Usually I don’t get to the really despondent depths of the Winter Funk until the butt-end of February, when my birthday rolls around, bringing with it the ominous and expensive task of going to the BMV to pay for yet another registration sticker for yet another year.. This year that task is doubly odious because I have to renew my driver’s license as well as my car registration, so I can’t just do it online. Joy and rapture. A new pic of me- four years older, that is guaranteed to be bad enough that it should either appear in “Busted” magazine, or have “Correctional Institute Inmate” underneath it. As far as “Busted” magazine, it’s a guilty pleasure of mine to gawk at the mug shots, laugh at the bizarre names (there is actually a guy in one of them whose name is “Sequin”) and examine them to see if anyone I know is in there. At least as far as I know I’m not going to get stuck with the fugly new license plate. I don’t care for that design, and it really doesn’t go very well with my Hello Kitty license plate frames.
Anyway, I am trying to head off the despair and gloom at the pass. I am making it a point to go to at least one Bible study class (at church, among other live humans) a week, which I’ve not been doing since last October and it shows. I am not the best Christian example in the world by a long shot, but I have an even harder go of things when I neglect Bible study with other people. Yes, I read and study on my own, but the only observations I see are my own and too much navel-gazing is not a good thing. Even though I crave solitude like a junkie craves a fix, I still need to hear the opinions and observations of others- particularly from those with different viewpoints than mine- from time to time.
More importantly, I have to remember that there is life beyond the mundane, and I have been very neglectful of the spiritual as of late.
Anyway, I have found some more fascinating ephemera from the early-to-mid 20th century that piqued my interest:
Men generally are less vain than women. Though comfortable, I can’t bring myself to wear Velcro tennis shoes in public. However, some men have a rather twisted sense of vanity and of utility:
I have also discovered that the redneck love of bacon is not a recent discovery. Even in the late 19th century a national love affair with pork products was obvious.
To quote the French: Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose!
At least back in the day – before Oklahoma was a state, obviously, you got the cool little diagram with all the piggies on it to take home.
While I’m in the road tripping mood, it’s interesting to see how people other than Midwesterners look at the US. I know foreigners probably view the great vast flatness of the Midwest with trepidation (we’re not dangerous, usually, just boring.) There are flush toilets in the South now- even in West Virginia, although West Virginia is technically not part of the South. The reason why West Virginia is West Virginia is that they decided to stay in the Union instead of becoming part of the Confederacy along with the rest of Virginia. Southern Ohio isn’t part of the South either, but try telling them that. Especially that guy in Greene County who has the barn with the huge rebel flag on the roof that’s glaringly visible from I-71 northbound. Never mind that he’s 35 miles north of the Ohio River (and therefore the Mason-Dixon Line.) I guess if the South rises again it might have to redefine its geographical boundaries.
A West Virginia view on what’s what and who’s who in the US. Or maybe a Nebraskan’s?
I still think it would be interesting to take an English speaking foreigner (and yes, I am thinking of Karl Pilkington and the Idiot Abroad series) into the depths of fly-over country. Use Central Ohio as the epicenter, and the only rule for the itinerary being that the destination has to be within 500 miles of the I-70 I-71 split in the middle of Columbus. I could have a lot of fun with that. Visit the Midwest, New England and a good portion of the South that nobody ever bothers to see. I mean, since when has anyone said much about tourism in Cincinnati (which actually is a very cool historical destination) or Detroit, which you can skip entirely, unless you’re into armed robbery and gang rape, with the exception of the Henry Ford Museum (which is technically in Dearborn) and even then, leave your valuables in Columbus. The Ford Museum is worth the drive and even worth the risk to one’s person in getting there. Otherwise I would pretty much give the entire state of Michigan a pass.
Of course I have not (yet) made it to what might well be the holy grail of museums- the Mütter Museum in Philadelphia. I’ve never been to Philadelphia. I can only hope it’s not as bad as Detroit. I simply have to get a.) enough scratch to make the trip, and b.) I have to plan the logistics so that I can stay overnight somewhere because it’s a 12 hour drive each way.