Posts Tagged ‘North Dakota’


Quiet down, here are this week’s links:

* GQ’s Jeanne Marie Laskas goes inside the world of double-crossing fake hitman.

* The always-superb Brian Phillips with a great piece on the Dolphins controversy and warrior culture.

* New York Magazine’s Kathryn Schulz on how Twitter hijacked her mind.

* There’s an island that costs less than a Manhattan apartment. Tell me more.

* Someone’s not a fan of bathroom attendants.

* Former NFL stars like Tony Dorsett show signs of CTE. 

* San Francisco transforming into Gotham for a little boy’s Batman Make-a-Wish.

* Why superhero actors aren’t superstars anymore. 

* Slate has a list of the best sandwich from every state. Apparently, I’m doing it wrong because I’ve had neither the NoDak or the SoDak sammies.

* So, um, Toronto (Ontario not South Dakota) needs a new mayor, eh?

* Obnoxious plug alert: If you need something to do tonight, consider tuning into Wisconsin vs. St. John’s on the Big Ten Network on opening night for college hoops. The teams will be squaring off in Sioux Falls at the Sanford Pentagon, a five-sided, $19-million venue with a retro main court.

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I’d been away from home before, but not like this – not with three years and four children between visits.

In fact, let’s back up for a second. Jamestown, N.D., is not my home anymore since I haven’t lived there on anything resembling a full-time basis in 15 years; rather it’s my hometown. And going back over the weekend with my wife and kids to celebrate the baptism of my newest niece was … nostalgic.

Plenty has changed. There are coffee shops now – yes, plural. The newspaper where I got my start in journalism moved a block. The high school is now the middle school and has a patch of synthetic turf where the parking lot used to be.

Plenty more hasn’t. The cement buffalo atop the hill remains the world’s largest. The baseball field remains green and vibrant. And the kids still yearn to leave.

Is it safe to say that your hometown never really gets a fair shake? Rebelling against it is among the safest forms of teenage angst. Plus, it’s pretty easy to to trash something you know inside and out.

Sure, there’s not a lot to do in this town of 15,000 compared to its North Dakota neighbors of Fargo-Bismarck let alone when stacked up against legit large cities of the world. Opportunities are harder to come by and/or have lower ceilings. But there remains room for appreciation.

My parents have a great house in the deepest part of a cul de sac – large and interesting and spread over four staggered levels. We moved there from four blocks away before my freshman year of high school. The backyard features an oversized, shaded deck that overlooks a gully bordering a public golf course. On a warm summer day, it’s one of the most peaceful places on the planet.

I was especially struck by the trees in the yard and the surrounding area – so many types and shapes and sizes. There’s almost no way I noticed that before.

It felt nice to sit and read the paper, the breeze threatening to carry it away. Normally a treadmill turkey, I opted to go for a run outside in the afternoon, zipping by familiar homes with unknown owners, turning near a lawn I used to mow and continuing past the golf course, the soccer park, the softball fields. I was surprised to find memories at every spot – they weren’t all good, of course. But this time they felt more like bygones than open sores.

Meanwhile, my oldest daughter made fast friends with a neighbor, another 9-year-old fond of neon colors. They cut flowers and swung on swings and invented a game using the seeds from the whirly birds that fell from the trees. It was the most classic kid stuff I’ve ever seen her do.

For those couple of days, things seemed slower, smaller, simpler. It’s highly unlikely that I’ll ever move back, but it felt good to be able to see the old place through different eyes.


One of the worst things about having an oversized family wrought with health issues is that it’s virtually impossible to leave home as a group for an extended period of time. But this week, with our first real trip as a group of six on the horizon, that immobility feels more like a positive. (more…)


Welcome to our weekly links. By the way, I just started watching Game of Thrones, two years after most people discovered it on HBO (it’s okay, I’m always behind the times; it took me until 2010 to watch The Sopranos). The first season’s discs on Netflix now consume my life. So this is a short intro until I get back to the Starks, Lannisters and imps.

* Grantland ran a long piece on South Africa’s history in the Olympics, which, during the apartheid era, was no history at all.

* A sad story about a name from the past. Neil Reed was a scrappy guard for Indiana who was best known for being choked by Bobby Knight, an incident captured on tape. Reed, who became a high school coach, died Thursday at the age 36 of a heart attack.

* Chris Jones – former Fury Files guest – penned a good piece with the guy who sculpted the famous Joe Paterno statue.

* The always entertaining Drew Magary documented his quest to sing the national anthem at a sporting event.

* TV and Fury met while working in Fargo, as in North Dakota, a state that’s blowing up in both and good and bad ways due to an oil boom. Men’s Journal – yes, Men’s Journal – is the latest to chronicle the Wild West atmosphere.

* In other Olympic news, did you know that Adolph Hitler and the Nazis are behind the torch run? Neither did we until reading this piece by Yahoo! Sports. Hope we didn’t ruin your Opening Ceremonies experience.


Every year my friend John Rosengren comes to New York for the ASJA Conference, and every year we try to make it to a Yankees or Mets game. It’s a chance to watch some big-market baseball, but mostly we catch up and talk about writing and projects and goals and hopes.

Last night we met before the Mets game and stood in line to buy tickets. A young woman approached us and asked if it was just the two of us and when we said yes she asked if we wanted two free tickets. Her friends couldn’t make it. The seats were good, down the first base line, about 25 rows up. We accepted, but then John told a brief story about a friend of his who got arrested for trying to enter a Grateful Dead concert with a counterfeit ticket. Was this part of a big-city set-up? Was this night going to turn into Midnight Express, minus the hashish and Turkish prison?

(more…)


So I’ve got this fantasy …

And then I’ve got this other fantasy. It involves me and a long-time friend, any one of them, really. He makes it big in something, remembers that I once proved trustworthy and capable in a number of random tasks and offers me a gig, asks me to come along for the ride (ideally as a legit contributor rather than as a yes-man or nameless posse member). I don’t need to be Adam Sandler; I’d be fine being one of the small-time, recurring characters in all of his crappy movies. OK, maybe that’s a bad example coming off “Bucky Larson” and “Jack and Jill,” but you get the point.

Well, hope springs eternal this week.

At 8 p.m. Wednesday, And Richards plays the Viper Room in Los Angeles. Yes, that Viper Room, of River Phoenix and Sunset Strip fame. (more…)


Time to watch The Tapes one last time in 2011. We hardly knew ye … Here’s to an even better 2012. We hope your top resolution is to read TVFury every single weekday:

* Some upstart outlet called The New York Times this week chronicled the great divide in wealth that’s going on in suddenly oil rich western North Dakota. It’s hardly the first or last story on the topic. Based on what I’ve heard and/or read, that side of my boring home state is rife with overcrowding, crime, prostitution and money. To that I say, what the crap?
When I was growing up, it was almost a void – nothing noteworthy really ever happened beyond Bismarck. And now it’s turned into this dirty yet glamorous version of the old west … or Montana’s renegade cousin. The whole thing blows my mind.
If any of the people I know who are working there, likely making six figures, please chime in. Unless, of course, you’re too busy firing guns into the air, smoking $100 bills and whoring.

* You know by now that I’m a sucker for city lists, especially when they incorporate places that I live or used to live. Come to think of it, that just might be the reason for the lists. Hmmm.
Anyway, we’ve got another one to discuss: America’s drunkest cities. Boston tops the list and Sioux Falls comes in at No. 17, not far behind Las Vegas. Really?
Well, for starters, the numbers are skewed by the fact that the study lists SuFu as having 482,254 residents over the age of 21. That’s wrong … by a lot. We have less than half of that when counting people of all ages. Of course, that could mean we’re even more drunk than we appear.
Potential mistakes aside, this surprises me in large part because I consider Sioux Falls to be a town built around young families. Yes, there are plenty of professionals with disposable income, and they like to go out to eat and drink – it’s probably the top form of entertainment. However, I would have figured many Midwest college towns could drink us under the table. Right, Fargo?
For the record, my part in this consists of drinking roughly 1-2 beers per month. And I just realized the other day that I don’t believe I’ve been legally drunk in Sioux Falls city limits since moving here in 2006.

* Fury here. Remember that whole thing where a TV producer blackmailed David Letterman because he knew his old girlfriend had slept with Letterman, and then Letterman confessed the affair on his show, stunning an audience that was there to laugh – and actually did chuckle during the segment, even though Letterman was telling them it was serious – and then Letterman himself participated in the bust of the dude? Well, that guy just got hired by Paula Zahn’s TV show. Joe Halderman will work as…a producer on the crime-show documentary. Guess blackmailing one of the most powerful men in TV does not land one on the blacklist.

* The possible feud – or whatever is happening – between Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook has people bringing up Stephon Marbury’s departure from Minnesota more than a decade ago. In this example, Westbrook is Marbury, Durant is Kevin Garnett, the real superstar, left behind. Here’s an old SI piece when Marbury and Garnett were still together and Minnesota had hope. The story dek: “The Timberwolves twin wunderkinds, Kevin Garnett and Stephon Marbury, have built what Minnesota hopes is a lasting bond.” Oh well.

* Gawker presents the 46 best viral videos of the year, all in a 2-minute span. With links to the full videos. Cats, videos, creepy men, crying women, cute babies, ugly babies, deep-voiced homeless men, all there.


Do not challenge this man to a game of golf.

As you might have noticed, we here at TVFury like us some sports. But there is decidedly less political talk … until today.

On this week’s podcast, Mike McFeely joins the fray. He has successfully pulled off a switch from sports columnist at a newspaper to talk show host on a radio station – KFGO in Fargo, N.D.

That makes him uniquely qualified to compare and contrast the worlds of sports and politics. Plus, he’s a friend and former colleague and therefore willing to do the show. Nonetheless, it turned out to be a genuinely fascinating discussion.

Here goes.


Welcome to the first of what we hope will be a regular weekly wrap segment. You know, stuff that caught our attention but didn’t merit a full post in the limited space of the Interwebs. Wait …

As for the title, The Tapes is a reference to an incident during our days at The Forum newspaper in Fargo, N.D. Basically, one night a group of Forum employees gathered at a sports bar for a dinner. A guy at a nearby table learned of our identity and grilled us about how we went about our business at the paper. He was convinced – and no one could tell him otherwise – that we “watched the tapes.” What tapes? The tapes. Our assistant sports editor got more and more frustrated as the guy kept asking about those tapes. For the record, that’s not how it works. Much of the daily copy comes from wire services, huge news-gathering organizations like the Associated Press that have the people power to staff hundreds of games daily all over the country.

Ever since, “watching the tapes” has become to former Forum sports staffers what “Big Gulps, huh?” is to Dumb and Dumber fans – a can’t-miss joke.

And now to the tapes …

  • Something called Tagged this week named North Dakota as the most social state in the U-S and A. Although moderately surprised by this news because I figured population would hold down my native state, I wasn’t shocked for the reasons outlined in the story. Yes, North Dakota has large empty spaces, necessitating that people find new ways to communicate. And, yes, the weather is terrible too much of the year.
    But knowing that NoDak is No. 1, it is surprising that SoDak doesn’t even make the top 10. I mean, what’s really that different about the two? SoDak is a little larger, a little warmer and a little more connected to the rest of the world by being within reasonable driving distances of more metropolitan areas.
    From my experience, other key differences are these: South Dakota doesn’t have a state income tax and therefore has less public money to expedite new technology and is more reluctant to change, progress. Think about it this way: Sioux Falls is still trying to build the kind of events center that Fargo put up in 1992.
  • Attendance was down at Sioux Falls JazzFest last week, one of my favorite annual events. And while it’s easy to blame the record-setting heat (and related chafing), I think the lineup had something to do with it. (One point of clarification: In no way am I complaining. It’s a free event and a worthwhile one at that.) This was the first time since moving here almost five years ago that I didn’t immediately recognize at least one of the Saturday headliners. Sure, that could just be an indictment of my lack of music knowledge, but it’s probably not.
    Meanwhile, it was impossible not to notice the rush of young bodies to the 2nd Stage late Saturday for the set by Soulcrate Music, a popular and talented local rap crew. There was a buzz that was lacking from the (albeit more populated) primary seating area.
    My question is this: Could Soulcrate ever crash the main stage? Or would event organizers not be interested either due to the fact that the group doesn’t play jazz/blues or because it would likely skew too hard toward the under-30 demographic?
    I’m not saying this should happen, I’m just wondering if it’s a way to infuse some energy into the event. (Full disclosure: Soulcrate will appear on the TVFury Podcast in the near future.)
  • Here’s a crazy story about the crazy divorce between Dodgers owners Frank and Jamie McCourt. The couple used the Dodgers as a personal ATM and they’re now battling over billions but are on the verge of losing control of the team to Major League Baseball. The story about the personal hairstylist is especially amusing.
  • An oldie but a goodie. For those who have watched Teen Wolf and ever wondered how you’d stop the Wolf from going off on a Jordan-like explosion, here’s your answer. “While you’re welcome to try it, my feeling is that man-to-man defense simply isn’t an option. Some teams like to play a box-and-one, which generally works well against most lycanthropes. With Teen Wolf, though, you have to be careful. He’ll stand baying by the sideline while the rest of the Beavers run four-on-four. Then, at a signal from Coach Finstock, Teen Wolf will come screaming down the lane, fur bristling and fangs bared, for the alley-oop. (And with him having what’s rumored to be a 78-inch standing vertical leap, rest assured he’s even more difficult to stop once he gets up in the air.”)
  • Tiger Woods fired Steve Williams and if you read some people, this is more proof that Tiger has become a combination of George Steinbrenner and John Daly. This New York Times piece has more but the fascinating part is the story about Jack Nicklaus, who also, at one time, fired his longtime caddie. And then offered the guy a part-time job picking up range balls.
  • A school in Iowa – not heaven – set a national baseball record with its 84th straight victory, breaking the record that had been established by a New Hampshire school way back in…the spring of this year.
  • And here are a couple of stories from the New York Postabout last night’s showdown at Dyckman Park in New York City. And here’s a video.