New project: Dakota Death Trip. I've been saving weird story ideas since I started writing for Dakota Datebook, but these tend to be creepy rather than newsworthy. In the model of Michael Lesy's Wisconsin Death Trip, I'm putting them online, one a day, with a picture from my collection every Sunday. You can read sample pages from Wisconsin Death Trip here.
Turned turtle: To flip a car onto its top. I've seen this reference several times in pre-1930s newspapers and found it amusing. The US apparently stopped using it by the 1950s, but Asian and African newspapers of British ancestry still use the term today.
If you were unsure of how large the scale of oil production in North Dakota has grown, here's something to put it into perspective. Ths ISS released a video showing it screaming across the sky over North America, and one person noticed that there were thousands of square miles lit up as bright as any city where there shouldn't be anything so significant. It turns out the worklights from oil-rigs in the Bakken Formation are so numerous and dense that they're visible from 200 miles up, dwarfing metropolitan areas like Minneapolis, Milwaukee, and Chicago.
I'm not sure how I missed this, but I love the forward-imagining of Fargo. The city itself has come up with the Go 2030 program, an open-organized civic planning thinktank designed to brainstorm what Fargo will be in twenty years. Their "Town Hall" is where citizens have offered their suggestions, and while the urban-artism is heartening, a city is more than an advanced recycling program and public arts. If these plans continue to be to eliminate living spaces and increase boutiques, as the current downtown 'planning' did, they're not going to be doing the town any good. Towns are both a place for living and a living place, and the solutions seem too sterile for real humans to live in. If you want to redevelop West Acres to be more 'walkable', devote time to making practical living spaces within a quarter-mile of the building, not planting trees and pouring fake cobblestone paths.
Sad news today: Tom Keith, aka Jim Ed Poole, passed away due to a heart attack on October 30th. He was the ever-talented sound-effects guy on A Prairie Home Companion, and I remember him more from the Minnesota Public Radio Morning Show he hosted with Dale Connelly. When I was a kid I often started the tape recorder when I left for school, to catch the end of the Morning Show, which included Dr. Science. Destiny and I got to see him perform live -- wearing that same sweater-vest and bowtie as always -- in 2002; here's the old post.