30 March 2011

Dilbert and Dewey From Detroit Keep Telling The Truth

Check this guy out, or maybe we should check out Detroit. Is there any safe way to do that? Does a train go through Detroit? I am reading Bourgeois Dignity by Deirdre McCloskey in which she argues that ideas are more important than economics, especially economics of the materialist persuasion. I haven't finished it yet so I'm not sure if she uses Detroit or Michigan in her argument.

This building wall looked like this for at least a few days. I'm not sure what it looks like now.

29 March 2011


Whatever happened to Mr Obama's March Madness basketball bracket choices? This is from Zombie.

26 March 2011

20 March 2011

On the Outskirts of Indianapolis and Up the Homestretch

We had a little time after visiting the Louisville Slugger bat factory so we kept on going north to the west side of Indianapolis.

When I asked the clerk at the Hampton Inn and Suites of Brownsburg, a few miles out west of the beltway around Indianapolis on the 74—I wonder why that doesn't show up on Google when I ask for Hamptons near Indianapolis—she gave me directions in person and on paper for St Malachy Roman Catholic Church. He was an Irish bishop of Armagh in the 12th century, his feast celebrated on November 3rd.

The church was fairly impressive both inside and out, and despite being built in the 21st century, showed fairly distinguished architecture. See some pictures here. The St Malachy RCC mentioned above is a useful website.

The paper directions were necessary because it was still a little dark at 7:30 on Sunday morning. We were driving out in the cornfields on roads that carefully separated the fields, and had names like CR 750 North, not visible until you were within two car lengths. The funny part of the morning came when I drove back to the motel after it was light and became thoroughly lost, unable to follow backwards the simple directions I had followed to get there.

Eventually we get going on the 74 until we hit the 39 heading toward the Socialist Republic of Madison.

19 March 2011

Louisville Sluggers

This place should be on every baseball fan's Bucket List. Remember that great movie with Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman a couple of years ago. There is even a book called The Baseball Fan's Bucket List: 162 Things You Must Do, See, Get and Experience Before You Die, by Robert and Jenna Santelli. This place is located in downtown Louisville, easily found because of the big bat sticking up into the sky. It is about 8 blocks down the street from the front entrance to a very nice AAA stadium used by who else, the Louisville Bats, premier farm team of the nearby Cincinnati Redlegs.

I'm sure Easton or Rawlings or whoever else makes baseball bats doesn't have anything like this. They give tours of the bat factory even on weekends, though they may not be making bats then. Major leaguers use about 100 to 120 bats in a season and they usually get them in lots of 10 or 12. They can be reproduced to very fine specifications and quickly too because of a fantastic computer-operated lathe machine, said to be made in Italy rather than the good old USA.

In addition there is a nice museum of historical baseball stuff in general and bats in particular. They have a pitching machine which reminds you exactly how fast a 95 mph fastball arrives at the plate. Below is the bat vault, where a copy of all the major league bats they have ever made is kept. I always kept using a different bat, hoping I would find something that I could swing quickly enough to get around and near the ball.

17 March 2011

St Patrick's Celebration

Corned Beef and Cabbage on the feast of St Patrick.

At the Cracker Barrel, near the Intersate highway system somewhere in this great and surprisingly large country. These are pretty good places to stop. They have nice wait-people and usually serve down-home food. Curiously, they do not sell postcards, though almost everything else of a souvenir nature is available.

By the way, the observant among you will note that I have finally figured out how to get pictures in my posts on Blogger. I am sorry for the unkind words I used in the past few months on this matter.

16 March 2011

More on Fort Lauderdale: Spring Break

This is fairly early in the morning on the beach as only a few sun worshippers are visible. Note the black-covered street lamps. The lights are covered so that when the sea turtles come ashore at night they will not be blinded by the brilliance of the street lights. They come ashore to lay their eggs.

A few weeks later their offspring make a mad dash for the water. If you mess with them you may be subject to big fines and/or jail time so be cautious on these beaches, or stay on the sidewalks as the folks below are doing.

These young ladies are presumably on spring break, where they come down south to expose their bodies to the sun, but carefully protected from the sun by sun screen. It seems an odd way to pick up members of the opposite sex but it does seem to work.

In the past large numbers of young people would come here for spring break but the authorities have now discouraged that sort of thing.

Fort Lauderdale Florida

Named after Major Lauderdale, commander of the detachment of soldiers during the Second Seminole War that built the first fort, Fort Lauderdale is a nice place to visit.

13 March 2011

Sunday in Lakeland Florida

In the morning we eventually find St Anthony's Catholic Church, just north of Interstate 4. There is something screwy about Google maps as they have the location right for the school but wrong for the church. Here is a lead to their website. Miracles as usual on Sunday morning: the Word becomes flesh.

Then, off to Joker Marchant Field in the afternoon where the Detroit Tigers are hosting a game with the Houston Astros. A lot of fairly prosperous fans are in attendance. I guess they must have moved from Detroit down to Lakeland. An article by Ed Glaesser in the op-ed section of the Friday, 25 March, Wall Street Journal, which I read after I returned to Billings, may give some hints as to why these people are in Florida rather than Michigan.

10 March 2011

Down the 39

My brother, Gerald, and I left Madison Wisconsin early on Thursday morning after reading big headlines in the Wisconsin State Journal and even larger in The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel which suggested to me that someone is likely to blow up the state capitol. They have a history of that sort of stuff in the past. Keep your powder dry, the Marxists are angry. So we left in a hurry and turned the news on tonight as we arrived in Nashville.

We drove straight through central Illinois, the western tip of Kentucky and into a traffic jam in the middle of Nashville. The day was gray all day with just an occasional sprinkle of rain. Cheese and sausage with bread and crackers hit the spot. Once a cheesehead always a cheesehead.

We learned that, in addition to being a great country, we are also living in a very large country, and much of it is simply empty. There are miles and miles of farmland in the middle of Illinois. We could put 10 times as many people in the state of Illinois without any noticeable crowding. I wonder if the people who count votes in Cook County are aware of all those potential Democratic voters out there in the hinterlands?

Second Coming Headlines in Socialist Republic of Madison WI

Just as Gerald and I were loading the car for our road trip south these headlines greeted us with our morning coffee. My guess is that the headlines indicate surprise on the part of the comrades in the newspaper business.

That is one of the things I enjoy when traveling through this great country: reading over the local papers. Sometimes they are hard to find at the kind of motels I frequent. Or perhaps the proprietors think that USA Today covers things better.

06 March 2011

Anne Frank at Billings Studio Theatre

Even if you've seen the play before, or watched the PBS version or seen the movie, this production is worth seeing. It will continue through the next couple of weekends. A little more here.

02 March 2011

Waste and Duplication in Budget

Republican Senator Dr. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma announced a few days ago that what we all thought and maybe even knew was true, is actually really true according to the General Accounting Office. 34 different areas in the budget show obvious wasteful spending, amounting to at least $100 billion and perhaps as high as $200 billion, according to the GAO and Senator Coburn.

I'm guessing that my addition to the suggestion box in regard to the spending of our friends of the federal persuasion has probably been disregarded once again. My idea was to have at least one day a year to have an open house in every federal office in town. And for each office to prepare a single paragraph of what they do and some measure of how much they spend in another line. I guess we would need some directions, perhaps in the Gazette, to show whereabouts all those who are working for us are hiding out. There are a lot of building around town without much in the way of windows, especially those we taxpayers could look into, say on our way to or from work, so that we would be properly appreciative. I still think it might be a good idea. Wouldn't it be interesting to meet some of the people from the upper floors of the downtown Post Office, or the large and ominous building across from Lincoln Admin Building?

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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