Archive for October, 2011

Here’s the deal.  In honor of all Hallows’ Eve, I am more or less proud to present Makya McBee Vs. Other People’s Lists – Volume 5, The Ten Scariest Movie Villains. 

Lon Chaney, Jr. as Kharis in the film The Mumm...

Image via Wikipedia

Most consider Halloween to be the scariest holiday (although, admittedly, some men are more frightened by Valentine’s Day) and Hollywood has a storied tradition of tapping into our primal fears with classic movie monsters.  From The Wolf Man, starring Lon Chaney, Jr. to House of Frankenstein starring Lon Chaney, Jr. to The Mummy’s Tomb starring Lon Chaney, Jr. to Son of Dracula starring Lon Chaney, Jr. to Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man starring Lon Chaney, Jr. to The Mummy’s Ghost starring Lon Chaney, Jr. to House of Dracula starring Lon Chaney, Jr. to Dracula Vs. Frankenstein starring Lon Chaney, Jr. to The Ghost of Frankenstein starring Lon Chaney, Jr. to The Mummy’s Curse starring Lon Chaney, Jr. to Abbott and Costello meet Frankenstein starring Abbott and Costello….and Lon Chaney, Jr., Tinseltown has always offered a wide variety of horror films, with a wide variety of actors to boot.

But have you ever wondered…which are the most terrifying film villains of all time?  And…where can aforementioned villains be found, in list format?  Well, wonder no longer, my friend.  Forget the bite-size Kit Kat, consider this your Halloween treat.    

Top Ten Scariest Movie Villains

11. John Ryder    (The Hitcher is not a great movie, but Ryder is a uniquely creepy bad guy because he’s suicidal.  What’s more menacing than a man willing to kill you and daring you to kill him?  Essentially, he’s a villain that chooses suicide via C. Thomas Howell…the same strategy employed by the movie Soul Man)

10. Norman Bates    (Bates is especially eerie because he is attempting to battle his dementia.  Evil is scary, but even more frightening is the notion that we could become evil.  The fact that he struggles with his madness is both humanizing and terrifying.  Plus there’s the fact that he’ll stab you in the shower)

9. The Joker    (Let’s be clear, we’re talking about Heath Ledger here.  Ledger’s Joker made Jack Nicholson’s Joker look like a joke…made all the more impressive by the fact that, previously, Nicholson’s relatively unnerving take on the character had made Cesar Romero’s Joker look terrible.  But Ledger’s Joker reveled in his madness in a truly terrifying way.  I don’t know that I’ve ever seen a character enjoy violence and mayhem as much as he did…it’s always nice when you love your work) 

8. Zombies    (From Dawn of the Dead to 28 Days Later all zombies are scary – and, I would argue, for one key reason.  Sure, it’s no fun to be chased around by a hillbilly with a chainsaw, but the worst thing any normal killer can do is…well, kill you.  Zombies are even more blood curdling – and they’re not picky, they’ll eat you even if your blood has curdled – because they can turn you into one of them.  Sure, so can vampires and werewolves, but those, at least, are powerful creatures.  Zombies serve as a metaphor for all diseases which makes them legitimately chilling.  If you don’t think that zombies are scarier than vampires and werewolves combined…you’re dead wrong)

7. Nurse Ratched    (One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest may not be a horror movie, but don’t tell the nurse in charge that.  What’s more frightening than monsters?  Reality.  Villains are usually criminals or creatures…but this villain is in a position of power, which is scarier because nobody’s even trying to stop her.  A kid possessed by the devil is unsettling, but realizing that there are actual people like this in charge of the world…that’s disturbing)

Michael Myers (Halloween)

Somebody needs a dry cleaner...

6. Michael Myers    (In general, I find the slasher movies to be more gory than scary.  Myers, however, makes the list for one important reason – the fact that he doesn’t have one.  Let me explain.  A killer who’s out for revenge is much less terrifying than a killer who’s just out there killing for no reason in particular.  We can understand the notion of someone becoming a monster by how they were raised or what they went through in life.  It’s the idea of someone being born a monster that is much more frightening.  Besides, anyone who doesn’t think Mike Myers is scary didn’t see The Cat in the Hat…I shiver just thinking about it)

5. Annie Wilkes    (Now here’s a character that proves that love hurts.  Wilkes is infinitely creepy because she adores the person she’s torturing.  Misery is a great movie and it is so easy to identify with the utter hopelessness of the protagonist.  And if you can make the word, “cockadoodie” seem scary, you’ve got to be doing something right)

4. Hannibal Lecter    (When horror heroes and heroines are being stalked by various masked killers, they always have one advantage…they’re smarter than the villains.  Evil is almost always associated with a simple single-mindedness, which makes this character all the more unnerving.  Sure, he’s a murderous cannibal, but he’s a smart, sophisticated murderous cannibal.  Here’s a guy that’s willing to cut off your nose to eat your face…and, even scarier, he can probably talk you into making the first slice) 

3. Jack Torrance    (Alright, Stephen King knows what he’s doing.  After all, I put two of his villains in my top five.  I find Torrance particularly menacing for two reasons.  Firstly, we are witnessing his descent into madness.  In most horror films, the killer is pretty much already crazy and we just watch him wreak some havoc.  It’s a little bit creepier to watch this slow transition.  Secondly, instead of hacking up sexy sorority girls or sinful Camp Crystal Lake counselors, Torrance is trying to kill his wife and young son.  The more intimate the fear – the more impactful.  Plus, speaking as a writer, Torrance has the creepiest writer’s block ever)

2. The Blair Witch    (Perhaps it seems strange that I should give the number two spot to a villain that never even appears on screen…but that’s kind of the point.  The directors who know how to truly scare us all understand that there is nothing they can show on screen that is as frightening as what we can imagine.  This film borders on boring for the first ninety minutes, but the final scene remains the scariest thing I have ever seen in a movie.  I know exactly what Freddy Krueger looks like…and he can’t begin to haunt my dreams like an evil I can only imagine)    

1. The Shark    (There are movies that have made the woods seem creepy.  There are others that have made me wary of old, abandoned buildings.  But Jaws, to this day, has caused me to avoid 71% of the Earth’s surface.  I’ve never really been concerned with encountering a blood-thirsty alien, being bitten by Dracula or having a tiny doll come to life and try to kill me…but I have, on numerous occasions, seen actual news footage of disturbingly large sharks swimming just off the beach that’s a couple of miles from where I live.  It might not be common, but those sharks are really out there and they can eat you up good.  And you know that inevitable scene in the horror film where the victim cowers in the corner and pleads with the killer, “Please, don’t do this.”  There’s no such scene in this movie because there’s no use pleading with a shark or yelling no.  Besides, under water, nobody can hear you scream)

Advertisements

Here’s the deal.  This is a lion.

Lion

And this is a sea lion.

Any questions?

You see what I’m gettin’ at?  As loveable and cute as they may be, I don’t see how these glorified seals have any right to call themselves lions.

Lions are ferocious carnivores at the top of their food chain.  Sea lions are pinnipeds with external ear flaps.  Yeah, apparently those external ear flaps are pretty important to a sea lion as it is the easiest way to distinguish them from seals.  Honestly, if my defining characteristic were an external ear flap I wouldn’t draw any attention to myself by calling myself a lion. 

Come on, lions are kings of the jungle.  And they don’t even live in the jungle.  Now that’s real power.  I wonder what office they hold in the savannah?  The sea lions main claim to fame is that it can hold its breath for forty minutes.  I’m no history scholar, but I don’t think anyone has ever gained a ruling position by demonstrating their ability to hold their breath.  (Although that would make for an engaging Republican presidential debate…might give Jon Huntsman a chance, I hear that guy’s got a real set of lungs on him).

Sea lions are also known for their intelligence.  It turns out that most of those trained seals you see at various water parks are actually sea lions.  It seems these guys have real identity issues.  Mistaking themselves for lions while everyone else is mistaking them for seals.  If they’re so darn smart, why don’t they demand credit for balancing that ball on their nose?  And why didn’t they pick a more appropriate name, like Sea Dogs?

Another interesting fact – male sea lions don’t eat during breeding season, they’re too busy protecting their females.  I’ll give them credit for that.  That’s dedication.  I’ve taken the opposite approach in my life – I don’t breed during eating season.  Has not served me well.

So, how am I going to do it?   How will I talk some sense into these blubber-encased ocean mammals?  You know what, this sounds like a job for Aquaman.  (Wow, I bet that’s the first time anyone has ever said that).  Only Aquaman can speak their language.  Maybe he can get them to open their external ear flaps and listen to reason.  Which will free up my time for other, more important pursuits.  After all, it’s eating season.

Vs. Twix

Posted: October 24, 2011 in Food
Tags: , , , , , ,

Here’s the deal.  With Halloween right around the corner, candy is on everyone’s mind and soon to be in everyone’s stomach.  And, when trick or treaters come home with bags full of sweets, a great tradition of candy trading ensues.  Like miniature buyers and sellers on the floor of the stock market, kids barter chocolate for licorice, trade caramels for gum and short sell nougat against lollipop futures.  And there was a time I’d risk my whole portfolio for a peanut butter Twix…sadly, that time is no more.

Twix bar Purchased March 2005 in Atlanta, GA, USA

Mmmm...wafer flavored wafer...

Let’s start with the basics.  Twix is a combination of the words twin and sticks, which means the candy bar should probably be spelled Twicks – but I’m assuming they didn’t want the word ick in the middle of their food product.  This candy bar originally consisted of a wafer topped with caramel and coated in milk chocolate.  Pretty good stuff.  But then, in 1983, Mars introduced Peanut Butter Twix…and it was much more delicious than the original (bonus flavor – if you lived in Poland in 2003 you could have tried the short lived and rather unfortunate sounding Orange Twix).

So, in the late eighties and early nineties, everything was good in the world of Twix.  Candy lovers everywhere could enjoy this scrumptious combination of wafer, chocolate and peanut butter.  But corporations tend to get restless and whenever they have a successful product that hasn’t changed in years they feel an inexplicable, unnecessary need to update it (New Coke, anyone?). 

First, they suspended production of peanut butter Twix entirely.  From 1997-2000, our nation entered a dark, dark period where the only variety of Twix available was caramel.  Then, only seven years after bringing it back, they replaced the wafer which was….I don’t know, wafer flavored?…with a chocolate wafer.  Oh, the humanity.  Now peanut butter Twix was a combination of chocolate, peanut butter and more chocolate.  That’s right, people, they ruined peanut butter Twix.  It was no longer all in the mix.

Speaking of their slogan, they replaced that too.  As of last year, it’s “Pause like you mean it.”  What the hell does this mean?  Someone in marketing was pretty pleased when they noticed that the two Twix bars resembled the symbol on a pause button…I don’t know why they didn’t just turn these bars on their side and make an equal sign out of them.  They could have done something like, “Twix = Delicious,” formed with the two bars.  No, it’s not great, but at least it makes sense.  I mean, come on, how does one’s choice of candy bar effectively communicate one’s desire to hesitate with determination?  And how do you pause like you mean it?  I assume it involves a steely glare and firm stance and…apparently some caramel.

Thomas Dolby

Thomas, put down your glasses lest you be blinded!

Yep, Twix had a good thing going, and they just complicated everything.  For example, you know where Twix are made?  In Cleveland.  Sure, everyone’s heard of Cleveland.  Cleveland…Tennessee.  What?!? Even their plant location is confusing.  Were there no factories available in Chicago, Wyoming or Boston, Hawaii?

So, how am I going to do it?   How will I convince Twix to return to their original ingredients?  Please, there’s no reasoning with corporations.  They’re like toddlers with way more money and power.  No, there’s only one logical solution.  If I want a peanut butter Twix the way they were mean to be consumed, I’ll have to time travel back to the summer of 1983. 

Ahh, 1983…Tom Cruise slid across the newly-waxed floor and into our hearts in Risky Business…Thomas Dolby topped the charts while blinding us with science…and India won the Cricket World Cup with a stunning 43 run win over the West Indies.  What?  You don’t remember the ’83 World Cup?  Captain Kapil Dev lead his underdog squad to a surprise victory?  Seriously?  Nobody follows cricket?  Jiminy!

Here’s the deal.  Wherever I go, people come up to me and ask, “Makya, of Makya McBee Vs., what are your favorite commonly used English words?”  Okay…you caught me…that’s not actually true…I don’t go anywhere.

But I do have a list of my favorite common English words.  Being semi-permanently, temporarily unemployed gives a man plenty of time to come up with an opinion on everything. 

Lagoon in Santo

Putting the blue in lagoon

I started with a list of the 100 most commonly used English words, according to the Oxford English Dictionary.  Click here if you’d like to take a quiz trying to identify as many of these words as you can in twelve minutes (I managed 74 out of 100 – that may seem low, but the task is more difficult than it sounds…go ahead and try and tell me how many you get, smarty pants).  The next step was…well, deciding which ones were the best.  And that pretty much brings us up to date.

Remember, you won’t find any colorful words like lagoon, serendipity or quintessential here.  Those words are fine for special occasions, but today we’re talking about the words that do the heavy lifting.  The words that aren’t afraid of an honest day’s work.  They may not be as fancy, but these are the words that make up the majority of what we read, write and say and they deserve our respect.

So, for all of you out there with your own, erroneous lists, I proudly present Makya McBee Vs. Other People’s Lists – Volume 4, The Ten Best Commonly Used English Words…brought to you by the OED (You down with OED?  Yeah, you know me…)

The Top Ten Commonly Used English Words

(11) Now     (The 73rd most common word serves the important purpose of reminding us to live in the moment.  It’s a tricky thing, not living in the past or future – not as tricky as, say, living in a duffel bag or a friend’s oversized pocket, but still.  This one might have been ranked higher if it were not also used by spoiled people to mean “immediately” as in, “I want to see my friend!  Bring me my duffel bag now!”)

(10) Make     (To bring into existence.  That’s a pretty important part of being human.  Whether it’s an excuse, a house, or a human being, we love making things)

(9) But     (This, the 22nd most common, is a word of reason…a word of contrary opinions and possibilities…a word key to any rational discourse…and it sounds just like “butt”)

(8) Like     (This is a great word for two reasons – as a verb, it allows us to demonstrate when we find something to be agreeable, as a preposition it’s perfect for drawing correlations and seeing the things in the world that connect us.  And, bonus, you can use it as an interjection, “I have a friend who, like, totally lives in a duffel bag.”

(7) Be     (“To be or not to be” gets a lot of credit as a philosophical question.  Personally, I think the answer is pretty obvious.  But without this word we don’t really have anything)

(6) Or     (The 35th most common word, it’s key because it gives us options.  Without or we’d have no choices in life.  No reason to get up in the morning.  Or…would we?)

(5) With     (Very important concept.  Without with we’d be alone.  This word joins us.  It’s really romantic when you think about it.  Without it, we’d only have a lonely chicken.  But employing this word we can have a chicken with its head cut off…okay, that’s probably not the best example)

(4) No     (Some people don’t like this word.  They should give it some more thought.  No is one of the first words that babies learn.  Why are they so eager to shout this word at ever possible opportunity?  It’s their first chance to be independent.  And as much as we need with, we also desperately need to establish ourselves by ourselves.  Also, without no there isn’t yes.  It’s hard to remember sometimes, but if we didn’t get as many no’s as we do in life, the eventual yes would lose all its meaning)

(3) I     (As I just established, we need to be recognized as unique beings.  There’s probably a reason this is the 10th most common word and you is the 18th.  Sure, people love pointing out that there’s no i in team, but there are three of them in individual)

(2) If     (It could be argued that there is no more important word for a writer.  This is a great and powerful word because it is a word of infinite possibilities. If can be anything.  If  I won the lottery.  If  I lost my job.  If my friend jumped out of my duffel bag and started running around like a chicken with its head cut off) 

(1) For     (This may be the 12th most common word, but it’s my #1.  And I can see that it might, at first, seem like an odd choice.  But for is a word of purpose.  People fight for a cause.  Risk everything for a dream.  Do anything for their family.  Humans are a resilient bunch.  We can survive without a lot of things.  But it’s pretty hard to live without a for)

Here’s the deal.  Way back yonder in April I battled spam.  Since then, spam has slowly been plotting its revenge, growing ever stronger in the dark recesses of the internet and gathering its armies in the comments section of this very blog.  To their credit, WordPress has fought bravely, decimating spam’s mighty forces – but, in the past seven months, a few of spam’s tireless soldiers have made their way to my front lines.  (Is it okay with everybody if I drop the military metaphor, now?  I hate it when extended personification takes over like this.  It’s almost like a war of words in which my attempt to be creative morphs into combat and my figurative language takes up arms against me and…oh, crap, it’s happening again). 

I guess the point is – I occasionally get spam in my blog comments.  And because this spam is supposed to be a direct response to a specific post, they are all the easier to identify by their generic nature.  So, without further ado, for your education and entertainment, I will now share some of this blog comment spam with you.  (You will not be able to find any of these in the actual comments section of the blog because, when I’m asked to approve them, I strike them down with a mighty blitzkrieg of…dang it, just read the spam…)

(1)   “It is really a great and useful piece of info.  I am satisfied that you simply shared this helpful info with us.  Please keep us up to date…” 

My first hint that this was not from a real person?  Their blog was called “Win an iPad 64GB.”  My second hint?  They were asking me to keep them up to date on a post about how I don’t like the way okra tastes.  (And here’s that update they were looking for…I still don’t like okra.  Stay tuned for future updates).

(2)   “Comfortably, the article is seriously the top on this deserving subject.  I match in with your conclusions and will undoubtedly thirstily appear forward to your next updates.  Simply saying thanks surely will not basically be sufficient, for the terrific clarity in your writing.  I will certainly at once grab your rss feed to stay abreast of any type of updates.  Fabulous work and also considerably success in your business enterprise!” 

Brussels Sprouts

Beware the gathering army...

I must admit that this one made me feel good.  I mean, how many people out there are thirstily appearing forward to my next updates?  If they are, they never bother to tell me.  And it’s nice to hear.  I considerably appreciate it.  

(3)    “There are tons of good tv shows to choose from to say it’s the best.  No matter what is said though, there is no doubt that this show ranks in the top five of all of them.  Yes, there are shows that are a bit newer but this one still has charm.  There is comedy, love, and a little darkness, easily moving it up to the top.  They don’t just make them like this nowadays.”

What a thoughtful comment.  Unfortunately, (a) they fail to ever identify which TV show they’re referring to and (b) the post they were commenting on was not about TV shows.  But the best part of this was the blog it came from – Eye Floaters Cure, “A Place for the Latest Information on Eye Floaters Cures.”  Very useful.  I mean there are just so many eye floater cures out there, it’s nice to know that they’ve finally all been collected in one place.  Did you know that, on average, zero people die each year from eye floaters?  It’s true. 

(4)   “Hello there, simply turned into aware of your blog thru Google, and found that it is really informative.  I’m gonna watch out for brussels.   I will appreciate if you continue this in future.  A lot of other folks will be benefited from your writing.  Cheers!”

This is actually my most popular comment of all time as I have received this exact comment from five different “people.”  I can’t help but wonder why they’re all so worried about brussels…I’m also not quite sure whether or not they failed to capitalize it and are referring to the capital of Belgium, or this is some hip, urban slang for brussels sprouts.  Just to be safe, I’d keep my eye on them both…

So, how am I going to do it?   How will I stop this ridiculous blog spam from trickling into my life?  This may be a Makya McBee Vs. first, but this time, I don’t want to stop it.  It’s quite entertaining.  And I want to win an iPad almost as much as I want to put an end to the epidemic of eye floaters.  Maybe it’s just me, but I thirstily appear forward to my next blog comment spam.

Here’s the deal.  In 1988, Robert Fulghum published a book that would remain on the New York Times Bestseller List for nearly two years – All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten.  Why did so many people buy this book?  Apparently they went to a worse kindergarten than Robert. 

I think that about 92% of the darling tidbits that can be found in these type of gifty, pseudo self-help books are useless, repetitive drivel.  And I have multiple issues with the suggestion that after kindergarten we’re all set in the knowledge department.

Firstly, let’s look at some standard kindergarten rules.  Raise your hand to speak.  Put things back where you found them.  Keep your hands to yourself.  Always do your best.  Clearly, there are some things we learn in kindergarten that are simply no longer applicable in adult life. 

Come on, how annoying and inconvenient would it be if we all had to raise our hand to speak in daily life?  How would we know whether or not we were in the middle of a press conference?

And if adults always put things back where they found them, there would be no new inventions – what if, for example, H.B. Reese (and, yes, he was a real guy) always put the peanut butter and the chocolate back where he found it?  Nobody wants to live in that world.   

What about keeping your hands to yourself?  I agree that this is a good rule for kids.  But if adults followed this rule…we wouldn’t be able to make any new kids.

Robert Fulghum (2007)

Fulghum, signing books and discussing the bowtie lessons he learned in kindergarten

I may be the only one who has a problem with people suggesting that we always do our best, but I’m adamant.  It’s this over-achieving attitude that gets us into problems like the 110% nonsense (full thoughts on this can be found here).  But there’s a real basic issue with always doing your best.  If you always do your best, you can never in your life impress anyone by doing better.  The very concept of better won’t even exist for you.  That’s why I always give no more than 81%…that leaves me plenty of room to do even better, should the need ever arise.

Of course, the more glaring error in the book is all of the things we desperately need to know that our clearly not taught in kindergarten.  Before Mr. Fulghum was a published author, he was a salesman for IBM…I wonder if he learned how to sell computers in kindergarten?  We don’t learn to drive a car in kindergarten.  We don’t learn how to balance our checkbook in kindergarten.  And we don’t learn how to format a resume in kindergarten.  Honestly, we barely learn anything in kindergarten.  We don’t even learn how to spell kindergarten in kindergarten.

Which brings me to my final problem with this concept – what do we really learn in kindergarten?  Some of the things Fulghum lists as having learned there include not hitting, cleaning up after yourself and being kind.  I, for one, didn’t learn any of these things in kindergarten…I learned them from my parents.  I fear Fulgum must have had very lazy parents…“Do you think we should we teach little Robbie to share?”  “Nah, he’ll learn that where he’ll learn everything else he needs to know in life – in kindergarten.”  The truth is, if haven’t already learned these basic concepts by the time we get to kindergarten, we’re in for a tough life.  Perhaps a better title would have been Some of the Things I Really Need to Know Were Reinforced in Kindergarten.      

So, how am I going to do it?   How will I convince people that all they really need to know they definitely did not learn in kindergarten?  What’s the point?  If there really is anybody out there functioning with only the knowledge they acquired in kindergarten…they couldn’t read this anyway.

Here’s the deal.  If you missed the first two editions of Makya McBee Vs. Other People’s Lists, don’t worry, they’re still available online (at this very blog, in fact) and will likely be included in the future best-selling collection – The Best of Makya McBee Vs. Other People’s Lists (to be available in book stores everywhere until there are no more book stores…i.e. 2017).  And there’s more good news.  It’s now time for Makya McBee Vs. Other People’s Lists – Volume 3, The Top Ten American State Mottos.  As discussed here, we love ourselves some state symbols, and state mottos are among the oldest traditions.  Perhaps the only older American tradition is rating state mottos in list form (which was understandably difficult in the years before state mottos existed).  I’m sure it’ll incite many a family debate, so let’s get started.  (Side note – South Carolina was instantly disqualified by being the only state with two state mottos…as per my last blog, I’m sick of everyone thinking more is better).

The Top Ten American State Mottos

11. Texas – Friendship (What could anyone have against this simple, welcoming message?  If you don’t like this state motto, what would you rather it be…Animosity?)

picture of a French Angora rabbit

Before...

10. New York – Ever Upward (Granted, it’s a little bit ambitious.  I mean, come on, ever upward?  Never even a little bit sideways?  Or just a standstill to rest every now and then?  But if you’re going to be ever moving in any direction I suspect upward is the way to go)

9. Oregon – She Flies With Her Own Wings (I must admit, I enjoy the ambiguity.  I don’t know who she is, why she needs wings, or where she’s flying…but, what the hell, good for her) 

8. Wyoming – Equal Rights (What can I say?  There are few two word sentiments I agree with more)

7. Idaho – Let It Be Perpetual (Also slightly ambiguous…I’m not entirely sure what it is, but it looks like it’s here to stay.  Interesting side note – this was the original title of the Beatles hit, but it proved a little too wordy as a chorus)

6. Rhode Island – Hope

5. Kansas – To the Stars Through Difficulties (I like this one because Kansas is willing to admit that life ain’t easy.  The whole, “To the stars” bit is a little trite, but bonus points for highlighting the struggle)

4. Maryland – Strong Deeds, Gentle Words (I enjoy gentle words.  Like fluffy, brook, naptime and bunny.  Strong deeds…not so much.  Unless after the strong deeds I can curl up by a brook with a fluffy bunny and take a nap…that sounds really nice.  I used to have a bunny when I was a kid.  I named it Caramel.  Then we moved and had to leave it with our friends.  Our friends ate my bunny.  That is actually a true story.  Here’s a good way to traumatize a kid – eat their pet bunny.  Come on, what were they thinking?  I know they didn’t want to take care of the bunny, but still.  You eat it?  And then tell me you ate it?  Oh, poor Caramel.  Poor, delicious Caramel)    

Rabbit meat

...and after

3. California – Eureka (This one’s cool because no other motto makes it seem more exciting to come to a state.  “We’re in California?  Eureka!”  Of course, it comes from the gold rush, back when California was an exciting, prosperous place to move to…you know, before we went bankrupt…like most states…is it just me, or did everything suddenly get depressing after my pet rabbit became somebody’s dinner)

2. Michigan – If You Seek a Pleasant Peninsula, Look Around You (Okay, this one makes everything better.  I couldn’t possibly begin to count the number of times I have been looking for a pleasant peninsula and have had no idea where to find it.  Problem solved)

1. North Carolina – To Be Rather Than to Seem (This wins because North Carolina is basically saying to all of the other states, “Oh, you got pretty words in your motto over there?  Well, it’s all about what you do, not what you say, suckas.  N.C. in the house!”  Love the message.  Best…motto…ever)