From Strange Maps, a look at the nine nations of North America; and here’s the Texan’s map of the United States. From The Washington Post Magazine, a look at destinations that offer unique insight into the cultural traditions of the United States. A review of Applebee's America: How Successful Political, Business, and Religious Leaders Connect with the New American Community by Ron Fournier, Douglas B. Sosnik, and Matthew J. Dowd. American-style sprawl is adversely affecting the outposts of our global empire: A review of America Town: Building the Outposts of Empire by Mark L. Gillem. An interview with James Carroll on American fundamentalisms. Making sense of dystopia: A review of The Braindead Megaphone by George Saunders. Can't you read the signs? Cars, guns, values, the US Constitution, like a yellow traffic light, their meaning and importance, relative to oneself, is open to interpretation. Tattoos and knitting: Both are discernible microtrends in America—and they contain powerful clues to what’s happening in society. Trending towards inanity: A review of Microtrends: The Small Forces Behind Tomorrow's Big Changes by Mark Penn, and E. Kinney Zalesne (and more and more).