Sioux Falls

Sioux Falls is named for the falls created by the Big Sioux river.  it is the largest city in South Dakota, seat of Minnehaha County, and long a draw for native peoples and Europeans.  there are burial mounds near around the falls.  the falls were created during the last ice age and have been important for the native peoples that inhabited the Great Plains.  can’t imagine why. even when frozen (especially when frozen), they’re a pretty impressive sight.  the town was chartered in 1856, but suffered through much of the nineteenth century as new settlers clashed with existing inhabitants.  in recent years, however the city has grown dramatically.  (the growth was aided in large part by John Morrell’s meat packing plant, which is situated just north of the falls and stink up much of the town; the Morrell stockyard is one of the largest in the nation.) the metropolitan area (which includes towns like Harrisburg–where Dave first lived–and Tea–where Becca & Dave live now) is just over 200,000. due in part to the lack of corporate income tax, Sioux Falls is also home to several major banking institutions, including Wells Fargo (grrrrr) and the population is nearly 90 percent Caucasian. it (apparently) has three sister cities: Potsdam, Germany, Strabane, Northern Ireland, and Surgut, Russia.  lastly, it is home to Mary Hart (ET), Pat O’Brien (Access Hollywood), January Jones (Mad Men), and John Thune (current U.S. Senator).  there are signs on the interstate heading into town, advertising it as home of John Thune.  apparently, if you bring home the pork, you get your name on a sign on the interstate roadway system.  someone should tell Janesville–they might be able to market themselves as hometown of Russ Feingold.  (don’t know if it would work as well for Milwaukee with Herb.)

Mystery Spot!

one tourist trap that I long wanted to visit in Santa Cruz: the Mystery Spot.
managed to convince everyone to take the jaunt up into the hills for what proved a thoroughly entertaining visit to this nook of warped perspectives (and/or reality). whatever causes the place to do what it does … I enjoyed it. Gabrielle and I took our turns fudging with our heights with respect to one another. we all climbed a ladder on the wall of the shack like stairs. Tanya stood in a line up of tall people to short people, which then reversed and everyone appeared the same height. the experience was rather disorienting (as, I take, it ought to be) but lots of fun. the best $5 tourist trap I’ve ever visited, for sure.

for more info, visit the official Mystery Spot website