Sunday, May 7, 2017

A Little North Dakota History -- Nothing About The Bakken -- May 7, 2017

A reader sent me this link to a story in The Bismarck Tribune today:
The Ashley Jewish Homesteaders Cemetery was named to the National Register of Historic Places for being a legacy of the largest Jewish agricultural settlement in North Dakota and, as would naturally follow, the largest such cemetery. An association of far-flung descendants that sees to the upkeep and maintenance is sponsoring a cemetery rededication at 2 p.m. May 21. Everyone is invited.
I had to look up where Ashley is: a little west of the southeastern corner of the state.  It's a fascinating story on so many levels.

I quickly pulled out my copy of David J Wishart's Encyclopedia of the Great Plains. Canada had an aggressive marketing campaign in the late 1800's to lure immigrants from the US into Canada, from page 245:
Like the Mennonites, other minorities were pushed to the Canadian Prairie West by conditions in their homelands and pulled by the liberality of the Canadian government. In 1877, Icelanders settled a block grant ... Mormons moved north from Utah to evade a US antipolygamy law ... attracted by assurances that they could preserve their cultural distinctiveness, Jewish homesteaders abandoned north Dakota to create six agricultural colonies in Manitoba and Saskatchewan.
I know I have another book on early settlers of North Dakota but I can't locate it at the moment.

A Note To The Granddaughters

I've always wanted to read something by Alexander Pushkin but for some reason have never gotten around to it, mostly because I was always a bit intimidated and I always thought Russian literature would be difficult and depressing. I was certainly wrong about Pushkin.

A new translation of all his prose works has just appeared: Novels, Tales, Journeys -- The Complete Prose of Alexander Pushkin, translation by Richard Pevear and Lrissa Volokhonsky, c. 2016. It is very, very good.

He has an excellent sense of (dry) humor. Occasionally I am reminded of Mark Twain but Pushkin is so much more subtle; perhaps "irony" is the better word. The Tales of the Late Ivan Petrovich Belkin very much reminds me of James Joyce's A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man.

From a website that does short bios of Jewish men and women (and men and women who seem Jewish but are not) comes this blurb:
Pushkin, who is not Jewish, is the greatest Russian author of all time (yes, that includes Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky, the father of modern Russian literature. Pushkin married the hottest woman in all of Russia and was then killed in a duel over her.
Another Note To The Granddaughters

Not a lot of people know this:
Last week we were brought back to earth by the Danish Meteorological Institute (DMI), as charted by our friend Paul Homewood on his blog Notalotofpeopleknowthat, with the news that ever since December temperatures in the Arctic have consistently been lower than minus 20 C.
In April the extent of Arctic sea ice was back to where it was in April 13 years ago. Furthermore, whereas in 2008 most of the ice was extremely thin, this year most has been at least two metres thick. The Greenland ice cap last winter increased in volume faster than at any time for years.
As for those record temperatures brought in 2016 by an exceptionally strong El Niño, the satellites now show that in recent months global temperatures have plummeted by more that 0.6 degrees: just as happened 17 years ago after a similarly strong El Niño had also made 1998 the “hottest year on record”.
This means the global temperature trend has now shown no further warming for 19 years.
But the BBC won’t be telling us any of this. And we are still stuck with that insanely damaging Climate Change Act, which in this election will scarcely get a mention.

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