NN.C community member Basset sent along this artifact of southern culture (he lives in Nashville) with a brief note: “Saw the attached flag yesterday for sale at a flea market outside Lebanon, Tennessee, about half an hour east of Nashville. Don’t know who they think might buy one.” The flag in question:
Maybe those of you in Dixie can explain this, but my Spidey sense? Tells me it’s not good.
So, welcome to September. We’re scheduled for a week of gloriousness, high pressure with steadily rising temperatures peaking at 80 or so. In other words, perfect summer weather, with the autumn equinox bearing down on us. We’re spending one day at the Michigan State Fair. The last Michigan State Fair, I should add; it’s set to fall to the budgetary ax this year. I suppose it’s possible it might be reconstituted elsewhere down the road. It was always a strange beast, having the formal nod to agrarian Michigan take place in the heart of urban Michigan, but that’s the way most state fairs are, aren’t they? A chance for the kids from the farm to see the city, and vice versa. (I’d be happy to go see them, but they lack the hotel space.)
Still, this is sort of a tragedy. The fate of the fairgrounds is uncertain, but my guess is, it’ll stand empty until it succumbs to the inevitable — scrappers, then weeds, then rot, then collapse. Anyone interested in a fishing pond shaped like the state of Michigan?
This would never happen in Ohio. At least I hope not. Times are tough there, too, but the Ohio State Fair is such an institution. So many memories there, for a Columbus kid, but my favorite was the last one I collected as an adult resident of the state and a journalist covering the fair beat, when there was a protest in the cattle judging — one loser claimed the grand champion beef steer had been altered, if not surgically then…somehow. The veterinary inspection and tox screen came back negative, and the girl collected a fat five-figure check for her winner at auction. (The lede on my story: “In the end, Thumper was no bum steer.” Come on, people, gimme some love!)
But it was a bit of distant thunder, it turned out, because a couple years later, the winners really had been cheating, a bit of business that came to light when the champion was slaughtered and stripped of its hide, and globs of silicone fell out. Oops. It’s not every day you get to cover a cheating scandal at the state fair, and I regret that I missed it. By then I’d moved on to the Indiana state fair, where my sole bit of fair-related journalism was on Chief, the “world’s largest hog.” I called around, and discovered that Chief, while enormous, was not even close to a world record, or even a national one. (That belonged to a competitor from, where else, Iowa.) I pinned the p.r. rep down with the sword of truth and got her to admit that the quote marks — yes, it was Chief, “world’s largest hog” — were there for a reason. I then declared myself “world’s greatest columnist” and later collected an award for the piece from the Hoosier State Press Association. Yes, that story is as pathetic as it sounds.
I don’t care what anyone says; I’m proud of the work I did as a state fair journalist. Even if I never did track down the Tom Thumb Donut machine. (This was before the miracle of Google, needless to say. They may be my single-most-favorite state fair food.)
Bloggage? I has some:
When we were in Ann Arbor and watched a slide show by a UM professor who was a “computational cosmologist,” Alan was struck by how organic his computer models of the universe were. Dark matter resembled orange peels, etc. Now the Brits say they’ve successfully imaged a single molecule, and guess what, it looks like a honeycomb.
For the record, I am not offended by the People of Wal-Mart site, and I look forward to seeing its answer site, People of Whole Foods. (Great idea, Brian, but Trader Joe’s isn’t upscale enough.) Someone get on it.
Another reason to despise Michael Pollan: He has put me in agreement with Charlotte Allen. Sigh.
Yikes! I’m getting my roots done in 13 minutes! Must run.