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.

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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