Listen up, cool cats. Put down your doobies, adjust your berets, finish your daily abortions and get ready to learn about some stuff. Yes, I realize that "Desperate Housewives" is on, but you’re smart, you can multitask. Starting this morning, I am going to make concrete use of my well-traveledness in these great countries of ours, both the U. S. of C. and the newly-ordained Jesusland (see Nov. 4 for clarification). In fact, the only two U.S. states I’ve yet to visit are North Dakota and Alaska. Therefore I shall refrain from comment about them. The others? You are not so lucky. Therefore, in no particular order and until I get bored with myself, here is the first installment of Your Pocket Guides to the Red States, by me (and to keep it topical I added a Kafka-only component. How tubular, I know).

Lesson One: The Bottom Right-Hand Corner

Heartbreak_small_1Louisiana
Visited in: 1996, 2002
High point: the greatest food ever invented
Low point: a homeless man yelling "show your tits" at me. Not during Mardi Gras.
Telling anecdote: While driving through Louisiana (or rather, getting chased through it by Hurricaine Isadore, which is coincidentally the name of my dearly departed though rather jowly Belarussian great-grandfather), Mr. Stained Sweatshirtpants and I decided it would be prudent to cease and desist all efforts to maneuver the car through a torrent. We exited the freeway around Baton Rouge and ambled into a Holiday Inn lobby. The woman at the counter took one look at us (Jacob was wearing the aformentioned Sweatshirt I Would Burn If It Didn’t Mean The End of my Relationship; I had short hair that was partly dyed blue) and told us they were "all sold out," even though there was nary a car in the parking lot. We ended up staying at the Motel 6 next door, which was immactulately clean and much cheaper than that stupid Holiday Inn. The funniest part was that that night, Mr. I Think The Sweatshirt Makes Me Look Cool had a guest role on the show "Ed," which was on the network NBC, which was probably watched that night by the self-same woman who refused to let us sully her fine establishment with our heathen seed. Not that that should have made any difference in us getting a room there, I just throught it was funny.

Most Appropriate Kafka Parable: "My grandfather used to say: ‘Life is astoundingly short. In my memory things are now so compressed that it is impossible for me to see why a young man would decide to take a ride to the next village without fearing–aside from unfortunate accidents–that the normal span of a happy life is far from adequate for such a ride." ("The Next Village")

Florida
Visited in: 2002
High Point: Disney World (and I do mean "high point" if you get my drift)
Low Point: Disney World, when it wore off
Most Bizarrely Out of Place Accent: out of the mouth of one of the guys who mans those con-artist "discount park tickets" booths in parking lots all around the Orlando outskirts, promising free or half-price tickets to Disney World for the simple act of checking out of the Golden Link Motel (which was 27 dollars a night) and into whatever shithole "resort" he was pushing for no less than nine days. This wouldn’t have been so weird if he hadn’t talked like a sterotypical New Jersey mobster.

Most Appropriate Kafka quote: "’Like a dog!’ he said, as if the shame of it would outlive him." (from The Trial)

Georgia
Visited in: 1999, 2000, 2002
High Point: The Atlanta underground mall
High Point #2/Scariest Place Ever: Stone Mountain
Fun Fact: Every street, avenue, lane and boulevard in Atlanta is called "Peachtree," so unless you are a homeing pigeon, do not attempt to go anywhere there, ever.

Most Appropriate Kafka Parable: "It was very early in the morning, the streets clear and deserted, I was on my way to the station. As I compared my watch with the tower clock I realized it was much later than I had thought and that I had to hurry; the shock of this discovery made me uncertain of the way, I wasnt’ very wella acquainted with the town as yet; fortunately there was a policeman at hand, I ran to him and breathlessly asked him the way. He smiled and said: ‘You asking me the way?’ ‘Yes,’ I said, ‘since I can’t find it myself.’ ‘Give it up! Give it up!’ said he, and turned with a sudden jerk, like someone who wants to be alone with his laughter." ("Give It Up!")

Alabama
Visisted in: 1996, 2002
High Point: Who the hell are we kidding? I drove through that motherfucker as fast as I could. Those people are boiled nuts. They even have signs admitting it!

Gorilla_smallSouth Carolina
Visited in: 2002
High Point: "South of the Border"
Low Point: Jesse Helms
I was supposed to go to the fifth official S. Family Reunion on Kiwah Island this year, and I was looking forward to it for months, both seeing my extended family and the alleged best beach in America. Unfortunately Hurricaine Francis (who had the same name as my bestest friend) had other plans and I spent the weekend sitting around my apartment watching Da Ali G Show. Now Ali G is the funniest piece of walking performance comedy since Andy Kaufman (and a hell of a lot more mentally stable), but I still rather would have been in South Carolina.

Most Appropriate Kafka Story: "A Hunger-Artist," in honor of the many Shoney’s buffets.

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4 thoughts on “A Beatnik’s Guide to the States that Screwed Us, Part Un

  1. I accidentally used my other monicer, Godfather, in my last comment, so I apologize for the inconsistency.
    Ok, Im afraid I can no longer have any discussions with you. Anyone who thinks that Atlanta Underground is the high point of Georgia is either a)painstakingly ignorant b)mentally retarded to the point of having a negative IQ or c) enjoys being stabbed, raped, and robbed.
    Atlanta Underground is a total nightmare. Most of the merchants have left, and it requires more police supervision than virtually any other spot in the state. A better choice would be the Appalachian Trail, Amicalola Falls, the Blue Ridge Mountains, Downtown Ellijay, Centennial Olympic Park, or, yes, Stone Mountain (assuming you are a racist confederate, of course).
    And forget about driving around Atlanta (where I live). It is hands down the worst commuting city on earth (including Moscow, which is pretty bad). The roads are aweful, pot holed, traffic is the worst in the US, the streets change names at almost every intersection, many intersections have the same name (ie the corner of Peachtree and Peachtree, or Ponce and Ponce, or Northside and Northside, well, you get the drift)

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  2. I was being sarcastic about the underground mall. I think the actual high point of Georgia is a bar that doesn’t exist anymore called King Harry’s. I have never been to Savannah or Athens, but I am guessing that someone like me would like them a lot. Downtown Atlanta is really depressing (and depressed)–big cities that do not successfully mix commerical and residential space (i.e. every American city except Chicago, Philadelphia, Portland, SF and New York) generally have terrible downtown areas that give big cities a bad name, whereas those that do–the aforementioned, in addition to most major metropolises in Canada and Europe–are thriving and fun just about everywhere (contrary to outsider belief, the Bronx and Spanish Harlem are actually very nice–in fact the only part of New York City that sucks is Staten Island, and even that has nice parts).

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  3. 1) Jesse Helms, may Jesus spit on his pate, is from North Carolina, not South.
    2) I personally would MUCH rather watch Ali G, especially Bruno or Borat, than be in South Carolina. But maybe your family shindig was gonna be nice.
    3) Staten Island: What’s not to dislike? The only county in downstate NY to vote for Bush!

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  4. Damn! I knew JHelms was from North Carolina but for some reason my addled brain assumed he was from South because he was just that bigoted. I really like my family so that’s why I wanted to go. If my family could have joined me in my apartment to watch Borat’s Guide to America all weekend that would have been great. Well, perhaps not if they’d stayed in my one-bedroom apartment, all sixteen of them, but hey.

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