Category Archives: News

Cheap Dates

I read this in the local paper yesterday:

According to an article from USA Today based on findings from 24/7 Wall St., North Dakotans are the second-cheapest date in the U.S.

The recent report found the average date cost for each state, including a bottle of wine, two movie tickets and a restaurant dinner for two. North Dakota had the second-lowest average of $42.43, bested only by South Dakota at $38.27.

Minnesota, meanwhile, had the nation’s 23rd-highest date night cost of $109.81, while New York topped the list at $297.27.

Well, I guess there are some advantages living out here!   The article goes on to make suggestions for one of a kind, cheap excursions like going to the Minnesota State-Moorhead planetarium,  corn mazes, pumpkin patches, and an adult only Halloween party at the Red River Zoo in Fargo including a  costume contest, concessions, dance party, a cash bar and zookeeper talks with critters ($10 for advance tickets).

Think up a cheap date excursion in your vicinity. Tell about some memorable dates from your past. 

 

David vs Goliath

Today’s post comes from Crystalbay

I’ve been MIA for a few weeks because I’m thoroughly embroiled in a fight with city hall. In this city, people aren’t allowed to have a boat at their dock unless they themselves own it. This means that my own kids couldn’t even dock here. I have no boat, and have rented it out every summer for much needed income. A local marina owner found out and filed a complaint against me. I was notified that I had to remove the friend’s boat in one week or face trial. I didn’t comply, then received a summons for a court hearing. Bottom line: I’m facing up to a $1000 fine or 90 days in jail for having one boat at my otherwise empty dock. This money is 1/4 of my annual income, so I decided to fight back.

In a group email to the mayor and city council, I begged for help in resolving this. I explained my situation. I also wrote that, short of help from them, I might have to go public. Not one responded. I’m sure that they thought I was just blowing smoke.

I made one phone call to the StarTribune. They came out the very next day to interview me. A week later, the story was featured on the front page of the Minnesota Section.

What’s happened since this is nothing short of phenomenal. 360 comments followed the article, 95% positive. Someone posted the story on a Lake Minnetonka Fan Club FB page. 250 more comments followed, 98% from people outraged by Orono’s actions. A high end attorney offered pro bono representation. Two more local newspapers wanted in on the action and two more articles brought even more support. I’ve been told that the story spread across the state and that even our governor is following it. I’ve had offers to pay any legal costs or fines. Hundreds have expressed interest in attending my public hearing on Oct. 25th. All three reporters from the three articles published want to be present for possible follow-up articles.

What began as just me and the city locking horns over my dock has taken on a life of its own, with hundreds of people angry about everything from how our tax dollars are being spent to government overreach to how seniors are treated. It seems that disdain for city councils around the lake in general was tapped into by one old lady’s predicament. It’s reminding me of the movie Network when Peter Finch got people to open up their windows and yell, “We’re mad as hell and we’re not gonna take it anymore!!!!!”

In short, my situation going public has touched a palpable and collective nerve in the community across the lake. Even if, as many are predicting, my case gets dismissed, something has clearly been awakened. All I wanted was and is to be able to have one boat at my dock.

What was your David vs Goliath moment? Have you ever had to fight City Hall?

 

 

Pick Your Mural

ND Highway 22 runs through our town north and south. In the middle of town there is a very old, ugly, railroad bridge which allows trains to travel above the highway so emergency vehicles can go under the bridge from the south side of town to the north side of town when there is a train.  It is a very low underpass that invariably floods and is impassable during rain storms.

One of our friends who is a community organizer sort of person got funding for a mural to be painted on the railroad bridge. It took all sorts of Federal and State hoops to be jumped through to get the approval, and this week the mural painter arrived from California.  He has done several murals in our town and our State.  The local paper described the project thus:

The four underpass wall panels will comprise one large mural, more than 400 feet in length, celebrating North Dakota.The walls north of the underpass will depict the landscape of the Badlands.The east wall will show immigrating Ukrainians and the west wall will show cowboys, Native Americans and buffalo. South of the underpass, the west wall will depict Dickinson State University’s May Hall and the east wall will show historic downtown Dickinson and a modern pump-jack. (Dickinson Press, October 2, 2018).

The mural artist is enlisting local students and adults to assist with the painting. I think it is a wonderful project.  How often do we get to legally spray paint on bridges?!! I just hope the Czechs and Germans from Russian don’t feel slighted that he chose Ukrainians instead of them.

Where in your community would you like to see an outdoor mural, and what would you like depicted on it?

A Surfeit of Words

For many years our Great Leader (Dale) used current events as a springboard to fun blog entries. Unfortunately the news these days is so depressing that it’s hard for me to get excited about using it as inspiration.  Until today, that is.

Merriam-Webster’s “Official Scrabble Players Dictionary” has added 300 words, including a two-letter word that people have been waiting years to use: OK.

“For a living language, the only constant is change,” said Peter Sokolowski, editor at large for Merriam-Webster. “The Official Scrabble Players Dictionary evolves to keep up with English as it is used today.”

Some of the others words include: twerk, beatdown, sriracha, bitcoin, emoji, sheeple, yowza, macaron, zomboid, frowny and puggle.

I know, I know – English only got where it is by changing over the centuries, but I still get eerie shivers down my spine when I hear words like “frowny”.

What words give you the creeps?

 

I Scream, You Scream

Over the weekend, PJ got me going when she said “I can think of worse ways to go than death by ice cream.” It reminded me of the time we had talked about death by rhubarb and Clyde actually found a book entitled exactly that. (It was awful!)

So I went looking for death by ice cream titles. Didn’t find exactly that, but found plenty that were close enough.  Here are a few:

Ice Cream Murder (A Sprinkles Cozy Mystery) by Jennifer Martin
Death with a Cherry on Top by Molly Dox
Chunky Raspberry Fudge Murder by Penelope Manzone
Death by Chocolate Sundae by Constance Barker
Triple Dipped Murder by Gretchen Allen
Death by Chocolate Malted Milkshake by Sarah Graves

I requested a couple from the library – you never know, maybe I’ll find a new author I need to follow.

But while I was searching around, I found this:

National Ice Cream Death Museum, Derbyshire
Perhaps the most unusual display anywhere in Britain, this small but lively museum is devoted to major accidents, deaths and disasters caused by ice cream, from the great M65 pile-up of 1981 (caused by a discarded vanilla tub, on which a lorry skidded) to the case of the Sussex child who swallowed a wooden ice cream spoon in 1967 and still walks around happily with it inside. Anyone who has any new ice cream disaster to report should ring their Cones Hot Line (sic).
(Independent.co.uk 1998)

I couldn’t find any indication that the museum is still open. I can’t even confirm that there was a great M65 pile-up of 1981 or that a Sussex child swallowed a wooden ice cream spoon in 1967. But it’s fun to think about.

What’s the most interesting museum you’ve ever been to?

Moon Tourist

It made big news yesterday that Elon Musk has chosen tech billionaire, Yusaku Maezawa, as the first moon tourist for his company, SpaceX. Maezawa is 42 and made his fortune in e-commerce, music and online fashion. He will be taking 10 other artists with him on the journey that should take 4-5 days. The SpaceX rocket won’t actually land on the moon, it’s called a slingshot trip around the Moon and is currently on track for 2023.

Maezawa seems very excited about his adventure but I say “to each his own”. Letting tons of rocket fuel go up in flame under my keester just doesn’t seem like a good idea. And, of course, I couldn’t go that far from my library!

Shot up into space
In a really small tin can?
Leave it to others.

Would you like to visit another planet (or moon)? Extra points for haiku or rhyming!

Queen of Soul

I was sorry to learn that Aretha Franklin is receiving Hospice care and is nearing death. She is one of the first really strong women singers I remember liking. I am not a big fan of soul music, but I love her recordings.  Here she is singing opera.

Talk about Aretha and her contemporaries.  What was your favorite music in the 1960’s?