Midwestern Measures

The weather in Iowa can be putrid pretty much any time of the year. We’ve been enduring a particular gnarly stint here in recent weeks, with a gross combo platter of grey skies, rain, wind and humidity. Last night, just as we sat down for dinner, the tornado sirens went off, just to add some spice to the stew of suck. None of this should be surprising should you consult the Köppen Climate Classification System before visiting (or moving to) Iowa, which is classified as having a “Hot Summer Continental Climate.” Here’s the dispassionate description of that:

A hot summer continental climate is a climatic region typified by large seasonal temperature differences, with warm to hot (and often humid) summers and cold (sometimes severely cold) winters. Precipitation is relatively well distributed year-round in many areas with this climate, while others may see a marked reduction in wintry precipitation and even a wintertime drought. Snowfall, regardless of average seasonal totals, occurs in all areas with a humid continental climate and in many such places is more common than rain during the height of winter. In places with sufficient wintertime precipitation, the snow cover is often deep. Most summer rainfall occurs during thunderstorms and a very occasional tropical system. Though humidity levels are often high in locations with humid continental climates, it is important to note that the “humid” designation does not mean that the humidity levels are necessarily high, but that the climate is not dry enough to be classified as semi-arid or arid.

Sounds lovely, huh? If you consult a global Köppen Classification map, you’ll note that Iowa shares its climate with such exciting weather tourist destinations as Kazakhstan, Romania, Russia, Ukraine, Ontario and the cluster of American states in which corn, soybeans and hogs define the economy. Spring Break in Almaty, yo!! Woo Hoo!!

While looking out my window at the deep, deep drear this morning, I was reminded of a series of poems I wrote in 2004 and 2014 called “Midwestern Measures,” describing some of the unique facets and features of life in the Upper Corn Belt. The poems were written in Poulter’s Measure, a popular English Renaissance poetry form that also features heavily in various Christian hymns. I like it as a fun style, akin to double dactyls (I wrote a series called Women of Spam in that form), and limericks (which feature in my obviously titled ode to my homeland, Low Country Limericks). All part of my over-arching love for absurdist observational piffle and tripe.

I wrote the first set of Midwestern Measures during my “Poem A Day For A Year” project, and they were inspired by a visit to Marcia’s home state of Minnesota. The second set came after we moved to Iowa, and were originally published anonymously on my now-defunct Des Mean website. (That link will take you to the set of articles from there that I saw fit to move here when we left Iowa for Chicago in 2015, never imagining that we’d come back; this article will appear at top, but you can scroll down for many older ones). Some of the earlier Minnesota-based Midwestern Measures were later repurposed for Iowa, because despite many radical cultural, political, social and artistic differences between those two states, their geographic proximity does create some similarities, most of them having to do with vile weather.

So in “honor” of the revulsion that my local climate is producing right now, I re-post all of the Midwestern Measures below, opening with some of the weather gems. The Minnesota specific ones are appended at the end of the list. Hope they’re all good for a giggle. God knows we could all use some of those these days.

“Climate Control”

Our winters are quite cold.
The summers? Very hot.
It’s windy almost all the time,
and rainy when it’s not.

“Breezy, With A Chance of Showers”

The wind blows from the west,
and leaves us to the east.
And for as long as we recall
it’s never, ever ceased.

“Where Their Weather Goes”

The wind blows from the west
and crosses the Great Lakes,
which makes the snow in Buffalo
come down in sheets, not flakes.

“The Road Trip”

We drove off to the North.
I-35 was closed.
And somewhere just outside of Ames,
we sadly sat and froze.

“Iowa’s Greatest Lake”

Those Minnesota lakes?
The best I’ve ever seen!
But this Clear Lake, I’m sad to say,
is either ice . . . or green.

“On Landing at DSM”

We flew above the clouds.
We could not see the ground.
We saw some hills as we went up,
then none when we came down.

“Iowa Longevity”

We’re healthy folks ’round here,
a fact the world affirms.
We work hard, sleep lots, and live in
a place too cold for germs.

“Eating in Iowa”

The diet here is great,
our plates are quite the sight:
with corn and pork and milk and bread,
our food is always white.

“Practical Politics”

So we sent Joni Ernst
to D.C.’s hallowed halls,
because she knows her way around
a pair of porky balls.

“The Other Maytag”

I ate the Tenderloin,
I ate the Snickers Pie,
but if you make me eat that cheese,
I think I might just die.

“Know Your Audience”

Bruce Braley thought he’d run
for Old Tom Harkin’s seat.
He made a “stupid farmer” joke,
then harvested defeat.

“Warning Signs”

I will not take my wife
to State Fairs anymore:
I went to go see Butter Cow,
and lost her to Big Boar.

“Side Effects”

I gave up eating meat
per PETA Girl’s requests.
I’m now a soy-fueled PETA Boy,
with unexpected breasts.

“Red Zone”

The Cyclones have the ball,
two seconds on the clock.
A pass, a score, they win the game!
(Twelve people die from shock).

“Trip Time Portal”

No matter where we go,
our GPS display
says driving there and back will take
three hours, either way.

“Gasp!”

The farmer’s wife was shocked
to find her husband’s porn,
from which she learned a brand new way
to eat an ear of corn.

“The Count”

Atop the Show Me State,
beneath 10,000 Lakes,
sits Iowa: The Capitol
of Caucus Count Mistakes.

“Her Scenic View”

We climbed the Loess Hills.
We hiked the Driftless Zone.
But anything between those points,
she makes me walk alone.

BONUS MINNESOTA MEASURES

“Doesn’t Taste Like Chicken”

The sky is bright and blue,
the air is cool and brisk,
but I am flushed and turning green:
I ate the lutefisk.

“All This and IKEA Too”

Progressive to the end,
this state will meet your needs,
and do it with efficiency.
(God Bless the noble Swedes!)

“Land of a Lot of Lakes”

Ten thousand lakes we saw,
and all of them were nice.
Although I think I’d like them more
if they weren’t solid ice.

“Friendly Neighbors”

In Minneapolis,
we’ve really got it all.
And if we don’t, then right next door,
they’ll have it in St. Paul.

“After the Bear”

We saw the Northern Lights,
we saw our clouded breath,
we saw our ripped up tent and then
we slowly froze to death.

“Football Is An Outside Sport”

The Vikings used to play
outside in Bloomington,
but now they play inside a dome.
It’s warm, but not as fun.

The view from my office desk. It’s really that dreadful.

 

Iowa Caucus Guide 2020

Well, it’s Iowa’s big day today, the third caucus process that we’ve gone through as a family since moving out here in 2011. While I believe “Iowa First” is terrible for our nation for a variety of reasons, and I expect chaos and disorganization tonight, I’m civic-minded and politically engaged, so I’ll be headed to our local caucus site tonight to do my part.

I wrote a lot about Iowa the first time we were here (we had a four-year Chicago sabbatical in the middle), with many of my pieces being tongue-in-cheek explorations into some of the State’s (shall we say) “unique” cultural habits and history. And in a quadrennial spirit of helpfulness to those of you who may be either wondering a bit about, or wandering about a bit, of Iowa today, here are a few of those articles that may help you get what’s going on, and why.

Some of the specifics are a little outdated since I first penned them, though their gists and points mostly remain valid. I chuckled while re-reading them all, in any case, so perhaps they’ll bring a smile to your face too. God knows we can use some levity in our current political hellscape . . .

Iowa Geography: An Introduction

Iowa History 101

Why Iowa First?

Danny Allamakee’s Iowanfero (Cliff Notes Version)

Best Iowa Films

Universal Iowa Recipe

Des Moinsk, Iowaberia

Iowa Ranking Roundup

Popular Iowa Cocktails

Popular Iowa Wines

Great Iowa Novels

Great Iowa Music

The Iowa Decathlon

The Bikini Bottom caucus site has a reputation for rancor . . .

Interactive Audience Audit Report

Note: I recently commissioned and funded an audit of various Iowa websites’ marketing and audience engagement practices on behalf of some secretive nonprofit partners who engage in such webby endeavors, but don’t have a lot of scratch. Here’s what they sent me when it was done, by way of thanks.

The audit was conducted by Fonda Blencoe, who is a Social Media Coach and Interactive Audience Strategist with Golden Meaning Marketing Consultants in Bettendorf, Iowa.

One of our work colleagues told us that Golden Meaning is the best interactive audience consultant in the state, and their promotional materials promised us that they could synthesize, optimize, maximize and super-size all of our digital doodads for full technical chubbiness. How could we resist that come on, right?

Fonda Blencoe and her team spent two weeks scouring our Internet pipes and rummaging through our drawers, and in the spirit of diaphanous transparency that she encourages us to embrace, we share the “Top Five Best Recommendations Ever!!!” executive summary from her report below, while wearing our see-through nightgowns. Who knew that being web mavens was so hottt, ZOMFG?!?

1. You guys write on your blog too often, but you don’t Tweet enough!!! Iowans have lots of things they want to read about all the time — sports, farming, insurance, etc. — so if you write a long blog post about other stuff every day, they just can’t keep up! Space it out more, okay? Maybe only three posts each week? Use the leftover time to write more tweets, and spread them out through the day, instead of doing them in the morning before you go to work. Your bosses won’t mind, ’cause everybody does it, ha ha!!!

2. You should shorten your blog posts, too, okay? Iowans have short attention spans, sorry to say. What was that? Ha ha! If you write more than three paragraphs, they are likely to go read something else instead. You should be able to read your blog posts out loud in two minutes or less. That’s as much as they will read before clicking to something else more interestingly short!

3. What’s up with all of the anonymity, guys??? People want to know your names and see your faces!! Konrad is a handsome guy, so why do you use that pretend Wild West photo of him? Girls would click on his posts if they knew what he really looked like!!! And one of you is a girl already (!!!), so you should really milk that, too. Make her the Official Face of Your Twitter Feed and I guarantee you that your traffic will increase! I know a stylist who could work with her to sexy her look up a lot, since she is a little too business formal for the Internet. Let me know if you want that contact number!!!

4. You really need to get over your Facebook Fobia!!! It’s not that bad, really. Just make sure you don’t use it on any computer where you ever log in for your e-mail, your bank, your credit cards, your Twitter account, your blog, or anything else, and all will be fine!!! You can really get some great traffic from Facebook, you know. Lots of quality social media interactions there!!!

5. You need to “endumben” (ha ha!) things a little bit on your blog. Hawkeyes and Cyclones aren’t Harvard people, you know, so when you write a post like “Danny Allamakee’s Iowanferno (Cliff Notes Version),” it would help if you would explain things a little, so that people know that Danny Allamakee’s Iowanferno is making fun of Dante Alighieri’s Inferno, which is a book. Also, not everyone knows that “Allamakee” is a county in Iowa, so they might not get why it’s funny, sort of (ha ha!) without that kind of help. People like the stuff about dating and farm animals and Blue Cheese and the State Fair better anyway. Jokes about food on sticks and bacon are always winners!!!

Needless to say, our Golden Meaning Marketing audit has given us a lot to think about, so we’re grateful to Fonda Blencoe and her team for that. We’re going to take some time off to tweak some things behind the scenes, but we will return soon, hopefully with some click bait tweets and posts that will make Iowan heads spin with wonder and amazement. Plus more exclamation points!!! Wow!!!

Also, since Fonda says we need to be less mysterious — and since one of us is, well, yes, a girl — we’ll take Golden Meaning Marketing’s advice and end today’s post by providing you, for the first time ever, our real names, plus a recent photo of us. Sexy, huh?

Chelsea Doon, Galt Keswick, Mingo Osterdock: The Des Mean Editorial Board.

Our Editorial Board: Chelsea Doon, Galt Keswick and Mingo Osterdock.

Getting Drunk in Iowa (An Oral History)

Early Lytton (73 years old, Retired Senior Vice President of a Certain Bank in Des Moines): Well, the worst approach to being a serious drinker is to consume cheap beer. You just have to drink so much liquid at so little benefit. I used to golf with a guy who would drink a case of Budweiser every day. I just can’t imagine that. My tolerance is higher than average, I’d say, but if I drink six or seven cheap beers I always feel like crap the next day. Not because of the alcohol, mind you, but because of all the junk they put in cheap beer. I can never drink enough cheap beer to get to a happy spot before I just get puffy and tired of drinking. What’s the point?

Miles Packwood (77 years old, Retired Managing Partner of a Certain Law Firm in Des Moines): What junk in cheap beer do you mean, Lytton? Like rice? That’s one I’ve heard. Is there other junk in there?

Ollie Primghar (80 years old, Former Gas Station Owner in Lloydminster, Saskatchewan, Who Retired to Iowa in 1995 for the Nicer Weather): Did you know they fortify Canadian beer with pure black Canadian shale, eh? It tastes like metamorphosis!

Early Lytton: Well that explains a lot then, Ollie. But here in America, the cheap beers contain rice, like Miles there said, and also all sorts of chemical sweeteners, monosodium glutamate, dyes, antifreeze, horse hoof jellies and who knows what else.

Ollie Primghar: Well, you can’t make a Jell-O fruit mold without horse hooves, so don’t knock them, eh?

Roland Le Grand (71 years old, Retired Chief Information Officer for a Certain Insurance Company): I’ll admit that I was a 12-pack of cheap beer a day guy for years, and I got fat and felt awful all the time. Now, I drink expensive liquor with thirty to forty percent alcohol in it, and I swear my total expenses are lower, since it lasts longer, kicks you faster, and you don’t have to buy as much Tums and aspirin the next day. I always counsel young folks at the club to just switch to vodka. It’s got to be better for you than beer. Or if not vodka, then Scotch. That won’t give you a hangover, and it tastes mighty fine. Try it on ice, if it’s not too expensive, or with a splash of water. It’ll love you like nobody’s business.

Ollie Primghar: I like my Scotch with a donut. They need Tim Horton’s in Iowa.

Early Lytton: I used to drink Scotch, until it became the choice drink for all those punk young bankers who argue about their fantasy football teams while moving small amounts of money from gold to rhodium to palladium and back, before going off to buy expensive cigars that they chew on for awhile then leave all over the golf course. I wouldn’t be seen dead in public anymore with a Scotch in my hand. bilde

Miles Packwood: On a crisp summer day, I’m partial to a nice gin and tonic. Gin just tastes good.

Early Lytton: Oh come on, gin doesn’t taste good, Miles! It just tastes different.

Miles Packwood: No, Lytton, I’m going to stand up for myself here: gin tastes good, sir! It does! Brown liquors, on the other hand, are just awful, no matter what. Scotch. Whiskey. Bourbon. Yuck! Even more so when ice melts in them. I start gagging just thinking about them. Ugh!

Roland Le Grand: You’re just soft, Miles. I slurp down Johnny Walker Blacks one after the other. They taste great, and I feel good. I will back you up, though, regarding your position on gin. I’m an eight or nine gin and tonics guy a day during the summer. That is delicious. I recommend Gilby’s. It’s the best for the buck, in my humble opinion.

Ollie Primghar: When you mix them tall, like I do, the quality of the gin isn’t all that important, eh? So I say go Gordon’s for that kind of mix. You can get it cheap. Also, Gordon is a popular men’s name in Canada, so it reminds me of home.

Roland Le Grand: I like to take a pint glass and mix up a big gin and tonic, with a slice of lime, adding ice and limes as the day goes on. I leave the limes in there, partly to give me a rough estimate of how many I’ve had, but also because it just keeps it fresh and flowing. I’ve sort of got a system.

Early Lytton: I’m ashamed of all three of you. Gin and tonics are for girls, not men.

Roland Le Grand: Well, maybe so, but I read online that gin and vodka produce the least intense hangovers and bourbon produces the worst hangovers, due to some chemical byproducts when they’re fermented. However, I can tell you from experience that if you mix varieties and types, or drink mixed drinks, then all bets are off, since the different types of impurities and the sugar in mixed drinks will all interact in random, vomit-producing ways.

Ollie Primghar: I always try to remember that “Chug the Merlot, Hug the Terlot,” and “Mix your Liquor, Get much Sicker,” eh?

Early Lytton: Who would chug Merlot anyway, Ollie? That’s just terrible wine. No character.

Ollie Primghar: Well, okay then, fancy pants, you’ve been sitting here telling us all night about what not to drink and arguing with our tastes, so how about you enlighten us all instead and tell us what your perfect drinking experience would be, eh?

Early Lytton: Well, that’s a good question there, Ollie. So let’s see: first, I’d go down to my cellar and pull out three bottles of Prairie Moon Marechel Foch 2004 Reserve. It’s the best wine ever produced in Iowa, and I bought up most of the stock several years ago. It’s hearty without being truculent, plays well with all foods, has a nice nose and a truly fine ass – or whatever the right term is for that sweet taste you get at the end. Next, I would put some great old jazz on the stereo by Enoch Light or Stan Getz or Herb Albert, just stack up the records and let them drop and play. I don’t use any of those compact diskettes or iPod boxes in my den. They’re nothing compared to good old pliable vintage vinyl albums, ripe with pops, redolent with warps, rich with character. Now, then, with the stage all set, late at night, while my lovely family is sleeping in the safe confines of my stately manse out in West Des Moines, I would turn on the giant plasma screen TV, mute the sound, and guzzle the wine straight out of the bottles while watching video-taped episodes of my favorite daytime talk shows. And then I would just laugh and laugh and laugh . . .

Young Professionals’ Bill of Rights

As you no doubt recall from Iowa History 101, Governor Torbent Bronistodd signed a proclamation in 1863 that formally re-designated Iowa’s indentured servants as “young professionals” (YPs).

Six years later, the Transcontinental Railroad was completed, and 1.3 million insurance executives relocated to Iowa by 1870 — drawn here, in large part, by Iowa’s vast pool of emancipated YPs who were willing to sit in cubicles doing grueling actuarial work all day, while their corporate overlords hogged all the gourmet cupcakes and good Scotch at their companies’ canteens.yppix

Fast forward a century and a half, when Des Moines routinely rates as one of America’s best cities for Young Professionals. This widely-touted distinction leads ever-growing flocks of fresh-faced college graduates to migrate to Central Iowa, where they nest communally in a networked hive of lofts near Des Moines’ city center, happily buzzing and bumbling about their daily business downtown.

But are things really all that grand in Yupville DSM? Or are the “Old Professionals” continuing to line their personal coffers on the sweat equity of YPs as they’ve always done, without fairly sharing the corporate spoils with those who truly deserve them the most? And if those treacherous old people are still abusing their idealistic professional heirs, then who will notice and respond, given the lack of organized representation for Des Moines’ disenfranchised young MBAs, disempowered Writers Institute alums, dispossessed Social Media gurus, and otherwise disassociated office and information workers?

A mysterious vigilante group calling itself “Young Professionals Correction” has apparently risen to the challenge, recently staging a series of Tweet-friendly flash mob protests in a variety of art spaces, boutique doughnut shops, and life coaching centers hidden deep within the uncharted bowels of the ever-expanding YP Ghetto downtown. Young Professionals Correction organizers have also drafted a “Young Professionals’ Bill of Rights” which has been widely distributed downtown through an appropriated network of empty Juice display stands.

I salute the brave urban guerrillas spearheading Young Professionals Correction, and in a spirit of solidarity, we reprint their “Young Professionals’ Bill of Rights” below — having nabbed a copy after wandering into an isolated branch of the Skywalk while trying to avoid eye contact with a busker.

YOUNG PROFESSIONALS’ BILL OF RIGHTS

Because we prize our liberties, Young Professionals Correction demands that the following rights be maintained for all the hard working college graduates in Iowa between the ages of 25 and 35, upon whose broad shoulders, trim waists, and shapely calves rests Iowa’s future:

1. By virtue of having bachelors’ degrees, Young Professionals must always be hired at an “Assistant Vice President” level or higher.

2. All bars and restaurants in Iowa must offer unique signature cocktails that reflect their special characters and feature top shelf liquors; Young Professionals must receive one such cocktail free with each visit, upon presentation of a pre-printed voucher.

3. Every fundraising gala must have a Young Professional ticket price of no more than 25% of the price that the old people pay, so we can properly support important causes by drinking signature cocktails and being photographed by Juice.

4. Young Professionals’ names have great civic value, so when we agree to let charities list us on their planning committees, that is sufficient justification for us to count such service on our “Young Professional of the Year” resumes, whether we contribute further or not.

5. Juice must print enough color society pages in each issue to guarantee that every active Young Professional in Central Iowa can be featured in at least one group shot per month; failure to appear in at least one Juice photo per month is justification for shunning by peers.

6. Young Professionals can still get social credit for serving Templeton Rye-based drinks until all existing stock is depleted, since we hoarded it at great personal cost while it was still considered cool and collectable.

7. After two months residency in Iowa, all Young Professionals are entitled to found a nonprofit of their own choosing in any field (charitable or otherwise), and to receive whatever State and City funding is required for them to hire themselves as founding Executive Directors; failure to found a nonprofit after two years residency in Iowa is justification for shunning by peers.

8. All bars and restaurants in Iowa must offer trivia nights at least once per month, and old people must be segregated from the Young Professionals who participate, since their knowledge of olden times before the Internet gives them unfair advantage; failure to form or join a trivia team with a clever name involving an alcoholic beverage or sexual position is justification for shunning by peers.

9. Being a “Young Professional of the Year” finalist or winner is a great, lasting, fully professional honor that will be recognized and valued for the rest of our lives by everybody around us, giving us automatic preferential treatment in job searches, ticket lines, restaurant reservations, and other similar situations; this honor will never, ever, ever be compared to being a prom queen or catching a winning touchdown in high school.

10. Young Professionals reserve the right to act grown up and professional when we feel like it, and to act young and stupid when we don’t; lapses in the latter regard will be forgiven until our 35th birthdays or until we’re no longer cute, whichever comes first.

Humor in Iowa

(Note: This originally appeared in 2014 on the defunct Des Mean website, to which I guest contributed anonymously on occasion).

Does Iowa rank number one on Forbes’ list of “Top 10 Most Humorless States in America”?

This is the question that I pondered with the three founding members of The Des Mean Editorial Board late one night last summer at our favorite neighborhood bar in Des Moines — which I am not naming here, because we all dread the thought of the Young Professionals discovering it and yup-yup-yupping the locals away by imposing signature cocktails and trivia nights.

That conversation prompted some other conversations, and then they put on their successful business-people hats to think about whether there was money to be made through exploring (and exploiting) the original silly question in a serious fashion. It didn’t really seem to be a “goer,” as they say in the biz, so they considered a nonprofit model instead — because Iowa is definitely the Number One State in America for Half-Assed Charities, according to any number of click-bait websites and a casual look at where the big philanthropic money flows around the State.

That avenue seemed promising, since they already knew of more than a dozen hucksters in Central Iowa with cushy “Executive Director” (heh heh!) jobs at “nonprofit” (giggle!), “charitable” (snnrrk!) “cultural organizations” (haw haw haw!!) that they founded themselves, filling no discernible needs, for no apparent benefit, and raising big bucks (for themselves) in the process.

Oh, wait, we’re sorry. Did we say “hucksters”? We meant “community engagement entrepreneurs.” (Pffftt!!)

The original Des Mean folks had decided that they’d be happy to declare themselves community engagement entrepreneurs too so they could slop at that bountiful trough, too, so last fall they organized the Des Mean Foundation for Humor in Education as a 501(c)3 charitable corporation and anointed themselves as the founding Board of Directors. (Note: I didn’t join them on the board, since I thought it would conflict with my real nonprofit job, and I didn’t want to bite any hands that fed me in my real job; it’s a small state, y’know?). The trio then collected some seed tax-exempt “gifts” (pfffbbbttttt!!!!) from their friends, hired crazy Swede Konrad Yüngermann to be their roving curator and man on the ground in Iowa, and got down to the serious business of being funny, for educational purposes. Which are charitable. Seriously. No smirking this time. All straight faces.

How do they satisfy their charitable mission nearly a year on? By offering five blog posts each week on the Des Mean website (Note: now defunct), Monday to Friday, with no advertising or any other commercial interests, plus regularly populating their popular Twitter feed and then analyzing the ways in which native Iowans interact with the information they present to them. It’s a lot of work, and it takes a lot of time, but they run a tight ship, in keeping with their 501(c)3 status, and I am happy to help out in a volunteer capacity as I am able.

They pay Konrad for his work (Swedes are not charitable, despite being Socialists), but they donate our time to the charity as volunteer board members, only claiming reimbursement for such necessary business expenses as lunch interviews, road trips to look at funny stuff (one of them drives a hybrid car, so that keeps costs down, though it’s a little embarrassing in some parts of the state they visit), phone bills, late night pizza orders, transcription services for their oral history project, and other similar office incidentals.

They’ve been serious and consistent about their output, and they’ve got a higher website update rate that the lion’s share of cultural organizations hereabouts, so I think they’re doing a good job on that front. They’re also carefully and thoroughly monitoring, analyzing, and processing traffic flows, referrals, and other social media buzz-word thingies in real time as they work through our ongoing search to divine the answer to the original formative question: Are Iowa and Iowans inherently funny or humorless?

What have they learned so far?

Executive Committee Meeting.

Executive Committee Meeting.

Since the Foundation Board members are all native Iowans, and Konrad the Swede has lived here long enough to have lost his native accent and to say things like “please put my pop in the sack” to the Hy-Vee bag girls, they have concluded that they collectively embody one key variable in the analytical work: They are all Iowans, trying to be funny. Can they do it?

Their traffic logs and targeted marketing campaigns make it clear that over 90% of their readership lives in the State of Iowa, so their followers embody the other key variable as they explore our their original core hypothesis: Are Iowans capable of laughing at themselves, and their home state?

Using an adaptation of simple Mendelian Inheritance principles, they posit that there are four possible humor interfaces between their Iowa writers and their Iowa readers here:

  1. Des Mean is not funny, and Iowans are humorous enough to know that.
  2. Des Mean is not funny, but Iowans are humor impaired and think that it is.
  3. Des Mean is funny, but Iowans are humor impaired and don’t get it.
  4. Des Mean is funny, and Iowans are humorous enough to laugh along.

They are desperately hoping that Scenario Number Four is the one that will be sustained by their research, but they will probably need a few big federal grants and a some more humor writers and a lot more late night pizza parties at Young Professional-free bars before they can state that confidently.

Let them know what you’re thinking. Let them know what you’re laughing at.

Most of all: let them know if Iowa and Iowans are funny.