Sunday, April 30, 2017

Sunday BS around SD

St. Patrick’s Church, Wall, Turns 100 (Penn. Co. Courant)
In April 1917, Reverend John Connolly became the region’s first resident pastor. He was responsible for parishioners in Wall, Quinn, Wasta and New Underwood. That year, the Wall parish purchased the unused Congregational Church building for $1,000, and a rectory for $1,300. The loans were paid off in four years. Over those years, and a few more, Wall  grew to became the only mission under Connolly.

Sturgis student prepares for Navy (Meade Co. Times)
"It gets difficult at times, but you have to set your priorities. Obviously, school is the most important thing in my life right now because if I don't graduate then I can't do any of this Navy stuff," he said.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Friday BS around SD

Hill City reporter taking a hike (Prevailer News)
I’m about to begin a journey that I’ve had on my bucket list for many years now. I’m going to start on the Mexican border in California and hopefully not stop until I reach Canada. I’m going to hike the 2,650-mile Pacific Crest Trail (PCT).

Worthing teacher retires after 30 years (Lennox Independent)
This May Worthing Elementary’s second grade teacher, Pat Hoffman, will bid her last second grade class goodbye. “I get pretty attached. I always cry the last day of school,” she said.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

SD man has scientists rethinking old Americans

In case you missed it, and I don’t know how you could have, a fossil discovered in San Diego has yielded potentially groundbreaking evidence suggesting that North America had human inhabitants more than 100,000 years earlier than previously thought.

It turns out that the lead author of the paper published in Nature announcing this discovery is the director of research at the Center for American Paleolithic Research, based in Hot Springs, SD.  His name is Steven R. Holen.

Holen’s peer-reviewed article in Nature is available at this link.

A separate (dumbed down for English majors) news article in Nature is here: Controversial study claims humans reached Americas 100,000 years earlier than thought

Their contention, if correct, would force a dramatic rethink of when and how the Americas were first settled — and who by. Most scientists subscribe to the view that Homo sapiens arrived in North America less than 20,000 years ago. The latest study raises the possibility that another hominin species, such as Neanderthals or a group known as Denisovans, somehow made it from Asia to North America before that and flourished.
“It’s such an amazing find and — if it’s genuine — it’s a game-changer. It really does shift the ground completely,” says John McNabb, a Palaeolithic archaeologist at the University of Southampton, UK. “I suspect there will be a lot of reaction to the paper, and most of it is not going to be acceptance.”

Thursday BS around SD

Local author to hold book launch party (Tea Weekly)
The time he has put in has paid off, as next weekend Wengert will host a book launch party for his two novels, Caveat Ties and Soul Shocked, that have recently been published. Wengert always aspired to be a writer for his career. He said, “In high school there were suggestions that I pursue a more realistic career.”

Whites looking to pass weather-watching baton in Edgemont (Herald Tribune)
The Whites have owned The Gun Vault since 2012, services provided are Gunsmithing, the sell of guns and ammo, etc. The Whites also own, Double Tap which was purchased in April of 2014 to help boost the local economy and provide a place of gathering. Double Tap offers both a firearm and an archery simulator; an archery range; self defense, gun, and survival classes; also the building can be rented out for different events ranging from birthday parties to quilting retreats.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

BS around SD ...

Some of the best and most interesting news stories appear in newspapers most people don't read. Since I still have the love of weekly newspapers running through my veins, I'm going to try to be diligent in bringing some of those articles to you first thing in the morning. I'll throw in some interesting stories from the dailies too.

Mostly I'll stick to featurish type stories and leave the boring policy and politics stuff to other places that want to be boring.

I've cleverly titled these segments "BS around SD" with the "BS" standing for "best stories" and don't let anyone else tell you otherwise.

So let's start with a very interesting story from the Murdo Coyote and a feel-gooder from the Moody County Enterprise in Flandreau.

Tell Your Story … Bill Valburg (Murdo Coyote)
You may not have guessed ranching and flying go hand in hand but Valburg shares that his ‘49 Super Cub has been the best piece of machinery ever used on the family ranch. Valburg will celebrate his 90th birthday next January and will also be celebrating 70 years of braving the sky. Jones County is home to the Valburg family ranch but one county over is where the story first took flight.

Flandreau company donates 900 dozen eggs (Moody County Enterprise)
For every free throw made in Frost Arena by both the men’s and women’s basketball teams, Dakota Layers donated a dozen eggs. This year, 632 free throws were made and the company increased their total donation to 900 dozen or 10,800 eggs. That amount of eggs will feed approximately 900 families.

Monday, April 24, 2017

I have the hard-boiled fever ...

Got back on the noir crime novel train and knocked off Queenpin by Megan Abbot and One Fearful Yellow Eye by John D. MacDonald.

Queenpin rocked the old-school Vegas vibe and received the illustrious Edgar Award for Best Paperback Original as well as the Barry Award for the same. It was published in 2007. It is also unique in this hard-boiled crime genre as the protagonist is female.
A young woman hired to keep the books at a down-at-heel nightclub is taken under the wing of the infamous Gloria Denton, a mob luminary who reigned during the Golden Era of Bugsy Siegel and Lucky Luciano.
This was my first roll in the hay with Abbot, who has a couple other novels out there. I’ll definitely be picking them up.Goodreaders give it 3.8 out of 5. The Haugenomter hit 7 out of 10 with this one.

A couple quotes from the book:
“Because she was solid gold, fourteen-carat, barely burnished despite twenty years of hard molling. But beneath it, I knew, beneath that gold and stardust, she was all grit and sharp teeth gnashing, head twisting, talons out, tearing flesh. She was all open mouth, tunneling into an awful nothing.” 
“You have to decide who you are, little girl, she told me once. Once you know that, everyone else will too.”
One Fearful Yellow Eye is the eighth novel in the Travis McGee series. I'm reading them out of order which doesn't seem to be a problem of continuity with the novels but is wreaking havoc with my OCD. This book was published in 1966.

The plot revolves around McGee's attempts to aid his longtime friend Glory Doyle in her quest to uncover the truth about her late husband and the blackmail which made over half a million dollars of his fortune disappear. It is largely set in Chicago, rather than the usual McGee haunt of Florida.

It boasts one of the higher ratings I’ve ever seen on Goodreads, a 4.1. I didn’t go that high with it, actually enjoyed Queenpin more, but a 6+ isn’t chicken feed either.
How to you extort $600,000 from a dying man? Someone had done it very quietly and skilfully to the husband of Travis McGee's ex-girlfriend. McGee flies to Chicago to help untangle the mess and discovers that although Dr. Fortner Geis had led an exemplary life, there were those who'd take advantage of one "indiscretion" and bring down the whole family. McGee also discovers he likes a few members of the family far too much to let that happen.
A couple quotes from the book:
“Every day, no matter how you fight it, you learn a little more about yourself, and all most of it does is teach humility.” 
“If there was one sunset every twenty years, how would people react to them? If there were ten seashells in all the world, what would they be worth? If people could make love just once a year, how carefully would they pick their mates?” 

Monday, April 10, 2017

Finished: MacDonald's 'A Man of Affairs'

A Man of Affairs by John D. MacDonald was an odd little book I enjoyed quite a bit.

I didn’t find it to be hardboiled fiction (certainly wasn’t a detective novel). It was more like a 1960s (?) business thriller set on a private island in the Bahamas. There were some affairs, a lot of drink, some fist-fights and murders, all centered around the takeover of a business by a playboy titan of industry.
Sam Glidden owed all his success to the opportunities he'd received from Thomas McGann, president of the Harrison Corporation. But now McGann was dead, and Mike Dean, a wildly flamboyant business speculator, was looking to add the Harrison Corporation to his long list of conquests. McGann's spoiled offspring, Tommy and Louise, saw the chance to make instant big bucks by selling out their shares. But Sam Glidden couldn't stand to see everything he'd worked for gobbled up by a barracuda like Mike Dean. So he wangled an invitation to the sand-and-surf soiree Dean planned for Louise and Tommy in the Bahamas ...
Amazonians seemed to like it alright, giving it a 4 of 5 stars. Goodreaders slightly less at 3.8. The Haugenometer settled at a 6 of 10.

If you don’t check out this book, you should check out something by John D. MacDonald. The dude sold over 70 million books in his day so he must’ve been doing something right.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Finished: Chaput's 'Strangers in a Strange Land'

After reading Archbishop Charles Chaput’s fabulous “Render unto Caesar,” I had high hopes for his latest book “Strangers in a Strange Land.” The bar was set high, as RUC was one of my favorite books. So it’s not totally surprising that SIASL didn’t meet expectations.

It was still good and I ended up with a well-marked up copy by the time I was finished, generally a good sign of what I consider interesting or thoughtful points. Yet this book seemed more term-paperish. Less original thought by Chaput and more use of citations. Obviously, a lot of Bible quotes, but many references to philosophers, both famous and obscure.

It was also kind of depressing. He’s pretty down on society right now and not particularly hopeful that Christians will pull us out of this funk any time soon. The message to me was more: Hunker down, do what you can within your little world, and cross your fingers because we are “strangers in a strange land” right now.

Amazon recaps the book:
America today is different in kind, not just in degree, from the past. And this new reality is unlikely to be reversed. The reasons include, but aren't limited to, economic changes that widen the gulf between rich and poor; problems in the content and execution of the education system; the decline of traditional religious belief among young people; the shift from organized religion among adults to unbelief or individualized spiritualities; changes in legal theory and erosion in respect for civil and natural law; significant demographic shifts; profound new patterns in sexual behavior and identity; the growth of federal power and its disregard for religious rights; the growing isolation and elitism of the leadership classes; and the decline of a sustaining sense of family and community.
It seemed almost a fitting book to read during Lent, which in and of itself is a somber, reflective season leading up to the Resurrection.

Here’s a good interview with Chaput by Kathryn Jean Lopez.

In it he says:
The book talks about the challenges we now face as American Christians — and yes, they’re serious — because if we’re not willing to face and understand our real circumstances, we can’t begin to change them. But the whole point of writing Strangers was to lead people through those challenges to claim the joy and hope of a life in Jesus Christ. If the book is about anything, it’s about why we can trust in God’s love for us.
The better that we live as Christians, the more others will discover Jesus Christ. That’s the only way to renew or convert a culture over time.
And I’d be remiss not mentioning that Chaput is former Bishop of Rapid City. Check out his interesting Wiki page.