27 December 2010

Health Care Rights

A doctor from the one-party Commonwealth of Massachusetts feels that his private opinions should apply to all of us and writes thusly to the Boston Globe. He is promptly answered  by Donald J Boudreaux from Cafe Hayek. The only problem with this admirable exchange of ideas is that Doctor Pies of Lexington Massachusetts will probably never touch anything that has the name Hayek on it, having been warned, I suppose in a dream during his college days, that economic evil resides in that name. A drawing of the good Doctor Hayek can be found at my other blog, The Billings Free Press.

16 December 2010

Bob Feller Dies at 92

I read an AP article in this morning's Gazette, telling about the death of Bob Feller. There are not many of these guys left. I mean those who were major league baseball players before December 7th, 1941; and then they became soldiers and sailors for the duration as I think they used to say in those days. For Feller that was four full seasons. According to Wikipedia, Bob Feller volunteered for the Navy on December 8th, 1941. He is the only Chief Petty Officer in the Baseball Hall of Fame.

He was one of my childhood heroes, that time when I dreamed even more than I do now. He liked to barnstorm during the off-season. And after his 18 full seasons for the Cleveland Indians, approaching 80 years some time in the 90s I'm guessing, he stopped in Billings at Cobb Field to sell a few souvenirs. I have a signed picture from that time. I think it cost me $10. In addition to being a ballplayer, Feller was also a good businessman. As he was signing, I mentioned that the last time I had seen him in person was sometime in July 1952. I was high in the upper deck of Cleveland's Municipal Stadium, the guest of a successful Ohio cheesemaker uncle who was an Indian fan. Feller was on the mound pitching against the Yankees' Allie Reynolds. He interrupted me, saying he remembered it well: it wasn't 1952, but July 12, 1951. He knew the exact date. Reynolds pitched the first of his two no-hitters that season while Feller pitched a one-hitter—one of 12 he pitched in his career. Unfortunately that one hit was a home run by Gene Woodling. I've forgotten whoever Feller told me the Indians' left fielder was at the time, but he remembered the name, and he was certain he should have caught the ball before it went out of the park.

Feller died from some form of leukemia. RIP.

See my other blog for a picture of the Heater from Van Meter in his prime.

15 December 2010

12 December 2010

The Military-Industrial Complex

Every once in a while this term comes up in my mind if not in actual conversation. I'm not sure why though sometimes I see an item of clothing resembling those from the 50s and I find myself lusting after it, like a nice thin necktie. I think the term itself comes from President Eisenhower's farewell address early in 1961. I think I remember listening to the speech and thinking that Ike really wasn't as bad a speaker as the intelligentsia made him out to be.

He warned us about the 'military-industrial complex' in the years to come, presumably because he had seen the awesome capability of these two massive groups in the winning of WWII and the years following the war.

Today's Gazette (Sunday 3rd Sun in Advent) in addition to an article from a Gazette staffer on the supposed benefits of the millions and billions in stimulus money, also featured an article from the Associated Press on Eisenhower's worry and use of the term. Apparently it was not something inserted into the speech at the last minute by one of his aides.

We seem to have kept the military under control all these years, though more likely they kept themselves under control. And we certainly have kept our industries under control too, though many would say that our government has slowly dismantled our industrial might since the end of WWII.

It's too bad that Ike didn't prophetically recognize the looming 'academic-government complex.' By not keeping our eye on these groups they have increased in number and influence way beyond anything The Greatest Generation could even imagine.

Community Band Christmas at the Babcock

This old theatre, along with the rest of this sizeable two story building on the corner of 2nd and Broadway, is being resurrected right before our very eyes. Actually, it's pretty nice right now, and apparently going to get better.

This afternoon it was the site of the annual Christmas Concert of the Billings Community Band directed by Rob Wells. All of the compositions had some Christmas connection—apparently the Band celebrates Christmas rather than the Holidays.

And there were, in addition to the full band, some decent ensembles from within the Band, including a couple of tubas, a flute choir, a brass quintet and a saxophone ensemble. The last featured a wicked baritone sax. The Band has a surprising number of instruments of color, i.e. bassoons, oboes, bass clarinets, etc. A. J Kalanick contributed his usual corny jokes. A good time was had by all.

Sorry for the lack of images. Apparently, Blogger is having some problems. You can check out other blogs.

Gaudete (Rejoice!) Sunday in Advent

Gaudete, from the first word of the introit of the day's Mass in Latin: And the refrain of a pretty good Advent carol. 

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

A little joy in the midst of a generally penitential season, at least in the liturgical branches of the Church.

Sorry dear friends of the visual persuasion: Blogger is not uploading my images. When I just plop them on the page they disappear the next time I open the blog. They seem to have been working on this problem for some months now. Check out another blog to which I occasionally contribute.

11 December 2010

O Come Let Us Adore Him

We enjoyed this program so much last year that we decided to double up on the fun and meaning of Christmas this year. If you have Sunday afternoon free, be sure to check it out at 3pm on 12 December.

It's even better than last year.

I especially like the angels' dialogue, one of them was named Herald of course but I've forgotten the name of the other. These guys were funny with really good timing. There were a lot of pretty good singers in the large crowd scenes as well as smaller ensembles. The song that Mary sang on her heavy-with-child way to Bethlehem was very nice too and I've never heard it before. The whole thing emphasizes the incongruity of God becoming part of the "people planet" and a real baby on top of everything else that seems so unbelievable.

Emmanuel Baptist on Shiloh Road really does a good job of putting this together with nearly seamless transitions from one part to another. The choreography of the little kids was surprisingly good too. There really is a Singing Christmas Tree. And we got to sing a few good Christmas carols.

Sorry about the lack of images. It's Blogger's fault. See my other blog.

An Interesting Story from New Jersey

I had mistakenly thought that New Jersey was one of those eastern one-party states, like Massachusetts, or Maryland etc., in which no one with any sense would take on the machine in control. Apparently I was wrong. And maybe the governor has his own driver and wears a bullet-proof vest.

If Climate Science Were A Hockey Game . . . Oh Wait

Check out this amusing and probably true analysis of the climate wars.

09 December 2010

The Rain in Panama Falls Mainly in the Lakes

Panama Canal and Lakes
Panama Canal and Lakes

And when it does, it leads to the first closing of the Panama Canal in its 96 year history. Let me think, cold and snow in the UK and Europe; torrential rains in Australia and now in Central America. Is this the canary in the mine of global cooling? This same guy at this very useful blogsite also looks at the level of the Great Salt Lake and raises the same interesting question. How long does it take for weather to become climate?
By the way, the Canal runs more north and south than east and west.

08 December 2010

Here is a Burger

This is from a great Website:

Portland, OR: Grüner Makes a Burger Worthy of Obsession

[Photographs: Adam Lindsley]


527 SW 12th Ave., Portland, OR 97205 (map); 503-241-7163;grunerpdx.com
Cooking Method: Grilled
Short Order: German-inspired restaurant serves what's debatably the best burger in Portland
Want Fries with That? The burger is served with fried smashed potatoes, which laugh in the face of common fries
Prices: 8-ounce burger w/cheese and fried smashed potatoes, $11
I've eaten a lot of burgers over the years, and while many of them were quite wonderful at the time of consumption, over time most have faded from memory like a Polaroid photo in reverse. But every now and then, when the planets align and a patch of four-leaf clover sprouts in my yard and a double rainbow arcs over my house, one comes along that makes me want to drop to my knees and weep at the sheer pleasure I have been so generously granted by whatever higher beings currently reside in the firmament. The burger at Grüner in downtown Portland is one such trigger of emotionally jellifying bliss.
Chef/owner Chris Israel describes Grüner's cuisine as "Alpine"—a quick perusal of the restaurant's offerings reveals a slant toward German dishes, served in a classy, simple, upscale setting by chefs who are not content to serve you the status quo. While everything I've eaten here has been outstanding, the burger is so good that it completely overshadows everything else on the menu. To have it once is to set yourself up for a lot of disappointment thereafter: Most of the rest of the burgers you'll eat in this lifetime won't be nearly as good as this one.

he meat is unctuous and full of so much beefy flavor you'll think they packed a thousand cows into each patty.
Not yet convinced? Let's tackle this godsend component by component, starting with theCascade Natural beef. It's ground in-house, with the fat taking up a glorious 25 percent of the eight-ounce patty. After a stint on the grill, that one-quarter fat ratio becomes abundantly clear, as evidenced by the juices nearly bursting from the medium rare center once you take your first bite. After that, expect a shallow puddle of fat to form on the plate beneath the bun, and if that's not an excuse to lick your fingers every time you pick up the burger, I don't know what is. The meat is unctuous and full of so much beefy flavor you'll think they packed a thousand cows into each patty. It's of such high quality that when bits of it crumbled off onto the plate, I couldn't stop myself from going back for them later with the fork.
With so much juice leaking out, a burger like this needs a competent bun to catch as much of that liquid flavor as possible without disintegrating. The house-baked poppy seed-topped potato bun is more than up to that task once toasted, with a browned crust giving way to a soft but substantial interior that remains intact while soaking up the fat (though some will invariably still find its way to your hands, your arms, and your clothing). I certainly can't think of a better burger bun, but as far as I know, Grüner isn't sharing.
Next up, the one-two punch of creamy Fontina and Nueske's smoked bacon. The cheese is nutty and rich, and strong enough to stand out among so many other powerful flavors. The bacon is cooked perfectly, neither limp nor brittle, with just the right amount of smokiness to create two distinct, equally delicious layers of protein in conjunction with the hamburger.
Finally, we have the greens, and like the meat they're key factors in what makes the Grüner burger so irresistible. Front and center are the insanely good bread-and-butter pickles. They're sweet and tangy and essential to cutting the richness of the meat and cheese; just try to resist the urge to pop them in your mouth instead of layering them on the burger. The neon pink pickled onions combine the sweetness of grilled onions and the bite of vinegar, and the mustard greens further widen the flavor spectrum by adding a touch of bitterness. I am a minimalist when it comes to burger toppings and often find vegetation extraneous, but here I cannot imagine the burger without it.
As if the burger wasn't already transcendent, Grüner also gives you one of the bestsides you're likely to find anywhere: fried smashed potatoes. Made with skin-on Yellow Finns, they're fried until crispy on the outside and creamy on the inside, then dusted with salt. They're excellent, putting most fries to shame. They're great dipped in the house-made ketchup, which is sweet and tastes uncannily like the holidays, as it's spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg. I recommend spreading a little on the burger as well for that one final touch of acidity.
Desserts at Grüner change frequently, but the raspberry doughnuts I had on my last visit were to die for. An order gets you three inch-and-a-half-thick spheres that have been deep fried and piped with a bright raspberry jam, then rolled in sugar. You can smell them frying from the dining room, making your mouth water and brewing a nigh-unbearable level of anticipation that escalates until they hit the table and you tear them open. One was undercooked and doughy in the center, but its two brothers were perfect, providing a magnificent end to an indulgent meal.
I won't lie: I am obsessed with this burger. But it's so godly that I think it deservesto be obsessed over. When a chef pays attention to the little things, it really does show, as this burger so epically demonstrates. If you're in Portland and looking for a hamburger, I cannot recommend Grüner enough.
About the author: Adam Lindsley is a Seattle-based novelist and the author of the pizza blog, This Is Pizza. He'd start a blog called This Is Burgers, but that doesn't have quite the same ring to it.

07 December 2010

Will There Be Something About this Case in the Gazette? or the Outpost?

I found this letter on Big Sky Blog, which looks like a useful blog. 16 year-old Demarie DeReu is an outstanding student at Columbia Falls High School.

She forgot that she had an unloaded rifle locked in the trunk of her car when she drove to school. When she realized what she had done she told the powers that be at the high school. Now she is in danger. Her expulsion case will be heard Dec 13th.

I wonder if we will hear about this important case. Apparently intent does not enter into the discussion of the "zero-tolerance" gun policy. Is it possible the school board must levy a harsh punishment on this girl whatever the facts of the case?

04 December 2010

TSA is part of ObamaCare II


A little humor while being sexually assaulted by strangers, the whole embarrassing thing being watched by the world.

01 December 2010

TSA is part of ObamaCare

A friend sent me this as an attachment to an email message. I don't know where she got it. I would call it a two-fer. TSA and ObamaCare: Wow, a current events cartoon.

Close Traffic Calls

Today, Wednesday, 1 Dec 2010,  there was a lengthy article in the Billings Gazette about a 5 year-old boy struck by a moving vehicle—identified only as a sinister “sedan”—as the boy and his 13 year-old brother—there is a picture of the two below—departed an Albertson’s grocery store in Helena MT. This occurred several weeks ago. Not sure why we are reading about this now and in Billings, but maybe yesterday was a slow day here in the Magic City.

The writer, Alana Listoe of the Helena Independent Record, gives us interesting detail about what the boys’ mother bought at the store, but there seem to be a few pieces of information missing. The way the story is told it sounds as if the driver of the sedan, mysteriously identified only as “the driver,” was at fault for not stopping at a stop sign. Apparently they have videotapes of the whole incident. According to the article the boy is doing well now.

Curiously, in addition to not identifying the driver they also mention that he—aha, so it was a male—has not been cited for this apparent lapse of attention. I wonder why. Was he the mayor of Helena?, the police chief?, a priest?, an under-aged or maybe over-aged driver?, a Muslim? All of these except perhaps the last would usually have been at least named as the “alleged perpetrator.” Are the lawyers at work here, either criminal, in the form of a prosecutor preparing his case; or civil, in the form of a lawyer suing the driver and of course the deep pockets of Albertson’s on behalf of the injured boy? Hmm.

Perhaps now things are beginning to make sense: A sympathetic story about an injured boy, through no fault of his own of course, two weeks after the accident. This might be the opening statement for this lawyer. This smells like a large settlement here.

This reminds me of several close calls that I have had while a pedestrian in parking lots over the last few years. I had long thought that pedestrians had the right of way in these grocery store and other off-the-main-road places but perhaps the same stupid people who drive through uncontrolled intersections without even slowing down and wonder why horns are blowing at them, also drive stupidly in parking lots. The older brother in the Gazette/Independent Record story suggested, after he had had a chance to cool down and think about his response said, “I’d make him go back to driver’s ed.” And so might we all say. I note that in addition to being impaired by alcohol and other drugs, we can now be cited for using a cellphone while driving. Is running over a child or coming close to that a form of negligent assault?

But even after we have cursed the driver, there is still some room to at least question the grocery store about their parking lots. I mean, stuff like parking spaces when the lines are covered by snow and ice; how about a one-way system around the lot, not including the entrances and exits from the store; and maybe a walk-way down the middle between the cars on either side. I have seen this, or at least a start along these lines, in some places. Why not more? I have a hunch we would see fewer injuries and maybe even a few deaths that are now taken care of only by the lawyers.

29 November 2010

Billings MT: Weekend After Thanksgiving aka 1st Sunday in Advent

It snowed off and on most of the week. Thank Heavens we didn't have to go out into the country and thanks also to Pete Huck who made our driveway passable. For unknown reasons our main furnace had a problem. Eventually White Heating and A/C came over and found the furnace to be completely OK. Randy thought it might have something to do with the sensor on the roof being plugged up with snow. We will give that theory a test this night. Watch this space. The above picture is looking out our sunroom at our outdoor furniture. The one below is more of the same. The heated bird bath is just barely visible as a depression on the table.

Meanwhile, inside the house our Christmas cactus is starting to bloom and may well be a 2nd or 3rd week in Advent cactus. See above for general idea and below for detail.

And at Saint Patrick's Co-Cathedral we were celebrating the passage of time and holy days in the old-fashioned way.

Good News from Cancun

Fiesta Americana Condesa

Russian Version of Catch and Release

Perhaps our Russian friends should peruse a few of our Montana fishing brochures and videos in order to brush up on their catch and release programs. Or maybe not. Is there an international version of the ACLU? Do pirates have 4th and 8th Amendment rights?

This is a story from the UK Telegraph about some Somali pirates that captured a Russian oil tanker in the Gulf of Aden. Some commandos from the Russian Navy took the tanker back and "unexpectedly" set the pirates free, but they apparently failed to reach shore. The Washington Post's Anne Applebaum tells the story this way. I have no idea how reliable she is.

27 November 2010

Political Guru Peggy Noonan Says:

The President needs a Special Assistant for Reality.

Sounds a little cryptic, doesn't it? Well, check out Saturday's Wall Street Journal for her short essay/instruction for the president and his non-real bubble assistants. Ms Noonan pretends to overhear a conversation between President Obama and the Special Assistant for Reality (SAR) regarding the TSA and its pathetic attempts to steal the show, i.e. over-acting in the theater of the absurd that anti-terrorism has become, without showing that its earlier entries produced anything useful. Evidence-based. Right!

In general, the President comes off as a combination of the smartest man in America and King Solomon, except that he has trouble getting out of the bubble of Washington and the Presidency itself. Even if he goes to Indiana, he takes the bubble along with him.

The dialogue is funny at times, but then only a humorous essay will escape the sharp editorial scissor of the Bubble-Wizard. It becomes even more ironic when Ms Noonan fails to recognize that her SAR talks and reasons like folks on Fox News. Or maybe she does this on purpose, but why she thinks this sort of person would be listened to by the President or his assistants is not clear. "Hey, it's a difficult if not impossible job so one has to take shortcuts in order to have time for basketball workouts. Right? OK then, Fox News is out, not to be looked at or listened to by anyone in my Administration." Now you know.

24 November 2010

Billings MT on the Weekend before Thanksgiving

Outside it was very cold, down near zero Fahrenheit, and a lot of snow fell too. This is what my outdoor table with warmed bird-bath looked like.

Inside it was more pleasant, about 69 deg Fahrenheit and very little snow, usually quickly melting after you stamped it off your shoes. This Christmas cactus is just starting to bloom in our sun room.

And at the Expo Center there was a lot of vendors trying to sell us stuff. A lot of useful and nice stuff and some good food too. This was a drooling bear who was collecting the drool from his mug to his other mug.

23 November 2010

Global Warming Kudos

As the lawyers say, Global Warming is exaggerated and perhaps doesn't exist; but if it does, it results in longer lives. I love that form of argument. It is so reasonable.

Yes, that is what is reported in the peer-reviewed literature recently.

To the left is a frozen stop sign in South Dakota according to the article cited above.

Christidis, N., Donaldson, G.C. and Stott, P.A. 2010. Causes for the recent changes in cold- and heat-related mortality in England and Wales. Climatic Change 102: 539-553.
The front cover of the December 2010 issue of one of my favorite magazines. Life, now, alas, defunct, and National Geographic were significant sources of my early education. The latter is still being received and avidly read, or at least the pictures are carefully examined. In the 40s and 50s the editors were always very gentle and careful when they visited Communist countries. Even a child would call this biased but they published great pictures and maps.

Nowadays their particular bias is environmental and they are not careful or gentle with the "warmist" conspirators; rather they are arrogant bed-wetters and proselytizers for this pseudo-religious cult. I think it was G K Chesterton who reckoned that those who lose their Christian faith do not opt for none but rather they are susceptible to anything.

But they still have great pictures and maps, and at least in this issue some pretty good articles on archaeology in Israel, though they seem to have overlooked the excavations near to the Golan Heights, the town of Bethsaida, the elusive and long-lost home town of Saint Peter and Saint Andrew, when they were still completely unknown fishermen, and perhaps other future apostles. Even so, it is a nice summary of some of the interesting characters, some older and others more recent, some who laugh at the Bible and others who treat it with more respect, who have been trying to unearth the truth for some decades now, though perhaps it is still hiding in the Israeli desert, or who knows, maybe some "rough beast, . . . slouching towards Bethlehem, to be born."

There are other good articles too: David Quammen writes on the problem of bats with fungal infections in this country and the almost incredible Gaudi basilica in Barcelona. They have been working on it for about 120 years. To the right National Geographic contributes one of their iconic and incredibly detailed foldouts. After reading this article I had to move Barcelona up on the priorities of my bucket list.

There is an interesting story about some uppity Afghan women. I hope they survive.

And another on the trade-offs between a gold mine and a salmon run in Alaska. Fascinating story and reasonably balanced though the possibility of both phenomena happening at the same time and in the same place was apparently never seriously considered.

And there is a great story on the Black Hole at the Center of our Galaxy.

19 November 2010

A Little More Settled Science

One of my favorite websites:

By the way, what was the settled science of the age of the universe before the Big Bang Theory came along? You know, "In the beginning there was nothing, which exploded."

16 November 2010

Brahms' German Requiem in English

Last Saturday evening the Billings Symphony and Chorale celebrated with the community their year-long 60th anniversary by performing a splendid Brahms' German Requiem. German rather than the traditional Latin and I suppose a little touch of anti-Catholicism too. Maestra Harrigan showed her usual good sense in scheduling this marvelous piece of music several years in advance. Baritone Christopher Johnson and soprano Christine Steyer were excellent soloists and the Chorale was its usual beautiful full-voiced choir. I thought the tenors were exquisite. Besides the woodwinds and horns which are always superb whatever they do, I thought the trombones and tuba acquitted themselves well too, especially with their choir-like masculine sound in the last movement.

By the way, that is Brahms' final resting place in Vienna to the left.

The only jarring note was in the introduction by the usually very articulate Ms Harrigan: she said, according to the review in the Gazette by Jaci Webb, appearing on Monday, "the reason this piece is so ground-breaking is that all of the other requiems [and there have been in the region of 2000 of them over the centuries] focused on death and the fear of going to hell . . . Brahms didn't want them to feel afraid, he wanted them to feel comforted." Ms Webb then goes on to add in her review that "Brahms' Requiem is no funeral dirge but an uplifting call to the living to stay hopeful." I'm not sure exactly what these two thoughtful ladies had in mind when they explained things in this odd way. Perhaps they are unfamiliar with the mass, especially a funeral mass, or perhaps they are unfamiliar with all the requiems that have been written. Not to worry, the final word was that Brahms' German Requiem "was the perfect choice."

I can't resist telling the story of hearing a performance of this piece in Amsterdam back in the mid-70s. We were visiting that lovely city and managed to get some last minute tickets. We were seated on the stage just behind the back row of violins and about 10 ft away from the alto section of the choir. So whenever the director looked our way we immediately came to attention. The concert was part of the Dutch celebration of the Nazis leaving the Netherlands near the end of WWII. There was a little awkwardness as the Crown Princess Beatrice, I suppose she is Queen by now, was actually married to some German with a claim to royalty, but this was all resolved by the Dutch choir singing the German Requiem in English—take that you Nazis. So anyway, the end of the story has to do with me walking over to the choir after the performance and telling them in English how excellent they were. After all, I had heard them singing in English, but of course, they did not feel comfortable talking in English, so we all had a good laugh.

13 November 2010

Is There An Exorcist In The House?

I read in the Billings Gazette this morning that the Associated Press (AP) reported on a two-day conference on exorcism, just finishing up, sponsored by US Roman Catholic bishops, just before their fall meeting which starts in Baltimore this coming Monday. Somewhat surprisingly, the AP keeps a straight face as it reports the decline of those priests with "enough training and knowledge to perform an exorcism . . . (and) to avoid the perception that exorcism is magic or superstition." Because there are so few priests capable or willing to do exorcisms the few that do are kept very busy.

Perhaps thinking that their readers may not be all that familiar with the New Testament, the AP mentions several examples of Jesus casting out evil spirits from people, and that each member of the Church at baptism undergoes a minor exorcism. They also mention that Pope John Paul II performed an exorcism at the Vatican on a woman brought in "because she was writhing and screaming, in what Cardinal Dziwisz, the Pope's private secretary, was a case of possession by the devil." This last quote was as close to skepticism as the article got, a minor miracle in itself.

Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, archbishop of Galveston-Houston, was one of the speakers at the conference and said this: "For the longest time, we in the United States may not have been as much attuned to some of the spiritual aspects of evil because we have become so much attached to what would be either physical or psychological explanation for certain phenomena. We may have forgotten that there is a spiritual dimension to people."

According to our friends at Wikipedia, "demonic possession is not a valid psychiatric or medical diagnosis," at least according to the bible of psychiatry, the DSM-IV, or the ICD-10. Psychiatrist M. Scott Peck, author of The Road Less Traveled and People of the Lie, "in an effort to disprove demonic possession, claimed to have conducted two exorcisms himself. He attempted but failed to persuade the psychiatric community to add the definition of Evil to the DSM-IV. And then in his later years he really got into trouble with the High Poobahs of Psychiatry "when he was accused of attempting to persuade his patients to accept Christianity."

These later adventures are chronicled in his last book, published in 2005 by Free Press, Glimpses of the Devil: A Psychiatrist's Personal Accounts of Possession, Exorcism, and Redemption.

11 November 2010

Veteran's Day

A long and thin line on both sides. Protected by fairly lightweight shirts.

09 November 2010

From Electric City Weblog

They call this a Demplosion.

08 November 2010

Not For Sale To Old Folks

Could the Cowboys use this?

I think he should have kept walking instead of breaking into a run.

A couple of days ago I was wondering around our local Barnes and Noble book store looking for I know not what for sure. I came across this recent hardback from McCall Smith. I'm fairly sure he dictates his books to at least two amanuenses as he walks about his Georgian house in Edinburgh, perhaps even as he walks up and down Princes St. I know I haven't finished all of his #1 Ladies Detective Agency stories, and I have barely touched those in the Isabel Dalhousie series. I just can't keep up.

Every one that I have read have been enjoyable, about everyday life in Botswana—the #1 series—and then the adventures of some fairly nice upper middle class folks in modern day Edinburgh—the Dalhousie series—and another one I forget what it's called.

This Might Be A Good Idea

For unknown reasons I used to think that psychiatrists needed help. But reading this blog regularly has been very good for my mental health.

A word from the ruling class to us underlings

Peggy Noonan, former speech writer for Ronald Reagan, as she ages, seems to be getting shriller and getting on with her rant in a hurry. In a recent Op-Ed article in the Wall Street Journal, having to do with the recent mid-term election, and possibly a mea culpa for past sins, she tells us that those running for high office in the USA should have the following qualifications:
"Here is an old tradition badly in need of return: You have to earn your way into politics. You should go have a life, build a string of accomplishments, then enter public service. And you need actual talent: You have to be able to bring people in and along. You can't just bully them, you can't just assert and taunt, you have to be able to persuade."
This bit of brilliance comes a little late. Where was Ms Noonan two years ago when we collectively decided that a couple years as a "community organizer" and running a couple of good political campaigns were enough qualifications to be President of all of us. Actually, Ms Noonan, our pundit-in-chief of the ruling class, was doing her usual thing in this article which was to roast Sarah Palin for having the effrontery of being selected to be John McCain's running mate in 2008, thus pointing out to the whole world the absence of qualifications at the top of the Democratic ticket, not just at the VP level.

My guess is that Ms Noonan feels the need to be fair and balanced in her articles, so that in order for her to say this about Obama after his post mid-term election speech—
"Actually I thought the worst thing you can say about a president: He won't even make a good former president."
—she has to misunderstand something that Governor Palin said about Ronald Reagan and call her a nincompoop, no doubt an affectionate term in the vocabulary of the ruling class.

07 November 2010

A Video Worth Watching


I would love to share a beer or two with this lady.

06 November 2010

We Hardly Knew Ye Keith O

Did you name yourself as the Worst Possible Person In The World this Week? Say it isn't so Keith O. Is this a prime example of the Peter Principle at work? Mr O seemed to be very good at his sports desk but has he now reached his level of incompetence?

They say he shouldn't have made a political contribution to some of his leftist guests but hasn't he made an in-kind contribution to the political opponents of George W Bush and John McCain and Sarah Palin and other conservatives each time he comes on the air for the past couple of years?

From our friends at Wikipedia (they seem fairly reliable if they are not talking about global warming, or is it climate change, or maybe climate disruption—it is hard to keep up sometimes):

Keith Theodore Olbermann (pronounced /ˈoʊlbərmən/; born January 27, 1959) is an American news anchor,sportscasterwriter, and political commentator.[2] He hosts Countdown with Keith Olbermann, an hour-long nightly commentary program on MSNBC.
Olbermann spent the first twenty years of his career in sports journalism. He was a sports correspondent for CNN and for local TV and radio stations in the 1980s, winning the Best Sportscaster award from the California Associated Press three times. He later co-hosted ESPN's SportsCenter from 1992 to 1997. After leaving ESPN amid controversy, Olbermann became a sports anchor and producer for Fox Sports Net from 1998 to 2001, during which time he hosted Fox's studio coverage of baseball.
After leaving Fox, Olbermann re-joined MSNBC after a hiatus, hosting Countdown with Keith Olbermann in 2003. Olbermann has established a niche in cable news commentary, gaining note for his pointed criticism of major politicians and public figures, directed particularly at the political right.[3][4][5][6][7][8] He has feuded with rival commentator Bill O'Reilly[9][10] and strongly criticized the George W. Bush administration and John McCain'sunsuccessful 2008 Presidential candidacy.[11] Although many have described Olbermann as a liberal,[12][13][14][15] he has said on at least one occasion "I'm not a liberal; I'm an American."[16]
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How do they do this? This paragraph was in the Wiki article within a few days after it



On October 28, 2010, days before the 2010 U.S. elections, Olbermann donated $2,400 each to three Democratic candidates for Congress: Kentucky Senate candidate Jack Conway, and Arizona Democratic Representatives Raul Grijalva and Gabrielle Giffords.[65] In response, on November 5, MSNBC President Phil Griffin suspended him indefinitely without pay for violating a network policy regarding political contributions which required prior approval from management.[66]

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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