Jul 16

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 eharmony.com.
  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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Jul 13

Wow.  This will be my first post to the category “HAPPY JOY!!!” which was meant to be the place I stick stuff that in no way stinks.  As you probably know, there are few things in life that do not stink.

Some of you (the two people who read my blog regularly) may have noticed that the Header on my blog (as well as the entire layout) changed a few weeks ago.  Well, a coworker of mine has been trying to come up with a unique header for my blog since I started writing it.  I use WordPress for my blog and have searched until I found a basic design that would allow me to customize the header.   I finally found one and my coworker came up with a pretty cool header design: )  She did this free of charge and with no expectations for any kind of repayment… which is pretty cool:)

In way of thanks, I thought I would add her to my blog-roll… you see, she is a poet and her poetry doesn’t suck (although I’m not a huge fan of poetry in general).  Her website and poetry can be found here.

She is listed in my blog-roll as “Tainted Butterfly”.  Aren’t we really all just slightly tainted butterflies… capable of becoming things of immense beauty and elegance but tainted to the point that our beauty is drowned by the filth that taints life.  OK… I need to leave the poetry and deep thinking to the poets:)

Jul 07

Alright, I had been sooo looking forward to a long weekend for quite some time.  I had been really wanting to go back to Montana for the 4th for several months.  There is this big softball tourney in the town I grew up in and a lot of my old friends were going to be there.   One of my friends is in a band and his band was going to be playing at one of the local clubs (ok, there are no clubs in Montana… it was a bar, but it would still have been cool to see him play).  My wife’s sister, however, has been begging us to go to North Platte, NE for a couple of years now.  There is a Christian camp that puts on this big 4th of July extravaganza every year and it’s supposed to be fun for the whole family.  Well, listening to my friend wail some good old rock n’ roll in a bar sounds fun to me, but the family friendly fun of Maranatha Camp wins out and it’s off to North Platte we go.

We drive the 3-plus hours to North Platte.  The kids don’t even fight the entire way and I’m thinking this may have been the better choice for our July 4th activities.  We arrive at the in-laws.  We are bringing in our stuff and unpacking our weekend bags when my sister-in-law gets a phone call from some dude at the camp.  Her kids are counselors at camp so she has an “in”.  The dude on the phone tells her they are cancelling the 4th celebration at the camp because of an outbreak of swine flu.  Hold on, wait a second, it’s July 3rd and I just drove over 3 hours to North Platte, Nebraska for the sole purpose of going to a July 4th celebration that’s no longer going to happen?  Well hoodeedoodeedoo… at least I’m in North Platte.  North Platte is known for… there is a lot to do… at least in North Platte there is a… oh, who am I kidding, North Platte is just like crappy Scottsbluff but is a 3 hour drive away.

Ok, I’m not quite ready to put on my complaining hat yet (no… I have no idea what a “complaining hat” is and I know it sounds stupid… but it is what popped into my head and I’m going with it) and am ready to give this weekend in North Platte a try.  So, me and my family and the in-laws put our heads together and try to come up with a plan.  We decide we’re going to have our own little celebration.  We’re going to buy our own fireworks.  We’re going to buy our own food.  We’re going to have the best darn 4th of July celebration that money can buy.  So we head into town and quickly realize that in order for the phrase “that money can buy” to mean anything, you actually have to possess large sums of money, which we didn’t.  CRAP!

You see, in Scottsbluff, we have a few crappy little roadside fireworks vendors, but we also have a couple of dudes that have actual warehouses they set up chock full o’ goodies and they sell the crap at a decent discounted price.  Oh sure, it’s still WAY too expensive for little bits of gunpowder that take a few seconds to blow up in a multitude of colors, but it’s way cheaper than the little roadside guys.  In North Platte, all they have is the little roadside guys.

Was it really that long ago that, on the 4th of July, grocery stores would have really good pop sales?  You know, like four 12-packs for $10.00?  Now they run specials like “Hot Sale – two 12-packs of Pepsi for $10.00… with a stupid club card”.  Seriously, like twice as expensive for stuff as it was just a few years ago… and I guarantee you I ain’t making twice as much money as I did a few years ago.  Isn’t that the way it’s supposed to work: the price of stuff rises over time, but so do wages?  I see the price of stuff still going up, but my wages remain unchanged.  I thought Obama the Holy One was supposed to fix this crap?  C’mon, he’s had half-a-year already; that’s more than enough time to fix the economy, right?  Stupid politicians… and stupid pop manufacturers (I mean, how much can a stupid can of soda with some carbonated water and some high fructose corn syrup really cost)… and stupid overcharging roadside fireworks vendors!  Soooo, the outcome of our 4th of July was some of those stupid little snappers you throw at the ground (they were only like 25 cents per box), ramen noodles to eat and all the hose water we could drink!  Stinking 4th of July in stinking North Platte!

Ok… actually it wasn’t so bad.  The in-laws felt horrible about us driving all that way from crap-hole Nebraska to expensive-fireworks-crap-hole, Nebraska, so they pitched-in more than their fair-share for the meal and the fireworks.  We had a decent little display and a feast of bratwursts, pork ribs, macaroni salads, coleslaw and sweet corn.  It was yummy.  The camp even let the niece and nephew come home from camp to celebrate with us (all of the kids were supposed to be quarantined whether they were sick or not… apparently this swine flu thingie is really contagious.)

So, all things considered, we had a pretty decent 4th of July.  Good food, good fireworks, good family.  With the odds against us, we had a good time.  The overpriced pop vendors, the outrageously overpriced roadside fireworks stands, and the stinking lame swine-flu infested camp we drove over 3 hours to go to but didn’t get to go to didn’t ruin the 4th of July for the family of Adventurer Rich!

You know what’s weird, though?  Ever since we returned home, I’ve felt a little feverish and have had an intense desire to roll in the mud…

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Jul 06

I was having a little trouble going back to work today.  After a vacation or a holiday it’s always a struggle to go back to the day-to-day monotony of work-a-day life.  At work, I was doing a little venting to a wise coworker.

“Wouldn’t life be perfect if we could wake up every day and work at something we’re passionate about?” I asked.   “When you get a job working for someone else, you are most likely trying to turn someone else’s passion into your own.  Life would be so much easier and more fulfilling if we all worked on our own passion instead of trying to become passionate about someone else’s passion.”

The wise sage looked at me with a slight smile gracing the corners of his lips.  “We humans grow tired of things so rapidly,” his deep voice rumbled as he shook his head knowingly.  “If our passions were our means of earning a living, we would quickly grow tired of them and they would no longer be our passions.  By keeping our passions separate from our means of economic survival, we maintain the passion that is our passion and our lives retain their meaning.  After all, a job provides the sustenance we need to live… but a passion provides the fullness of heart and soul each of us need to live well.”

I looked at the wise sage and began to contemplate his wise words.  This man, with his hair half-way down his back but contained in the most majestic of ponytails, had a lot of time to contemplate the meaning of life.  This man… this 32 year-old hulk-of-a-man, lives in the basement of a house he shares with his brother and his… cat.  This man’s passion is World of Warcraft and conquering that online games world with his band of misfit brothers.  This man almost peed his pants when the new Mountain Dew Game Fuel (in tribute to World of Warcraft) came out… and he came close to punching me in the face when I told him I thought the “blue” tasted best (“Blue represents the pesky Alliance, a grouping of mere humans and their ilk, who are far inferior to the majestic, raging power of the Horde,” he had said to me in a raised voice with a fist at half mast.  “Ok, Dude, the red is better… take a pill,” I responded, not really thinking the red was better but not wanting to get into a debate, or  my butt kicked, over a stupid video game.)  This is the guy I’m taking advice from on the idea of following one’s passion?  This is the guy who, for one brief instant, I am considering a sage and one worthy of listening to?  I’m an idiot!

Man… coming back to work after a holiday can really SUCK!

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