As the Olympics show over and over and over, Americans as a group are prone to inadvertent self-parody. Blogging offers a wide field for this kind of dubious accomplishment, but it’s easy to find other examples. Athletes, for instance: on Wednesday, I laughed as two American hurdlers held up “we’re number 1!” index fingers during an interview after the 110m final in which they finished second and third.
A certain kind of Christian comes up close behind the grandiose athlete, and even overlaps him to some extent:
Someone smarter and meaner than me can figure out a funny way to combine turning the other cheek while clad in sparring equipment.
And then there are the real-estate developers. Worst of the lot.
Exhibit 1: The only “shores” are the sides of the cement-lined drainage ditches. Nice big-sky views, though…
Exhibit 2: “Now Renting”? Really? Don’t you mean “Now Accepting Deposits on Which We Hope to Earn Enough Interest That We Can Prevent Foreclosure on This Half-Completed Pile”?
In my numerous walks and couple runs around Moorhead, I’ve noticed objects like this in the overhead lines.
I naturally wonder what the hell it is. Some options:
It’s part of the city’s (decent and cheap) municipal wi-fi service.
It’s a way to manage the civic problem of the many, many people who are sticking their bare feet up on the dashboard of vehicles using Moorhead byways.
It’s an attempt to make the grass grow on any, some, or all of the incredibly patchy lawns in this town.
It’s a public-health effort to prevent suicides among the readers of the horrific stories on the front page of the Fargo Forum. (Thankfully, the paper requires registration to read the articles, so I can avoid hyperlinking to the gore.)
It’s a means to try to help the city’s coffeehouse baristas remember more than one item in an order. On three different occasions, I’ve had the barista need me to repeat a two-item order two times; on one of those occasions, I had to say it a third time. Gawd.
What’s that? People are dying in Iraq and Afghanistan? Perhaps that’s related to these mystery coils, too…
(Update, 8/22: According to a well-informed commenter, this is a “fold-back” created with “extra fiber optic cabling that has been relooped on that strand” to make repair or replacement easier later. I LOVE THE INTERNET.)
I’ve snuck in a couple runs while here, mostly just to maintain some fitness before a more-intense couple of weeks that will end with a 15km road race in early September. For simplicity’s sake, my runs here in Moorhead have started at my in-laws’ house and consisted of tours of eastern Moorhead. About all I can say of the area as a place to run is that it’s flat and that you don’t have to worry about missing a turn.
“Vacations” are few and far between for this family because the girls emphatically dislike the idea of sleeping in cars, and thus never do it. Well, not never, but in, let’s say, 100 hours of more-or-less long-distance driving, they’ve slept maybe four hours, combined. (This week, I had a well-meaning someone at work advise me earnestly that we needed to be sure to drive at a constant speed. As if.)
So Shannon and I started the drive up to Nonna and Boppa’s house expecting no sleep in the backseat. We weren’t disappointed (un-disappointed?) in that respect, but I for one was happy that the two non-sleepers did fantastically well anyhow. All three driving breaks were thoroughly enjoyed, there were no meltdowns (or accidents) while rolling, and the two girls even entertained themselves and each other for a while. (After that, the fifth family member, the white MacBook, stepped in with some Barney videos.)
The view to the left of the passenger seat:
The view to the right of the passenger seat:
We broke a family tradition by not stopping for lunch at the Sauk Center McDonald’s (motto: “It’s cold here nine months of the year, and we have the only indoor playground between St. Cloud and Moorhead”). Instead, we dined al fresco at a highway rest area (motto: “Your tax dollars are at work cleaning whichever rest room you need to use most”). The girls enjoyed this quite a bit. Picnics go over quite well with the knee-high set.
The fare was excellent – thanks to Shannon’s planning and faultless execution – and we followed the noshing with a walk around the rest area, during which Vivi noticed this leaf. She pointed at it, then looked up at me and exactly duplicated the facial expression.
Lunch: $0. Entertainment: $0. My two year old: Priceless.