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Tuesday, February 21, 2006

128. The Midwest Discovered

Copied from http://www.theonion.com/index.html

NEW YORK--A U.S. Geological Survey expeditionary force announced
Tuesday that it has discovered a previously unknown and unexplored land
mass between the New York and California coasts known as the "Midwest."

The Geological Survey team discovered the vast region while searching
for the fabled Midwest Passage, the mythical overland route passing
through the uncharted area between Ithaca, NY, and Bakersfield, CA.

"I long suspected something was there," said Franklin Eldred, a
Manhattan native and leader of the 200-man exploratory force. "I'd flown
between New York and L.A. on business many times, and the unusually long
duration of my flights seemed to indicate that some sort of large area
was being traversed, an area of unknown composition."

The Geological Survey explorers left the East Coast three weeks ago,
embarking on a perilous journey to the unknown. Not long after crossing
the Adirondack Mountains, Eldred and his team were blazing trails
through strange new regions, wild lands full of corn and wheat.

"Thus far we have discovered places known as Michigan, Minnesota and
Wisconsin," said Randall Zachary, chief navigator for the expedition.
"When translated from the local dialect into English, these words seem
to mean 'summer camp.'"

Eldred and the others were surprised to learn that the Midwest, whose
inhospitable environment was long believed to be incapable of supporting
human life, is indeed populated, albeit sparsely.

"The Midwestern Aborigines are ruddy, generally heavy-set folk, clad
in plain, non-designer costumery," Eldred said. "They tend to live in
simple, one-story dwellings whose interiors are decorated with Hummels
and 'Bless This House' needlepoint wall-hangings. And though coarse and
unattractive, these simple people were rather friendly, offering us
quaint native fare such as 'hotdish' and 'casserole.'"

Though the Midwest territory is still largely unexplored, early
reports describe a region as backwards as it is vast. "Many of the basic
aspects of a civilized culture appear to be entirely absent," said Gina
Strauch, a Los Angeles-based anthropologist. "There is no theater to
speak of, and their knowledge of posh restaurants is sketchy at best.
Further, their agricentric lives seem to prevent them from pursuing high
fashion to any degree, and, as a result, their mode of dress is largely
restricted to sweatpants and sweatshirts, the women's being adorned with
hearts and teddy bears and the men's with college-football insignias."

Despite the Midwesterners' considerable cultural backwardness, some
say the establishment of relations with them is possible.

"Believe it or not, this region may have things to offer us," said
Jonathan Ogleby, a San Francisco-area marketing expert. "We could
construct an airport there, a place where New Yorkers could switch
planes on their way to California. We could stage revivals of old
Broadway musicals there. Perhaps we could even one day conduct trade
with the Midwesterners, offering them electronic devices in exchange for
meats and agriculture."

Others, however, are not so optimistic about future relations. "We
must remember that these people are not at all like us," Conde Nast
publisher and Manhattan socialite Lucille Randolph Snowdon said. "They
are crude and provincial, bewildered by our tall buildings and our art
galleries, our books and our coffee shops. For an L.A. resident to
attempt to interact with one of them as he or she would with, say, a
Bostonian is ludicrous. It appears unlikely that we will ever be able to
conduct a genuine exchange of ideas with them about anything, save
perhaps television or 'the big game.'"

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