This is truly a beautiful world we live in. Somewhere, birds are singing, bees are buzzing, fishes are swimming, giraffes are elongating their necks in a desperate attempt to reach the tall fruits, at least if my understanding of Lamarck is correct. Elsewhere, the sun is shining, sometimes in such a way that the Moon looks kinda cool, and through all the land groggy bloggers are awakening early in the afternoon to find a fresh round of chocolate-chip waffles and Red Bull in their basement, lovingly left there by their eternally understanding, unerringly supportive parents, who even remembered to buy them those tickets for the last night of the Star Trek festival at the revival theater (it's Insurrection and Nemesis...back-to-back!). All is right with the world.
But we must step away from our wonderment and remember how this bucolic paradise was achieved: by fighting, on the front line. I was there at the fall of the Big Lead - someday I might even come to terms with that. I remember how bad things once looked...it seemed like Mike Celizic would never stop gleefully spinning entire columns out of just glancing at the standings; Bill Plaschke would continue to shit on the legacy of every poet ever born, particularly that fucking pimp Samuel Coleridge; Skip Bayless would forever argue himself into a moebius strip of self-contradiction based on his all-consuming hatred for all life; Mike Lupica would...well, shit, just Mike fucking Lupica. I remember the spies and infiltrators they sent amongst us to dampen our spirit and destroy our resolve. It seemed like all hope was lost, until out of the bowels of Pennsylvania came a writer who reminded us all why we love ripping the shit out of crappy sports journalists. In two words or less: Mike Seate.
Mike Seate is the sort of gleefully deranged journalist who never, ever could get a job at anywhere bigger than Pittsburgh's local newspaper (not that there's anything wrong with that). His bizarre devotion to super-bike racing and preserving people's right to do dangerous stunts at 40mph over the speed limit (as long as they're on motorcycles!) is so wonderfully insane that it easily trumps whatever mild delirium Woody Paige has just transferred to the printed page. He is everything I love about small-time journalism.
And so that is why I am embarking upon this project to honor all the obscure journalists like Mike Seate out there. And by "honor", I of course mean "make fun of." And by "make fun of", I really mean "launch an unprovoked ad hominem attack against somebody who doesn't even make the kind of Bill Conlin money that would even begin to justify such scorn." For the next year, I will each week choose a new local journalist from each of these United States and point out their foibles in a mildly humorous manner. If I find even one journalist who is even half as badass as Mike Seate, I will have succeeded beyond my wildest dreams. Frankly, I just want to see just how much shit you can get away with when your paper's circulation isn't more than 200,000.
Now you might have two questions, and even if you don't I have two questions for myself. And I intend on getting some answers.
Archie, there aren't 52 states! Huh!? Wha!!??
It was either keep this at fifty and be a couple weeks short or go for broke and tap into that rich 52-themed market. So sure, there aren't technically 52 states at the moment, but hey, I've got a year, I'll think of something. You know what they say: "A year is a long time in state sovereignty." Come on Guam!
Are you going to do this in some random order? Because that would be chickenshit.
I'm not sure if that term you just used there is positive or not, but I do indeed have an order I'm going to do this in. When I first came up with this idea, I knew I wanted to have a set order so that I didn't forget any and so that I didn't need to spend upwards of fifteen seconds each week choosing which state I'd do next. But how? Alphabetically? Too obvious. By population? Too topical. Order in which they were admitted to the Union? Too state-quarters-y.
And then I remembered one of my all-time favorite sports quotes from legendary Florida State coach Bill Peterson: "You guys line up alphabetically by height." And so it was that I had my order. And make no mistake - I'm not going to alphabetize the name of the highest points in each state. However tall they are (in feet, of course...yeah America!), that's what I'm alphabetizing. So stuff starting with eight will be first and two will be last, the way nature intended.
This should be fun.