31 August 2009

Huey Long Redux

Because the Billings Gazette is very selective in which George Will column they publish I thought it might be useful to remind everyone about a recent one in which Will calls President Obama an "ivy-league Huey Long." This appeared in Newsweek. I guess the editors of that left-leaning magazine were not worried that their readers would understand the reference.

If you haven't studied recent American History or even if you did in the last 20 or 30 years our friends at PowerLine have pointed out some of the reasons that Mr Will is actually frontally attacking Mr Obama. There are some interesting similarities between Mr Obama (or at least some of his cronies, including the ones who write his speeches) and Mr. Long. Check this out and this too. It seems that sharing the wealth has a long history.

And of course there are books and movies too about the famous Huey Long. That is the first edition dust jacket to the right. As usual Wikipedia is good on these.

29 August 2009

Practice Safe Lunch

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Use a condiment!

Here is my entry for the funny t-shirt contest. This beauty was given to me by my brother Russ. All I had to do was comment nicely on it while he was wearing it: I was delighted when it came in the mail a week or two later. Just in case you are having trouble reading this it says: “Practice safe lunch, use a condiment”.

I believe this is an ironic take-off or put-down or snark-piece or something on the long-running ad campaign about safe sex and condom use, but even if it is not the t-shirt is still funny. I wonder why extensive population control measures have not led to a decline in population? Perhaps the reason is similar to the observation that seat belts in cars did cut down on injuries and deaths but not as much as might be expected because of the problem of even more reckless driving while wearing them. That is a little bit of my wrinkly neck above the t-shirt.

26 August 2009

Some Really Nice Blue Cheese

If you are driving up or down the 5 in southern Oregon you might want to take a break from wrestling for space on the highway with all the big trucks.

Try Central Point OR, just a short distance off the 5. Check out our friends at Wikipedia below if you are interested in a scholarly approach, but if you just want good taste then try the Rogue Creamery.


Their specialty is really good blue cheese, you know, those sharp and slightly salty soft cheeses with blue or gray veins. I think they do other things too but they mainly concentrate on the very high value blue cheeses, like Roquefort, Gorgonzola and Stilton.

Of course, in Europe these marvelous moldy cheeses have to come from their geographic regions.

But in Oregon, they simply call it Oregonzola and let it go out the door at more than $20/ pound. Wow. But is it good! Oh yes.

And the Crater Lake Blue, yes it is worth a stop. You only need a small amount to take care of your gustatory longings. This is good stuff.

25 August 2009

I Left My Heart in Green Bay

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There are many reasons to like Green Bay, not the least being the Green Bay Packers, Vince Lombardi, and a cousin by the name of Lynne Glinski. Brett? Brett who? Never heard of him. The above was taken in the 2 story clothing, souvenir and memorabilia shop at the Mecca of Wisconsin, Lambeau Field. This 1958 pick up truck was for sale but I forgot to check the price. If you have to ask you can't afford it. It is filled with plastic cheeseheads made in China.

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Now I am offering a couple more reasons to love Green Bay. The first is a friend that I haven't seen for around fifty years. Dale Bartel, formerly of Hustisford and Lebanon, and now retired in Green Bay Wisconsin, claims that I helped him celebrate his 21st birthday. Maybe I did, my memory on that is not clear, but I do remember playing trombone in a high school quartet with him, and I have some evidence of that from a high school annual of the late 50s.That's me top back and Dale far right. And here we are 50 years later.

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We had a great time bringing each other up to date on our lives since the last time we saw each other. We even discovered a common interest in genealogical activities centering on the area of Pomerania, on the Baltic, now divided between Germany and Poland, with the majority of it belonging to the latter as that was where some of our common ancestors came from.

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And the second is a marvelous burger that I sampled at lunch at the Rite View Restaurant. Sorry, I didn't take a picture of the burger but I did capture a picture of the lovely little garden just outside the entrance to this very nice restaurant. The burger is called Joe's Combo and consists of a normal beef burger pressed up close with a brat burger, together with any condiments thought necessary to practice a safe lunch.

I'm sure there are multiple other reasons to like Green Bay but this should be enough for now. More later.

20 August 2009

The Art Institute of Chicago

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It has been a long time since we checked out the Art Institute of Chicago. And I had heard that they added a new wing so I thought it would be fun to explore that too. Sorry, I couldn't resist taking these pictures. They allow you to take pictures as long as you don't use flash. Where did this priceless collection of Impressionists come from?

See the Wiki article mentioned below, but it looks like there have been a large number of donors rather than one big one. Apparently a lot of newly rich in the late 19th and first half of the 20th century in the Chicago area managed to collect a lot of really good stuff from the not so rich and newly poor of Europe of the same time. And when they cashed in their chips they managed to give their stuff to the Art Institute rather than their youngsters. Good for them.

As for the new wing, the less said the better. It is all contemporary and almost all have lost interest in reality and the human project if they are not downright certifiably insane.

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How can we pass by a very large Georgia O'Keefe without stopping to have a look? When asked why she wrote about such bizarre characters, Flannery O'Connor said that when talking to a deaf world one needs to shout.

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This was a total accident. I like the pose of the live model on the left. Another reason I take a 100 pictures so that one will turn out.

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The haughty lions in front of the Chicago Art Institute on Michigan Ave guard their treasures zealously. I wonder if they know what they are doing?

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Impressionists are all over the place. This is a reflection of some brick buildings on a glass building seen while walking down Adams St on the way to Union Station.


Good Burgers in the Socialist Republic of Madison


This was a pretty good burger with a little cheese and a tomato. Done just right, medium, warm and pink in the middle with a decent bun around it. Find it at the Blue Moon Bar and Grille in downtown Madison WI, evidence of gustatorial entrepreneurship, even in the face of full press socialism of the city. some nice pictures on the website and a map to tell you how to get there.


By the way, sometimes it is helpful to look at one's own blogroll. I was doing that today and came across this useful entry. The next time we are in that Burger Belt we will not lack for burger places to sniff out.

19 August 2009

I scream, you scream, we all scream for . . . .

These People Sell Seriously Excellent Ice Cream

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Especially good with a little bit of gooey flavoring added. They are located over by Borders, on the other side of King Ave, past the car wash, then look around. Make sure they don't go out of business like Krispy Kreme did.

18 August 2009

Day Trips from Billings II

Day Trip: BIL to MSP

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This Mall of America is an amazing place: a very big place with all kinds of kiddie entertainment in the middle, kind of like a carnival or fun fair. Lots of shopping. Good restaurants. And some fairly good exercise just by walking around. We spent about half the day walking and still did not see all the stores that desperately wanted to sell us some stuff. Sadly, the Lake Woebegone Store is no more. Some big department stores still survive on the corners, i.e. Macy's, Sears, and a couple others too.

We had a couple of excellent meals, evening and mid-day at Twin City Grill and Napa Valley Grille. The extra "e" on Grill usually adds about $20 or $25 to the tab. Still, it was pretty good food and drink at both places.

07 August 2009

An Answered Prayer

Cool: Swiss seek Pope's blessing to stop glacier melting

Friday is offbeat story day at AmP, and this week delivers:
After centuries of praying for a local glacier to stop growing, Swiss villagers are now seeking an audience with Pope Benedict to get his blessing for prayers against the global warming that is causing it to recede.

In 1678, the inhabitants of the Alpine villages of Fieschertal and Fiesch made a formal vow to live virtuously and to pray against the growth of the Aletsch glacier, Europe's longest, which had caused a lake to flood into their homes.

To reinforce their prayers, they started holding an annual procession in 1862, when the glacier reached its longest during the mini-Ice Age Europe suffered in the mid-19th century.

But the villages now want to seek permission from Pope Benedict to change their vow as the glacier is melting fast due to climate change and have requested an audience with him. (Reuters)
A prayer to stop glaciers melting, eh? Ha! Find me that in the book of blessings.

update: I should have learned to not issue challenges to my savvy AmP readers long ago....
[AmP reader Joshua says] "I don't know about the Book of Blessings, but number 28 under "Blessings of Places not designated for sacred purposes" there is a Blessing against floods. That would work I think."
... albeit an incredibly slow-moving flood. :-)

From American Papist

Just In Case

If you may have been wondering who is the funniest writer on the World Wide Web, here is my nomination. Iowahawk wins hands down or up. I hope he doesn't get too political or he will surely wind up in the crosshairs of certain White House occupants.

05 August 2009

Dr Muskett Returns

I was getting worried when I hadn’t heard for what seemed like months from my favorite cardiac-turned-plastic surgeon, Billings’ own Dr Alan Muskett. I know I’ve blogged about him in the past but I couldn’t find the entries, though I did find in back pages of the Gazette a number of other good articles by Dr Muskett. Chalk it up to advancing age, mine, not his.

By the way, one of the many ways you can measure your own decline is to re-read a few of your past attempts at sensible blogging, which I did while searching for blogs about the good Dr Muskett. Well OK, I enjoyed a few of them, mostly those I had borrowed from others. I think I actually improved the blogosphere a little by deleting some. I should have been an editor.

Now then, in today’s Gazette Dr Muskett tells us lots of dark medical secrets, admitting that surgeons, including himself, actually do the terrible things that our president says we do. Such as taking out perfectly fine tonsils: well, that is actually only done by the evil ENTs of course. He says it in a humorous way, hoping that his readers will think he is being ironic as usual.

After capturing our attention with the light-hearted truth-telling he then goes on to the meat of the matter, which is that the reason we pay more than the rest of world for our medical care is that we are sicker and it is our own fault. He proves his point by citing his own recent need for a coronary stent. What a rhetorical stunt!

Dr Muskett says that our politicians do not tell us the truth because it is politically unacceptable: that we consume way too much health care, that we are too fat and too lazy, that we expect something for nothing, and that we expect to live forever.

What is the cure for these prosperity-related problems? Dr Obama and his friends have their egalitarian answer. I suspect it has something to do with "spreadin' the wealth around a little" as Joe the Plumber learned. Read the article for yourself. As always, Dr Muskett makes a lot of sense.

04 August 2009

Saint Patrick's Co-Cathedral Billings in Ordinary Time

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From WikipediaOrdinary Time is a season of the Christian (especially the Catholic) liturgical calendar. The English name is intended to translate the Latin term Tempus per annum (literally "time through the year"). Ordinary Time comprises the two periods — one following Epiphany, the other following Pentecost — which do not fall under the "strong seasons" of Advent, Christmas, Lent, or Easter.

How do we get "Ordinary Time" from "time through the year"? I'm not sure: perhaps having something to do with being numbered? I didn't realize that this is one of the unintended consequences of Vatican II. I think a better explanation is given here.

A mild touch of irony here is that the usual liturgical color for ordinary time is green. I didn't notice that until after I uploaded the picture.



02 August 2009

Fiesta on the South Side


I'm not sure what the occasion was but South Park was full of Mexican music and flags as well as a lot of older American cars. These folks above were not in line for Reconciliation—aka Confession— I'm sure.

The food was good but the cars were amazing, all in really nice shape, some for sale. I asked one guy why he was selling his car. He told me he had seven other cars of the same make and model and was running out of space in his garage. With a straight face too.

After closely examining the "rumble seat" in this model A Ford, I'm not sure whether I believe some of the stories my parents used to tell about the things they got up to in these seats.





How do they find parts for cars this old? I wonder if we can talk our friends in other countries into developing a hankering for these older beauties?

As we slowly sink as a country to the second tier of world economies, maybe we can promote antique tourism, as I'm fairly sure that the medical tourism business will be in the toilet in a few years. I'll bet our Chinese friends would love to turn that U.S. paper they have into something tangible.

That beauty above I remember. I graduated from high school in 1957. Lots of ordinary people drove these cars in those days. Maybe they cost around $2000, which seemed like a lot to a high school kid in those days, about what two years in a private college cost. I'm just guessing on these prices.

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