29 October 2010

It's Not Our Fault: I Told You So

Check out this website.

From Down Under

Matt quotes Ayn Rand:
“When you see that trading is done, not by consent, but by compulsion–when you see that in order to produce, you need to obtain permission from men who produce nothing–when you see that money is flowing to those who deal, not in goods, but in favours and approvals–when you see that men get richer by graft and by pull than by work, and your laws don’t protect you against them, but protect them against you–when you see corruption being rewarded and honesty becoming a self-sacrifice–you may know that your society is doomed.”
I don't know why we don't pay attention to more news from Australia.



26 October 2010

House Rule #1

From the Electric City Weblog

One of the better, if not the best blogs in Montana comes from Great Falls. It always seems to be at the top of the list, perhaps because they have more than one contributor and they seem to stimulate each other, in a normal way of course. Gregg Smith is a frequent blogger, almost always with some stuff worth your while to read.

Yesterday he called our attention to an article by Mark Steyn from his blog. Isn't it odd that visitors from abroad often see more clearly what is going on around us older Americans than we do ourselves?

25 October 2010

Irony: too little or too much

John Kerry, who served in
Vietnam 

Psychologists first diagnosed Hypo-ironia in 1967. Before then, society often cast out the irony-challenged, referring to them by such derogatory names as "sourpuss" and "stick in the mud." It afflicts five percent of the population, but has been known to disproportionately affect members of the National Organization of Women. Past sufferers of hypo-ironia include Alan Keyes, Tom Tancredo, John Kerry, Jackson Browne, and Noam Chomsky. And others lower down on the pay grade scale.


I'm not sure where this paragraph came from. I found it as a draft article deep in my list of old blogs. I would guess there is another irony disorder, which I think I suffer from, in other words, seeing or hearing irony where it was not meant at all, a sort of Hyper-ironia.

23 October 2010

To Our Friends Professing the Religion of Peace

Monday a week or so ago, the Gazette published an Associated Press article lamenting that many ordinary Muslims, calling themselves ordinary Americans, apparently do not have the confidence of the rest of us. Perhaps they don't realize that most of us common Americans do not share their tolerance of blowing up each other and we infidels as a way of evangelizing.

And then today, the following Saturday, everyone's favorite Rocky professor reviewed all the misunderstandings that us ordinary non-Muslims have about the "religion of peace." I wonder if she has her columns on Islam vetted by someone who reads Arabic? Or is there a Gazette editor who makes sure that only the politically correct terms and definitions appear in the paper?

21 October 2010

More On Free Speech

This is getting to be worrying. Juan Williams, a fairly balanced commentator on NPR and Fox News, has been given the pink slip for saying what was on his mind about Muslims in their traditional garb on airplanes. Check this out here, and here and here. By the way, the last link is from a blog called ShrinkWrapped and not surprisingly has a psychiatric slant, often helpful when dealing with media that may demonstrate aspects of mental illness. And here too. Wow, this looks like a big story. It might even make the MSM.

20 October 2010

Vegans are not from Vegas

Check out the story at the end of this web entry:

16 October 2010

Freedom of Speech

Not surprisingly, a letter to the editor of this morning's Wall Street Journal (Saturday, 16 Oct 2010) reminded me of a couple of other articles I have read recently concerning freedom of speech. A couple of days ago, 11 October to be exact, there was an article by Ayaan Hirsi Ali on the back page of the op-ed section—In Holland, Free Speech on Trial—and an editorial on a related matter which mentioned our own lame Senator Max. I hate it when the WSJ mentions Max because I know it will be embarrassing for him and for his lowly constituents. First of all, the more important of the two concerned the trial of Geert Wilders in the Netherlands for using "hate speech" in public. Apparently our Muslim friends have more freedom to speak their minds than the rest of us. The connection with the editorial was the inquiry initiated by Senator Max regarding identification of donors to some political activist group, an obvious though lame attempt to chill the giving of donations, i.e. a variation on free speech.

I always thought that our friends on the Left were big free speech fans, granting it to a fair number of unsavory activities, but now I'm not so sure. Or is free speech only given freely to their friends and allies? Yesterday, while having lunch at Perkin's Restaurant on 27th St, I was reading a David Crisp editorial in his "free and independent" Billings Outpost. The only worrying thing in the article, which is mainly a thoughtful consideration of why conservative thought is so evident on talk radio, was the whiney paragraphs lamenting the fact that the First Amendment is a big hurdle in the Left's approach to chilling the Right's voice, which they of course call "fairness." I wonder, is there any room for seeking truth in this argument? We didn't allow the Communist Party in this country because they were interested in the overthrow of our government and had no allegiance to seeking truth. Can we afford to allow our friends on the left to selectively enforce the First Amendment?

15 October 2010

One of the Benefits of Being Bilingual


This is a sidebar from an article in the Wall Street Journal, the only national newspaper worth reading these days. The original article is worth reading. 12 October 2010. It looks like the anatomic appearance of the brain is similar in both mono- and bi-lingual people, but the latter are better able to deal with this handicap as seen in the large chart above. Another minor point to be noted is that it takes an extra year to recognize that you are having a problem if you are mono-lingual; that, or you are just more stubborn.

A long time ago I was convinced that it would be good for my kids to know another language. I wasn't sure why. I guessed that maybe stretching some neurons in childhood might be good for the long term. The jury is still out on that but those of us who are not looking forward eagerly to the wonders of assisted living and beyond might think about studying another language. Rosetta Stone, here we come.

11 October 2010

Getting Older

As time marches on I notice my appointment book seems to show an increasing number of doctor appointments and funerals. This past weekend, after a touchdown, or more likely between innings, I managed to read the obituary of an old friend, Ed Popp, who just cashed in his chips at age 91. I had seen Ed and Sarah Popp in their shared room at Valley Nursing Home a few months ago and was planning on seeing them again with a playbill from the funeral of the pastor, John Akre, we shared for some years at Peace Lutheran back in the 80s and 90s of the last century. Alas, too late.

In addition to sharing a pastor for an hour or so on Sunday morning Ed and I spent a couple of hours together sharing a box seat at the home Mustang games. This was from the early '80s to sometime in the early 21st century when Ed couldn't muster up the strength anymore. I had hoped to persuade him to come along to a game at the new Dehler Park but it wasn't to be either. He was about my deceased father's age so it was good to have a guy like him to share the game of life and baseball with. In addition to the Mustangs he had lots of memories of other teams and their players from the time that Cobb Field had opened in 1948. He used to take young Mustangs to lunch. We had really good seats at the far end of the Mustangs' first base line dugout, first row of course.

Sometime back in the 80s Ed, not usually much of a talker, started describing some work he had been doing but had to stop because he became weak and short of breath. Of course, if something exciting happened on the field we would suspend our conversations. When he asked what I thought I told him it might be a good idea to check with his cardiologist. I didn't see him for maybe six weeks and when he returned he told me I was right: he needed a coronary artery bypass operation, which he had just had and was feeling a lot better. He never let me forget my advice and paid me off with tomatoes and cucumbers from his garden.

The pictures above are from Ed's obituary. I notice that they are doing this more and more these days. It started with the 50 year anniversary pictures compared and contrasted with the wedding pictures, a sort of before and after record of the effect of living a long life with each other. These pictures are of Ed when he was fairly young and then fairly old. I have a mental image of him somewhere in between these two extremes with an umbrella to keep out the sun strapped to the fence above the home dugout; and watching him get Sarah's accordion ready for her to play and him with his guitar in their garage: the occasion, I don't remember, he and she just wanted to make us happy. RIP dear friend.

01 October 2010

Executive Summary of new Woodward Book



"Unqualified Community Organizer With Teleprompter Dependency Makes Surprisingly Lousy Commander-in-Chief."

See the whole article at Doug Ross @ Journal 

Things fall apart . . .



TURNING and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?
William Butler Yeats



Some excellent commentary on Mr Yeat's poem here at Washington Rebel.

A small sample:


"The center cannot hold. So says Yeats…….and here we are turning and turning in the widening gyre.
Do you like it here America? In the widening gyre? Things do fall apart. The old order gives way to the new, cultures clash and societies are supplanted by what may come. What is coming? What slouches forth while we pass the time with breads and circus?"

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