Words & Stuff

L: Too Much on My Plate (Reader Comments and Addenda)

(17 March 1998)

It turned out that the one Web page which contained all of the information I needed for this column was inaccessible right when I needed it. So I've done something I've never done before: modified the column after it had been up for a couple days. I considered just noting the differences/changes on this page, but they were too extensive. So the column now contains (I hope) a complete list of all mottos on US and Canadian general-issue passenger plates issued after 1990. I removed "Don't Mess With Texas" (apparently a bumper sticker, never a license plate motto), "Land of Opportunity" (Arkansas, not issued since 1978), "Trail" (Oregon, a special-issue plate), and "World's Motor Capital" (Michigan, a special-issue plate), and added about ten new ones. So if you read the column during the first couple days it was up, you may want to go back and peek at the list again.

By the way, my source for a lot of this updated information is Michael Kustermann's great license-plate Web page. Kustermann is a member of ALPCA, the Automotive License Plate Collectors Association; there are a bunch of other ALPCA pages, but this one is the most readable and has the most pictures.

Danny Fahs was quick to submit some vanity plates:

Celebrate & Discover
DVRSITY
The Last Frontier
SPACE [almost too easy.  -- JEH]
The Natural State
NUDE
Big Sky
MSTRSON (Guys & Dolls reference) [I especially like this one.  -- JEH]
The Klondike
BAR
Constitution State
CON 18 (AD&D reference)

Mark O'Bannon was almost as quick, with a long list:

10000 Lakes....
R2FEW
NOTENUF
OFBEER
NOBEACH
NOSNAKES
Great Lakes....
4SALE
ASLAKESGO (I know, I know, it's 9 letters) [but I'll allow it, since it's my favorite entry so far  -- JEH]
Live Free or Die...
T (As in "Diet")
OR NOT
OR ELSE
Great Faces, Great Places....
5 ACES
GR8VASES
Celebrate and Discover....
YOURBODY
America's Dairyland....
GOTMILK?
The Last Frontier....
WAS HERE
UR2L8
Famous Potatoes....
WITH AN E
The First State....
LAFSLAST
Don't Mess With....
YOURFOOD
OL'BESS
ELIOTNESS
Land of Opportunity....
KNOCK
OK!....
JUST OK
OKOKOK
Sportsman's Paradise....
WIFEHELL
FISHHELL
Trail....
ER4SALE
Big Sky....
LILPRICE
SCRAPER
Friendly....
2MUCHSO
2BOYS (or 2GIRLS, or 2 anything else)
2NONE
ASASNAKE
IFDRUNK
IFONDLD
Yours to Discover....
OR DIE
Canada's Ocean Playground....
SANK
IS DAMP
Explore Canada's Arctic...
BY BUS
ALONE
OR DIE
NUDE
And here are some entries from Arthur:
Live Free or Die
FL8RMAUS [hee-hee  -- JEH]
Live Free or Die
HUNGRY (I don't know what it means, but I kind of like the sound. Actually, almost anything sounds natural there. SAD, LONELY, or POOR all work pretty well. Perhaps best, though, would be: IN JAIL.)
The Natural State
BCK NAKD
The Spirit of America
GREED
Preserve the Spirit
RECORK
OF BOB

He adds: "There are all sorts of unprintable things that could go after 'Explore ...' ... However, as a subtle message to visitors, some Minnesotan might like:"

Explore
CANADA
Elliott checks in with these entries:
10,000 Lakes
&1SAUCE
Big Sky
GET HI
First in Flight
SIRROBIN
Great Faces, Great Places (This one has got a MOCK ME sign taped to its back.)
GET BRACES
2 RACES
Great Lakes
BATMAN!
Keystone State
KOPS
Live Free or Die,
PUNK [hee-hee  -- JEH]
Wild, Wonderful
UNDR AGE
Nouveau
RICHE (on a 280SL)
Je me souviens
L'ALAMO

He adds:

Many states did not consult me when picking a slogan, and are now paying the price. Most of the slogans are not only insipid but anonymous -- they could apply equally well to any state or province. More characteristic alternatives:

The Rectangular State
Kansas
The Meat-Cleaver State
Oklahoma
The One-Syllable State
Maine
America's Largest Obtuse Angle
Nevada
Way the Hell Out There
Hawaii [though some might say this applied more to California  -- JEH]

And finally, he suggests a bumper sticker slogan (because it wouldn't fit on a vanity plate):

IN AMERICA'S DAIRYLAND,
NO ONE CAN HEAR YOU MOO.

Back to column L

Back to main Words & Stuff page


Jed Hartman <logophilia@kith.org>