30 April 2011

The Boys of Late Spring/Early Summer Are Back at Dehler


Here is a small addition to the Gazette article. The Billings Scarlets played the Great Falls Chargers. The Scarlets won a double-header, 11-1 and 3-2. Coach Adam Hust, below, was caught thinking about the possibilities for the coming season. He has a lot of veterans coming back. Nice smart-looking new uniforms provided as they always have been by First Interstate Bank.

Somebody Had To Stay Home



I could almost see it coming. I think I told my wife, "Hey watch this, global warming will be the cause of the tornadoes. I call BS. Now we know where our low-life politicians get their information on global climate change from.

29 April 2011

The Sh*th**ds Are Back


It seems the only reasonable things to do are to keep showing them completely wrong, and maybe take away their government grants.  This is a good website for countering the garbage coming from some places. Here is a graph that might help. The main stream media has a very big megaphone and it's hard to hear us commoners call bullshit on them. This is from the National Climatic Data Center. It needs some updating.



24 April 2011

He Is Risen!



He Is Risen Indeed, Hallelujah!

23 April 2011

The Latest Outpost Comes In Strong



The Billings Outpost, that is, Vol. 14, Issue 28, April 21, 2011. The photo and the headline tells almost the whole of the story. The details don't matter that much. The sensible part of the electorate loves to see nothing happen. Lots of thunder and lightning and even branding as a veto is good entertainment, something we all need. But we hope they just irritate the hell out of each other and leave the rest of us alone.

This particular issue of the Outpost really caught my attention. Besides the governor's veto story, there is a good article on the new, hoped-for downtown library. The architect seems to have his head screwed on the right way. With at least one high school close to downtown and the university even closer I always wondered why we didn't combine forces and use some money from District 2 (that is us folks) and some from the State of Montana (that is us too folks) as they fund the university. Maybe we could even get the homeless to chip in a little bit as they will surely get some use from it. I'm pretty sure we are going to take the low bid and when all is said and done the new library is going to look crappy, kind of like Dehler Park. But the Arizona architect has a good story. Who knows, maybe we will all feel well-heeled enough on Election Day to make it look good. Let's hope the private donors will be generous.



Talking about architecture looking good reminds me of the new Federal Courthouse. The old one had no redeeming value at all so I was glad when they figured out a way to tear it down and start over. I have trouble translating a picture, even a big picture like the one facing 2nd Ave traffic—that is a hazard by the way: be careful as you are driving through—into a real building. I'm not sure I can see how the new bank building is going to look either, except that I wonder if it will cover up some of the new library. At least the new courthouse doesn't seem to have that brooding, sinister appearance that many government buildings do. I doubt they are trying for the "C'mon down and we'll make a deal" look that the car dealers aim for. But next to the old county courthouse it may suffer in comparison.

The headline Japan, Libya Pose Threat also caught my attention. This is a longish article by Wilbur Wood, maybe small essay would be more descriptive. Though starting from ordinary newspaper stories of the damage done by the recent tsunami, and then weaving in elements of the trouble in Libya, adding a few surreal elements from conspiracy theory, and suddenly on the inside page we—all of us 'energy slaves' are being summoned to the streets: "Human energy ultimately cannot be controlled any more than wind and sunlight, rain and snow, freezing and melting, Earth's own heat erupting or water flowing where it will."—this is the last paragraph: sorry I don't understand it either. Did Ayn Rand write this? Anyway, it is at least entertaining.

But wait, there is more. I told you this was an issue worth waiting for. There is an excellent book review by Robert Lubbers of The American Bird Conservancy's Guide to Bird Conservation. It's about bird survival or lack of it and you guessed it, we are all guilty. One of these days someone should write about human survival or lack of it. Seriously, it looks and sounds like it's worth reading, whether borrowed or bought. On the opposite page is an article about "beetles in decline in forests." This is a good thing. I guess beetles don't have much PR fund-raising knowledge. I suspected that this was going to be something to do with global warming but that was not mentioned. Maybe the author thought his audience knew all about that anyway. There are the usual cranky letters to the editor, still fun to read, even if out of date,  whether you know the writers or not. Roger Clawson makes a modest contribution on the (un)Civil War—"America's history still reeks of gunpowder, blood, splintered bone, and ruptured bowels." Now you're talkin' war, Roger. There are some short and sweet obituaries. After I started reading these in the Outpost, I went back and revised my own. Still too long I'm sure.
And finally, after paging through the television schedules—why don't people just surf around like everyone else—you get to a charming review of the upcoming Tosca, starring Cassandra Norville as Floria Tosca, Jeffrey Kitto as her lover mario Cavaradossi, and Billings' own baritone Douglas Nagel as the wicked Scarpio, in addition to his other jobs of artistic director and producer of Rimrock Opera. The meat of the article tells about many of the other jobs involved in the production, especially the chorus and the props and the costumes. It promises to be a big deal and it will be, I'm sure.

A Clear Case of Mistaken Identity



Another example, as if it was needed, of the Protection Racket in action. Check this out.

Once, a long time ago, I noticed that my son, pitching for the Little League at the time, and usually with pretty good control, often, apparently accidentally, would hit with a pitch one of the bigger guys batting near the top of the lineup. When I asked him about this he said, matter of factly, "When you hit one of the big guys, the little guys pay attention."

21 April 2011

Why Only 38 Billion?

Isn't it curious that a number that really is huge, if you think about it in terms that you can understand, like 38 Billion or 1000 million X 38, the latter sounds and looks much more alarming to me, does it to you? And then we are supposed to realize that 38 Billion is spitting in the ocean compared to 3.8 trillion? Shouldn't we write 1000 Billion X 3.8 to alert us common folk to the enormousness of the number?

Here is a You Tube presentation by an easy to understand professor that addresses this same question in a different way.

Another Chapter in the Warming Alarums and Excursions


If you are interested in the broad outlines of global climate change controversies and believe along with Georges Clemenceau that just as war is too important to be left to the generals, so too, perhaps, is climate change too important to be left to the climatologists. If that is true, then you should read this post and other contributions to this website.

This is really fun in some ways and sad in others. Such terms as "forcing," along with "negative forcing," and "surge of acceleration" send shivers down my spine. The comments are often quite funny, especially the wry and ironic ones. But sadly, as in other fields, it seems we have no way of easing out the old bulls in the climatology racket, at least in a civilized way. Dr Hansen appears to have gone so far ahead of the herd that he cannot hear the calls of his colleagues.

Maybe we need to use some supposed Eskimo ways of dealing with the old. Maybe we are using a variation on that technique by having him publish his stuff on his own website instead of in the "peer-reviewed literature"—who would have thought that term needed quote marks around it?

20 April 2011

UrbanSpoon Says Billings Has 336 Restaurants

And this is supposedly a picture at night with multiple little dots to represent them all. I will wait until next week to see if they increase it to 337 as there is a Sushi place opening on Grand soon.

UrbanSpoon is kind of like Matt Drudge, collecting all sorts of news, only for restaurants. People write reviews of the various restaurants, or they hook up to blog entries. And you can enter your likes and dislikes. I'm not sure it really works in a town the size of Billings, but maybe when they get enough ordinary people to vote on restaurants and write reviews maybe it will be useful, at least for those just passing through. I wonder if they have a category for places that are only open when they are playing baseball at Dehler Park?

19 April 2011

More On Dehler Park



I was surfing around on the term Dehler Park today when I discovered this very nice review on www.ballparkdigest.com  It was written in late November 2008, after the first season in the new park. It has got a lot of useful information for the baseball enthusiast and especially if you are passing through town, as there is some stuff on restaurants and motels etc. Most of it is up to date.




The Lead-Off Grill is located behind the beer stand down the 3rd base line. It is notable for its Stang Burgers, a combination of excellent Angus beef as the burger, together with some tasty brisket beef on top of that. In addition they have good hot dogs and their Johnsonville bratwursts are notable as they are from the right place in Wisconsin—Sheboygan that is. These kids work their buns off during a game.


The beerstands sell the usual big sellers as well as a good many micro-brews from around the Northwest.

Not everything is perfect at Dehler Park: sometimes between innings the announcer gets carried away and turns the volume of the PA system way up and pretends he is a cheerleader, an annoying habit probably left over from high school hockey or basketball. On the other hand, the stadiums in Great Falls and especially Missoula are much worse in this regard. The latter has something to say not only between innings, but also between batters and often between pitches. It is simply maddening. They don't have a pitch count or pitching speed on the scoreboard. The seats are not the most comfortable I've ever been in. But if worse comes to worst you can take a stroll around the concourse, and stick plugs in your ears, especially when you get to the outfield.




There are some good statues of Billings' heroes Dave McNally and Ed Bayne out front and this nice bust of Bob Wilson. They all cashed in their chips way too early.

18 April 2011

Juicy Lucy From The Burger Dive Gets High Score



I didn't see the sign above at The Burger Dive on 27th St, near the corner of 1st Ave and 27th St. This is the logo I borrowed from their presence on Facebook. What I did see is taken from near the sidewalk entrance. See below.

I surfed around on the Net and found some info on the place in Jan Falstad's column from early September of 2010. There are multiple Facebook entries and of course, UrbanSpoon has some reviews and other things.

The Burger Dive on Urbanspoon


I was reminded of some burger joints I knew from my earlier days prowling around Milwaukee and Chicago. That would be in the 40s and 50s of the last century.

 Maybe someone should nominate these folks for the 3rd edition of George Motz's Hamburger America. The second edition should be out soon, supposed to add quite a few to the 100 or so places featured in the 1st edition. I visited a few of those, one just south of Denver, another just outside Santa Fe, another in Sacramento, and two in Minneapolis featuring Juicy Lucys. They were all good though Motz seemed to emphasize small and down home sort of places, the kind that makes you wonder how anything so good can come from a place like that.

The place seemed clean and the customers and waitpeople were agreeable; the latter were very helpful. They are only open for lunch during the week, about 10:30 to 3:00 or so. No beer/wine.






The menu featured a lot of special burgers, including the above-mentioned Juicy Lucys: these are two quarter pounders with a decent-sized chunk of American cheese between them. Be careful when you first bite into it as the cheese is very hot and can squirt in an explosive way. Stick your fork or knife in it to let off the pressure. The piece of bacon is optional. The buns were pretty good too, slightly toasted on the insides.

Next time I go I will try the "Blackened Sabbath" Burger even if it alludes to some anti-Christian ideas as bleu—is that the way we spell it now?—cheese, blackened by spices, and topped with bacon are mighty alluring to me.

My picture of the menu didn't come out but it looked like there were some good shakes and malts, as well as things besides burgers, like Nathan's hot dogs. The soups change from day to day. Mine was a nice bacon and potato chowder on Monday.

This is a place worth going back too, especially if your alias is J Wellington Wimpy.

Burger Lab Tests Buns


These are the candidates and this is the website they came from. This website is always worth a look. I'm not sure I see any that are available in Billings MT.  Maybe Wonder Classic White Hamburger Buns? I will check this out at Albertson's. Maybe I should go to Walmart, IGA and Good Earth just to be fair. OK, in the interest of fairness I will. I'm still biassed in favor of some good ordinary toasted sliced bread.

Big Lies Need Even Bigger Truths Repeatedly

The warming alarmists in the Australian government just keep on spouting their harmful nonsense, and these folks keep telling the truth.

Our rhyming rhetoricians of the Far Left, talking about "millionaires and billionaires" in the USA, are beginning to sound like the Bolsheviks of the Russian Revolution as they sought to demonize the kulaks  or  independent, wealthy farmers. Of course, the Far Left has a huge advantage because those on the Right are reluctant to sound as stupid as those who keep denigrating the "millionaires and billionaires."

17 April 2011

On The Way To San Jose

One way to go would be through Boise, though not the most direct route now that I think about it. Anyway, if you are in the vicinity, here is a website that might tempt you to stop and sample the goodies. This guy make Bozeman his home.

16 April 2011

Wilson Hits Walk-Off Homer in 13th


In the picture above those are some very tasty pulled pork sliders next to the ham and bean soup—a little heavy on the beans—and a nice glass of German Riesling too. After this excellent lunch at The Soup Place on Broadway—this is a place worth going to more than once—I noticed some commotion on the Yellowstone County Courthouse lawn: sure enough the Tea Party was setting up shop, though they looked fairly thin on the ground when I checked them out about 1 pm.


Hey, check out the allusion to Ayn Rand in the website on the sign on the right. I thought Tea Party members were supposed to be knuckle-dragging illiterates.



Eventually I got to Dehler Park where I noticed a few people in the stands; maybe they should have held the Tea Party rally at the ballpark, might have aided both causes. I think the city fathers should have a flag flying on 27th near the park to let people driving by know that a game is on, to warn them about foul balls, and maybe entice a few to wander in and watch the game.

I had read the Kusek article in the Gazette on Saturday morning, so I knew that the Boys of Spring from Montana State University at Billings were playing a double-header with the Boys of Spring from Northwest Nazarene, of Nampa, Idaho. Check out their website: it looks like they have more high school students from the area getting college credit than they have undergraduates: this sounds like a good idea.

According to Kusek MSUB lost the double-header on Friday because NNU played with "small balls" and MSUB didn't defend all that well against them. He also mentioned a 3 run homer which doesn't sound very small to me.


Apparently the last Nazarene pitcher, though he struck out the side in the 12th, hadn't seen this sign posted all over the ballpark. I couldn't find a scorecard so I don't know the names of the various players, except the guy from MSUB who hit the walk-off home run down the left field line in the bottom of the 13th inning: that was Travis Wilson, his first home run this season.

MSUB's starting pitcher was an average-sized right-hander who was surprisingly strong for about 7 innings, though he had some slick infield defense behind him too. He ran into some trouble in the 8th inning when NNU tied the score with 2 runs from a couple of hits that might have been caught by the shortstop and first baseman but weren't. Another run in the top of the ninth for NNU off a little left-hander had the home folks a little worried but a couple of timely hits and some good running in the bottom of the 9th tied the score at 3-3. Whoever that little left-hander was he did really well in the 10th, and the 11th, and then the 12th, and finally the 13th. He mixed speeds and locations very effectively.


The game started at 1 pm and with 2 outs and nobody on, about 4:30 in the afternoon, Travis Wilson of MSUB hit a line drive just over the left field fence and just fair too. Didn't go much further than the 329 ft that the sign says, I think, but that was enough to win the game That is the guy just pulling into home plate with a crowd of well-wishers waiting. I think I heard a few bad words from the NNU crowd about this time.


And there is his picture on the scoreboard. MSUB has players from Colorado, Nebraska, Wyoming, Idaho and Montana and probably a few other places too. The 3 umps were pretty good, something I always notice at games in Billings. They don't have "homers" like they have in every other town around that I've seen games.

The second game started around 5 pm, but I had had enough baseball fun for one day. So, just read about it in the Gazette tomorrow morning, after you go to church of course.

I Knew There Were Some Funny and Sensible Minnesotans

Check this guy out.

15 April 2011

Little League Bats


This is, as you can probably see, an article from the Wall Street Journal a couple of days ago. Apparently the powers that be in the Little League hierarchy have decided that they are going to take no chances on new composite bats hurting someone. I had a feeling this might well be the un-intended consequence of the rare serious injury or death that happens with any kind of bat. The relative light weight of the bat means that young and weaker players can swing it more easily. If they hit it just right it sounds great, goes further and apparently attains a velocity a few miles faster than the older metal bats and wooden bats. There is no convincing evidence that these bats are more harmful than the more traditional bats. They do make it more difficult to pitch inside in high school and college games because instead of breaking the bat and/or producing a weak pop fly to the infield, these bats are strong enough not to break and often the ball will fall between the infield and outfield, or at least that is the way it looks to me. So our Mustang hitters, for example, must learn how to bat using wooden bats and the pitchers need to learn how to pitch against those who use wooden bats.

This is going to result in headaches for umpires, coaches, players and their parents. And will not result in any significant increase in safety for the pitchers. Steve Thomas, a sports columnist and writer for the Bismarck Tribune summed up the arguments very nicely last summer. But he said nothing about safety because the data are not available. I didn't realize that the folks in North Dakota have gone over entirely to wooden bats. I hope they keep good records. Then in a few years we may have enough information to make a reasonable argument for and against metal and wooden bats.

New Restaurant on Grand and 13th


Making a lunch run on Grand and 13th the other day I noticed this sign about two doors down from Quiznos' entrance. The folks sitting in front seemed fairly friendly and said the restaurant was going to open next week. Looks like an interesting menu, though no pictures yet on their website.

Found Another Food etc. Blog

While fooling around on UrbanSpoon I came across this guy, Tom Porter from Bozeman, and his blog. Go here.

12 April 2011

Saw a Lot of Steak 'n Shakes on Road Trip Wisconsin to Florida


But we didn't stop because we were anxious to move on at the time. I have recently found out that we made a major mistake in not stopping at least for one burger. I guess the "steak" part threw me off. This information is from a superb burger website called A Hamburger Today, and so are the pictures. AHT will be recognized as an allusion to Popeye's friend, J Wellington Wimpy, whose memorable quote was "I'll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today."

Unfortunately, though they have over 500 locations they all seem to be on the east side of the Mississippi. Will do my best to rectify the situation the next time we go off to Florida or anywhere east of the Big River. I can even remember one of my brothers pointing out as we were heading out to a Red Lobster for dinner that Steak 'n Shake had good burgers and they put out a fairly decent breakfast as well. But I ignored him, to my later chagrin. Does that look good and plain like burgers and buns should look or what? I love that shininess on the top of the bun. Nothing beats butter.

Obama and the Easter Bunny

This may not be a real posed picture. I found it on this website. Along with 7 reasons that Our Leader and the E.B. are frighteningly similar, the first being that it is difficult to trace the origins of both.

10 April 2011

Has the Population of Dummies Increased?


Wandering around Barnes & Noble's bookstore in Billings on Saturday, I found this display. I looked around but I didn't see any obvious dummies, except perhaps myself when it comes to crocheting or auto repair. I hope they can weather the storm of Amazon's online competition as I do like to feel and page through a book before I buy it. By the way their Nook, their version of an electronic reader, especially the color version is very nice, particularly for the magazines.

09 April 2011

08 April 2011

Are the Republicans Playing The Same Rules As The Democrats?

I grew up in Wisconsin. My brother lives in Wisconsin. I have often wondered why the Democrats are almost always able to find the necessary votes when there are only a few hundred separating the two candidates. It looks like the Republicans in this just-concluded judicial election in Wisconsin waited until the Democrats had done their thing, finding the usual number of "misplaced" ballots, enough to win a close election. And then the Republicans somehow managed to "find" thousands of ballots, more than enough to win the close election. This maneuver reminds me of the unsophisticated shenanigans of the 2000 presidential election in Florida: enough votes were found to persuade the media to call the results for Gore, thus apparently becoming the President of the United States, before the people of the Panhandle had finished their voting. Naturally enough, those who were stuffing the ballot boxes thought they had done enough when Gore was announced the winner, and stopped. Of course, they hadn't stuffed enough and all the King's horses and and all the King's men couldn't put Humpty-Dumpty together again. Remember the Supreme Court of the United States had to become involved so that the crooked lawyers King's men couldn't fix what their underlings had messed up.

07 April 2011

Interesting Video



I tried to put this on Facebook but it was blocked. I wonder who would do such a thing?

On The Way To Ashland OR


We take off from Billings at 6:00am Thursday for Seattle. That means you don't get a decent night's sleep as you must set your alarm for 4:00am. Some old people like to sleep in. It's a little crowded at the Horizon/Alaska gates at SeaTac.


Arriving at 7:20am where we wait in the terminal, walking, reading, drowsing and eating 'til 1:40pm. They have a surprising amount of retail activity going on here, almost as much as Rimrock Mall, including some excellent restaurants. Both of us have an omelette with smoked salmon: very tasty.


We get in to the new Medford OR (MFR) terminal around 3:00pm. I guess they don't believe in Central Standard Time or maybe it is Chicago they fail to acknowledge.



We shop for essentials at Harry and David's retail store on the edge of Medford OR: taste some wine from the new wineries opening every day it seems in the Rogue Valley and try their snacks: very tasty.


We have a brunch with the Mazzucas at our favorite breakfast place on Main St, just across the street from the Plaza Inn. See below. Excellent as usual. I think we have persuaded Nic and Zac that this is the place for breakfast and lunch. Many of the company at OSF think so too.



As you can see, early April is early Spring in the Rogue Valley, at least in Ashland there are many flowering trees and bushes and the grass is always green.


We take in The Tragedy of Julius Caesar by W. Shakespeare, done in modern dress. We were saddened by the death of J. Caesar in this production, in contrast to most others that I have seen. That lady in the strange hat and gigantic green bag stage right is our oldest but still serviceable daughter Margaret, aka Peg.




We took the kids to a funfair where they rode Go-Karts on the edge of Central Point (see an earlier entry on blue cheese) when lo and behold we ran into some people who were intent on practically giving away some giant recreational vehicles such as the above.


We even went for a ride. More on this part of the adventure at a later time.



To keep Carol happy we went to her favorite store, where else but Paddington Station, guarded by the faithful Paddington Bear, see above.


There are lots of new places and people in Ashland since our last visit there, including this quiet Noble Coffee Shop & Roasting Establishment in the Railroad District. New friends include Mick and Anjie Reynolds, see below. They are not tourists, but entertain them regularly.



All in all, a great time was had by all. We plan on going back in the Fall, perhaps when the Traditional Jazz Festival is taking place in nearby Medford OR, usually the first weekend in October. There must be some items that my failing memory has forgotten.

06 April 2011

Go-Karts Make Come-Back


Just outside Medford OR, across the interstate from Central Point, we found a fun fair with all sorts of indoor jukebox games, and an outdoor go-kart track and multiple pitching machines throwing everything from slow pitch softballs to very fast baseballs. We didn't try the latter but the go-karts got a good workout from our kids and grandkids. See above.

05 April 2011

Summary of Ryan's Budget



Maggie's Notebook has a useful summary of Rep Paul Ryan's budget here. In case you are interested, he is a bright young CongressPerson from Wisconsin, representing their 1st Congressional District, a little south of where I grew up. Interesting contrast in the political outlook of people outside of Madison and Milwaukee. What is it about the urban life that makes them vote Democratic? There is also a good article by Rep Ryan in today's Wall Street Journal.

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