The Weekly Essay

It’s Another Story.

He Kicked The Bucket.

Source: IMDB

Walter, you are just an echo of a world I knew so long ago.
-The Kinks, Do You Remember Walter?

My parents were telling me about an art exhibit of life size sculptures they’d been to.

“It reminded me of Bucket Of Blood,” said my mother.

My father explained that A Bucket Of Blood was a movie they’d been to see when they were still dating, then he asked me if I’d seen it.

“Seen it?” I almost shouted. “I’ve got it on DVD!”

My father rolled his eyes and said, “I should have known.” I’m still not sure why he was surprised. The fact that my parents were going to Roger Corman movies long before I was born explains a lot about who I am. Maybe it even explains why, long before I first saw it, I was strangely drawn to its star, Dick Miller. Maybe it’s why there was always something familiar about him. When I saw him as Murray Futterman in Gremlins or a gun shop owner in The Terminator or proprietor of a roadside restaurant in The Twilight Zone: The Movie, or a guy who eats flowers in the original Little Shop Of Horrors—I honestly can’t say which of those I saw first, and when he popped up in an early episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation—my reaction was always, hey, it’s…that guy! From…that thing! And I’m not the only one. A 2014 documentary about Miller’s life and career is called, fittingly enough, That Guy Dick Miller.
Maybe I recognized him because I’d seen him in something else. He built a career on cameos. After serving in the Navy in World War II he earned a Ph.D. in psychology—making him Doctor Dick Miller—then moved from New York to California to write screenplays. He went straight to Roger Corman who said he had plenty of screenplays but needed actors, so Dick Miller became an actor, appearing in several Corman films. One of his most memorable roles is as a vacuum cleaner salesman in 1957’s Not Of This Earth. Corman wanted the salesman to wear a suit and bow tie, but Miller came to the set in a black cashmere jacket and a black shirt, saying, “this is the way I dressed when I sold pots and pans in the Bronx…You think a guy goes to college to sell vacuums?” He played the role as a fast-talking hipster who says, “Crazy, man” when invited in, providing the film some much needed comedy.
Then he got a large, although not quite leading, role in the 1958 film War Of The Satellites, and would get his most memorable role in A Bucket Of Blood. Miller played Walter Paisley, a busboy in a coffee shop who longs to be like the poets and artists who hang out there. Mentally challenged and lacking any real talent Walter has an inspiration when he accidentally kills his landlady’s cat and molds clay around the body. He quickly moves on to people, turning corpses into sculptures that the critics love—until they find out what’s underneath. It sounds grim, and it is, although the story rocks along at a speedy pace and the total runtime is just a little over an hour, and even finds time for a subplot about heroin dealing that helps provide Paisley with a couple of models. Yet Miller made Walter Paisley a sympathetic character, playing him with a wide-eyed innocence reminiscent of Lenny in Of Mice And Men, and, like Lenny, he doesn’t fully understand the implications of his actions, which heightens the tragedy. The film was shot in five days on a very low budget, and critics noticed, but they were positive toward Miller. A review in Variety said “his ability to sustain a sense of poignancy…is responsible in large part for the film’s appeal,” and the CEA Film Report called the part of Walter Paisley “cleverly played”.
Miller stuck around for a small part in Corman’s record setting Little Shop Of Horrors, shot on the same sets and using most of the same cast, in just two days, but his career had peaked. He’d accumulate over a hundred screen credits in his career but until That Guy Dick Miller he’d never land another leading role. Instead he took small parts, and, in a kind of inside joke, played several characters named Walter Paisley. A Bucket Of Blood would go on to be remade as a made-for-TV movie on Showtime in 1995, and as a stage musical. Dick Miller, like some critics, regretted that Corman had been too focused on time and budget to make a better film, but remained proud of it, saying in 1998, “I believe A Bucket Of Blood is truly the cult film of all cult films…Very, very few films are in every film museum in the world. A Bucket Of Blood is.” That’s likely because the copyright lapsed and the film is now essentially in the public domain, but I think critics and scholars recognize that, like Walter Paisley’s sculptures, there’s something substantial under the film’s outer shell.
If you’ve never heard of Dick Miller, if you see a picture of him and, like me say, “Hey, it’s…that guy,” or if you don’t recognize him at all that’s sad, but it’s also at least partly his own fault. He was well liked and respected by directors and other actors. Some actors, on their days off, would come to the set just to watch him work. And yet he never pursued bigger roles. He took the saying that there are no small parts too much to heart. The film industry is full of actors with ambition but no talent. Dick Miller was the opposite. That Guy Dick Miller unfortunately doesn’t explore this in detail but does sum it up in its final moments when Miller looks straight into the camera and says he hopes people enjoy the film, it will probably be his last one. Then his wife hands him the phone and he says, “Hello?…Yeah, I’m available.”
Dick Miller, born December 25th, 1928, died January 31st, 2019, was the exact opposite of Walter Paisley: he took statues and gave them life, covered them with flesh and blood. He was the character actor of character actors. And as I think about his career I think about the saying that a great actor knows to leave the audience wanting more. Dick Miller was a very great actor.

 

 

 

There’ll Also Be Plenty Of Hot Air.

Here is the weekly weather forecast for the office:

On Monday sunrise will be at 5:52AM. The building will be open at 6:00AM but you’ll still need to use your key card to access the elevators because the maintenance guy keeps forgetting we’re no longer on Daylight Savings Time and at this point he might as well leave it like it is.

Gary will be in at 10:23AM and be careful because he’ll still have a wicked hangover.

On Tuesday expect a frosty reception from Meredith who will be upset that no one watered her plants while she was on vacation even though she didn’t ask anyone and they’re all succulents anyway. And technically she should be more upset that no one really noticed she was out Monday.

There’s also about a 60% chance that project that’s 90% finished will be cancelled.

An envelope for contributions to Pearl’s retirement gift will circulate through the office and there’s an 80% chance you won’t have anything smaller than a twenty.

On Wednesday morning you’ll need your key card to access the elevators because the maintenance crew did something to the alarm system the night before and now everything’s locked down.

Wednesday afternoon expect a high pressure front to move through as Rick and Gary get into an argument over whether or not to close the blinds on the western side of the office in the afternoon. This could cause significant delays in getting out that earnings report, so be prepared and make sure you’ve got your noise-cancelling headphones.

You’ll go to the vending machine and there’s an 80% chance you won’t have anything smaller than a twenty.

In the afternoon be prepared for delays in the break room because that’s when Meredith is going to want to tell you about her vacation.

On Thursday there’s about a 75% chance the construction guys who’ve torn up the sidewalk on the west side of the building will cut a cable causing a loss of internet access, all power, or both. If this doesn’t happen you can congratulate them as you’re forced to step out into traffic to get around the mess they’ve made, or you can wait until next week when the chances they’ll cut a cable will be up to 100%. Also at around noon on Thursday Terry is going to heat fish in the microwave, making you wish there were such a thing as smell-cancelling nostrilphones.

Watch for slick spots in the break room on Thursday afternoon too after Terry spills a bottle of Sriracha and is astoundingly, but not surprisingly, oblivious.

In the late afternoon Rick from the fifteenth floor will discover an accounting error and will storm into the office and figuratively eat someone’s lunch.

On Friday it will rain. It won’t affect your plans to go out for lunch but dress accordingly.

Terry will discover leftovers from Giacomo’s in the office fridge and literally eat someone’s lunch.

Also on Friday afternoon Steve will drop by and ask you to proofread the handouts for the meeting and by “proofread” he means “collate and staple”, so you won’t catch his hilarious misspelling, inserting an “i” in the word “pens”. And it serves him right for scheduling a meeting for 4:00PM on Friday.

Every day over the coming week be careful driving in the parking garage, especially between 7:30AM and 8:30AM when most people are coming in, between 4:30PM and 5:30PM when most peple are leaving, and between 9:30AM and 10:30AM because that’s when Gary comes in.

The cold front will continue for the foreseeable future as long as the building managers persist in the belief that shutting off the heat at 6:00PM every night and only turning it back on at 6:00AM the next morning is actually saving money.

At some point this week there will be a fire alarm. I can’t say when exactly it will occur, and it’s probably just a test, but there’s a small chance that it’s a real fire or other emergency, so I leave it to you whether or not you want to wake up Gary on your way out.

 

In The Walls.

It’s hard to see, and not least because it’s in the bathroom behind the shower curtain, and behind the shower head, but there’s an oddity in the plaster—I think it’s plaster, anyway; I’m not really sure what the white part of the bathroom walls is made of since it’s not tile and I don’t think it’s drywall which, in a shower, would quickly be wetwall, but that’s another story—that looks to me like a leaping gazelle.

Can’t see it? Making it even harder to see is that it’s very small and it really only looks like part of a gazelle, the gazelle’s head specifically, so it takes an incredible amount of imagination to see anything at all in it. Here’s a badly done outline that might help you see it.

It’s something I look for in the shower in the mornings when I’m still trying to shake off sleep, or when I’m trying to cling to that weird dream I had because I think it might be an interesting idea for a story but usually when I manage to hang onto it long enough to write it down it doesn’t make a lot of sense.

And sometimes I contemplate that this is probably how art got started in the first place: someone looked at a natural or accidental formation and it looked to them like something else so they traced it with the juice of a plant or the ashen end of a burned stick. You might have heard of pareidolia, the phenomenon of seeing faces in inanimate objects or natural formations. It extends well beyond faces.

A Classic Never Goes Out Of Style.

Source: Pinterest

Oh lord, won’t you buy me a Mercedes Benz,

My friends all drives Porches, I must make amends.

Worked hard all my lifetime, no help from my friends,

So lord, won’t you buy me a Mercedes Benz?

-Janis Joplin, 1970

 

Oh lord, won’t you help me invest in the Pound,

Brexit has killed it, but it’ll come around.

Investment in currency’s a strategy that’s sound,

So lord, won’t you buy me about ten million Pounds.

-2016

 

Oh lord, won’t you buy me a new hybrid car,

Gas prices spiked, I had to sell my Jaguar,

It’s good for the environment to drive like a film star,

So lord, won’t you buy me a new hybrid car?

-2003

 

Oh lord, won’t you buy me an Apple computer,

I’ll use it for finances, and the kids need a tutor,

We like the Macintosh ‘cause it’s so much cuter,

So lord, won’t you buy me an Apple computer?

-1984

 

Oh lord, won’t you buy me a walk-in humidor,

I’ve made millions in dot-coms, I know I’ll make some more,

Someday, I’m sure lord, we’ll even up the score,

But for now, lord, won’t you buy me a walk-in humidor?

-1999

 

Oh lord, won’t you help me out with my mortgage,

I’ve had to put most of my stuff into storage,

I’m cutting out coupons and learning to forage,

So lord won’t you help me out with my mortgage?

-2007

 

Oh lord, won’t you help me invest in real estate,

Flipping homes I fix up has turned out really great,

They say it’s a bubble but there’s no limit on the rate,

So lord, won’t you help me invest in real estate?

-2005

 

Oh lord, won’t you help me solve the damn Rubik’s cube.

My friend does it in minutes, I look like a rube,

If I can’t get all solids I might blow a tube,

So lord, won’t you help me solve the damn Rubik’s cube?

-1981

 

Oh lord, can’t you find me a Tickle Me Elmo,

Christmas is coming and what rhymes with Elmo?

My kid wants one so bad I drove to Anselmo,

So lord, can’t you find me a Tickle me Elmo?

-1996

 

Oh lord, won’t you buy me some single-malt scotch?

I’ve had a bad day, one I’ve totally botched.

That sweet tartan whiskey could take me up a notch,

So lord, won’t you buy me some single-malt scotch?

-ANY TIME

Winter School.

The winter break should have been longer. I envied kids in the southern hemisphere because they got Christmas or whatever December holidays they celebrated if they had any, right in the middle of summer. Having to go to school in the summer didn’t seem so bad to me because I figured in Australia or Brazil the weather was pretty much summer all the time, sort of like living in Florida, so it’s not as though they were missing out on anything. In the northern hemisphere summer school is a punishment, a purgatory for kids who flunked something vital like math or shop class so badly but whose parents didn’t want them to be held back. In the southern hemisphere summer school is just school. Granted the winter break seemed like it stretched on forever because it spanned not just two whole months but two whole years, and compared to Thanksgiving and Easter holidays that were just a couple of days at most the winter break that stretched out for two whole weeks seemed at the start almost like an eternity until it was over and then it seemed like hardly any time at all, not even long enough to get bored with whatever we’d gotten for Christmas. And I realize that part of it was going back to school in the middle of winter. At least in the fall we’d go back to school just as the weather was changing, or at least as it was supposed to change; since this was Tennessee summer lasted through the middle of October, but that’s another story. The winter break just pulled us out of school toward the end of dull, gray, cold December where we at least had Christmas to look forward to and sent us back to school at the beginning of dull, gray, cold January with nothing to look forward to but dull, gray, cold February and slightly less dull, gray, cold March and perhaps there were months beyond that were brighter and warmer but our bodies and brains were wrapped up in so much cotton we couldn’t imagine that far. And all through grade school we were going back to the same classes, the same schedule, we’d been on before. It wasn’t like the fall and starting over when everything was new and there was a chance to start over. Coming back from winter break meant coming back to the same crappy chewed up pencils, getting back the exams we’d all failed because no one could concentrate on anything school-related in late December, and the baloney sandwich I’d forgotten in my locker. At least in college going back after the winter break meant the start of a new semester, new classes, but then it was hard to make that shift in the cold. I should have picked a college in Australia.
Here’s a winter back to school poem.

Insecurity is like acne: at its worst when we need it least,
But it still pops up unexpectedly throughout our life.
We can be impeccably decked, our hair coiffed and our pants creased,
And still be filled with interior strife.
And even the most grizzled and avuncular
Will occasionally be stricken by lesions carbuncular.
Why can we never be happy with ourselves as we are?
And why must we pop that pustule when we know it’ll leave a scar?
They’re afflictions we associate with adolescence
And yet they drag on all through senescence.
Insecurity and acne hound us as life’s trails we wend,
Like a poem whose writer can’t figure out how to end.

High Resolution.

When making goals the key is to remember the acronym SMART, which stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Rank, and something that starts with T. With that in mind here are my goals for the coming year:

Lose ten pounds.

Exercise daily.

Make healthier eating choices–I might even try these “vegetables” everyone talks about.

Do at least twenty minutes of exercise daily.

Read a book.

Always use reusable bags at the grocery store.

Join a volunteer group.

Learn to make my own olives.

Take up smoking.

Find out what that smell is.

Run fifteen minutes in under a mile.

Write thank you notes to complete strangers.

Pay homage to the Roman god Janus.

Quit smoking.

Climb a tree.

Leave the gun. Take the cannoli.

Get some new underwear.

Use “rugby” as an adjective, but irregularly so no one can tell whether it’s good or bad.

Rock this town, rock it inside out.

Get less sleep.

Get into fewer arguments with lawn furniture.

Spy on llamas.

Find out the difference between liniment and salve.

Talk to myself in the elevator.

Buy a scented phone.

Meet friends for lunch in the middle of the night.

Offer free wi-fi to turtles.

Take off, you hoser.

Take a shower.

Find out the difference between jelly and jam.

You fools, don’t you realize you’re in danger? They’re here already!

I wish I could be like David Watts.

Solo Nixon podria ir a China.

Drink more liquids.

Bury pennies.

I’d like to make it a true daily double, Alex.

Go into a studio to record an album. Get in an argument with myself over creative differences.

Fletcherize.

Weave window blinds into baskets.

Air out my feet at least twice a week.

Slam a revolving door.

Play chess with Death on a Scandinavian shoreline. Cheat.

Would sixty gallons be sufficient?

Find out what “T” stands for.

Give my regards to Broadway.

You know who you never meet anymore? Guys named Clarence.

Find out if there’s a noun version of the word “crotchety”.

Never wear a leopard-print leotard in public.

Introduce myself to everyone by saying, “Dr. Livingston, I presume?”

Give the people a light and they will follow it anywhere.

Appear in a feature film, or at least pay full price to see one in the theater.

Answer that letter from the Queen.

Get hives. No, the ones you keep bees in.

Gain £10.

Do laundry. It’s been six months.

Find out the difference between a cape and a cloak.

Run away from the circus, join a normal family.

Anthropomorphize.

Dress up as a priest. Walk into bars.

Get a credit card. Use it only for gourmet salsa.

Harness the power of static electricity.

Offer unsolicited advice to hackberry trees.

Try ziplining as a creative way to get to work.

Remember the three most important things in genetic engineering: mutation, mutation, mutation.

Try club soda. If that doesn’t work do you have any linseed oil?

Give the conn to my first officer a couple of times a week.

Right, but dogs can look up.

Sing Along If You Know The Words.

It wouldn’t be Christmas without caroling, except in places where it’s not a Christmas tradition. Years ago when I was in Britain, going to school at Harlaxton College, a group decided to go out caroling in the nearby village and I went along even though I can’t carry a tune in a bucket. There was a home in the village that had a pond that was home to three-thousand ducks, though, and every day after lunch I’d take some bread and walk up there and feed the ducks. They must have recognized my voice because as the group marched along singing the ducks came out and joined us in “Here We Come A-Waddling”, but that’s another story. The strange thing is people who lived in the village were baffled by a group caroling just for fun and thought we were collecting for charity so they kept trying to offer us money, and by the third house I’d collected ten pounds. Anyway see if you can identify these Christmas carols just from a few of the words.

1. The horse was lean and lank
Misfortune seemed his lot
He got into a drifted bank
And then we got upsot.

2. Myrrh is mine, its bitter perfume
Breathes of life of gathering gloom

3. And ye, beneath life’s crushing load,
Whose forms are bending low,
Who toil along the climbing way
With painful steps and slow…

4. We’ll have lots of fun with mister snowman,
Until the other kids knock him down.

5. And surely ye’ll be your pint-stoup!
And surely I’ll be mine!

6. Bring me flesh and bring me wine
Bring me pine logs hither…

7. The bells on Penguins ring,
Make Riddler wanna fight…

8. Don’t cry for me next door neighbor…

9. May we warm him, needy and lying on hay,
With our pious embraces

10. Bring us out a mouldy cheese,
And some of your Christmas loaf.

11. Goreu pleser ar nos galan,
Tŷ a thân a theulu diddan…

12. The boar’s head, as I understand,
Is the rarest dish in all this land…

13. Somebody waits for you,
Kiss her once for me.

14. There’ll be scary ghost stories
And tales of the glories of
Christmases long, long ago…

And before you get to the answers go to Mum Revised for a hilarious and accurate list of Twelve Additional Christmas Songs That Deserve to be Removed from the Radio.

‘Twas The Morning After The Night Before Christmas.

All of us kids woke up early and came downstairs on Christmas morning. The presents were there like always. The fire had burned out overnight but there was still the sweet smell of ashes in the air. Ma was in the kitchen getting breakfast started. We were going to start opening presents when we noticed Pa in the corner, just sort of rocking back and forth. Ma came in, still wearing her bandanna over her hair.

“Why’s everybody so quiet?” she asked. “What’s going on?”

“Something’s wrong with Pa,” I said. “Look!”

“Oh,” said Ma, “so this is where you went after you left the bedroom window open. I had to get up and close it. It was freezing out there. What were you thinking flinging it open like a crazy man in the middle of the night anyway?”

“So much noise,” Pa muttered quietly, still rocking. “There was so much noise outside I had to see what was going on.”

“I didn’t hear anything,” said my big sister Emily. She looked at us. “Did any of you?” We all shook our heads except for my little brother who picked up a piece of candied fruit and started sucking on it.

“He was flying,” Dad said, his eyes wide. “I swear it’s the truth. He was flying along in a tiny sleigh pulled by miniature reindeer.”

“Reindeer aren’t that big,” said Emily. “Some are less than three feet tall at the shoulder.”

“Hush,” hissed Ma.

“He—he had names for them,” said Pa. “Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen and Blitzen.”

“Somebody’s Blitzen all right,” said Ma. “What’s with you?”

“And Donner,” Pa added.

“Like the party?” asked Emily.

“They landed on the roof,” said Dad, oblivious to the question. “So much noise. They were stamping all over the roof.”

“It wouldn’t have been so loud if you’d replaced the insulation in the attic this summer like I told you to,” said Ma.

“How’d you know they were on the roof?” asked Emily. “Did you lean out the window and look?”

Pa kept staring ahead. “I came downstairs. I came downstairs and he came in the house.”

“We were robbed?” said my little brother. “On Christmas Eve?” He started crying. I nudged him.

“Cool it. The presents are all here, see?”

“What happened?” asked Ma. “Did he fall through the roof where you haven’t replaced the shingles?”

“He came down the chimney,” said Pa. “Just popped out of the fireplace with a great big bag.”

“Didn’t we have a fire last night?” asked Emily.

“He was a large, round man in a bright red fur suit trimmed with white,” Pa went on.

“Where do you get bright red fur?” I asked.

“Somebody probably threw paint on it,” said Emily. “Fur is dead, you know.”

“I just sat here and watched him,” said Pa, “watched him pull presents out of this great big bag he carried. He put them under the tree and then when he was done he went back into the fireplace and flew right up it.”

I giggled. “Because his ass was on fire!”

Ma gave me a smack and said, “Knock it off!”

“I looked out the window and he just flew away into the night yelling ‘Merry Christmas!’ loud enough to wake up the whole neighborhood,” said Pa. “Didn’t even go to any other houses. Just us. Just us.” He started rocking back and forth again.

We were all quiet for a long time, then Ma said, “Kids, your father’s been under a lot of pressure lately. Let’s just give him a little bit of time. He’ll come around.”

We all got quiet again and stood around awkwardly. The silence was only broken by a loud snap from the kitchen.

“I’d better go check that mousetrap,” said Ma.

Yule Need This.

So a company that makes those coffee makers that use small pods—I won’t name the company because they’re not paying me enough; more specifically they’re not paying me anything, and they’re so ubiquitous they don’t need me to shill for them anyway—has made a machine that makes cocktails from pods similar to the ones that are used for coffee. The problems with this should be obvious. Aside from the fact that the coffee machine already takes up a lot of valuable kitchen counter real estate, leaving precious little for dishes, cups, take-out Chinese food, mail, umbrellas, briefcases, keys, pocket telescopes, pill bottles, and the assorted flotsam and jetsam of home life, anyone who wants a wide range of cocktails would be better off going to a bar. I know the same could potentially be said for coffee, but even though the machines can make a wide range of lattes, cappuccinos, espressos, frappes, and draperies there must be a limit to how much they can do, otherwise all those coffee places wouldn’t be so ubiquitous they don’t need me to shill for them. And while you can pick up your coffee at a drive-through window I’ve never met anyone who went to a bar and asked for their Bloody Mary to go. And part of the appeal of the pod-cocktail maker, as it’s advertised, is that it can make beer. Apparently they haven’t noticed that beer is already easily available—to go, even—in bottles and cans. So is coffee, although that’s a more recent development and probably got the idea from beer. And no one who’s interested in brewing their own beer at home does it casually, as you’ll know if you’ve ever been cornered at a party by someone who tells you beer brewing is their hobby and within five minutes you realize it’s really their obsession and fifteen minutes later you realize they can’t talk about anything else and an hour later when you finally get away you feel like you’ve been squeezed into a small plastic pod and had hot water forced through you, but that’s another story. And even though cocktail-making is more of a niche activity people who are serious about it are the sort who take it seriously enough that they prefer the hands-on approach to making a sidecar, a margarita, or a martini, and, hey, how hard is it anyway to combine vodka and vermouth or gin and tonic or scotch and asparagus? And because it’s the end of the year the cocktail maker is being promoted as a great gift or the ideal accoutrement for your holiday parties even though it doesn’t make egg nog, or any other variety of nog, which I think is really the only drink, aside from mulled wine, which is also really easy to make—just think about it—for the season, one that should be shared with friends and family around the yuletide fire, which reminds me, what is “yule” anyway? When I was a kid I thought it was some sort of animal, like a small moose, which made the idea of a yule log really unappealing, and then I thought maybe it had something to do with Euell Gibbons who could concoct winter cocktails from pine needles and sap, or maybe Yul Brynner whose movies always seem to play around Thanksgiving and Christmas, et cetera et cetera, and then I pretty much forgot about it until now. It turns out Yule is an ancient Germanic solstice celebration that provided both the timing and many of the symbols associated with Christmas, including the decorated tree as well as the feasting and drinking. And I wouldn’t have thought to look that up if I hadn’t hitched onto this holiday line of thought, so something useful has come out of that cocktail maker after all.

Get Stuffed.

Every year when Thanksgiving is celebrated in the United States there are certain traditions, including turkey and its own special side dish which, depending on where you are, is known as either stuffing–because it’s sometimes stuffed into and cooked with the turkey–or dressing. Regardless of what you call it it’s an essential part of the Thanksgiving meal, but varies widely from state to state. Here are the most popular stuffing, or dressing, ingredients across the United States.

Alabama-corn bread

Alaska-moose

Arizona-sand

Arkansas-hot springs mud

California-walnuts, oranges, self-loathing

Colorado-granola

Connecticut-PEZ candy

Delaware-disc golf

Florida-alligator

Georgia-peanuts

Hawaii-pineapple

Idaho-potatoes, Napoleon Dynamite DVDs

Illinois-pizza (deep dish)

Indiana-waffles, basketballs

Iowa-formerly corn, now mostly ethanol

Kansas-wheat

Kentucky-bluegrass, white linen suits

Louisiana-crawfish

Maine-clams

Maryland-clam chowder

Massachusetts-oysters

Michigan-perch, pierogis

Minnesota-mosquitoes, hockey pucks, public radio programs

Mississippi-cactus, old issues of National Geographic

Missouri-barbecued ribs

Montana-a steak stuffed inside another steak

Nebraska-corn husks

Nevada-corn chips, casino chips

New Hampshire-grapes, pewter

New Jersey-Skee-Ball balls

New Mexico-lapis lazuli

New York-pizza (thin crust)

North Carolina-microbrewed beer

North Dakota-gravel

Ohio-cash registers

Oklahoma-acorns

Oregon-Flexiturducken (a chicken stuffed inside a duck stuffed inside a turkey stuffed inside a tofu loaf)

Pennsylvania-sports mascots

Rhode Island-macaroni, feathers

South Carolina-iodine

South Dakota-accordions

Tennessee-fried okra, dreams of making it in the country music industry

Texas-oil

Utah-bees

Vermont-artisanal ice cream

Virginia-overdue library books

Washington-octopus, silicon

West Virginia-coal

Wisconsin-cheese curds

Wyoming-prairie oysters

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