30 March 2008

Second Sunday of the Easter Season

I had a kippered herring for brunch today. It was very good with toast, eggs and tomatoes. I had to Google it because I didn't know what it was. It is a herring, split down the middle as above and then smoked. Very tasty. I should have remembered it because we had it several times for breakfast when we lived in England.

In the afternoon we went to Alberta Bair Theatre to hear and see Donizetti's Elixir of Love, with lots of young singers, all very nicely done. Doug Nagel does a terrific job assembling a cast of talented young singers. And not surprisingly the staging looks fairly simple so that the cost is within reason. Tutti brave

26 March 2008

If Foreigners Could Vote in the 08 USA Elections

This recent article in the Wall Street Journal with the headline above reminded me about some observations on European friends and erstwhile allies that startled me the first time I noted them in the early 70s.

A little introductory material may be helpful here: I am the son of a butcher/politician and Carol is the daughter of a cheesemaker. Both of us came of age in a small village in south-central Wisconsin in the 1950s. Our high school English teacher, Mrs Mahr, one of only a few Catholics allowed in the village of Hustisford, thought us reasonably sophisticated enough to recommend that we read Patrick Dennis's Auntie Mame a year or so after it came out in 1955. Why she thought it wasn't suitable for the others I shall never know.

I went on to study chemistry at Carroll College, a small liberal-arts college just outside of Milwaukee, as a way of preparing to go to medical school. Fortunately Dr Folsom, at that time one of three English professors on campus, delighted in my quick understanding of "country matters" in his 300 level Shakespeare class. I was the only non-major in the class and must have been already admitted to medical school as I didn't worry much about a good grade in the class. He even gave me a special exam as he didn't think it fair to ask question comparing and contrasting S with other authors I had not been forced to read because of my major.

Although I don't remember specifically discussing the matter of Truth, I suspect that almost all my teachers in high school and college believed that there was such a thing as Truth, and that one of the principal functions of education was seeking Truth. And thus it never occurred to me to think otherwise.

In the late 60s and early 70s physicians were subject to the draft just like everyone else. I was sent to a laboratory at Scott AFB in the middle of a lot of cornfields in southern Illinois, when I came across a short note in a USAF publication about an exchange position as a pathologist with Her Majesty Elizabeth II's Royal Air Force. I didn't consult with Carol about this matter and so we arrived at RAF Halton's Institute of Pathology and Tropical Medicine in August 1972.

I started reading British & continental newspapers, and talking with friends and acquaintances. I was startled to discover how much they paid attention to what was going on in the USA. What they paid attention to was usually fairly embarrassing. I don't remember if they knew we American commoners did not pay any attention to what was going on in Europe or anywhere else in the world before or after WWII unless we were recent immigrants or stationed there to dissuade our erstwhile allies, and now our sworn enemies, the Communists of the Soviet Union, from taking over any more of Europe than they had already helped themselves to. Our British hosts were usually kind and tolerant of our American ways. Although our US geography classes always regarded the British Isles as part of Europe, in those days I met more than a few Englishmen and Scots who thought and said that the "Wogs" (which I learned was an acronym for "wily oriental gentleman") began at Calais!

And while traveling around England and the continent we found a surprising amount of anti-Jewish sentiment, except maybe for a few Danes and fewer Italians. And we fat and dumb Americans had thought it was just those nasty Nazis that were at fault for The Holocaust. The Germans were particularly miffed for taking the blame for putting into action the logical consequence of what most of Europe was thinking. As for anti-American feelings, those were usually obscured in the form of jokes. So that European sense of superiority over us benighted colonialists coupled with an intense interest in the details of what we Americans were up to, and a persistent anti-Jewish way of thinking, though seldom out loud, were surprising to us. And they still are. Not only surprising but puzzling too as we thought there would be some lingering gratitude because the USA had come to the aid of England and France and Germany.

By the way, in case anyone is interested in the continuing presence of Fascism in these latter days, you could do worse than sample some of Jonah Goldberg's recent book, pictured above with terrible lighting, for which I apologize.

25 March 2008

More of Arizona March 2008

There is more to Arizona than Spring baseball. Tucson has a terrific zoo/museum/exhibition of desert flora. See a mean looking cat to the left.

And there are some interesting small towns east of Tucson just off the 10. Especially Tombstone and Bisbee. The former exists entirely on the probably exaggerated history of the shootout at the OK Corral, but the latter has something going for it even now, including a decent hotel, The Copper Queen, and a real hat store, Optimo Hatworks, where I was fitted for a hat in the old-fashioned way.

Apparently Bisbee was a very big place in the latter part of the 19th century, mostly silver and copper until it suddenly declined in the 1920s.

And there is a very nice old mission just south of Tucson: San Xavier del Bac.

And there is a Titan Missile Museum in Green Valley just south of Tucson too. See above. Sorry for the awkward placement of the pictures but Blogger can't seem to fix this problem.

23 March 2008

He Is Risen, He Is Risen Indeed, Hallelujah

Easter Sunday, March 23, 2008 at St Patrick's Co-Cathedral: We had a full-voiced Standing Room Only crowd to celebrate our Lord's Resurrection. The choir was a little short on male voices, but we made up the loss with a mandolin player and a terrific 7th grade flautist and pianist, in addition to a lot of very nice female voices.

The new copper-lined baptismal font, above, which you can run into if you are not paying attention on entering the church, got a workout last night during the Easter Vigil with nine! adult baptisms. We got sprinkled today with the leftover Holy Water from last night.

Lots of lilies, what looked like new and shiny metal plates and goblets for the Eucharistic celebration, and what seems like a growing number of young kids. In fact, I saw some really nice dresses on 8-10 year old girls. One hat, on an adult lady, which looked like it was meant to keep the sun off. Whatever happened to Easter bonnets?

21 March 2008

The Boys of Spring in Arizona March 2008

I flew on Allegiant Air from Billings to Mesa Arizona in the middle of March 2008 to take in a little Spring baseball along with hanging out with my younger brother Russ; now hailing from Tennessee, formerly of Florida; now retired, formerly a guidance counselor and coach at the middle school level in Ocala, Florida.

The airport in Mesa, to the left, now called Phoenix Gateway Mesa is expanding on the former Williams Air Force Base which it still looks like for the most part, including those old warehouses and some fairly nice base housing too, now bought up by civilians I suppose. Apparently this part of Mesa had never been built up in the past, but they are making up for lost time very quickly if a quick look driving south on Power Ave is any guide.

I forgot how far Mesa is from Sky Harbor Airport in Phoenix. That is where I eventually met up with Russ though we had a little trouble making contact because of the complexity of the Phoenix airport. We then drove on to Tucson, spring-training home of the Chicago White Sox, the Colorado Rockies and the Arizona Diamondbacks. The other 9 teams training in Arizona are scattered around the Phoenix metropolitan area.

According to the paper the Cleveland Indians and the Los Angeles Dodgers are supposed to be moving to Phoenix next year and probably the Cincinnati Redlegs too; and maybe the White Sox will move up to Phoenix as well, as the suburb of Glendale made them an offer they will have trouble refusing. They have a contract with Tucson until 2012 but they may be able to figure out some way to get out of their obligation. That is Tucson Electric Park, to the right, where the Tucson Sidewinders, the Diamondbacks AAA team in the Pacific Coast League play their home games.

Some of the advantages of Tucson are that it is a smaller city, and it boasts the University of Arizona which usually fields a pretty good team too. We did manage to see U of A beat Cal State Fullerton on Friday evening of the day we arrived. But if it gets down to two teams with all the rest of them being a couple of hours away in Phoenix that might be difficult for everyone. We may have to stay in Phoenix next year.

Actually I have it in mind to visit North Carolina April/May 2009 as there is a surprising number of minor league teams scattered about that fair state as well as a nephew who is a vice-president of the Kannapolis Intimidators, class A affiliate of the White Sox in the South Atlantic League. He and their field manager were the main forces for getting us tickets for the spring games in Tucson and one in Phoenix at the Brewer's stadium in Maryvale. So thank you gentlemen very much.

I don't know what the problem with Blogger is. I am unable to move the pictures around. Sorry.
You can check out more pictures at my other website or maybe in a web gallery. Yes, this last link works, as I just checked it out. [The browser is the problem: Safari has been flummoxed by Blogger once again. I switched over to FireFox.]

04 March 2008

What's Temptation For?

This is a just-poured light pole base with drying and setting concrete.

This is the rebar for one light pole foundation.

This is how they dig the holes for the light pole foundations. Kind of like your dentist.

This is one of the entrances to the new baseball field at ground level. The actual playing field will be eight feet lower I think.

In other news the new stadium will soon have a name, apparently Dehler Field after the father of Jon Dehler a guy from Fergus Falls Minnesota, now running the very successful Fleetwood Gaming in Billings. He donated one million dollars to the building of the stadium.

His father is now 83, and lives in Helena. He served in the Marine Corps in WWII, and enjoyed watching his grandson, Kirk, play baseball in Billings. The older Dehler played a major part in helping some small towns in Minnesota field some good American Legion teams. There may be something to this genetics stuff.

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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