One evening late in January, a 21-year-old named Peter Dut led his two teenage brothers through the brightly lighted corridors of the Minneapolis airport, trying to mask his confusion. Two days before, they had encountered their first light switch and tried their first set of stairs. An aid worker in Nairobi had demonstrated the flush toilet to them -- also the seat belt, the shoelace, the fork. And now they found themselves alone in Minneapolis, three bone-thin African boys confronted by a swirling river of white faces and rolling suitcases, blinking television screens and telephones that rang, inexplicably, from the inside of people's pockets. Here they were, uncertain of even the rug beneath their feet, looking for this place called Gate C31.
Finally, a traveling businessman recognized their uncertainty. ''Where are you flying to?'' he asked kindly, and they told him. The eldest brother, his eyes deeply bloodshot, explained the situation in halting, bookish English. A few days ago, they had left a small mud hut in a blistering hot Kenyan refugee camp, where after walking for hundreds of miles across Sudan they had lived as orphans for the past nine years. They were now headed, with what Peter called ''great wishes,'' to a new home in the U.S.A. ''Where?'' the man asked when Peter Dut said the city's name. ''Fargo? North Dakota? You gotta be kidding me. It's too cold there. You'll never survive it!''
And then he laughed. Peter Dut had no idea why.
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
Saturday, August 25, 2007
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
Monday, August 20, 2007
Sunday, August 19, 2007
The blog has been on vacation. Apologies for the absence.
Not much in the news lately, so here's a review of Debra Marquart's 2006 memoir of her rebellious youth as a Napoleon farm girl with parents who sound like they were a bit of a bummer. Here's an Amazon.com link, too.
Monday, August 06, 2007
Drinking wine from North Dakota may ruin your meal. Or more accurately, believing you are drinking wine from North Dakota can ruin your meal, according to a scientific study.
Researchers gave one group of diners wine labeled as a product of California and another group the same wine, but labeled as being from North Dakota. The result was that the group drinking the "North Dakota wine" gave their wine and meals lower marks than the other group. The explanation is that the expectation of getting an inferior experience becomes self-fulfilling.
Let's hope this is too discouraging to North Dakota vintners. But it's all in the mind, right? Or is it all the marketing?
Friday, August 03, 2007
North Dakota Town's Payoff For Hard Lives Is A Long Life
- A dull life can be a very long life.
- Old German farmers who lived through the Depression, drought, hunger could whip my office-job ass without raising their heart rates.
- Canned sausage?