12/26/2007 – Editorials


By Richard Peterson

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 Bowman, $780.

Revenues from the oil and gas leases are shared by the federal government and the state or county where the parcels are located.

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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 drunk.

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.

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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 7:30.

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 rusted shut.

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.


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