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.

15 September 2011

The Snows of Kilimanjaro

You know, of course, that this—the retreat of the snow and now its return—has nothing to do with climate change, don't you. From the excellent blogsite: Watts Up With That?

Quixotic Pedagogue Comments on 9/11 Picture

It looks like some pictures are worth more than a thousand words. Maybe that old aphorism is not really true, or maybe it is an average of, say a thousand pictures, some worth much more than a thousand and others approaching nothing in their worth. I know this latter notion sounds harsh to the ear of us up-to-date Americans taught to be non-judgmental but I'm guessing our tolerance quotient is high enough, especially for older folks, to let it pass. Whenever I mention my doubts about certain aphorisms I must always thank my wife for telling me about her doubts that "there are no two identical snowflakes."

I'm guessing our friendly English teacher from Helena, Mr Pogreba, was celebrating 9/11 in his own way. I envy those kids who have him as a teacher.

I wonder if our historical revisionist friends will make the same mistake they made at the Smithsonian exhibit on the atom bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and make their assertions before all the witnesses are certainly dead.

14 September 2011

13 September 2011

Do Not Forget:

Jo Nova has a useful website where she reminds us of Gore's Apocalypse Now tomorrow.

This should be interesting to see if they will concentrate on science or something else. Talking about 'science or something else' reminds me of the Republican presidential candidates' debate last night. You may remember the discussion between some of the participants on Texas's use of the HPV vaccine, I think it was Rep. Bachmann and Gov. Perry and maybe Sen Santorum. Others may have joined in but all I remember about the interchange was wondering why no one mentioned the 'moral hazard' of offering the vaccine to young people so that they might not contract a sexually transmitted disease which sometimes leads to dysplastic/neoplastic cervical disease, especially in those with early and frequent sexual contacts. Some of the participants were 'offended' at various assertions by their opponents. I am constantly offended every time I hear or see an ad for Gardasil for those who have the option of choice.

Another Attention-Getting Headline: Packing Heat

Try this one.

The Next Grand Minimum

I simply love to say "the next Grand Minimum." It has such an aristocratic feel on the tongue, especially when capitals are used. And your Leftist friends have no idea what you are talking about: is this a Dalton Minimum or a Maunder Minimum? It makes them uncomfortable. A recent post can be found here. Perhaps it is time to think about migration southward?

12 September 2011

I Wonder if Obama has Heard of Laffer

This morning's Wall Street Journal is full of good stuff. The back page has a fairly short article by Arthur Laffer, apparently written to help the president with one of his main problems.

"Some people actually believe government can create jobs by taxing and borrowing from people with jobs and then giving that money to people without jobs. They call this demand stimulus. To make matters worse, other people think these demand-stimulus ideas warrant a serious response.
Government taxes cigarettes to stop people from smoking, not to get them to smoke. Government fines speeders so they won't speed, not to encourage them to drive faster. And yet contrary to common sense, it seems perfectly natural to some people that government would tax people who work or companies that are successful only to give ... "
But I wonder if the president ever sees or hears anything his handlers don't want him to see or hear. One would think that if everything else that has been tried has failed, one might give some thought to a totally different idea. If it didn't work he could blame it on Bush or the Republicans and if it did he could take credit for it. What's to lose?

There are some other good articles in the Monday morning edition of the WSJ.

09 September 2011

Luck Runs Out For Mustangs

Though they won their last regular season game, 2-1, in the bottom of the 13th courtesy of a Skelsky home run, they needed Missoula to defeat the Voyagers but they didn't, so everybody goes home today or tomorrow, maybe a few lucky ones to the AZ Fall Instructional League. A few will come back next season because they didn't get a chance to play much this year, and a few will get promoted for next year, either Dayton or Bakersfield. Thanks for a good try dear Mustangs of 2011. We enjoyed watching you.

08 September 2011

Mustangs Lose 8-4; Down To Luck And Last Game

One game back with one to play:

Owing to the kindness of the Missoula Osprey who defeated the Great Falls Voyagers last night, 5-4, the Billings Mustangs are still alive as possible winners of the 2nd half of the schedule in the Northern Division of the Pioneer League. Of course, they need to win tonight, and of course, the Voyagers need to lose for this to happen. Not an impossibility. I calculate it as slightly less than even money. Missoula won the first half and Helena has not had a great season in either half, but still, there is no wiggle room in this one.

Last night, the batters were a little weak and the pitchers were a little unlucky and the field umpire was just crappy. He evened up a bad call on a pick-off play with an even worse call on another pick-off play. Twice catcher Danny Vicioso tried to prevent a wild pitch, only to have it bounce he knew not where, leading to runners advancing, followed by seeing-eye ground balls by Dhanani through the infield to score runs, and once a run and hit attempt by Missoula led to the third baseman going toward the bag and not being in place to catch the line drive hit by the batter. And Robert Maddox's improvement in the field suffered a setback last night too. And baserunners seemed to steal bases at will last night. All in all, a weak performance. Arias hit a home run in the 9th, too little, too late. The radio announcer continues to play well, not afraid to say when the umpires mess things up. Things have to get better tonight.

06 September 2011

Mustangs Win 7-0; One Game Behind With Two To Play

Lots of Mustangs looked good tonight: the starter, Tony Cingrani, carrying on after his last no-hit, 13 strikeout outing, allowed just 3 hits in 6 innings with 10 strikeouts; Vicioso is hitting and catching well; Maddox (15), Arias (7) and Dickinson (2) hit some awesome home runs and some doubles too. Maddox is making the infielders look good with his scoops and tags at first base, and the outfield is chasing down a lot of flyballs. So the pitchers, including Gonzalez and Braun tonight, relative newcomers, are pitching well and the hitters are hitting well. Not sure where Sean Buckley is these days. He didn't play tonight and Robert Maddox passed him in the home run hit parade. I guess his position is fairly safe, so Pat Kelly is seeing what the others can do. Kurt Waldrop has been playing well in right field and has a team-leading 9 triples—three times more than anyone else on the team, and a team-leading 21 doubles, as well as a respectable 5 home runs.

I should have said in the headline that if Helena can hold on to beat the Voyagers tonight, then Billings will be one game behind with two to play. This they did, beating Great Falls 8-2.

So, if Great Falls wins their two remaining games it won't make any difference what the Mustangs do. If they lose one and win one, and the Mustangs win both of their remaining games they wind up in a tie, but the Mustangs have the better record for the tie-breaker. If the Voyagers lose both, then the Mustangs need only win one to tie. If the Mustangs lose both then it doesn't make any difference what the Voyagers do. I think that is all the possible permutations, right? [If they both win one and lose one, then the Voyagers are still ahead, I forgot to mention, got it?]

05 September 2011

Abuse Versus Argument

For use in arguing with your liberal or 'watermelon' friends and acquaintances.

Where To Go In Billings

You know where there is a rub-spot on your carseat, the place your butt rubs against each time you get in and out of the driver's seat. That's right, it is the spot in the picture to the right that you can barely make out is slightly lighter in color.

I took it to M.A.R.S. on Moore Lane. See the sign above. Not entirely sure but I think it stands for Mobile Auto Restoration Service. They actually do all kinds of rehabilitative stuff, inside and out on your vehicles.

Don't worry about the construction, you can still find it about half-way down on the left if you are coming from Central.

They sewed the pieces together, then put some sort of vinyl-like waxy material over it and this is the result. Very smooth and colors match up very nicely. Call me a satisfied customer.

Scientific Debate Continues

This debate is probably not of the same degree of magnitude—I wonder if there is a Richter-like scale to compare and contrast scientific debates—as that of the Polish polymath Nicolaus Copernicus, see the portrait to the left, and his colleagues of the 16th century as they argued about the earth versus the sun as being the center of the universe.

There are some parallels though, as Twain would say, "history doesn't repeat itself, but it does rhyme:" astronomy was a kind of hobby for Copernicus as he was very busy doing all sorts of other important things such as being a mathematician, translator, artist, Catholic cleric, diplomat etc, not unlike many of the daring skeptics of the global warming cult; and like Copernican ideas about our sun being the center of the universe being replaced, it seems likely there will be better theories to come in the climate change wars.

Although the outcome of the War is not perfectly clear, it does seem as if the tides have changed for the worse for the warmest side, though our main-stream media have not been able to discern this change thus far. A nice summary of recent dispatches from the fronts can be found here, as well as the source of this excellent image to the right.

Especially because of the vast cultural and economic consequences for all of us, like war for generals, we cannot let climate science be the exclusive playground for climate scientists. Ordinary folks could ignore Father Copernicus because the argument didn't affect their lives, but we will have to pay attention to this argument because some, if not most, of our natural leaders in the scientific and political realms are failing to understand what is going on.

[To encourage them, perhaps we should use some demonstration of understanding as a litmus test for candidates for any political office higher than county clerk for example.]

04 September 2011

What Next?

Great Day In Billings

In the early part of the cool at last morning on this lovely Saturday in early September there is a splendid Farmers' Market in downtown Billings. Good corn, nice egg rolls and a really nice peach pie, though we didn't know that for sure until we had sampled it at home for lunch. Some art galleries are open too.

Our corn guy from Hardin says this is his last day at the Farmers' Market, reminding us that all good things must come to an end, some day, probably all bad things too, now that I think about it.

There are signs everywhere, see left, reminding us that some of our 11-12 year old boys are certified heroes, winning the state Little League baseball crown, then going to San Bernardino CA to take the regional and wonder of wonders, reaching the final game of the National Tournament at the World Series before losing to Huntington Beach CA.

Then, about mid-day we are off to Metra Park which is chock-full of really fine old cars, lots of parts for older cars, and a lot of people, old and young who like to look at well-cared for cars, especially those that remind them of their childhood. I saw a 1939 Plymouth, a car I drove in the middle 50s. Oops, busted for driving without a license. Yes, grandsons, if you were a farmer or small businessman, your Dad would have you driving to deliver this and that. The '40 Chev to the right was probably rescued from some junkyard to be restored. It really was a mess.

Later in the afternoon we drive down 27th to Dehler Park. The usual parking lots are full and we see people lining up on 27th St and 9th Ave, in the Park and around it.

The parade wound its way up from the South Side with fire sirens and horns blaring and all the boys and everybody else waving and cheering as they approach Dehler Park.

Even some patients from Billings Deaconness Hospital are watching from their windows.

There are probably close to five thousand people to tell our returning young heroes from Big Sky Little League, fresh from their games at the Little League World Series in South Williamsport PA that they were and are great, that they represented us well: from the governor who gave the best short and sweet speech of his life, driving from Helena just to make a 45 second speech honoring the courage of our Big Sky All-Stars who were willing to stand at home plate and swing away at fast moving hard balls thrown surprisingly close to them; and from the mayor of Billings, all the families and friends, the fire and police departments, lots of good fireworks and a really good turnout of just ordinary folks filling all the seats and crowding the concrete concourse with standing room only cheerleaders of all ages.

The boys were introduced individually with a review of what they had done over the past month or so. Then they had fireworks too. A great day for all of Montanans, especially from Billings, the Magic City.

02 September 2011

Probably Worth Knowing or Being Aware Of

I'm not sure, is it true that headlines should not be ended with a preposition? From your friends at MedicalBillingAndCodingCertification.net and via Aggie Catholics. Is it OK to tell Aggie jokes if they are also Catholic?

Created by:http://medicalbillingandcodingcertification.net/

01 September 2011

Some Bloggers Attract Really Excellent Comments

Such as this one: from a comment on Just One Minute, which very quickly was translated to Charlie Martin on PJ Tatler, where I happened across it while looking up something else, I think it had to do with some boring climate change thing.

Found this in my local Play Bill:
Waiting for Jobs is an absurdist play by David Axelrod, in which two characters, Barack and Michelle, wait endlessly and in vain for someone named Jobs to appear. Job's absence, as well as numerous other aspects of the play, have led to many different interpretations since the play's staging every autumn after 3 successive "recovery summers". It was voted "the most over-rated and insignificant English language play of the 21th century".[1]Waiting for Jobs is Axelrods's translation of his own original French version, En attendant les Travaux, and is subtitled (in English only) "a [national] tragicomedy in two acts known as Inauguration and Failure".[2] The original French text was composed between 21 January 2009 and 8 September 2011.[3] The première was on 3 February 2009 in the Theater of Congress, Washington, DC. The production was directed by David Plouffe, who also played the role of Pozzo.

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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