A Hoosier in the Nutmeg State

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A new logo, to better reflect my bi-state tendencies.

I finally did it. I renamed the blog. Sure, I said I was going to do this back in February, but then I got sidetracked by finding a new job. Also, I was lying when I said I had a lot of ideas for this switch. It took me an embarrassingly long time – and bouncing a lot of ideas off friends – to come up with something as simple as “A Hoosier in the Nutmeg State.”

Although Connecticut is officially the “Constitution State,” colloquially it’s known as the “Nutmeg State” and its inhabitants are, reluctantly, sometimes known as Nutmeggers. Reluctantly because although the term seemingly has very obvious, benign origins – colonial settlers in the area used to trade nutmeg seeds – the legend is that these settlers were actually selling wood carved to look like nutmeg in order to swindle the rubes who were just passing through.

The word Hoosier is said to have similarly defamatory roots. While there are many theories about the term’s origin, by most evidence it is a slang word that originated in the south and that denoted a person who was “rustic, a bumpkin, a countryman, a roughneck, a hick or an awkward, uncouth or unskilled fellow,” according to the research department at Indiana University’s Herman B Wells Library.

To further tie our demonyms together, I’ll leave you with this little gem from the Indiana Historical Bureau:

“For well over a century and a half the people of Indiana have been called Hoosiers. It is one of the oldest of state nicknames and has had a wider acceptance than most. True, there are the Buckeyes of Ohio, the Suckers of Illinois and the Tarheels of North Carolina — but none of these has had the popular usage accorded Hoosier.

The only comparable term in the American experience is Yankee. And that started out as a synonym for New Englander. In the Civil War era Southerners applied it indiscriminately to all Northerners. In the world wars, many a boy from Dixie doubtless felt a sense of shock when he discovered that in the eyes of our British (Limey) allies, all Americans were Yanks!”

Well how about that, O adopted home? We have more in common than I thought.

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Yep, I’m renaming my blog

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The inevitable has finally happened: I’ve decided to rename my blog.

My current blog name came about in college after I read Robert Putnam’s Bowling Alone. According to Putnam, the individualization of leisure time was eroding Americans’ social capital. This was largely due to cable television’s (and other specialized forms of electronic media) overwhelming presence as the preferred leisure activity.

After finishing the book I became mildly concerned about television’s effect on my own social life, so I made a conscious choice to reduce the amount of time I spent glued to the tube. I even got rid of my TV and turned down my cable company’s pleas for a subscription renewal (though, to be honest, as a broke recent-grad and even broker grad student, I couldn’t have afforded cable even if I’d wanted it).

But lately, doing a whole weekend without TV has been a lofty goal. There are only so many active-yet-inexpensive pastimes an unemployed person can engage in … and now I have the time to do them whenever I want. Plus, I still don’t own a TV or have cable (see: being poor), so I feel like I’ve done a decent job of kicking my 24/7 TV habit, even if I do occasionally binge for 10 straight hours (House of Cards, I’m looking at you).

Plus, now that my life is firmly planted on the East Coast I want to shift my focus a bit. Not in terms of content – I still plan to spend a lot of time traveling, cooking and reading, and then writing about all of those things – but in terms of my focus. I want to explore my new home in a way that blends my perspective as a Midwesterner with my reality as a New Englander.

So, dear readers, I’m going to put the ball in your court for a minute and let you take a stab at renaming my blog. Don’t worry; I have backups in mind in case you fail. But I’d like to hear what you think, and also hear some suggestions on what you’d like to read in the future.