there is no place on earth quite like Wyoming… and I mean that in a mostly good way.  This slogan is fitting and creates a bit of mystique.  Wyoming has gorgeous Rocky Mountains, the splendor of Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks, the unique beauty of Devil’s Tower National Monument… and then the rest of the state is crappy, flat, dry and windy just like Nebraska.  I guess no state is perfect… but parts of Wyoming and the Black Hills of South Dakota are as close to heaven as I can imagine getting on this earth… so West Virginia can bite me!
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