Friday, August 31, 2012

Badlands, Oil Cans, and Dirty Underwear

Thought for the day:  In an effort to boost tourism, there have been several aborted attempts to drop the word North from North Dakota's name... as if dropping the word might somehow fool people into thinking the state miraculously got warmer.  (Yah, right.)

Rugby, North Dakota, the geological center of North America
So, how cold is it in Fargo? To give you an idea, folks up there think sexy lingerie means a  flannel nightgown with only eight buttons... Easter bonnets have ear flaps... and Independence Day is the only day that's warm enough for them to light a firecracker without wearing gloves. And come September? They have to golf with orange balls, just so they can find the darned things in the snow. 

You get the picture. North Dakota gets cold. They don't have a whole lot of trees, either. Matter of fact,  I've heard there are so few,  most of the birds up there walk. If a town's Main Street has three or more trees, know what the locals call it? The forest. 

Okay, enough picking on the state. It's not that bad. The average temperature in the summertime is seventy degrees, and in winter, seven. Not that bad, right? It's the extremes that'll get ya. Like the record low of sixty degrees below zero. That occurred in February of 1936, and strangely enough, the record high for the state also occurred in the same year, and came in at a sizzling one hundred and twenty-one. Makes those seventy and seven averages sound a whole lot better, doesn't it?

Okay, let's have a look around, shall we?

Located at Frontier Village in Jamestown, this is the world's largest buffalo monument. He's twenty-six feet high, forty-six feet long, and weighs a hefty sixty tons.

Here's a shot of some of the badlands of Theodore Roosevelt National Park. Among other wildlife, this vast park is home to wild horses, bison, and elk. Roosevelt, who loved the rugged territory and raw beauty of the area, owned two ranches here.

Here's a suitably rugged-looking building to go along with the rugged terrain. This is the Paul Broste Rock Museum, located in Parshall. It's built of natural granite, all quarried right there in the area. What's most interesting about it is that it was built entirely by volunteers. When it first opened in 1965, Broste called it his Acropolis on a hill.

Here we have Salem Sue, the world's largest Holstein cow. She's located in New Salem, and is thirty feet tall, fifty feet long, and six tons in weight. (Svelte, compared to the buffalo monument!) Hmm, you've heard of beefalo, haven't you? Someone should get these two behemoths together. Poor things must be lonely. At the very least, maybe they can produce a couple chips off the old block. Who, of course, would never take their pop for granite. (Sorry.)

Now, here's something a little out of the ordinary. This is a fifty-foot tall pyramid, built by Max Taubert in 1933. What's unusual about it, you ask? This pyramid, located in Casselton, is made out of empty oil cans. In fact, it's believed to be the tallest oil can structure in the world. (Um, you mean there's more of them?)

Petroglyphs carved into two granite boulders can be found at Writing Rock State Historic Site, near Grenora. The carvings depict images of the thunderbird, (the mythological bird, not the car) a creature sacred to Late Prehistoric Plains Indians.

Aw, now who doesn't love turtles? The sculpture of this two-ton big guy, nicknamed Rusty, graces the entrance to the city of Turtle Lake, where the U.S. Turtle Racing Championships are held. (Who knew???)

The Dakota Dinosaur Museum, in Dickinson, contains twelve full-scale dinosaur models and thousands of fossils and rock and mineral specimens.

As a testament to the enduring friendship between the U.S. and Canada, the picturesque 2339-acre International Peace Garden straddles the border between North Dakota and her northern neighbor.

Well, darn I'd hope to find some scintillating footage of a couple turtles tearing toward the finish line. You know, some real death-defying stuff, with high speeds, screeching turns, and a last second win by a nose. Or a hare. No such luck. Oh well, our imagination of the event is probably considerably more speedy than the actual event. So, let's just amble on and take a look at the surprisingly few archaic laws still on the books in rugged North Dakota, where legislators evidently have things much more important to do than pass or hang onto silly old  laws. (Like stay warm.)

  • It's illegal to lie down and fall asleep with your shoes on.
  • It's against the law for any bar or restaurant to serve beer and pretzels at the same time.
  • But it IS legal to shoot an Indian on horseback... if you're in a covered wagon.
  • In Devil's Lake, it's against the law to shoot off fireworks after eleven P.M.
  • And in Fargo, it's illegal to wear a hat while dancing, or even to wear a hat to a function where dancing is taking place. 
Okay, that's it! Like I said, surprisingly few. So, you know what that means. It's time for (ta-DA!)

The Weirdest News Stories of the Week

Boy, slim pickings again this week, folks. I only found one story worthy of lampooning, and I'll save that for last. In the meantime, how about some quickies:
  • London firefighters rescued a cow. No biggie, you say? The poor thing was in a tree.
  • Muggers robbed an Ohio man, but obviously, had a change of heart, because they went back and gave him busfare. (Awwww. Their mamas taught them to be considerate.)
  • In a misguided attempt to save money by skipping the courier service and insurance fee, a Norwegian art dealer saved a bit of cash this week, but the $8600 Rembrandt etching got lost in the mail. Talk about penny wise, and pound foolish.
  • A man in Nepal was so angry when a cobra bit him, he chased after the snake and bit him back. Matter of fact, he kept on biting it until it was dead. No word on how the man's doing, but he sure sounds like somebody ya don't want to mess with.
  • The store owner in India didn't understand all the negative hoopla when he opened his men's clothing store this week. I mean, just because the place is called Hitler, and the i is dotted with a swastika? He said he didn't know about those six million slaughtered people. Said he just though Hitler was a strict guy. Oh well. So sorry. He'd be happy to change the name of his store ... if somebody else pays for it.
Okay, here's the one story that kinda cracked me up this week, so I had a little fun with it. (How many Elvis Presley song titles can you pick out?)
**  Didja ever hear of such a bizarre good luck charm? Die-hard Elvis fans know, deep down, that he reached the end of the road years ago, but now they're all shook up, and mooning and crooning... as long as I have you. Wait, no! They're actually saying... as long as I have your underwear! Then they'll be, what? Lucky? Fulfilled? (Nuts?) Y'know, I don't think Elvis ever had the slightest suspicion that some day, because of all his fame and fortune, some fool would still be filled with such burning love for him that he'd be fighting the crowd to be first in line to bid on a pair of his old dirty drawers. Don't ask me why. Because of love, maybe? Because some people are living on the edge of reality? I mean, yeah, sure Elvis was a big hunk o' love, but just looking at the picture of those stained drawers gives me a dirty, dirty feeling. But that's all right. I understand. Some people can't help falling in love, and come what may, they want to follow that dream (no matter how weird that dream is) to Omega Auctions in London next month for old times sake. For the heart. For a stained pair of skivvies the King wore at a 1977 concert. So, if you want 'em,  it's now or never, folks. Undies may not be as cuddly as a teddy bear, but if you buy these things, just think: a hundred years from now, your family can still possess smears of  Elvis Presley DNA. Wearin' that loved on look. But don't wear them. Those things would give stuck on you a whole new meaning. (yuk!) Y'know, stuff you read on this blog is almost always true. And so is this story. Wanta see how much these skivvies fetch? Omega will be streaming the auction live on September 8th, and if you can believe it, they expect to get more than fifteen thousand dollars. OY!  (Maybe I'd better take a gander in my hubby's dresser drawer and see what kind of treasures he might have hiding in there...) Darn, I wasn't exactly brief with this one, was I? [Twenty-five titles of the many songs Elvis recorded were hidden in this paragraph.]

**  Images in this post come from wikipedia and morguefile  (And of COURSE, that isn't really Elvis in that picture ... HE has left the building. Can ya believe his UNDERWEAR is still here???)

                               Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.


  1. In your 'let's get to know a state' posts, I always find myself asking 'What biggest, longest, heaviest, tallest, or most ridiculous, thing can they possibly have here?'.

    You excelled yourself today, and my enquiring mind has been well satisfied! Thank you.

  2. "Badlands, Oilcans and Dirty Underwear" I thought this was going to be about my first apartment --3 male room mates, 2 leaky cars and-- well, I did fall asleep with my shoes on, a lot. There should be laws against being under 20. I encouraged all my kids to be older than that and they're a delight to be around.

  3. Congratulations! You've achieved the impossible. I didn't think anyone coud make North Dakota sound interesting. And it was supplemented with a delightful portion of humor.

    One lousy pair of the King's stained skivvies could go for fifteen grand?!?!?
    Holy crap! (no pun intended)
    I have a whole drawer filled with genuine Faux Cowboy underwear and I can't give them away (*sigh*.....)

  4. There is NO way I would survive that kind of weather. I'm shivering when it's 70 degrees! LOL

    Now wouldn't you have liked to have seen HOW the cow got up that tree?

  5. Never been to North Dakota. I do love the open plains though. And the Native American history always fascinates me. Kind of depressing they still have that law on the books about shooting from a covered wagon though. :(

  6. The Badlands are gorgeous.

    As for the Elvis underwear...Eeuw!

  7. I KNEW I shouldn't click on that link, and yet I did. That is more than I ever needed to know about Elvis. Please pass the eye bleach. *grin*

  8. "I've heard there are so few, most of the birds up there walk."

    You totally crack me up! Now I know where I want to take my next vacation--North Dakota. :)

  9. The world's largest buffalo monument made me smile. I can always count on your posts for that. :)

    Have a great weekend, Sus.

  10. Cro- The tourism bureaus must have a hard time coming up with superlatives in some of the states, but they always manage to come up with something.

    Geo- Oh, that's so funny! And I know what you mean about the kids being enjoyable as adults. Kinda nice to just enjoy their company without having to be responsible for them day in and day out. Plus, there's quite a bit of satisfaction watching them be responsible for THEIR younguns, day in and day out. (Like what Bill Cosby calls the mother's curse: "Someday you're gonna have a kid, and he's gonna act just like you!")

    Jon- HA! Holy crap, indeed. I cannot believe someone will actually pay for those nasty things. (Talking about Elvis', of course... there must be a demand for genuine used cowboy skivvies.)

    Jennifer- Actually, I do know how the cow got up in the tree. He fell off a ledge above it. (Not nearly as interesting as it would've been if he'd climbed up it.)

    L.G.- Yeah, that law about shooting Indians has a whole different flavor than the funny ones we've come across in other states.

    Connie- Glad to hear the badlands are beautiful. In the pictures I looked at, they looked stark and unforgiving. And I agree about that underwear.

    Linda- HA! Made ya look!!!

    Linda- (Have you noticed how frequently you and the other Linda comment back-to-back? Kinda cool.) Glad I crack you up, lady. And if you go to North Dakota, don't forget the long johns.

    Suze- Always happy to make you smile. You have a wonderful weekend, too.

  11. I used to live in Buffalo, New York. Compared to North Dakota it seems like summer camp with room service!

    However, I work with geologists, and they all have fluttering hearts when you just mention the name of the state.

  12. Pixel Peeper- HA! That's a good way to put it. Yeah, I reckon people who have a thing for rocks would have a soft spot for the state. Take care.

  13. Of all the places in the USA, I never had any desire to go to North Dakota. Sorry if I have offended anyone, but I just do not like the cold. I can see there are many interesting things to see and do, but unless with global warming the weather improves, I will just have to be satisfied with what they show on The Travel Channel..

  14. Arleen- I know whatcha mean. Some place are best viewed from the comfort of the ol' easy chair.

    OB & CS- Glad ya liked them.

  15. Oh cripes, another horrifying sight seared into my brain for all eternity. I'm glad I was never an Elvis fan, that'd be something I'd never get over. ;)

  16. You've put North Dakota on the map, Susan! I loved scrolling through these photographs.

    I've been in cold places, but never in North Dakota. Maybe someday . . . but thanks for this post which is the next best thing . . . and much warmer!

  17. Laura- HA! I TOLD ya they were nasty!

    Ann- Yeah, I do believe North Dakota is a wee bit too cold for me, too. I've grown rather attached to my fingers and toes.

  18. Been there! Daddy was from North Dakota. When will I shock you by saying I haven't visited the featured state?


  19. Thanks for the tour of North Dakota.

    You had me laughing about the Elvis pants!

  20. Hi Susan .. thanks for popping over to London! Those are some crazy monuments .. though the bison - I'm fond of .. rather heavy to move around ...

    Elvis and his drawers - now that's something I hadn't thought about .. but I love the Clock straddling the border ...

    Wonderful tales and photos you put up for us .. cheers Hilary

  21. Al- What some people won't spend perfectly good money on, huh?

    Hilary- Thank YOU for popping by stateside. Always "cheers" me up to hear from you.

  22. I've never been to North Dakota. One day :-) It's kind of out of the way for me though

    As for those news stories?

    Cow in a tree?
    Returning Busfare?

    I've been to Nepal recently. Recently = 2 months ago. LOL @ chasing after snake.

  23. Hey Susan,
    This fascinating article is worthy of you working for the 'North' Dakota Tourist Board. Of course, if they dropped the "North" part in the name of the State, inquiring minds such as mine couldn't ask where is North Dakota and get the answer that it's North of South Dakota :)
    Salem Sue is certainly one cow I wouldn't take for granite. And I certainly wouldn't dare make mention she reminds me of my ex wife. No way, eh! :)
    A delightful and zany posting. Your humor, sorry spell check, your humour is quite the chuckle.
    All the best.
    Your starstruck fan, Gary :)

  24. Where do you get all these interesting tidbits? Funny as heck!

  25. Gentleman's Lady- Yeah, it is a little bit out of the way for you, isn't it? A lot colder, too, but hey! at least you wouldn't have to watch out for cobras. (Just frostbite.)

    Gary- Glad I provided you with a couple chuckles, and if Salem Sue reminds you of your wife, it's a good thing you decided to mooooove on with your life.

    Lynnerd- Glad you think they're funny. I'm a news and trivia junkie, so I'm always reading and doing research to find these little tidbits.