Friday, March 7, 2008

Weekend Edition

The Funnies

Drschnell, bless his heart, recently sent me this link to "Garfield Minus Garfield." Through the miracle of modern technology, said website digitally removes the beloved cartoon cat from his epynomous strip. This process leaves, in the words of the website's creators,

an even better comic about schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and the empty desperation of modern life.

Here are a few samples for you:

Honestly, I haven't had so much fun with a deconstruction of Garfield since the day I figured out that that's what Get Fuzzy is.

American Mapscapes: The Master's Quiz!

When I put together the Monday Quiz, I often end up with way more images than I'm ever going to use. This week, I found quite a few maps that I thought showed interesting, thought provoking patterns, that however might be a little esoteric for the quiz itself. Here, for your weekend cartoanalytic pleasure, are a selection of some of these.

This isn't a competitive quiz or anything. In fact, as soon as I publish this post, I'll add a comment with the answers. Enjoy!

1. What is this pattern?

2. What do these four colors of dots represent?

3. What does orange represent on this map?

4. What does this map show?

5. And what social phenomenon does this map show?

Song of the Weekend

The classic (albeit only about a year old) blogger anthem by Sprites, "I Started a Blog that Nobody Read" -- all done up with a bunch of freaky random Japanese visuals.

How are you feeling, michael5000?

Much better, thank you. Much, much better.

Have a wonderful weekend!


Michael5000 said...


1. This map shows the proportion of African-Americans in the general population.

2. They are professional sports franchises: Red for football, yellow for basketball, green for hockey, and blue for baseball.

3. That would be Lutherans, or rather counties where Lutherans predominate. Red represents Baptists, green Methodists, brown Mormons, and blue is Catholics.

4. Rail traffic.

5. The percentage of the population living in poverty.

d said...

i heart maps. and lutherans.

glad you're feeling better.

Bridget said...

Wow! these are great maps . . . something about them is really beautiful to me. Too bad there isn't one up here for "distribution of festive vomit-inducing illnesses" . . . the Sweetie and I have been dealing with "coughing up a lung syndrome" since our return from Mexico. NAFTA's revenge, perhaps?

Bridget said...

On the religious affiliation map, what's the gray stand for? I just notice quite a few gray counties in Oregon . . .

fingerstothebone said...

Catholics predominate in most of the counties in Oregon? I find that rather hard to believe!

Jake Titus said...

This is the first time I have read your blog and to be honest, was not prepared for a quiz. I promise to study for the next one. The scary thing about the garfied portion of your post is that the comic changed from a syndicated cartoon, to my life, with just a click of the mouse.

gl. said...

oh! i am impressed w/ how much better "Garfield Minus Garfield" is than the original. what a terrific idea!

mhwitt said...

On the map showing predominate religions by county, what are the yellow counties? I can't seem to come up with a good guess.

Is the pink Amish?

Do the black dots in the center of some counties represent counties where adherents to the predominant religion are a majority of the total population?

Anonymous said...

I worry that by expressing my admiration for minus Garfield I will be opening the door for someone finding more to appreciate in my life minus KarmaSartre.

I loved the Maps, mostly. 1, 3 and 5. They look like maps that might represent what they represent.

Map 2 doesn't work as well, as there is no quantitative relationship between the size of the sport or sports franchise and the relative sizes of the circles representing them, and when they overlap they hide each other, as around NY, and when they don't overlap, but coincide, they still hide each other.

Map 4 reminds be of the "The Road", the non-companion volume to Cormac McCathy's "No Country for Old Men". It reflects the burned-out, post-apocalyptic country, devoid of any religions, races, geology, counties, rainfall or topology, and the main routes the remaining half-souls took in their blind pursuits of the coasts. Or maybe it's just the USA as seen by that non-heavenly map-maker in the Nether Regions. Either way, it's startling, right Clarice?

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater said...

Do you have a map of Uranus?

Get it? Like your anus?

Michael5000 said...

@Bridget: The grays stand for "other"; in Oregon, the gray counties are all Pentecostal.

@fingers: Well, it's a matter of how you slice it. Since this kind of data tends to divide along the lines of Catholic/Lutheran/Baptist/Presbyterian/Methodist/etc., instead of Catholic/Protestant, Catholicism tends to be dominant anywhere there is not a very strong dominant Protestant sect. After all, close to 1/3 of Americans are Catholic.

@jake: No studying. These are POP quizzes. But welcome aboard.

@mhwitt: The yellow represents "Christian," which represents a specific sect but I forget the specifics. Pink represents Mennonites. And, you are correct about the dots; they represent counties where the dominant group is a majority, not just a plurality. Thus, regarding fingers' point, you can see the VERY Catholic areas (Massachusetts, delta Louisianna, Texas borderlands, upper Rio Grande Valley) versus the many areas where Catholics just end up on top of the general pile.

@karma: I agree with your critique of Map #2 -- a bad map but, I thought, a fairly good quiz question. As for your trippy ruminations on Map #4, it's nice to know that other people look at maps kind of like I do.

@Dr. Ken: I should be too old to laugh at that, but apparently I'm not.

The Calico Cat said...

3. That would be Lutherans, or rather counties where Lutherans predominate. Red represents Baptists, green Methodists, brown Mormons, and blue is Catholics.

Well you answered my Amish/Mennonite question (guess).

Does this map represent non-Christian religions - or are they under plurality everywhere?

Unknown said...

@Calico: They are under plurality everywhere. The U.S. has sizeable Jewish, Muslim, and Buddhist populations, but all three are heavily concentrated in urban areas, where they remain well below the plurality level for any given county.

DrSchnell said...

Glad to see I was able to contribute to Michael5000 at least in a small way. I'm also annoyed to see two quizzes come up during my self-imposed internet exile during Spring Break that I could've aced (Beatles and Coen Bros., plus the bonus map quiz (though I would've missed the sports teams one). But I'll try to jump back on the M5000 bandwagon soon. This is some parade, yessirreebob.