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Tennessee Plates

8:56 p.m. August 7

I’m listening to Celia Cruz and Johnny Pacheto (part of the fine Fania Records reissues) while packing for a road trip. Nope, I’m not going to liberate Cuba.

I’m heading to Nashville and Memphis, the country and soul of American music respectively.

Maybe I will bump into that great American Toby Keith, who once had his road manager call me to pick a fight six months after I criticized Keith’s daughter’s performance and too-tight jeans at the CMA Awards. If they had given me more than a few hours notice, I would have gone backstage at the Tweeter Center, outside of Chicago. Toby Keith nails me with one left hook and I’m set for life listening to Jimmy Buffett in Turks & Caicos. The E-mails mysteriously stopped coming in 2006 after Keith recorded “Runnin’ Block,” where he’s a wingman for a night out with a buddy but ends up with an overweight woman. Keith sings about “I keep tryin’ to drink her skinny/But she’s still about 215/Sometimes you gotta’ bow up/and take one for the team….” Toby Keith, full of integrity.

Also gotta go down to Lynchburg, Tn. and try to see if that Jack Daniel’s works for me like it did for Floyd Landis. Although I will only be in Memphis for 48 hours, look for reports on Elvis Week. I’m already all jacked up for Elvis Karaoke at Hernando’s Hideaway.

Tennessee: Home of the Al Gore Invention Museum.

That’s one of 50 “state mottos” sent to me by my good friend “rt66roadologist”.

I won’t bother with all of the other 49, states, but here are a few of my favorites:

Alabama: “Hell Yes, We Have Electricity.”

Arkansas: “Lituracy Ain’t Everything.”

California: “By 30, Our Women Have More Plastic Than Your Honda.”

Connecticut: “Like Massachusetts, only smaller” [I’ve heard that one before]

Florida: “Ask Us About Our Grandkids and Our Voting Skills.”

Illinois: “Please, Don’t Pronounce the “S”

Indiana: “2 Billion Years Tidal Wave Free”

Kansas: “First of the Rectangle States”

Louisiana: “We’re Not ALL Drunk Cajun Wackos, But That’s Our Tourism Campaign.”

Maine: “We’re Really Cold, But We Have Cheap Lobster.”

Mississippi: “Come visit and feel better about your own state.”

Nebraska: “Ask About Our State Motto Contest”

North Carolina: “Tobacco Is A Vegetable”

Oklahoma: “Not All Our Keiths Are Toby” {I made that one up, thank you}

Rhode Island: “We’re Not REALLY An Island”

South Dakota: “Closer Than North Dakota”

Vermont: “Too Liberal For the Kennedys”

Wisconsin: “Come Cut The Cheese”

The District of Columbia: “The Work-Free Drug Place”

Talk atcha tomorrow night from Nashville.