Baboon redux-Bully!

This post went up on 11/17/ 2016.  Since then, it has all gone to hell in a hand basket.

North Dakota doesn’t have a native son who became president. I think the only president who ever lived in North Dakota was Teddy Roosevelt.  We have clasped him to our collective bosom, however, and his only presidential library is due to be built about 4 blocks from my house, on the former rodeo grounds at our local college.  The Theodore Roosevelt Center At Dickinson State University website tells us:

“Theodore Roosevelt established two ranches in the badlands of western North Dakota: one called the Maltese Cross seven miles south of the Northern Pacific Railroad (1883) and the other called the Elkhorn, 35 miles north of the village of Medora, North Dakota (1884). Roosevelt never owned a single acre in North Dakota. Like most other ranchers in the badlands, he was a squatter on lands that still belonged to the public domain or the NP Railroad. The Maltese Cross (Chimney Butte) Ranch had already been named by the time he invested in it. He named his second ranch the Elkhorn after he found the horns of two male elk interlocked at the site. The elk had been butting heads in a struggle for primacy when their horns became locked. Unable to extricate themselves, the elk died of starvation. This appealed to Roosevelt, who regarded life as a Darwinian struggle.”

“At the Elkhorn Roosevelt ranched and played cowboy, went on long solo horseback rides, often for many days at a time, and hunted for elk, mule deer, white tail deer, and other quadrupeds. He also grieved for his mother and his first wife Alice, who died together in New York City on Valentine’s Day 1884. In fact, at the Elkhorn TR wrote the only tribute he would ever pen for Alice, who died two days after giving birth to Roosevelt’s first child Alice. He also wrote parts of two of his 35-plus books at the Elkhorn.”

The plan is to rebuild the Elkhorn Ranch house next to the library. For that purpose, large cottonwood logs have been collected from the area, and local ranchers are encouraged to donate logs to rebuild the 60 x 30 foot cabin. A builder from South Dakota has been hired to build the cabin by hand using only tools that were available to Roosevelt’s builders. You can see some of the logs that have already been hauled to the grounds.

It will be quite a job, and I look forward to seeing progress on the cabin when I drive to work each day. The Legislature set aside many millions of dollars to build the library, as long as the TR Center could raise 3 million more. They have a ways to go, but are optimistic that the library and the cabin will both get finished.


June, 2018.  Well, the library committee, a group of people who are not from North Dakota,  decided for multiple reasons last month that the cabin and the library will be built in Medora, about 40 miles west of here.  The logs will be moved to Medora.  They are stacked in sad piles and it will be hard to move them.  The college administration is upset because they gave up the rodeo grounds and now they want the library committee to pay several hundred of thousands of dollars to restore the rodeo arena. The city donated a couple of hundred dollars to endure the library came to our town.  Now they want their money back.

From a recent local newspaper article:

Dickinson State University had to sacrifice its rodeo grounds to make way for what was going to be the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library—but with the library gone now to Medora, what remains is an unkempt field, neglected logs and a looming cost.

“Many of us were very hopeful that the library would go in Dickinson but we understand there are other desires by the foundation board,” Nicholas Hacker, chair of the North Dakota State Higher Education Board’s Budget and Finance Committee, said in a phone interview. “Our goal at this point was ‘how to ensure the land will be returned in the condition it was provided. DSU provided … about 25 acres of land, which effectively was a rodeo grounds.”

The university has been making use of a rodeo arena provided at the Stark County Fairgrounds south of town, but they had previously had their own grounds on their own property, which was in proximity to the department of agriculture building, allowing animals to be brought from the indoor structure there to the rodeo grounds without a lot of exposure.

“We removed the DSU rodeo grounds for the impending coming of the library. I’m extremely grateful to the county … who built rodeo grounds south of town and that allowed for DSU to not have to drop competitions but it’s still removed from the campus. We would not have taken down our own facilities had we known the library was not going to be built in Dickinson,” DSU President Thomas Mitzel said in a phone interview. “I’m asking that that structure be rebuilt and for the (Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library) Foundation to do that for us.”

Tell about debacles you have experienced or observed.

36 thoughts on “Baboon redux-Bully!”

  1. Lots. But here is the opposite. Seven years later my daughters left kidney is thriving in Montevideo and her right one functions as fully as two kidneys in her.

    Liked by 5 people

  2. One of the worst debacles I’ve observed was the Michael Dukakis presidential campaign, especially the part where he got in the tank. Does that count? The worst debacle I’ve personally experienced was the publicity campaign for a humorous theatrical show. I experienced it with intensity because I was in charge of it. That is one of those events that, no matter how awful I feel about myself, I can feel worse by remembering that evening.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. There were large signs in the corner of the property announcing the building of the library. The signs were taken down this week. It just looks so sad!


  4. I got my first (and last) perm 30 years ago in the salon I still go to, and it was such a disaster. My hair really took the perm well, so well that my hair dresser couldn’t control the curls. I was a curly mess for a couple of months. I think the only way it could have been mitigated would have been to shave my head. I wasn’t up for that.


  5. One of the reasons trump thrives in rural areas is embedded in this post. Outsiders decide the local yokels are too dumb to make decisions. We in the big city or here in larger government know better than you, especially the science speakers. Often this is done arrogantly, down speaking to the dummies. Or public hearings are held and the panel looks bored because the decision has already been made. No wonder science takes hits. The science guy is precisely like this , as are some others. Sometimes the locals need to be over ruled. People would still run sewage into Duperior Forest and state forest or county forest lakes if they were allowed to decide.
    20 years ago the DNR decided the term squaw should be dropped from all names, lakes, bays, swamp, etc. they told the county commissioners to rename them. Cannot disagree with that idea. Lake County had four names that needed to be changed. One of the commissioners was a funny back woods sort of character. He proposed they all be changed to Politically Correct lake, river, bay. They were just spoofing as well as digging at the DNR, not a well loved entity in NE MN.
    The DNR responded in anger. If they could not take the task seriously the DNR would do it and gave them dull overused names. So see, here’s your task. But see we get to overrule. They could have rolled with the joke and been funny in a letter asking them to change the names to something else.
    For myself, I think politically correct would have enshrined a moment in history.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m not sure it is reasonable to expect governmental agencies to have a sense of humor. But it is a fun thought. Maybe the DNR should have said that in cases local groups opposed dropping names like “Squaw” the names would all revert to “Skunk.” Skunks don’t have a powerful lobby and might even appreciate the recognition. Win-win.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Funny, especially when you consider that the river running through TH, not much of a river mind you, is called Skunk Creek. Now and then some incomer wants to change the name.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. A river runs through Ames that already has that name. Some time ago a bunch of people tried to rename the Skunk river, reverting to a poetic but unpronounceable name that Indians had for it. To everyone’s surprise, a bunch of furious citizens showed up at the legislature to protest the change. They were the descendants of pioneers who had struggled to get covered wagons across the river back before there was a bridge. The soil in that area is some horrible kind of clay gumbo that sucked down old wagon wheels and bogged down wagons. The sons and daughters of pioneers argued that this had been one skunk of a river to cross, and they couldn’t abide giving it a more polite name.

          Liked by 1 person

      2. Locals vs. incomers. 1984 was the centennial of the first trainload of iron ore being delivered to Lake Superior, from Tower to Two Harbors. We put on a ten day festival with many activities. It was wonderful. Not a debacle, but was about to be more than once. I co-chaired the committee. We ended up with about half the committee being incomers, incomers can refer to a few decades back. But some were more recent. They were on the committee because locals wouldn’t be, but they could complain about the incomers, two of whom then quit, who had to be replaced by incomers because, well, you can figure it out. People objected to me because I was not an original, having been raised there from the age of 4. Or because both co-chairs were teachers, when they were not complaining that teachers were not involved. Three were on the committee. Three others led major committees. Some how it was not a debacle. We had to raise all the funds, with no help from the city or local businesses or state funding agencies. 3M funded it more than any other group. Do you know why? US Steel refused to be involved, even at first to,d us we had to stay of their property, which would have about ended it. Then we got insurance and they let us. Four of the committee did 99percent. The other 8 specialized in back biting us in public and taking the credit for the success they were sure would not happen.
        HUMANS. Are we a comedy or a tragedy?
        So I am off to . . .

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I’ve been involved in several cluster-f***s… but I’ve put them out of my memories. Or else I’m choosing not to re-live it.
    The latest was the college commencement in May.
    Most of the guest didn’t notice anything amiss, but the technical side was a debacle…
    And isn’t that always the case? It’s only a debacle to the people involved. To everyone else, “Oh, look! A Teddy Roosevelt library!”

    Liked by 4 people

  7. The river thst runs through Minot ND is called the Mouse River. The same river in Canada is called the Souris River. No idea who would have named a river after a mouse.


  8. My daughter sent me this inre to their upcoming trip to the national Lutheran youth convention:
    We always have parents drive us to the airport and no one volunteered this time so XXX XXX asked his mother-in-law to donate $1,050 and rented us a luxury bus to bring us there and pick us up. The hilarious caveat is that it is a party bus with a stripper pole in the middle of it. We plan to not comment on its existence and pray the kids don’t think about it too much.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. And all of these years later I realize that I’ve believed all along that those poles were for standing passengers to hang onto. I’ve been riding party buses all my life and didn’t realize it?

      Liked by 4 people

  9. Just yesterday I woke up with bad juju. I stubbed my toe hard in the bathroom. I spilled iced tea out of the fridgerator all down the front of my clean outfit and all over the floor. Had to change my clothes because it was a client day. Dropped my phone down the steps. Left my quilted pouch with my jewelry at the gym after I finished my shower. When I drove back to get it I dumped my purse in the parking lot at the gym and things rolled down three parking spots and I had to chase them. All of this was before 7:30 a.m. I was kind of afraid to go back to work and be around people thinking I might be a danger to them. But my jewelry was still at the gym and the day looked up after that.


  10. I remember a debacle from my college years – student teaching, really… Two roommates and I lived in a pretty “basic” third floor apartment of an old house in Des Moines. We were all teaching in different grades at different schools, and in our wisdom thought it would be a grand gesture to invite our host teachers to dinner at our apartment. For some reason they all came. We had spaghetti, some of us cooking this for the first time. We ate with plates perched on our knees in the living room; the teachers had not much in common, as I recall. We three were so nervous, you could cut the tension in the air with a knife (if you could fine one).

    Once they had left, we just erupted with laughter, emotions were high: we ended up having a kind of food fight, I remember cleaning up spaghetti from the kitchen walls…

    Liked by 2 people

  11. I remember an event at a conference I attended many years ago in San Francisco. A friend of mine was assigned to plan a reception and arranged to have seafood as the main fare. Ben and Jerry’s were to provide ice cream bars for the dessert. There was a considerable amount of alcohol served as well. A very good time was had by all. The next day dawned on a mess in the room where the reception was held, though. The ice cream bars had an unfortunate tendency to drop bits of chocolate shell as they were being consumed, and the room’s wheat-colored carpet was stained chocolate brown over a significant percentage of its surface. Crustacean shells had also been strewn about, and were lodged in the CD changer tray. The hotel people were NOT happy.


  12. Like Ben, I’ve observed, and been a participant in, any number of debacles, but as I’ve survived them, I’m hoping that I’ve also learned from them.

    Yesterday morning I had a brief rendezvous with Tim, the youngest son of wasband’s late brother. Tim was in town for a two day conference, lives in Helena, Montana, and I have not seen him since he was eight years old. He’s now fifty-eight! Sounds like I got out of that family just in time, although almost all the people involved are now dead. Wasband is still chugging along in South St. Paul, but not in contact with anyone in the family.


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