I have a few questions. No, no, they’re not rhetorical questions; they’re just plain old questions – the kind that seek answers. Knowing that the people who pass through this place are the intellectual cream of the crop, I expect that my questions can be readily answered. Here they are:
1. What’s the deal with that little strip of Idaho in the northern part of the state that sits between Montana and Washington and borders on Canada? I looked at a county map, and these appear to be Boundary and Bonner Counties.
2. How wide is that strip?
3. How long does it take to drive through it?
4. I see from the map that there are towns in that strip. Do the people who live there, with the fat end of the state way to the south, feel like Idahoans [??] or are their identities smooshed into those of Montanans [??] and/or Washingtonians[??]?
5. Do people live in the part of that strip that borders on Canada? Do they feel like Idahoans [??], Montanans [??], Washingtonians [??], or Canadians? Do they routinely carry around Canadian money? Do they drink Molson Ale? While I’m at it, could someone please tell me what you call people who live in Idaho, Washington and Montana? As you can see, I know what you call people who live in Canada.
6. Do potatoes grow in that strip?
7. Do you call a woman of ill-repute who lives in Idaho and “Idaho ho?” OK, so the last one is just silly, and it was probably the product of Friday fatigue.
The Wal-Mart Radio Commercial
1. Have you heard the radio commercial for Wal-Mart in which the woman says, “My name is Karen, and I work at Wal-Mart”? It’s the one where she says that her goal is to someday be the CEO.
2. In the commercial she says, “I started out as a [word I cannot understand] stocker.” It sounds like she is saying, “I started out as a prostitute stocker.” Now, I know she is not saying that, because: (a) if she were a prostitute (a successful one, anyway), she probably would not have to work at Wal-Mart, and (b) I doubt that Wal-Mart stocks prostitutes. What the heck is she saying???
Back to the Introductory Paragraph
1. In the introductory paragraph, I tossed out the term “cream of the crop.” What the basis of that rather goofy expression?
2. Does it refer to a crop, as in crop of vegetables? If so, is the best part of a crop referred to as the “cream”? If so, why? Might it refer to a part of the digestive system of a bird, or one of those things you carry while wearing those strange looking clothes and riding a fancy-schmancy horse?
UPDATE: I knew youse guys could do it. Randy, a Montana Blogger and proprietor of A Secular Franciscan Life, sent me some interesting information via e-mail (It seems that my MT Blacklist was zapping his comment, presumably because of a combination of letters in one of the URLs he tried to post). More specifically, he pointed me to this post, which points out, among other things, that the little strip of land (or panhandle) at the top of Idaho exists because Montana glommed a couple hundred miles of land to the east of the panhandle, thereby extending the western border of the territory that would become the state of Montana. It also turns out that Idaho originally wanted to call itself “Montana,” but Montana glommed the name as well. There is lots of interesting stuff in that post about the territorial system of government in the west in the 19th century.
Oh, and Randy also said, in his e-mail:
Did you know most “Idaho potatoes” are NOT grown in Idaho? USDA
rules allows trucking potatoes into Idaho and if they are bagged in
Idaho they can be called Idaho potatoes. They don’t have to be grown
there to earn the moniker. In all actuality most “Idaho potatoes” are
grown in the Red River Valley of North Dakota.
No, I didn’t know that. Sheesh! Does that mean that if I ever get to Idaho and get myself “bagged” in one of the many saloons that Dan described in the comments, I’ll no longer be a Jersey Guy?