Curtis Dahlgren
When your legislature goes South, escape to Escanaba in da U.P.
By Curtis Dahlgren
March 6, 2011

"The cost of electricity will necessarily skyrocket." — B. Oboma (2008)

"I DON'T RECOGNIZE THE U.P.," wrote a pen pal of mine. I laughed and said that we're used to not being recognized. Some Michigan maps have been known to omit the peninsula (even though it is nearly 400 miles from west to east). I guess some people are under the impression that the 'thumb' of Michigan is the "lower" peninsula, and that the mitten is the "upper" peninsula. NOT.

I don't recall Mr. Oboma visiting the U.P. during the 2008 campaign, though it's possible it happened. He did make an early 2012 campaign stop in Marquette a few weeks ago (and I may have seen Air Force I flying over my house). Anyway — the regional, national, and international news has been such a bummer this week that I want to offer a little relief (comic relief). [a few excerpts from a column in the Flint Journal and Escanaba Daily Press, 2/10/11; "Obama's briefing on the U.P."] -

WH aide: "Time for your briefing on the Upper Peninsula — her people and their customs and peculiarities . . . This is an opportunity to address a key demographic."

Obama: "Democrats?"

Aide: "No, cold people. The U.P. is very, very cold, so if the applause seems a bit muffled, don't be surprised."

Obama: "Winter blues?"

Aide: "No, mittens. Now for your opening quip, remember that Yoopers don't root for the Detroit Lions."

Obama: "But it's Michigan isn't it?"

Aide: "Well, first . . Detroit is about 47 hours from the U.P. and, second, Green Bay is just down the snowmobile trail . . and [whatever you do] remember not to joke about spring coming soon . . . "

Obama: "This place sounds like one strange, complicated place."

Aide: "You have no idea, Mr. President. That's why we rented a copy of the movie 'Fargo' for you to watch on the flight in." [end of excerpts by Andy Heller]

Personally, I would have suggested "Escanaba in da Moonlight" myself. Sure that one was fictional too, but we don't want a bunch of unwanted refugees fleeing from Wisconsin, so we exaggerate both our winter weather and our own peculiarities. Don't tell anyone, but Escanaba is in the Banana Belt and there are plenty of things to do around here. There's the U.P. State Fair in August, and ice fishing the rest of the year (including Valentine's Day fishing tournaments). Where do you think all those shirtless fans at Lambeau Field come from? They're not trolling for congressmen, you know.

Speaking of shirtless, I heard that Northwestern University featured a live sex act in a classroom last week. It was only an "after-class" breakout session, but the name of the class was "Networking for kinky people" or something. It gives an all-new meaning to the Big Ten, eh? Extra credit, I suppose.

Meanwhile, the National Education Assn. and the United Nations are expressing solidarity for more and more sex education in the schools, both here and in Africa. Africans are putting shirts on and Americans are going topless. A representative for the NEA recently said that "comprehensive sex education is "the only way to combat heterosexism and gender conformity.'" [whatever that means. Besides, I thought that "combat" was now a no-no word in civil society.]

BTW, while channel surfing, I caught a few seconds of the traffic on the Red Carpet at the Oscars. A "journalist" kept asking each actress "What are you wearing?"

The actresses would say things like "Ver-sack-see" or whatever. I kept waiting for one to reply, "What am I wearing? You mean besides my birthday suit? Not much."

P.S. I suspect that even Hugh Hefner is getting jaded. He was asked the other day what he thought about events in the Middle East, and he said "Very exciting!" He probably can't wait for his 72 virgins. I should write a column one of these days about hooking up on college campi. I plan to entitle it "BOY'S LIFE today: Hoopsters, hipsters, and hooksters."

Someone once asked me, "Haven't you ever had a casual relationship?" I was a bit taken aback, but afterwards I thought of lots of one-liners.

- "Casual relationship" is an oxymoron like 'border security' or 'Super man' or 'electric cars.'

- "Did you say 'casual relationship' or 'causal relationship'?"

- "Have you ever seen the back seat of my Yugo?"

PPS: Wisconsin's Democrat state senators are still south of the border learning the Chicago Way. I understand that Governor Walker refuses to accept any collect calls from Illinois, or any packages of dead fish. News reports say that damages to the Capitol building were ONLY one-third of a million dollars.

Well, more to come next week, when perhaps things will be more back to "normal." Normal Yooper-style that is (we would still like to become a state of our own and sell ourselves to the nation of highest bidding). That may be the only way to mine our gold, silver, copper, and zinc.

© Curtis Dahlgren


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Curtis Dahlgren

Curtis Dahlgren is semi-retired in southern Wisconsin, and is the author of "Massey-Harris 101." His career has had some rough similarities to one of his favorite writers, Ferrar Fenton... (more)


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