Is it weird that the Springfield tire fire was out, and covered in menorahs ?
Sign at Springfield Nuclear Plant/Santa's Workshop: Now Dwarfs, No Orcs, No Leprechauns
Abe holding a sign during the intro (after Bart on the snowboard lands on the pile of snow containing him): "Still Warmer Than Nursing Home"
Stores seen during Homer's '3 week earlier' flashback:
-- Just Chip Clips
-- Reformation Hardware (with a guy posting 95 Theses by Martin Luther on the door)
-- Pelicon - Stationary Bikes for Seabirds
-- Candy Most Dandy
So, Miss Hoover's "private pain" is that she is lonely, unlucky, poor and has a bad back. I was half expecting that she didn't get into Yale either.
Crackton was first mentioned way back in Season 9 in the episode "Lost our Lisa", and it's more of a section of Springfield, like the Russian District.