Monday, March 31, 2008


Want to feel real stupid...the above number is the total number of words in the English language or says Global Language Monitor which has just relocated to Austin from California. Check out the back story by reading Kelso. Today was a great day after a bad start. I'm sitting here listening to Marty and the Reds on XM, drinking a cold beverage...a new one at that. D.B. Hobbs Golden Light from LaCrosse, Wi. It's what I call a "painting beer" cheap but cold. $4.99 a twelve pack.
That's it for now.
Talk to you later.

Sunday, March 30, 2008


Good Question. I have to agree with George Will when he said 90 feet...the distance between home and first. The baseball season begins tomorrow, in spite of ESPN and two games played on the other side of the international dateline. Oh, the power of the almighty dollar. Baseball can't begin before the Findlay Market parade in Cincinnati or the first pitch in Detroit. My great memories of growing up revolve around baseball. My first trip to Brigg's Stadium with my dad when we sat behind the Tiger dugout because my dad knew the beer distributor who had the seats. Dad probably was a major family contributor to the economic well being of the Teer family in the downriver with his beer purchases. Great payback. Those usher uniforms at "the corner" were great. Then I remember dad giving the usher a quarter for wiping down our seats. I was amazed...a week's allowance just for wiping down a seat. I don't remember much about the game, a great catch by Al Kaline in right, tremendous play by Harvey Kuenn at short and the communal urinals in the restroom...quite a right of passage. I have loved baseball ever since. And I'm a is a sport to listen to on the radio. With XM Radio I can listen to every game every night.
Living in Louisville is a fan's dream. I have season tickets...the first game is Friday. Slugger Field is the best place to see a's a gem.
Catch George Will's baseball column in today's Post.
That's all for now.
Talk to you later.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Doing Good

Yeah, I know, it's supposed to be "Doing Well", but this isn't great literature. Tonight it is basically a rant. Have you ever wondered that doing good (whether it is in work, friendships or whatever) is like pissing your pants when you are wearing black pants? You get a warm feeling, but no one notices. That seems to be it lately. You try to do good but no one cares. Is it self- centered on my part or is the entire world consumed with "self"? You try to be kind and caring( yeah, it is me talking, Mr. Sarcasm!) but the people around seem to be going along their own merry path to self destruction. Any suggestions? I know, I shouldn't be bitching; I have a great life: a job to die for, great students, two great daughters and their great husbands, and two of the cutest grandchildren anyone could ever ask for. Then, what the hell is the problem? Maybe, it's something I will discover along the yellow bricked road to the Emerald City.

Now to something a bit literary. Picked up a copy of The Ten Cent Plague: The Great Comic-Book Scare and How It Changed America. It's an interesting look at the impact of the comic-book on American culture, especially for those who grew up in the 50s and 60s. Pick it up if you have a chance.
That's it for now.
Talk to you later.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter

Happy Easter everyone. I hope everyone will have a great day. Going to spend the day creatively: Mass at 9:30, grading the last set of tests for the end of the marking period, and painting the trim in the hallway. Sounds great, doesn't it. I find painting relaxing, especially the exactness of trim. I'm off tomorrow, but the electrician and heating person will be here at 8:30 to install a new ceiling fan in the living room and check the air conditioning unit for its yearly maintenance. So much for sleeping in. On the print front, I received some bad news yesterday that The Street and Smith Baseball Yearbook is no more. It is now the Sporting News Baseball Yearbook. To the average baseball fan it may not mean much, but I have been collecting the Street and Smith yearbook for twenty years. Buying the yearbook always symbolized the beginning of the baseball season for me. Oh, well.
That's it for now.
Talk to you later.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Four Day Weekend

Beginning a four day weekend (teaching at a Catholic high school does have its perks). I'll probably spend the time reading and grading, but I have to paint my hallway after building more bookcases. Check out my link to all things in Temple; my granddaughter Waverly has discovered Moon Pies; can RC Cola be far behind. Came across some interesting new websites in my search for truth: Project Qutenberg at the Library of Congress has a collection of 17,000 ebooks, some familiar, some truly obscure. Bookbrowse. com has a great interview with Mischa Berlinske the author of Fieldwork which is one of the best books I read last summer. Finally, one of my students told me about a movie site watch-movies. net. Quite a collection of full length movies, but the quality is lacking in some.
That's it for now.
Talk to you later.
Remember, always hug your enemies; you made them.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Is Spring Near?

It's a beautiful day in Louisville. Can Spring be near?
Came across some "stuff" of interest today:
Mike Wendland at has a great review of a new video site I'm going to check it out this weekend.
A fun read is "Dirda on Books" on the Washington Post website. It's a live discussion; you can read the transcript on Thursdays and ask questions about books Wednesday morning. Check it out.
Our Free Public Library has announced its Spring writers series. Quite a lineup: Richard Price, Andrew Ferguson, Philip Shenon,Kevin Phillips, Omar Tyree and David Maraniss will all visit the library this Spring. The author who will have the biggest audience will be Lauren Weisberger of The Devil Wears Prada fame. She will appear May 29 at 7PM. Check out the info at
That's all for now.
Talk to you later.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Kelso's take on drugs in drinking water

An interesting look at the newest fear in America, from the point of view of John Kelso in the Austin American-Statesman. Kelso is a keeper.

Drug-free water shows sea change in Austin culture
Maybe SXSW will add a buzz to our tap water.Tuesday, March 11, 2008
You want to know how much Austin has changed since I moved here 32 years ago? I'll tell you.
In a study of drinking water in cities across America done by The Associated Press, Austin was one of just three places where traces of pharmaceuticals didn't show up in the water.
Ain't no way this study would have turned out like that back in 1976. In the '70s, an investigation of our drinking water would have turned up several joints floating on top, along with a box of rolling papers from Oat Willie's, and a couple of Roky Erickson music posters.
The study really did discover minute amounts of drugs in drinking water in 24 major U.S. metropolitan areas, but not in Austin. We're talking about tiny amounts measured in parts per billion or trillion. How does the stuff get in there? Simple. You take a pill. You go to the bathroom. The water is flushed, then treated at a water treatment plant. But the filtering process isn't able to catch everything. So small amounts of drugs end up in the drinking water.
So what does this mean? You've seen the TV ads for Cialis, right? So if you're an old guy and you have a personal problem that lasts over a minute and a half, you should call your doctor and ask if city water is right for you.
Also discovered in the mix were veterinary drugs. The good news is that you're a little less likely to have fleas or distemper.
What I can't figure out is that with all the Bubbas in South Austin peeing in the yard, how come they didn't find trace elements of Shiner?
Also, I'm wondering what effect this week's South by Southwest Music Festival will have on Austin water. With so many drummers in town, you might be able to pour yourself a glass of water and get a buzz.
I also wonder whether this revelation will hurt bottled water sales in other parts of the country. When word of this study gets out, you might have aging hippies all over America trying to recapture their youth by waterboarding themselves at the kitchen sink.
In this investigation, you could tell who was taking what in various parts of the country by what kind of residue showed up in their water. A sex hormone was found in San Francisco's drinking water. Let me make a wild guess and say it wasn't testosterone. Meanwhile, downstream in Southern California, they found anxiety medications. Big surprise, huh? You'd be anxious, too, if you had to spend your life wearing $500 sunglasses while worrying about a brush fire burning down your house.
Of course, with all these uptight Californians moving to Austin, I'm surprised our water isn't 68 percent Xanax, with a Perrier chaser.
John Kelso's column appears on Sundays, Tuesdays and Fridays. Contact him at 445-3606 or

Monday, March 10, 2008

New stuff I found while snowbound this weekend.
Kinky Friedman is back writing his column for Texas Monthly after his run for Governor of Texas. Check him out, especially his podcast.
A new book review/writer program has hit the net. It's titled "Titlepage". The first edition had a great interview of Richard Price.
The Sunday Source at the Washington Post has started Beer Madness, a takeoff on March madness. It pits beers from all over the country in four brackets, leading to a "national champion" of beers.
Check out Brian's new blog over at Tigerblog. Net. It is a new baseball book blog. He is just getting started, but has the potential for a great site for baseball books.
That's it for now.
Talk to you later

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow

Boy, did it ever. I haven't heard an official call, but there are 9 inches of the white stuff on top of my compressor unit. A great day to catch up on reading, grading and watching all those programs that I DVR'd. It is interesting about DVR. You use this technology to record programs you don't have time to watch, thinking that sometime in the future you will have time to watch. Does this make sense to anyone. Anyway, I was able to watch two episodes of Dexter. Originally shown on Showtime, CBS is showing "edited" versions of the show. An interesting look at the anti-hero. I recommend.
That's it for now.
Talk to you later.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Questions for a snowy day

Questions to ponder while watching the snow fall in Louisville. Possibly up to 7 inches.
Sent to me by Steve in Michigan

Can you cry under water?

How important does a person have to be before they are consideredassassinated instead of just murdered?

Why do you have to "put your two cents in".. but it's only a "penny for your thoughts"? Where's that extra penny going to?

Once you're in heaven, do you get stuck wearing the clothes you were buriedin for eternity?

Why does a round pizza come in a square box?

What disease did cured ham actually have?

How is it that we put man on the moon before we figured out it would be agood idea to put wheels on luggage?

Why is it that people say they "slept like a baby" when babies wake up likeevery two hours?

If a deaf person has to go to court, is it still called a hearing?

Why are you IN a movie, but you're ON TV?

Why do people pay to go up tall buildings and then put money in binoculars to look at things on the ground?

That's all for now.
Talk to you later.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

On second thought

Alright, it's better. Just spent mindless time in front of the TV watching Bones and a new show New Amsterdam. DVR is great. Highly recommend New Amsterdam; it isn't House, Bones or Criminal Intent but it has an interesting premise. The next episode is on tomorrow night on Fox. Why are the great shows all on Fox or TNT?
That's all for now.
Talk to you later.

Just another shitty day in Paradise

Did you ever have on of those days, one of those days that was bad from the beginning and only got worse as the clock ticked,ticked, ticked away the seconds, the ticks almost laughs at you while you agonized through the day? That kind of day. School was fine, or should I say the girls were fine. It's all the rest of it that makes it agony. Then it all ended when I went to the regional basketball game, only to have our team lose to a decidely inferior team in overtime. I knew it was going to be a long game for the girls when the school's all region selection went out with a wrenched knee in the first quarter. She was in agony the rest of the game, both the agony of the pain and the agony of the spirit. She SO wanted to get back in that game but the knee just wouldn't let her. The rest of the team played their hearts out, but it wasn't to be. I guess I'll get back to my grading, while listening to Kid Rock and Rock n Roll Jesus. Great White Noice. That's it for now. Talk to you later.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Books, books and more books

The book fairy has arrived and I am in a state of pure joy. New arrivals on Breckinridge St are:

The Money Shot by Christa Faust: a hardboiled detective novel told from the point of view of an ex porno star who is playing major payback on everyone who has "screwed" her in the past. It's quite a list.
The Expedition by Karl Iagnemma: a novel which begins in Detroit in 1844 and ends in the upper penisula
Blood and Thunder: the Life and Art of Robert E. Howard by Mark Finn: the story of the creator of Conan, the Barbarian.
Sellout by Randall Kennedy: the story of racial betrayal. A must read for all those who are concerned with racial problems in America today. Written by a Harvard law professor, who wrote Nigger in 2001.
Gang Leader for a Day by Sudhir Venkatesh: a sociologist's look at gangs in America today
The Last Flight of the Scarlet Macaw by Bruce Barcott: an interesting look at the destuction of the environment, in this case in Belize.

Quite a list and gives my readers a view as to my reading preferences.
That's it for now.
Talk to you later

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Sitting here multi-tasking... Listening to XM radio channel 12 and grading my students' essays. They wrote a commentary on a letter by Tim O' Brien. I have enclosed it for your opinion. What do you think? My students seem to like it.

Dear Timmy,
A little more than a year ago, on June 20, 2003, you dropped into the world, my son, my first and only child – a surprise, a gift, a miracle, an eater of electrical cords, a fertilizer factory, a joy, a pain in the rear, a thrill in the heart, all the platitudes with a big red cherry on top.Here’s the truth: Boy, oh boy, do I love you. And, boy, do I wish I could spend the next 50 years with my lips to your cheek, my eyes warming in yours.But as you wobble into your sixteenth month, it occurs to me that you may never really know your dad. The actuarial stuff looks grim. Even now, I’m what they call an “older father”, and in 10 years, should I have the good luck to turn 68, I’ll almost certainly have trouble keeping up with you. Basketball will be a problem. And 20 years from now…well, it’s sad, isn’t it?Sadder yet, that’s the very best scenario. Life is fragile. Hearts go still. So now, just in case, I want to tell you about your father, the man you think I am. And by that I mean not just the graying old coot you may vaguely remember, but the guy who shares your name and your blood and half your DNA.Above all, I am this: I am in love with you. Pinwheeling, bedazzled, aching love. If you know nothing else, know that you were adored by your dad.In many ways, a man is what he yearns for, and while it may never happen, I yearn to walk a golf course with at your side. I yearn for a golden afternoon in late August when you will sink a tough 12-footer to beat me by a stroke or two. I want to shake your hand. I want to say, “Nine more holes?”I yearn to scatter good books around the house – in the bathrooms, on the kitchen counter, on the floor beside your bed – and I hope I’m there to watch you pick one up and turn that first precious page. I yearn to see the rapture on your face. (Right now, you eat books.)I yearn to learn from you. I want to be your teacher, yes, but I also want to be your student. I yearn to be taught, again and again, what I’ve already started to know: that a grown man can find pleasure in the sound of a happy squeal, a gap toothed grin, in the miraculous utterance of the word “Daddy”.I yearn to watch you perform acts of kindness and generosity. I yearn to witness your first act of moral courage. I yearn to hear you mutter, however awkwardly, “Yeah, yeah, I love you, too,” and I yearn to believe you will mean it.It’s hard to imagine as I watch you now, so lighthearted and purely good, so ignorant of gravestones, but, Timmy, you’re in for a world of hurt and heartache and sin and doubt and frustration and despair. You will do fine things, I know, but you will also do bad things, because you are wholly human, and I wish I could be on hand to offer forgiveness.More than that, I long for the day when you might also forgive me. I waited too long Timmy. Until the late afternoon of June 20, 2003, I had defined myself, for better or worse, by the novels and stories I had written. I had sought myself in sentences. I had loved myself only insofar as I loved a chapter or a scene or a scrap of dialogue. This is not to demean my life or my writing. I do hope you will someday read the books and stories; I hope you will find my ghost in those pages, my best self, the man I wish to be for you. Call it pride, call it love, but I even dare to hope that you will commit a line or two to memory, for in the dream-space behind those vowels and consonants is the sound of your father’s voice, the kid I once was, the man I am now, the old man I will soon become.That said, I would trade every syllable of my life’s work for an extra 5 or 10 years with you, whatever the going rate might be. A father’s chief duty is not to instruct or to discipline. A father’s chief duty is to be present. And I yearn to be with you forever, always present, even knowing it cannot and will not happen.There have been advantages, of course, to becoming a father at my age. I doubt that at 28 or even 38 I would have been so willing – so eager – to walk away from my work to warm your bottle. I doubt I would have fully appreciated, as I do now, the way you toddled over to me this morning and laughed and gave me a first unsolicited hug. (You knew I was waiting, didn’t you?) I doubt I would have so easily tolerated the din at bedtime, or your stubborn recklessness, or your determination to electrocute yourself, or the mouthfuls of dirt you take from the potted plants in the foyer, or how, just a moment ago, you hit the delete key as I approached the end of this letter.You’re on my lap now, my spectacular Timmy. I’m using your fingers to type these words.
I love you.

Saturday, March 1, 2008


Sitting here grading essays, listening to a "new" group, at least in my experience. Stumbled across them in this week's issue of Rolling Stone. What attracted me to the group was that they are from Belton, Tx. home of Mary-Hardin Baylor the institution of higher learning from which it was important that I graduated. Their videos are available on your usual video sites. What was interesting about the article is they are classified as Christian rock. Boy, has that genre changed. Take a gander at the group at its website The group is coming to Louisville derby weekend. I might take the dive and go see them. That's it for now. Talk to you later