26 November 2007

Wall Street Journal Jabs Ignorance Once Again

Is there another daily newspaper that puts Shelby Steele and Bernard Lewis on its opinion page on a Monday morning in late November? I doubt it. Check out http://www.opinionjournal.com/

Mr Steele reckons that Obama is Right on Iran and lightens my load of ignorance considerably at the same time. Perhaps Mr Obama is right for the wrong reasons but "even a blind squirrel finds an acorn now and then."

Mr. Lewis also enlightens me on why the Palestinians have been supported for so many years and on why the Annapolis peace conference may or may not succeed.

I guess I should have read these guys before today.

20 November 2007

Marching Through Montana with Navigator and Maggie the Dog

Left Missoula about 9am. The weather prediction from last night and even this morning sounded a little worrying, even on the trusty Interstate Highways, thanks be to President Eisenhower and the large number of willing Senators and Representatives who signed on for the New Deal for the Automobile and Construction Industry of the 1950s, the beginning of our vast system of interstate highways. Montana is probably the only state in the country in which the 90 or the 15 or the 94 feels like an autobahn with the accompanying need for speed.

There were a few rough patches, with hard slush etc., where I declined to pass the slower moving vehicles, and a few wiggles on some of the bridges, and of course, about 15 vehicles either in the ditch or the median between Missoula and Billings. Also saw a few places where the vehicles had already been pulled out. In any event, we arrived home at about 4pm.

This is what we found when we got home. See above right and left. Is there a Guinness Record for total number of catalogs received in a Xmas season or maybe in one day?

19 November 2007

T the N V: Spokane to Missoula

It may seem a little cautious or perhaps a little lazy to drive only about 200 or so miles on a Monday, but we enjoyed the Grant Tree Inn and the Montana Club so much on the way out that it seemed a reasonable place to stop on the way home too, especially when we managed to while away a morning in the splendid small city of Spokane, and knew that we were going to lose an hour to the clock on entering the splendid large state of Montana.

Spokane has much to be proud of: A river and a park run right through the middle; so does the 90, which is not great but it does allow one to get around fairly quickly; Riverside Park has an attractive clock tower (above left) saved from the railroad station when that transport mode met an untimely death, and a very large red wagon, together with lots of urban art, some of which seems to move mysteriously (above right) in the river.

Good hotels, restaurants, an outdoor ice rink, an arena that I suppose can be used as an indoor ice rink too, and an Opera House which is now the Performing Arts Center, together with a number of smaller theatres, a decent symphony and a jazz orchestra that has its own concert season.

Gonzaga University is also along the river, and I am sure there are other schools as well. I haven't even mentioned that they also still have a functional downtown, the Northwest League Class A short season Spokane Indians baseball team, and a very nice bookstore called Auntie's. (Left) I am sure there is plenty more but that was certainly enough to delay our departure.

18 November 2007

T the N IV: Off to Spokane

After our usual post-St Joseph/Our Savior brunch at the Issaquah Cafe, we started worrying about the weather and decided to take off for Spokane, so that we had a few days in hand in case it got worse.

Since we didn't get underway 'til about 1:30 pm it was getting dark by the time we got to Spokane, so naturally we had trouble finding the Red Lion. Carol claims this is because we have difficulty seeing at night, but it is more likely that advancing age with its various complications is a more complete explanation.

T the N III: Now We Are 60 Something Grandparents in Issaquah WA

Pulled into Issaquah on Thursday afternoon, 15 November. Motel 6 is the only one that takes dogs. They were pleasant people, and quite reasonable. Nick and Zack have grown quite a bit since the last time we saw them. Peg and Patrick are as hospitable as ever. It looks like we got here just in time. (See left)

They just put the house on the market and will start looking in the Tacoma area this summer. Naturally enough, the house was spic and span, waiting for potential buyers. (See below)

It is hard to get Nick's head out of a book which is probably a good thing. Zack is a pretty good reader and plays a mean game of chess and/or checkers. That is the Zackster to the right coming to Thanksgiving mass in a line with some tall girls keeping him under control.

They both are into martial arts with Nick sporting a brown belt already. The boys were still in school on Thursday and Friday though I think they have next week off, or am I thinking of Joan and her gang?

Peg and Patrick seem to have turned the corner into a comfortable middle age. Daisy the Expensive Dog is as goofy as ever. She and Maggie got along fairly well, though it was not love at first sight.

On Saturday evening we went to an auction in aid of St Joseph's Elementary School, which is actually split into two campuses, Pre-K through grade 3 at the church and grade 4 through grade 8.

Sunday morning early mass, well 8:30am is fairly early, and then off to the Issaquah Cafe for some of their famous B.O.B., which for the un-initiated starts with some biscuits on the bottom, with some sausage patties next, over which some eggs are laid, and then the whole thing is covered with some lovely white gravy, in other words, Breakfast on a Biscuit.

14 November 2007

T the N II: Through Darkest Idaho

On Wednesday, 14 November, we went over the state line at Lolo Pass on Highway 12 into the woods (right) of northern Idaho. It is a little spooky to be going slowly uphill with some snow on the road and then suddenly be heading downhill with that same snow but now gravity is not your friend. No wonder the eccentrics hang out in this part of the world.

We stopped for lunch in Lowell (population 24, no 23). As I was heading for the head I made a mental note that I probably would skip this room if it were dark. Good chili.

Curvy road, probably only 200 miles or so to Pullman but it took us about 5 hours to get across northern Idaho into Cougar country. Stopped in at Merry Cellars in the Old P.O. in Pullman and tasted some very nice wine. They gave me a little tour of the place too. I will report on the wine later.

13 November 2007

Touring the NorthWest I: on the way to Issaquah WA & Back

We took off in Carol's Navigator a little after 9am the Tuesday before the week of Thanksgiving. Made it as far as Missoula the first day, about 340 miles. The 90 was fine.

We stopped at the Wheat Montana place just beyond Bozeman (to the left) for some Powder Milk Biscuits: Heavens, they're tasty.

Later, we learned that Drummond MT, (see below) where we stopped for gas, is the Bull-Shipping Capital of the World. Well, I'm not absolutely sure but it might have to share that honor.

The Drummond High Trojans are playing for the Class C eight man football state championship in three days. I wonder what their mascot looks like.

The Grant Tree Inn Best Western in Missoula was excellent, with a surprisingly good breakfast, especially their sausages. And they like dogs. The Montana Club is a short distance away on Reserve St: it is an excellent restaurant, fairly new.

01 November 2007

All Saints Day

Mass @ 12:10pm @St Patrick's Co-Cathedral, Billings MT. The usual miraculous events occur. Very short homily, a little out of place: Father Tony said (I wish I would have had a recording device) "I am now in my 60s and all the people that used to take me to church and taught me to pray are still praying with me and for me, but in a different place." That sounds like a reasonable homily for All Saints Day.

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


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
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