28 June 2009

Before & After: Warning Not for Children or Faint of Heart

This is a picture of the X-ray taken of our daughter Joan's pelvis and upper femurs sometime last year. She finally assented to a total hip replacement a few days ago.

Things are working very well indeed. I am surprised at how quickly she was up and around. I don't know whether I am supposed to say this or not but she went off the crutches about a week after the operation and was driving a 1 1/2 ton truck around this morning, 12 days post-op. Hmm.

27 June 2009

Swim Meet in Novato

Nice swimming pool at Indian Valley campus of College of Marin on Saturday morning, June 20th, with Matthew McInnes, age 10, swimming for the Novato Riptide, the main feature of his adoring fans and grandparents.

The scene to the right is much of what can be seen unless you elbow your way to the front of the crowd. A surprising amount of order comes out of what may at first appear to be chaos.

The picture above is from the deep end where the diving boards are, looking toward the end where the races take place, across the shorter length of the pool. Most races are 50 yds or meters I'm not sure, though the under 8s only go for 25.

That is Matt to the left, between events. As you can see he is one of those fair-skinned, blonde and blue-eyed types that when he is old and bent, will wish he had used a lot more sunscreen when he was this age. I notice he also squints when he smiles, a habit he must have inherited from me, his maternal grandfather.

I think that is Matt below, doing the backstroke. His best stroke is free style. He won a first and a couple of 2nds and some lower places as well. I'm guessing they give out ribbons up to 6th or maybe even 8th place. It's not the Olympics.

Swim meets are difficult to take good pictures of the action.

The food and organization of a lot of kids was really well done. I am pretty sure Matt's team came in ahead of the visitors for the first time this year.

No stimulus money was spent on this activity.

22 June 2009

Afternoon in Richmond

Guess which one of these two classy vehicles above we took to do some shooting at the Richmond CA Rod and Gun Club? That's on the east side of the bay.

Of course, the FBMF on the right. It rides surprisingly smoothly. Don and Joan tend toward extremes I guess.

We came with a variety of small arms. All the way from .22 cal. to .45 cal. With the usual variations on size and velocity.

That is grandson Matt doing the honors with an AR 15, which looks and feels very much like what I remember as an M16, back in the days when Uncle Sam allowed me to serve in our nation's armed forces, both the Air Force and the Navy I am proud to say.

I will borrow the clip from the Lou Gehrig Story at Yankee Stadium when he publicly retired, finally diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis—which came to be known as Lou Gehrig disease—after a disastrous season, says he is "the luckiest man on the face of the earth" in a bouncing around the stadium fashion, when I get close to retirement.

He meant it and so will I.

That is Don McInnes, father of Don and grandfather of Matt showing us all how to shoot a 9mm pistol. I think he is actually a junior as his father was Don as well, that would make his son Don III but I think that all changes as people cash in their chips. I think the guy to the right is now Don, and his son is Don Jr. Still a helluva shot.

Don and Matt, father and 10 year old son, walking back to the line after checking their targets on the 100 yd range.

That is my pistol target to the right. I guess I had a little too much coffee to drink before I pulled the trigger, well, more than once actually. This seems like a random tremor to me. I thought myself lucky to hit the larger tan target at all. It was at 50 yds.

By the way, for my friends on the wacky left, the folks that I met at the range did confirm that sales of weapons and ammunition are up. They all seemed fairly normal, and didn't show much hesitation in their political speech either. Just so you know.

20 June 2009

I Left My Heart . . .

A too-short stay in Marin County with daughter Joan recuperating from a total hip replacement was interrupted by a trip with grandson Matt and his father Don, to the San Francisco Giants' AT&T Park, to see the Giants and Rangers play an inter-league game on Saturday evening.

Matt Cain, 9-1 this season, who has carried a pretty good batting average for a pitcher, around .230 for the last 3 years—I like pitchers who can hit— and Derek Holland, only a major leaguer for about 2 months now, hooked up in a pitching duel with only one home run mistake per pitcher for eight innings. They were both throwing bullets from where I sat.

We left so as to get home at a reasonable time listening to the extra-inning finish in the 11th inning with an anti-climatic wild pitch. Some nice views out over San Francisco Bay. A ferry from Larkspur docks right down in McCovey Cove where Bonds hit all the home runs. They don't seem to remember him anymore in this stadium.

Maybe that is why they bought aging Randy Johnson and pumped him up quite a bit before and after his 300th win. He was presented with a plaque and lots of other famous guys with 300 major league wins were present for the ceremony (see them seated at the lower left hand corner of the picture to the right. Nolan Ryan in person along with others and video appearances by Roger Clemens and other noteworthy pitchers of the past.)

We enjoyed ourselves in the bleachers, the brats were from Sheboygan, the beer from Petaluma, and the lady announcer didn't annoy us much as she could have because her voice was lost in the din of the crowd.

Nice score board to the left, except that in the bleachers you have to look over your shoulder to see it and the replays etc.

And the pitching data, total pitches and mph, were in a separate place down the right field line. The above picture on the right is of the cove named after Willie McCovey. The right field bleachers are only 309 ft away from home plate and only about 5 or 6 rows deep. Maybe they should move them out now that Bonds is no longer active.

15 June 2009

Stops On Loneliest Road In America II: Austin

Fortunately, getting hungry on Hwy 50 is no problem unless you are in between the settlements which are about 40 to 80 miles apart. The last time I saw one of these was in the Museum of the Rockies in Bozeman MT and the time before that was in my grandmother's kitchen in the 1940s.

We decided to eat inside and found some very good soup and sandwiches at the International Cafe. French fries not so good. They could not accept credit cards because someone had cut their telephone wires. Yes, that is what they said. I asked if a Mr Bates owned the motel across the road. They laughed.

Back in the saddle again after a good meal, and a nice rain storm which held the dust down. Carol took this picture of me admiring a road sign.

We finally pull into Reno in the late afternoon. I have a hunch we may not be back this way again, at least not very soon, but it was fun. Those two-lane highways are fun and not that many trucks either.

13 June 2009

Stops On Loneliest Road In America I: Eureka

Unusual sighting on Hwy 50, somebody actually driving on the same road.

Be careful as you are coming into this little town going west. The speed limit drops from 45 to 35 to 25 in the space of a block or two. And a nice young deputy sheriff with a brand new vehicle will see you doing "39 in a 25 zone." If you are elderly, have a dog in the back seat, have Montana plates, and of course, be appropriately obsequious, then he might just let you off with a warning. Whew!

Here is the opera house, opened sometime in the late 19th century, when this town first came into being because of a nearby gold or silver or copper or something or other mine.

Apparently the miners in those days were appreciative of finer things in life including fine singing. It became a movie theatre sometime in the 30s or so, then was vacant from the 60s to the 90s when it sprang to life again as a meeting house, opera house and all sorts of other gatherings.

It reminded me of the village I grew up in Wisconsin where the City Hall had a small basketball court which doubled as a movie theatre with a stage at one end where the local thespians and singers and such used to hang out on occasion. Somewhere I have a picture of my mother and about 8 of her friends doing some sort of "Can-Can" dance on the stage.

The inside was fascinating, expecially the canvas curtain with advertising on it, old and new I guess. See below left.

We kids played all sorts of games here during the winter time. The center circle touched the top of the free throw circle. In the summer we played baseball, in the winter we played basketball. Seems like I only remember the two seasons.

This was day two of a 3 day-trip to California. We eventually arrive in Reno where the hotel is filled with soccer-playing kids and their parents.

10 June 2009

Now He Tells Us

I have a confession to make. For months now, ever since I first heard our splendid president say that X jobs were to be "created or saved," the last part of the phrase always fairly hurriedly, so much so that the media people to whom he was speaking apparently couldn't hear the "saved" part and thus never asked the obvious question, "How will jobs be 'saved'? And how do you measure that?"

Anyway, I must confess I thought he was lying because I couldn't think how one could know that a job was saved.

Now I know: somewhere, someone, maybe President Obama, maybe someone else, said that "teachers and firepeople" and the like would have their jobs saved. Of course, duh, the purpose of much of the stimulus was to bail out not those that were said to need it, but especially the profligate local and state governments, who don't have the luxury of spending more than they take in. And because local and state political leaders always threaten us with laying off the useful and essential government people, instead of devising other ways of living wthin their means, at least this part of what passes for our representative government now makes sense. I am a slow learner.

By the way, the picture is said to be that of Lenin reading an issue of Pravda—Russian for truth. In the last half of the 20th century ordinary Russians read it backwards, or 180 degrees from what it said. It might be interesting to read the New York Times in that way, just to see what would happen. My grandfather would tell my brother Gerald and me, when he was trying to fix the old tractor, to "start 'er up and we'll see why she don't run."

08 June 2009

No End to the Politics of Race

Just like Joe Dimaggio gracefully going after a fly ball to center field in the middle of the last century, making the difficult look easy, so too does Shelby Steele make clear many of the arguments for and against Judge Sotomayor in the Monday June 8 op-ed page of the Wall Street Journal.

07 June 2009


Sorry friends this cartoon seemed so apt for this discussion I just had to re-use it.

David Crisp, editor and publisher of the Billings Outpost, and a blogging acquaintance (BA) hurriedly told me a few days ago that Judge Sotomayor could not be a racist because he, the BA, said so, which is a little more forthright than those who say one can't be a racist if one is not a white male. Actually, he first said "I just don't see the racism in Sotomayor at all," and when I pointed out that "seeing" might be his problem, then he said the same thing more firmly. His shortness of temper may well come from his recently acquired masochistic habit of listening to conservative talk radio.

He must have had second thoughts about the validity of this argument because he wrote a nicely worded and thoughtful blog on the matter a few days later with the provocative title "Racism?" David carefully explains how who you are and especially what color or ethnic persuasion you are makes all the difference. There apparently are at least two standards for those who aspire to our Supreme Court: those who haven't been elevated to this court in the past because of the appalling behavior of CWM in the past now get a free pass for getting even with the descendents of those nasty CWM. I think I prefer "Because I said so."

I noticed another probable conservative white male (CWM) offered the same argument in the Comments section that probably occurs to most of us common people: if a CWM had said the same thing that Judge Sotomayor said, he would be accused of racism. I guess he didn't read the blog carefully enough.

I think Judge Sotomayor is being extraordinarily candid when she says these things, perhaps hoping that those who will question her will go off on the obvious racism slant which she already knows she has won rather than question her ability as a judge which seems to be the more important matter. This is chutzpah of a high order, like borrowing your sister's false teeth and then smiling at her.

04 June 2009

Things Were Different Here 20 Years Ago

An article on the op-ed page of the Wall Street Journal reminded me of my trip to China a couple of years ago. This is what I saw on Tiananmen Square. That is Mao's tomb in the background and kite flyers in the foreground. 20 years ago this morning the People's Army was dealing in their usual way with dissidents without guns. Every city and town we visited in 2007 had a large, plain grayish-white building right in the center, clearly the residence of authority in that place.

By the way, if you are interested, you can tell if Mao's mausoleum is open by the long line of viewers patiently waiting to see Stuffed Mao.

03 June 2009

Is There A Word For Those Addicted to Viewing Luscious Food Pictures?

This lady writes funnily and well, photographs funnily and well, and probably does other things in the same manner, but I can only vouch for what I have seen and read. Check her out if you are a foodie photo lover or an animal photo lover with accompanying text.

02 June 2009

Thank You, Now I Understand

Not surprisingly, Victor Davis Hanson hits another one out of the park.

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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