austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,
austin_dern
austin_dern

When I wore a younger man's clothes

A major question was: what kind of license plate should I get? The standard-issue plate, blue letters on white, was of course cheapest, and the color choice was apparently meant to get as close to Michigan's classic white-on-blue while keeping to the modern standard for dark text on a light background. On the other hand, it didn't have an icon of the state on it and I like that about New Jersey standard plates, and it does have www.Michigan.gov on the bottom in a weird pairing of fonts. This is petty, yes, but if you're going to try to appeal to my visual style you better not screw up the kerning either.

A Special Cause plate might be imaginable --- I had considered getting the ``Animal Friendly'' plate for my car originally, the one with the Mutts characters decorating it --- but none of them felt quite right to me (``Agricultural Heritage''? My agricultural heritage amounts to a couple times my parents took us blueberry-picking as a kid, and my father swears we saw the famed '39 World's Fair Rotolactor in action in Plainsboro, which I don't remember, and think is impossible). A University plate might fit, except they seem to carry plates only for Michigan schools, and I have only imaginary connections with any of them (``I know a guy who went to Michigan Tech'' ``The U of M children's hospital kept coatis in the children's ward in the 50's because they were trying to meet the who-had-this-bright-idea standard of Ypsilanti Mental Hospital's `Let's put three guys who think they're Christ together and see what happens' program''). New Jersey offers at least a couple plates for out-of-state schools, since New Jersey hasn't got the self-esteem to tell Penn State where to get off. [ Addition: but I find New Jersey does offer University of Michigan alumni plates. Also Rutgers, Seton Hall, Jersey Tech, and Stevens, but why should there be enough Michigan alumni around to make it worthwhile? Princeton has apparently declined this plated honor so far. ]

The ``Spectacular Peninsulas'' plate, mm, pretty good color, has the state in the middle, some generic skyline, the Mackinac Bridge ... that would do. Plus looking at the piles of plates behind the desk, the ``Spectacular Peninsulas'' plate had a much more obviously memorable plate number. So that's how I picked my new car's license identity.

Trivia: The character of Dr Rampant Pelf debuted on Fred Allen's radio broadcast of 14 October, 1936. Source: Fred Allen's Radio Comedy, Alan Havig. (I admit that's all I have on the character, but want it pointed out that ``Dr Rampant Pelf'' is an awfully good name.)

Currently Reading: The Good Fairies Of New York, Martin Millar.

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