30 June 2011

Mustangs Win a Close One 8-7

This was a back and forth game, with pitching and hitting important for both teams. I managed to watch and score the whole game so you know it had to be worthwhile. The difference was back to back home runs by Nick O'Shea and Adam Muenster to lead off the bottom of the 6th, and two innings of relief work by James Allen in the 8th and 9th. Leading 8-6, Allen looked a little shaky to start the 8th, giving up 3 hits in a row, but only one run before settling down, and then looking great in the 9th. He gets a well-deserved save and Carlos Contreras gets the win as he was the pitcher when O'Shea and Muenster unloaded. There was some pretty good fielding in the outfield as well as the infield tonight and the manager managed to keep his mouth shut. That is the good news for tonight.

The bad news that I heard from Ryan Schuller—he is easy to listen to, and actually calls the pitches where they really are as I listened tonight while watching the game—on the way home is that our pitching staff ace, Stalin Gerson, scheduled to pitch tomorrow night, has been promoted to Dayton. These things happen when you are at the bottom of the totem pole. But not to worry as Tony Cingrani from Rice University has been added to the roster and will probably pitch tomorrow evening. Erik Miller from TCU, both of these guys 3rd round draft picks, also joins the team.

Added later:

[1 July 11: Sorry friends, I wrote this in a hurry last night. Of course I should have mentioned, somewhere, that the Mustangs played the Brewers from Helena, last year's Pioneer League champions. I also forgot to mention the continued good hitting by Dayne Read. He drove in a couple of runs with a single after a critical Brewer infield error. In fact, now that I think about it, there were a couple of critical Brewer infield errors. I should have also mentioned that Ryan Schuller is the smooth radio broadcaster on KYSX,
FM 105.1. Is this high class or what, baseball on the FM channel?]

What Are Brainberries?

Wondering around one of my favorite places in Billings, where else but the local CostCo, I came across these boxes of "brainberries." On closer examination they turn out to be "Snackable Packable Fresh Blueberries." Who says there is no poetry in selling fruit? I wish I had known that a few years earlier.

Australians are Serious about the Politics of Climate Change

They are doing something similar to the above cartoon in far-away Australia. What is it about our academic betters on both sides of the world that they insist on demonstrating to us commoners that they are foolish? Check this out.

28 June 2011

Mustangs Look Good in Missoula

The last two evenings have been very pleasant, listening to the soothing and intelligent voice of Mustang radio broadcaster Ryan Schulling. He tells a relaxed story, only getting excited when its called for, has a good delivery for a baseball announcer and knows the game.

The Mustangs have been in Missoula for two games and showed some good pitching and hitting, and some eeriness too as they exploded for 6 runs in the 10th inning last night and 6 runs in the 9th inning tonight. Curiously enough, these were both started by home runs by Maddox and ended with home runs by Read. I was reminded of how irritating the announcer/cheerleader for the Osprey is as he could easily be heard chattering away between batters and making rhythmic noises between pitches as if he were wearing short dresses with high kicks on the sidelines, urging the fans to cheer. 

That is three games in a row won, they are above .500 as they return to Billings to face the Helena Brewers for 3 games and then the Missoula Osprey for another three. The usual 7 o'clock start Wednesday through Saturday. Don't forget the 4 o'clock start on Sunday afternoon and the 2 o'clock start on Monday, the 4th of July.

In addition to reading with the radio on reminding me of the 40s and 50s, the above image of a baseball is about as good as we ever saw when playing in those days. I think we used 4 balls for the whole game.

The Audacity of the Infidel Flotilla

This should be very interesting.

25 June 2011

How Do You Like Me Now

The Other Side of the Mountains

I came across this blog entry today. The snowpack in the Olympics is about 400! X normal!

It looks like the snow has collected all over the Northwest. We should be thankful that the spring has been cool. Let's keep hoping the early summer will be so too because that means the snow will melt more slowly, allowing our rivers to carry it off without overflowing their banks. The floods we have already had were due to the unusual amount of rain, not snowpack.

There is some information on Montana in the entry as well as a comment on the results of mathematical equations when you don't pay attention to the actual numbers being put in.

The picture to the left is from the last horrible winter we had right here in River City. I have many more including our driveway seeming to be permanently iced up.

The other point of interest in the blog entry I cited above was the comment that our wind farms are suffering from an excess of wind with all the wetness and coldness we have had.

I drove through Judith Gap a few days ago and noticed almost all of them between Harlowton and Judith Gap moving at a pretty good pace. I didn't know that you can have too much wind as well as not enough to foul up the energy-collecting they do.

Black and white to color, as if moving from the 40s to the 90s.

23 June 2011

More On Game 3 Mustang Loss

I picked up the Gazette from the driveway early this morning, eager to find the name of the player who ran himself out at 3rd base in the 8th inning last night. Turns out that the Gazette's Greg Rachac expanded his feature article on catcher Yovan Gonzalez to include some of the highlights of the Mustangs' 7-5 loss to Great Falls on Wednesday evening, except that he didn't mention the base running gaffe. Nor did the Gazette have a box score in its print edition. It was there online this morning but it turns out that the Mustang website itself has an even better box score, which includes such esoterica as the wind and the weather, pitchers that had extra-base hits off them and the inning, the ground-outs and fly-outs, RISP, LOB  etc. Hey this is really fun. They even have a recap of the play in narrative form. With this you could broadcast your own game without seeing the game.

So anyway, it turns out Kyle Waldrop was the guy who hit the double into the left field corner which scored Buckley and Maddox, and then was out easily on a relay from left fielder Haddow to Herbek, the shortstop, to 3rd baseman Patino for the tag. Now, according to the Cardinal Rules of Base-Running, one should be wary of making either the 1st out or the 3rd out at 3rd base as scoring from 2nd base is still in the cards with no outs or 2 outs. One can be a little more aggressive with 1 out but assessing the risk is still the most important thing the runner can do. If the play is behind him then he must depend on the 3rd base coach, but if he can see it in front of him in left field, then he must make the decision himself. So he was wrong on this play, but it is still good to see the guys running the bases aggressively as they have been doing.

22 June 2011

Loose Play Sinks Ponies

That is Barbara, our lovely experienced cheerleader, selling 50/50 tickets in between cheerleading gigs.

It seems that the Mustangs and the Voyagers are taking turns showing up to play. Opening night saw the hitters from Great Falls dominate and then last night Voyager pitchers couldn't buy an out and our Mustang hitters looked fairly good.

Tonight our hitters went AWOL until the 8th and 9th inning, our infield play was crappy, especially around 2nd base, giving away a fair number of unearned runs, and the Mustang pitchers were fairly decent. Behind 7-1 going into the 8th inning our boys gallantly chipped away with two runs, cut short by a running error by a guy—I forgot his name, sorry—who had just driven in the two with a double to the left field corner. Mark Haddow was the hero in left field for the Voyagers as he got the ball back to the infield to cut down the guy trying to go from 2nd to 3rd.

He was an even bigger hero in the 9th inning, as the Mustangs persisted punching away, scoring two runs, to make it 7-5 with 2 runners on and the powerful Robert Maddox up to bat. He is the big first baseman trying to figure out where the plate is and how to play first base at the same time. He hit a nasty sinking, fading line drive into the left field corner and Haddow made a desperate leap into the wall and came up, miraculously, with the ball in his glove. He looked stunned lying on the ground as the runners kept running, easily tying the game and possibly winning it if he hadn't caught the ball. After a few seconds and shakes of his head he gets up and casually tosses the ball from his glove to one of his teammates. The umpire agrees that he caught it. A very exciting ending indeed.

Here are the heroes of the Lead-Off Grill, making 'Stang Burgers and Sheboygan brats by the hundreds, heck by the ten thousand at season end, and probably for minimum wage too. Be sure to tip them.

Lead-Off Grill at Dehler Park on Urbanspoon

A high draft pick, Kyle McMyne from Villanova, is on the mound for the Mustangs tomorrow. Probably worth seeing. They had some new guys in tonight: Nick O'Shea caught, Sean Buckley played third base, and Sammy Diaz played 2nd from the fourth inning on. They looked fairly decent. I expect we will see some more of them. Not surprisingly, the first couple of batters in the 4th hit some routine balls to 2nd and Diaz played them well and got a nice round of applause for his efforts. Baseball can be a cruel game.

21 June 2011

Mustangs Pound Voyagers

I guess as payback for last night everything went badly for the Voyagers, but mainly they had wild pitchers, when they found the plate the batters hit the ball well—home runs for Jovan Gonzalez and Devin Lohman—for a total of 17 runs by the bottom of the 6th.

The Voyager infield didn't help their cause very much either, but bad hops and shortstops falling down took a toll as well.

Stalin Gerson, from the Dominican Republic, looked very sharp as the Mustang starter, 6 very good innings, he looked like he was throwing in the 90s, but sadly, they do not have anything on the scoreboard that tells us how fast the pitchers are throwing. The defense looked a little sharper tonight and Gerson contributed to that as well, starting a neat 1-6-3 double play and outrunning the batter to first base on one of those in-between rollers between the first baseman and the pitcher. An unusual first name, Stalin, suggests that his parents left Cuba at some time, and instead of heading for Miami, they headed for the Dominican Republic. Good to have on our side. I wonder why he wasn't used that much last year?

The home team was the beneficiary of some doubtful scoring calls just like last night. A couple guys were hit by pitches right after a home run but nobody got excited about that. Kelly, the manager, behaved himself. But then I left at the end of the 6th. Maybe we need some way of getting over these blow-outs as even the home-plate umpire was calling some really high pitches strikes in the latter part of the game.

Mustang Opener Attracts Crowd

Most of the seats were full, the grass berm was more or less occupied, the standup crowd along the left field fence looked about 3-4 deep, and the concourse was moving with people all the time. I didn't stay long enough to hear the announcement about the size of the crowd.

The game kinda' fizzled after the Voyagers scored 4 runs in the 6th inning and the new manager, a Mr Kelly, was ejected for being a jerk to the home plate umpire, a Mr Guttenberger, I think. I hope this was a one-shot deal for Kelly, as arguing about balk calls with the umpires is a fools' game, especially when you use bad words. After Mr Kelly's buffoonery, Homer the Mustang entertained the fans from the top of the dugout.

The score actually ended at 9-4. The fielders looked a little jittery. There are only two errors marked up here on the scoreboard but there were at least two other catchable balls that the scorekeeper was kind to the fielder about. The starting pitcher, Mr Mugarian, pitched 5 innings and looked good. Mr Martinez faired less well in the 6th. Mr Poulk hit a long fly HR to right center. There is a story in today's Gazette as well as a picture of Mr Kelly. For unknown reasons the writer of the Gazette story thought Mr Kelly's
silliness was a good thing. He did not receive a 'rousing ovation.' Mustang fans have a little more taste than that.

All things considered, this wasn't a bad opening night. The Voyagers made a few errors too but they scored more runs than we did. And their manager behaved himself. Same two teams mix it up tonight. See you there.

This Must Take A Lot of Time and Effort

19 June 2011

How to Kill a Mean Rooster and A Recipe for Coq au Vin

A guy named Ari Levaux wrote a very funny story which contains his recipe for Coq au Vin in the latest issue of the Billings Outpost, June 16, 2011. In the style of Dave Barry out of Ernest Hemingway he starts with: "Rusty was a mean old rooster from a three-bird flock that included a post-menopausal hen named Annabelle who hadn't laid anything in years, and a submissive, possibly gay rooster named Marco Polo. . . . I held him upside down by his feet . . . . I swung a machete through his neck and into the dirt beneath it. I held him upside down over the garlic patch to drain the blood." About halfway through he gets to the recipe itself, though he does mention near the end Annabelle's death apparently by hypothermia, which he calls natural. We never learn what happened to the queer rooster.

This is a pretty good issue of the Outpost as they have a story on Brazilian futebol, different from ordinary soccer by the size of the ball apparently, which might mean that little kids' soccer would be less boring; a short item about the possible new library, a longish "climate-change" piece by Editor Crisp wherein he talks down in his usual way to his unconvinced readers about something he knows little about, a few interesting letters to the editor, the usual half-baked but still funny Clawson piece, and some nice, neat obituaries. All in all, a good read for Sunday morning over a Perkins' breakfast.


I knew that we had a lot of good actors and a fair number of good singers but who knew that we had this many really good dancers and all in combination. Yes, there is cursing, some simulated sex, at least I thought that was what they were doing, and a lot of young girls in their underwear, but where else in this part of the country do we have four guys and maybe twenty girls who can dance? The sound was a little weak here and there, if you can imagine me saying that. But I still give this production a Double Wow. Director Sommerfeld should be congratulated. If you were on the jury you would acquit Amy Logan and Sarah Butts too and probably give them a standing ovation. Still playing through next weekend. Get 'en early.

Jaci Webb's review in Sunday's Gazette is really good and mentions all the names and their special musical numbers, and even the players' provenance in previous shows. She is really a good reviewer. I liked Kyle Trott's (Amos Hart) Cellophane a lot. Go here and especially here, the latter is the review on Sunday.

17 June 2011

I Just Can't Title This

Thanks to a tip from Way Up North which led to this story from Yahoo News. I'm still uncertain as to whether Yahoo has been hacked by The Onion.

News From St Elsewhere

According to the editorial page of the Billings' Gazette, 16 June 2011, our Montana Supreme Court has refused to take over the job of the legislative branch, thus supporting our state constitution, but also revealing a potentially exploitable weakness in that same constitution. Six Montana attorneys noted that our state constitution, probably written by their parents, has a part which could suggest that the constitution obligates the state to "regulate greenhouse gases in the atmosphere," or at least so they assert. How convenient. How did they know? I guess this is an example of what that eminent constitutional scholar, Barack Obama, calls "a charter of positive rather than negative liberties." Maybe we do need a new constitution here in Montana.

15 June 2011

Bouton's Ball Four

Ball FourBall Four by Jim Bouton
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This was the first "True Confessions" type of baseball book written by a player, published in 1970, before the reserve clause was done away with. It created quite a stir back then as Bouton was brutally honest about the stupidity and inanities of top management, middle management and those on the shop floor, including the servants and the sports writers of the time.

In addition, he was arrogant enough to leave himself out of the criticism, all of which did not endear him to almost everyone in baseball except for those who followed him and a few honest folk playing at the time. It was a bombshell then, not so much now as we have become used to this sort of thing. It's hard to know who to trust, especially with the steroid scandal of recent history. Apparently the drug of choice in the 60s was "greenies," or amphetamines. Bouton added a chapter 10 years later and then another 20 years later. The edition I re-read was the 20th anniversary so that was 1990, but the paperback was newer than that.

It's a quick read and funny and, of course, foul-mouthed, the literary equivalent of the spitting and "adjusting" the crotch we see on the TV these days. Chapters are about 3 pages long. He says he wrote it himself. I believe him.

View all my reviews

13 June 2011

Somebody Else Is Smelling Fish

Check this one out.

David Mamet's Secret Knowledge

Near the end of the book, the author reveals "the secret knowledge:" there is no secret knowledge. The neo-Gnostics have no Gnosis.

The book is written in his usual—terse, unflowery, sometimes vulgar, ideas interrupting each other—way that in his plays and films have been characteristic, such that the style has been called "Mamet-speak."Although his conversion depends to a great deal of looking into himself and watching and listening to those around him, he gives much credit to Hayek, and Sowell, and Friedmann as well.

The book reminds me of Whitaker Chambers' Witnessand David Horowitz' Radical Son: how they arrived at their latter-day Tragic View of life; maybe even a little of St Augustine's Confessions. 
He may have been the usual "brain-dead liberal"—his term—for most of his working life in politics. Only in the last few years has he apparently started thinking about the discrepancy between how he acted and how he spoke. Of course he notes the similarities between the theatre and politics: 

“Having spent my life in the theatre, I knew that people could be formed into an audience, that is, a group which surrenders for two hours, part of its rationality, in order to enjoy an illusion.  As I began reading and thinking about politics I saw, to my horror, how easily people could also assemble themselves into a mob, which would either attract or be called into being by those who profited from the surrender of reason and liberty – and these people are called politicians.”*

Although perhaps "brain-dead" politically he has done very well in the theatre and film world: Glengarry Glen Ross and Wag the Dog and many others. The Wikipedia article is a good review of his life and works. They don't seem to have gotten around to his latest yet. I wonder if The Left will change their minds about his work. He is probably well-enough established to make this unlikely to have an effect on his continuing to work.

Getting Ready for Alinsky Alerts

Here is a useful tip on dealing with your Leftist friends, almost all fairly thin-skinned.

12 June 2011

The OutPost Likes Lumberjacks In Love

A good review of the show now on at Billings Studio Theatre is found in the latest edition of The Billings Outpost. The article is by Sharie Pyke.

I'm glad we are mostly in accord—see my blog entry of a few days ago—although Pyke's suggestion of "hints of homosexuality" seems a little off the mark. Our friends of the homosexual persuasion might have a different opinion. Perhaps those hints are so deeply hidden that only the cognoscenti can sniff them out. That cheesehead humor can sometimes be baffling.

11 June 2011

Saturday Morning Summer Walk Around Billings MT

Read the paper from a few days ago. I find that letting it simmer for a few days saves me a lot of time and effort in the long run. It is easier to see what is worth reading a few days later.

Drove downtown late morning probably going to the Soup Place, looking for some early lunch. But I ran into a Strawberry Festival. Very crowded. Big dogs and little dogs and stroller children population of Billings must be rising. Lots of good food, brats, burgers, egg rolls, stir-fried vegetables. Didn't see much in the way of strawberries.

Had not seen this one before. Food looked good. Some nice pork on a stick.

Babcock Building renovation is moving along. In addition to a couple of eateries, now there are a few art galleries. This one had some nice stuff in it. I don't know if the tin ceiling is original or not. Looks too shiny to be old. According to the theatre marquee Elvis will return soon.

10 June 2011

Lunch at Perkins

This is fairly new to the Perkins menu, a shrimp and spinach salad with bacon with a lovely dipping sauce on the side (you can just make out the spoon on the left). It looked so good I had to dive right in before I thought to get my camera out of my pocket. Shrimp are really more plentiful than they look here. I've had this three times in a row, it is so good. Usually with a cup of soup, just right. Sometimes Carol and I share an order Tangler onions.

Ordered Liberty: Thursday night culture moment: Dixit Dominus from Monteverdi's Vespers of 1610

Ordered Liberty: Thursday night culture moment: Dixit Dominus from Monteverdi's Vespers of 1610

For good sounds go here.

What's Gotten Into Pravda

It used to be a fairly reliable news source in the Soviet Union. Whatever it printed could be reliably found about 180 deg from the truth. Now that Russia has shed her Union states maybe something else is afoot. Check this out at Conservative Hideout 2.0

08 June 2011

This is worrying

Isn't it odd that an E. coli strain that normally is not resistant to various antibiotics and usually is not a human pathogen should suddenly be both in Germany? Could this be a form of bio-terrorism, or biological warfare? Maybe my paranoia needs to be treated.

A Wall Street Journal article of today is helpful. Molecular methods are really getting streamlined. This is amazing. Apparently an almost identical organism was found in 2001 but it didn't cause any discernible disease, and then, 10 years later, zaftig! It will be interesting to see how this story comes out.

Erections Have Consequences

Sorry, I couldn't resist. I read it first at No Sheeples Here. Even totally useless news items can have some redeeming value.

This is Really Mind-Stretching

"The paper, published in the Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics focused on the period 1844-1960 (but extended at least one graph back to 1600) and finds our current warming period is not that different from earlier episodes and that the increase in solar activity in the last 400 years explains the warming, without any need to invoke a man-made enhanced greenhouse hypothesis."
Found this at the Australian website of JoNova. If you go to any website this week or month, this particular one would be my recommendation. The scale of things in our solar system are laid out very nicely and impressively. By the way, above is a picture of a gigantic explosion on the surface of the sun. There is some real time video of it as well at this site. The above pull-quote from the journal article suggests that the "deniers" may be switching from defense to offense. I couldn't resist mentioning this website because of the explosion here in Billings.

This morning as I was taking a shower I heard a boom and then the house shook. I asked Carol what happened: she said "I heard a boom and then the bed and the house shook. We listened at the window to hear sirens but didn't. So I got dressed and headed my car east along Rimrock where I saw smoke coming from the east along the Rims and was directed to turn south on 17th by the police. Smoke was billowing up from somewhere near the Rims somewhere between 17th and 13th. So the distance must have been about 6 blocks away that we heard and felt the explosion. Wow. Nobody was injured as I guess no one was home. The houses around were damaged but no one was physically injured.

This Guy Is Going

I, for one, will be sorry to see him go. I know it's not very PC to enjoy the antics of animals behind bars but even so I do, especially when one would be foolish to try to get this close to a bear in the wild. I suppose we can blame the Great Repression, started during Bush's watch and made much worse by Obama and his gangsterish ways. Like ordinary businesses, non-profits need to figure out how to survive hard times. Actually, now that I think about it, ZooMontana may well have a plan and that is to get smaller, perhaps until the economy starts perking along again, if ever. I have a hunch if we had people in Washington that were business-friendly we might see some amazing things. But if they insist on playing the Chicago game, i.e. various forms of protection rackets, this will not happen.

06 June 2011

Global Warming

Before anyone says anything about "global warming" or "climate change" or any other fashionable topic along these lines, he or she must have read the following: an editorial from Jim Peden of the Middlebury Community Network. A test will be given before we allow you to waste our time. This has nothing to do with free speech.

05 June 2011

Scarlets Back to Winning

The Casper Cardinals came up to Billings on Sunday to play the Billings Scarlets. The first game was mercifully called in the top of the 5th, the score was probably 31-3. No, they were not playing football, and only the Scarlets were playing Legion baseball as the Cardinals are, according to their web page, the Senior Babe Ruth team from that area. I wondered why some of the players looked very young and why the outfielders seemed unfamiliar with their positions. This was not a pleasant thing. The pitchers were wild and needed some work in the strength room. I doubt that anyone got anything useful out of this double-header. We left the 2nd game after the first inning. I would be very surprised if it went beyond 5 innings.

Lumberjacks in Love at BST

It's about time the folks at BST did this funny and farcical upper Midwestern old chestnut. It takes place in northern Wisconsin and has been a regular feature since 1994 at American Folklore Theatre in Wisconsin's Door County. Don't be surprised if you are reminded of another show at BST sometime in the past couple of years: Guys On Ice.

Four lumberjacks without female companionship except for a girl who disguises herself as a boy and a mail-order bride played by the funniest lady in Billings, Sondra Baker, make up the cast. Of course the musical needs 4 guys who can sing and dance and are not afraid of making fools of themselves: Tom Wagner, Jim Martin, Vint Lavinder, and Kelly Martin fill that order admirably. I was a little surprised at how good they do sing together and singly, especially their occasional moves into barbershop harmony. Like Joe Dimaggio in centerfield elegantly chasing down a fly ball, these guys make it look easy and they are very funny. Sondra and Rachel Sitzman—the girl disguised as a boy—don't have any trouble keeping up with these guys either. That's a good thing when there are no weak players.

The audience was very appreciative with a standing ovation at the end. It will be running through the 18th at least. Come and have some fun.

04 June 2011

Weekend Baseball at Dehler

Friday night was cold but the Scarlets were hot. They disguised themselves as the Lavenders, and pounded three Royal pitchers for 15 hits and 16 runs, seven of those in the bottom of the 6th. There were a few errors, hit batsmen and walks in there as well. They only played 7 innings because of the 10 run rule.

The umpires, all four of them, looked good in pink. See the picture to the left. They sensibly put jackets on by the 3rd inning. The Legion teams were celebrating some anti-cancer campaign in conjunction with the Billings Clinic. See the picture below.

The Scarlets look like they have a couple of strong left-handed pitchers in Joe Barta and Brady Muller, the winning pitcher in the Friday extravaganza.

We are lucky to have such a dedicated Legion umpiring crew here in Billings. That wasn't always the case.

On Saturday the Royals beat the Butte Miners 5-3 in the opener, and were pulling ahead easily in the nightcap, 8-0 in the 2nd inning when I left. The Miners looked like they were outclassed. Their fielding left much to be desired. It was actually dangerous for them as a couple of hard hit balls tagged the fielders pretty hard.

The Scarlets play a double-header on Sunday afternoon against Casper WY. Will they continue their unbeaten ways? Check them out at Dehler Park Sunday afternoon and Monday morning.

03 June 2011


There are a couple of interesting articles in today's Wall Street Journal (3 Jun, 2011). One of them has to do with the possibility of attending a baseball game in every major league park, that's 30 parks, in 35 days and 18,000 miles on your SUV. The article is mildly interesting in that it took a computer program to figure out how to do this but I don't recommend it. Why punish yourself doing what should be an enjoyable afternoon or evening. Other baseball-oriented holidays seem to make more sense to me, more doable and more fun: maybe all the professional baseball parks, major and minor, in North Carolina or Texas, or just the major league parks in California, or Montana. But take some recommendations and skip the awful parks, and there are some. If you are a fan of a particular major league club, you might want to fashion a two-week trip around the farm teams of that particular club.

But the more interesting and sympathetic article had to do with circumcision. You may know that there has been discussion in the medical literature for at least 40 years regarding the usefulness of circumcision in preventing STDs and penile and cervical cancer, and more recently the spread of HIV amongst heterosexual populations in Africa. Recently there has been some activity in the opposite direction in and around San Francisco. I'm not sure why that particular city should be more interested than other progressive cities in what they call "intactivist" political and legal wranglings. The article gently considers the situation. Recommended reading.

I sometimes think I get more useful medical info from the WSJ than other more orthodox sources: e.g. I came across another article a few days earlier in the WSJ, written by a woman who believes, with at least some reason, that her husband's circumcision saved her from having his HIV infection transmitted to her. Here is the main pull-quote:

"But here is the reason I am alive today: In the same way that circumcision vastly diminishes the chance of infecting women with the human papillomavirus that causes cervical cancer, studies suggest that circumcision also helps guard against the transmission of the HIV virus. In both cases, cells on the inside of the male foreskin are implicated in spreading the virus. But if the foreskin is removed, a source of infection is also removed."

Of course, voting on questions partly biological, partly religious and partly psychological probably won't settle the matter. The above cartoon is from the intactivists. There is other useful information from both sides. This is a sensitive matter as you might imagine. Sorry, I couldn't resist.

02 June 2011

Changing Names

If I were interested in any political office that I had to be elected to, and if my name was "weiner" I would have given some thought to changing that name early in life, unless I thought a fair amount of childhood sniggering about the name was actually a recommendation for the future. Even now it might be worth considering "hot dog" or maybe "prig."

I found this in my inbox

I'm not sure how it got there. Could this be considered "dissing" the POTUS. If everybody else is doing it, why not? What if he really wasn't born in Hawaii? Does it matter? What if our trusted friends in the mainstream media actually asked a good question at a press conference?

Dear President Obama,
 I am writing today with a somewhat unusual request. First and foremost,   
 I will be asking that you return America to its August 20th, 1959 borders   
 so that Hawaii is no longer a state and you are no longer a citizen.
Benjamin Netanyahu
Prime Minister of Israel

01 June 2011

Do Trees Cause Global Warming?

I'm not sure what it is, but something peculiar is going on here. Maybe the silly season is starting early this year.

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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