The Brunching Shuttlecocks Ratings

State License Plates

New Jersey
New Jersey, in an act of unprecedented chutzpah, has apparently created a license plate commemorating smog. The perplexing thing is not just that the fading urine-yellow background looks like grimy smog on a summer day, but that it's hard to imagine what else it could possibly be meant to evoke. Even more odd are the special plates that have pictures of things like an American bald eagle in the smog, a lighthouse in the smog, and a cute little happy kitty and puppy in the smog. D

Ohio recently changed the slogan on its plates to "Birthplace of Aviation." North Carolina, being the location of Kitty Hawk, has long had "First in Flight" as its license plate slogan. Now, I appreciate wanting to point out that the Wright Brothers were actually from Ohio and just went to North Carolina for proof-of-concept, but is America really so devoid of history that we need to double up on our claims to fame? What's next, "Phildelphia: Where the Wright Brothers Went For Bagels"? D+

Rhode Island "The Ocean State," this plate proclaims, with a stylized ocean in the background in case you're saying to yourself "Ocean, ocean...I've heard that word before, but I can't place it." Anyhow, I think it's sad that a state is reduced making a big deal out of what it's surrounded by. C-

New Mexico
I've always had a spongy bit in my heart for the stylized Pueblo Indian sun symbol that appears on New Mexico license plates. It's called a "zia." It's a great glyph and a great word and a great tragedy that it isn't included in the Scrabble Players Dictionary. Also on the plate is the phrase "Land of Enchantment," which is a nice sentiment even though it sounds like a brand of butter. A

Say what you like about Wyoming, they've got an embossed rodeo cowboy on their license plate. For some inexplicable reason this strikes me as good. In fact, "The Embossed Rodeo Cowboy State" would make an excellent replacement for their current lackluster nickname, "The Equality State." B-

The Oregon plate has a tree on it. This is called "playing to your strengths." If there's one thing that Oregon has a lot of it's trees. If there are two, it's trees and gas station attendants. You can also get a license plate with a salmon on it, but I'm pretty sure there are more gas station attendants than there are salmon. But it's not like it's a competition or anything. Salmon and gas station attendants haven't been at war since 1972. Sure, there's the occasional flare-up, but by and large gas station attendants and salmon are able to keep an uneasy truce. C+

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