Review of the Plains States' Shapes
Look, I don't want to get into a big thing here about what is and is not a Plains state. These are the Plains states as far as this exercise is concerned. Does it make any sense that Iowa is one but Minnesota isn't? No, no it doesn't. And what about Eastern Colorado? Well, since Colorado pretends there's no Eastern Colorado, we will too. But what is Eastern Wyoming if not the Plains? Why it's a desolate dust and despair factory we'd all be better off without.
So in no particular order:
Okay, so Oklahoma is pretty cool looking. This brings us to our first and probably only real conclusion from this exercise: panhandles are cool. Unless they're Florida's. Then they're the worst. But otherwise: cool.
Oklahoma also has the jagged lower edge which sort of makes it look like a whisky jug God broke and is using to fight off Texas. And by sort of I mean: this is happening.
The best thing about South Dakota is that little Minnesota tumor on the eastern border. I don't think any of us would be surprised to wake up twenty years from now to look at a map and find the tumor had metastasized to cover most of the Black Hills.
I'm really not sure how in that metaphor Minnesota became cancer while South Dakota became an otherwise healthy body. There is nothing healthy about South Dakota except its appetite for the distasteful.
Or Kansas. Who the hell knows. Let's just say that if this outline came up on a geography test, the answers would range from "Ontario" to "The capital of Oregon is Salem."
I could talk about how Nebraska's shape is the country's best fusion of natural geography, history, and panhandle, but that would be to ignore that the greatest achievement of Nebraska's shape is that it somehow connotes motion while the state itself remains stuck in 1938. And eastward motion at that.
I mean, it's a great shape, but it sort of does look like the entire state is a 1992 Chevy Lumina minivan hoping to take a permanent vacation outside Virginia.
Nope, wait, this is Kansas. You can tell because if you go east enough you find some personality.
(As a Western Kansan, even I'm offended).
I know a guy who has a tattoo of Kansas on one arm and a tattoo of Oklahoma on the other (presumably to let everyone know he hasn't so much lived places as he has lost a fight against luck) and the tattoo of Oklahoma is instantly recognizable. The tattoo of Kansas, however, was a hand spasm away from being Colorado. My thought is, if you need to add tiny wheat fields and tornadoes and Judy Garland to make your tattoo recognizable, you were probably better off just getting Danny Manning's face. Which, by the way, would make for an excellent state itself:I say, we carve out this shape in the middle of Kansas, give the rest of the land away, and tell the Missouri River we're not going to pushed around by its whims anymore.
This, actually, might just be Danny Manning's face in profile. I don't know. It's just a good thing Kansas and Iowa don't share a border because otherwise, we might have trouble. Danny Manning-related trouble.
Iowa is rightly proud of being the face in the Mississippi's dumpy little person though as a child I always thought that person was probably Chef Boyardee. This didn't dampen my enthusiasm any, just made me slightly disappointed when I moved to Iowa it wasn't full of ravioli but fervent Ron Paul supporters.
Let's face it though, Iowa is basically Ohio turned on its side and told to keep quiet unless it has something to say about John Wayne.
Review of the Plains States' Shapes
Thoughts on the Dolphins Firing Tony Sparano
Because I'm either going to tell you like this or I'm going to tell you when you want to talk about politics or books or something. It's better this way.
It's better this way, this firing. Sparano is a good guy, by all accounts, and a good coach by my estimation. He could be a great coach in the right situation. Will he ever get that chance again? I don't know. I sort of doubt it given the names out there and the fact that he's never been an NFL offensive coordinator or (officially) a play caller. Seems like he either gets a head coaching job this year (unlikely) or signs up as an offensive line coach somewhere at which point he's at the back of the line for a head coaching gig. It could still happen for him (I mean, it happened to Chan Gailey) but I'd say the odds are 70/30 against.
Which is too bad because despite the conservative nature of his Dolphins teams--something I could live with if it didn't so often come long after there was nothing to lose--Sparano's players seemed to love him which is a rare thing in a coach that's not "soft." He's not a tyrant in the Coughlin school nor is he an absentee in the Caldwell school--instead he's the rare disciplinarian whose players respect him and played tough and smart and focused long after they would have tuned the Coughlins of the world out or realized Caldwell was an empty suit. With more talent, he could have been Coughlin or even better, I think. That's not to diminish Coughlin, just that I think a lot of coaches would lose a team after an 0-7 start and Sparano never did. Hell, they seemed to play harder for him once they realized they were getting him fired.
Sparano's loyalty did him in as much as anything which is terrible considering how little loyalty the front office showed him. But maybe his ceiling was reached, that's certainly possible. At some point, you've got to not only play correctly but you've got to play smarter and there wasn't much about Sparano's gameplans that suggested this was going to happen. A run-first, physical team will probably win again in the NFL, but it's not an accident that the Patriots, Packers, Colts, Saints, and Steelers have dominated the last decade. Even the Steelers, arguably the only team that fit the Sparano model, have gone away from the running game and opened up the offense. For better or worse, it's what the game is now, and only at the urging of the owner did Sparano even begin to move in this direction.
He ultimately didn't have the time or the personnel to take the team there, but there've been a lot of positive signs these past few weeks. Sparano made them look like they were a few players away but are they? I don't know. They've got one more hole now, and if they're sincere about Tony having been a good coach--and I think they should be--then they're going to have to do better than good.
But so far a lot of the names getting thrown around only make me think, Hey, Tony Sparano is available. Let's go get him.
In Which I Pretend to Live Blog an MRI
0:00 - O, I've done this before, nice man who put a warm blanket over me, no worries. Yes, please, strap my head down. I shouldn't be able to move. I'm not worthy of that responsibility.
0:01 - I hope some kind of Walking Dead scenario isn't happening outside.
0:03 - Some kind of Walking Dead scenario is definitely happening outside.
0:05 - Think, Adam, you can escape from this tube. There's got to be more than one exit.
0:06 - I'm going to die.
0:06:30 - Ahhhhhhhhhhh!
0:07 - Eh, screw it. I'm probably not going to die. [starts thinking about fantasy football]
0:10 - "Try not to swallow."
0:11/12/13/14/15 - [swallows]
0:20 - My favorite magnet cycle is the one that sounds like an old-timey typewriter from a newsreel.
0:21 - "Dateline, this tube. Look out, Mussolini, Uncle Sam's boys aren't crying anymore and have their swallowing problem on the run."
0:30 - I wish Fred Jackson and Matt Forte were still alive. I mean, to me.
0:40 - O, hi, nice man who put a warm blanket over me, just another hour? Why not make it two? Because screw Mussolini.
1:00 - "Baby, when I'm with you, it's like you're the MRI machine and I'm the injured high school sports star." - something John Updike probably thought.
1:01 - Can I tweet that?
1:02 - Na, probably not.
1:03 - But I can blog it. Totally.
1:10 - And emotionally I skipped from bored right past heroic and am back to fear.
1:12 - The zombies would probably just eat my legs but then I'd be a zombie and would totally have dibs on this nice livin' tube.
1:14 - I hope after this I get to stand in a long coffee line with a bunch of young doctors to remind myself that most of the doctors I know got into it because they really liked Grey's Anatomy and wanted to drive a Mercedes. I will? Great.
1:20 - Story idea: "Pow, pow, pow, pow, pow, pow, beep."
1:22 - Sudden urge to fight tube.
1:23 - Is that as hard as you can hit magnets?
1:24 - O, I assumed it's just take your daughter to work day. Little Olive is doing great.
1:30 - This one again? Great, no, I mean, I wouldn't want to be a huge one note cliche, but if you want to be Joe Cocker...
1:31 - No, I'm sure you're very advanced, but there's no getting around the fact that you're made by a company that builds electric razors.
1:40 - I don't know disembodied voice of the nice man who put a warm blanket over me, sometimes I think I have gone crazy.
1:45 - I'm moving! It's over!
1:46 - Nope, just moved down a little. Now back. Now down. It's just screwing with me. Shouldn't have brought up Joe Cocker.
1:50 - MRI machines would be cooler if at the end they just dumped you inside themselves into a portal where you ended up waiting for an Americano next to a high-pitched girl in scrubs telling her friend she never gets to go out anymore. Not because that would be so great but because it would make the experience more like Mario.
2:00 - I think the MRI ended ten minutes ago and I didn't notice.
2:01 - I should have stolen those socks as a memento.
12:38 - My god, I think, I think I love the tube.
* There's a new NOÖ Weekly available right here edited by Laura Eve Engel. I have a thing in it about being pope or something. It's unclear. But it's a fantastic issue anyway which you should check out.
* There's also a cool prose poem made out of lines from all the pieces at the NOÖ blog here.
* So these YouTube "Hitler reacts to ____________" things are more than a little tired at this point, but I have to give it up to the Royals fan who put this one together about the Royals signing Jonathan Broxton. It's really funny, all the more so if you're a Royals fan who enjoys jokes about those hydraulic adaptor commercials that blanket all the radio broadcasts.
* If you're not that--and statistically the odds of you being that are quite small--it's still got plenty of that nutty Hitler.
* I also have a couple of Sire (on)Lines in the new Jet Fuel Review. These are about the internet and Wal-Mart which, as you might imagine, put them in the latter portions of the manuscript despite my initial intention to call the project Sam Walton: Made in America and have it sold for $8.88 at over 7,000 retail locations worldwide.