Steve Duncan and Andrew Wonder explore some of the hidden sights of New York. Worth it for the look at the abandoned City Hall subway station alone.
I don’t like the state flag of Kansas. This has been on my mind because, as a Kansan, I see it frequently these days. What I find so ugly about it is the large font across the bottom, which says KANSAS. It is the largest of its kind, perhaps only topped by the WISCONSIN on the, well, Wisconsin state flag.
Yes, that’s right, I care about this so much that I’ve been studying other state flags and comparing designs. I find state flags emblazoned with the state’s name to be aesthetically unappealing: they may as well just write FLAG across the bottom.
Whining about state flags, however, seemed like a rather boring and short blog post. I thought I might try to find out if there was any correlation between states with terrible (read: named) flags and how they operated. My first thought was to try and link it to education, but that was a thorny issue: graduation rates seemed like a stretch, and other performance measures were simply too varied to choose from. In short, I would have been opening up several cans of worms.
So, I found a ranking of states by art budgets (per capita in 2010) at ArtBistro and went to work. Did a less abstract flag relate to a smaller art budget? Below find every state with a state name on its flag, with its art budget ranking (from lowest to highest, per capita). The District of Columbia is included.
51. This is a pretty cool flag, and doesn’t simply say CALIFORNIA, but we’re not off to a great start.
50. So tiny, but this is ugly and my theory is holding up immediately.
45. Michigan, Arizona, Colorado and Georgia all derail my theory, but look past that and examine this flag. This would be like my designing a flag, putting a flag in the middle of it, and then script around it that said “THE SEAL OF THE FLAG OF FLAGS.”
43. Maybe they were worried about being confused with the French. Because the French love eagles.
42. I think I’d prefer a blue flag. All blue.
41. I think this is the Michigan state flag?
40. Ah, the inspiration … for this post. Also: the water and ship in the background is very deceptive. I hope no one bases their tourism on state flag design. (If you do, though, PLEASE CONTACT ME.)
39. LIVE FREE OR DIE. C’mon, New Hampshire, your state flag should design itself.
38. Congratulations on the awful kerning, which only draws more attention to the huge state name across your flag.
37. “This is cool yet classic. I think our citizens will love it. But shit, wait, where do we live again?”
36. State of Idaho, State of Idaho. State of Idaho, State of Idaho. State of Idaho, State of Idaho. I have hives on my neck.
35. I guess this flag is the most defensible so far, as those guys would fall off the flag if that banner wasn’t supporting them.
34. I find this charming, if only for the lack of rigidity. I can tell I’m softening. Also, there’s a beaver on the back of this flag:
Back to work:
33. Virginia is for stepping on people.
30. This strikes me as a font chosen by a student for the title page, about 15 minutes before the paper is due.
28. “Red? Check. White? Check. Blue? Check. Stars? Check. Are we missing anything else?”
27. I’ll award partial credit for a font/kerning combo that makes the state name nearly unreadable.
26. Just had to sneak it on there, didn’t you?
25. Hey, it’s the first flag that doubles as a tourism ad. At least they have a better arts budget than Idaho!
24. I’d let this pass if you didn’t call it a “great” seal, Nebraska.
23. I was going to let it off the hook for only featuring initials, but then I convinced myself that initials may actually be worse. NC = Not Cool, North Carolina.
17. Congrats, North Dakota. We’re thrilled to see you here.
13. Is this some flag-on-flag action? A flag with a frame? I’m barely noticing your state name, West Virginia!
7. The buffalo tried to eat the state name, but I guess it glows or something.
2. This is a lifebuoy, right?
More than 75% of the states that name themselves on their state flags sit in the bottom half of this 2010 art budget list, ranked by per capita spending.
I’m surprised but pleased by my “findings.” I was hoping to just bust on some ugly flags for a bit, but I developed a very tenuous theory as well!
When I was about to move to the Midwest, I went to Google with a simple search query: “I-70 vs. I-64.” Operating under the premise that “everyone has talked about everything on the Internet,” I assumed I’d find a direct comparison of the two routes at my disposal to head to my new home.
But I didn’t find much. And now that I’ve had the opportunity to take both routes, I thought I’d write a bit about them for future travelers who run the same query on their search engine of choice.
When first heading West, my wife and I decided to take I-64. The route was almost 100 miles longer for my particular trip (from Washington, DC to Kansas). Despite the added length, I noticed what anyone will when comparing routes: I-64 simply travels through fewer large cities.
My wife and I had a great time on the drive. The roads were remarkably clear, and almost toll-free (we paid for one toll in Topeka). The only traffic we encountered came in an area under construction near St. Louis. We had such a good time on the ride that we didn’t think twice about taking the same route when we headed back East last month.
But that second trip exposed some flaws that we overlooked on the ride out. Specifically, we were exhausted after navigating the twisty roads of West Virginia. The seasons had something to do with it, as did the timing: the scenery was beautiful in the summer, and we were in good spirits at the beginning of our drive. By the time we had arrived back on the East Coast, though, we were both tired, and I was nauseous.
Naturally, we were ready to try a different route by the time we had to go home. A snow storm had crossed both routes the night before we left, which made the decision even easier: we wanted no part of potentially snowy or icy roads in West Virginia.
I-70 is certainly the more boring of the 2 routes: it offers none of the scenery of I-64, but you trade good looks for speed and reliability: the roads were clear and dry despite the storm, and our spirits (and stomachs!) never wavered.
A much shorter way to put it could be this: on our second trip along I-64, we finally felt all of those extra miles. I-70 is certainly the better choice in uncertain weather, or if you’re exclusively interested in making the best time. The major cities along the way don’t provide much of an impediment — the only traffic we hit was again due to construction in St. Louis, because apparently that town’s roads need a lot of work.
I-64 is certainly not a bad option, and if you’re traveling in dry and calm weather, it is arguably worth the extra time to travel its more beautiful and less populated areas. But I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I-70 is now my go-to choice for trips in either direction.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’d like to retire from the world of highway criticism.