Location: Indianapolis, Indiana, United States

I'm just trying to develop an online body of work (even if the work is throwaway nonsense) to advance my writing career.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

The Unheralded (and Deservedly So) Return

At last I am back in the fold! Due to some difficulties with the blog site, I was nearly knocked out of commission, but the problems seem to be sorted out now. I started several entries over the past few weeks but have not been able to finish them, but I can do so now if properly motivated, which I'm probably not.

Money can't buy happiness, but it can win you a number of insincere friends.

What a stupid philosophical conundrum that whole "tree falls in the forest" thing is! If a tree falls in the forest and no one's around to hear it, does it make a sound? Using that logic, couldn't the question just as easily be: If a tree falls in the forest and there's no one around to see it, does it actually fall at all? See what kind of world it is? Even the philosophers are morons!

Wouldn't it be great if, instead of displaying outrage whenever somebody said something really stupid, people simply pretended they forgot who someone was? For instance, suppose immediately after Kramer's tirade, the entire world would go into conspiracy mode.

"Did you hear what Kramer said?"
"Kramer, the guy from 'Seinfeld'. "
"I don't remember a Kramer. I remember Elaine, George and Jerry, but not Kramer."
"You know, Kramer, the guy with the funny hair!"
"Nope, can't place him."

You can see how effective this could be if enough people became involved.

"Did you hear what Tim Hardaway said?"
"Who's Tim Hardaway?"
"The basketball player, killer crossover, you know!"
"Killer what? Who'd he play for?"
"Several teams, the Golden State Warriors in the early 90s, for one."
"Nope, I don't remember a Tim Hardaway. I remember Mitch Richmond and Chris Mullin and Tyrone Hill, but not Tim Hardaway."

I won't belabor the point, but wouldn't this really do the trick? It could help squash the endless blathering "what does this say about our society" claptrap, which would certainly make the world a better place.

I'll try to finish some of what I started so it doesn't seem like there's such an enormous gap in posts, but hey I'm not getting paid for this, you know.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

One State, Two State, Red State, Blue State

Fifty may be a psychologically pleasing number, but a thoughtful perusal of this country's political geography reveals a number of superfluous states. It seems in a desperate attempt to achieve a tidy quantity, we have admitted a number of places wholly unfit for statehood. Fifty is such a comfortable sum, in fact, that the nation hasn't accepted a new state since 1959, the year Alaska and Hawaii joined the Union; this eclipses the previous longest drought of 47 years between Arizona and Alaska.

So let's face it: some states just shouldn't be states. They are either too puny, too sparsely populated or both to continue existence and should therefore be combined with other paltry places to sustain their status. Before establishing the minimum requirements for statehood and engaging in some long overdue contraction, let's take a look at a few states that can stay:

1. New Jersey
Yes, New Jersey is tiny and the butt of many jokes. Some say it's filty and crime-riddled and that its nickname, the Garden State, is completely off base, as it's the most urbanized state in the country. However, more than eight and a half million people live in New Jersey and while it's true parts of it are dirty and dangerous, the same is true for nearly every other state as well.

2. Utah
It's tempting to get rid of Utah, but it seems nearly impossible to do so logistically. Not only is it very large geographically, but its population is not quite embarrassing enough to justify combining it with another nearby state. Furthermore, giving it to Nevada would place Las Vegas and Salt Lake City in the same state and, of course, rolling it over to Colorado would be quite out of the question, as people in Colorado are already self-satisfied when it comes to that state's wondrous beauty; if they had Utah, they'd be insufferable.

3. Hawaii
What state could it be combined with? Exactly. So it has to stay.

I used a population of four million as a benchmark for statehood, a kind of almost automatic bid. Most states with more than four million people have been granted admission into the new Union and several that fall short of said minimum also made the cut. Immense size does not guarantee statehood, but it does help, as many of the sparsely populated western territories will appear unaltered on the new map. Let's go over the changes.

This may unsettle the sentimental traditionalists, but Delaware is too small and lightly populated to survive. Historical significance aside, it must be combined with its neighbor in a state henceforth known as "Maryware." This may seem unfair to Maryland, as more than five and a half million call it home and, by all rights, it should remain a state unto itself. Two things, though: the system isn't fair and, more importantly, Maryland looks ridiculous only occupying a portion of the space on the East side of Chesapeake Bay.

Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont will become a single state referred to as "Cold Chowder."

North and South Dakota need not be two different states. From now on, they are unified under the name "Rushmorefargo."

Rhode Island shall be given over to Connecticut in a state now called "Connecticut." It is easy to pick on Rhode Island because of its diminutive size, but that's not why I'm eliminating its statehood; in fact, tiny Rhode Island has more people than Wyoming or Alaska and a few other states besides. What I can't forgive is the claim that it's an island when it's not. Even Texas has never claimed to be an island.

Speaking of Texas, this is my favorite change of all. Montana, Idaho and Wyoming must merge into "Wytanaho." This isn't merely because they are sparsely populated large states, although they are, but because a territory so vast will actually surpass Texas as the second largest state overall and the largest in the contiguous United States. This is essential, as not only is it fun to rankle Texans, but they deserve it anyway. Who gave us the Bush Family, the Dixie Chicks, Gary Busey, the guy who killed John Lennon, Dan Rather, and insufferably smug football fans? Thanks for nothing, Texas! Now, former citizens of Montana, Idaho and Wyoming, I know this is a difficult time for you, but try to take one for the team, okay? Go Wytanaho!

Finally, I've decided to let Nebraska remain a state on the grounds no other state would accept a merger, not even Kansas.

And that's all. Makes for 43 states total, if I'm not mistaken, which I may be. I was trying to get down to about 40, but there we are. At least the map will make more sense now.