Tuesday, April 29, 2008

New Erdrich

The New York Times reviews Louise Erdrich's new novel, A Plague of Doves, praising it for its Faulknerian approach to place and narrative voice, as well as its Garcia-Marquez-style of magical realism.

"A boy and a girl, who meet in a field during a plague of doves, run away from home and for six years find refuge with a mannish pig rustler and her notorious husband. That boy’s granddaughter develops a wild crush on the local troublemaker, who will one day steal her great uncle’s magical fiddle, which appeared to him in a dream. A man assembles a world-class stamp collection while living in the little town of Pluto, only to find that his obsession leads to his undoing. For years a judge carries on a passionate affair with an older woman, who ends up marrying a local developer, who buys the judge’s beloved house with the intention of stripping it bare. A charismatic boy becomes a dangerous cult leader, enslaving his wife, a snake handler, who plots to liberate herself and their children from his thrall."
Anyway, it's supposed to be good.

Wheat Waning

The Washington Post does up a big story about the declining acreage of wheat being grown now that many farmers are switching to more disease-resistant and profitable crops like corn and soybeans, even in places like Gascoyne, N.D., where wheat and barley used to be the only crop. This has caused prices to surge and people to go hungry in places that depend on cheap imports of U.S. grain.

Who knew that farming was so complicated?

Emptying the Breadbasket

(Where the hell is Gascoyne?)

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Death Comes to the Poet (Almost)

The New York Times recently reviewed North Dakota poet laureate Larry Woiwode's new memoir, A Step from Death, inspired in part by a near-fatal tractor accident.

In literature, there are four kinds of conflicts:

  • Man vs. man
  • Man vs. nature
  • Man vs. himself
  • Man vs. tractor
I have a degree in English.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Miss N.D., WNBA

Carla Christofferson went from being Miss North Dakota (1985) to a legal bigwig to owner of the the L.A. Sparks Women's National Basketball Association team.

New Breed of Tycoon Brings Order to the Court

She also used to date Eddie Van Halen.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Cashing in the CPR

The New York Times goes to Denhoff, N.D., (I don't even know where that is) to report on farmers converting their Conservation Reserve land into fields and pasture to take advantage of booming food prices. Good news for people who like cheap food. Not so good news for ducks.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Hey! Candidates Pay Attention to North Dakota!

There's probably too many stories about what was apparently the most monmentous day in state history, so here's a sampling.

Washington Post: A North Dakota Evening to Remember
ABC News: Battleground North Dakota? You Betcha!
(This report was by a Grand Forks native, according to the GF Herald.)
Slate.com: The Wrong Dakota
Wall Street Journal political blog: A Hard Fight in North Dakota
Controversy! New York Times: McCain Called a 'Warmonger' at Obama Appearance

Obama didn't actually say "uff-da," did he?

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Barack Obama is speaking in Grand Forks. Obama, a legitimate presidential contender, speaking in three-electoral-holding, red Republican North Dakota, this late in a heated nomination fight. That's almost historic. How can we make him feel welcome?

Maybe we shouldn't ask those NDSU kids.

Didn't seem to deter Hillary, though.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Poetry, Economy, Bloggery

Various junk:
  • The Garrison Kiellor public radio bit that interrupts your sleep every morning, "The Writer's Almanac," featured a poem Tuesday about sex and North Dakota. It was titled "Montana."
  • The New York Times: Nobody knows how to regulate lenders, investment banks, financial services firms to keep this whole subprime thing, or some other thing that we haven't even thought of yet, from biting us on the ass again for another many, many billion dollars God knows when. Karen Tyler, North Dakota securities commisioner gets her two cents in, too. (Second page, half way down.)
  • North Dakota bloggers get kudos in the Washington Post. Good work, folks.