Confidantes know well my deep devotion to our nation's most forgotten square, my beloved high plains oasis, North Dakota, the Peace Garden State. I've always said going to North Dakota was like going to the Moon. Beyond the fact that it is painfully far, the overall feeling is different, like you've gone through several planes of reality and have landed on an Earth-like planet. At long last, NASA is finally taking me seriously.
The landscape, with or without the Badlands, is almost entirely without undulation. The dead flat-line of the horizon dares you to chase it down and find a curve, any curve at all. When my Mississippi sister-in-law came for a visit, she was fascinated but happy to head home, declaring with a twang: "I'm tired of driving around in squares."
There's more slippery weirdness north of South Dakota than most people would guess and I was the least surprised when the Cohen brothers opted to name their black comedy after that blazing NoDak metropolis, Fargo. Just because they've got those cute accents, doesn't mean they don't know about big life city things, dontchaknow.
When photographer Spencer Tunnick set off to photograph random strangers in the nude in each of the 50 states, he dreaded NoDak the most, figuring he that not only would he offend the locals, he would probably be permanently barred from the state. To his great surprise, he found no shortage of friendly NoDak citizens more than happy to disrobe.
Then there are the bizarre acts of nature. I'm telling you, it's like God and Mama Nature regularly get drunk together on some lip-smacking NoDak ethanol and before they have sloppy deity sex, they take turns with their powers and figure no one is around so ...
What mini blog tribute would be complete without the mentioning of Salem Sue, the World's Largest Holstein Cow? I've picknicked under her udder and she is Mi-T, Mi-T, just letting it all hang out. Or how about the World's Largest Pile of Oil Cans? Today, it's just funky prarie art but soon it will be a global political statement. Either way, parking will always be free.
Last but certainly not least, when Al Franken, master of political satire, went on "The Daily Show" and Jon Stewart asked him seriously which Democrat exhibited the most spine in the Senate, the first name out of his mouth? My hero, Byron Dorgan, the jr. senator from North Dakota! The very place most famous for not being the place that contains Mt. Rushmore.
Well, I think we can all leave this place a little bit more enlightented, you betcha. Now come on in, I've just baked a fresh pie and it will be soooo nice to have some company, y'know.