Is this the hardest game on the internet? Photo courtesy of Flickr user jimmywayne

The State Highway Signs Quiz

Proceed to quiz   Most people, when they’re giving directions, describe all highways with the uncomplicated prefix “Route” (pronounced as root or rawte, according to taste). Take Route 85 for a few miles, then merge on Route 151, then south on Route 16….

On Digging In

On Digging In

“I think you can never really do something well unless you’re able to leave it and, you know, have a family and have a home, and have a place that you’re from that you’re really dug in, you know. I…



Yet another map in which Mississippi looks like the center of a black hole: See the full set of data here.

Photo by Darla Hueske

Country Shit

[Editor’s note: This week, we’re publishing two essays on music–particularly country music–and how it shapes our identity. This essay is a response to “Why Country Music Loves Me,” by Emma Eisenberg, which you can read here.] When I was a…

50 New States

We’ve written before about how a border–just an imaginary line–can change realities. Politically, especially. Back during election season, Andrew pointed out how those state lines can be skewed. Well, artist Neil Freeman has a novel solution: let’s just make all the states have…

“The Fifteen Beds of Our Honeymoon” & “I Want to Sleep in the Belly of a Dog in Idaho”

“The Fifteen Beds of Our Honeymoon” & “I Want to Sleep in the Belly of a Dog in Idaho”

The Fifteen Beds of Our Honeymoon Our bellies were full of beef at bedtime in Amarillo.    I don’t remember John Wayne’s bed at the Apache being particularly cozy, although I did sleep through the alarm, saying “I’ve seen enough…


A Worrisome Growth

Except for one and a half blocks on Blackhawk Avenue, Wisconsin’s Prairie du Chien has successfully dodged gentrification. The city’s downtown grid encloses a few square miles of plain single-family homes, some of which show off the simple cleanliness of…

Rawlins, Wyoming / Photo by Matt Hintsa

Finding Home in America, Part IV: Facing Home from L.A.-land

[Be sure to read parts 1, 2, and 3 first. – Editors] FACING west, from California’s shores,     Inquiring, tireless, seeking what is yet unfound,      I, a child, very old, over waves, towards the house of maternity, the…

Born Restless

Paired with my fascination with place is a fascination with movement: there is just so much of America–so much of the world–to see, and I don’t want to miss much of it. This is something we’ve covered a good bit…

Blue Back Square / courtesy Wikimedia Commons

You Can Go Home Again

When I lived in South Dakota, some of friends called me “Bouge.” This is short for “bourgeois.” My friends imagined the town I’m from — West Hartford, Conn. — a mystical land of Victorian mansions and old money. It was the…