Monday, August 20, 2007

The Fooshing of the Bells OR: In the future everywhere will be famous for 15 minutes

Back in the early days of Antarctic exploration, the Russians founded Vostok Station at what they believed to be the South Pole. Unfortunately they were wrong and everybody laughed at them. Then the Americans found it and put a pole there, but the ice keeps moving so they have to replant it repeatedly and everybody laughs at them. So they gave up and just made what they call the ceremonial South Pole which is a much more photogenic place with all flags and tablets and stuff that people go to take pictures next to. Up here in the northern hemisphere I thought the geographic center of the United States was somewhere in Kansas. Boy was I wrong! Last week there was a story in the Rapid City Journal about how there's going to be a big ceremony for the unveiling of a gigantic granite compass about 50 miles northwest of here marking the geographic center of the country. Apparently I was taught US geography by russians.

Belle Fourche, South Dakota is a really tiny little town out in the middle of nowhere about 10 miles from South Dakota's border with Wyoming. They pronounce it 'Bell Foosh' but if you try to use that pronunciation with Google's free 411 service, 1-800-Goog-411, the computer will tell you you're an idiot. There's really not a lot there, but what the Bell Fooshers have figured out is that if you count Alaska and Hawaii, it's approximately the geographic center of the United States. And since South Dakota is all about the tourisms, they built a really big ass compass which they put in place last week at the ceremonial center of the country. This isn't actually the true geographic center of the country, that's about ten miles north. But that's even more out in the middle of nowhere than Belle Fourche is and I guess they took a cue from the US Antarctic Program because the compass is right smack in picturesque downtown Bell Foosh.

Over the weekend we went to go check out the marker and I was overcome by the majesty of the place. A little boy walked up to me and asked me something. I figured he wanted to know about the compass so I told him it was a monument to all the people who died in the 'center of the America wars'. It really does look like some kind of war memorial. Then I took my Alternators Optimus Prime and placed it right in the center of the monument and started crying until the little boy told me he wanted to know where they were having the Guitar Hero II tournament. I told him that wasn't until next week. I hope they don't make Puerto Rico or Iraq the 51st state anytime soon because that thing looks really heavy.

Monument officially commemorating South Dakota's status as "The Middle of Nowhere"

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Evil King Macrocranios was voted king by the evil peoples of the Kingdom of Macrocrania. They listen to Iron Maiden all day and try to take pictures of ghosts with their webcams.