31 August 2008

Another Modest Proposal: The Producers

This was the display table on the way in to the theatre. It sort of gave away the main story line though our son Peter, who had never seen this show before, was still surprised. He is young enough that the thought of making fun of Nazis would never occur to him. Maybe our educational system has a few holes in it.

I should read the Gazette more thoroughly. Then I would have realized where the idea for the above picture came from. See below. What would we do without Google? WWWDWG?

I thought this was an old movie by Mel Brooks from the late 60s. Very funny, though I don't know how it got through the thought police. Maybe they weren't so strong in the 60s as they are today. I was pleasantly surprised when one of our local little theatres, Billings Studio Theatre (BST), started off their season a few days ago with a version of The Producers. Actually, my wife had to talk me into going, so well done Carol. The show was fantastic as it featured some of the best players we have, some good singers and some good dancers. Not sure how they did the music; some of it seemed live and the playbill mentioned the orchestra, but some of it sounded like a larger recorded orchestra. I will try to find out more on this matter.

Naturally, I turned to Google and Wikipedia and found out the original was a 1968 movie with Zero Mostel and Gene Wilder in the main parts. The music was terrific—"Springtime for Hitler" and "Prisoners of Love." A really great movie with all kinds of humor, poking fun at little old ladies, homosexuals, dancers, Broadway happenings and shows, and of course, everyone's favorite bad people on the left side of the aisle, the National Socialists. I guess we are all progressives nowadays. I was surprised how funny it really is, even when you've seen it before.

Well, then they did a play on Broadway starting in 2001, with Max and Leo played by Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick, and then another movie with the same guys as the leads in 2005. They also added Uma Thurman and Will Farrell. Much of the original was kept intact though there were some changes, particularly the Hitler part, decidedly queer in the original.

I'm not sure who made the changes necessary for the smaller stage that most little theatres have but it certainly worked well for BST. I suspect the magic of Sondra Baker and Jeff Boschee had something to do with the success of the production. Kelly Martin is a perfect Leo Bloom. He is, of course, aided by Pat Schindele, Dan Jurovich,Vint Lavinder, all pros who keep things moving along very well indeed.

This looks like a good season at BST. Check out their site high-lighted above. I see "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest," "The Rabbit Hole," and "Guys On Ice" which are just the ones I know about. The others, eight in all, might be even better.

30 August 2008

Sailing East On The 90

I am sorry. I took this picture while driving at about 70mph down the 90 heading toward Billings. My camera is easier to use than my cellphone.

This picture was too much of a temptation. At 70mph I thought it said "Bears Exit Now," which I thought fairly funny. Only after seeing the picture did I see the whole message, "See Grizzly Bears Exit Now." I promise to not take any more pictures at 70mph.

29 August 2008

More Good Restaurants in Billings

Good stuff available here. Even blondes know enough to eat here. See above.


The Dutch brothers have been in business here on 17th St for at least 20 years, always dishing up good soups and sandwiches. You can see how crowded it is at lunch above.

Dutch Brothers Bakery: aka Caramel Cookie Waffles on Urbanspoon

26 August 2008

Creation: An Ongoing Process


There are a lot of really interesting things going on out there in the blogosphere. This one is from the Creative Minority Report. Check it out.

25 August 2008

Wandering Again

Here we are again, wandering in downtown Billings, looking for a place to have lunch. The Soviet-styled architecture on the right is the new Billings Gazette building.

The artwork varies from so-so to excellent. Many of our Montana artists have not given up on the human project, and they seem to find evidence of order even in what appears to be disorder of a high degree to the casual passerby.


Carol and I found a really nice restaurant inside the Yellowstone Art Museum. Very good soup. Everyday they have a creamy Drunken Crab which was excellent. I forget what the other choice was, but it changes daily.

Tried some Italian light white and it was quite reasonable too. Needed to be a little cooler. The veal was good in places, especially with the prosciutto ham wrapped around it. And some interesting glasses too.

And to top everything off there were some splendid pieces of art on display. Hurry on down. Miriam Sample has blessed us all with her support for Montana artists and the galleries to see their stuff in.

24 August 2008

Wandering Around Billings

The back end of a typical white person's car. The bad thing about this car is that there is not room for a gun rack. It does however, go for 33-35 mpg on the open road as long as you don't go faster than 80 mph.

Perkin's is a typical white person's restaurant. They serve stuff like chicken fried chicken to show their diversity.

Summer time and the living is easy at George Henry's Restaurant just across from the historic Lincoln Junior High School, now used mainly for housing the more senior members of the educational establishment of Billings.

Deaconess Medical Center is sometimes approached through a park which is in front of the Emergency Department Entrance. This is the country club hospital for southern Montana and northern Wyoming.


Sometimes as we age, perhaps not so gracefully, we wander. Wandering around Billings can lead to as many pictures as wandering around the Mediterranean. The big questions always remain no matter where we are: Who are we? What are we supposed to be doing? Where do we go after here? In order to ponder these questions it is best to fortify yourself with a combination of clam chowder and a toasted cheese sandwich. Be sure to tell them to cut down on the potatoes in the chowder.

18 August 2008

Delicious Company


This company looks interesting if they can fix the connection to .Mac

Delicious Company

17 August 2008

More On The Assumption

"GK Chesterton said: "I love my religion and I love especially those parts of it which are generally held to be most superstitious." Many suspect that the Assumption of Our Lady is one of those superstitious aspects - despite the fact that the observance of this feast day is universal in both eastern and western churches."

From Carl Olson here,

which I was referred to by one of those married priests, Dwight Longenecker here.

16 August 2008

Google Stuff

Billings Panorama. You can just barely make out the Beartooth Mountains in the background.

When linking one of my pictures down at the bottom of the blog, I checked out the Wikipedia entry on Billings. There are some amazing little infobits on that page. The gnomes working for Google are to be commended once again. Who would have guessed that wrestler Gary Albright, sadly now late, was from Billings? Or that Billings is the 3rd Best Place in the country to raise a family? Or that we are the 60th Fastest Growing City amongst those over 100,000 souls. Great pictures too. Check it out.

15 August 2008

From Singing In The Reign


I can't resist pointing out a posting from one of my favorite blogs, especially since it explains in better detail than I could muster just one of the beautiful and meaningful Marian stories that attracted me to the Old Church herself some years ago. I agree with Chesterton: it is ever so much bigger on the inside than on the outside.

14 August 2008

The Bozone on The Solemnity of the Assumption of the BVM

Northwest Legion Regional Baseball Tournament: The view from the grandstand at Heroes Park, Bozeman MT mid-August 2008. This was not the Scarlets' finest hours.

Altar at Holy Rosary Catholic Church, Main St, Bozeman MT. The organ sounds good but aesthetically it visually overwhelms everything else. I remember when I was very young and sat upstairs in the balcony with my grandfather in the conservative Wisconsin synod Lutheran Church. The organ was next to the entrance door and I noticed people would stop and say a prayer immediately on entering. Of course, my first guess was that God was located within the organ. Good homily on the Assumption. Full house at mid-day.

Bridger Mountains in the background of Heroes Park, Bozeman MT. I wonder if a baseball stadium in Missoula MT could have been given this name?

A view down Main Street, Bozeman MT, one of the town's major assets. The Country Book Shelf is a fine independent book store about 3 doors down from where I took the picture. I was waiting for it to open its doors at 9am. They usually have signed versions of most recent books published by Montanans.

A view of the Montana Ale Works, a good place to eat and drink, right across from a really snazzy new public library, see below, on Main Street. Bozeman looks prosperous these days. They are building a large new parking garage just off Main St.

The Bozeman Public Library, recently opened on Main Street, Bozeman MT. When will Billings build a new library?

The view down the 90, heading east somewhere near Big Timber. This is the road the Scarlets beat a hasty retreat after losing a quick two games at the Northwest Regional. Ironic too because as I looked at the pairings before they started it crossed my mind that they might win it. Hmmm.

13 August 2008

Will Our Separation of Church and State Remain?


I knew there was a lot of nuttiness going around but who would have guessed at the extent chronicled by this unusual website: http://obamamessiah.blogspot.com/

How come us sensible people always wind up voting against the most dangerous candidate?

11 August 2008

Architect's Error Leads to Mustang Loss

Off to a strong start in the 2nd half, it seems a little surprising when the Mustangs lose. They took on the Casper Ghosts tonight, and committed 4 errors in the first two or three innings, two of them owing to the sun blinding the first baseman and then later the right fielder in the same inning. Even the 1st base umpire had some difficulties for an inning or so. This was a regular happening at the old Cobb Field of course, but was supposed to be fixed in the new Dehler Park. Maybe the earth has shifted in its orbit around the sun because of global warming, or maybe the reductions thought necessary to get the public to vote for the park led to the problem, I'm not sure, but the problem is still there.

Final score was 8-7, not bad considering we spotted them 7 runs to start.

I hope someone is thinking about how to fix this problem. I would guess some sort of sky boxes built above and behind the current seats might remedy the sun problem, as well as provide some relief to the fans trying to get some shade or stay out of the rain.

Then if we can get someone to tell the cheerleader/announcer to turn his volume down and maybe even just be quiet between at least some innings we might have an enjoyable place to watch a ballgame. Is it a necessity that minor league fans be tortured by high school exaggeration of names during the game, and loud crappy music, and/or advertisements for this and that between innings? I am hoping a trip to Radio Shack for a small radio, or maybe an iPod, together with some good earphones will cut down on the noise.

I just checked with our friendly search engine to see what's up with the Ghosts. Turns out that the name is just a way of selling caps and other gear. The logo actually glows in the dark, groan. Hmm. They are the former Butte Copper Kings, now moved to Casper, and called the Rockies for the first 6 or 7 years there.

10 August 2008

A Date with my Wife at Barnes & Noble

Carol and I visited our local B & N this afternoon in order to hear our favorite teacher tell us something of the first century of the CE as they say in Academe. I think it stands for Common Era, though what is common about it I'm not really sure.

Big crowd, standing room only, at least on the side of the room I was on. Elizabeth's aging trophy husband Bill, ever the gentleman, gave up his seat to a younger woman. Elizabeth gave a very nice lecture and summary of the book.

Don't you just love Google: CE can stand for Common, Christian or Current Era and apparently is used in order to be sensitive to the feelings of non-Christians. Hmm.

Of course she willingly signed for free our copy of her just-published book, Jesus and First-Century Christianity in Jerusalem by Elizabeth McNamer and Bargil Pixner, which combines a look at some of the written sources as well as recent archaeology and some good guessing on the part of Father Pixner, may his soul rest in peace, and Professor McNamer.

Just like her marvelous Scripture from Scratch series, she is always interested in the commoners sitting in the pews. In fact she several times said "I did not want it to be a scholarly book that nobody could understand. My main thought was making it understandable for people in the pews." Good work, Elizabeth.

08 August 2008

Good Eats on the 25 in Colorado

I can't quite figure out how I missed this place on the way south but I did, and was lucky to spot it, thanks to an alert wife, on the way back north. The exit from the 25 going north is a funny little curving turn that looks like it might not accomodate some of the bigger trucks which probably have to use the frontage road and exit (I think it was exit 254) earlier than we did. The re-entrances are a long way on the frontage road in either direction.

Anyway, the place is Johnson's Corner, near Loveland CO, advertised as a truck stop but it is a little more than that. Maybe it started as a truck stop back in the olden days on Hwy 87 but when Interstate 25 came along it really struck gold. It's big. So it's been there since the 50s and is justly famous for their cinnamon rolls, almost dinner-plate size and slathered with lots of sweet things. Carol and I shared one as an appetizer while waiting for our breakfast.

Sorry, we were both so hungry and life getting shorter by the minute, we tore into the roll before I thought to take a picture of it. Next time, I promise. We were going to just sample it, then take the rest along in the car, but it was so gooey that we just had to eat it right there.

The breakfast was: hash (the corned beef version, not short for hashish; and certainly not the computer version) & eggs were excellent as was the "early burger" their version of sausage, egg & cheese on a bun. The hash brown potatoes were better than average, in fact they were actually good. This would be a good place to stop for breakfast, and probably lunch and dinner too, and to get your RV fixed I suppose, or buy a Harley: They are both very close and on the frontage road. The waitresses are pleasant and hard working. I can't think of anything remotely critical to say about the place unless it was that re-entry to the 25 thing but you feel so good after the meal that that minor problem is not so big as you might think.

Lots of normal people eat here and wait on table too.

They even have a chapel.

06 August 2008

A Few Days in the Duke's City of New Mexico

Fountain in downtown Albuquerque. That is abuela Carol and nieto Diego in front of her.

St Philip de Neri Church in the middle of Old Town, Albuquerque

Wednesday morning we spent walking around Old Town. Lunch at La Placita.

Eating at NYPD Pizza Place in downtown Albuquerque. Carol, Sharon & Diego. Only fair: good pizza, bad service.

Central Ave, formerly Hwy 66 from Chicago to Los Angeles, going through the middle of Albuquerque and the middle of a lot of other towns as well, the way highways were built when I was a boy. In the 40s we would sit glued to the windows of our car.

Sign on pedestrian walkway in Albuquerque, about 4th and Central Ave (aka Rte 66)

Gigantic dessert served by two waiters at Rte 66 Diner on Central Ave ABQ.
Somehow I'm not surprised that these folks ordered this dessert.

Rte 66 Diner ABQ

New Orthodox Church on 4th St ABQ, just down the street from Catholic and Protestant churches.

Corn is higher than your head by 1 Aug in ABQ. Taken on residential street a few blocks from Sharon and Leo's house in the Barelas neighborhood.

Native American sellers of nice jewelry in Old Town ABQ

05 August 2008

Wandering Around Albuquerque

Interior of RailRunner railroad car between downtown Albuquerque and downtown Bernalillo.

Our Lady of Guadelupe in the garden at 825 Barelas. Miracles still happen.

Nieto Diego and abuela Carol checking out fountain in downtown Albuquerque. The area is gradually being transformed into an urban oasis.

Squash growing in the garden at 825 Barelas.

Mural on wall of house turned into Orthodox Church in downtown Albuquerque, a few block from Leo and Sharon's house.

Downtown Billings in the SummerTime

Downtown Billings in the SummerTime
At The BrewPub on Broadway

Downtown Phoenix

Downtown Phoenix
Downtown Phoenix in the Winter Time

Good Cheese Here

Good Cheese Here
Vermont Cheddar & Minnesota Blue

TAKE TIME FOR PARADISE

TAKE TIME FOR PARADISE
Dehler Park, Billings MT, July 2008 This is what Bart Giamatti recommends for good mental health.

Me and Joan

Me and Joan
Early elderly and middle middle age: We May Know Something You Don't

Mrs America

Mrs America
Fortunately these girls had a good-looking mother

Rimrocks @ Billings MT

Rimrocks @ Billings MT
“In beholding old stones we may feel our anxieties about our achievements–and lack of them–slacken . . . Vast landscapes [and seascapes] can have an anxiety–reducing effect similar to ruins, for they are the representatives of infinite space, as ruins are the representatives of infinite time, against which our weak, short-lived bodies seem no less inconsequential than those of moths or spiders.”—Alain de Botton in Status Anxiety

Easter Sunday at St Patrick's Co-Cathedral

Easter Sunday at St Patrick's Co-Cathedral
12 April 2009

Pleasant Hillside at Hustisford, AKA The Grassy Knoll for you conspiracy buffs

Pleasant Hillside at Hustisford, AKA The Grassy Knoll for you conspiracy buffs
A Lot of Muellers Are Buried Here