Arizona continues to lag behind the national average in areas like poverty and per-pupil school expenditures – fourth lowest in the U.S. in 2013, according to the Wall Street Journal – but we’re thriving in at least one category: the zombie-survival index. According to real estate website Estately.com, Arizona ranks seventh nationally among states best equipped to survive a Walking Dead-style apocalypse (see list). “You’re in pretty good shape in Arizona,” says Estately lead blogger Ryan Nickum, who based the list on 12 different metrics ranging from the obvious (gun ownership) to the somewhat abstract (Ironman triathlon participation). “I’m in Washington, so we’re doomed. None of us do the Ironman, so we can’t outrun [the zombies].” Still, he cautions against neglecting “a good education system and low poverty levels” in the event the brain-eaters never come: “I wouldn’t cancel K-12 just yet.”
Top Zombie Surviving States
#1 Alaska High rates of active military personnel, survivalists put AK over the top.
#2 Wyoming Ditto. Plus their impeccable knowledge of zombie canon.
#3 Colorado Not a huge gun state, but low obesity and good fitness make for zombie-beating stamina.
#4 Idaho Spud-lovers also big into laser tag and paintball.
#5 New Mexico Number one in martial arts, zombie knowledge and Ironman participation.
#6 Montana High rates of retired war veterans, gun owners bode well for Big Skyers.
#7 Arizona Martial artists and triathletes will protect us.
#8 Nevada Zero survival skills and few guns, but those sinners can run.
#9 New Hampshire A gem in the otherwise zombie-vulnerable Northeast.
#10 Wisconsin Chubby curd-eaters redeemed by survival skills, laser tag.
PHOENIX magazine conducted a recent online readers survey, and the results were illuminating. For instance, we learned Italian is your favorite cuisine. And we confirmed most of you (73 percent) would prefer us never, ever to repeat last fall’s Man Issue. Live and learn. We also asked you about Valley power players. Here are some early returns:
Most “Favorable” votes: Arizona Cardinals star Larry Fitzgerald (63%)
Most “Unfavorable” votes: Sheriff Joe Arpaio (46%)*
Most “Neutral” votes: Governor candidate Fred DuVal (80%)
*Sheriff Joe also scored high for favorable votes (40%).
Twitter Me Timbers
Former Arizona lawmaker Scott Bundgaard – he of the career-ruining midnight freeway duke-out with his girlfriend – recently dropped a $10 million conspiracy lawsuit against the City of Phoenix and former mayor spokesman David Leibowitz. Not exactly a Watergate-size news development, but it does make us fondly recall the epic Twitter war between Bundgaard and Lebo that helped launch the lawsuit. We love Twitter wars. Some of the Valley’s all-time best:
Martin Cizmar v. Frankie Muniz’s girlfriend (2010): The former New Times music editor impugns the former child star’s drumming skills, gets called a “sloth.” Cizmar slims down, pens a hipster dieting book. True story.
Bundgaard v. Leibowitz (2012): Bundgaard coins the nickname “Lie-bowitz.” Leibowitz insults Bundgaard’s manhood. Bundgaard mocks Lebo’s waistline. Epic.
Meghan McCain v. Ann Coulter (2013): The skeletal pundit cracks a murder joke about the left-leaning political heiress, gets pounded on social media. And a Budweiser ban on her next AZ visit?
“In any other year, Columbus and Phoenix could have topped the list, but with so many strong cities competing, the committee had to make the difficult decision to narrow the field.”
– Enid Mickelsen, chair of the Republican National Committee’s site-selection panel, gently breaking the news in April that Phoenix had been removed from the shortlist to host the 2016 GOP National Convention. Las Vegas remains in the hunt.