Friday, February 20, 2009

Are You Miserable? Well At Least You're Not Here

Forbes released it's list of the 'top' ten most miserable U.S. cities to live in over the past year. Cities in the running had to have a population of at least 378,000 people (no explanation for the random number except that it involved the top 150 cities), and were ranked according to nine factors: commute times, corruption, pro sports teams, Superfund sites, taxes (both income and sales), unemployment, violent crime and weather. Obviously the teen pregnancy list had not quite made it as a factor yet. My guess is Sarah Palin shot it down both literally and figuratively.

There were definitely some surprises on the list and I have to say that I disagree with some of it including how the list was laid out. Who the hell makes a top 10 list starting with number one? Does Forbes have no sense of drama? Meh, let's just take a look at the list:

10. St. Louis, MO- Apparently St. Louis was the only city to rank in the bottom half of all nine categories measured, the only city to do so. I have a lot of old college buddies that will be up in arms about this pick. Face it guys, your city sucks. At least they have a recent World Series win by the Cardinals to look back fondly upon.

9. Miami, FL- Fans of Miami will tell you how exciting the city is and how awesome it is to be near the beach. The rest of us will tell you that it is a dirty city with a violent crime rate through the sunny roof and far too many glitzy night clubs for any human being to handle. Doesn't anyone just sit at a bar and talk anymore?

8. Buffalo, NY- I know of a grand total of one person who likes Buffalo and he's fiercely loyal to the city. He can have it. That place sucks. It is home to the famous wing and is very close to Niagara Falls and Canada, but people don't want to live here because of the weather. I went to a Bills home game at Ralph Wilson Stadium last year. After wading through discarded beer cans up to my shins, we got to sit through a pathetic game while seeing no fewer than six brawls erupt around us. Still better than Philly, though.

7. Detroit, MI- 7th? Forbes is telling me that there are 7 worse cities to live in than Detroit? The city has lost it's entire economic base, the crime rate is legendary and no one even bothers to live near the city anymore. Every person from Detroit I talk to tells me it sucks. That's all you need to know. Someone should place it in a hermetic bubble so that people can gaze upon the wreckage. Or better yet, just light a fire throughout the city and then play a fiddle as that waste burns away for good. What city could possible be worse than Detroit?

6. Flint, MI- Oh.

5. Modesto, CA- Another city that I'd argue population with Forbes about. Not every city in California is gigantic. According to Forbes, Modesto is a place you probably don't want to drive to since it has the highest car theft rate in the nation. Things will apparently get worse since unemployment is supposed to average 16.7%. Ahnold, where are you?

4. Cleveland, OH- Is Cleveland worse than Detroit? I guess I can't really argue for the land of Cle. Like Detroit, every person I meet who hails from Cleveland says it sucks. And Denver is the only major city that gets more snow throughout the year, but Denver has the Rockey Mountains and a Pro-Bowl quarterback on the local football team (at least when he's not suffering from diabetic shock.) Cleveland has the Browns, Brady Quinn, and Kellen Winslow. Done.

3. Chicago, IL- Okay, now Forbes is doing a bit. Chicago is not the third most miserable city in the U.S. It's definitely not worse than Detroit and Cleveland and DEFINITELY not worse than Flint. Forbes cites long commute times and a high sales tax as the reasons for Chicago's rise to infamy. Shut up Forbes. Go spend some time in these cities and then remake your list. I'm not even a Chicago fan, but I won't stand for this publicity stunt. "Whoa, Forbes said Chicago is the third worst city! This is some big news, I'd better pass this along!" You're welcome, Forbes.

2. Memphis, TN- I'm not going to argue Memphis even though I'd rather be here than many of the cities listed above. Memphis is home to great BBQ, hot weather, Graceland, and fat people. Crime rates are much worse than what people imagine and Memphis is being torched by Nashville as the go to city in the state of Tennessee. And what does Memphis have? The Grizzlies. It's hard out there for a pimp.

1. Stockton, CA- Forbes goes with the old reliable route for number one: a random California city that may or may not have enough population to actually qualify for this list. Since it's in Cali, I'm sure Stockton was crushed by the decline in the housing market. Key number for Stockton is 15: as in 15% unemployment rate for the next two years and only 15% of residents have a college degree. So they are uneducated and jobless. Yeah, maybe this place is worse than Detroit. Still better than Kabul though.

So there you go. Forbes' list of the 10 most miserable U.S. cities. Now if only I had a show on ESPN....I could now call for two random guys on my station to discuss the findings in a really annoying way.

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