Wednesday 5 June 2024


DISCLOSURE: Our aim here is to tell a story in brief verse about a town in every state of the USA, using its name and two-letter state-postal-abbreviation, as would be used in addressing a letter. Obviously, we still have a very long way to go.

What is the origin of this project? 


In a much earlier effort, we concocted various anagram swarms, armadas of anagrams of various political buzzwords, e.g. C-O-N-S-T-I-T-U-T-I-O-N)  displayed on wordplay maps of the US. The display and readability of these maps was eased by omitting the standardized comma that separates the town and state, i.e. Total Suction, IN == > Total Suction IN. Some readers expressed concern about this shortcut, fearing that we were involved in an insurrection against the international postal standard. Hence we later adopted a scheme for a rigidly defined limerick, as shown in the examples below, that could be used to versify various postal entities (real and imaginary) while highlighting and honoring the standard postal format.  

As this project got started, we decided that we should also include Canada (so stay tuned to check our first Canadian efforts that will be available shortly).

Baton Rouge, LA
Champaign, IL
Hoboken, NJ
Fargo, ND
Duluth, MN
Green Bay, WI
more to follow

Authors' Note: 

LA is the official abbreviation for the American state of Louisiana, whose capital, Baton Rouge, with population 230,000, is situated 100 miles (160km) upriver from New Orleans.

The original site, protected from flooding by its situation on bluffs along the east side of the Mississippi, had originally been noted by exploring Europeans for a pole marking the dividing-line between two aboriginal territories. It was designated as the state capital in 1846, replacing New Orleans in that role, and with extension, its port became the tenth busiest in the US. The city hosts the flagship campuses of Louisiana State university and Southern University.

In recent decades, the Republican party acquired a strangle-hold on almost all local, state, and federal officials elected in Louisiana. Although Louisiana is otherwise agreed as being one of the locales on the planet most affected by climate changecoastal erosion and other negative results of human activity, resistance to that realization seems strongly entrenched locally.

Authors' Note: 

Chicagoan: resident of Chicago, IL

urbane: sophisticated, elegant, worldly

No banana!: slang for 'not prize-winning'

No pain, no gain: slang phrase indicating hard work as a requirement for advancement.

IL is the official abbreviation for the American state of Illinois, in which two neighboring towns, Champaign, population 88,000 and Urbana, population 38,000, make up the metropolitan area of Champaign-Urbana, located 135 miles (215 km) south of the megalopolis of Chicago. The names of both towns, dating from the nineteenth century, relate to earlier settlements in the nearby state of Ohio.

Champaign-Urbana, IL is home to the flagship campus of the University of Illinois, and offers an appropriate spectrum of cultural opportunities. Surrounded by an extensive, flat, mid-west farming district, it is on occasion, as here, disparaged by residents of Chicago for its lack of "urbanity".

Authors' Note: MN is the official abbreviation for the American state of Minnesota, in which Duluth, a town with population 90,000 is situated. At the western end of lake Superior, the town was transiently, at the beginning of the 1900s, the busiest port in the United States.

The town's unusual name derives from the area's first known European explorer, the French soldier Daniel Greysolon, Sieur du Lhut. Duluth is now home to the annual "Magic Smelt Parade" and the University of Minnesota Duluth. Despite the region's French connection, the largest immigrant group in Minnesota has hailed from Scandinavia, accounting for the Swedish name of the verse's protagonist.

"Telephone-booth stuffing" was a short-lived global craze among college-age kids in the 1950s. Of interest, in the UK the activity was known as "telephone-booth squash", and the "rules" required that a phone-call be made from the overcrowded booth.

Authors' Note: ND is the official abbreviation for the American state of North Dakota, whose largest city is Fargo with a population of 126,000. Located on the floodplain of the Red River, the city was named after William Fargo, director of the Northern Pacific Railway and honcho of Wells Fargo Express.

Authors' Note: WI is the official abbreviation for the American state of Wisconsin, in which the city of Green Bay, population 110,000, is situated. Founded in 1634 as a French trading post, this settlement on the northern part of Lake Michigan was known in its earlier days as La Baie Verte. Today it is best known as the home of the football team "Green Bay Packers"; activities of the city's priesthood are described in Chuck Folkers' poem Holy Communion.

Authors' Note:  NJ is the official abbreviation for the American state of New Jersey, in which Hoboken, a town with population of about 60,000, is situated, commuting distance from New York City.

The town was first settled by Europeans in the 17th century as part of the New Netherland colony. Following the Dutch era, it became known as the site of the first recorded game of baseball, and as the birthplace (1915) and hometown of Frank Sinatra. 

FOLLOW-UP (Canadian, eh?)
You can sneak a peak at our efforts in Canada by clicking HERE!

DIRECTION FOR WEB-TRAVELLERS: To resume daily titillations on our related blog 'Daily Illustrated Nonsense', click HERE. Once you arrive, you can select your time frame of interest from the calendar-based listings in the righthand margin, and check the daily offerings for any month in the years 2020 to the present. (As of September 2023, there are over 1200 unique entries available on the Daily blog, and most of these are also presented here on 'Edifying Nonsense' in topic-based collections.) The 'Daily' format has the advantage of including some videos and other material that are not shown here on this topic-based blog.

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