My favorite things Nebraska

by on March 30, 2016 at 1:13 am in Books, Film, History, Music, Television, The Arts, Uncategorized | Permalink

If it is the most obscure state, I thought it worth a ponder and profile of what they have produced.  And the answers are surprisingly strong:

1. Author: I’ll take Willa Cather over Raymond Chandler, but neither puts the state to shame.  I don’t care for Nicholas Sparks’s writings, but he makes the list.  Malcolm X wrote one of the great memoirs of American history.

2. Actors and actresses: There is Brando, Harold Lloyd, Hilary Swank, Henry Fonda, Montgomery Clift, and James Coburn.  What a strong category.

3. Dancer and singer: Fred Astaire, try this from Swing Time.  For his underrated singing, try “Cheek to Cheek.”

4. Music: I can think only of Elliott Smith, am I missing anything?

5. TV personalities: Johnny Carson and Dick Cavett.  Did you know that Carson learned Swahili on-line after his retirement and became fluent in the language?

6. Painter: Edward Ruscha.

7. Album, set in: Bruce Springsteen’s Nebraska, favorite song “Open All Night.”

8. Movie, set in: Election.  I feel there are others too, Nebraska for one but presumably a fair number of Westerns too.

9. Investor: Duh.

10. Economist: Lawrence Klein was born in Omaha, although I cannot say his is my favored approach.  How about Edith Abbott?

11. Other: I cannot count L. Ron Hubbard as a positive.  I believe I have neglected some native Americans born in Nebraska, maybe some cowboys too.  I don’t have favorite cowboys.

Ruscha

The bottom line: People, this state should not be so obscure!

1 prior_test2 March 30, 2016 at 1:18 am

‘I can think only of Elliott Smith, am I missing anything?’

There is this obscure singer from NJ with an album called ‘Nebraska’ – ‘Nebraska is the sixth studio album, and the first acoustic album by Bruce Springsteen. The album was released on September 30, 1982, by Columbia Records.

Sparsely-recorded on a cassette-tape Portastudio, the tracks on Nebraska were originally intended as demos of songs to be recorded with the E Street Band. However, Springsteen ultimately decided to release the demos himself. Nebraska remains one of the most highly regarded albums in his catalogue.’ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nebraska_(album)

2 prior_test2 March 30, 2016 at 1:23 am

Mea culpa mea maxima culpa for not reading through the list, as number 7 is exactly this album.

3 msgkings March 30, 2016 at 4:08 am

Just couldn’t wait to post your usual toolishness.

4 derek March 30, 2016 at 9:24 am

Conor Oboerst is from Omaha. He has several standout songs, and is notable for the sheer magnitude of his output if nothing else.

5 prognostication March 30, 2016 at 9:37 am

Yeah, in fact all of the early Saddle Creek bands and many of the contemporary Saddle Creek bands were/are Omaha-based. In addition to Bright Eyes, who made some great albums, albeit ones that are not necessarily everyone’s cup of tea, there’s Cursive, whose “Ugly Organ” is considered an indie rock classic and whose earlier “Domestica” is highly underrated as emo-inflected post-hardcore. There’s also Tim Kasher’s other project The Good Life, whose “Album of the Year” was and is not as well-known as it should be. There’s The Faint, if dancier stuff is your thing. There’s the Mynabirds, who I find overrated but whose debut received high acclaim.

As far as not-Saddle Creek, 311 kind of suck but are/were very popular.

6 Ryan McKean March 30, 2016 at 12:02 pm

Many of them were also featured in “The Emo Game”. That has to count for something.

7 efp March 30, 2016 at 11:51 am

+1 for The Faint

8 Ryan McKean March 30, 2016 at 11:57 am

+1

9 Steve Sailer March 30, 2016 at 1:23 am

Sand Hills Golf Club in the sand dune country of remote western Nebraska was probably the most influential golf course design of the 1990s:

http://golfclubatlas.com/courses-by-country/usa/sand-hills/

10 carlolspln March 30, 2016 at 1:33 am

Neil Hefti is from Nebraska [arranger for Count Basie in the ’50’s, including his machine tooled charts for the ‘Atomic Basie’]. He also wrote the theme for the ‘Batman’ TV show.

http://ichef.bbci.co.uk/wwfeatures/624_351/images/live/p0/2w/3g/p02w3gt5.jpg

11 LB March 30, 2016 at 1:40 am

Saul Kripke. His father was a prominent Omaha rabbi, and one of Warren Buffett’s early investors.

12 S March 30, 2016 at 1:43 am

Children of the Corn

13 So Much For Subtlety March 30, 2016 at 2:32 am

In terms of Academy junk, the most recognized film set, at least in part, in Nebraska must be Terms of Endearment.

Would this film have been any less awful if Jack Nicolson did not get the role intended for Burt Reynolds? Reynolds had promised to do Cannonball Run instead. Which I would defend. Not in general but for Reynolds in particular that was probably a smart move.

14 Art Deco March 30, 2016 at 9:12 am

It wasn’t awful; you’re just not the target audience. It was a women’s picture. There’s lots of awful women’s pictures, just like there are awful action films. This wasn’t one.

15 Cooper March 30, 2016 at 1:51 am

Very disappointed you forgot about Conor Oberst!

Even if you don’t care for his voice, don’t under estimate his skills as a lyricist.

16 Cooper March 30, 2016 at 1:54 am

And if I may add, there’s an entire Indie Rock sub genre called the “Omaha Sound” centered around Saddle Creek and Team Love Records in Omaha.

Bright Eyes, The Felice Brothers, etc.

17 Moreno Klaus March 30, 2016 at 4:33 am

Has anybody heard about that outside Nebraska? 😉

18 anon March 30, 2016 at 5:46 am
19 K.R. McKenzie March 30, 2016 at 9:25 am

+1

20 derek March 30, 2016 at 9:25 am

Well, since 50% of the Omaha Sound is Oberst’s projects, we kind of just say him…

21 So Much For Subtlety March 30, 2016 at 2:09 am

I’ll take Willa Cather over Raymond Chandler,

Odd choice. Although neither was actually born in Nebraska. Cather in Virginia, Chandler in Chicago.

On the other hand Christopher Lasch was born in Nebraska.

So was Dick Cheney.

The more obscure one is that the best writer on presenting information, Edward Tufte, was born in Missouri and grew up in California but his family is from Nebraska.

22 Herb March 30, 2016 at 8:02 am

Chandler didn’t even spend much time in Nebraska. His youth was actually spent in England, and if there was a place evoked by his writing, it would be Los Angeles.

Cather’s a better choice because she held the literary torch for Nebraska.

23 o. nate March 30, 2016 at 11:38 am

Cather is way underrated. I read “My Antonia” recently and it was phenomenal. I’m looking forward to reading more of her work.

24 Katherine Najjar April 6, 2016 at 12:44 pm

for other writers, John Neihardt & Mari Sandoz (Cheyenne Autumn, Old Jules). Willa Cather is not from Nebraska originally but she is of Nebraska. More recently, John Janovy, Poet William Kloefkorn (born in KS, but identified as Nebraskan), Loren Eiseley, and of course, former US Poet Laureate Ted Kooser.

25 Evan Van Ness March 30, 2016 at 2:12 am

The unicameral legislature isn’t worth a mention?

26 Cooper March 30, 2016 at 3:33 am

Not merely unicameral, but non-partisan.

Candidates do not directly associate with parties when they run for office.

27 Daniel Weber March 30, 2016 at 11:06 am

That sounds good. Is there an effective party allegiance once in office?

28 Cooper March 30, 2016 at 2:15 pm

The legislature is about 70% Republicans. So it’s basically one-party rule.

But at least it gives candidates the capability to run as independents without facing extreme restrictions on ballot access.

29 Art Deco March 30, 2016 at 3:31 pm

You can run as a non-partisan candidate in New York with no more restrictions on your ballot access than any major party candidate. You’ll still lose.

30 prairie economist March 30, 2016 at 10:38 am

Oooh good one. How timely also. Could be a whole Frontline documentary…I’d watch it.

31 prairie economist March 30, 2016 at 11:13 am

P.S. Just sent an email to frontline@pbs.org, recommending it for a show. Send one too if you want, all.

32 So Much For Subtlety March 30, 2016 at 2:25 am

Album, set in: Bruce Springsteen’s Nebraska

Based on the real life Nebraskan spree killers, Charles Starkweather and his jailbait 14 year old girl friend, Caril Ann Fugate. Which not only inspired this album but also the films Badlands and the vile Natural Born Killers. Neither of which is set in Nebraska. I guess they thought it was too urbane.

33 Udkastet March 30, 2016 at 2:33 am

Musicians Josh Rouse and Matthew Sweet are both from Nebraska: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=LaPofhLEtn8

And Mother Abigail in Stephen King’s ‘The Stand’ lives in Nebraska.

For a European like me, Wyoming is much more obscure than Nebraska.

34 msgkings March 30, 2016 at 4:10 am

Matthew Sweet deserves to get a big raise in status. Criminally under-recognized.

35 kimock March 30, 2016 at 4:16 am

Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks help Wyoming.

36 Roy LC March 30, 2016 at 4:23 am

But with Keystone XL I am constantly hearing how beautiful and priceless the Sand Hills are.

37 IVV March 30, 2016 at 12:44 pm

Well, this Australian trying to draw the United States knows about Yellowstone, but not where it is (she ends up putting it at the four corners of Colorado, Tennessee, Ohio, and Iowa). She does, however, remember “Nabraska” (along with the states of Wichita and Cincinnati).

https://youtu.be/ZPGSj0JO-qU

38 Chris March 30, 2016 at 3:41 am

About Schmid seems like the quintessential film set in Nebraska…. one of the few films that actually embrace the location and make it prominent in the film.

39 Roy LC March 30, 2016 at 4:09 am

And it was a really good movie. The Omaha of Election was as much Grand Island as Omaha, or Sioux Falls, or Wichita…

40 Roy LC March 30, 2016 at 3:57 am

I missed the earlier thread but I challenge you to name any of those categories other than movie for Idaho.

41 marcus March 30, 2016 at 7:59 am

Musician; Built to Spill; Youth Lagoon

Artist: Matthew Barney; David Lynch, who spent formative years in Boise

Actor: Christina Hendricks, whose first performances were in Twin Falls

Other notables: Philo T. Farnsworth and the first man made nuclear reactor

42 kb March 30, 2016 at 9:36 am

Sun Valley-first ski area in u.s.
River of No Return
Patty Duke
Hell’s Canyon
Ezra Pound
Ernest Hemingway

43 Roy LC March 30, 2016 at 9:56 am

Everyone goes with Hemingway and Pound

Hemingway moved to Idaho, and quickly killed himself. And Ezra Pound left at 3, the state wishes he left sooner, suggests credit should go to WI.
http://articles.latimes.com/2008/mar/04/entertainment/et-poundhouse4

However Lana Turner was from Wallace, and had the family history to prove it.

44 kb March 30, 2016 at 10:05 am

I guess I could have mentioned Frank Church and Cecil Andrus, two who came readily to mind who contributed both to Idaho’s and the U.S.’ well being (depending on whether of not you think conservation and wilderness are important) but I was just picking the low hanging fruit.

45 kimock March 30, 2016 at 4:13 am

Fee Waybill, singer and songwriter of the punk/prog/weird group The Tubes, was born in Omaha.

46 Roy LC March 30, 2016 at 4:21 am

Ruth Etting, Paul Williams, and Paul Revere Dick of Paul Revere and the Raiders who was born and raised in Harvard and the only man or woman in history to achieve semi fame and semi stardom after moving to Idaho.

47 Paul Sand March 30, 2016 at 4:42 am

Let me put in a good word for Gene McDaniels. Listening to the local AM station in Omaha when I grew up, his songs were invariably introduced by the DJ as being by “Omaha’s own Gene McDaniels”.

48 chuck martel March 30, 2016 at 6:02 am

Nebraska was the original home of two of the greatest thoroughbred trainers of all time, Jack Van Berg and John Nerud, who trained Dr. Fager, Ta Wee and many others for Tartan Farms. Nerud was the owner and trainer of Fappiano, whose influence on breeding remains important. Nerud died in August, 2015 at age 102.

49 HH March 30, 2016 at 6:06 am

Tim Kasher is a solid singer-songwriter from Omaha.

50 CL March 30, 2016 at 6:16 am

“Investor: Duh.”

Do you mean Warren Buffett by that?

I think Malcolm X is from Omaha, too.

51 Art Deco March 30, 2016 at 10:11 am

“Malcolm X” was from Nebraska in the same sense that Dwight Eisenhower was from Texas. Buffett’s actually built his life in Omaha.

52 Stubbs March 30, 2016 at 1:15 pm

And Alex Haley ghost-wrote or co-wrote The Autobiography of Malcolm X.

53 Art Deco March 30, 2016 at 3:38 pm

Haley’s name is on the cover of most editions, but not the earliest. He wrote the epilogue of the 1st edition, which had to be added after the subject was killed, which happened between the completion of the original draft and publication of the book.

Haley was a journeyman writer doing a job. No indication from anything else he ever did with his life that he had any interest in black militancy at all.

54 So Much For Subtlety March 30, 2016 at 6:55 pm

The “autobiography” was Haley writing done in long form interviews that he did with Malcolm X. No sign that Mr X ever put pen to a single piece of paper. And Malcolm X only wanted to talk about Elijah Muhammed and Islam anyway. Haley had to provoke him to get him to talk about himself.

If he was not interested in Black Militancy, he certainly knew a trend when he saw it because Roots rode a wave. Although he does seem to have largely plagiarized or made up most of that.

His real work was for Playboy. Including an interview with the head of the American Nazi Party – who only agreed after Haley assured him, presumably over the telephone, he was not Jewish.

55 Art Deco March 31, 2016 at 12:34 am

Although he does seem to have largely plagiarized or made up most of that.

He was liable for a certain amount of plagiarism, but it did not make up much of his text. I think the serious complaint bruited about (in historical and genealogical literature, not in birdcage liner like The Village Voice) was that he’d drawn connections between the various components of his story that were just not there or were erroneous, ergo the claim that one narrative connected the Kinte clan in the Gambia to great-grandfather was not true.

56 Hoosier March 30, 2016 at 6:31 am

Delaware next please! Interested to see what you come up with for that state. And then maybe Rhode Island.

57 Blake March 30, 2016 at 7:41 am

After seeing http://marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2016/03/which-is-the-most-obscure-chinese-province.html I am going to with this idea of making a few threads on our more obscure states.

58 Hoosier March 30, 2016 at 6:35 am

As this list and the suggestions in the comments shows, Nebraska is hardly the most obscure state in the country. You’re also forgetting the Nebraska Cornhuskers, one of the great college football programs (although one that hasn’t been at the top of its game in a while).

59 Ted Craig March 30, 2016 at 6:50 am

Since Tyler mentioned both Election and Nebraska and somebody else mentioned About Schmidt, Alexander Payne should get a nod as best director from Nebraska. He directed all three, as well as The Descendants and Citizen Ruth.

60 Art Deco March 30, 2016 at 10:06 am

About Schmidt had much to commend it. Election was mere entertainment (though a good source of jabs to be directed at the likes of Kristen Gillibrand and Kelly Ayotte).

61 Christine March 30, 2016 at 7:25 am

I don’t get it. “That Was Then, This Is Now” was set in Oklahoma.

62 dbp March 30, 2016 at 7:33 am

8. Movie set in Nebraska:

Caddyshack!

63 Steve-O March 30, 2016 at 9:07 am

Is there a place in Nebraska urban enough to have condo development, shopping malls, and a country club close to a body of water big enough for a yacht?

64 Art Deco March 30, 2016 at 10:04 am

Omaha is a city of adequate size for all of these things and Lincoln might be. You can find malls just about anywhere. There’s a bodacious outlet mall off the New York State Thruway in Central New York. It’s not really near any settlement.

Nebraska is steppe. You’re not likely to find much of a body of water in Nebraska; the presence of bodies of water is not a function of settlement size or sophistication. I suppose you could do some boating on the Mississippi river (not my hobby).

65 Steve-O March 30, 2016 at 11:12 am

Poor sentence construction on my part. I recognize that multiple cities in Nebraska are big enough to have malls, country clubs, etc. I just meant that those places weren’t near any large bodies of water, so far as I could tell, and that the only bodies of water in Nebraska that might have large boats were dammed rivers/reservoirs that weren’t near those cites.

66 Excursive March 30, 2016 at 12:30 pm

Omaha is on the Missouri.

67 Steve-O March 30, 2016 at 12:43 pm

Yes, but that sloop and yacht pretty clearly weren’t at a marina on the Missouri.

68 Art Deco March 30, 2016 at 3:21 pm

Sorry. Thanks.

69 Excursive March 30, 2016 at 12:48 pm

Just responding to Art Deco about boating on the Mississippi.

Not a boater, but in dry summers the Missouri at St. Louis drops to 8 ft. deep or less. So I imagine even shallower upstream in Omaha. What depth do you need for yachting?

70 Art Deco March 30, 2016 at 3:20 pm

No clue. The only sailboat I was ever on was on Keuka Lake 40 years ago. Not my hobby.

71 David Pecchia March 30, 2016 at 2:22 pm

It was set in Nebraska but I think none of it was actually filmed there. The comedy would only really work in the hinterlands–the object was to have the working people and the Trump-like developer, who was their champion, make fun of the socialites. The elites could not be as put-together as real elites in a place like LA or Long Island.

72 Art Deco March 30, 2016 at 3:23 pm

There are real elites in Omaha as well. They run the law firms and commercial corporations therein. They’re just not married to anyone like Gayfrydd Steinberg and they have much better manners than Allan Grubman.

73 cliff arroyo March 30, 2016 at 7:34 am

What?! No love for Zager and Evans and “In the year 2525”?

74 Blake March 30, 2016 at 7:37 am

Is Nebraska the most obscure state? I remember reading several years ago, North Dakota having the lowest amount of out-of-state tourist dollars spent on it. Another way might be to examine how many people have been to the state, spent the night in the state, or its name recognition internationally (hopefully domestically all states have high name recognition).

75 Hoosier March 30, 2016 at 12:38 pm

Yep, Nebraska far from most obscure state, as the comments in this thread indicate. I’d say Kansas would be the more obscure plains state with possibly just the Wizard of Oz saving it.

76 Millian March 30, 2016 at 8:11 am

The evident solution to the puzzle of maximal obscurity was to look at online quizzes about naming the US states. This will reflect a blend of obscurity to both foreigners and Americans, though self-selecting for knowledgeable people.

As I guessed a few days ago, everyone knows the biggest four states, and that there is a state called Washington. Alaska and Hawaii are notable for their locations, and as Tyler correctly intuited, people remember that there are two Dakotas (and two Carolinas). The least-guessed is Missouri. Minnesota and Connecticut are also obscure. Nebraska is fourth from the bottom almost tied with Massachusetts, which makes you wonder is the latter state the victim of obscurity or of spelling errors!

http://www.sporcle.com/games/g/states/results

77 Excursive March 30, 2016 at 1:44 pm
78 loveactuary March 30, 2016 at 8:12 am

311 is from Lincoln!

79 MrGreenJeans March 30, 2016 at 10:15 am

Actually they are from Omaha.

80 Matt Roberts March 30, 2016 at 8:13 am

Worth a mention: I find that Nebraska has the most reasonable speed limits of any state in the nation. I travel a lot, and drive to pretty rural places when I do, and in no other place do I so frequently pass a speed limit sign and think to myself, “yes, that’s what it should be.”

81 Bill March 30, 2016 at 8:25 am

Baseball pitcher: Bob Gibson from Omaha

82 David R. Henderson March 30, 2016 at 8:49 am

One other piece of trivia about Nebraska that you left out: It’s the only state out of the 50 that Bill Clinton never visited while President.

83 cliff arroyo March 30, 2016 at 8:53 am

And women in Nebraska still haven’t quite decided whether they should feel relieved or insulted…

84 David Palmer March 31, 2016 at 9:19 am

Actually, President Clinton did visit Nebraska with just over a month to spare. He spoke at the University of Nebraska at Kearney on December 8, 2000.

85 David R. Henderson April 1, 2016 at 10:21 am

Oops, David Palmer, my mistake. I remember hearing that after the 2000 election. But, of course, as you say, he had a little time after that.

86 Todd March 30, 2016 at 8:59 am

While Alexander Payne, as others have mentioned, probably has the market cornered in Nebraska location shooting, Sean Penn’s ‘The Indian Runner’ was also filmed largely in the state. So was ‘Boys Town’.

The ‘Children of the Corn’ films were set in Nebraska, but mostly filmed in Iowa. This is also the case with ‘Caddyshack’, which was filmed largely in Florida.

87 Michael Rushton March 30, 2016 at 9:26 am

I second the recommendation for musician Josh Rouse. An author I like is Dan Chaon, who was raised in Sidney.

88 Good list March 30, 2016 at 9:33 am

Good list. I would add Harold Lloyd to the actor list. I would add a category for museum so that the list includes Pioneer Village in Minden. http://www.pioneervillage.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=37&Itemid=14

Movies that are, in part, set in Nebraska include Terms of Endearment and Lonesome Dove. And I agree with the person that pointed out a list of favorite things Nebraska has to include the Cornhuskers Football Team, though the volleyball team is pretty impressive as well.

89 Robbie314 March 30, 2016 at 9:35 am

I may be the only non-Scientologist alive to make it through all of Hubbard’s Mission Earth “dekalogy” almost 30 years ago. The last several books I read just out of sheer stubbornness just so I could say that I did.

(And I’ve pretty never much mentioned it, except for right now. Poor ROI on my time.)

At the time, I knew nothing about Scientology or Hubbard. My main takeaway from the series was, “Wow, this guy REALLY hates psychiatry.”

90 Art Deco March 30, 2016 at 10:22 am

The psychiatric sub-profession has manufactured a great deal of resource consuming quackery and cultural confusion. The one place skilled professionals are really needed would be asylums, just the places post-war psychiatrists were at pains to avoid (hence the reliance on foreign born psychiatrists therein). If my own experience of the elder care trade is representative, nursing homes do not have attending psychiatrists, merely internists, in spite of the population of demented people on site. Read Fuller Torrey, Paul McHugh, or Thomas Szasz on post-war psychiatry and you can see there are reasons to be alienated from the whole mess.

91 Pshrnk March 30, 2016 at 9:39 am

11: You might be a redneck if you say: Daniel Lawrence Whitney AKA Larry the Cable Guy.

92 Andrew Harnish March 30, 2016 at 9:42 am

Musician: Conor Oberst. Well known indie singer-songwriter. Worth a listen.

93 Zeitgeisty March 30, 2016 at 9:44 am

>The bottom line: People, this state should not be so obscure!

But if your list is any indication, no matter how talented you are, you have to leave Nebraska in order to be notable.

94 Art Deco March 30, 2016 at 9:57 am

Who cares? Only a tiny minority of people are notable. (And Warren Buffett did not leave).

95 Roy LC March 30, 2016 at 10:02 am

Even Bobby Vee got his start at home in Fargo, of course that was the day after the the music died…

96 Art Deco March 30, 2016 at 9:55 am

Nebraska’s interesting for it’s settlement patterns. You have a low-end-of 2d tier city in Omaha, a 3d tier city in Lincoln, and something approaching a 4th tier city in Grand Island. Cities of Lincoln’s size and sophistication can reliably support a university hospital complex, about the most sophisticated service you really have to have on site. Private research universities are routinely ensconced in cities of Omaha’s size and you can find examples in cities Lincoln’s size (e.g Syracuse and Notre Dame). The state university is not a castle in a desert.

Most of the population is small town and rural and crime rates are modest overall. The relentless demographic implosion of the western half of the state is sad (it has been ongoing for 90 years now); the area was always lightly populated, however.

Agriculture is more important than it is elsewhere by a considerable multiple (7 fold), but over 90% of the value-added in Nebraska’s economy is in non-agricultural pursuits, and it hasn’t been cursed with a hypertrophied mining sector. The FIRE sector’s about average size. Personal income levels are about at national means and the unemployment rate, at 3%, is well below the national mean.

The political community is of modest dimensions (1.8 million, about the same as West Virginia), but they’ve got everything on site that any broad mass of people can use. Each of their principal cities has what amounts to metropolitan government.

The thing about Nebraska re these lists is that the whole point of life in Nebraska is not to produce fantastic salients, but to produce satisfactory quality of life overall.

97 Art Deco March 30, 2016 at 10:15 am

Er, cities of Omaha’s size can reliably support university hospital complexes.

98 AJG March 30, 2016 at 9:56 am

I think Nebraska’s obscurity can be traced in part to its lack of professional sports teams, which deprives it of a potential “identity” (however superficial) and reduces the frequency with which many Americans might think about the state and develop opinions about it.

99 chuck martel March 30, 2016 at 9:03 pm

The Nebraska Cornhuskers football team has been considered as professional for some time.

100 Barry Ickes March 30, 2016 at 10:02 am

Bob Gibson! How do you do better than that?

101 rayward March 30, 2016 at 10:11 am

12. College or University:

I’ve been amazed that Iowa has a university, the University of Iowa, that has been highly ranked academically for many years. I mean, it’s in Iowa. I’m amazed that Michigan has a university, the University of Michigan, that continues to be highly ranked academically. I mean, it’s in Michigan. I once drove across Nebraska on my way to the west coast. On the way back, I drove across Kansas. Take your pick. If it weren’t for tornadoes, there would never be any excitement. On the other hand, things have not always been dull in Nebraska: In the 19th century, the James Gang was a frequent visitor.

102 Art Deco March 30, 2016 at 3:28 pm

Ann Arbor is a component of a metropolitan glob with 4 million people in it. No clue why you fancy such a city should not have a consequential research university within it. Greater Detroit is more populous than all but about a half-dozen European cities (London, Paris, Madrid, Milan, Moscow, St. Petersburg, and the Ruhr complex). Michigan’s economy is rather non-dynamic, but Michigan is not a poor state and there are 10 million people living there. Would it surprise you were there an important university in Vancouver?

103 Floccina March 30, 2016 at 10:19 am

No mention of corn or beef!

104 Floccina March 30, 2016 at 10:20 am

The sand hills are nice.I spent some time there when if bicycles across the country.

105 Jim Burt March 30, 2016 at 10:20 am

William Jennings Bryan — visit his home attached to which is now attached the Bryan Medical Center in Lincoln, Nebraska.
Bryan was the Democratic Party’s candidate for president 3 times, was the prosecutor for the Scopes (Monkey) trial, and perhaps the best orator of the era. He resigned as Secretary of State during WWI, because he was more pacifist. He was against the gold standard. But he also said it didn’t matter whether the whale swallowed Jonah or Jonah swallowed the whale — truth was written. [although Bryan moved to Lincoln in his 20’s, his fame began there.]

106 Ted Craig March 30, 2016 at 10:24 am

“I’m amazed that Michigan has a university, the University of Michigan, that continues to be highly ranked academically. I mean, it’s in Michigan” What an absolutely stupid statement. How could a world-class university be in the same state as one of the most important cities of the 20th century?

Tell me, reward, where should these schools be?

107 rayward March 30, 2016 at 11:45 am

It’s to U of M’s credit that it can maintain such high academics in spite of being a public university in a state with a depressed economy. Indeed, state support for U of M has all but collapsed. It increasingly relies on auxiliary funds (athletics and the U of M health system), tuition, and its endowment. A major problem for a public university with high academics is the political pressure to admit a large percentage of freshman from that state, not a real big problem for a public university in California but an increasing problem for a public university in Michigan. Michigan has responded to the collapse of state funding by admitting a whole lot more students, primarily from out of state, who pay higher tuition. The dilemma for the high academic public university is that the quality of in-state applicants compares unfavorably with the quality of out-of-state applicants, the political pressure to admit in-state students lowering the overall quality of the entire student body, the long-term consequence (or risk) being an endowment (and reputation) that is smaller than what it otherwise would be. Ann Arbor is a nice place, but it would be naive to assume that U of M will continue to be one of the nation’s best universities, at or near the top of public universities, when its competitors, public and private, aren’t facing the same challenges as U of M.

108 Ben Lima March 30, 2016 at 10:39 am

More artists:

Nebraska is strong in photographers: Wright Morris and Harold Edgerton.

Ruscha’s book Twentysix Gasoline Stations was about the drive on Route 66 from OK to CA. http://www.tate.org.uk/about/projects/transforming-artist-books/summaries/edward-ruscha-twentysix-gasoline-stations-1963

Textile art: Sheila Hicks

Ceramics: John Mason.

Drawing: Robyn O’Neil.

Another, different painter: Roy De Forest.

109 Erik March 30, 2016 at 10:42 am

Other Movies to consider: Boy’s Don’t Cry. About Schmidt.

Other Music: Matthew Sweet. 311.

110 Hazel Meade March 30, 2016 at 10:43 am

This thread proves that people will comment on anything.

111 Stubbs March 30, 2016 at 1:11 pm

Physician, heal thyself!

112 Jim Hallowhan March 30, 2016 at 10:43 am

Oscar Burt: The top 1980’s agricultural economist in the U.S. The ag econ profession gives 3 major research awards each year — Burt received one in 9 out of 10 from 1976 to 1985. He was the top paid professor while at Montana State University, upping the university’s ag econ ranking by citations to number 3, behind UC Berkeley and Stanford. He addressed both theoretical and applied agricultural economics, covering farm management, production economics, natural resource economics and decision theory. He had the social habits of Thorstein Veblen, telling a chiropractor that the previous night he stood on his head with a graduate student drinking beer. While a professor at UC Davis, he threw a potato at the Dean, erupting into a faculty food fight.
While a student at UC Berkeley with four children, he found his assistantship boring, so he sold vacuums and Watkins products door-to-door. Meanwhile, Berkeley faculty suggested that with four children, he was too burdened to get a PhD. Yet, he additionally got a masters in Statistics and after only 3 years at Berkeley became an ag econ assistant professor at UC Davis.

113 joe March 30, 2016 at 11:28 am

Malcolm X and Ho Chi Minh both worked at the Parker House hotel in Boston

114 MickeyBoy March 30, 2016 at 11:28 am

In music you have forgotten Howard Hanson.

115 Ted W March 30, 2016 at 11:51 am

Tyler,
If you run a Google Ngram, I do not believe Nebraska is even one of the five most obscure states by that measure.

The story of Saul Kripke should be included with Nebraska—suggested for a math position at Harvard while in high school, convincing Lawrence Tribe to study something other than math in college, and not having anyone in the world to supervise his doctoral work (cites first and last NYTimes, middle Harvard Crimson), the son of a rabbi who lived to 100 and was one of Buffett’s early investors. If you can claim strong contenders for greatest American actor and philosopher…bring it Wyoming and the Dakotas and New Hampshire and Idaho!

116 Quantitative Sneezing March 30, 2016 at 12:09 pm

Tyler has obviously never been to Nebraska.
If he had, #1 and the only entry on the list would be Runza.

117 Niklas Blanchard March 30, 2016 at 12:13 pm

If you are ever in Nebraska, let me know! Would be great to have lunch or dinner!

118 alex March 30, 2016 at 12:20 pm

How about the most obscure state capital. Pierre? Augusta? Springfield or Jefferson City relative to their states?

119 Excursive March 30, 2016 at 12:54 pm

Too many contenders. But Abraham Lincoln saves Springfield, Illinois.

120 Pshrnk March 30, 2016 at 1:06 pm

Frankfort

121 alex March 30, 2016 at 1:21 pm

Ooh, that’s a good one.

122 Stubbs March 30, 2016 at 1:09 pm

Sacramento

123 Art Deco March 30, 2016 at 3:45 pm

Most of those named are non-metropolitan towns in re to which about half (or more) of the population is attributable to the presence of the state government. Same deal re Springfield, which is, however, a small city. Sacramento is a substantial 2d tier city in which perhaps 15% of the population is attributable to the state government’s presence.

124 mkbarch March 30, 2016 at 12:38 pm

C’mon, admit it, Ben Sasse.

125 mkbarch March 30, 2016 at 12:40 pm

Pretty glaring omission, that.

Total agreement on the L Ron Hubbard notation.

126 anon/portly March 30, 2016 at 1:17 pm

If Springsteen’s Nebraska rates a mention, surely someone could bring up Moby Grape’s Omaha….

“This thread proves that people will comment on anything.”

Your point is?

127 dred March 30, 2016 at 1:22 pm

Buddy Miles was born in Omaha. Father played bass for Duke Ellington. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buddy_Miles

128 Donald Pretari March 30, 2016 at 1:33 pm

Ben Lima has mentioned Wright Morris as a fine photographer, but he was also a very fine writer. I’ve read a lot of good books by Mary Sandoz. I think she’s an important US writer.

129 jg March 30, 2016 at 1:53 pm

music: Lulllaby for the Working Class. The guy who went on to produce Conor Oberst (and loads of other Saddle Creek bands) played in that band before. I Never Even Asked For Light is one of my favourite records ever.

130 theverythingbagels March 30, 2016 at 2:13 pm

Kurt Anderson, who started Spy Magazine with Graydon Carton in the 80s, grew up in Omaha. He now hosts Radio 360 on NPR.

Omaha is also the birthplace of President Gerald Ford.

131 Art Deco March 30, 2016 at 3:52 pm

Again, like Eisenhower the Texan.

Ford’s birth-father was, according to authoritative accounts, a man given to beating his wife. His mother took the baby and hit the road when he was two. Her family sanctioned a divorce when they discovered that not only had he beaten their daughter, he had lied to the family patriarch about his financial situation. Ford’s mother married someone else in short order and had an agreeable life with him in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Ford’s birth father (at that time remarried and with a mess of other kids) turned up at one of Ford’s high school football games in 1930. His parents hadn’t told him about the divorce, remarriage, and adoption, so it was awkward. The man was given in subsequent years to showing up at the Ford paint store in Grand Rapids unannounced to make a nuisance of himself.

132 theverythingbagels March 30, 2016 at 2:15 pm

Also, Ted Sorenson, counsel and advisor to JFK.

133 theverythingbagels March 30, 2016 at 2:23 pm

And one last shout-out: 20th c. legal scholar Roscoe Pound.

134 Hadur March 30, 2016 at 4:27 pm

I don’t think you follow football in any form, but the University of Nebraska is an extremely notable college football team. At two different points (the 1970’s and the 1990’s) they dominated college football, defeating many schools with more resources and larger recruiting bases.

To grossly oversimplify things, they were able to use tactics very well suited to the type of player they were able to recruit, to maximize what advantages they enjoyed. Their approach has oft been imitated by other schools, occasionally very successfully (e.g., Wisconsin in recent years).

135 West Nebraskan March 30, 2016 at 4:35 pm

Musician: Randy Meisner (Eagles) “Take It to the Limit”
Football player: Gale Sayers (Omaha Central)
Poet: Ted Kooser (former US poet laureate)

136 Omaha March 30, 2016 at 5:32 pm

Other interesting facts:
-Ogallala Aquifer (largely under western NE) is the world’s largest underground freshwater aquifer
-1898 World’s Fair was held in NE
-World’s largest train yard is in North Platte NE
-NE is the only US state with no investor-owned electric utilities
-During the entirety of the Cold War, two-thirds of the US military’s nuclear strike forces (including all strategic bombers and ICBMs, but excluding submarine-based ballistic weapons) were commanded/controlled from Bellevue, NE (due to central location within the Continent).

137 James Bailey March 30, 2016 at 6:34 pm

Here at Creighton, we’re working hard to take over that “favorite economist” category.

138 efim polenov March 30, 2016 at 10:37 pm

Victor Vifquain, first Medal of Honor winner in Nebraska, hailed from Brussels. His citation read, in its entirety (I think) Captured the Flag.
The second Medal of Honor winner in Nebraska was a man whose last name was Cody. His citation read, in its entirety, Gallantry in Action.
Willa Cather is interesting. Was she just an ordinary likeable person with extreme technical facility at expressing those emotions that make us happy and smiling or sad and not smiling?
God bless her if she was, of course, but one can’t help thinking – was she a real artist? Had one met her at the age of 25 at, say, the Midwestern equivalent of a clambake, one might have an idea. As it is, not having met her, it is hard to tell.

139 jb March 31, 2016 at 6:03 am

Doughnut holes may not be sold there.
Kool-Aid.
And Andy.
http://www.roadsideamerica.com/story/2982
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PHOA_XtENW8

140 Jane Gray April 4, 2016 at 1:44 pm

Dozens of comments and no one mentions the zoo? Omaha has had one of the top three ranked zoos in the country for the last 20 years, spending some of that time at #1.

I’m also surprised that this is an economics blog yet no one has mentioned the huge economics news for Omaha this year: the largest employer is leaving for Chicago (for probably no good reason) after almost a century.

141 Huskerbookgirl April 5, 2016 at 11:00 am

Our longtime motto was, “The Good Life” for a reason. Please continue your ignorance. We are happy to continue our bliss without the constant inspection of outsiders.

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