Back to the Heartland

The defense of North AmericaWith my adopted state in financial collapse, what better time for a tour of the Midwest?!

It was a hell of a trip.  With an 8 AM departure, we decided to get a hotel at the airport last night.  You know, just take the hotel shuttle in the morning.  After two shuttles passed by all filled up, we flagged a taxi for the mile-long trip to the terminal … which had moved because Northwest has merged with Delta.  Then, safely through the curbside check-in we hiked to the end of the longest TSA security line I have ever seen.  So long, in fact, that we were diverted to the next terminal over.  Then after clearing security we had to run about a half a mile through an underground tunnel back to the right terminal.  All this before 8 AM, all this before two flights.  All the while cajoling two small children to alternatively hurry up, wait, and remain seated for extended periods.  I do believe that LAX is the worst airport I’ve ever used.

But that’s all behind us now and we find ourselves in the congenial environs of the south side of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  Well, actually a Holiday Inn, but I’ll take it.

A fair chunk of history has passed since I last posted on May Day.  Chrysler and GM went through bankrupcy in record time.  My kids turned five.  And the State of California virtually defaulted while its action-hero governor sat in his jacuzzi smoking stoggies. Now here we are again in the so-called Heartland.  What impressions after a few hours?  It’s nice to have *a little* humidity.  Things are very green here.  The beer selection is amazing.

One of my projects for this trip is to return to a sideline interest on the genealogy of “heartland” as a regional identifier for the Midwest.  I’ve taken my other blog “Global Heartland” down, so I won’t direct you there.  The original nugget of research was based on a review of electronic newspaper databases that found a huge jump in the use of the term “heartland” in the 1980s and 1990s.  In other words, the region only became the Heartland in the wake of the ravages of globalization.  I hope to post a few commentaries on the topic as we traverse the region, talk to people, and sit in archives.

More later…depending on internet access.

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2 Responses to Back to the Heartland

  1. Julie Greene says:

    Hi Toby! Nice to see your new blog. I’m in Nebraska this week, on our farm, and one of my projects is trying to trace the links between it and the global economy. About to head to the Greenwood Coop to see where its managers send our corn, then planning to visit some of the towns in central Nebraska that have seen big meatpacking plants arrive (and many Mexican immigrants) in the last 15 years or so. So you’ve taken down your global heartland blog? Can I still access your postings there? And what’s this trip you’re doing now all about? cheers, Julie

  2. Toby Higbie says:

    Hi Julie–sent you an email about Global Heartland. Good luck with the research!

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