Tag Archives: Texas

Where Am I?

The question isn’t is this embarrassing. No, the question is one of degree.

Just how embarrassing is it to get lost in your own “hometown?”

Even worse, this isn’t the first time it’s happened to me. I’m beginning to think I might have a problem.

The first time was when I was in junior high school. (For those of you unfamiliar, that was the school between elementary [k-6] and high school [10-12].)

We had some friends come in from out of town. They wanted to go to Six Flags over Texas, which was just outside of the small suburb of Dallas where I grew up.

We managed to make it there all right, with only a few minimal disruptions. The problem came when we headed home and there weren’t any more signs leading us to our destination. This was (way, way, way) before cell phones or the like, so we were on our own. The older kids from out of town didn’t know which way to go and they looked to me for answers.

I turned around to see who they were looking at behind me. I had a vague notion of the direction to go, but it wasn’t all that good of a vague notion. I was asked — repeatedly and forcefully — how I could live in a town and not know my way around it. Mostly it was because I wasn’t driving yet and spent most of my car time with my nose buried in an actual paper book.

We didn’t starve to death. We eventually found our way home (hours and hours after curfew, but the parents had been too busy partying to really worry) and all was good.

Until the last weekend when I got that horrible flashback feeling. My friend, Pitt (who I’ve known since high school and who recently moved here from Pittsburgh) and I were headed to a fundraiser put on by the P Strong Foundation to raise money to support research into rare cancers.

I was in the driving seat, a position with which I was intimately familiar considering I’d been driving for more than three decades. I thought I knew my way around Charlotte. Turns out, I was wrong.

Pitt, who’s been here less than two years, knew where the event was. It was Pitt who knew where to park and how to get from the parking garage to the Bal Masque Gala at the Marriott City Center.

The first one I can blame on youth. The second time? I’m still going to blame that one on youth. Not my own, of course, but my young dudes. See, I’ve been so busy rearing the young dudes since I came to Charlotte fifteen years ago that I never got a chance to really know my way around the city. Unless you counted the areas around the Chuck E Cheese and other young-dude attractions.

That counts, right? You dudes are buying that, yeah? Right?

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Too Much Time On Their Hands

Autocomplete can be a boon or a burden.

A boon when you can’t remember the whole words, but do remember the first couple of letters. A burden when you don’t pay attention and just click away and find you’ve clicked on something appalling by not checking, or sent someone a message about smelling delicious farts instead of smelling delicious tarts.

You know the sort of thing.

Well, anyway, the good folks at io9, motto: We Come From The Future, reposted an interesting little piece from The Land of Maps, a tumblr site devoted to — wait for it — maps.

What the map-loving pervs folks over at The Land of Maps did was type in “Why is [state] so. . . ” to a Google search box and then let the autocomplete gremlins take over from there.

What Google does, in its infinite wisdom (all hail our future overlords), is to complete the sentence with what its algorithms deem to be the most likely next word.

Renee Montoya let's you know that's a good Question as a DC Comics character.

So, for instance, when I type in “Why is  [North Carolina} so. . . ” to  the Google search bar, I get back the sentence “Why is North Carolina so cheap?”

Which makes pretty good sense, actually. Good question.

According to io9, there are only 19 states with unique autocomplete descriptions courtesy of Google. North Carolina is one of them.

These are the others.

Nevada: Empty

Wyoming: Windy

Utah: Mormon

Colorado: Fit

Kansas: Flat

Texas: Big

Iowa: Democratic

Missouri: Conservative

Illinois: Corrupt

Georgia: Backwards

Ohio: Important

Maine: White

Massachusetts: Smart

Rhode Island: Small

New Jersey: Bad

Maryland: Rich

Virginia: Strict

That's the USA I'm talking about, dudes, the United States of Autocomplete. Google does some funny things.Not all of them make perfect sense, but they certainly do feed into the sense of each state.

Didn’t know autocomplete did stuff like that? Well, welcome to the future, dude. We’re glad to have you here.

Or, according to Google autocomplete: “We’re glad to. . . be of assistance. Although, I’m not sure we really are.

It looks like we might have to consider making a new book because Google only gave us “A Dude’s Guide to. . . ” babies as the second choice. The first autocomplete choice? “A Dude’s Guide to. . .” manhood.

Aw, yeah. I can feel the manly manliness of my manhood already.

And you?

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Educated In The U.S.A.

I grew up and went to school in Texas.

My young dudes have grown up and gone to school in North Carolina. My wife, known to me as She Who Must Be Getting A Bit Fed Up With This, grew up and went to school in Florida.

If the rankings of these respective states is to be believed, and I do, then it’s an astonishing miracle-like happening that any of the young dudes in our family can tie their shoelaces without drooling all over their shoes and forgetting what they’re supposed to be doing halfway through.

Education, in North Carolina, Texas and Florida is, to put it bluntly, being run on the cheap. Don’t believe me?

Here, check out this compelling infographic.

Produced By Best Education Degrees

Florida is the highest ranked of the three and it’s up there in the heady heights of 39th place, which is crappy at the very best.

I realize that not everything comes down to how much money gets spent on education, but it doesn’t help when our state government won’t put out the money to make a better school system. If we paid teachers more money, we could more easily retain the best teachers, those who would actually motivate students to learn and achieve more.

The results speak for themselves, I’m thinking. Money can’t buy you success, but it can sure make it easier for you to get there.

Talk to your state and local representatives today, dudes. Get on their case until they start spending enough to give our kids a real, first-class education.

For those of you interested in the provenance of the data, go ahead and click on the more button just down there.

Continue reading Educated In The U.S.A.

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