In a shitty hotel room in what has to be the shittiest capitol city in America, and perhaps the worst city in America, Charleston, WV. Although Newark, NJ and Gary, Indiana and Happy Valley and Blacksville, VA still exist, my money is on Charleston for the absolute supremacy in suck.
I’d rather be in Kabul or Baghdad, where at least I could have the fear of death to bring some interest to the city. Here, you just want to die.
I can not wait until I can leave tomorrow at 4 pm and will feel better with every single god damned mile I drive north.
Did you sit on a pine cone the entire drive down?
Did you just lump Happy Valley, one of the tittiest colly towns in the States United, in with Gary Fucking Third World Indiana? Mighty strong crack you’re snorting…
Am watching the Tim Hetherington bio, “Which way is the front line from here?” Powerful, powerful film. What a loss.
If you saw “Restrepo” you’ve seen his work.
Trenton or Jefferson City? How bad can Charleston be?
Well, John, just don’t go there! Unless, of course, someone paid you a lot of money: Tunch must be fed!
Who pissed in your Cheerios, Cole?
Could be worse. You could be forced to listen to the Peter King Greatest Hits Collection the whole way to & from yer shithole capital. That’d get you reaching for the straight razor PDQ.
Back in my paralegal days I worked in the Public Utilities group. I was working on a contract arbitration case and the hearings were held outside Phoenix at a very high-class, expensive golf resort. One afternoon, after we returned to NYC, I was talking to a couple of paras were taking a load of documents/filings to various state offices in all the state capitals. They described the really bad motels where they were staying and working out of. They were extremely jealous when I showed them pictures of the resort we were at and when I described the suite-like room I lived in for two weeks or so.
I think it’s endemic and inherent of state capitals that they and the motels are on the grim side. There may only be one or two really nice hotels but only the elites can afford them. Everything else is grim. (Why that other group at my law firm used such bad motels is a mystery to me, cause that client had more resources than the client I was working for.
In a shitty hotel room in what has to be the shittiest capitol city in America, and perhaps the worst city in America, Charleston, WV.
That may be true, but I hear (from a good source) that Albany is a strong competitor in the field of suck.
Although Newark, NJ and Gary, Indiana and Happy Valley and Blacksville, VA still exist, my money is on Charleston for the absolute supremacy in suck.
My evil (no, really, like psychopathic) quasi-step-dad (chosen by my mother in one world’s worst bouts of bad taste) was from around there. Never been there myself, don’t really think I need to. There are lots of places I could go first. I mean, Mongolia sounds pretty interesting. So does the Congo!
Here, you just want to die. I can not wait until I can leave tomorrow at 4 pm and will feel better with every single god damned mile I drive north.
You have my sympathies, dude.
Just to achieve some pain equalization, here’s a sentence from one Thomas L. Friedman’s column in the NYT for today:
A NOUN! A VERB! AND 9/11!
Suddenly, Charleston doesn’t seem so bad, on account of the fact that Thomas L. Friedman is not present there, does it? I’ll bet the stress pressure on your mind has equalized and you won’t get the mental bends.
I’ve long resided in the upper Midwest where the word “tits” can be used as a positive adjective, but “tittiest” is new for me.
Also, I’m guessing John Cole has never been to Fresno.
@max: Yes, Albany (NY) is a strong competitor for a suckitude award. When I had to do work in my law firm’s Albany office I generally stayed with a friend. And I hate, hate, hate the state government buildings built by Nelson Rockefeller. A white marble concourse below ground connecting the buildings, no color, cold, sterile, like a bad SF movie set; the street level window walls and doors seemed never to be cleaned and the grime on them was abysmal.
Onliest person I know who uses “tits” as an adjective is from Chicago. “That’s a really tits car!”
Fresno remains the only place I’ve had to pay a shopping cart deposit to take one from the store to the parking lot. Awesome town. (But I’d take it before Phoenix.)
Clearly, you’ve never been to Green Bay, WI. Shittiest place I’ve ever been in the US.
Higgs Boson's Mate
Barstow, CA, would be my choice if I was going to off myself.
Or Baker, or Bakersfield, or Stockton, etc.
You’ve obviously never been to f’ing Sacramento, so quit yer whining.
@PurpleGirl: Much of Phoenix is very nice, and most of it is affordable. Low cost of living is the only thing keeping me here.
Tucson, however, is the regional Capital of Suck. Awesome, if you’re loaded. But a crime-ridden shithole for everyone else.
Oh, look, someone who thinks there’s a worse city in the nation than Fresno.
I second Trenton. Parts of Camden too. The good news Cole is that you can drive away. Seek out places like Butte Montana to hang your hat. Celebrate St Urho.
If America was a body, East St. Louis would be its prolapsed rectum.
In terms of poverty, property crime, violent crime, and disease, it’s a third world city in every meaningful measure.
Odie Hugh Manatee
Relax, have a few drinks and then head out to the freeway. No driving though, just blindfold yourself and wander into traffic.
That will put some spice in your night! ;)
Sitting in my garage taking a break after pulling the front end off of the 351W engine in our Mustang. The water pump was getting a little bit of play in it and decided that while I was at it I might as well change out the slightly stretched Cloyes True-Roller timing chain and gear set. I’m dropping in a Comp Cams double roller timing chain/gear set in it’s place. It wasn’t really necessary as the old chain only had about two degrees of stretch but I run the cam +4 to pump up the bottom end power (big cam in it) and every bit of ‘juice’ is a good thing. I should have it wrapped up the day after tomorrow and it will be good for another 65,000 miles (which took me 25 years to run up on it). Cost will be less than $200, which is pretty good compared to what a shop would charge.
No bloody knuckles so far! :)
Lansing, Michigan, could only aspire to the Top Ten Shittiest State Capitals — but they were careful to surround the Capital Building with strip clubs and pawn shops, and downwind of the old GM assembly plant, so you’d know they were trying.
One reason I now live in Massachusetts is that we sensibly located the capital in the chief city, before a lot of jealous little pismire contenders could legislate it be located somewhere that nobody with any choice would otherwise spend time.
Imagine how much better American history would’ve been if the national cpaital had stayed in Philadelphia, rather than the fetid swamp the Southerners insisted upon inventing. (No way the government was staying in NYC, but Philly would’ve been a reasonable compromise if not for the scheming slaveholders in VA and the Carolinas.)
My career keeps my chained here like an anchor.
Phoenix is very affordable for a city of its size though. And fall, winter, and early spring are all lovely. The drawbacks: insane wingnuttery and it’s hot as fuck for 4-5 months of the year.
Brother Machine Gun of Desirable Mindfulness (fka AWS)
There is no Blacksville, Va. You either mean Blacksburg, Va. or Blacksville, WV. Which is it?
Not sure what about Charleston rubs you the wrong way, but to each his own. Seven years ago, after five years in Richmond, VA I was at a point where I could move anywhere in the country. I worked from home and traveled 45+ weeks a year, usually by air. Never felt at home in Richmond, wanted a change and to buy a house and stop moving from rental to rental every couple years.
I’d been to 46 states, all major cities, most medium sized ones and a lot of small towns all over the country. I decided on Charleston. I live in the East End closer to downtown than the Capitol. I bought a cool 100 year old rowhouse for cheap and after just a few years have a ton of equity, have awesome neighbors and friends. My bf and I can walk to the mall, the river front, the movies, lots of cool restaurants and bars, Capitol Market (converted freight rail station now indoor mini mall with small grocery, butcher, wine and cheese shop, coffee shop and outdoor farmers market). We can walk across the street to the Clay Center to see the West Virginia Symphony which is actually pretty good. Its easy to get involved in the community here, I’m active in East End Main Street which has revitalized a bunch of properties, completed a large number of public art projects and last year built and opened an outdoor artist’s bazaar. FestivAll is a 10 day arts festival coming up including a couple hundred events (concerts, art shows, etc) in dozens of venues. We can walk two blocks to the West Virginia Power ballpark, a great facility that frequently draws crowds of 4-5k people and averaged 2300 ppl per game last year, or we can stay home and watch the fireworks from the porch.
Most personal to us, Charleston is very gay friendly (in the city, surrounding areas not so much). The city council, with the support of the sane Republican mayor unanimously passed a non-discrimination ordinance 7 years ago banning discrimination against LGBT ppl in employment, housing and public accommodations, the first city in WV to do so, and still one of only 4 or 5, and last Sunday the 17th annual pride parade and festival drew over 2,000 people in a town of only 50k!
Sorry you hate it here, JC, but we think Charleston is pretty cool :)
@Cacti: I lived in Tucson from 1998-2002. During that time, it apparently had the highest crime rate in the country. Probably because the entire Tucson PD had only 53 cars at the time. One night, the ex and I went to IHOP and six of the 53 were there. We heard gunshots as we walked in. I was the victim of multiple crimes during that period. The TPD declined to investigate all of them, including when I got chased down the street by a dude with a knife.
Let’s be honest, fall is five hours, winter is six weeks and spring is seventeen minutes. Lovely, all. The whole “rains while it’s a hundred-eighteen” thing is the most perverse weather I’ve experienced, anywhere.
Which explains snowbirds.
Odie Hugh Manatee
Go to Seattle, it’s a beautiful town with tons of things to do 24/7. Then go to Spokane.
You’ll head right back to Seattle.
@Cacti: Concur. It’s certainly not where I would choose to live if I had an unlimited budget, but I certainly can’t afford my lifestyle in any other major US city.
The prophet Nostradumbass
@Jerzy Russian: or Ridgecrest. That place is a fucking dump, a real anus, armpit, however you want to put it.
Anybody remember Hecks Discount Stores based in Nitro, WV.
I used to call on them circa 1988. Never did much business.
I did enjoy the drive though. South down I 77 through Ohio.
My aunt and uncle used to live on Westmoreland Ave back in the 80’s. Thankfully, they were able to move eventually.
Dr. Klahn say “Take him to Detroit”.
Beat that, mikkifikkies.
@The prophet Nostradumbass: I must have driven through there at one point. I can’t recall the town, but Highway 395 is a nice drive north of there all of the way to Lake Tahoe.
@Odie Hugh Manatee: Anything east of the Cascades is like a different world compared to Western Washington. It’s amazing it’s never split into two states.
@Suzanne: “Tucson, however, is the regional Capital of Suck. Awesome, if you’re loaded. But a crime-ridden shithole for everyone else.”
??!! — And I was so not awash in money when I lived there. Tucson is where I worked in a biker bar, and that was such a relief after my previous job, throwing papers. But it was a wonderful, wonderful town, and I had a wonderful, wonderful time. It’s just that very little of that time happened to occur in my biker bar, and none of it throwing papers.
The music alone would have made it wonderful, even without my electric blue adobe house ($240/month, no heat), the mountains and the desert, friends ….
I mean, yeah, there was crime. It was a drug corridor. How well I recall the night when two rival drug gangs were set to converge on our biker bar, with guns, and we all hid in the walk-in freezer.
But the music!
@Higgs Boson’s Mate:
I’ll see your Barstow and raise you a Needles (with Barstow, you are at least on your way to Vegas; with Needles, you just want to jump in the river and hope for a swift current to take you down quickly).
I lived in Laughlin, NV for about half a year.
I think Needles got its name from the favorite pastime of most of the residents. And no, I don’t mean knitting. ;-)
Odie Hugh Manatee
If they did the east side of the state would refer to themselves as South Washington.
@hilzoy: The music, I will grant you.
It’s still dirty and crime-infested and dilapidated, though.
May be the only way to survive the experience; when I was in Seattle, a friend remarried and moved from Issaquah to Needles. She may have melted as I never heard anything more after it was 100+ in, like, February. Or, perhaps, carried away by the mosquitoes that don’t get abated because of the fishermen and all.
@Odie Hugh Manatee: And Spokane is actually a beacon a semi civilization for that part of the state. Not good overall, but I think there is some glimmer of hope if you’re stuck there.
Yakima, on the other hand….
Bill E Pilgrim
@max: I’m continually astonished how Tom Friedman can actually top himself for sheer idiocy over and over. He actually makes the “argument” that the secret program was protecting us from another 9/11, and without the protection when another one happens we’ll react by installing a police state, therefore he supports the secret program because he’s in favor of civil liberties.
It’s a twist on the arguments that the protection is against Al Qaeda, who, once we let down our guard and they win, will make us all wear funny clothes and bow in some foreign direction five times a day, and where will your “civil liberties” be then, eh comrade?
I’ve got news for you Tom, they won twelve years ago. Any last sanity this country had vanished like a scared rabbit in 2001.
The prophet Nostradumbass
@Jerzy Russian: 395 itself actually goes around the place. It’s the kind of place where you sit down on the toilet and there’s hot water in the basin.
Well, John, everybody’s got to be someplace and some days life just sucks. Put on your big boy pants and get over it.
Bill E Pilgrim
@Jerzy Russian: There’s a song about that. Or close enough.
In the how things hold up decades later department, I have to say this guy just gets better, if anything.
I’ve been to most of the shitholes mentioned so far and my vote goes to East St Louis. It’s like if Fresno had a pus filled zit inside of the armpit of Detroit, you’d get East St Louis.
As for Sacramento, dear god it’s not that bad. Sure there are some areas in its downtown that are a bit skeevy, but its not totally devoid of a few decent bars or places to grab a bite.
Did you hear that? It was the sound of a million wingnut heads exploding.
I grew up in DC, but I’ve lived my adult life in the state capital of Tennessee, Nashville.
I’ve loved this town for years, even before we became the Hot City of the Moment.
So I’m all for capital cities.
Bill E Pilgrim
Okay this actually did me a favor, thanks John and everyone. I’m working too much on deadline and tired and frazzled and woke up mentally griping about the fact that this is my one day to work from home rather than every day like I did for years.
Then I read this, and remembered that I’m going to go out in a few minutes and have a cafe at the corner bistro, take a walk on the Seine, do a little shopping at the open air marche, and come back to my charming apartment to get the work started.
Kind of like John’s “my team lost” moment from the other night, with a different cast of characters. Could be worse, yep. As capital cities go this one’s hard to beat.
The prophet Nostradumbass
@Goblue72: You’re right, Sacramento isn’t nearly as bad as some people say.
cole, you ever go to skeenies? that place is awesome, not sure if it’s exactly in charleston, but it’s close.
Been a few years, but Detroit beat all a bit back. Newark was pretty high on the list too.
I’d have to rank Barstow worse than Fresno. At least in Fresno you can go someplace not-Fresno in a short period of time. Barstow is just surrounded by more Barstow. Basically it’s a city constructed around fast food and gas stations, designed for residents that only work in fast food and at gas stations. And when you visit, you’ll notice that the greenest thing there is the dirt. (No, I’m not kidding.)
Butte, Montana was pretty horrible when I was there ages ago. It’s a town next to a hole which is larger than the town. And while I like almost everything about Canada, Winnipeg was horrible every time I went. It’s like the Newark of Canada, but with tractors and shit. It’s a city, but without much of a purpose. And the people that live there seem to know that it, and they, are without a purpose. And if they try and escape the city for greener pastures, they’re met only by canola.
At the same time lots of people find where I live to be horrifying, and I can accept that. Everything is orderly and antiseptic. Everything is manicured and themed. It could be Disneyland or North Korea. It’s been fantastic for my kids and once I learned to stop fighting it, I came to accept it like Disneyland, but having come from NYC, it wasn’t an easy transition. Got a jaywalking ticket my first week here. Addressed the police officer by saying “What the fuck? Jaywalking is an actual thing? I thought that was only in cartoons!” That didn’t help…
Geesh, what’s so bad about Charleston? Maybe you should take Rt. 19 through Summersville, which I do on every trip home from NC, and then you can talk about serious suckage. While you are in WV’s lovely capitol city, stop by the Capitol Market and you’ll feel better. Lots of fresh fruits, veggies, meats, and best of all, the Fresh Fish Market.They make an amazing fish sandwich.
I dunno, as state capitals go, Topeka kinda makes Des Moines look like a bastion of culture plus the politics there are straight outta The Crucible.
Wherever you are, you’re always reading a blog where people with roofs over their heads and computer access are bitching and moaning about bad things suck.
I’m laughing here.
Nothing to compare with the fish sandwich at Coleman’s fish market in Wheeling, but still pretty good.
@Cacti: My MIL grew up in Needles. She spent most of her formative years driving up to Nellis to watch the above ground nuclear testing. She died young of many bad ailments.
But I’d have to put Vegas pretty high up on my horrible city list. Gambling just doesn’t appeal to me, and the city is either despondent or just creepy weird to me. Just not my bag.
I’ve been to Charleston and Sacto. No contest between the two. Charleston wins hands down.
I’ve been to about 30 state capitals. Charleston and Trenton are absolutely in the top 3 or 4.
My sympathies. But at least it isn’t Kingman, AZ.
Chester, Pennsylvania. I’d say Camden, NJ, too, as far as the depth of the low moments, but Camden has some interesting quirks, as does Newark, NJ. There’s nothing that redeems Chester, PA.
Odie Hugh Manatee
I lived there for almost twenty five years, the place sucks. My wife and I have to go back because we still have lots of family there. Every time I go back I can’t wait to GTFO of there.
If we didn’t have family there we would never return.
@Suzanne: We actually stayed and held the hearings at The Wigwam resort. We were there in January. If you had to be stuck some where for work (trial and prep time about 14 hours a day) that was the place to be. Great grounds, the old section casitas had beautiful rooms and the food was very good. The resort originally had been built as a private resort for executives of Goodyear Rubber.
In the world of sports, a dark cloud has settled over ESPN studios in Bristol, CT.
Their beloved Heat were throttled 113-77 in Game 3 of the NBA Finals.
Sacramento isn’t bad at all. I’d definitely take it above Fresno, Bakersfield, Blythe, Indio. Yeah, Ridgecrest, which seems to exist only for the purpose of being continually destroyed in earthquakes.
Oh, St George Utah. [shutters]. It’s got some Utah-pretty going on, but it also seems to have some of the fringe Mormon communities along with motels that I’m pretty sure were all designed to cater to some kind of underworld porn industry that I don’t really want to know any more about. Ms Martin will not even stop for gas in that town any more.
@Jerzy Russian: 29 Palms. Holy fuck I had a new definition of shithole after leaving that place.
No economic base. And they know it. Eastsiders bitch about Seattle but without the Glorious Socialist Republic they would wither and die.
(Folks still live over there. Hear about it all the damn time.)
I’d have to say if we are talking about crappy cities other than capitals then E. St. Louis pretty much wins without even a close second. There are a lot of crappy towns and cities in this country but ESL has got to be the bottom of the barrel. No, it’s lower than that. It’s so low that it’s too low to say it’s so low you’d want to scrape it off the bottom of your shoe. Because if you were wearing shoes, you couldn’t get that low.
The prophet Nostradumbass
@? Martin: Speaking of Mormons, there’s Twin Falls, Idaho. That place is a fucking nightmare. A collection of inbred, crackerjack, racist morons, essentially. Nampa makes Twin Falls look like San Francisco in comparison.
Detroit is/can be pretty rough but ESL really does have it beat. It’s only redeeming quality is that going anywhere else in any direction is an improvement.
And I haven’t been myself, but my mom described Alaska has a lovely state with cities consisting of 100% uncut white trash. She said they were desperate for even a bland, neutral town that would allow them to hold their joy at being in Alaska, but every town made them want to leave the state. I think Wasilla killed whatever remaining Sarah Palin starbursts that were bouncing around in that head of hers.
@The prophet Nostradumbass: A friend of mine actually did well in Twin Falls. Then again she’d do well just about anywhere, she just has that sort of indomitable personality.
@? Martin: I’ve heard tell Juneau is livable, but that was when I was seriously considering living an hour away in Whitehorse. I really should have married that Canuckistani dammit.
The prophet Nostradumbass
@The prophet Nostradumbass: Okay, I got that wrong. I meant that Twin Falls makes Nampa look like San Francisco in comparison.
At least Nampa has some Boise State students living in it.
@The prophet Nostradumbass: I’ve only driven through Twin Falls, and it was 30 years ago. Don’t remember much about it other than a fuckton of mosquitoes.
@Ruckus: Never been to ESL, but I’ve heard others describe it as you do.
I’ve been stranded in the Combat Zone, I walked through Bedford Sty alone, even rode my motorcycle in the rain.
 Never actually stranded there, but I did work there, back when there was such a thing. Is it wrong to feel nostalgia for bad neighborhoods? Frankly it never seemed that bad to me. Of course it was probably already disappearing when I was there (early/mid 80s).
The prophet Nostradumbass
@? Martin: Drive thru Twin Falls at night, with California plates on your car. You’ll find out what the residents are really like.
James E. Powell
I would think that the whole of ESPN would be giddy and speaking in tongues for at least a week. Tebow!
I was being polite.
Over one two week period I spent about 10 years there but it felt like 20.
Even Las Vegas isn’t near as bad and I hate that town with the heat of a thousand suns. I’ve spend a number of weeks working there and just can not imagine living there. OTOH I don’t hate ESL, it is what it is, I just can’t scrape up any empathy for it.
@James E. Powell: They have been rather…restrained about Touchdown Jeebus so far. I think TBogg r disappoint in this.
For per capita violent crime, East St. Louis is between Juarez, Mexico and Port au Prince, Haiti.
The prophet Nostradumbass
Any of you seen Scott Pakin’s complaint letter generator?
I feel I must assert my freedom to comment on an important public issue that John G Cole has thrust into the vortex of public comment. Let’s get down to business: I think I know why so many uneducated manipulators of the public mind trivialize certain events that are particularly special to us all. It’s because John has whipped them into a blind frenzy by telling them that he is as innocent as a newborn lamb. Unfortunately for John, the ground truth is that he periodically puts up a façade of reform. However, underneath the pretty surface, it’s always business as usual.
Okay, I admit that there is something patently shabby in the notion that cannibalism, wife-swapping, and the murder of infants and the elderly are acceptable behavior. But an armed revolt against John is morally justified. However, I think that it is not yet strategically justified. He commonly appoints ineffective people to important positions. He then ensures that these people stay in those positions because that makes it easy for him to redefine success and obscure failure. Whenever John is presented with the statement that his promise of equality is a false one, he spews out the hackneyed excuse that the government’s policies should be at odds with the will of the people. Ironically, such screwball logic is likely to convince even more people that no one likes being attacked by intemperate reprobates of one sort or another. Even worse, John exploits our fear of those attacks—which he claims will evolve in a lustrum or two into biological, chemical, or nuclear attacks—as a pretext to turn a deaf ear to need and suffering. If you think that’s scary, then you should remember that John is driving me nuts. I can’t take it anymore!
Put simply, every one of us has a role in saving this country from John’s small-minded faction. We all know that John has put our country in trouble. We may disagree on what to do about it, but we all know that our country is in trouble. May I suggest, therefore, that we cast an unfamiliar ray of sunshine over the bad-tempered landscape of John’s criticisms? Doing so may help even appalling, prudish suborners of perjury see that John wants to enthrone falsehood in the very center of human thought. Personally, I don’t want that. Personally, I prefer freedom. If you also prefer freedom then you should be working with me to enable adversaries to meet each other and establish direct personal bonds that contradict the stereotypes they rely upon to power their tartarean malisons. To sum it all up, John G Cole’s hatred knows no bounds.
@Yatsuno: 29 palms isn’t that bad. It’s a military base outcropping meshed with the Joshua Tree climbing community. It’s not good, mind you, but I’d pick it over a lot of other places. Among its benefits, the people there do tend to get out in the world and are fairly interesting as a result. A lot of the towns in the midwest outwardly look nicer, but are often filled with people that have never gone anywhere more interesting than Topeka. Everyone just seems to be coping.
And I’m leaning toward Helena and Bismarck as worst capitals, personally.
dagh (fka tesslibrarian)
All the other southerners must be asleep, because I can’t believe I’m the first to point out that Columbia, SC is the armpit of the south: miserably hot, humid, breeze-less summers (& springs, & falls), even their “good” farm-to-table restaurants serve simply horrible food–a terrible waste of local produce. And that’s before we even mention the crazies who vote for people like Jim Demint.
@Cacti: National median for violent crimes per 1000 = 3.9. East St Louis? 60.2
The prophet Nostradumbass
@? Martin: At least 29 Palms isn’t Lancaster or Victorville.
Crime was actually the least of my worries when I was there. Met some of the local residents and they were OK. It mainly is the level of despair and squalor. Someone up thread got it about right, it is the puss filled boil on the asshole of the country.
@MikeJ: And as for the most violent cities:
A former coworker from Bismark once told me that the best thing about it was that when the bars closed you could go across the river to Mandan (and go from central to mountain time) where ther bars were open an hour later. Lol
Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again)
Detroit’s been beat to hell, but there’s plenty to do. You might have to drive out to the suburbs to do some of it, but downtown has never been a shithole, imo.
That said, having lived my entire life roughly equidistant from Detroit and Chicago, I’d go to Chicago if I was looking for something to do- unless that something I was looking to do was watch baseball or hockey.
@MikeJ: Damn. 0.59 where I live. ESL has 100x the crime rate. And we’ve had a bad year… 3 murders (1 domestic violence, two due to Chris Dorner).
At the same time lots of people find where I live to be horrifying, and I can accept that. Everything is orderly and antiseptic.
I didn’t see you mention of where you live, but I’m guessing Irvine, the Stepford city, ugh.
Bakersfield, San Bernardino, Fresno, Stockton, Modesto, Manteca (Spanish for ‘lard’), Los Banos (Spanish for ‘the toilet’, no joke), Kettleman City, Lancaster/Palmdale/anywhere in the Antelope Valley all suck my will to live just driving through them.
On the positive capitals side, Madison is nice, but my favorite of the ones I’ve seen would be Montpelier, Vermont.
As far as state capitals go, Sacto rocks. Albany on the other hand does not but the two cities have similar psyches; i.e., relatively small town capitals of major states dominated by internationally renowned megalopolises. Creates a bit of an insecurity complex with overbearing politics.
Worst non-capital cities would certainly include most of the other Central Valley towns that have already been mentioned especially bankrupt Stockton. Troy, NY was a pit when I went to school there in the 70s, maybe its been gentrified. Des Moines is an urban planning disaster. Barstow’s butt ugly like most desert towns but the most depressing place I’ve ever laid eyes on is Trona, CA. It’s like living in a toxic chemical factory.
@trollhattan: We’re seeing similar deals. There’s a catch, though. Brown is hanging all of the deals on his pension reform plans. So you get 4.5%, but your employee contribution will go up by 3%, so you’re giving almost all of it back. But it’s a pretty decent approach all around. The state has the revenue and we want to see the pension funds sorted back out, which this will quickly do, and once the pensions are sorted, the employee contribution can dip a bit and workers will keep the difference. If he can cover enough ground on pensions this year, I think we’ll see him give the green light for healthcare.
Heh… I do really enjoy the persian and asian communities here, though. Even though I’m a passable J. R. “Bob” Dobbs (without pipe), I just can’t do straight-up whitebread communities. Iowa would fucking kill me.
My BIL lives in Taft. Coalinga is much nicer. Kettleman City at least has the benefit to being near the freeway. There are other meth towns, but Taft, by virtue of living in a persistent cloud of hydrocarbon fumes and valley fever fungal spores, gives it’s a certain je ne sais quoi that other meth towns really lack.
Juneau is a really pretty state capitol. Land at the airport and there’s a glacier that almost looks like it’s right on top of you. About a 30 minute drive into the city. Went to a great sushi place, only served salmon, but a bunch of different varieties. Great beer, AK Amber Ale. You pass the brewery on the road from the airport. But, unlike most state capitols, it’s really hard to find, well, the capitol building. Turns out it’s on a bit of a hill and looks like a regular office building, but does have some nice columns at the entrance.
@Martin, Why would your mother go Wasila?
Like? It is a toxic chemical factory. Barely qualifies as a town, though. There are single buildings in NYC with more residents.
I forgot the suckitude that is Taft. Towns dominated by oil or mining are in a category all their own. Trona, Boron, Battle Mountain, NV; Butte, MT with its giant toxic pit. Bloomington, TX is an obscure little place near an oil refinery but has stuck in my mind for its depressive decrepitude.
@BillinGlendaleCA: They were in AK for a conference. Took an extra 2 weeks to see the state. It was 2008. She’s a Republican and thought that Caribou Barbie was a brilliant leader. Do the math.
She’s also a Pats fan, so this Tebow trade is going to fucking kill me because she’s going to gush over him every week during the season, I just know it. And even if she can’t stand the guy, she’ll gush over him just to fuck with me. I once sent her a photo of her granddaughter posed like a pole dancer just to get her to stand down a previous time she was fucking with me. I’m not sure what depths I’ll have to plumb on this one – she knows that Tebow is going to cut me deep. I really rubbed it in with the Obama wins, so perhaps I have it coming…
@Mike G: You forgot Tacoma, WA; used to be able to smell it 30 miles down I-5 before you got there back in the 60’s and 70’s. Big smelter and lumber mills.
Tu-scum, as I call it, has a stupid rivalry with Phoenix, as in “you are big and ugly and we don’t wanna be like you” so it ends up being smaller and uglier with a higher rate of poverty because the high ups do not allow it to develop. Logically, Tucson should be a bigger city than Phoenix – it’s closer to Mexico, the weather’s better than Phoenix(~5 degrees cooler) and prettier in that it’s slightly greener. Phoenix is one of the ugliest cities in the country. No soul in this town with too many transient non-native born people.
@dagh (fka tesslibrarian):
Ahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha! You think Columbia, SC sucks! That’s adorable!
Because I live in Augusta, GA. Columbia is pure glory relative to the suck of a town that lovingly embraces the fact that it’s only vaguely entertaining to yuppies, olds, and devotees of the pastel polo shirt for one week in April.
I haven’t been to Harrisburg, PA in many many years, so while they may have neutralized the reeking vortex of suck that was their city, I have my doubts. Also, Albany is an aesthetic assault and I would relate the mood of the place to Eeyore except that the sad donkey is both charming and redeemable.
But, hands down, the worst place on earth is Augusta. Teeming with suburbanites and blatant racists, with a downtown that nobody will ever revitalize because the wealthy asshats who own it don’t want the financial competition from outside investment. No parks, few good restaurants, a stunted and self-congratulatory “arts” scene, and every time some downtown event initiative actually takes hold it is canceled and relocated out of the city because the melanin count rises to unacceptable levels.
Lawrence MA deserves a seat at this table.
Of the states which have governor’s residences, the only state capital* where that residence is elsewhere is Trenton. NJ governor’s mansion is in Princeton.
*(note correct spelling, Mr. Cole, please)
I suppose this trip is business, not pleasure.
East St. Louis is the worst I’ve ever seen, but it really is just the worst part of St. Louis, so I don’t think it really qualifies as a standalone city. As far as state capitols, Columbia SC is pretty awful in the summer. While that’s true about most of the lower piedmont and coastal plain in NC/SC, it’s epicenter seems to be Columbia, i.e., they picked the hottest place in the state for the capital. There are some nice falls on the Saluda river there and it can be nice the rest of the year, maybe they just planned on abandoning the place in the summer months. I think a lot of capitol towns were not originally designed to be lived in full time and, in fact, may have been deliberately chosen to discourage permanent residence and/or were places no one wanted to live and thus afforded cheap land. I can’t see why anyone would want to live full time in Jeff City Mo.
Blacksville? Do you mean Blacksburg? Because if so, I’m right there with you.
Blacksville? Do you mean Blacksburg? Because if so, I’m right there with you.
@specialed5000: Used to buy those for a quarter when I got off work on Friday from the wheeling steel plant in east wheeling. You know, the one behind the old Elbys that’s a bank now.
Oh come on…. Trenton and Harrisburg are WAY bigger suckfests than Charleston can ever be! My goodnes Columbus even is worse!
Paul in KY
@hilzoy: I visited Tuscon for a week back in mid 80s & loved it too. Thought it was a prety cool city.
Liked the UA campus & snow covered mountains in distance, etc. etc.
@dagh (fka tesslibrarian): I was asleep. ABSOLUTELY second Columbia SC. Worse, it was a step UP from where I was – Sumter SC (otherwise known as “The Land That Time Forgot”).
How bad, you ask?
I volunteered for a Korea tour to get away from it.
I drove through the only Klan march I have ever been exposed to while stationed there (did I mention I spent half my childhood in freaking ALABAMA?)
Liquor stores refused to recognize FEDERAL ID.
There were almost as many Klan sympathizers ONBASE as there were OFFBASE.
Paul in KY
@Goblue72: East St. Louis is a sad city.
Paul in KY
@hamletta: Be driving thru Nashville later on today on my way to Bonnaroo! Nice city. Like Murfeesboro too.
Just got back from Midland, Texas. REPRESENT!
Wait, Midland for the boredom, or Odessa for the sleaze? I think they’ll have to share the nomination.
@max: Had to do business in Albany recently and it does, in fact, suck.
@Paul in KY: I’ll be driving to Manchester tonight myself.
Just Some Fuckhead
Where the hell is Blacksville, Virginia? Did you make that up?
Just Some Fuckhead
He must be talking about Blackstone, Virginia, near Fort Pickett, Virginia. He was prolly there when he was in the Army.
Tone in DC
I saw a bit of Lawrence back in the 80s, when I was in high school. Nowhere near the suckitude of some places.
Imperial Beach (south of San Diego), though, had a medium suckitude quotient. I spent a month there one week in 1996. Hopefully, things have improved.
Tone in DC
Damn. And I thought I had it bad in Richmond in 1986.
this thread has been hilarious … but we’re at comment #120 and no-one has yet quoted the Chorus Line lyric: “And I was always thinking up these spectacular ways how to kill myself. But then I realized — to commit suicide in Buffalo is redundant!”
not too familiar with Buffalo but from what I hear apparently this is still kinda true….
i call your Augusta and raise you one Phenix City, Alabama.
@Mike G: At last, Trona and Battle Mountain make their appearance. My respect, sir.
@Tone in DC:
The last 30 years have not improved Lawrence, Tone. I actually ran cross country races, against Central Catholic, in that town in the late 70’s. These days I think I’d take a sick day when LCC was on the schedule. Seriously, it has gotten alot worse. They have a crook for a Mayor and things have continued to decay. Sister City Lowell, on the other hand, has been battling back. Lowell still has a ton of issues, but there are also good things going on. Lawrence has absolutely no redeeming value any more. You risk your life, or at the very least, possession of your automobile, just passing through that town now.
Paul in KY
@James Hare: Am in VIP camping. In Centeroo, generally hangout at the Craft Beer tent (at one of the long tables that has some shade).
Hope you have a great Roo!
Tone in DC
I was up there in 2006, just for a weekend trip. I didn’t see much of it seven years ago admittedly, with the torrential rain and all.
Dolphin Street in Baltimore, and Ivy City in my sleepy southern town make me edgy more than most places.
@John Cole: What about the Golden Capital Dome?
Steve in the ATL
@furklempt: Yes, Augusta sucks. I was in Harrisburg, PA recently. It’s still a dump. Awful for a state capital.
@daverave: Trona! My son played youth football and we were in the same league with Trona. The football field is sand and gravel. They ran a grader over the field to prepare it for the game. Lovely…
Carson City is a fairly awful capital city. Jefferson City is no picnic either.
For such a pretty state Michigan has it’s share of hellholes. Detroit, Lansing, and Grand Rapids. Not in MI, but I can;t believe nobody mentioned Youngstown, which reminds me of a post apocolyptic movie set. Of course I haven’t been there for nearly a decade so it might have improved.
@Mike G: Yeah, any trip I take from LA up to the Sierras (either route) is a real rollercoaster ride through amazingly awful places. I guess Mojave, Fresno, Bakersfield etc., are all the price I pay for the spectacular finish line at Mammoth/Yosemite/Tahoe.
I’ll also put Riverside on the list.
Also too, how is it that Texas/Oklahoma have yet to get a shout out on this thread?
I lived in Texas for a couple of years and saw plenty of suckitude.
Corpus Christi, Abilene, Texas City, Bloomington, Beaumont. Dallas/Fort Worth is a giant freeway grid of bland corporate-dominated suck, one of the least interesting metro areas I’ve ever been to. Houston has a climate like the inside of a gym sock, but at least has some mildly visually interesting stuff nearby.
But most of the state is just low-grade ugly and boring, so these places don’t stand out as much as in California, where the contrast between the beautiful coastal places and the Oklahoma-ish Central Valley is so stark.