30 December 2011

Climate Change Too Important To Be Left To The Climatologists

Just as war is too important to be left to the generals, some of the people who have a vested interest in the economy, and others vitally interested in weather/climate phenomena are starting to get involved in the buffoonery of our climate alarmists. This blogger from Australia points out some good books being written by wine guys.

28 December 2011

Christmas Season Travel III

A few pictures from an exhibition in Albuquerque: a mural on the side of a coffee shop near the Hotel Blue; Diego and his mom at home; and looking down in a museum for kids whose name I have forgotten.

24 December 2011

Christmas Season 2011 Travel II

Southwest takes us willingly and pleasantly to Oakland, including our bags FOR FREE, where Joan picks us up at the airport. We didn't have to sit in the middle seat, in fact, Carol and I had three seats for the two of us. The above picture was taken at the toy store just down the street from the Inn Marin, our favorite motel in that part of the world.

The first night was awful as the air-conditioner rumbled the whole night. We moved to a handicap room for the next few days. These are really fixed up nice, and worth the extra cost.

Southwest also goes to San Francisco but with not nearly as many flights. The airport in Oakland looks fairly presentable, even if the Oakland Coliseum and perhaps other parts of the city are awful to see. There also is an Airporter that goes to Marin and Sonoma County, but Joan is worried that we might not be able to figure it out.

We are glad that at least some of our children realize that we are aging, perhaps a little faster this year than last. Actually, she picked us up because the schedule wasn't that great after 8 pm. And Southwest's great fares are even better very early and very late in the day.

Of course, in addition to a really good restaurant attached to the motel, there is also a neat toy store within walking distance. See above.

Mike and Matt are growing quickly and well-behaved too. At least around us grandparents. We visited with Dani and Don Sr as well as Nancy. This was a good place to celebrate at least part of the Christmas season.

Marin Joe's Restaurant, see picture above, turned out to have excellent food and drink, maybe not quite as nice as Rickey's but still very good, especially one of their dishes which mixes spinach and very loosely aggregated hamburger. Uah, I know the picture looks awful but it really tasted good.

18 December 2011

Christmas Season 2011 Travel I

After barely settling in for about 6 weeks here in Sun City West, and just getting over the shock of our first move in over 30 years, and after memorizing the way to Target and CostCo we succumb to those clever ad people at Southwest, and pack as many bags as we can because BAGS FLY FREE, and head out for the rainy northwest to check up on the Mazzucas. And the extra bags serve us well as we cart packages from one child's house to the other.

It turns out Southwest DOES charge for more than two bags and for bags that weigh MORE than 50 lbs: we are amused by more than a few dummies who didn't figure this out before arriving at the airport. This all-caps thingie is fun. It reminds me of my father writing letters back in the day when people actually exchanged letters, hand-written letters my dear grandchildren, believe it or not. Because he grew up speaking and writing German, he would frequently capitalize nouns especially when he was writing quickly.

OK, back to the bags: where do people get those monster-sized bags? The ones that take two people to move I mean. Still, Southwest does run some amusing ads and seem to make the barely bearable flights just bearable enough to make you think that sitting in the middle seat for 90 minutes isn't that bad. The picture at the top comes from Sea-Tac Airport near sunset.

Patrick and Peggy et al have moved back to Issaquah. Peg is becoming the go-to Mold-Lady of the year in the Northwest, while Patrick is weighing his options and keeping a "clean and orderly place." Their house is still fairly close to the famous Issaquah Cafe, home of The Bob, and recently. the Half-Bob. Perhaps part of the reason for living in the eastern suburbs is the excellence of the schools. Nic starts high school next fall at what looks and sounds like a good public school. I'm sure Peg and Patrick will still have to pay attention to what is going on.

Nic joined a rugby team, preceded by an extensive physical and mental exam designed to be useful in assessing concussion injuries. Seriously, I was very impressed by the examination and the supervisor was kind enough to explain why they were up to. I am pretty sure concussions come with the territory of those playing rugby. It also takes leather balls to play rugby if I remember the bumperstickers of yesteryear.

Zac auditioned for and won the role of Hero-Boy in a production of Polar Express. Below is a signed copy of the playbill which I shall sell for a huge profit when he becomes famous.

14 December 2011

AlGore Wants To Protect You

Former vice-president and almost president Al Gore, chairman of Generation Investment Management, and one of his cronies, David Blood, co-creator of the partnership, write an op-ed in today's Wall Street Journal. Actually, they call it a Manifesto, which is quite a bit more grand than 'op-ed.' The whole thing is entitled 'A Manifesto For Sustainable Capitalism.' Of course, parts of it sound eerily like Marx and Engels' Communist Manifesto of the mid-19th century, but these things evolve and therefore much of it comes down to a somewhat obscure version of the early 20th century Fascism of Benito Mussolini. The obscurity comes from the frequent use of economic jargon, e.g. ESG which stands for environmental, social, and governance metrics; sustainability, stranded assets, resource allocation, value creation and a host of other terms calculated to send a shiver up the pants leg of all us wannabe economists and businesspeople. What this boils down to is a form of Tennessee 'protection.'

G-Man: A nice company you have their Mr Capitalist, you wouldn't want anything to happen to its sustainability, would you?
Mr. C: Right, to whom do I write the check?

13 December 2011

David Mamet Speaks In His Peculiar Voice

He talks about human sacrifice and Israel. As in Abraham's sacrifice of his son, Isaac. This is the aging playwright, David Mamet writing in the Wall Street Journal today, pointing out the real drama in the world of the Middle East, with the sometimes exaggerated and sometimes conflated characters we usually see on stage. This is Mamet-speak. It comes to the point quickly. Isaac, the voice of conscience, asks his father, Abraham, "Where is the goat we are to sacrifice?"And Abraham's hand was stayed by this voice of conscience, the Birth of the West according to Mamet. Read it and wonder.

12 December 2011

Best Quick Response To Ignorant Arrogance

From the blog site Climate Realists

It's a pretty hopeless proposition to argue science with fanatic non-scientists. Thus, this simple historical argument seems to have real usefulness. Of course, another argument that makes sense to me is that of the skeptical environmentalist, Bjorn Lomborg, who says that since we can't really do much to significantly affect the probably mild warming that we may see, why should we wreck our economies for nothing. Better to make them stronger so we are better able to adapt to whatever comes our way. Check him out in his op-ed in today's Wall Street Journal.

07 December 2011

Why We Moved South

The main reason for us moving from Montana to Arizona was that for two years in a row our driveway was covered with ice from about November to March. And every time we took the dog out or went to fetch the mail both Carol and I worried about breaking some bone and being unable to get up and maybe succumbing to hypothermia.

So far we have no complaints regarding ice on the driveway,  even though early morning walks with Maggie the Dog for the last couple days felt like Billings MT rather than what I imagined Sun City West AZ would feel like when I was thinking about it last December. I wonder if temperatures like those down here—in the 30s the last couple nights—are factored into the global warming statistics? Oh, wait a minute, that is weather, not climate. I wonder how much weather we need to make it count as climate?

Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County doesn't to get the same favorable media coverage down here as he does in other parts of Fly-Over Country. Just the media doing their job.

05 December 2011

Mann Eschews 'Peer-Review' Process: Publishes Letter to Editor of Wall Street Journal

Prof. Mann has responded to a Wall Street Journal article by James Delingpole. I wonder if there is a mechanism in scientific fields similar to the recall of politicians. We should look into that. Mr Delingpole responds quickly at The Climate Realists website. Is it scientific to start your argument with 'every snowflake is unique'? How does he know? Calling Dr Guff!

Have An Ice Christmas

Check out these crazy Austrians. And this website too.

02 December 2011

I Try To Remember Dick Ruedebusch

I first met Dick when I was about 15, or at least sometime in the middle 50s. He was unhappily selling cars in Mayville WI I think it was, and playing lead trumpet in a city band in Hartford WI just to keep his lip in shape. Making a a living as a musician was not easy then or now. In those days every small town in Wisconsin had a baseball team and a city band, or a town band, or sometimes a village band. He was clearly more than a step or two better than the rest of us in that band. The director hated it when Dick would add a little improvisation to what was on the page, though the rest of us loved it. I remember listening to him tell stories about playing all day and night during the War. That would be World War Two in case there are any youngish readers. Only the guys who hadn't actually been in combat talked about it. He was about 17 when he volunteered out of high school.

I moved on from Hustisford High to Carroll College in Waukesha WI in 1957. Some friends told me about the trumpet player at the Tunnel Inn in downtown Milwaukee. We were regular visitors there in the late 50s/early 60s. I remember he borrowed my trombone for awhile because something had happened to Sonny Sievert's horn.

I went to Boston for medical school in the Fall of 1961. One night I was drifting off to sleep with the radio on, when I recognized the sound and style of Dick Ruedebusch, playing a solo in a big band, one of Woody Herman's Thundering Herds I think. That sobered me up fairly quickly.

Dick died some 6 years later, in his early 40s, unexpectedly while he was in hospital being treated for valvular heart disease I think. His funeral was a big deal in the village of Hustisford. Because all of the 60s were a blur for me I somehow conflated the being waked by his late night solo and his death in order, I'm sure, to make a better story. So, I'm waked by a dead man playing a trumpet solo. Yeah, right!

I was reminded of this strangeness on my part by an email coming from a clear blue sky from a friend from Carroll, Carl Trendler, who was kind enough to drop me a line to straighten me out, some 50 years later. I accused him of having some memory loss when it was really me. He was a Delta Rho so I should have known better.

The only other things I can think of about Dick, besides my all-time favorite, St James Infirmary Blues, and that he preferred the name 'traditional music' rather than 'dixieland', was that he married a pretty Hustisford girl, Marilyn Roethke. Their kids, at least some of them, were given names having to do with Bunny Berrigan. What a guy. I tear up when I hear him play.

I found these two on UTube.

Notes From Friday's Wall Street Journal

The Wall Street Journal beat the Arizona Republic this morning, 2-1, in stories that caught my interest enough to read all the way through. The first started just below the fold on the front page and continued on page A16, entitled Scientists' Elusive Goal: Reproducing Study Results, somewhat elusive itself when it comes to meaning.

The article's main purpose was to reveal "one of medicine's dirty secrets:Most results, including those that appear in top-flight peer-reviewed journals, cannot be reproduced."(my italic emphasis). Not only the best journals but also scientists from places like Harvard Medical School could not have their work be reproduced by Amgen before it started spending serious money. This is not just an occasional failure either but at least half of actionable studies could not be reproduced. So, it is not just our friends in the climatology field who are fiddling their results. For some reason I am very sad.

The same issue of the WSJ featured an op-ed by Daniel Botkin, president of the Center for the Study of the Environment and emeritus professor at University of California, Santa Barbara, entitled Absolute Certainty Is Not Scientific, in which he points out that "global warming alarmists betray their own cause when they declare that it is irresponsible to question them." Both articles are worth reading in their entirety.

Oh I almost forgot the Arizona Republic article that caught my attention. That was the news that Loretta Young, see the picture above from a 1933 movie, mothered a love-child with that cad Clark Gable, there he is to the left, back in 1935. Ms Young pretended she had adopted her own daughter. Apparently the daughter died recently, having put out the truth in a book a decade or two ago, which I missed. These things are treated differently these days, and the horses are not scared either. I am sad, but not as sad as I was about the WSJ article.

Of course, because we are newbies in this area, we always read Valley 101, written by Clay Thompson, the Back Page Sage of the Valley. There is always something useful or funny or both in his articles. And I like his writing style too.

29 November 2011

Late Onset Adult Attention Deficit Disorder

I'm wondering if I might have at least a touch of this disease. Check out this website. Might be enough there to get my wife off my case. It might explain why Sudoku puzzles seem to be getting more difficult.
Or why I need to write down more than three items to pick up from the grocery store.

28 November 2011

Furthest Phoenix II

For confirmation of my 'human-scale' comments in the earlier blog on downtown Phoenix herewith more photos. The above comes from a collection of nudes of all ages and shapes, delightfully cavorting in the park-like setting of the Herberger Center and St Mary's Basilica. Not to be left out are the fortunately clothed. The lady below was singing Christmas carols in a nice contralto voice.

This is one of the entrances to the park. In the background is an entrance to the Herberger Theatre Center, a surprisingly pleasant and intimate place, inside and out. And below is a part of the small plaza bounded in part by Hooter's of fried pickle fame.

26 November 2011

We Venture To Furthest Phoenix

Specifically, to the Herberger Theatre Center, which seems to be situated in the middle of downtown Phoenix, more or less in the middle of the downtown Phoenix campus of Arizona State University.

The play on offer was Yasmina Reza's brilliant God of Carnage. Check out the Wikipedia website as well as the Arizona Theatre Company website which has a nice PDF on some of the more esoteric mentions and allusions in the play. This is 90 minutes, without interruption, of high tension drama, often producing nervous laughter from the enthusiastic audience at this Saturday matinee.

Apparently successful in the original French, the translation sounds well in English too, though I probably will continue to be put down by wife Carol if I cite this play as defense for my own scatological language.

The show was successful with me because it affirmed at least two of my longest-held prejudices as well as one of my more recent irritations.

These are, for those who I haven't had a chance to talk to:

1) that our children always expose the bad people we really are, even though we have been able to cover up these blemishes by our 30s and 40s;

2) that alcohol use leads to surprising truths—'in vino veritas'—and

3) that cellphones are the work of the devil, especially when those who use them in civilized company do not realize what pricks they are.

Worth seeing. Amy Resnik, Bob Sorenson, Joey Parsons, and Benjamin Evett are the players. All do excellent work by themselves and even better do they play with each other.

Nearby buildings appear to be human-scaled and includes St Mary's Basilica, to the left, started in 1880 and dedicated in 1881, the 2nd oldest church in Phoenix.

We saw a young-looking wedding party wandering around, apparently fresh from the Franciscan basilica honoring The Blessed Virgin's Immaculate Conception, while we shared an excellent fish sandwich and order of fried pickles at the downtown Phoenix Hooter's. This last dish is heartily recommended whenever you are in the vicinity of a Hooter's and have a friend or two to share it with.

13 November 2011

We Have Arrived

In early November we cranked up the old Lincoln Navigator with Maggie the Dog in the rear seat, fully loaded with clothes, silverware, and many odds & ends that didn't make it on the United Van Lines truck which was packed in early October and finally got under way in early November.

We headed south via Bozeman, West Yellowstone, and then joined the I15 near Pocatello. We should have stopped in Ogden, north of Salt Lake City before dark but plunged on to Provo in the dark with all sorts of road construction. The next couple of days were easier as we continued down the 15 until we had to head east around the Grand Canyon. We finally stopped in Page AZ on the 2nd night on the advice of a friend, and then arrived in Sun City West on Saturday, November 5th. We kind of camped out for a few days because the gas had been turned off. Cold water wakes you up quickly.

The movers arrived on November 10th. What with unpacking and trips to Target, Best Buy, Safeway, Walmart; Bed, Bath & Beyond; CostCo and I am sure a few other places all supplying the necessities of moving into a new house.

We managed to find some churches: Crown of Life LCMS for Carol, and Prince of Peace RC for me.

31 October 2011

New Royals Coach Named

Shawn Murphy has been selected as the new head coach of the Billings Royals. See the article in today's Gazette.

29 October 2011

An Email from my Friend George

There is finally conclusive evidence that Osama bin Laden and Muammar Gaddafi are dead.
Yesterday, they both registered to vote in Chicago.

An Example of Psychiatric Descriptive Terms Being Applied to the Body Politic

Stockholm Syndrome: from this excellent website.

Every syndrome has symptoms or behaviors, and Stockholm Syndrome is no exception. While a clear-cut list has not been established due to varying opinions by researchers and experts, several of these features will be present:
  • Positive feelings by the victim toward the abuser/controller
  • Negative feelings by the victim toward family, friends, or authorities trying to rescue/support them or win their release
  • Support of the abuser’s reasons and behaviors
  • Positive feelings by the abuser toward the victim
  • Supportive behaviors by the victim, at times helping the abuser
  • Inability to engage in behaviors that may assist in their release or detachment
It has been found that four situations or conditions are present that serve as a foundation for the development of Stockholm Syndrome. These four situations can be found in hostage, severe abuse, and abusive relationships:
The presence of a perceived threat to one’s physical or psychological survival and the belief that the abuser would carry out the threat.
  • The presence of a perceived threat to one’s physical or psychological survival and the belief that the abuser would carry out the threat
  • The presence of a perceived small kindness from the abuser to the victim
  • Isolation from perspectives other than those of the abuser
  • The perceived inability to escape the situation

28 October 2011

World Series Game #7: Cards Win!

After game 6 and all the chances the Rangers had for winning, I think the baseball gods simply said "That's all, folks!" Unless Carpenter has an awful night there was little hope for the Rangers.

This game was no different in the quality of umpiring behind the plate. Almost all of the guys called much smaller strike zones than they have in the past, and worst of all, they were inconsistent on low balls and especially outside balls. For obvious reasons these days there are few or no complaints though an occasional exasperated look by a batter is seen. Mike Napoli actually had the guts to remind the guy in blue that he had earlier made a critical ball 4 call on a Cardinal that was just called a strike on him. If anything, the one on Napoli was further out than the earlier call, was it on Pujols? Two pitches in the same location, one called a strike, the next one a ball, no that was the catcher Molina. A few years ago when they first started showing the strike zone, the umpires realized that they were calling many pitches 4 to 6 inches outside strikes. As soon as they stopped doing that Tommy Glavine stopped winning. Now it seems they have gone too far in the other direction.

Newt Gives A Speech

I hadn't heard him speak this touchingly before I stopped to hear this. From a splendid blogsite.

27 October 2011

26 October 2011

The Ice Age Cometh?

I think we will soon head for that Mild & Dry part of the country in the Southwest. O'Neill's play The Iceman Cometh seems to be a reasonable facsimile of the Occupy Wall Street crowd theatre. Hence, the title to this blog entry. Oh, I almost forgot the genesis of this whole notion: The Next Grand Minimum.

25 October 2011

Game #5: Napoli Stars Again

After blasting a 3-run homer the night before to seal the deal on their second World Series win, one might think that the Texas Rangers' not-so-well known catcher/first baseman Mike Napoli would take a break and rest on his laurels. He did not. In addition to doing a great job of catching he hit a bases-loaded double in the 8th to break a 2-2 tie; he threw out the same runner twice at 2nd base to break up and end a couple of Cardinal rallies; and he beat Lance Berkman in a foot-race to first base, admittedly with a head-start, after Berkman struck out to end the game. A good night's work I would say.

The starting pitchers looked strong: Carpenter for the Cards, apart from two big home runs by Moreland and Beltre, was very effective. Location and curve ball were amazing. Wilson for the Rangers, apart from a lot of walks was pretty good too. A lot of Cards were stranded on the bases. They both handed it over to their bullpens with the score tied 2-2.

Of course a little luck was needed in the form of some base-running snafus by the Cardinals late in the game, curiously enough, involving the same runner on first, Allen Craig, and even stranger, the same batter, the estimable Señor Alberto Pujols. The first was apparently a run-and-hit called by the batter Pujols.

The runner Craig starts and the pitch is way over the batter's head, impossible to hit but not too high for Signor Napoli who throws out the runner at 2nd base fairly easily. When the runner gets back to the dugout it looks like Manager La Russa is asking him what happened, suggesting the play was called by the batter.

Then, an inning or two later with the same runner, Allen Craig, on first, a run-and-hit is called again, this time by La Russa, with one out and the count 3-2, Pujols swings at a ball 6 inches outside, something he hardly ever does, except when he is trying to protect the runner, misses and the runner is thrown out for an inning-ending and very depressing double play. La Russa is trying to avoid a double play by starting the runner trusting that his best hitter, Alberto Pujols, would make contact. Inside small ball details.

The final scene in this tragi-comedy features Lance Berkman at the bat, swinging at a low third strike and missing. The ball hits Napoli's glove and then his shinguard which causes it to carom more than usual in foul territory toward first. Very fortunately, Napoli sees where it went, gets a 10-15 foot head start over Berkman and runs it down about 50-60 ft down the line while Berkman is looking for the ball and then fairly quickly catching up to Napoli. The latter is able to toss it underhand to first baseman Moreland for the final out just ahead of the charging Berkman. Whew!

24 October 2011

World Series Game #4: Pitchers Get Upper Hand; Even Up 2-2

Except for one pitch to Signor Napoli, who whacked one out of the park. Rangers knot up the Series once again. Game #5 to compete with Monday Night Football, Baltimore v. Jacksonville, maybe not so much competition.

22 October 2011

World Series Game 3: Bombs Away in Middle Innings

Almost all the scoring from 4th through the 7th innings, led by Señor Pujols with two monster home runs. Cards 14-Rangers 7.

[Final score 16-7. The Cards must have tacked on a safety after I went to bed. Alberto Pujols hit three! home runs]

A Modest Proposition On Climate Change Warfare

I have been thinking about the Civil War amongst our scientists in regard to Climate Change. Wouldn't it make sense to require all sides to adhere to some Variations on the main Themes of Just War.

For example, the Skeptics did not really start responding to the Warmists until the latter threatened to inflict damage of a "lasting, grave and certain" nature on all of us. That seems reasonable and in accord with Just War theory.

And further, the Skeptics have pointed out that the suggestions from the Warmists have no "serious prospect of success." Again, in accord with Just War theory.

And then, to be fair to the Warmists, they argue that all other means of combatting what they regard as a Great Evil are "impractical or ineffective."

These ideas look like they need some unpacking.

Some Sensible Words From BookWorm

I read this blog often and have often wished to comment favorably on something but am prevented by some obscure and arcane rules for joining up.

21 October 2011

Cards v. Rangers

These two teams seem fairly evenly matched for the first two games of the 2011 World Series. All the starting pitchers and the bullpen have been pitching really well. The first game saw some big flies and wound up 3-2 with the Cards' Craig besting the Rangers' Ogando for the winning run in the 6th inning.

Then, in the 2nd game there is the same matchup in either the 7th or 8th, same pitch, same location, same pitcher, same batter and same result, 1-0 favor of the Cards.

That is the way it could have ended except for a bloop single to start the 9th, followed by a very slightly errant throw from the outfield on a solid single and Alberto Pujols,  usually excellent fielding first-baseman for the Cards failing to cut off the weakly bouncing ball allowing Elvis Andrus, splendid shortstop for the Rangers and chance-taker, to take a chance and go to 2nd with no outs. Then a sacrifice fly not only scores the tying run but Andrus again takes a chance and goes to 3rd on the same fly, from which he scores what proves to be the winning run on another sacrifice fly. 2-1 Rangers.

No Longer Following The Sun

See above. I saw these mature so quickly this summer I could hear them grow. They used to follow the sun across the sky from east to west. Now they have bowed their heads waiting for the inevitable ax. They hang out somewhere on 31st St. here on the west end, near St Vincent Hospital. Perhaps they are hanging their heads in shame because of the antics of their fellow demonstrators.

20 October 2011

A Game Apiece: Rangers Win in 9th 2-1

I've been pleasantly surprised for the second time in this 2011 World Series, all of two games old after tonight's game. Judging from play earlier in the year and especially the play-off games I thought these would be hitter's games. A bloop hit, a sharp single, some good running by the Rangers, and a small error by Pujols led to two runs and the game in the top of the ninth via two sacrifice flies. Pitchers for both sides were phenomenal, starters and the bullpen. It should be an interesting Series.

Must Be Happy-Hour at the Capitol

I have no idea what is going on here and probably don't really want to know. As long as they are consenting adults and don't frighten the horses I will tolerate most any kind of arrangement you can think of. I wonder who has the better plastic surgeon?

Hens In The Garden

Recently, I asked my friend Elizabeth McNamer if her backyard chickens were doing well, laying eggs, behaving themselves, not upsetting the neighbors etc. She said that they were doing very well but would be going to wherever chickens go for the winter soon. I hope this last sentence is not un-intentionally ironic.

I tried to look up 'chickens' in the Gazette to see if there had been anything definitive written on them here in Billings, the kind of well-crafted investigative journalism that ace Gazette columnist Ed Kemmick would do after he had spent an evening at the City Council is what I had in mind. Alas, such was not available.

There was some recent information on chickens in Casper and Helena. But not much on the problems of chicken-fanciers here in Billings except for a couple of articles in May, June and September earlier this year wherein they were unsuccessful in getting the City Council to give their imprimatur to backyard chickens. The June article was notable for this quote: (noted by none other than Ed Kemmick of course; he wrote the other articles as well):
“I think it will be real beneficial for Billings, once we get all our chickens in a row,” 
attributed to T J Weirenga, founder and head of Billings Backyard Hens.  Check out this very nice website to learn more about the topic of urban chickens.

Biden Seeking Something

One wonders if Joe Biden is just doubling down on his usual ass-hatted rhetoric, for which he was hired back in 2008. Or is this a prelude to something more ominous, a variation on the well-known theme of 'that is a really nice city you have there, Mr Citizen, wouldn't it be a shame to see it damaged?' Once the election of 2008 was over, of course, he didn't need to stifle himself, so maybe he is just getting underway for the upcoming election of 2012.

Game #1 World Series 2011: 3-2 Cards

Good game. I was a little surprised that the starters for both the Rangers and the Cards looked so good. Washington v. La Russa was fairly interesting too.

Home plate umpire had his head screwed on fairly well too as no batter complained about the zone. Except Adrian Beltre got screwed on a foul ball. Everyone needs a little luck.

The announcers couldn't quite figure out why the team that won the opening game for the last 8 or 10 years went on to win the Series 7/8 or 9/10. Perhaps they were just being silly.

19 October 2011

Cancer and Fitness

A friend asked me to publish this: it sounds reasonable to me. No guarantees of course.

One of the scariest things for cancer patients is not knowing what you can do to help yourself. It is the fear of not being able to control your own fate or destiny. Many people don't like the idea of handing their life over to another person, trusting them to keep it safe. Cancer patients don't really have a choice.
However, there are ways that cancer patients can help themselves. A research panel of cancer experts and fitness experts discovered that fitness truly does help a cancer patient's quality of health and well-being.
Of course, the type of exercises that a cancer patient performs will vary depending on the type of cancer that he or she has. For example, a prostate cancer patient won't be able to perform the same exercises as a http://www.mesothelioma.com/mesothelioma/ mesothelioma patient. Moreover, the treatments may interfere with certain exercises: http://www.mesothelioma.com/treatment/. Mesothelioma treatment involves surgeries and treatments that will prevent the patient from doing any long-term exercising.

Nevertheless, exercise is very beneficial, and there are certain medical reasons why that is. When your body is moving, it keeps the important functions strong, such as your immune system, respiratory system and other functions.

Additionally, exercise http://liftforlife.com/content/bodybuilding-fitness-diet-health-articles/alternative-health/709-hormones-and-exercise releases hormones that create a feeling of euphoria. This helps keep cancer patients positive or optimistic about their condition. Being optimistic is very important, especially for cancer patients. Unrelated studies show that optimistic people are typically healthier than pessimistic people.

With that knowledge, cancer patients should absolutely strive to exercise and stay fit; it is essential to their health. Though it will not cure the cancer, it will greatly benefit the patient, helping him to have a more meaningful recovery with a positive outlook on his situation.
Cancer clinics around the world understand just how important fitness is to patients' health. Therefore, they are adopting various fitness programs into their overall therapy treatment. The trainers they hire are experts in both fitness and cancer treatment, so they understand what limitations patients may have during their training.

This http://www.ahfmr.ab.ca/publications/newsletter/Spring04/ article also explains just how important fitness is for cancer patients. If you have cancer, make sure you ask your doctor about fitness as a therapy program.

By: David Haas

Moving To Montana

Instead of building a tall fence all around the state, just show this to your out-of-state friends. I found this on a blogsite from another River City just a few hours north and west of Billings.

It's Not Easy Being Green, But It Is Fairly Funny

I have no idea whether this comes in the back door of the Onion or not, but I found it on a great website Watt's Up with That which claims that the New York Times reported this. Much of the best part of this blog entry is found in the comments.

17 October 2011

How Far Is It From Detroit to Billings?

Nice ears. Now where have I seen those before? Hmm. This winsome lass was pictured in a useful blog entry at Dewey from Detroit, who sub-headline is Come for the Politics, Stay for the Pathology, which naturally attracted my attention. That, and of course, the use of one of my favorite words: "ennui"

Australian Political Cartoonist Pickering Comes Out of Retirement

More on this great cartoonist at JoNova's brilliant blog. For those unfamiliar with the Australian language, the term "Fuck off" means "get lost, loser."

15 October 2011

A Long Weekend in Chicago & Some Advice for the Tigers

The Saturday edition of the Wall Street Journal often contains some useful information that exceeds the usual political and economic wisdom expected from the WSJ. Today is no exception: see the Off Duty section of the paper where they recommend a 3-day weekend in Chicago with various things to see and especially to do in the great city of Chicago. Perhaps they think that when Obama heads back there in January of 2013 things might not be so good, so they are urging you to go now.

The back page of the front section, behind the op-ed pages, has some useful and some not so useful Sports stuff. The former is advice to Jim Leyland, manager of the Detroit Tigers: they suggest he stop pitching to Nelson Cruz, just walk him. The latter is some puff-piece on the best liar of them all so far, Bill Clinton on the golf course. They ought to make a rule that in order to collect your presidential pension and preserve your automatic pardon you must stay out of politics at least until you die or 15 years, whichever comes later.

14 October 2011

Two Close Games

The games between the Cardinals and Brewers and the Rangers and the Tigers have been fairly exciting, particularly those of yesterday.

The part that luck plays in these games was well illustrated in the 6th inning of the Rangers/Tigers game. With the bases loaded and one out Kinsler hits a shot to 3rd baseman Inge who is close enough to step on the bag and throw to first for an easy inning-ending and tie-maintaining double play. Then, in the bottom half of the inning, just as Adrian Beltre is about to do the same trick, the ball hits the bag and bounces over his head for a double. That was the ballgame for the Tigers as they went on to get a triple and a home run to go up 6-2.

By the way, with the way Justin Verlander has been getting roughed up a bit in the post-season, one might be forgiven for thinking that maybe he has been pitching against a bunch of softies during the regular season, or maybe it's just the rain disrupting his rhythm—no doubt due to climate change.

The above baseball would never be used in these play-off games. I'm always a little surprised at how many balls they go through in a game, throwing them out if they so much as touch the ground. Apparently the umpires have been so embarrassed that the networks have deleted the regular use of the strike zone indicator. More later. I'm having trouble figuring out who to cheer for in the NLCS. I like them both.

13 October 2011

A Preview of ObamaCare?

As if we needed more previews than military medicine, Medicare, Medicaid and the VA. The advantage of having a very localized preview is that the numbers will be small enough for all of us to understand. This comes from a pretty useful article in this past Sunday's Gazette. In another blog there is a summary here.

Another Criterion For Selecting a Candidate for President

Have a name that can be used in various ways on bumperstickers.

From the website Cripes Suzette, she calls this entry Rhymes With Sane. The only thing I can think of to add is Spahn and Cain and Three Days of Rain. 

Which comes from a different sport and is a couple of generations old but hey, it would appeal to me and a bunch of other old farts. And we vote, as often as we can move our wheelchairs from polling place to polling place.

A Couple of Good Jokes

The American Spectator sometimes dispenses wisdom in humorous ways. Check this out. Below are the concluding paragraphs.

"My only comfort is that other classic joke about the husband who summons his wife to his deathbed and asks her to sell his coin collection after he dies.
'I know you will want to remarry,' he says. 'And I hate to think of some creep getting his hands on my prize pieces.'
"There is no chance of my marrying a creep," she replies. 'I never make the same mistake twice.'"

08 October 2011

When Will Dr Muskett Write A Column On Prostate Cancer Screening?

Dr Alan Muskett, erstwhile cardiac surgeon right here in River City, and nowadays professing plastic surgery at the same general location, has treated us Montanans to a useful summary of the problems of MMI, or Male Mid-Life Insanity, and he has likened healthcare to a restaurant buffet, and a host of other useful articles to enable us commoners to get through the menu of everyday medical and surgical care, almost always with a smile on our face.

Now we are wondering when he will give us the straight scoop on screening for prostate cancer. We remember that they told us that we could dispense with PSA testing when we reached the age of 75 or so. Now the Associated Press in today's Gazette has revealed to us old guys who are finally persuaded to get regular PSA tests done, that we shouldn't do that at any age. What is going on here? First of all, many of us don't trust the AP so maybe this would be a good time for Dr Muskett, or perhaps one of his friends of the urologic persuasion, to reassure us.

This would be a delicate operation because there are a fair number of older and some relatively young men who have had radical prostatectomies based in part on PSA levels. Telling their cousins and friends that they don't need to be screened risks the wrath of those who have had the operation, especially if they have had complications such as impotence and incontinence. And for those who like to have complete explanations for drastic changes in tactics or strategy, there are problems when we have to admit that some of the things we call cancer won't kill you if left alone, that even a normal PSA doesn't guarantee that you are free of prostate cancer, and that even our best surgeons are sometimes wondering what to do. This will not be good for the doctor-patient relationship.

I just asked Johns Hopkins to send me a free special report on my prostate biopsy. More on that later.

07 October 2011

Nobel Prize for Unsettled Science

The arrogant Swedes—sorry for the redundancy there—apparently save their jokes for the Nobel Peace Prize: Arafat, Carter, Obama etc. They seem to be more sober when it comes to the harder sciences though perhaps not enough time has passed for the ripening of the nominees in climastrology.

Check out this article on the unsettled nature of science in the real world. This article on crystallography reminded me of the interesting idea of combining Vermont cheddar with Minnesota bleu cheese. Perhaps not worthy of a Nobel Prize but then, maybe we should wait and see what the Swedes will say a few years from now.

Baseball Division Series Coming to a Close—Mercifully

The American League version of the 5 game division play-off ended abruptly last night as the Yankees picked up their bats and balls and went home, a little miffed that the upstart no-big-name Detroit Tigers managed to hold them off in the final game 3-2. The highest paid 3rd baseman in the world, Alex Rodriguez, struck out twice in critical situations, once with the bases loaded and then for the final out in the ninth inning. I saw somebody comfort him as they were slowly walking off. There was probably no need to check their bank balances. The National League version comes to a head Friday night with the Diamondbacks playing the Brewers and the Phillies playing the Cardinals.

This time of the year I usually spend more time than I should watching the baseball play-offs. I would not mind and I am sure many of the players would not mind the whole season being shortened as it gets cold in late October in some places. 154 games as they used to play in the days of the railroad leagues would be plenty. In fact, because of the popularity of the play-offs they could cut this down to 140 with little loss except for the statisticians crying foul as they try to compare and contrast a plays stats from 40 years ago with one playing now. They could also usefully shorten the season by having the championship league series over in 5 games as well instead of 7. And while they are at it, they could get rid of the designated hitter and give all the umpires a refresher course in what the strike zone is or ought to be.

No wonder the batters sometimes have a few words with the home-plate umpire. If the little framed area on the side of the TV screen or sometimes projected over the plate  really means anything then I would suggest that our umpires have difficulty being consistent not only with high and low balls but inside and outside balls as well. Some of them even things up when they make a doubtful call, while others simply persist in their stubborn stupidity. Perhaps we should use my solution which was to move far enough to the side of home plate that I can't really see how bad the umpires are on the inside and outside, though high and low calls are still visible to us all. In other words, forget the little framed area as it is too small to accurately reflect the actual position of the ball as it crosses home plate—although now that I think about it maybe this is an argument for getting a much larger TV—except for occasional times when the player argues about a call or when the announcer wants to point out how bad the umpire is. It looks like the umpire makes up his mind about when the batter has to make up his mind to swing or not, i.e. when the ball is about half-way to home plate.

05 October 2011

A One-Term Proposition

New Logo for the State of Wisconsin

Sent to me by a fellow cheesehead after the games of the past weekend: on Sunday the Packers put the Broncos away easily, and the Wisconsin Badgers pounded the Nebraska Cornhuskers on Saturday, and of course, the Milwaukee Brewers easily took care of the Arizona Diamondbacks in their first two games in the 3 out of 5 Division series.

I suppose people will start talking soon about breaking up one or all of these teams as they appear to be just too good for the rest of their league or conferences.

04 October 2011

Homecoming Queen Kicks Winning Field Goal

This is a good story, and very cool as my young cousin/correspondent Nathan Brooks points out on his Facebook page. It comes from the New York Times but probably is true anyway.

01 October 2011

More Facts

This comes from The Next Grand Minimum.

I keep giving the benefit of the doubt to our elected elites and their underlings. I keep thinking they will also exercise their reasoning process and perhaps revise their thinking on something they all decided upon about 20 years ago. Is it impossible for those on the Left to change their mind? I hope not.

30 September 2011

Back-Story on Wednesday Night Baseball Games

My wife likes to razz me whenever I tell her about something exciting happening in a baseball game: "Do you mean there was 2 minutes of excitement in 2 hours of boredom?" is her usual rebuttal to my enthusiasm. Well, the Rays v. the Yankees, the Orioles v. the Red Sox and the Braves v the Phillies games were all surprisingly exciting, especially the endings, but of course, it was only a few minutes or less.

That is two historic September swoons, one by the Atlanta Braves—whose fans are perhaps not used to this sort of thing—in the National League, and the other by the Boston Red Sox—whose fans are used to it—in the American League. And the Tampa Bay Rays beating the overdogs of both leagues to get to the playoffs. Amazing.

Papelbon looked silly with his ominous stare and fast ball being whacked for two doubles to tie the score followed by an unusually poor play by left-fielder Carl Crawford to allow the winning run to score: he should have either caught the ball on the fly or let it bounce and make a decent throw to the plate. Either would have resulted in an out and the game goes on, but neither happened.

Maybe the Red Sox and the Braves should take up the cause of Ted Williams who reckoned the season was too long, and there were too many teams. Not only did it screw up a lot of comparative records, going from 154 games to 162 games that is, but it also produced games in early April when it was too cold to play, and even worse, extending the post-season often 'til November when it is also too cold and everybody is tired on top of everything else.

I am looking forward to the start of the Playoffs.

29 September 2011

Welcome To Climastrology

There is an argument for "climatology" because the sound is similar to scientology, but I think "climastrology" has a better chance because of the obvious connection to astrology. Now that I think about it, with the state of our education these days being what it is, either one is probably close enough for most of us.

As we are thinking seriously about snow birding in AZ starting fairly soon I thought it would be worthwhile to check on some of the local newspapers. This article is from the Tucson Citizen.

28 September 2011

We Need To Clone This Guy for Billings and the Rest of Montana

Wow, check this guy out. From his website I get the impression that those lucky Helena kids are really suffering from a teacher they will remember always.

27 September 2011

Cain v Not Able

Brilliant bumper-sticker from Dennis Miller. Herman Cain v. You Know Who. Wow.

26 September 2011


Let the piling on continue. This is payback for arrogance mixed with ignorance. Check out this website. The dopey climatologists couldn't read their thermometers right. Of course they may still seek our sympathy, but if they persist in their hoax we shall have to call them knaves.

23 September 2011

The Guys at Venture Theatre

Last night I laughed my ass off. Tonight I cried. I watched The Drowsy Chaperone last night at Billings Studio Theatre and tonight I watched The Guys at Venture Theatre. I wrote about The Drowsy Chaperone here.

The Guys is a play about the interaction of Joan, played superbly by Bobbi Hawke, a New York editor from Oklahoma, and Nick, played very well and movingly by Vincent Ray, a New York Fire Dept Captain: Joan helps Nick prepare the eulogies for eight men he lost on Sept 11, 2001 in the collapse of the World Trade Center Towers.

Anne Nelson wrote the play in 9 days soon after Sept 11. It opened at the Flea Theatre in New York in early December, 2001. Sigourney Weaver and Bill Murray played the parts. I haven't seen that or the movie version or the version presented at the Edinburgh Festival with Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon. I know that our Vincent and Bobbi did it very well indeed. I don't think it could have been done better. A.J. Kalanick directed the play and should be congratulated as well. You can do that Saturday evening, the show's last performance.

District Court Judge Calls BS on Government 'Scientists'

The complicated problem of the delta smelt of California has led to economic disaster being visited on the Central Valley. Not surprisingly, the problem has found its way to our Federal court system.

District Judge Oliver Wanger, the same judge that protected the smelt in the first place, has called two of the Interior Dept's so-called scientists' testimony 'false,' 'contradictory' and 'misleading.' Their testimony was 'an attempt to mislead and to deceive the court into accepting not only what is not the best science, it's not science.' This is surprisingly clear-headed testimony coming from the Federal bench. This may encourage others to take a stand against junk science.

The problem is that these small critters like the interface between the fresh waters of the rivers which they favor but the more salty waters of San Francisco Bay are fairly close by. Of course, the farmers of the Central Valley are also dependent on the fresh waters. For not very clear reasons the a**holes of the Interior Dept favor the fish over the farmers. There may be a congressional investigation into this matter. There should be anyway.

Preparing For and Surviving the Next Grand Minimum

For those of you interested in the truth and the future this is a fascinating blogsite. This reference leads to a kind of summary of what the author is up to on this blogsite.

Russ Steele wonders about the the qualifications of a couple government scientists. The problem is, in contrast, to most scientists who leave themselves a way out if they are wrong, many of our so-called climate scientists have failed to do that, instead taking a 'dog-in-the-manger' stance in regard to their hoax, even if they were not the originators of the hoax. That kind of stance may mitigate for them in the knave v. fool calculus.

Go See The Drowsy Chaperone at BST

A recent—1998—farcical parody of the older Broadway musical, complete with a caricature of a mincing Alistair Cooke listening to show tunes from long-playing records, who explains to his half-witted presumably straight audience out in fly-over country the changes the word 'gay' has undergone in recent years and worrying about the 4th wall, blah, blah, blah. Don't miss the record catching near the end of the play. Terrific stuff.

The really good veteran comedic players of Billings—like Vint Lavender, Wendy Carlin, Shawn Bettise, Christie Arnold and others—pay no attention to him, the narrator, and just have a lot of fun singing and dancing this time-warped musical puff-piece. There were a lot of good supporting younger and older players too. And some male dancers, good ones too. It looks like the musical comedy has a future right here River City.

A pretty good band featured a lead trombone, sometimes a little loud, but if you think your audience is a little hard-of-hearing, and some of us were, then they hit just the right notes at just the right volume. The low splats were spectacular. That is a reproduction of an original Broadway poster to the right above, from the Wikipedia entry above.

I thought the costumes were spectacular. The sound sometimes left a little to be desired. Not sure the amplification was needed, though it did allow the band to play a little louder.

To the left is a picture of the usual theme of the evening in the foyer of Billings Studio Theatre. Bev Clarke sometimes used to do these things. She has recently gone to her reward—bless her beautiful soul. The whole of the 2011-2012 season is dedicated to her.

This is the opening show in what looks like a great year. There are only two more performances of the The Drowsy Chaperone—right, no sense to the title, just part of the contrived zaniness which the players treat with the disdain it deserves. They really do make it work. Tonight, Friday, and Saturday night are the last performances. Go see it. There are more than enough belly laughs as well as small smiles in this one. See the rest of the year's program below from the playbill.

21 September 2011

The Kid: 1918-2002

This little book first appeared as an essay by John Updike in The New Yorker of October 20, 1960. And then was added to with later footnotes as the essay itself became famous, and finally this little book appeared along with a kind of eulogy in 2010 from The Library of America courtesy of Mr Updike dying the year before. October 1960 was early in the process of Updike becoming famous with his Rabbit books every ten or so years, and before Roger Angell took over the regular baseball desk at that magazine. It was entitled Hub Fans Bid Kid Adieu. It told a little of the earlier history of this famous player and then gets more specific as it comes down to Williams' last day as a player at Fenway Park in late September 1960. Very nice and worth reading when you are young and again when you are older. In other words, it goes on the list of recommendations for my grandchildren, sporting or not.

This is one of those books that I discover in old age, wondering why no one ever told me about before. I usually blame my teachers but I suspect, given the publication date, that I was starting to introvert to my medical persona of the '60s. In that life I only remember the old American and National Leagues of eight teams each, all connected by the railroads of the 20s, 30s and 40s. Everybody was a designated hitter though Bob Lemon was better than most. The Millers and the Brewers were AAA teams in those days, nothing major west of St Louis, except the Sticks and then the Pacific Coast League, which still had a certain different aura about it as I was growing up.

Typical wry and understated Updike, instead of saying he went to Harvard College in the '50s and the baseball god of Boston, Tom Yawkey at the time, had failed to sustain the Red Sox with the other necessities to win, he says "by the time I went to college, near Boston, the lesser stars Yawkey had assembled around Williams had faded . . . ."

He goes on to tell of the love/hate relationship the press and Boston had with Williams. Of course, this was standard operating knowledge for juvenile baseball fans of that era. But John Updike puts things together like no one else and ends his tale in late September 1960: "On the car radio as I drove home I heard that Williams, his own man to the end, had decided not to accompany the team to New York. He had met the little death that awaits athletes. He had quit."

Around Billings: Elegy For An Elm

A nice picture of the penultimate resting place of an elm on Spruce, above the fold of the Local & State section of this morning's Gazette, captures your attention immediately, especially with the headline—A 'priceless' tree—so that Ed Kemmick can exercise his rhetorical skills in celebrating the loss of one of those splendid trees in the 'tree streets.'

I drove around this pleasant part of town this morning and could barely tell where the tree had stood so tall for so many years. Somebody, presumably the city, had been busy cleaning up the scene, perhaps in order to discourage the gawkers who didn't live nearby. Like many people and most trees, if you mess with the city's sidewalks, you must pay the price.

Although the homeowner and the city are treated in a scrupulously neutral fashion, as Kemmick always does, it doesn't take the reader long to figure out the score. The tree doesn't really belong to the home-owner as the lot doesn't extend that far, no matter who planted it. For the sake of safety, the city builds a sidewalk, which in some places in our fair town, must be paid for by the homeowners on that street, but not apparently in the 'tree street' part of town.

So, for the loss of a single tree to shade your house and to visually delight us all, the city builds the homeowner a new sidewalk, beautifies his landscaping and repairs his irrigation system, and plants a new tree at some future time. And you get a nice obituary, free I expect, for the tree in the Gazette. That is a pretty good deal.

18 September 2011

A Real Hockey Stick Graph

Three similar hockey sticks: could we call this a hat-trick? Check out the Wikipedia reference as it makes clear that sports other than hockey now use the term, usually having something to do with 3 occurrences of the same event, such as 3 hits in a row, or 3 strikeouts in a row. Apparently it was first used in the middle of the 19th century in cricket when a guy took 3 wickets with 3 balls. A collection was taken up to reward this guy. He bought a hat with the proceeds. I believe it, but I would still check with Christi the Wordsmith from Bozeman. I wonder why our President doesn't care?

[Now that I look at it again, it looks more like a broken hockey stick, patched up back in the early 2000s]

17 September 2011

Development on Ramada Drive

This is the before picture, looking from our driveway up Ramada Drive. This is some weeks after the "canopy has been lifted."

Viola! There is Maggie the Dog, fortunately a female who does not feel the need to piss on something to express her feelings about it, and three new trees, two "Hot-wing" maples in front and a snow crab apple toward the back. The last is supposed to be rich in blossoms in the spring but poor in apples. We will see. By the way, the Amur maple in the backyard is supposed to be a recent offspring of these "Hot-wings." Watch this space.

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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