Tag Archives: statriotism

Say Yes! to da UP, eh?

On this day in 1836, the territory of Michigan and the state of Ohio ended their war over Toledo in a peace conference called (I kid you not) the Frostbitten Convention. It was a complicated war (if relatively bloodless) and a complicated peace, but I trust you can look up the details for yourself on Wikipedia; what matters to a Great Lakes statriot such as myself is that the end of the war spelled statehood for the land shaped like a hand.

The terms of the treaty negotiated by Congress granted Michigan statehood on condition that it cede Toledo to Ohio, and in exchange, Michigan was granted the Upper Peninsula. Little did Congress (or Michigan, for that matter) know that the UP was rich in copper and iron ore. Poor Ohio. All they got was the Mudhens.

To borrow the words of LGK, “Happy 175th birthday Michigan! High five.”


To nod, to grin, to lend a hand

I realize blogging is no longer (was it ever?) the right platform for this, but in lieu of any real writing, it’s time to share some links.

First up, a great little article on FUME, the Fellowship of Unassimilated Manhattan Exiles in DC, that captures nicely the feelings of expatriotism. From the article:

If there were a Fellowship of Unassimilated Midwestern Exiles, it would have a waiting list for admission. Its members would congregate at the Olive Garden in Falls Church and wonder why you have to drive so far to find a good Dairy Queen and whether it’s really necessary for parking spaces to be so small or so expensive.

Every expat community has something it misses, something that stands for everything that is right about the place you came from and wrong about the place where you’ve arrived.

There is statriotism—that defensive instinct to start listing off stereotypically awesome things about your home town when some snobby east coaster questions its cred (see the opening clip of Season 4 Episode 15 of 30 Rock for an example)—and then there’s expatriotism, that longing for homeland of a small community in exile that makes ordinarily bagel-refraining New Yorkers talk at length about circles of dough when in DC. And while we’re at it, you know what I miss about the midwest, what I talk about with almost every Michigander I meet out here? Rain, the kind that smells good and is nice. And thunder! So all you Facebookers can please stop talking about the storms you’ve been having. (Via SC on the FB)

Next, we’re a bit beyond graduation season, but that means we’re in the thick of the season of figuring out what’s next in life. Map of the Week posted a great reference map for hipsters searching for a new city to live in.

Click for a larger image. Of course I felt particularly guilty reading the description of Detroit: “Something vague about hopeful post-apocalyptic urban gardening.” (Not sure of the original source, via MotW)

Finally, this goes out to all you alumni of the Calvin semester in Budapest, from any year, as well as any of our Hungarian pals. I need some help with a mapping project. I’m building a guide map to Budapest, and I don’t have the time, the memory, or the comprehensive experience to do it alone. Here’s the start of the map:

Follow the link for full sized map, and if you’ve got places to contribute, send me a message or an email and I’ll make you a contributor and send you instructions. I’m trying to put together blurbs on places to see, to eat, to drink, to experience, to go running, etc., and I hope to finish it before the new crop of students gets there in the fall. Köszönöm szépen!

That hunk of butter is wearing a tiara

My stop in Minnesota was so delicious. My uncle and aunt brought me to the Minnesota State Fair, which I’m told wins distinction as America’s largest state fair, officially because of the number of attendees but probably due partly to the size of its food portions. Admittedly, I’d never been to such a large fair before, but I was completely naïve of the array of foods-on-a-stick available. We’ve graduated from corndogs and shish kabobs, folks. Ever had a hankering for cheesecake-on-a-stick? Hamburger-on-a-stick? Banana-split-on-a-stick? How about an uffda (as in the Norwegian expression of overwhelm) treat-on-a-stick? I tried only the pork-chop-on-a-stick, and it was lovely and delicious. And so little waste, too. Although not as little, I’m told, as the chocolate coated bacon, which is its own stick. I didn’t have the courage for that one, I’m afraid.

If food-on-a-stick isn’t your thing, then maybe deep fried goodness is more up your alley. The Spam tent was selling deep fried Spam curds, Twinkies (further) battered and fried were on sale, and the traditional deep fried breaded cheese curds got their own special in the weekend paper. It only takes 12 miles to walk off the calories of those bad boys. Ah sweet gluttony!

This was the second fair of the trip for me since my cousin Shannon and I also visited the Northwest Washington Fair in Lynden. While the Washington fair was a clear celebration of the region’s agricultural heritage, Minnesota’s was more broadly statriotic. There was a building with education and government displays, a police dog demonstration to go along with the 4-H shows, and a tent dedicated to the Minnesota Twins (whom I have not yet forgiven for last season!). While the Lynden fair was “a recognition of our community’s values,” the attendees at the Minnesota State Fair just seemed to be looking for a good time.

Still, the agricultural origins of the fair were plenty apparent. For instance, in the dairy building, there were butter carvings of this year’s Dairy Princesses. Only two of the life-sized butter busts were completed yesterday, but there were 10 other blocks of creamy milk fat waiting to be brought to life, one for each day of the fair. It was exceptionally weird—and totally appropriate.

I’m still recovering from the gastronomic exercises I put my body through yesterday, but I don’t regret an ounce of it.