A few links that may be of interest. I have referenced the dialect survey before, but this one is shorter and in quiz form, which is fun. The more complete survey is here. I was equally in the Boston-Worcester-Providence dialects. I would have thought I would be a touch more northern, with Portland or something in NH. However, I did spend the first few years of my life in Western MA, so that may have moved the dial just a bit.
I am very big on correcting the popular impression of the Puritans, and this article from Fareforward about the Puritan virtue of sympathy is good. Fareforward seems to be a magazine written by Christian students at a variety of prestigious colleges. I hadn't heard of it before, but saw it referenced at First Things. An even better, and certainly more complete, corrective of our view of Puritans is the first section of David Hackett Fischer's Albion's Seed. As I have given away too many copies of that book, I ordered a used hardcover that I intend to keep.
The controversy about the cross on the water tower in Wilmore, KY has interested us becase that is where my two oldest sons and daughter-in-law went to college. Asbury College and Seminary are an enormous part of the small town. My initial interest was in the slanted reporting, which said that the Freedom From Religion Foundation had "asked" the town to remove it. That may be technically true, but as a lawsuit in Tennessee was referenced, that seems disingenuous. Since then, I have also come to wonder why people have to travel to places they care nothing about in order to bend them to their will. Have they no lives? I don't find that conservatives go to Provincetown or San Francisco to complain about people gay there. The notable exception, Fred Phelps of Westboro Baptist, was a Democrat, so perhaps that is significant. The evangelical style is different. They are very big on getting national or state versions of everyone hitting the "like" button for Jesus, or The Family. Well, there's more to be said on that, and evangelicals do like to interfere in their own ways.