30 September 2008

"It is crap sandwiches for as far as the eye can see."

"Two decades of crapulence by the political class has been prologue to the era of coprophagy that is now upon us" This is Jonah Goldberg's summary of the situation we are all in. And mine too I suspect. [c word in title=C word in previous sentence for those friends and relatives from Rio Linda]

Would that it were possible to throw all the bums out in one fell swoop! But we can only get rid of 1/3 of the Senate at any one time. So then, I guess our Founding Fathers may have not thought of every contingency. Is it possible that the traitors who were in favor of losing a war in order to gain political advantage are also capable of possibly inflicting a worse than necessary recession on us commoners?

29 September 2008

Let me amend that motion


The above picture was taken on a very rare rainy Saturday morning in September in downtown Billings at the Farmer's Market.

Top 10: Underrated Destinations

They aren't on everyone's "must-see" list, but they should be:

1. Charlotte, N.C.
2. Austin, Texas
3. Savannah, Ga.
4. Minneapolis, Minn.
5. Denver, Colo.
6. Grand Teton National Park, Wyo.
7. Newport, R.I.
8. Jekyll Island, Ga.
9. Baltimore, Md.
10. Portland, Ore.

I came across this list on some website or other. I can't say much about Savannah, Newport or Jekyll Island because I have never been there but the rest are top drawer places, worth a visit or to stay awhile. The only place I would add would be the whole state of Montana, especially my home town of Billings.

Just below is a paper bag from one of the places in Denver that must be taken into account when compiling lists of cities worth a visit.



And then just below is a snapshot taken at the local Albertson's. I guess we know now which side the trashy magazine publishers are on, or do we? Does Mrs. Obama chew or what?

28 September 2008

The End Is Near


This is one of my neighbor's fences. I think the main purpose of these signs is to irritate the other side and give them something to vent their spleen on. Oh, oh, another preposition at the end of the sentence. How about "something on which to vent their spleen." Not much to choose between.


Just on the off chance that these people knew what they were talking about we decided to stop in for one last Softie. But we were too late. See below.

27 September 2008

I have a small problem

Lately I have been messing about with LibraryThing. I am enough of a visual guy that I like the database of my books to have a decent picture of them. I was trying to get a picture of the dust jacket on this recent BOMC edition. I usually nod off fairly quickly when I start reading Mr Plato, but I thought I would give it another chance when I saw that Alain de Botton had written the introduction. He is my favorite philosopher and essayist these days. I couldn't figure out how to get the transparent cover off the dust-jacket so my hand and the camera are seen in the lower part of the image. I guess that proves it is mine in case anyone disputes the matter.

26 September 2008

What Is Going On? Is Everybody Lying?

Please go here for economic understanding of what is happening, or at least as much as most people can understand.

As for everybody lying: I don't know. I doubt it, but I can't tell who is lying. The ability to lie with a straight face must be the first thing one needs for a political career. Sort of like young right-handed pitchers must be able to throw 90 mph in order to be looked at further.

25 September 2008

The View From My Driveway

When I turn to the right at the bottom of my driveway on Ramada Drive in the late afternoon of September 2008 I see these stones, partly covered by trees, the latter seemingly not requiring much dirt to grow in. They are called rimrocks. They remind me of Alain Botton's wisdom:

“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






This is what I see when I turn to the left. They are called rusty pheasants and a mailbox. They will probably last longer than I will. I forgot who the artist is. Sorry, I know he was from Laurel MT. The picture below came from a website I stumbled upon when looking up artists and sculptors in Laurel Montana. It looks like it was take somewhere just west of Billings on I90.

24 September 2008

A Hard Restaurant Is Good To Find

You know you're in a restaurant for common people when you see your napkin on a big roll in the middle of the table. These guys have terrific sandwiches and pretty good soup. They are down on 13th St near our old church, Peace Lutheran. We were almost put off by a large number of junior high kids who were stopping here on the way home after 1/2 day in school. Tough duty I thought. Actually they were fairly well behaved and surprisingly polite. I guess we were the designated Be Nice to Old Folks people today.

As you can tell from looking closely at this picture, in Billings the wind blows from west to east and if one set of tracks is muddy you should make another set. Or else the cows walk in a very straight line. Naah!

23 September 2008

The Cafeteria is Closed

The Venerable Cardinal John Henry Newman
had this to say about cafeteria Catholicism

At the time of the apostles a Christian was bound to take without doubting all that the Apostles declared to be revealed; if the Apostles spoke, he had to yield to an internal assent of his mind...immediate, implicit submission of the mind was the only necessary token of faith. No one could say, “I will choose my religion for myself, I will believe this, I will not believe that; I will pledge myself to nothing. I will believe just as long as I please and no longer; what I believe today I will reject tomorrow if I choose, I will believe what the Apostles have as yet said, but I will not believe what they say in the time to come.” No, either the apostles were from God or they were not, if they were, everything they preached was to believed..if they were not, there was nothing for their hearers to believe. To believe a little, or to believe more or less was impossible. It contradicted the very notion of believing.”

This is lifted and transported from my favorite blogger, Father Longenecker, one of those married priests. Go here for the real stuff. And for the real stuff on Newman, go here.

19 September 2008

Borscht is Good

This is really good stuff. Be warned if you are among those that have a habit of looking at your fecal leavings. They tend to have a reddish appearance because of the beets as you might have guessed. Check out the Wikipedia entry on borscht. Apparently you can get it either cold or hot. The above is cold and very tasty with a nice crunch too. From all over eastern Europe.

18 September 2008

On The Way Home

This is a picture taken from a rest stop in Montana. It looks like this all the way from just outside of Billings to the northern border of Denver.

We stopped here on the way back from Denver. They are a real truck stop on the 25 near Loveland CO with very good cinnamon rolls. Keep your eye open as the exit comes up on you kind of suddenly.

At the same Johnson's Corner there is a very large RV dealer whose salesmen look a little sad these days. They didn't even try to show us the big Class As, see below, sitting all over the lot. These class Bs, above, look fairly nice. The engine is a Mercedes Benz diesel, supposedly getting about 19-20 mpg. Only able to haul about 2000 lbs. though.

17 September 2008

An Afternoon at Coors Field

The view of Coors Field as one strolls down Blake St. Guys selling cheap tickets accost you regularly as you approach the entrance. We bought some really nice box seats a few years ago and were found to be using stolen tickets. This time we bought some bleacher seats for $2 a person, and nobody else claimed the seats. We sat in a number of places as you can see from the pictures below.

This is the view from the Rockpile, the centerfield bleachers, about the same altitude as the seats in the upper deck behind homeplate. Those tiny people out on the field are the players. If you've played the game then it is recognizable.

A good view of the scoreboard. There are bits and pieces of information scattered in other places too. On the front and bottoms of various levels there is information about the kind of pitch and its speed, and the number of pitches, both strikes and balls, and other tidbits.

A picture from above the mile-high level at Coors Field. The lower levels of this upper deck are really fairly nice. You feel like you are looking at everything from a helicopter.

Probably the best part of the day was walking through the centerfield shaded area where these ordinary looking guys, probably about 40 or 50 of them, were sitting signing autographs. A few of them were missing some parts, but otherwise they seemed pretty common, except for that gold star with the blue ribbon around each of their necks. These were ordinary guys who had done some extraordinary things back in the 40s and the 50s and the 60s and one or two more recently too. That guy on the left is Staff Sgt McGinty, USMC, who became famous in Vietnam, 1966, for doing something extraordinary, and now signing an autograph for me. I got to shake his hand too. Nice guy. Very ordinary. If he didn't have that medal around his neck I would have thought he was a retired postman. Maybe he is.

16 September 2008

A Visit to the Auctioneer

A quiet, slightly seedy place on Broadway near downtown Denver, looking like it sells old fire engines. If you miss a whole lot of Saturday morning garage sales, this is the place to go.

Just in case you wondered where all those slide rules that we nerds used to use went when calculators came into fashion, many of them are stored here. They are in excellent shape and would make a great present for the young mathematician with some interest in the history of the field. They also have instruction manuals.

The collector of this collection started with his father's stuff, which he didn't know what to do with; and then his own stuff, most of which he sold. Only the really good stuff did he keep.

As you can see, this little mini-museum has been around since the middle of the last century.

15 September 2008

Rosie's Diner in Denver

I forget exactly where this is. Somewhere in Denver. We found it by looking for some other place which we had trouble finding and we were getting hungry so we decided to take a chance on a fancy 50s nostalgia trip. It was very good. See below.

Rosie's had an old fashioned juke box in which I thought I saw an old 45 rpm record spinning, until I looked a little closer and noted that it was really a modern CD.

This was an excellent "mac and cheese" with bacon bits and garlic bread. Very, very good.

13 September 2008

A Wet September Morning in Billings MT


I was invited to stop in at the Alberta Bair Theatre Saturday morning for a Billings Symphony rehearsal in preparation for the concert this evening. I listened to some interesting stuff, sounded 20th century, maybe Charles Ives and/or Igor Stravinsky. I will find out tonight when I check the playbill. It's always fun to see how magic works or is put together.


After that I wandered down a wet Broadway, sampling strawberry and rhubarb pie, the latter instantly taking me back to Grandma's house of my childhood; and trying an egg roll, which turned out to be mostly vegetables but still fairly good. I was surprised by some jelly which I scooped up with a cracker, expecting nothing but sweetness: there was some jalapeño in it, enough to make your tongue smart if you were not expecting it.


Though some discouraging words were heard, that did not prevent this gay lady clown from doing her thing underneath the protection of some downtown building overhangs.

12 September 2008

C'mon Folks, Be Reasonable

"Jesus Christ was a 'community organizer.' Pontius Pilate was a governor." ?? I'm sorry, did I hear that correctly? Is that really what you said? Are you stupid in addition to blasphemous?

What is the mechanism for nuttiness to ascend from the depths of the blogosphere to the exalted regions of the mainstream media? Hate must eventually crowd out everything else from a mind.

Here is a later not quite so heated addition to the conversation.

11 September 2008

08 September 2008

Descriptive License Plates


Montanans are fairly nice people, coming in 2nd or 3rd behind Minnesota and maybe a few other places. They are long-suffering, always expecting their elected officials to behave themselves and actually do what they are supposed to do.

As a reward for living in a state with not many people in it and where car licenses and registrations are very expensive, there is a fair chance that you can get your own distinctive message on your plate. Perhaps you can guess what kind of vehicle and to whom it belongs after you see the above license plate. Here is the answer below.

05 September 2008

Real Education


Trying to understand what has happened to the education of our children is a very difficult process. So much so that we usually throw up our hands and embrace the irony of Garrison Keillor, who says that "all our children are above average" in Lake WoeBeGone and I think we are to infer that this is true of all our children. I hope it is irony. Our No Child Left Behind law was written by educators in order to get the money from the federal government. It says that all our children will be above average by 2014 or else. Whew, another reason that we need to keep the Democratic authoritarians at bay.

Charles Murray has written another book that we all probably should pay attention to, especially our educators, that is, all our teachers and school administrators, and all of us parents.

Real Education by Charles Murray

Here is a dopey review by someone that hasn't read the book. This review illustrates very well the difficulties we have with our schools.

Here is a transcript of an interview of Murray by a professor from a New Mexico university.

Even better is this audio interview of Murray by John J Miller in National Review Online

Blurbs from the back cover:

“Know the truth, and the truth shall make you free,” said a well-known educator, albeit in a religious schooling context. Charles Murray is concerned with the secular world of education, nonetheless his message is worthy of evangelism: Tell the truth, and the truth shall make you free of foolish, cruel, and counter-productive educational policies.”
—P. J. O'Rourke

“Charles Murray, arguably the most consequential social scientist alive, has discovered a nifty formula for fame (or infamy): One, in lucid, graceful prose describe reality using evidence and logic. Two, propose policies that actually take reality into consideration. And, three, sit back and wait for the inevitable caterwauling and lamentations of those who insist reality isn’t real and who swear the crooked timber of humanity is nothing more than the malleable clay of utopian social engineers. Real Education follows this recipe perfectly. Even now, if you put your ear to the ground, you can hear throats being cleared for the caterwauling to come.”
—Jonah Goldberg, bestselling author of Liberal Fascism

“Charles Murray is one professional contrarian who cannot be written off–not since his first book, Losing Ground, led to a complete restructuring of America’s welfare system. At first Real Education, with its plan for identifying “the elite,” may strike you as an elaboration of his hotly contested views on IQ. But suddenly–swock!–he pops a gasper: a practical plan for literally reproducing, re-creating, a new generation of Jeffersons, Adamses, Franklins, and Hamiltons, educated, drilled, steeped, marinated in those worthies’ concern for the Good and Virtuous with a capital V–nothing less than an elite of Founding Great-great-great-great-great Grandchildren.”
—Tom Wolfe

What more can I say?

04 September 2008

A Few Quotes

"A small town mayor is kind of like a 'community organizer' but with some actual responsibility."—Sarah Palin

"If you have a special needs child you will have a friend in the White House."—SP

Isn't this fun?

03 September 2008

Cartoons Are A Succinct Way of Saying a Lot


Cartoons By Michael Ramirez

Cartoons By Michael Ramirez

© Copyright 2008 Investor's Business Daily. All Rights Reserved.


02 September 2008

Desperate Measures Are Thought To Be Necessary


I thank the thoughtful person who tried to remove the McCain sticker on my car without actually causing damage to the underlying surface. I am sure your own candidate would approve. Actually, I am hoping I can peel the whole thing off so that I can put a larger McCain/PALIN sticker in its place. She reminds me of what my mother must have been like in the 30s and 40s. I'll bet she goes bowling too.

Hey I figured it out! The YouTube thingie that is.


This lady is amazing. Probably the first time in my life that I've ever been proud of the GOP. Oh sorry, I think I borrowed that from someone but I forgot who it was. Oh sorry, I guess we are supposed to allow the families of political figures a free pass on whatever.

I wonder how long it will take our betters on the left to figure out how to destroy her? Can you run a country like the USA on hate and envy?

01 September 2008

I Read It In The Gazette


This is real news. High school and college pitchers may be able to throw inside again. I'm not sure I understand how it is made. The article said it is made from "12 wedges combined with adhesive and clamping pressure." Is that kind of like "cold fusion?" It is called a Radial Bat.

Calling Robert Redford and Glenn Close from The Natural. What was his bat's name? Of course, WonderBoy, thanks to Google. Watch this space after you watch the video below. I wonder if there is an excerpt of The Lou Gehrig Story on YouTube or somewhere else?

You know, the part where he says he is "the luckiest man alive" with its reverberations around Yankee Stadium. You can't help but tear up whenever you see it or hear those words. Now that I think about it, maybe that is what I will have them chisel on my gravestone.

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