North Dakota Blues

Fifty Nifty United States From thirteen original colonies.” If you have, or ever had, a child attending middle school then you have probably heard this song. They taught it to me when I was in fifth grade and to my kids even earlier. If you’re not remembering, then you might be in denial about your childhood, or it might be just a regional thing. Either way, I am going to explain why I mentioned it so that all of us can move forward together in harmony. (Did you catch the subtle musical reference there?)

The song refers to the fifty states as being all ‘nifty’ and even lists them alphabetically. To this day I can still recite most of them in order. Talk about brain washing! Anyway, the song does have a quick side verse stating that “We believe our state is the best.” That’s cool, loyalty is a good thing. However, while there is beauty in every state, many of them rarely get mentioned outside of Elementary School songs. A few do get mentioned for special reasons, such as, if you say cold and snow, then Alaska and Wisconsin immediately come to mind. Vacations? Anyplace on either coast, or of course Hawaii, but there are also the national park states of the west. In election years, you can’t pick up a newspaper without hearing about Ohio and Florida. My point is almost every state comes to mind for one reason or another except North Dakota.

Even my son’s old USA puzzle slighted North Dakota. Every other state had little graphics showing what they were known for, but sadly North Dakota just had “Bismarck” and a small dot on it. Trust me, they could have put more. Maryland had a crab and it was so tiny that it had to share a piece with Delaware. I’m just saying.

This is not a new situation. Follow the trail of Lewis and Clark, you’ll see that they went all the way across South Dakota, from south to north, but once they hit North D, they took the shortest possible track and headed straight for Montana, and yes, they went all the way across Montana, the long way. This all happened way before they were even states, and North D was not getting the respect it deserved. Look at the Tar Sands oil field. North D got some good press for a change, then the oil prices fell and it became a ghost town.

After doing some exhausting research, for almost five minutes (I was totally spent), I have divined the reason for this lack of respect. It is a heinous plot from, of all places, South Dakota. (Ominous Music) Yes, South D, has gotten a little too high and mighty. Somebody threw four former presidents up on a mountain and they think they’re God’s gift to the world. Then there’s Badlands National Park. Even in 1939 everybody knew South D. had bad land.

You know, at first, I thought this had to be a mistake. After all, ‘Dakota’ means ‘Friend’ in the Sioux dialect, but the truth is out there. Don’t let the fact that their state drink is milk fool you. To them, milk is only more money. Also, we must consider their state animal is the coyote, and anyone who has ever watched Warner Brother’s cartoons on Saturday morning knows how much respect coyotes get. Enough said!

Now, don’t think I believe South D, is in any way evil, au contraire. That’s French for “This sentence is very important. So important in fact, we have to use another language just to prove how truly critical these words are.” You see it has such a ridiculously long meaning that most people just write ‘au contraire’, like I just did. Now where was I? Oh yes, I was talking about South Dakota and speaking French. Which, as it turns out, is not a very common language in South Dakota.

Anyway, what I’m saying is I don’t believe the wonderful people of South Dakota are themselves at fault. I think they are cursed. I believe the dinosaurs of South D. were having a football game with their brethren to the north. In fact, I think this must have happened every year for a long time. The north must have dominated and this became the world’s first great rivalry. I’m sure they’ll find this in the fossil record. Look at the skulls they’ve found. They all look like football helmets. Now here’s the thing. In the last years the South D. dinos got better, so much better in fact they were going to bet the north.

But then the comet came. As it fell to earth, the south knew it would never get another rematch. So, it cursed the north, saying they would never get any respect ever again. Well, it worked. As I previously said, North Dakota gets no respect.

All of this made me wonder. There is, buried under most of Ohio something called Cleveland Shale. And that stuff predates the dinosaurs. Is it possible that a curse in the Dakotas could have migrated downward into the Cleveland Shale? A curse strong enough to last 65 million years could certainly have far reaching consequences.  Could this explain Cleveland’s inability to win a championship? The world will never know.

Sorry to all my readers from Cleveland but someone had to tell you what was going on.

If you have comments, want to discuss timing errors in the new Solo movie, or have me take a sideways view at your favorite topic. Send me an E-Mail at I’d love to hear from you!


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