Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Life in the Fly- over Zone

There seems to be an attitude that intellectual life only exists on the coasts; the middle of the country is just one big wasteland. I read reviews of promising movies in national publications but somehow these movies just don't make it here to the heartland. Steve previously worked in NJ. When he and his co-workers were told that they would be transferred here (gasp!), some reacted as if they were being exiled to the ends of the earth.

During the recession of 2008, our governor proposed a deal: if film producers would shoot their movies in Michigan, the state would pick up half of the production costs. In return, hopefully Michigan would have a new industry. New jobs ( though temporary) would be created and there would be a trickle down effect to help our flagging economy recover. I suppose the positive effects were impossible to measure but the negative effects were not. The new governor said this was a money losing scheme and ended it.

But the upshot was that many movies were filmed in Michigan, a lot in Ann Arbor alone. Some even in my neighborhood. Of course Ann Arbor was the most insulated from the recession: other parts of the state would have benefited more from our new industry yet they had to pay for Ann Arbor's windfall (how ever big that was). In chemistry we had something called the Markownikoff Rule when determining how HX adds across a terminal double bond. It is this (also known as St. Matthew's rule) Them that has the most, gits. In chemistry, the carbon with the most Hs, gets the additional H. Yet another example that life is unfair.

So I imagine the thinking behind the movie producers. It would make sense to go to Michigan but Yuck! What part of the state would be the least painful to tolerate for the few months' duration? Ann Arbor of course. Our little island of enlightenment  An island of brie eaters surrounded by Velveeta (liquid gold?)eaters. The Harvard of the MidWest!

During our blizzard of last week, I watched one of the products of this experiment: The Five Year Engagement.  A promising San Francisco chef sends himself into exile to Ann Arbor to appease his fiancee. Of course, no one would pay more than $8/ hour for his skills since in this wasteland, that is what we pay fry cooks. No concept of gourmet eating here! To get along with his new friends, he finds he has to embrace deer hunting because that is all we do in the MidWest. Lots of scenes of deer slaughter (fake thankfully), in the spring no less! (we do have a season for this, no leaves are on the trees then). Nevermind that his character is Jewish (observant Jews leave hunting to the blood thirsty goyim) but maybe that was part of the big sacrifice he had to make finding himself in God-forsaken Ann Arbor. Lots of snow shots! He makes his escape back to San Francisco where all is great! His fiancee finally realizes just how awful soul sucking Ann Arbor is, and joins him for a happy ending in Alamo Park (the last part of San Francisco I visited on our recent trip. It is pretty).

Where would you rather live? Our street last week.

Or around Alamo Park. This was taken in Novemeber
Well they are right about the winter. Not fun. I read something today that we had one of the snowiest Februarys on record. Need to plan an escape....

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