Bourbon. Music. Horses. Agriculture. Theater. Comedy. Tech-friendly. Industrial. Nature. Culture. Basketball. Skylines and landscapes. Really, Kentucky has it all. There’s nothing to dislike about being once if you’ve spent any amount of time here at all. So it goes unsaid we are the greatest state in the union. I know it’s devastating and unfathomable in the wake of a Bevin win for the governor’s seat, but we really do live in the best damned state in America. Considering all of the reasons above we are the best state ever, and with so many Kentuckians so hell-bent on consistently voting against their best interest, we might at the same time be the worst state ever. Which is why, before Bevin single-handedly tries to strip away and choke any hopes at prosperity that our beloved state ever had (but at least we’ll be bourbon-drunk, full on Derby Pie, listening to My Morning Jacket) let’s take a look at other states and why Kentuckians should love (or hate) them as we rank the “Top 10 Best & Worst States that Aren’t Kentucky.”
10 BEST EFFING STATES (THAT AREN’T KENTUCKY)
Tennessee – Is actually a great state to hang-out in, Nashville has the Ryman, is the home of Jack White’s Third Man Records, and everything that is and ever will be in regards to country music. Memphis has blues, jazz, barbecue, Stax Records, and rock n’ roll was born there on July 18th 1953 when Elvis walked through the door of Sun Studios. Both cities have great live music and countless cool bars, as well. If you’re would like to lay low Tennessee has Gatlinburg, an easy going oasis in the Smoky Mountains for those times you’re just looking for a weekend getaway. And then you have Jack Daniels a company that essentially “borrowed” the Kentucky Bourbon recipe and slapped their own Jack Daniels “Tennessee Whisky” label on the bottle and sold it to the masses. It sounds bad, I know. Steal another state’s signature booze and “rebrand” it as your own; but as wayward Kentuckians we should appreciate Jack Daniels when we’re in Tennessee – because it both assures us that we’re close to Kentucky, and yet reminds us that we sure as hell aren’t home yet.
Ohio – They have been smart enough to adopt Northern Kentucky as the cool part of Cincinnati. Other than that, not many states have 2 pro football teams, 2 pro baseball teams, 1 pro basketball team, a pro soccer team, and The Ohio State University. Most impressively, and most importantly, the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame is in Cleveland, the same city where radio personality Alan Freed coined the phrase “Rock n’ Roll.”
Florida – Key West, St. Augustine, and Orlando…that’s about it. We all pretty much know and have accepted that the rest of Florida is pretty much a pit, but those three cities are pretty effing great.
North Carolina – They have Charlotte, with cutting edge restaurants, breweries, and wineries, the city is an oasis of cool in the majestic beauty of east North Carolina. The college triangle is the center of culture, literature, art, and of course education. And let’s not forget that Dawson’s Creek, The Green Mile, The Hunger Games, Ironman 3, Forrest Gump, Last of the Mohicans, and Bull Durham were all filmed around the state. There’s something to be said for their athletic legacy including Michael Jordan, Coach K, and Christian Laettner.
Illinois – Chicago, a mecca for art and culture in the mid-west with great restaurants, music venues, comedy clubs, and theater troupes (the two most renowned being 2nd City and Steppenwolf). And lest we forget Illinois is also the home state of Jake and Elwood Blues, as well as, Superman. Speaking of Superman there is a Metropolis, Illinois – which is a whole city dedicated to The Man of Steel.
Louisiana – The people are nice, the women are beautiful, the food amazing, the drinks are strong…welcome to Louisiana. Mardi Gras is a thing you should see, and Hurricanes you should things you should drink. Also, don’t forget to eat beignets, jambalaya, gumbo, etouffe, and gator tail.
Colorado – Dispensaries. Also, they have Red Rocks Ampitheater, The Rocky Mountains, endless star-filled skies, and skiing (if you’re into that sort of thing). But…mostly because of the dispensaries.
Hawaii – No explanation required.
Georgia – They invented Chicken and Waffles. Must we probe any further? They are also the home of “The Walking Dead” and “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil”. They have cool towns like Athens, Savannah and Jekyll Island. And a rich musical background that brought us Drive-by Truckers, R.E.M., Allman Brothers Band, B-52’s, Outkast, and Little Richard.
Minnesota – Prince and The Replacements…very little else in life matters more than Prince and The Replacements.
TOP 1O WORST EFFING STATES (THAT AREN’T KENTUCKY)
Indiana – Our least favorite brother from across the river. Larry Bird and Woody Harrelson aren’t enough to keep Indiana off the “Worst” side of this list – it’s high-time to step your game up Indiana. Louisvillians know better than anyone, Indiana is state filled with people who drive like they’ve never seen a car before. And granted, perhaps Hoosiers can’t drive because they’ve been doing construction on the exact same stretch of I-65 for two-and-a-half decades now…I’d forget how to drive properly, as well. Before you think this is completely arbitrary, being crappy drivers isn’t enough on its own to land Indiana on the “Worst” list. First of all, let’s bear in mind that Indianapolis was the headquarters for the KKK; and I really don’t think I need to elaborate on why that’s the effing worst. In addition, Indiana is the birthplace David Jones and The People’s Temple, the cult which claimed the lives of 918 people during a mass suicide in Jonestown (although I guess that means we can thank them for the widely used idiom “Drinking the Kool-Aid”). Indiana also brought forth to the world the fallen Subway spokesman, and all-around demented piece of shit, Jared Fogel.
West Virginia – Just typing the words “West Virginia” that infamous banjo riff from “Deliverance” goes off in my mind like an air raid alarm. I think if we’re all honest with each other we can accept the fact that, surely, John Denver never actually visited West Virginia before he wrote that damned song, right? I don’t know what you’re into but there’s not a lot romantic or sexy about a “West Virginia mountain mama” if you’ve ever seen one. It’s the land of meth and double wide trailers – actually, if you’re not acutely aware of the myriad of reasons that West Virginia is on the “Worst” list, then just go rent a documentary called “The Wild and Wonderful Whites of West Virginia.”
Mississippi – Take everything you picture in your mind when you think of West Virginia, and then make it hotter and stickier and swampier.
-Texas – I know, Willie Nelson, ZZ Top and Austin City Limits do their best save this mess of a state, but it’s too hefty a job for even them (bless their hearts). However, George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush, and Jeb Bush, have done just fine destroying the legacy of a huge state with a vast, fascinating history. Considering their gun laws and execution rates they seem to delight in killing things a little too much for my taste. And then there’s David Koresh, Waco, and the Branch Davidian. Texas also banned Ozzy Osborne (“Remember the Alamo!”), who the hell doesn’t wanna kick it with Ozzy? President Kennedy was killed in Texas. And it was in Texas where the guy that killed the president was killed. And before you arguing the rich musical history of Texas, keep in mind that for every Waylon Jennings, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Janis Joplin, Meatloaf, T-Bone Burnett, Kris Kristofferson, Gibby Haynes, Leadbelly, Buddy Holly, and Dimebag Darrell that Texas has given us; they’re just making amends for every Beyonce (and Solange) Knowles, Kelly Clarkson, Bushwick Bill, Ciara, Johnny Mathis, Jessica (and Ashlee) Simpson, Seals & Croft, Lil’ Flip, Austin Mahone, Selena Gomez, Hilary (and Haylie) Duff, Cowboy Troy, Christopher Cross, Terry Ellis (of En Vogue), Machinegun Kelly, Big & Rich, Ally Hernandez (of Fifth Harmony), Chamillionaire, Demi Lovato, and Vanilla Ice that they inflicted upon the world. So, yes…please feel free to mess with Texas.
Alaska – It’s cold. Like real cold. Not like we’re cold in Kentucky cold. This is serious cold. And when it’s not cold it’s daylight 24 hours a day…no thank you.
Nevada – Besides the fact it’s just giant plot of scorched Earth poisoned by nuclear testing – Las Vegas is the cheap neon hooker that got kicked out of every state in the union. Granted, Louisvillian Hunter S. Thompson immortalized it – but even he couldn’t hang with the existential shit show that is Las Vegas. Also, they almost killed Lamar Odom with their hookers and bad drugs. And let’s be honest…”Vegas Vacation” is by far the worst in the “National Lampoon’s Vacation” series. Vegas is like the hook-up you never wanna see in broad daylight.
North Dakota – I’ve seen the movie and t.v. show “Fargo.” There are a lot of character driven murder mysteries going on there and I don’t think I would feel safe there.
Kansas – Westboro Baptist Church. I know, one bad apple doesn’t spoil the bunch; but I also know that one turd in the punch bowl and no one drinks for the rest of the night. Also, we can blame Kansas for the band Kansas and Melissa Etheridge and Martina McBride. And Truman Capote’s true crime classic is about an unsolved murder in Holcomb, Kansas. In addition, DC Comics named Metropolis, IL the home of Superman – which leaves Smallville, Kansas as the small hick town that spawned Superman’s lowly alter-ego Clark Kent.
Arkansas – I know…Bill Clinton is awesome, but Hillary’s lack-of-awesome evens out the Best vs. Worst arguments. And then comes Mike Huckabee and he leans the scale back over to “The Worst” side of the list.
Florida – Literally everything that’s not Key West, Disney World, and St. Augustine. And let’s remember that they’re the sole reason that we had to deal with eight years of George W. Bush, and they elected his brother Jeb as governor. “Pregnant Chads” are a thing because of Florida. And literally every weird, depraved news story you’ve read in the past decade also happened in Florida.