Sunday, January 27, 2008

New Jersey: You Got A Fuckin' Problem With That?

Chapter 7 in "Know Limpy's States"

New Jersey was the third state to ratify the Constitution, doing so on December 18, 1778, and, somewhat regrettably for all the other states, remaining a member of the Union ever since. Couldn't even get rid of them during the Civil War.

New Jersey, for absolutely no legitimate reason, is nicknamed "The Garden State". It could be due to the abundance of farm production it enjoyed during the Colonial and Revolutionary eras, or it could be because any region full of that much shit must have enough fertilzer to grow a pretty damn good garden. They do remain a surprising fifth in the country in producing crops like blueberries, which should give anyone second thoughts about eating blueberries. I myself have never seen a garden in New Jersey, (although I've seen a tree grow in Brooklyn and it didn't seem like that big of a deal), but then, it is hard to see anything while driving as fast as possible while holding your breath and squinting your eyes to reduce the amount of toxic clouds entering your eyeballs.

New Jersey is famous for many things, chiefly as the home state of Tony Soprano, a man whose death or non-death caused a huge uproar, considering he was pretend. New Jersey is also famous for stealing all of New York's football teams. And for urban rioting in 1967. And for Thomas Edison, who invented many things at Menlo Park in New Jersey, including the light bulb and the phone. We all know the content of the first phone call "Mr. Watson, come here. I want to go to the South Shore"

Which is one of the more well-known aspects of New Jersey life; leaving the northern urban areas during the summer months to flock to the beaches. It's a migration so famous it's somewhat surprising that it was left to MTV, (or was it VH-1? Ah, who gives a shit?) to chronicle it a few years back, rather than the National Geographic Channel. Apparently every year 20-somethings flock to the shore, intent on enjoying life crammed into tiny cottages, drinking in smelly bars, and copulating with each other in public. It's a lot like watching the Canada geese migrate through the fields behind my house every spring and fall, except the geese are quieter and don't shit in public as much. Also, it's legal to shoot the geese if they get out of hand. Much to the chagrin of everyone else in New Jersey, it remains illegal to shoot 20-somethings on summer break from Newark.

Geographically, New Jersey is maybe most famous for the Pine Barrens, a 1.1 million acre national reserve in the south filled with forests, bogs, and swamps, and more ex-members of the mob than you can shake a stick at. The first dinosaur fossil was found near the Pine Barrens. Located near the town of Haddonfield, it was called a Hadrosaur. Nothing is certain, but scientists believe it may have killed itself upon realizing it was in New Jersey.

New Jersey's state bird is the American Gold Finch. Apparently it has a lovely call when it's not holding its breath.

The state flower is the violet. I got nothing on that. It's a violet. What am I gonna do with that?

The highest point in New Jersey is either High Point, located in the Kittatinny Mountains of Northwest Jersey, at a stunning 18,003 feet above sea lev...oh, wait, never mind. "at a mediocre 1,803" feet above sea level, OR, the highest point is right outside one of Bruce Springsteen's concerts whenever he's in town.

There are 8,638,396 people in New Jersey, making it the most populous state we've visited so far. In what is a rare compliment, New Jersey is a national leader in fighting against urban sprawl, reducing those godawful strip malls and saving farmland and forested areas. I'm a total tree hugger. I also hate Wal-Mart. Eat me. More states should be like New Jersy in this regard. And probably only in this regard.

IF YOU'RE IN NEW JERSEY YOU SHOULD: Hold your breath. Other than that, I really don't know. The only time I've spent in New Jersey that didn't involve driving hell-bent-for-leather to get somewhere else was a week in January some years back in a warehouse doing a document review. We sat in an unheated open area reading through thousands of pages of chemical company documents while, judging from the graffiti in the men's room, a race war was simmering among the regular workers. I can tell you that there was great Creole restaurant across the street from our hotel where I'd get loaded every night and try to forget where I was, but I don't know the name of it. So other than that, I don't know what to tell you.


Just kidding, although you'd be hard-pressed to disprove that. She actually looks like this:

and sometimes, unfortunately, she gets her drunk on and looks like this:

Good for her I say.

LIMPY'S CONNECTION TO THE STATE: An aunt of mine used to live there. I've driven the length of the state a few times while heading to other destinations. I have nothing bad to say about their highway rest areas. That's about it.


Next up: New York, New York, a state so nice they named it twice. What do you mean that's for the city?

Thursday, January 24, 2008

We Now Pause For These Commerical Messages

I was hoping to get a post in about New Jersey this week, but it doesn't look like that will be getting done. There are a number of reasons for this, among them my own laziness and a week long battle to get through one of the tougher levels of Halo 3. But the main reason is the community service I'm engaged in tonight. And not the usual kind of community service I do thanks to those spoilsports in Vice, where I'm picking up trash on the side of the road while wearing some kind of neon jumpsuit.

Nope, this week is the culmination of my law school alma mater's "Moot Court" session. Two of my friends are teaching a section this year, as they have for the last several years. Moot Court is about the only practical thing anyone ever learns in law school. It takes place during winter break, (thereby keeping anyone from getting a job, although not from drinking), and for several weeks teaches would-be lawyers how to write a brief and how to argue in court.

At the conclusion of the moot court session the classes are broken up into teams and they argue in front of panels of "judges". This year I agreed to help out by being one of the judges, mostly because I'm hoping to reduce one or two students to tears through aggresive questions that have nothing to do with the actual case they've been working on. Just like a real judge would.

After agreeing to do this, and promising not to actually swear at the students, (I totally crossed my fingers), I was presented with a stack of documents the size of my head to go over to prepare questions for, and upon which my ever-so-crucial judgment is to be based.

Just as a side-note, how thrilled would you be if you knew your Moot Court grade relied at least in part on a guy named "Judge Limpy"? Personally, I'd ask for my money back.

So after spending much of the week reading briefs, case-law, bench guides and contracts, tonight I'll be sitting down, (dressed in a judge's robe!), and asking young lawyer hopefuls questions like "How do you reconcile that position with the Vermont Mutual decision?" "Isn't that positon contrary to our often expressed public policy of reading insurance policies in favor of the insured, rather than the insurer?" "Do you seriously think that tie goes with that suit?"

I do it for the kids.

And because I'm just kind of a dick.

Just for the hell of it, here's a shot of Indira Varma. I figure something in here should be interesting.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Let's Go To Italy!

The mysterious Lil' Bit from the Hall Of Mirrors sent me a story comparing an Italian talk show host with a US talk show host. Here's the Italian:

and here's the US competitor:

And we wonder why we're slipping as a superpower. I couldn't understand a word of the first show but I gurantee I'd find it entertaining. For at least 7 minutes.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

New Hampshire: Don't Take It For Granite

Ha-Ha! "Don't take it for "granite"! Get it? The Granite State? Don't take it for granted? Oh fuck off, what do you know? Write your own completely inaccurate and probably libelous version of the 50 states.

Seriously, that's an awful pun. I should be horsewhipped. Preferabbly by that chick from the last post. But enough about my dark little world with all the puppets, let's get to it.

Chapter 6 in "Know Limpy's States"

New Hampshire was the 9th state admitted to the union, ratifying the Constitution on June 21, 1788. I believe, but am too lazy to go look it up, that it was New Hampshire's ratification that made the Constitution actually take effect for the entire country.

New Hampshire is nicknamed "The Granite State", because there's, like, a lot of rocks in the state, mostly granite formations, and besides, calling a state "That Sort of Triangle Shaped Thing Between Maine and Vermont" didn't get anybody all that excited. The state motto "Live Free or Die", is much more exciting, actually leading to a Supreme Court ruling about free speech when some guy decided he didn't like the implications on such a statement and snipped it off. The state fined him, he sued, and eventually the US Supreme Court said that the state couldn't make someone carry around a motto that they didn't believe in. This was markedly different than the finding of the New Hampshire Supreme Court, which at the time included a moose and a lynx, which was that the guy was a total pussy and should be exiled to a more effeminate state, like Vermont.

The devotion to freedon was well-represented in the Revolution when New Hampshire's most famous soldier, Col. John Stark, whipped the British at Bennington.

Bennington is in Vermont.

New Hampshire is ONE OF 7 stateS (fucking know it alls)without an income tax, and they're so hell-bent on keeping it that way that even suggesting the imposition of a tax is political death. Which sounds great until you think about moving there and investigate the school system, ("Wait, we have to supply a cord of wood to heat the schoolhouse? What the fuck?"), or try to drive around on what they call "roads." Here's a tip from someone who knows. When crusing around New Hampshire on anything other than a primary road, a) don't stop unless you want to star in "Deliverance 2: It's Better Up North", and b) if you see a road sign warning you about a frost heave, slow the hell down. These folks don't screw around. Holes and bumps that would close a CT road for six months are just a fact of life up in New Hampshire. If they're concerned enough to put a sign up you can bet your ass you can see magma in the frost heave so labeled.

New Hampshire also posts signs keeping track of the number of moose killed on its highways. They post this number, and update it, on roadside signs. This is not, I repeat NOT, a challenge.

Since there's no income tax, New Hampshire raises revenue in a number of other ways. Tolls on the decent road; (no, I didn't accidentally leave an "s" off road, weren't you paying attention earlier?); sales tax; what I'm told is an ass-raping property tax; and, best of all, selling fireworks to pretty much anyone and selling liquor dirt cheap in state run stores. I'll tell ya, nothing makes me feel safer than stopping by a state run liquor store, picking up a couple of bottles of good booze for a song, then watching a truck-driver load up the cab of his truck with 86 bottles of tequila and head south.

I usually give them a good head start.

New Hampshire's state bird is the purple finch. The state flower is the purple lilac. Given the fascination with purple, one might have expected New Hampshire to be the first state to legalize gay marriage.

The highest point in New Hampshire is Mt. Washington, towering 6,288 feet above sea level. It is the highest point in New England and indeed higher than anything else east of the Mississippi other than a couple of big hills down near Tysgirl. But Mt. Washington is a legitimate mountain and people die on it. Especially in winter. I've climbed it twice, and you can bet your ass it was warm and sunny both times.

In sort of a related note, one of New Hampshire's symbols was "The Old Man of the Mountain", a natural granite formation on Cannon Mtn that looked like a face in profile. It collapsed in a rockslide in 2003 and made the news all over the country. My father was working as an editor at the time, and a friend called him from another paper to tell him that he'd come up with a great headline but the powers that be wouldn't let him use it. The headline? "I've Fallen And I Can't Get Up"

There are 1,287,687 people in New Hampshire and every four years every single one of them stands a good chance of being fellated, (cunnilingused?), by politicians seeking their approval in the "first in the nation" primary. Because letting a state filled with tax-hating-white-people-who-lack-the-good-sense-to-live-somewhere- other-than-New-Hampshire set the tone for a Presidential election ensures good government.

IF YOU'RE IN NEW HAMPSHIRE YOU SHOULD: Look, I'll be honest, I go to New Hampshire for one reason only and that's to hike. So short of telling you some really cool places to hike, I haven't got the slightest fucking idea what to do in New Hampshire. On your way home, however, load up on cheap booze. It's a great state to live in if you like being outside.


LIMPY'S CONNECTION TO STATE: It's like my backyard. I'll run around in it all day, but then I leave to go eat somewhere else.

HAS LIMPY EVER GOTTEN LAID IN THIS STATE: Surprisingly yes. My wife and I considered moving there and spent a night or two in motels while checking things out. Gotta do something to keep warm.

Next up: New Jersey, where dreams go to die.

Terrell Owens: Not So Dumb As You Think He Am

To the extent that I am a football fan, I root for the Cowboys of Dallas. The reason for this is that when I was but a young lad, my father, a Giants fan, for some reason purchased my brother an I Christmas gifts of, respectively, a Dallas Cowboys #55 jersey, (Lee Roy Jordan), and a Steelers #32 jersey, for Franco Harris. In our house, team loyalty goes with the laundry.

As you can imagine, I wasn't doing jumping jacks with the Cowboys performance this weekend. Apparently their quarterback was on leave from the Dallas Special Olympics flag football team and things didn't go so well. Also, Terrell Owens, an all-pro wide receiver and all-around head case, cried afterwards while attmepting to defend the dumbass QB, although how exactly a grown man blubbering on TV is an effective defense escapes me.

Still, give Terrell credit. In the ensuing weeks, while hampered by a bad ankle, he refused to meet with any members of the media. This created some controversy, since the status of Terrell Owens ankle has some connection to peace in the Middle East. Exactly what that connection is a bit vague, but it must be true given the hoo-ha about his refusing to talk to the press.

He did, however, make an exception. He talked to this chick.

See if you can guess why.

I picked this story up from, a worthwhile stop for anyone who likes smartass stories about sports and pictures of hot women wearing very little. I'm looking at you Syd.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Massachusetts: Because Massholes Have To Come From Somewhere

Chapter 5 in "Know Limpy's States"

Massachusetts is the 6th state admitted to the Union, ratifying the Constitution, (which is totally different than the Declaration of Independence, and if you know that, you're not only as smart as a fifth grader, but you are in fact smarterer than Bill O'Reilly), on February 6, 1788. Massachusetts is called "The Gay State" to memorialize its foresightedness in being the first state to legalize gay marriage.

What? "The Bay State"? Really? Well, that's sort of lame.

There are at least two and arguably three distinct sections of Massachusetts. The two definite sections are a) Greater Boston and b) Everywhere else. Sometimes people separate "Everywhere else" into "Western Massachusetts", a wilderness area inhabited primarily by flannel wearing woodspeople and possibly some gnomes in the far northwest, and "Cape Cod" an area populated chiefly by transients and fairies. And not the same kind of fairies who would be at home with the gnomes, but the kind of fairies who buy up all the good property on the beaches and then tastefully redecorate the shit out of it.

Boston is probably the first true city in the US, at least if you listen to anyone from Boston. And not just listen, but understand them. The latter can be quite a trick since no one in Boston can actually pronounce the letter "r" in any way, shape or form, not to mention the fact that they're usually shit-faced drunk and screaming that Jeter is a homo. My favorite quote about Boston, and I can't recall the author/speaker, goes along the lines of this: "When Boston was first built, the city-founders declared it to be the biblical 'Shining City Upon A Hill', then later decided to abandon that false pretense of modesty".

Boston has four major sports teams: The Celtics, who are now good again thanks to importing two really good older guys. They'll probably challenge for the NBA title this year, but no one outside Boston will watch, because no one cares about the NBA anymore; the Bruins, who allegedly play a sport called "hockey" in a league called the "NHL". Truth be told, this could be a myth, much like the gnomes of Western Massachusetts, but not like the Cape Cod Fairies, which are totally real. Yes, I am still bitter about the Whalers.

There's also a football team that plays sort of near Boston called the New England Patriots. I don't think they're very good, but rumor has it they may pull it together over the next couple of years.

And then there's the Red Sox. The Fucking Red Sox. You know, they were a cute team a few years ago. Every now and then they'd make the play-offs and find some creative way to lose, like forgetting to catch a ground ball, or forgetting to throw the ball in from the outfield while the other team ran around the bases like raped apes, or tripping over a batter while trying to field a bunt. They lost so much and so memorably that people wondered what their fans would do if they ever won the World Series. And then they won it in 2004 and I cheered for them, much the same way I would cheer for the fat kid to stumble across the finish line in a 100 yard dash. And we found out what would happen to their fans.

They would turn into screaming assholes.

And they did. Holeee crap. Yes, you've won two World Series in four years. That's very impressive. When you win four in five years get back to me.

In addition to its mediocre athletic teams, Massachusetts is home to many insititutions on higher learning. Some, like Harvard, MIT and Tufts, have fine reputations. Others, like Holy Cross, are located in Worcester, quite possibly the second ugliest city in the state, (Hello, Holyoke!), and while it could be a fine school, no one in their right mind would want to stay in Worcester for four years. And then there are those Massachusetts schools that teach women how to harness their mutant microwave energy and how to pick just the right skin tight suit to show off their gravity defying breasts.

Massachusetts state bird is the chickadee. While this is the same bird as Maine's, technically Massachusetts is the older state, and for awhile Maine was a part of Massachusetts before fighting a bloody civil war from 1861-1865 to win its independence, so we can't legitmately accuse Masschusetts of stealing the chickadee from Maine. We can, however, totally do so illegitemately, so fuck you Massachusetts, get your own damn bird!

The Massachusetts state flower is the Mayflower. Gee, I can't imagine where they came up with that name. Smug little fuckers. For a great book about the Pilgrims, the Indians, and what a bunch of conniving assholes they all were, click here. A bit different from what we all learned in 6th grade English. Squanto the hero my ass.

The highest point in Massachusetts is atop Mt. Greylock, 3,491 feet above sea level. I've climbed it. There's a road to the top. Once was enough.

There are 6,433,422 people in Massachusetts, all of who are going to hell for living in a state that legitimizes gay marriage, and more importantly for rooting for the Red Sox. God hates the Red Sox.

IF YOU'RE IN MASSACHUSETTS YOU SHOULD: Well, shit, there's actually tons to do in Massachusetts. Good Italian food in the north end of Boston. Great seafood on the Cape. Whale watching tours off of Provincetown. Queer watching in Provincetown. Great music options like the Calvin Theater in Northhampton. A strip bar in North Hadley called "Anthony's" that is simply God's gift to men. And of course, chartered fishing tours out of Gloucester.


LIMPY'S CONNECTION TO STATE: Pretty damn strong. I spend a lot of time in Boston for lots of reasons, and North Hadley for obvious reasons. I dated a girl who lived near Worcester for over a year. I've hiked all over the western part of the state. I love the Northhampton music scene.


Next up: New Hampshire. The state everyone pays attention to once every four years, then tries to forget, sort of like your odd uncle who lives in the attic.

Returning For 2008

Tysgirl pointed out that I've been slacking, which is true. And also something I said I'd be doing while I was on vacation. So it's not like that should have been a surprise. But now that I'm not on vacation I'll post more regularly, including, hoepfully, tomorrow's resumption of "Know Limpy's States" with a libelous depiction of Massachussetts.

In the meantime, here's a picture of Elisha Cuthbert. At least, I think that's her last name. I don't really care. She's an actress from "24" where she plays the role of Jack Bauer's daughter. Really, really badly. She's probably the hottest girl I've ever wanted to be killed off a show. But she sort of redeemed herself in the movie "The Girl Next Door", where she was a porn actress looking to get out of the business and all she really had to do was stand around and breath. That she's good at.

Tomorrow: Massachusetts: Because Massholes Have To Breed Somewhere