US That Could’ve Been: Building Timeline X

This past December, I put together a sort of alternate history map of the United States called “The United States …That Could’ve Been.” It was nothing more than just a bit of fun in a dull and dry winter spell. All of the states created in that entry were based on existing real-life partition proposals that were either flat-out rejected or which flamed out. Continue reading “US That Could’ve Been: Building Timeline X”

From Absaroka to Yazoo: The 124 United States That Could’ve Been

Most of my life, I’ve daydreamed about history — not so much the incredible depth of historical events that have already occurred, good thinking as that might be. No, I’ve constantly fictionalized history by changing the outcome of one event here and there and exploring the possibilities of what would have come next. Sometimes I come up with some utterly ridiculous progressions on these alternate timelines of whole new worlds based on relatively minor changes. Continue reading “From Absaroka to Yazoo: The 124 United States That Could’ve Been”

Detroit, Eminem and Chrysler’s Geographic Imagination

Like many geographers, I found myself intrigued by the Super Bowl advertisement that Chrysler ran, a two-minute piece featuring musician Eminem and trumpeting the city of Detroit.  It’s an interesting ad for a number of reasons.  Certainly part of the intrigue comes from Detroit’s position as the butt of jokes, and the focus of umpteen photo essays of its landscape of decline.  The left points at the city as evidence of the failures of capitalism, while the right claims its decline was caused by strong labor unions and too-big civic governance.  Either way, with a city population rapidly declining — down below 900,000 by latest estimates, less than half its 1950 peak — and the associated economic and fiscal problems, we can all agree that Detroit has its problems. Continue reading “Detroit, Eminem and Chrysler’s Geographic Imagination”

The Super Bowl without a Super Bowl….

This year marks the first time that I haven’t sat and watched the Super Bowl in memory.  The earliest one I remember is, of course, the Chicago Bears in Super Bowl XX.  Now, 25 years later, I’m skipping one. Why? Not the whole concussion debate that’s given me a slight distaste for a sport I love.  Not the overarching consumerism (and associated brain damage) that each Super Bowl represents.  Not even the fact that this game was so clearly cursed, given the people injured by falling ice from the stadium (ice in Dallas in February?) or the several hundred people who came to Dallas with tickets but weren’t allowed in.

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When Does Patience Become Foolishness?

A riddle of sorts:

So, a guy named George makes plans with his friends to go downtown and party hard one Saturday night.  George lives wayyyy out in the suburbs, so he decides that public transportation is the way to go, because that’s the sensible thing to do given the destination and what’s obviously going to happen there. George isn’t super familiar with the transit system, so he works really hard and does his homework, figuring out every minute detail of his journey so he’s totally prepared. Continue reading “When Does Patience Become Foolishness?”

Mapping (Geo-)Autobiography: My Mental Map of the World

We usually have to stress to students in introductory geography classes that, despite the insistence of their high school football coach, er…. social studies teacher, that geography is not the memorization of maps.  I usually have an exercise to stress this on the first day of class, in which I have the students each draw mental maps of the world, using nothing but as many blank sheets as they like.  I wrote about this a couple weeks back, with examples of what they submitted.  It usually serves as an eye-opening experience for them, and they usually let out a big sigh of relief when I tell them it’s the last time they’ll be drawing maps for me.  Of course, I use it as a nice segue into what geography is really looking at, analyzing a selection of the maps on the overhead. Continue reading “Mapping (Geo-)Autobiography: My Mental Map of the World”

Mapping (Geo-)Autobiography: Travel

A lot of travelers — and especially geographers — like to keep track of numbers of places they’ve been…. countries, states, continents, capitals, everything. It’s a nice way to reflect upon past experiences, and yes, of course, brag to one’s friends about those travels. Continue reading “Mapping (Geo-)Autobiography: Travel”

Video: I Need an A

So, I’ve been snowed in a while, and it’s right at the end of the semester, when the weeping comes from underachieving students via e-mail. And that, plus XtraNormal, equals my venting response. For all teachers everywhere….

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Tilting at Windmills: One Final Look at a College Football Playoff

Last week, I posted an entry that had a few different scenarios creating a playoff system for college football. Continue reading “Tilting at Windmills: One Final Look at a College Football Playoff”

The 2010 NCAA Div I-A Football Playoffs (One Casual Football Fan’s Dream of What Could Have Been…)

Okay, those of you who read this blog and have no interest in college football would probably do best to move on right now. Fair warning.

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