We live in America; a country where nearly 4 out of 10 high-school graduates could tell you anything lucid about The Civil War, and even less can find any given state on a map. Worse yet, some of them can’t even find the map. Given such a dismal state of geographic knowledge, it’s time for a comparative study of two states about which you should really know more than you do; North and South Dakota.
For example, they didn’t fight each other during the Civil War. In fact, they weren’t admitted to the union until 34 years after the end of the war, but that still doesn’t stop the average dolt passed through an American high school from telling you the Battle of Gettysburg was fought on the banks of the Missouri River.
However, that isn’t to say that these two states haven’t fought along the “Big Muddy.” Since “Dakota” is and old Indian word meaning “friend or ally,” these namesake states have been engaged in a squabble for nearly a century over the bones of famous Sioux chief Sitting Bull. To this end, they have engaged in all sorts of chicanery, ranging from litigation to grave-robbing.
Sadly, and to the peril of us all, this conflict has largely been overshadowed by other world hot-spots. This can only be explained by the fact most of world knows little about remote corner of the world occupied by the Dakotas; nearly 144,000 square miles inhabited by about 1.4 million people. To give you scale of how desolate that really is, it means all told, the Dakotas have the same population as that bustling metroplex known as greater Fresno, shoe-horned into 720 times the space.
So before this split land – South Dakota with its granite presidents with the stones to push the button on all those nuclear missiles siloed under North Dakota – decides to turn its collective wrath on the rest of us, let’s try to sort out this North vs. South battle before it mushrooms into another civil war.
Fargo vs. Sioux Falls
Referring to these two burghs as “cities” stretches the definition farther than Fat Bastard’s waistband; together they barely have the population of a standard 50-foot shipping container filled with illegal Chinese immigrants; meaning approximately 200,000.
In the North, Fargo is a rapidly growing mini-city; it is quickly approaching such garden spots as Bossier City, Louisiana and Yuma, Arizona in terms of livability, despite the fact that the entire town is frozen solid approximately 14 months out of every year. It manages this by having a surprisingly robust IT industy, a park with a big-ass Viking ship with a name totally unpronounceable by anybody posessing properly-formed tongue and palate, and one of the best dark comedies ever made named for it.
Meanwhile, the South’s primary city spends its existence playing the proverbial “ugly girl home alone on a Saturday night,” doing all it can to attract drunken frat boys for even the most demeaning encounters. South Dakota knows this town is so unappealing its government does something politicians almost never do; promising to keep their fingers out of the wallets of businesses that will “date its ugly daughter.”
Advantage: North Dakota
Obscure Cult Sports
Curling vs. Cow Tipping
I’ll be honest here…I can’t say for certain that South Dakota is the birthplace of cow-tipping, but for some reason every person I’ve ever known who got their kicks out of drinking gallons of whatever cheap beer they could afford and sneaking up on cattle for the express purpose of knocking them over was a SoDak.
Of course, the beer is the common thread here. North Dakota borders Canada, a country that really only contributes two things to world culture; beer and ice-bound sports (poutine might be a close third, but that’s for another time). Since it is too hard to drink beer while knocking somebody retarded with a hockey stick, the Canadians perfected curling.
For those unfamiliar, is really somewhat like bowling on ice in the sense that participants occasionally slide a heavy thing at some other heavy things, but really spend the majority of three hours drinking as much beer as is humanly possible in the allotted time. Perhaps this is why they are so insane about it.
Advantage: Tie - Either way, you get to drink a lot of beer
Adam Vinitieri vs. Jim Kleinsasser
Normally, one might find it difficult to compare a kicker with a knuckle-dragging tight end. Face it, most kickers are guys who are more worried about their golf swing and keeping their uniforms clean rather than the true dirtiness football can bring, but Vinitieri just makes kicks when it counts. After all, where better to learn to make big kicks in 14-degree weather covered in mud, blood, and snot than playing football in November for South Dakota State?
In contrast, a tight end can either be an effective receiver, a determined blocker, or in Jimmy K’s case, a nearly inert 280-pound walking side of beef who if not for those jerky commercials he’s been starring in would be almost completely anonymous. Let’s be honest, to find Kleinsasser, you would have to go down further on the Vikings’ depth chart than Jenna Jameson at her first audition.
That’s why you just have to look at overall value; Vinitieri may very bell the best clutch kicker in history. On the other hand, while Kleinsasser may be a fair-to-middlin’ blocker, his Cro-Magnon level of hand-eye coordination means he struggles to clutch the ¾-horsepower Lawn Boy he uses to give his pelt that full, layered look. In fact, if it weren’t for recent miracle advances in hair-removal technology, Jimmy stood a solid chance of being the first person in medical history to die during a pre-operative shave.
Advantage: North Dakota – Because, well…let’s be honest. The other guy is a kicker.
TV Cop Babes
Angie Dickinson vs. Cheryl Ladd
North Dakota’s entry in this contest is Angie Dickinson, better known as Sgt. Pepper Martin from “Police Woman,” while South Dakota gives us Cheryl Ladd, best known as one the “replacement” blondes from “Charlie’s Angels.” Since both contestants come from the magical world of cheese-ball 1970’s television, those of you under 40 may not know of these slices of babe-itude; they both certainly could be plopped into the “Hot Blond” bucket in their respective days.
But this is really more than just a “Who would you rather bang?” contest. To understand why, we really need to keep this real for a moment. See, I know the demographic from which readers of this blog originate:
A) People currently undergoing psychotropic therapy on an out-patient basis
B) 40-year-old bachelors who need a break from fishing through MySpace for chicks who won’t respond to their friend requests
C) Overnight security personnel with body-image issues and way too much spare time
D) All of the above
The reason I point this out is simple. If you are a male reading this, you likely come from one of the categories above, and therefore have about as much chance of nailing a truly hot blond as Stephen Hawking does slam-dunking a basketball. In other words, forget about it and concentrate on the other stuff, boys. But if you a female reading this, call me. I can get calls at the halfway house between 3:00 and 6:00 on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Alas, I digress. The point is while Cheryl Ladd played a major role in my puberty, so did all the other Charlie’s Angels. So, you really must delve into the minutia on this one. Ladd also starred on the classic-yet-terrible Josie and the Pussycats, which gave her the idea that she could sing, and even guest-starred on Dickinson’s cop show. One might think this makes the contest a landslide in Ladd’s favor, but Dickinson has what may be the ultimate trump card: She boned William Shatner on screen.
Yeah, you read that right. If you’ve never seen it, you must – repeat must – find a copy of the 1974 drive-in theatre cheese-tastic classic “Big Bad Mama” and watch it, if for no other reason than you can die knowing you’ve seen what arguably may be the most awkward sex scene in American cinematic history.
Advantage: North Dakota – Shatner, baby…Shatner
Sparky Anderson vs. Lute Olson
Yeah, I know, in baseball, coaches are referred to as “managers,” but on the other hand, at Arizona, the basketball coach is generally just known as “that douchebag.”
Lute Olson is the sort of guy who left his native North Dakota for the bright lights and big city lifestyle only coaching the University of Iowa could bring. But when he couldn’t handle the “fishbowl” that Iowa City became after taking the Hawkeyes all the way to mediocrity, he bolts for the sands of the University of Arizona, where he specialized in convincing the Minnesota Timberwolves that Wildcat big men were completely worthy of being in the NBA (Wolves fans fess up, …don’t tell me you don’t think of the Loren Woods and Sean Rooks of the world and vomit in your mouth just a little bit…)
The Lute-ster is also the kind of leader that deserts his team for “a leave of absence,” and promises Kevin O’Neill (the guy who fills in during Lute’s absence) that he will be Olson’s successor on his retirement. Of course, Lute comes back, and during his returning press conference he yanks the rug out from under O’Neill by making the surprise announcement that “that Kevin O’Neill would never coach at the University of Arizona again.”
Anderson, on the other hand, is one of only a few managers to win World Series in both the National and American leagues not to mention 4,000 regular season games, all while managing to become a television star in the process. Who can forget such great Sparky moments as his guest stints on The Hollywood Squares or as a talk-show host on WKRP in Cincinnati? Besides, just the thought that he might have had the opportunity to get a little Anderson-on-Anderson action with WKRP’s Loni is enough for me.
Advantage: South Dakota
Eric Piatkowski vs. Phil Jackson
This is easily the biggest mismatch in this tournament. While Piatkowski’s hoops prowess led him to such accolades as being named South Dakota’s “Mr. Basketball,” a storied career at the University of Nebraska, and a solid NBA career, it’s no match for Phil Jackson.
Not only is Jackson the greatest cager in the history of the University of North Dakota, in fact, Jackson’s battles in the Division II basketball playoffs in 1965 and 1966 with Southern Illinois’ Walt Frazier are as legendary in the small-school circuit as the 1979 NCAA Finals’ duel between Magic Johnson and Larry Bird. Jackson apparently had a bead on the NBA as well; he was known more for being a defensive force, leading the league in personal fouls in 1975. He also won the league championship in 1973 as a member of the New York Knicks. Of course, Jackson then went on to get rings for all the rest of his digits as a coach; six with the Bulls, and three more with the Lakers.
Now for the “as if that weren’t enough” moment…Not only does Jackson rack up this list of Hall-of-Fame-worthy accomplishments, he has the juice to pull off one of the great “Huge Balls” moves of all time. Jackson took a walk from the Lakers and his strained relationship with owner Dr. Jerry Buss in 2004, only to be begged to come back by Buss after it was discovered that Jackson had been having an affair Buss’ daughter. Who else do you know that can fuck the boss’ daughter, not marry her, and still get a raise?
Advantage: North Dakota
Guys With Funny Accents
Tom Brokaw vs. Lawrence Welk
Realistically, what are the odds that two television icons were born in towns on this remote prairie barely 70 miles apart? While Brokaw and Welk are bound by birth to the border area of the central Dakotas, they are nevertheless separated by more than just that line on a map. They also have their own ways of sounding hilarious when they speak.
Granted, the fact this area was settled by predominantly German settlers during the homestead era and that some of these towns were so isolated that in many of them, the residents spoke mostly their native tongue explains why Welk arrived on the scene fresh from Strasburg, N.D. with a accent thicker than Sergeant Schultz and those guys that got melted in Raiders of the Lost Ark. But, somebody needs to explain me how he managed to keep the brogue of the Fatherland after spending every Saturday night for over 50 years imploring your grandparents to do bong hits to the strains of songs about “toking.”
Brokaw, on the other hand, gets big points for being able to pull off one of the great rip-offs of all time. Brokaw made his bones as a news anchor; the primary requirements being a) the ability to read a teleprompter and b) being able to annunciate. The fact that he made bazillions of dollars in this profession all while having a complete inability to pronounce at least six different consonants gives him about a 9.5 on the “Scam-o-meter.” Sadly, he would have scored higher had the trail for such speech-impedimentry not been blazed by the patently ridiculous Barbara Walters.
Advantage: North Dakota – At least Welk had a bubble machine