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January 06, 2009

Best Present 2008

My brother-in-law gave me a coffee mug for Christmas this year. Now I don’t drink coffee and do not consider mugs to be particularly thoughtful or interesting gifts. However, this mug is so terrific it wins my prize for Best Present 2008. Why? See for yourself:

IMG_2849
(Yes, that reads "State Bank of Darfur. Darfur, Minn.")

Now I am all for civic pride, but I think once your town’s name has become synonymous with genocide, it might be time to think about changing that name or, at the very least, stop advertising it on souvenir coffee mugs. Why? I just don’t think “genocide” is the first image you want to give to people who might be considering moving to your little town. It seems to me that living in Darfur, Minnesota would be a little like living in “Auschwitz, Colorado” or “Slave Ship, New Hampshire.” Of course there are no towns with those names because they are terrible, terrible names and nobody would allow their community to be called that.

Maybe the good people of Darfur, MN think they can use their considerable charms to offset any bad publicity their town’s name might be getting from the civil war in the Darfur region of Sudan, which has claimed more than a hundred thousand lives and displaced a million people. I love your pluck, Minnesotans, but I just don’t think that plan is going to work. For one thing, the war is on CNN a lot, and it’s hard for a small Minnesota town to compete with that kind of international attention by selling souvenir coffee mugs and “I ♥ Darfur” mouse pads. Maybe if you had some sort of crafts fair or something it would help, but I still think it’d be a pretty steep uphill climb.

For another thing, when I Googled “Darfur,” of the 9,000,000 hits I got, very few of them had anything to do with Minnesota. (To be perfectly honest, I stopped even looking after about three or four million.)

Sadly, the same is also true for Wikipedia. These were the entries for Darfur on that admittedly flawed website:

Darfur
Darfur (disambiguation)
Darfur Accountability Act
Darfur Civil
Darfur Conflict
Darfur conflict (lower case “c”)
Darfur crisis
Darfur Genocide
Darfur genocide (lower case “g”)
Darfur Is Dying
Darfur is dying (lower case “i” and “d”)

I checked both Darfur Genocide pages to see if there was maybe some sort of genocide in Minnesota they were talking about. No such luck. As I suspected, all of the genocide in Darfur is pretty much confined to the Sudan.

Some good news, though: if you type in the full name, “Darfur, Minnesota,” there is a page on Wikipedia about the town includes information on median income ($31,563), and this unfortunate fact which is not going to score Darfur, MN any points in the “racial sensitivity” department: “The racial makeup of the city was 134 white people and 3 Asian people. There are no blacks or Hispanics.” Oops.

Here’s a suggestion for the town fathers: even though Darfur used to be a perfectly good name for a small agricultural community, now might be the time to consider renaming your hometown. What should be the new name? Honestly anything would be an improvement over what you have now. Even “Shit Hole, Minnesota” would be better. I know it’s a little edgy, but it’s certainly memorable, and if you’re looking to raise revenue, I can pretty much guarantee you’re going to sell a lot of coffee mugs that say “State Bank of Shit Hole.” I’ll personally buy two.

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Reen

Seriously funny stuff, Michael. Thanks for the laughs.

Your inlaws are fun. I'm hoping this was your only gift from your brother in law, as in, you subscribe to "white elephant" exchanges. And I further hope your families held hands and made a big circle and someone told a long story using the words "left" and "right" ad nauseum as you passed your gifts to the left or right in response.

This: "It seems to me that living in Darfur, Minnesota would be a little like living in “Auschwitz, Colorado” or “Slave Ship, New Hampshire.” is so wrong, yet so right. Just like you.

Camille

How funny! Maybe it's small town pride that makes them keep the name. I'm from Iowa and there is a town called "Dike". As far as I know it's still there. I'm too lazy to google.
Okay,I googled and it claims it's "a slice of Iowa".
If we wuz real life buds I'd buy you an adorable Christmas sweater and make you pose for whimsical photographs.

dave minogue

cool. the background to your picture looks nice, you think you could post more pictures of it?


is that a wierd thing to ask? fuck it

Jaime

Sorry Darfur, MN. Change is progress! Just ask the sleepy burg of Happyfuzzville that was once named Hitler Town. Their townspeople are happy, though their mug sales did take a hit.

Nice work heightening awareness of the impending Darfur, MN mug dilemma Michael. That's funny and important -- like a whoopee roast beef sandwich. You do God's work. ;p

Jaime

Wait, whoopee _cushion_ roast beef sandwich. A whoopee roast beef sandwich just sounds dirty.

And Dave, yes. Yes that is weird. Haha

Susanna

This is my very favorite part of the Darfur, Minnesota Wikipedia entry:

"...either it was named for the western region of Sudan known as Darfur, or it was adopted with a good humor in memory of two Scandinavian railroad workers who queried, "Why you stop dar fur?"

Joel Yeomans

Your blog entries brighten my day.

Jesse

Nothing says your an awesome brother-in-law more than a Darfur-related gift.

But there is a pond in Ohio named Hitler Pond. And a canal in Florida named Slave Canal. My personal favourite is the Devils Dance Floor because that just sounds like a fun place to be.

Totally unrelated but since you like to google yourself:

http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index;_ylt=AooCgAjpS5Rqv8hHNj0fOP0jzKIX;_ylv=3?qid=20080627001930AA3XOKT

You and Billy Corgan do look a lot alike... mmmmmmmm.

Reen

Jesse! Hush your mouth.

Billy has Charlie Manson eyes.
http://picasaweb.google.com/georgistevens/BUZZFEST20#5126766106588473602


Michael, however...
http://michaelianblack.typepad.com/blog/images/2008/02/13/photo_108.jpg
...looks like he eats toast and jelly.
AWWWWW!

Jaime

Whoa! Corgan _does_ have Manson eyes! Awww, poor Billy. Now, Smashing Pumpkins was my very first concert. And, with our awesome powers combined, I helped my friend win the Billy Corgan character on Guitar Hero. So, therefore, I say, in my expert opinion, he does not look like Mr. Black, oh no.

I will say this though, they do share a strong jawline and fabulous high cheekbones. But if Michael looks anything like Billy, it's only young Billy, and with kinder eyes. Young, kind, pbj-eating-eyed Billy only. In profile. Young, kind, pbj-eating-eyed Billy profile. But sexier, mrow! And that's where we must draw the line.

Camille

Wonder if the other kids called him "crazy eyes Corgan"? Billy, please DO lose my number!LOLOL

Black,you look much better head shaven than Corgan. In my book. My really creepy,handwritten book that's shoved between The Reader and The Harvard Medical School Family Health Guide. You can't make this stuff up,kids!(yes you can)

Bailey

Small towns have the best names.

Reen

Oh Jams and Cams! You ladies! (And your lady things)

Let's clean out this closet once and for all. Aside from Billy, some folks think Michael resembles Bruce:

http://blogs.nashvillescene.com/nashvillecream/The-Kids-in-the-Hall.jpg (red sweater)

Although the chap looks like a swell fellow and there are some slight similarities around the eyes, this blokes face is much too rectangular and his body much too square. He's got sort of an oompah loompah thing going on there. There. I said it.

See?

http://consequenceofsound.net/wp-content/uploads/2008/04/l_cc28c21a4855e2e665af2718407e75fa.jpg

And now I go back to my chocolate pudding.

(euphemism)

(for my black boyfriends love juice)


Reptar

I think you should use your celebrity status to raise awareness about Darfur, MN. Perhaps start a fund for Darfur, MN. Or at least a 5k or Polar Plunge. Well, maybe not the Polar Plunge, because that's even MORE racially-exclusive due to the fact that black people can't swim.

Jesse

I agree that they did look a lot more similar back in the day when Corgan had hair (and wasn't insane) BUT when Black was bald you could see the resemblance again. They look most alike in the 'Bullet for Butterfly Wings' video I think.

Hmm.. I don't see the Bruce thing at all though. Dude is weird lookin'.

Jaime

Jesse -- is Hitler Pond near Happyfuzzville perchance? I'll bet it is.

Devil's Dance Floor would especially be jivey if someone were playing "Devil Went Down to Georgia." Wait! Is Devil's Dance Floor IN Georgia?! That would freak me right on out.

Jaime

Whoa! Karmic!! I was just googling "Devil's Dance Floor" and could only find results for a song by Flogging Molly. And just as I thought the sentence, "All I can find is this Flogging Molly song. Hmmm." The radio program I was just listening to synced up to my brain, saying, "Answer correctly and you will win Flogging Molly tickets." And, I kid you not, the dj said "Flogging Molly" at the exact same time that I thought "Flogging Molly."

And my mind is blown.

See Michael!?!?! Your blog is so magical it creates crazy karmic convergences that blow people's minds all over their faces! I have never heard of Flogging Molly before today, and now, I'm insane with Flogging Molly bombardment. I need a moment. Magicallllll.

Reen

Jaime. Go with it. The more psychic experiences you actually accept and acknowledge the more you will receive.

This goes for everything spiritual and magical and miraculous and ghosty and UFOy and generally freaky-deeky.

Disclaimer: I am NOT a Scientologist.

Tee

I don't know about psychic coincidences (much) but I do know that amazon wrote to me today to tell me that Chicken Cheeks is delayed here in England til the end of the month.

If it's because they need to sit down and censor the 'flamingo fanny' in each individual copy with stickers, I shall feel really bad...

Jesse

Jaime, that is AWESOME. Flogging Molly is a pretty good band too. There is a Devil's Dance Floor in California and one in Utah but not one in Georgia as far as I know. There is a Devil's Kitchen in Georgia though.

Ryalye

I is all jealous of you now and stuff.

Pudenda Shenanigans

What do you expect from Minnesotans? Half the state thinks that Al Friggin Franken would make a great senator.

BVK

soooo hot talking about erotic arcade games on bleep bloop

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