Category Archives: News

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.

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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.

Don’t Cry Over Spilt…..

Photo credit: Associated Press

The news out of Poland last week included an item about a tanker truck that crashed and dumped its contents all over the highway. Its contents?  Liquid chocolate.

Luckily it happened pretty early in the morning and no one was injured in the accident. But that wasn’t really the end of the story.  The fire brigade sent to clean it up needed to bring in hot water because the chocolate was solidifying too fast to be able to scrap it up easily.  And then the story went viral, hitting so many news feeds that people began to think it was a hoax.  It’s even listed (and verified) on Snopes.com.

What unusual thing have you spilled?

Escape Artists

Photo Credit: Texas Biomedical Research Institute

Baboons were making the news again yesterday – escaping from a facility in San Antonio.

Per CNN, “Four baboons, having clearly read too much dystopian fiction, escaped a biomedical research lab in San Antonio by climbing a 55-gallon barrel and jumping out of their enclosure.  The institute says the three baboons and their turncloak co-conspirator are all “doing well.”  The blue barrels they used to escape, however, have been removed from the enclosure and will be evaluated. Perhaps they enriched too much.”

What would you like for a little enrichment?

 

 

Optical Illusions

Husband and I were buying groceries when a magazine cover on display near the checkout gave me pause.  It was a magazine tribute to Billy Graham. The way the magazine rack was designed made it look as though the Reverend Graham had payot, those locks of hair  sported by Hasidic men near their ears.  I had to look twice to convince myself I wasn’t seeing what I thought I was seeing.  Whew! That would have really rocked my world had it been true!

I am the sort of person who sees fanciful designs and drawings in floor tiles.  I like administering the Rorschach Inkblot Test because I like to hear all the interesting things people tell me they see.  I know the person is in trouble when not even I can see what they see.

James Thurber writes about his poor vision and the interesting things he thought he saw, like an elderly admiral in dress uniform peddling  a bicycle next to a vehicle Thurber was sitting in.  The admiral wasn’t really there, of course.  Thurber thought it was probably a billboard or starlight shining through the trees.  He also writes of throwing stones at what he thought was a flock of white chickens that had invaded his neighbor’s vegetable garden, only to find they were newspapers placed on top of the plants as protection from frost.

I am going to pay more attention to the magazine racks next time I buy groceries. Who knows what I might see?

When have your eyes played tricks on you?

 

Napoleons of Crime

The police here arrested two enterprising  local men last week and charged them with passing thousands of dollars of counterfeit $20 bills around town. The men, ages 19 and 20, were caught with the fake money and the equipment for making the money. It was the wrong shade of green and had the wrong designs on it, but their scheme seemed to work, for at least a while. I think they might have had longer success had they gone to other cities to pass the bills.  I am amazed that they were able to pass so many bills without people noticing the poor quality of the money.  I guess people don’t pay as close  attention as I thought they would.

Our two local guys reminded me of some shop lifters I heard of in the news who used the same method and the same  get away car for multiple thefts from multiple big box stores. They always left through the fire doors of stores, and the police just started to watch the fire doors and surprised the thieves and the get away driver.

How do people come to ignore the poor chances of getting away with criminal activity? It seems to me that, eventually, most people get caught, whether at the local or national level.

What do you think makes for a successful crook?  Have you ever known a real crook?  How do they fool themselves?

In It For the Long Haul

On this day in 1806, after three months overwintering at Fort Clatsop, the Lewis & Clarke expedition headed home from the Pacific coast. When they arrived back in St. Louis in September, they had been gone for 2 years, 4 months and 10 days.

I’m usually good with delayed gratification. I eat the cake out from under the frosting, then eat the frosting on its own.  I do my weekend chores right away on Saturday morning.  I get my taxes done the first week of February and you all know I do my Solstice cards and gifts way ahead of time.  But 2 years, 4 months and 10 days seems like a long time to finish a project to me.

As the temperatures begin to climb a bit I’ve been thinking about the front yard these days.  My long term plan has always been to diminish the grass and increase the flowers.  Although I still have grass, it’s not much and only takes me about 10 minutes to mow these days; the flowers have definitely taken over.  This is year 11 of my plan.

So I guess 2 years, 4 months and 10 days isn’t too long after all.

What gratification can you wait for?