Thursday, February 4, 2010

Welcome to Muppetsville

You may be wondering what I'm currently doing for a job after I announced last year that the boss no longer needed me. Well, he found some more things for me to do, so I'm still there, for a while, though on greatly reduced hours. One of these things included a gloriously boring task copying and pasting data about neighbourhoods of American towns from Wikipedia. Of course I had to stop my mind wandering away from the job at hand, but I still absorbed a lot of extra info about the demographics of the USA, proving to me, as if it weren't already apparent, what a wonderfully diverse and historically interesting country it is; and of course my mind did wander, and I found myself compiling my own made-up data about my very own made-up American town:

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Muppetsville is a city in The United States of America, the third largest in New Berkshire, and the county seat of Muppet County.

The first inhabitants of the area were the Native American Sue tribe, who broke away from the Sioux nation after the Great Schism that followed the controversial 1674 Spelling Reform Act. Later, Dutch hunters arrived looking for beaver, but agents of the Hudson Bay Company, who were gaining control of the region, told them to stop it and go back home to their wives.

The origins of the town's name are disputed: it may be derived from the Sue word "Muȟpót", meaning "There's nothing here for you, Cheese-Breath!"; from the Dutch "Mupjet", meaning "Yeah, I see what you mean!"; or perhaps from Lord Muppet, a popular music-hall entertainer of the time who was mistakenly given the land rights to the place by the British House of Lords.

As of the census of 2005, the racial makeup of the city was 65.26% White, 29.29% African American, 3.84% Asian, 1.35% Native American, 0.23% Pacific Islander, and 0.02% from The Planet Aaamazzara (concentrated largely in Muppetsville "Pleasant Pastures" Maximum Security Home for the Highly Suggestable).

As at 2005 there were 65,648 households, 26.8% with children, 10.8% with a female householder and no husband present, 46.7% were “non-families”, 37.4% were highly disfunctional, and 28.3% have probably been on Jerry Springer*. The average household size was 2.40 and the average family size was 3.14. You do the math.

85% of the population speak English as their first language, 11% Spanish, 3% Chinese, 0.5% Sue, 0.3% Hindi, and 0.2% Klingon. Klingon speakers are not uncommon in this region of America, but the high incidence of those speaking it as their first language is a result of the first ever "Trekkies" convention, held in Muppetsville in 1972.

The city has had its share of sporting success: the Muppetsville Muskies have been NAIVE** champions for 37 out of the last 39 years, putting the town well and truly on the global sporting map.

Famous Muppetsvillians include Dude, where's my baseball cap? actor Jerry Brad, serial killer Cletus "Muesli Man" Muncie, and WWF wrestler The Lump.

The city is represented in the Senate by Muff Watney and in the House of Representatives by Tagg Bigley, scions of the famous Watney-Bigley urinal deodorizer block manufacturing empire.

Today, the town's chief exports are corn, pith, and homespun philosophy, perhaps the most famous example being "If it looks like a Muppet and it smells like a Muppet, it's a Muppet".

* Stick to the facts! (Wikipedia moderater: drivelmeister)
** North American Ice Volleyball Event


AN APPEAL FROM WIKIPEDIA FOUNDER JIMMY WALES: Please don't copy and paste this crap into any data repository that might be taken seriously. It's written by insomiacs, drones and dodos. Frankly I wish I'd never started it.

21 comments:

Lulu LaBonne said...

You planning to move there Gadj?

Amazing the way explorers are always on the look out for beaver isn't it?

worm said...

the really disturbing thing is that I wouldn't be at all surprised if there really was a town called Muppetsville - I know a guy who comes from Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania.

BTW - have you ever read Lake Wobegon Days?

Camilla Jessop said...

I was once forced to visit a town in Pennsylvania called Intercourse. My staff thought it hilarious to say that they had seen me in the middle of intercourse. I think disgusting names - and I include Woking and Scunthorpe in this - should be reduced to rubble.

worm said...

Penistone and Clitheroe might not be very happy about that Camilla

Gadjo Dilo said...

Lulu, no, not yet, though genuinely had a good time in America on my one trip there. Explorers, yes, possibly, they're often rather footloose people.

Worm, Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, a great place to work - full-employment, I'm guessing! I heard Lake Wobegon Days on the radio many many years ago - yes, it's that sort of place ;-)

Camilla, Intercourse Pennsylvania, eh? True, perhaps it was the John Betjeman poem that he never dared to write!

Worm, we're on a roll here...

Brit said...

Strangely believable.

No Good Boyo said...

I love the 'pedia, me. Even the most apparently sensible post will have a section added by some computer-games geek pointing out that the sober historical figure under discussion was the model for General Frodarq in Laserpunch VII. I might compile a list of favourite Wiki moments one of these days.

Kevin Musgrove said...

If you're not fussed about getting a good reference you could always cut'n'paste from the Uncyclopedia

Gorilla Bananas said...

Is this shit really in Wikipedia? If you can't trust that oracle what can you trust?

Gaw said...

Great stuff - but what about the crystal meth?

Gadjo Dilo said...

Brit, ah, I did actually make it all up, though the format is pure Wikipedia.

Boyo, it doesn't sound quite so wholesome when you call it the 'pedia, does it. Compile that list, it's got to be done.

Kevin, yes, I've heard of that. At least it gives a place where would-be Wikipedia wreckers can go.

Bananas, as I was saying to a Romanian colleague the other day - half-joking, you understand - God is dead, Karl Marx is dead, the nearest thing we have to truth now is Wikipedia.

Gaw, thanks. "Crystal meth" as in Methamphetamine?? (First synthesised in Japan, used for the treatment of obesity, erroneously injected into Adolf Hitler for supposed Parkinson's disease.... thanks, Wikipedia). Why?

Alice Scradcza said...

I want to visit Weld, in Maine.

No Good Boyo said...

Will so, gadj.

Uncyclopedia is brilliant, and its article on Wales is startlingly accurate. Although it omits the Wiki fact that Wales formed the basis for Mordor in Lord of the Rings as well as the County of Kotsenn in Rocksword Slayworld III: The Pike.

Gadjo Dilo said...

Alice, I ight come with you! Is that where Tuesday Weld is from?

Boyo, Wales is all myth and really not tractable using any honest Wikipedia approach. Who would win out of The Pike and The Grazlon??

Madame DeFarge said...

I do believe that we should organise a blogger convention there and wow them with our collective intellectual might.

Gadjo Dilo said...

Madame, I fear they might out-nerd us :-)

Percy said...

Susan Ker 'Tuesday' Weld was born in New York City

Pearl said...

:-)

No offense taken. :-)

I wouldn't be surprised to find out there was a Muppetsville. There is, after all, a whole town designed (Florida, is it?) by Disney that people clamber to move into... Why not make it even fluffier, with even ROUNDER edges, and live in Muppetsville?

Americans are pretty weird that way.

I went to high school in Coon Rapids, Minnesota -- so named not only for the raccoons but also for the number of lovely cricks (aka "creeks") that run through the area and their rapids. Because the word "coon" can also have negative racial connotations, there has recently been noise made to rename this town. So as to, you know, not offend anyone.

I find this offensive. :-)

I have friends who live in Ham Lake, and have vacationed on Woman Lake, Man Lake, Lac qui Parle, and Upper Slave Lake.

We're an odd group.

Pearl

Gadjo Dilo said...

Percy, thanks for putting that straight! (I don't think I've ever seen any of her films but it's a name that sticks in the mind).

Pearl, thanks very much for not taking offence :-) I enjoyed my time in Minneapolis, as I think I've said before, and found the people very friendly. People shouldn't have to rename things like that, except possibly to "Racoon Rapids", maybe that's a good compromise. (By the way, in British English to call somebody a "muppet" is to call themn a silly person, not necessarily anything to do with the TV programme.)

Pat said...

Your mind really did wander didn't it?
There's Ramsbottom Camilla - where my best friend lived.
Girl at party:
'Hi I'm Sue.'
'And I'm Apache. So?'
Slinking away back to work.

Gadjo Dilo said...

Pat, nice one! One day after saying: "Hi, I'm Pat", you might get the reply "Hi, I've managed to pay off all my debts as well. So?"