Saturday, March 1, 2014

February Top Posts

A cold stock, frigid cold weather and Bathgate, North Dakota led the way in February at Along the Gradyent. Seeing as how the temperature has dropped below zero in Bathgate during fifty out of the last sixty days, we can chalk the Bathgate stories up into the cold column as well. Here are February's top ten most popular posts, ranked by page views. Thank you readers for your loyal support.

1. Last October, in "To Invest in a Bank," we reviewed our decision to invest in Glacier Bancorp (GBCI) while the financial crisis was still being resolved in 2009. It eventually paid off. But GBCI hit a couple of bumps in the road in late January and early February, drawing attention to our post. We wrote a quick update to help readers identify the forces that caused the pavement to temporarily buckle.

2. Isaac J. Foster is my grandfather. He died two decades before I was born. By all accounts, he was an epic figure. Ike was a farmer, stock man, auctioneer, real estate broker, insurance agent, civic activist, county sheriff and all-around business man. Along the way he had eleven kids. "On the Road to Bathgate Act 4e: Isaac J. Foster's Civic and Public Lives (Part 1)" is the first of a three part series on Isaac's public life. This first post describes a time when Isaac confronted and rebuffed a chilling accusation that, if had been true, would have destroyed all that followed.

3. We posted "Epic Freeze Coming for the Great Lakes: Water Levels Already Back" on January 5. We were early predictors --  at the time ice covered only 22.7 percent of the Great Lakes surface area.  Ice coverage since peaked at 88 .7 percent on February 13th. Winds subsequently blew apart large sections of the ice pack but as of yesterday coverage had recovered to 85.4 percent. In the next few days we will be flirting with the highest ever recorded coverage. Stay tuned to see if the frigid air mass or the winds prevail. Whichever wills out, we have already proven Al Franken myopic and wrong. Hallelujah for that.
February 28, 2014 ice cover.
January 5, 2014 ice cover.

4. I never met my uncle Lyndon R. Foster, but I feel like I know the man after researching and writing "On the Road to Bathgate Act 4f: Lyndon R. Foster -- Veteran, Publisher and Politician." Uncle Lyn's life and career were explosive -- literally.  Read this post to learn about a man who almost sacrificed his life exercising his First Amendment privileges. "Red" Foster is the dude.

5. In "The Foster Family: Politicians 'R Us" we found relations as we surveyed the landscape from the Great Lakes to the Pacific, and from Canada down to Texas. We got it covered.

6. In "On the Road to Bathgate Act 4c: By George We Got It" we relate how a story our research uncovered in the May 31, 1911 Bathgate (North Dakota) Pink Paper positively identifies the subjects in an old family photo.  My dad is the little guy in the wagon -- really cool.

7. There was a lot of talk about the Polar Vortex during this incredibly cold winter, so when we thought of a way to illustrate the mechanics, we posted "To Understand the Polar Vortex." If you have ever looked at a lava lamp in operation, you have an inkling.

8. We posted "On the Road to Bathgate: Norval Baptie Champion Skater" last April.  The post became timely during the Winter Olympics when the Baptie's legend was refreshed.  If there were a winter olympiad back in his day, Bathgate's most famous citizen would likely have won at least three gold medals.

9. "On the Road to Bathgate Act 4e: Isaac J. Foster's Civic and Public Lives (Part 3)" looks at Ike's three terms on the North Dakota State Livestock Sanitary Board. I uncovered handwritten meeting minutes from the 1910s and 1920s.  How cool is that?  Look at Part 2 as well, which details Ike's life and times as Pembina County sheriff -- alleged murder, embezzlement, a posse and a hanging, it's all there. 

10. In Washington DC, when it comes to getting work and support, it's not achievement and merit that count; it's leverage and influence. In our decades of residence inside the beltway, likely as not the source of the was "It's that Fella Across the Street."

Here is hoping to a great and pleasant March for everyone, though with a below zero high today and blizzard conditions, we are not off to the best of starts.

Love Lane, just West of Bozeman, March 1, 2014.

And midday road conditions up at Bozeman Pass, ten miles up the road.

Ice WarningBozeman Pass I-90 MP 321.8 - WB lane MP 321.3 (564002.0)03/01/2014 11:11 (MST)
-2.2F17F-16F77%-21F-NoneNone--21 mphE
There is an Interstate in there somewhere.

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