I was astounded to read in Don Gackle's column in
The Independent at Garrison how much the Bureau of Land Management
took in at a competitive oil and gas lease sale held recently. The
first sale of fiscal year 2008 surpassed all the sales in fiscal
year 2007, which ended in September. $12.8 million was bid for
mineral rights on federal land in North Dakota, South Dakota and
Montana. North Dakota accounted for $11.4 million of the total.
The sale included a record $5,280,000 for a
320-acre lease in Township 154 North, Range 90 West in Mountrail
County. That's $16,500 per acre! Two additional tracts in Mountrail
County went for $2,700 per acre, another went for $1,400 and a
fourth parcel went for $1,000 per acre. That's not for the land, but
for the mineral rights.
Other North Dakota counties and their per acre
bids included McKenzie, $1,300; Dunn, $525; Billings, $1,200; and
Revenues from the oil and gas leases are shared by
the federal government and the state or county where the parcels are
Once again, The Washington Post has published the
winning submissions to its yearly contest, in which readers are
asked to supply alternate meanings for common words.
The winners are:
1. Coffee (n.), the person upon whom one coughs.
2. Flabbergasted (adj.), appalled over how much
weight you have gained.
3. Abdicate (v.), to give up all hope of ever
having a flat stomach.
4. Esplanade (v.), to attempt an explanation while
5. Willy-nilly (adj.), impotent.
6. Negligent (adj.), describes a condition in
which you absentmindedly answer the door in your nightgown.
7. Lymph (v.), to walk with a lisp.
8. Gargoyle (n.), olive-flavored mouthwash.
9. Flatulence (n.) emergency vehicle that picks
you up after you are run over by a steamroller.
10. Balderdash (n.), a rapidly receding hairline.
11. Testicle (n.), a humorous question on an exam.
12. Rectitude (n.), the formal, dignified bearing
adopted by proctologists.
13. Pokemon (n), a Rastafarian proctologist.
14. Oyster (n.), a person who sprinkles his
conversation with Yiddish isms.
15. Frisbeetarianism (n.), The belief that, when
you die, your soul flies up onto the roof and gets stuck there.
16. Circumvent (n.), an opening in the front of
boxer shorts worn by Jewish men.
And these wonderful metaphors come from an article
by Dr. Randy Hines of the Department of Communications at
Susquehanna University in Selinsgrove, Pa.:
Many writers overuse and misuse metaphors and
similes, often resulting in humorous expressions. Here are my top 20
of the better (and worse) ones for your reading enjoyment:
1. Her face was a perfect oval, like a circle that
had its sides gently compressed by a Thigh Master.
2. She grew on him like she was a colony of
E-Coli, and he was room-temperature Canadian beef.
3. She had a deep, throaty, genuine laugh, like
that sound a dog makes just before it throws up.
4. Her vocabulary was as bad as, like, whatever.
5. He was as tall as a six-foot, three-inch tree.
6. The little boat gently drifted across the pond
exactly the way a bowling ball wouldn't.
7. McBride fell 12 stories, hitting the pavement
like a Hefty bag filled with vegetable soup.
8. From the attic came an unearthly howl. The
whole scene had an eerie, surreal quality, like when you're on
vacation in another city and Jeopardy comes on at 7 p.m. instead of
9. Her hair glistened in the rain like a nose hair
after a sneeze.
10. The hailstones leaped from the pavement, just
like maggots when you fry them in hot grease.
11. They lived in a typical suburban neighborhood
with picket fences that resembled Nancy Kerrigan's teeth.
12. John and Mary had never met. They were like
two hummingbirds who had also never met.
13. He fell for her like his heart was a mob
informant, and she was the East River.
14. Even in his last years, Granddad had a mind
like a steel trap, only one that had been left out so long, it had
15. Shots rang out, as shots are known to do.
16. The plan was simple, like my brother-in-law
Phil. But unlike Phil, this plan just might work.
17. The young fighter had a hungry look, the kind
you get from not eating for a while.
18. The ballerina rose gracefully en Pointe and
extended one slender leg behind her, like a dog at a fire hydrant.
19. It was an American tradition, like fathers
chasing kids around with power tools.
20. He was deeply in love. When she spoke, he
thought he heard bells, as if she were a garbage truck backing up.