30 July 2008

More Modest Proposals

Heading toward Albuquerque on Friday to check out a grandson who has recently started talking.

Never leave home without first consulting George Motz's Hamburger America. Sadly, I see no places mentioned in Wyoming, though I distinctly remember a pretty good joint on the 80 around Rock Springs. I think I even have a menu framed somewhere. Maybe they specialized in fish.

Bud's Place in Sedalia CO is on the list, as well as couple of places in New Mexico: Bobcat Bite in Santa Fe and Owl Bar & Cafe in San Antonio. New Mexico is a little tricky in that they name some of their small towns after bigger places in other states, or maybe it is the other way around as some of the folks in NM have been there a long time. Will let you know.

29 July 2008

Who are we allowed to make fun of?

From Henry Payne

I forget, are we not allowed to make fun of Democrats with big ears, or is it all politicians with Muslim sounding names?

28 July 2008

Dry T-Shirt Contest

I submit this one as pretty clever without actually being smutty. My brother Russ gave it to me practically off his back. He is on his way to being a grandfather, so I thought I would congratulate him and his children who will be doing all the work.

27 July 2008

Another Hit Parader Cashes In

Sorry, dear readers, I meant to mention the passing of Jo Stafford before this, but I was distracted by something or someone. As a child I thought all singers would try to emulate this sound.

26 July 2008

Voyagers v. Mustangs Musings

Here are some fans eager to see some good baseball. They look kind of familiar: Of course, I knew I had seen them before. Jerry and Joyce Hartnett and Carol Mueller.

A good crowd tonight to watch the Mustangs flail around at the plate fairly ineffectively. As you can see the left and center field crowd and the overflow folks on the grass down the left field line turned out in good numbers tonight. The little girls are watching the big girls strut their stuff and practicing their moves when the time comes.

Mr Hudson of the Great Falls Voyagers struck out 10 in 6 innings, made a lot of others look bad, and allowed one unearned run on two dink hits and a big error. Perhaps it was just as well that they called it in the top of the 9th because of lightning. It looked even worse to the north and west. Turns out they started play again after 90 minutes. The gazette said they were down to forty fans at the end. My guess is that they were all employees of the Mustangs or girl friends of the players.

Turns out there are more things going on at these games than just watching, beer drinking and brat eating. On the left is some sort of jump around thing for kids. Just behind it is a way of measuring how fast you can throw a baseball. It didn't seem very accurate when I watched.

I'm not sure who the guys above and below are working for. Their lenses suggest someone or something other than themselves. There are a surprising number of nice cameras at various places around the field, both still and video.

Speaking of girl friends and cameras, look what I found above. I don't know, maybe she was just a working girl. Sorry friends, the closer I examine this picture and the surrounding pictures, it looks like I have slipped in one from the night the Scottish play was performed at Dehler.

That big wide concourse all the way around the field is tempting. I imagine you could have a car show it is so wide you could have races on it probably. It makes up for some of the other deficiencies of the park, like no protection from the sun or rain. Maybe there is a plan to add to the basic park in later years. It looks like a 2nd deck could be built fairly easily with a number of deluxe sky boxes, incidentally providing at least some of the fans with protection from the elements. Maybe they could throw in a higher screen too. I notice the Legion teams are not even trying to get their baseballs back when they are fouled away.

24 July 2008

A Merciful Ending To Long Night of Baseball

The last time the Royals and Scarlets played here at Dehler it was a pitcher's duel. This time it was a hitter's and fielder's duel, with a fair amount of loose play in the field and lots of extra-base hits, even a squeeze play somewhere in the middle innings, I forget exactly where or why: all brought to a merciful end by a 7 run 8th inning by the Scarlets. I think the pitchers were getting tired too. The fans certainly were.

Some of Billings' finest young men, wishing each other well after the game. I'm not sure what they said.

23 July 2008

Shakespeare in the Park, Dehler Park, that is

I wasn't sure the sign was truthful when I saw it a few weeks ago. July 23, Macbeth by William Shakespeare was supposed to be performed at Dehler Park, courtesy of the good folks from MSUBozeman who bring us Shakespeare in the Park all over Montana in the summertime, every year that we have lived here, now going on 28 years, in the the hope that we will keep supporting the schools in the manner they have become accustomed to.

The Scottish Play began in the usual way at about 6:30pm between the pitcher's mound and 2nd base, which was a little far away but they had a pretty good sound system, which only failed when the largest planes took off from Logan International in the background. The three hags were not that bad looking actually but we all suspended disbelief anyway.

And bad things happened in the usual way because the natural order of things was ignored by someone or other. I guess it was because we read it in high school that so many speeches stick in the mind: "Is this a dagger I see before me?" "Sleep, that knits up the raveled sleeve of care." "Out, damn spot!" And so forth. I don't know why, but I never can suppress a tear or two when MacDuff finds out that his family has been slaughtered, and he keeps asking, "All?" more than once.

This was a good performance with good witches, dancing and singing etc and a strong Lady MacBeth, and a quick and just end. I had forgotten how the fight at the end between MacDuff and MacBeth goes on for some time. One has to stifle oneself to keep from yelling out "He was a C=section!" though how that comes out as not "born of a woman" I'm a little puzzled by. I always like Banquo's ghost and the interplay between him and MacBeth.

I like it when they go straight through and not fool around with different scenes and acts etc. "Git her done." They had a pretty good crowd, see above, almost as good as a baseball game, though more refined, of course.

18 July 2008


HUGE: APS ENDS CONSENSUS MYTH! American Physical Society to launch debate on CO2 and climate - Below is the statement by the editor of Physics & Society, the journal of the American Physical Society, the professional society for U.S. Physicists.


"JunkScience.com announces that the major professional society for U.S. physicists has declared that there is no scientific consensus that humans are causing global warming. The American Physical Society announced in the July issue of its journal Physics & Society that it would begin on its pages a debate on the central issue of the global warming controversy -- that is, does manmade CO2 drive global climate. "This is the death knell for the falsehood spread by Al Gore and other global warming alarmists that there is any sort of consensus of scientists supporting the notion of catastrophic manmade global warming," said JunkScience.com publisher, Steve Milloy. "We are elated that we survived to see the truth emerge and that we helped bring this sea change about," added Milloy.

Can the Nobel Prize Committee take back a prize? Like the sprinters who were using steroids or whatever. There are some nice graphs at the junkscience.com site for those who are impressed by that sort of argument.

16 July 2008

A Pop Quiz

To see if you have been paying attention: Where and what time was this picture taken? Extra credit may be given for incorrect but ingenious answers. I won't put the tags on so as not to tempt you to cheat!

14 July 2008

Notes from The Front

A Regular Guy pointed out that Fr Neuhaus had something to say at the National Right to Life convention that might be interesting to all of us. You may recall that First Things is the only magazine that I read straight through as soon as it arrives. This is not an essay but rather a speech modeled after some of the great speakers in the Anglo-American tradition.

"That is the horizon of hope that, from generation to generation, sustains the great human rights cause of our time and all times—the cause of life. We contend, and we contend relentlessly, for the dignity of the human person, of every human person, created in the image and likeness of God, destined from eternity for eternity—every human person, no matter how weak or how strong, no matter how young or how old, no matter how productive or how burdensome, no matter how welcome or how inconvenient. Nobody is a nobody; nobody is unwanted. All are wanted by God, and therefore to be respected, protected, and cherished by us."

I bolded the phrase that leapt from the page to my mind. What a guy, a speaker as well as a writer.

13 July 2008

15th Sunday in Ordinary Time

El Greco's Saint Paul

From the letter of Saint Paul to the Romans 8:18-23 ". . . We know that all creation is groaning in labor pains even until now; and not only that, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, we also groan within ourselves as we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies."

This passage found its way from my ears to my brain this morning. I spent a least a few minutes wondering if our Global Warming alarmist friends might not be aware of this idea of creation "groaning in labor pains" and that maybe we don't know what our Creator has in mind for us and for all things.

And as for the apocalyptic notions they spread, Saint Matthew, 24:36, says that ". . . about that day and hour no one knows, neither angels of heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. . ." meaning we are foolish and very likely wrong when we see the end of the world in climate change.

Global Warming

Global Cooling

12 July 2008

SummerFair 2008

This venerable annual happening moved back to Rocky Mountain College campus where it had been for many years. They put it in the football bowl which made it easier to collect an admission fee. Much good food as usual, though drinks seemed hard to come by. The exhibits were the usual stuff from around these parts.

10 July 2008

Baseball in Billings Again

This is a shot of Urbaska Field, corner of 17th and Poly, taken from Klindt Field. It could use some lights and a higher backstop to keep more balls in the park. Fred cashed in his chips way too soon.

Good crowd for the Mustangs. They played 6 straight games at Dehler Park in early July, won 5 of them, and drew good crowds each night, usually around 3500 or more. They may well be on their way to a new attendance record.

A pretty good crowd for the Royals and Scarlets game too. This rivalry has been going on since the mid-70s.

When the Legion teams went off to the Twin Cities, and the Mustangs were losing games in Utah, we went to Emmanuel Baptist Field to watch the Lobos, and to Pirtz Field to watch the Cardinals and Blue Jays. Billings is a baseball city.

Someone just hit a long home run for the Lobos against the Mavericks of Miles City. I thought they played in the AA Legion ranks. I will look into the matter. I did note that everybody played with a wooden bat. Emotion rules!

This guy was taking pictures from centerfield a few days ago at Dehler Park with a really long lens. Not sure who he was doing this for. If I see him again I will ask.

A nice new statue of Ed Bayne, long-time almost legendary coach for American Legion baseball teams here in Billings. Two of his players sponsored the statue so naturally they got into it as well. The new plantings just outside of Dehler Park are coming along well. The face on Bayne looks a little more like him than the one on the McNally statue.

A view down 27th St from the ballpark looking south. A fair number of foul baseballs end up in this street and parking lot. Please keep that in mind between 7 and 10pm on nights when they play baseball at Dehler Park, which is most nights, come to think of it.

One of the coach/groundskeepers getting Pirtz Field ready for the evening's doubleheader with Glendive.

Scarlets and Royals teeing off against each other at Dehler Park. They have been playing at Pirtz Field earlier in the year.

09 July 2008

Around & About Billings II

This is down in Stewart Park and is looking fairly nice, especially after they put up the old lights from Cobb Field. The playing surface looks good. The stands need a little work.

This is the new addition to Faith Chapel, more or less tripling the size of the old place next door. Is this what they call a "mega-church?" See the vehicle in front of it?

A downtown sign for an "Old Fashion Baptist Church." I guess we have to bloom where we are planted.

Who would have guessed that this sign would have made sense a few years ago. The Spoke Shop on 19th and Grand.

07 July 2008

Around and About Billings: A Few Days in July 08

Above is the inside of McCormick's Cafe on Montana Ave with special attention to the ceiling. The menu is on the wall. Below is a view of Montana Ave and the McCormick sign sticking out from the Cafe. I'm not sure that sidewalk trees will ever work for very long. They are mainly for looks while they are immature. And a little lower down are some old and recent signs on the side of old buildings down in this historical part of town. "Ghost signs" I think the cognoscenti call them.

I'm not sure what the Stillwater Stage is, but I will try to find out. Meanwhile, watch this space.

The front of a scorecard from a Mustang's game at Dehler Park, above left; and above right are the blooms on our catalpa tree. It is looking better every year.

Just above left are members of the 329 Club out in left field at Dehler Park. They are discussing important matters of the day while watching a ball game. Further right is a regular at the corner of 24th and Central, discussing even more important things on his loudspeaker. I'm not sure those in the passing cars can hear him.

The summer season is in full swing in early July most years here in Billings MT. Maybe that is when you know you are no longer living in a small town, that is, when so many things are going on at the same time that no one person can actually keep track of all that is going on, nor would anyone want to. This is a small sample of what we are up to in Billings, Montana.

03 July 2008

Mustangs Sweep Great Falls

Baseball Fans having a good time down the left field line. There is a large and wide concourse behind them, so the toilets and essential things like food and drink are very close to almost everyone. I don't know where the hookers sit in this new park. They used to sit just behind the Mustang's dugout in the old Cobb Field.

The Star Spangled Banner sounded good even without the sound system turned on.

Bullpen for the home team Mustangs down the left field line and very close to that line as well as the people down here. Maybe they planned it that way. I don't know but will ask someone who knows.

Thanks Heavens somebody put these cartoonish characters out of their misery. How much do we pay them to fart around on the tops of the dugouts. Why not just offer free beer for what they cost? I was just thinking how pleasant it is that for some reason Billings puts up with a lot less between innings shenanigans than most other minor league towns when these clowns walked on. Oh well, grumpy old men are not the desired demographic at Dehler Park I'm sure.

This lovely lady used to walk around Cobb Field nearly the whole game selling 50/50 chances and when she wasn't doing that she led the cheering, such as it was. We were not that good at either cheering or waving, thank Heavens.

Get your souvenirs here before they are gone. Fitted hats with a nice double horse shoe in the form of an M logo are $23!

Just like in Little League, except they don't shake the hands of the other team.

You can sit on the grass if you like. This is far right field and you can harass the bullpen if you like too I suppose.

At the base of the new scoreboard. Fairly nice for a rookie league I think. Now, if we could add some info on the players in addition to their pictures and maybe speed of pitches it would be even better.

Looking at home plate from the left field corner, which is 329 ft down the line. There is a beer stand at the end of it, called ironically enough, The 329 Club. The right field line is 350 ft and curiously enough the light poles in the outfield are not arranged symetrically, that is, the one in left field is noticeably closer to the line than the one in right field. I've not seen that before. I will try to find out the reason for my gentlereaders.

You can't tell who the players are without a scorecard.

The batters were not very vocal this evening. The game was won by the pitchers and some unlikely batting from some Caribbean infield guys. Miguel Rojas, batting < .200, hit a double to bring in one run in the 7th and then Jose Gualdron, also batting < .200, hit a home run in the 8th, his first as a Mustang. Sr. Rojas also made a dazzling stop at shortstop on a hit/run play to throw the guy out at first, the defensive gem of the night. The ninth inning looked a little worrying but the 2-1 advantage was maintained for the second time by closing pitcher, not very big right-hander Randall Linebaugh from Baylor. And all went home happy, well all the Mustangs' fans anyway. This sweep of the Great Falls Voyagers puts the Mustangs on top by a game in the northern division. In the three games at the new Dehler Park there have been 10,337 people coming through the gates. Things seem to work fairly well. The beer stands are selling well, including some micro-brews. The grills are cooking well, including some excellent Johnsonville bratwursts. 
This one shows a surprisingly popular left field standing room only type accommodation. There is a beer stand nearby and a few tables to set your beer down on too. We need more of these around the whole field.

The seats in the stands closer to the infield are more than a little cosy and everyone has to stand in order to let someone through. Maybe we need to remind each other that good manners would suggest that we confine our moves to the time between innings. Unfortunately, the announcer has the annoying habit of suggesting the 2nd coming for each home batter he announces. I much prefer the low key "Smith, #21, John Smith" and let it be the same for everybody.

The screens let a fair number of balls go toward Perkin's Restaurant and onto 27th St, and into the stands especially further down the lines where the sizzling foul balls tend to go. I guess that is what the fans like, especially if they haven't tried to stop a baseball in recent memory.

The bullpens appear to be an afterthought just outside the foul lines in mid left and right fields, but the good thing about this is that the players are very close to the fans so the kids can bother them for autographs just like in the bigs. I wonder if a 2nd baseman or a right fielder will have a problem running over the pitching mounds in the bullpen?

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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