15 Things You Might Not Know About South Dakota

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istock

1. Since 1991, Clark, South Dakota has hosted an annual celebration of the potato. Regular festivities in the late August tradition include recipe competitions, potato decorating contests, potato car races, and (the main attraction) mashed potato wrestling matches.

2. Beneath the grounds of Custer County, South Dakota, lies the second largest cave system in the United States, and third largest in the world. The Jewel Cave was discovered in 1900 and earned status as a national monument in 1908, though the lion’s share of its exploration didn’t take place until the beginning of the 1960s. The crystal-rich caverns span 1,273 acres and consist of over 166 miles of charted passageways.

3. South Dakota might well be the hosting capital of America. Hailing from the Mount Rushmore State are small screen fixtures Bob Barker (host of The Price Is Right from 1972 - 2007), Mary Hart (host of Entertainment Tonight from 1982 - 2011), Pat O’Brien (sportscaster for CBS Sports from 1981 - 1997, and host of Access Hollywood from 1997 - 2004), and Tom Brokaw (anchor of NBC Nightly News from 1982 - 2004).

4. Back in 1931, a memorial honoring Crazy Horse, famed chief of the Oglala Lakota Native American tribe, was planned for South Dakota’s Black Hills mountain range … and the project is still nowhere near complete. The perpetually “in progress” endeavor was first conceived by Oglala Lakota chief and statesman Henry Standing Bear, who spent more than two decades convincing Polish-American sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski to undertake the project. Ziolkowski worked on the sculpture from 1947 through ’82, when he died on site of pancreatitis. Although there is no foreseeable end date for Crazy Horse’s memorial, it promises the superlative of world’s largest sculpture with a planned height of 564 feet. The tallest sculpture standing today is the Spring Temple Buddha, which reaches 420 feet.

5. Way out in the tiny town of Wall, South Dakota (where only 766 people reside), you’ll find one colossal shopping center: Wall Drug Store—known to the locals as “Wall Drug”—has been called the largest drug store in the world, though it is hardly just that. Operating under the Wall name (and within the Wall walls) are gift shops, clothing stores, and restaurants … not to mention active animatronics and a free-of-charge ice water well out back.

6. The Holy Terror, a now defunct gold mine in Keystone, didn’t get its name due to particularly hazardous terrain. Lore has it that when William B. Franklin discovered the mine in 1891, it was suggested that he uphold the common practice of naming it after his wife. Though versions of the story vary, the general theme carries that Franklin—a notorious drinker—would often find himself dragged home from the saloons by his angry wife Jen, dubbing her for his friends’ amusement a “holy terror.” As such, when the time came to brand his find with her namesake, Franklin chose this charming little moniker.

7. The world’s only Corn Palace lives in Mitchell, South Dakota, where it serves as a concert venue, sports arena, and general community center. Living up to its name, the exterior of the 68-foot-tall building is covered almost entirely with works of art made from corn and other grains. Every year, the building is stripped and replaced with a fresh batch of corn-based pieces.

8. The largest and best-preserved Tyrannosaurus Rex fossil in the world might never have been discovered if not for some well-timed car troubles just outside of Hill City, South Dakota. Following a summer spent excavating the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation, a team of scientists suffered a flat tire on their drive out from the dig site. All but one headed into town to get help, the outlier being paleontologist Sue Hendrickson, who instead took to nearby unexplored hills for a quick peek. There, she found the first pieces of what would ultimately become the only discovered T-Rex skeleton to breach 80 percent completion. The fossil, which lives today in the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, is named Sue in Hendrickson’s honor.

9. Here’s one for trivia night: South Dakota is the only state whose name does not share a single letter with that of its capital: Pierre.

10. And there’s a good chance you’ve been pronouncing that wrong. Though we’re inclined to pronounce “Pierre” in the French tradition (“Pee-YARE”), the South Dakota capital actually prefers the simpler “Peer.”

11. South Dakota is one of 13 states that sit in two different time zones. This proves particularly troublesome for the small town of Fort Pierre (a Mountain Time city), which sends many a resident to work in its much larger neighbor, Pierre (a Central Time city).

12. The largest known concentration of an extremely rare mineral formation called boxwork can be found in South Dakota’s Wind Cave. As a result of erosion, the cave’s calcite walls adopt patterns resembling honeycombs or spider webs. Wind Cave claims about 82 miles worth of boxwork, accounting for 95 percent of the world’s known formations.

13. If you drive down South Dakota’s I-229 Bridge at nighttime toward Sioux Falls’ 26th Street, you might catch glimpse of a particularly unsettling scene: a pair of “ghost joggers” that allegedly run the road every evening. No official explanations have ever been placed on record.

14. On the morning of January 22, 1943, Spearfish, South Dakota, experienced the fastest temperature change in recorded history. In just two minutes, local temperatures jumped 49º on the Fahrenheit scale from the glacial -4º to 45º, practically sweater weather by comparison. (Measured on the Celsius scale, that’s -20º to 7º, a 27º spike.)

15. As far as South Dakota is concerned, April has showers, May has flowers, and July has colossal chunks of ice raining down from the heavens. On July 23, 2010, the largest hailstone in U.S. history hit the town of Vivian, weighing in at 9 pounds 15 ounces and measuring 8 inches in diameter. The ice ball in question retains the record for the aforementioned calculations, but Aurora, Nebraska’s 2003 frozen pellet, still boasts the record for circumference (18.75 inches to Vivian’s 18.625).

Amazon's Under-the-Radar Coupon Page Features Deals on Home Goods, Electronics, and Groceries

Stock Catalog, Flickr // CC BY 2.0
Stock Catalog, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

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Now that Prime Day is over, and with Black Friday and Cyber Monday still a few weeks away, online deals may seem harder to come by. And while it can be a hassle to scour the internet for promo codes, buy-one-get-one deals, and flash sales, Amazon actually has an extensive coupon page you might not know about that features deals to look through every day.

As pointed out by People, the coupon page breaks deals down by categories, like electronics, home & kitchen, and groceries (the coupons even work with SNAP benefits). Since most of the deals revolve around the essentials, it's easy to stock up on items like Cottonelle toilet paper, Tide Pods, Cascade dishwasher detergent, and a 50 pack of surgical masks whenever you're running low.

But the low prices don't just stop at necessities. If you’re looking for the best deal on headphones, all you have to do is go to the electronics coupon page and it will bring up a deal on these COWIN E7 PRO noise-canceling headphones, which are now $80, thanks to a $10 coupon you could have missed.

Alternatively, if you are looking for deals on specific brands, you can search for their coupons from the page. So if you've had your eye on the Homall S-Racer gaming chair, you’ll find there's currently a coupon that saves you 5 percent, thanks to a simple search.

To discover all the deals you have been missing out on, head over to the Amazon Coupons page.

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11 Thoughtful Gifts For Word Lovers

iStock.com/Jelena Danilovic
iStock.com/Jelena Danilovic

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It’s easy to spot the logophiles in your life: They’re the people who are addicted to word games, have full libraries at home, or who are always quick to provide you with the word that’s on the tip of your tongue. This holiday season, indulge your loved one’s passion for words with a gift they’ll appreciate.

1. Book Couch; $25

Gifts for Readers & Writers Store/Amazon

The better the book, the more exhausting it is to hold up. Give a rabid reader’s tired arms a rest with the Book Couch, a plush lap rest that props up books, e-readers, and tablets so they can gorge on words with minimal effort. It’s available in blue, grey, red, diner booth, and hot lips.

Buy it: Amazon

2. Moleskine’s Book Journal

Moleskine

The new year is a great opportunity to start a book journal. This one from Moleskine is specifically designed for documenting someone’s reading history, with sections for recording general information about the title as well as jotting down impressions and memorable quotes. Like other Moleskine products, this notebook comes with useful features like ribbon bookmarks and an expandable inner pocket.

Buy it: Amazon

3. Shakespearean Insults Chart; $25

Uncommon Goods

Give this chart to someone you know and instantly add color to their insult arsenal. The poster not only list dozens of scathing jabs from the works of Shakespeare, but it also breaks them down into categories like “body qualities” and “personal attributes” and subcategories like “knaves” and “dunghills.” The chart measures 24 by 18 inches and comes with a magnetic birch frame for an extra $30.

Buy it: Uncommon Goods

4. KenzaPad; $60

Scott MacMillan, Kickstarter

Smartphones are convenient for taking notes on the go, but it’s hard to beat the tactile sensation of jotting down a thought with a pen and paper. The KenzaPad combines the best elements from both mediums into one handy tool. The pad looks and acts like a wallet on the outside, with pockets for holding keys, cards, and pens. Flip open the magnetic seal and it transforms into a notepad you can hold with one hand and write in with the other. And no thicker than a smartphone, the KenzaPad neatly slips into a purse or pocket.

Buy it: Amazon

5. Book Darts; $9

Amazon

Book darts give book lovers ultimate control over their reading experience. Instead of putting down a book mid-paragraph, or rushing to the next page before adding a bookmark, these tools let readers save their place down to the line. With 50 metal tabs per package, they’re also a great, reusable alternative to highlighters or sticky notes.

Buy it: Amazon

6. Flexilight Xtra Booklight; $9

Flexilight/Amazon

Got a young reader to buy for? Grab one of the Flexilight Xtra booklights. Unlike most booklights, this LED-powered light is flexible enough to conform to most any book and comes in fun designs like penguins, dogs, and owls for kid word buffs. It’s also thin enough to double as a bookmark.

Buy it: Amazon

7. Novel Teas; $14

Bag Ladies Tea/Amazon

Few things go better together than a good book and a cup of tea. Now readers can elevate their cozy book appointments with Novel Teas, a set of 25 individually-wrapped teabags that each have literary quotes on them. The product also has one of the great slogans in advertising history: “Read ‘em and steep.”

Buy it: Amazon

8. William Shakespeare Engraved Inspirational Quote Pen; $20

Inkstone/Amazon

Keep the wisdom of the Bard close at hand with this engraved pen sporting the classic Shakespeare line: “To thine own self be true.” The ballpoint pen is compatible with G2 ink refills.

Buy it: Amazon

9. Other-Wordly; $13

Chronicle Books/Amazon

Take a trip through an assortment of arcane and delightful words in this sumptuous book by Yee-Lum Mak and illustrator Kelsey Garrity-Riley. Discover words in multiple languages that express all things beautiful.

Buy it: Amazon

10. Retro Series Scrabble; $20

Amazon

Scrabble has been updated several times since its debut, but the original edition remains a classic. This Retro Series-edition of Scrabble is the same version of the game that appeared on shelves in 1949, complete with vintage wood tiles and racks. Whether or not the players stick to words that were dictionary-official 70 years ago is up to them.

Buy it: at Amazon

11. Punderdome: A Card Game for Pun Lovers; $14

Clarkson Potter/Amazon

No true word lover can resist a good pun. Punderdome makes a game out of wordplay, tasking players with taking two prompts from the deck and making one terrific (i.e. awful) pun out of them. You can even play virtually for socially-distanced game nights.

Buy it: Amazon

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