Showing posts with label bismarck. Show all posts
Showing posts with label bismarck. Show all posts

Saturday, May 2, 2020


I long had a love-hate relationship with Alabama. My hometown was relatively small and while we were initially visited by country stars (who traveled everywhere), by the nineteen seventies our concert options were paltry. We had a brand new venue and nothing to see there. Residents of big cities in the nineteen seventies wouldn't understand why someone would venture out to see Barry Manilow or Jay Leno. I saw them both. I saw lots of acts I wouldn't ordinarily choose because they were my only options for live entertainment.

But God bless Alabama. Alabama showed up a couple times a year. They must be more traveled than even Bob Dylan. That might be why I dismissed them -- they were so prevalent. It became a joke -- "Are you going to see Alabama...again?"

I never saw Alabama up close. I was always high up in the bleachers and I didn't fuss with binoculars. The band consisted of tiny claymation figures with big amps. But the Civic Center was packed to capacity.

Alabama was a new strain of country -- not really country; not rock. I really liked some of their tracks and I really hated others.I was still buying singles and "The Closer You Get" was one I plucked from the Woolworth bin:

Oh, play me....I liked this one, too. although this video edit would not be my choice :

Like all of us, Alabama matured. Once their initial flame began to flicker, they produced their best work: They'd become arrogant after winning all those CMA awards, and pretty much unbearable.It's not that they hadn't worked awfully hard for their success, but nobody likes a braggart.

There are some artists who stick around so long, one takes them for granted. Most stars burn out relatively quickly. Even those you think had a years' long string of stardom in actuality simply had several mega-hits clustered together. And frankly, few artists are able to maintain a label contract for more than a few years, especially now. In the so-called modern era of country music, those enduring artists include Alan Jackson, Merle Haggard, George Strait, and surprise! Alabama. While Merle kept recording hits into the eighties, after a time one did not jump with excitement at a new Haggard release. The same can be said for Jackson. George Strait remained the exception well into the 2000's. 

Then there was Alabama. I don't recall ever buying an Alabama album, and after the seventies I no longer spent money on singles. In the eighties and even the nineties, radio was the means by which most people caught new songs. I heard Alabama on my car radio throughout those decades and their songs barely registered beyond background music. It really wasn't until I was able to revisit some of their tracks via SiriusXM that I realized some of them were quite good.

Admittedly, I like this one because it has a classic country vibe, but there's nothing wrong with that:

I can't find a performance video of this song that I like, so look at the pretty pictures instead. This might be my favorite Alabama track:

The cool thing about the next track, to me, is the subtle background vocals that add a touch of spice to the recording:

For many years the band personified the southern rock aura; the Lynyrd Skynyrd, Hank Williams, Jr. mien. Many people worship that. I'm not one of those people. That may have been why I casually tossed off their live performances. I wouldn't mind seeing the more mature Alabama, though.

I chuckled when in my research I learned that Alabama performed their final show in October, 2004 in Bismarck, North Dakota. That's about thirty years after I first saw them live -- in Bismarck, North Dakota. I wonder how many class of '73 country-hating gray hairs were in the audience that night. Maybe they went because there weren't any other entertainment options in town. 

Or maybe they went to show appreciation for a thirty-plus year career.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Very Nice Video About My Home State

I found this video on Facebook (Thanks, Ghosts of North Dakota, for recommending it).

I love it because it's an affectionate view, for once, of my home state.

(I also love the "dragging Main" part ~ because I did that!)

Thank you, Kristina.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Since I'm Posting Videos....Here's One For North Dakota!

I did this one for my North Dakota friends. It's kinda cheesy, but I wanted to celebrate my home state. I wasn't going to share this video, but it actually turned out to be fun.

I was strict with myself when creating this one ~ all the pictures had to be authentic North Dakota pics. There are two photos that are generic, only because I needed them to match the storyline. The rest are from North Dakota.

Yes, North Dakota does seem to revel in kitschy monuments scattered across its prairies, but that just adds to its charm.

You should visit one day. It's not all blizzards and floods, you know.

Here is Let's Go To Town:

Saturday, November 1, 2008

There Goes The Rest Of It

October 29, 2008

The remaining two-thirds of the Bismarck-Mandan Memorial Bridge were "dropped" (destroyed).

Ahhh, there goes the neighborhood. In the video, I caught a glimpse of the new bridge. It looks really boring and generic. That's progress for you.

If you missed my first post, here's the first one-third being dropped (destroyed):

Wonder if that's how they take us out, too. You know, when we get too old and outlive our usefulness.

Monday, October 6, 2008

They Blew Up The Memorial Bridge Today

Well, they blew up one third of it. Of course, the other two thirds aren't worth much now - ha.

The Memorial Bridge was 86 years old, and it was only built to last 50. It spanned the Missouri River between Bismarck and Mandan. Its official name was Liberty Memorial Bridge, but no one called it that.

When I was a kid, we lived on the Mandan side, on the "Strip", which was actually about a five mile stretch between the river and the actual city of Mandan. So, we didn't really live in Mandan or Bismarck. Of course, if we wanted to shop, we went across the river to Bismarck (no one shopped in Mandan, unless you were looking for western wear or really needed to go to Ben Franklin, because basically those were the only two places to shop in Mandan - Neuen's Western Store and Ben Franklin - sorry, Mandan!)

So, my friend, Alice, and I would either walk across the bridge or take the bus. It was a long walk, though.

When I grew up and lived in Bismarck, ironically, I worked in Mandan, so I drove across that bridge many, many times between 1974 and 1976, and again from 1988 to 1990.

In the early days, I was driving a '66 blue Chevy Impala with no power steering or power breaks. The bridge at that time had a metal grid, so when you drove over it, you felt like your car was swerving around. I didn't care for that. Later, they replaced the metal grid with concrete.

I happened to have the day off today, so I watch the demolition live on the net. I didn't even know they were taking down the bridge until I read about it yesterday on the Bismarck-Mandan Blog.

It was a jarring experience, watching a big part of my personal history go BOOM! Just like that! And sad. I guess if and when I ever go back for a visit, I'd better watch my P's & Q's, or I might accidentally head for the bridge to get over to Mandan, and oops! I'm in the river!

Here's a video I found of the implosion. I notice they did the Mandan side first. I'm pretty sure it wasn't to keep Mandan people from going to Bismarck. (ha! I kid Mandan, but I actually graduated from Mandan High.)

So, bye bye to yet another memory. Everything changes, and unfortunately, usually not for the better.

Oh, I almost forgot. Here's a picture that my son, Chris, took of the bridge for a photography class. I love this picture.

(Another view, from the program, The Detonators)


Thursday, September 11, 2008

Looking For Friendly People? Go To North Dakota!

Josie on the Capitol grounds, Bismarck (FRIENDLY!)

"New York is home to the most neurotic and unfriendly people in America, while North Dakota is where the nicest people live, according to a Cambridge University "personality map" of the USA."

Cambridge University Survey

Key findings:


Personality traits: Sociable, energetic and enthusiastic
High scoring states: North Dakota, Wisconsin, District of Columbia, Nebraska, Minnesota, Georgia, South Dakota, Utah, Illinois, Florida

Low-scoring states: Vermont, Washington, Alaska, New Hampshire, Maryland, Idaho, Virginia, Oregon, Montana, Massachusetts


Personality traits: Warm, compassionate, co-operative and friendly.

Highest-scoring states: North Dakota, Minnesota, Mississippi, Utah, Wisconsin, Tennessee, North Carolina, Georgia, Oklahoma, Nebraska.

Lowest-scoring states: New York, Nevada, Wyoming, District of Columbia, Alaska, Maine, Rhode Island, Virginia, Connecticut, Montana.


Personality traits: Dutiful, responsible, self-disciplined.
Highest-scoring states: New Mexico, North Carolina, Georgia, Utah, Kansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Florida, Arizona, Missouri.

Lowest-scoring states: Wyoming, Rhode Island, Hawaii, Maine, Alaska, Connecticut, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, New York.


Personality traits: Anxious, stressful and impulsive.

Highest-scoring states: West Virginia, Rhode Island, New York, Mississippi, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Louisiana, Ohio, Arkansas.

Lowest-scoring states: Alaska, Oregon, South Dakota, Colorado, Utah, Washington, Arizona, Nebraska, North Dakota, Nevada.


Personality traits: Curious, intellectual, creative.

Highest-scoring states: District of Columbia, New York, Oregon, Massachusetts, Washington, California, Vermont, Colorado, Nevada, Maryland.

Lowest-scoring states: Wisconsin, Alabama, Alaska, Wyoming, North Dakota, Hawaii, Kentucky, Nebraska, Iowa, Delaware.

State Capitol Grounds, Bismarck

As a native North Dakotan, therefore, I guess I am extraverted (hey! how ya doin'?), agreeable (I agree with that!), apparently not too conscientious (oh, whatever, I don't care), and not very neurotic.
I am apparently also not very open (meaning, not curious, intellectual, or creative......hmmm....why'd I take the time to read this stupid survey then?)

Maybe I actually am neurotic, because one way to interpret these results would be to say that North Dakotans are nosy "yes-men" who are, in essence, stupid, and wouldn't know how to paint a picture unless it was one of those paint-by-numbers kits.

Of course, I know that's not true.

North Dakotans are, in fact, open, empathetic people, who are quick to welcome newcomers. Yet, we value our privacy and honor the privacy of other people. We are, by the way, curious, intellectual, and creative. North Dakota students have some of the highest test scores in the nation, so that shoots down that theory. The pioneers who settled the plains of North Dakota were required to be creative. They, after all, built something out of nothing but prairie grass, rocks, and wind.

And, not to knock the big metropolitan areas, but maybe one reason North Dakotans aren't neurotic is because we don't have to deal with congested freeways, morons, left-wing kooks, a daily newspaper that considers local newscasters to be some order of "celebrity" (when the local weatherman loses his job due to budget cuts, it's the subject of multiple news articles and speculation - see what I mean by "morons"?) I'm just generalizing, of course.

I could go on and on, but suffice it to say that I have a high regard for North Dakotans, and I guess this survey validates my opinion.

Fort McKeen, Mandan

Overlooking the Heart River

Yes, we do have some lakes.


Friday, August 8, 2008

Small Town Life

If you come from a small town, that doesn't automatically make you a rube. It's not Mayberry RFD, after all.

I always sort of resent the way people make fun of people from a small town. It's as if "population equals intelligence".

Well, I came from a town of about 50,000 residents, and moved to an area of about a couple of million, and I'll attest to the fact that the intelligence level has only diminished as the population has soared.

Yea, maybe we didn't have a lot of stuff to do in our small town, but what do you do? Do you go out to dinner once in awhile? Well, hey! We could do that, too! Do you go to concerts? Or is it just too much hassle to maneuver through the traffic, pay for parking, fight the traffic on the way home; so much so that you figure it's just not really worth it?

Well, I lived about 6 blocks from our concert venue. I could walk there, if I wanted to. If I chose to drive, the parking was free. There wasn't a lot of entertainment options, so I saw a lot of acts that I wouldn't normally have seen. I can count on one hand the number of concerts I've been to, here in the "metro".

Do you go out to happy hour with your co-workers? Or is it just too far to drive? I drove 3 blocks to get to Paradiso. We all met up there. We had free appetizers, a bunch of laughs, and a short drive home.

How long does it take you to get to work? Do you take the freeway? It took me 10 minutes, maybe 15, if we'd had a snowstorm.

What did you do for fun as a teenager? Did you go to parties? Guess what; we had parties, too!

How's the job market? In my town, even someone like me (a rube with no education) managed to work my way up. I started out as a motel maid. I ended up being a manager of a department with 150 employees.

They were willing to give people a chance, because the talent pool was smaller. The experience and knowledge I gained in that small town enabled me to get a job here in the "big city", albeit for less pay.

How often do you visit friends? Do you choose your friends based on the suburb in which they live? Well, we all lived within 15 miles of one another, so we could intermingle at will. Going to someone's wedding dance didn't require making umpteen arrangements. We just went. It was basically 5 to 10 minutes to get home, after all.

When you're out and about, do you ever run into anyone you know? I could go to Kirkwood Mall at any time of the day or night, and always run into a familiar face.

Where do you shop? Target? Home Depot? Wal-Mart? Guess what! We had those, too!

Do you ever go out for a late-night breakfast, after your night on the town? How much does it cost you? Where do you go? Denny's? Perkins? We had a place called the Drumstick Cafe. It was off the beaten path. You got home-made meals there. I think the pancakes were something like 89 cents. Two people could stuff themselves for less than $5.00. Their hot turkey sandwiches, with mashed potatoes, were real turkey! You know, not that pre-fab sliced stuff, but actual turkey carved from an actual bird.

Do you worry about crime? I could walk around in the dead of night and never have to worry about my personal safety. We had a little neighborhood bar that was about 3 blocks from my house. It had a juke box and sometimes some karaoke stuff going on. We'd sit there and make fun of people, and have a few drinks, then walk home. I didn't worry about the number of drinks I'd had - I wasn't driving.

The Dakota Lounge had live acts. I saw some great bands there. One of them went on to get a major label recording contract. But I knew them first. The Dakota Lounge was a half-mile from my house.

And you know what? Everybody who lives in a small town isn't itching to get out. Get out to what?

Don't get me wrong. I love where I live. I actually have one or two people who I would actually consider "friends". But we don't socialize outside of work. One of them lives in St. Paul, the other one in Richfield. Sorry, it's just too far to drive.

I like my little neighborhood. I live here with my husband and my "kids". I drive to work and I drive home. A couple times a week, we stop at Holiday in the morning to fill the tank, and I get a nice cup of coffee. On the weekends, I sometimes go to Target or to PetSmart. They're close by. I don't go to malls. Too far; not worth the bother.

It's an insulated life, really. I think my world was larger when I lived in a small town.




Friday, June 6, 2008

Taking A Vacation This Year?

Are you taking a vacation this year? I know I'm not. Who can afford it? Dang, it costs me $30.00 to fill half my tank with gas, and that's just to get to work! And who wants to go there? Not me!

You know how it is. You get to work, and the day starts out fine. Of course, it's 6:00 a.m., and only a few people are actually there. No wonder it seems so nice.

Then, around 7:30'ish, people start straggling in. And you slowly start getting irritated.

I actually sent an email to HR today, because I was fed up with the state of the refrigerators. Here I was, just trying to retrieve my lunch (an apple and a can of Diet Coke), and, in order to get it out of the fridge, I ended up knocking a couple of half-filled bottles of water on the floor.

So, there I was, crawling around on the floor, trying to catch the rolling water bottles, all the time muttering, "give me a break!".

People are so rude.
In the fridge, I noticed that someone had stored a DOZEN EGGS!, a container of sour cream, a LARGE tupperware bowl of "something", a carton of (sour) milk, and various unknown foodstuffs, and I just reached the point where I'd had enough! There's approximately 350 employees in our company, and, I'm estimating, THREE refrigerators to handle all the lunches.

Who, pray tell, needs to bring a dozen eggs to work?? Are they frying up eggs for lunch? All we have is a microwave, so I don't know if they're whipping up omelets in the 'wave or what, but, c'mon!

So, you see, work can be annoying.

Of course, I digress (as usual).

I started out ruminating about vacations, and here I am, grumbling about rude and inconsiderate morons.

But tonight, since I get these ideas in my head, and I feel like I have to act on them, I went through some old photo albums, and scanned some of my vacation pictures from years past.
It sort of calmed me down. So, I thought I would share some with you.















Saturday, January 12, 2008

New Feature - "Whatever Happened To This Guy?"

From time to time, I will include a feature I like to call, "Whatever Happened To This Guy?"

Back in 1992, a lot of people I knew loved "In This Life" by Collin Raye. Me, too.

Was it really 16 years ago? Where does the time go? I was working at US Healthcare then, in Bismarck, North Dakota (not that this is pertinent information; I just thought I'd add a personal note).

Anyway, I haven't heard much (okay, anything) from Collin Raye for a long time.

But I still like his songs.

So, whatever happened to Collin Raye?

"In This Life" isn't available on YouTube, but here's another Collin Raye song:

"Little Rock" was written by Tom Douglas, and it's a really well-written song. I wasn't familiar with Tom Douglas, but in reading his bio, I found that he's had cuts by other major artists, including Martina McBride.

It's always a treat to find a very well-written song.