Wednesday, December 28, 2005

It's a Red-Letter Day

(or at least a round-numbers day) The blog just had its 7,500th page view, and it's five visits away from its 3000th visit. Who will be the 3000th visitor? (No, there's no prize this time, though who knows what might happen when we hit, say, 5000?)

The 7500th page viewer appears to have been . . . Caleb. That's a guess since it doesn't actually show the page view numbers, but somebody from Ithaca using made visit number 2994 with two page views, and I think the second page view was #7500. Who else could it be but Caleb??

Maybe sometime I will figure out how to post a visit counter on the blog itself so that people can watch the visit numbers mount up.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Christmas Contest!

We were going to forego a Christmas contest this year, but have decided to succumb to the pressure from certain quarters. This year's contest is a guess-the-number-of-hay-bales contest. What does hay have to do with Christmas, you ask. Well, the Baby Jesus was born in a manger. Around here, we put hay in mangers. Voila! A connection!

All you have to do is guess how many hay bales are in a section of our hay mow. If you are the closest, you win $25. Yes, that's right, twenty-FIVE dollars. There is no penalty for going over or under. Just be the closest. Unfortunately, it will take three to four months to determine the precise number of bales, as that is how long it will take me to feed them out. I will count every one and provide periodic updates. Ready?

Starting in the NW corner of the barn the section with this particular hay runs 36' along the west wall to the SW corner. It turns 90 degrees and runs along the south wall 16'. It turns 90 degrees and runs 10' in a northerly direction, and turns 90 degrees and runs 8' in an easterly direction to a post. It then runs 16' in a northerly direction to another post, turns 90 degrees, and runs 12' westerly to another post. It then turns 90 degrees and runs 10' northerly to the north wall of the barn. Lastly it turns 90 degrees and runs 12' along the north wall to the NW corner where it started. The average height of the hay is (very) approximately 10', with the peak height being about 14'. A hay bale measures 14" by18" by a short 3', with plenty of variation in dimension and shape.

Please note that not all 90 degree turns are in the same direction. If you diagram it, it will look like a large rectangle with two smaller rectangles removed from two corners. Also, some of the hay is "stacked" and some is not. Stacked hay packs more bales in the same space as unstacked hay. There is a small amount of loose hay under the bales. It is mostly insignificant except in an area right under the mow conveyor where it might displace a dozen or so bales.

Some pictures are provided for perspective. I'll gladly clarify anything that needs clarification.

Deadline for entries is 1/1/06 at 0000.

The post on the right is the second post in the description. The bales in the left foreground are not in the pile.

The post on the left is the second post in the description. The post beyond it is the third.

The post on the right is the first post in the description.

The first post.

The first post again.

Christmas on the Farm

Lily rides the 4-wheeler!

Trevor and Alex in the sunshine

Makes you feel warmer just to look at it, doesn't it?

It's Okay, We Got Even.

Red Sox sign John Flaherty!

Lileks' description of an all-too-familiar experience

Have to pick up Child™ from school. I leave early, because I assume – quite naturally – that if I am one minute late Hannibal Lecter will chloroform and kidnap my precious child. I hop in the car, hit the garage door button, turn on the radio, buckle up, check the rear-view mirror – blue sky. All systems go. Put the car in reverse, and JONK

All systems stop. That’s really the only term that sums up the sound of a vehicle slamming into a garage door: JONK. I get out. The door stuck 7/8ths of the way up. It cannot be budged. Wishing to compound my stupidity, I push the button again; the motor screams, smokes and dies. Let’s recap! I’ve busted the door, bent the rails, dented my hatchback, and destroyed the opener! Huzzah! Let’s complete the festivities by setting my hair on fire with hundred dollar bills! A repairman was summoned, and managed to exude bemused contempt waves without speaking; if you’d held up an Etch-A-Sketch behind his head, the words YOU FREAKIN’ IDIOT would have appeared on the screen.

What’s worse: I did this before. Last December. It’s a new tradition! All sing: Barreling barreling through the door, Christmas time is coming. Barreling barreling one time more, Christmas time is coming. Dredge ye out the pages Yellow / cut a check to workman fellow/ Ding dong ding dong . . . LECTER HAS YOUR DAUGHTER.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Friday, December 16, 2005

My Favorite Player: The Consummate Professional

Bill Mueller Signs With the Dodgers.

Ice storm!!!

Yesterday we got freezing rain for a good 4 hours. When it was done, Geneseo was covered in a pretty thick sheet of ice. I was in my calc final while this was going on, so I forgot how slippery it had gotten, and I took one step outside and fell down the stairs. Luckily no one saw. Phew.
It was a riot though. Walking home I saw this guy who I guess had no tred on his shoes, he was skating down cardiac hill. You could hear screams all around as people fell. Looking around I saw 3 or 4 people fall at once. It was pretty funny.


Thursday, December 15, 2005


To the troops, the Iraqi people, W. For the vision and the execution. For ignoring polls. For having guts. There is a long way to go, but celebrate this victory. It is, truly, astonishing.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Which House are You In?

Don the Sorting Hat to find out!

James Lileks is a Long-Lost Murphy!

From his entry this morning: " . . . that means I must turn in 12 columns next week. Sounds ridiculous? I suppose. But this means I will withhold crucial material, like Friday’s mishap (backed the car into the garage door again) and Saturday’s disaster . . . "

Sunday, December 11, 2005

John Lennon

I simply cannot understand the deification of this guy. Yes, he penned some of the most beautiful songs ever written when he was teamed with Paul. Once they split up, neither ever came close to their previous united glory. Still, "Imagine" is widely regarded as one of the greatest "rock" songs ever, which just makes me want to puke. It is insipid musically and lyrically. The melody is without any grace, and the lyrics are childish. I reproduce them here for your pleasure:


Imagine there's no heaven,
It's easy if you try,
No hell below us,
Above us only sky,
Imagine all the people
living for today...

Imagine there's no countries,
It isnt hard to do,
Nothing to kill or die for,
No religion too,
Imagine all the people
living life in peace...

Imagine no possessions,
I wonder if you can,
No need for greed or hunger,
A brotherhood of man,
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world...

You may say Im a dreamer,
but Im not the only one,
I hope some day you'll join us,
And the world will live as one.

Written by: John Lennon© Bag productions inc.

" I hope someday you'll join us..."

Oh, right, John. You're living without possessions? I don't think so.

Most of Lennon's life looks to me like one big thumb-sucking, navel-contemplating love-in with himself.

Friday, December 09, 2005


Favorite Neil Young Lyrics

Old man look at my life
I'm a lot like you
I need someone to love me
the whole day through.


Prairie wind blowin' through my head
Prairie wind blowin' through my head
Prairie wind blowin' through my head
Prairie wind blowin' through my head

[I'll say.]

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Panda's cousins in China

Here are some baby pandas in day care at the Wolong Panda Breeding Center in China. Panda wants to know when he can go see them. I want to go, too!

Global Warming Caused By Declining Pirate Population!

The proof's right here. Dad will be so pleased!

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Luke's 18!

Happy birthday to you,
Happy birthday to you,
Happy birthday, dear Luke,
Happy birthday to you!


1:44 Easy Level Sudoku!!!

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Well said, Bill.

"If people are getting that upset over a name, maybe they ought to re-examine their out-takes on life, you know?"

-"Bill," the man on the street, when asked by News Channel 9 whether Syracuse's tree should be a "Christmas Tree" or a "Holiday Tree."

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Sneak Peek

Colonial Vet Hospital is (finally) getting a website. Here it is, still in pre-publication (so this is probably not the permanent location). No pictures of me that I can find, though I know that some were taken with the site in mind, so they might show up later.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005


7:32 Evil level Sudoku! Top 4%! Within one month I bet I can do it under 5.

God Bless Joe Lieberman

Of course, I can hear the enviornmentalists now, "Oh, No! There are more cars on the streets! We were better off with Saddam in power!"

Monday, November 28, 2005

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Rescuing a Heifer

This afternoon, shortly after Jeremy arrived at the barn for midafternoon feeding, he was sweeping in the hay when he glanced out toward the newly frozen pond and caught a glimpse of something brown floating in the center that looked, at first, like mud. But mud doesn't float. He looked harder and realized that the object floating in the midst of a ring of broken ice was all that was visible of a heifer who was in the water, swimming for her life. He called down to the house and reached Tom, catching us in the middle of a sleepy Sunday afternoon of lolling around to watch football. Laura had just left a few minutes before to go back to college after Thanksgiving break, but Caleb was visiting and Luke was at home. All four of us grabbed coats and boots and ran outside.

At Jeremy's suggestion, we hoisted the canoe down from the garage loft, balanced it on the ATV, and carried it up behind the barn. In the middle of the pond was a ring of broken ice and the sodden dark head of the exhausted heifer. We don't have a picture of the heifer in the water -- we didn't have a camera until after the emergency was over. But here's a picture of the hole in the ice and of the heifer's tracks, showing how she moseyed out over the ice until she reached the center of the pond, where she broke through.

Luke and Caleb grabbed rope from the garage, I found a halter, and Jeremy drove the tractor with the bucket loader up to the pond. Tom and Luke slid the canoe gingerly over the thin ice to the hole where the heifer had broken through. They balanced half in the canoe, half on the thin rim of ice, while they got the halter on her head and tied the rope to the winch on the ATV. Caleb and Jeremy ran the ATV and the winch. The first try was a failure; the ATV slid forward dangerously toward the pond, while the rope snapped loose from the heifer's neck. But on the second try, with Tom chopping away at the edge of the ice with an axe to make more room to tug her free, the taut cable hauled the heifer head first out of the hole and onto the ice. Here's a picture of the track where we hauled her out. You can see how the edge of the hole is broken where she emerged; then there's the trail where she slid across the ice to the edge, and the tracks left by the ATV as it backed up, pulling on the rope.

On the snowy bank of the pond, the heifer seemed to be intact except for blood dripping from a tear in her ear, but she was too shocked and cold even to try to get up. Tom phoned the vet, who said that if her body temperature was lower than 98, she wouldn't have the muscular ability to stand. In the end, she had to be rolled into the bucket of the tractor and carried down to the shop to be warmed up with blankets and propane heaters. Here she is, wrapped in blankets at first, and then later on, with the blankets underneath her so that the heat could reach her wet fur and dry her out as it warmed her:

For at least an hour, her body temperature was too low to register on Tom's rectal thermometer -- somewhere below 92 degrees. But although she was shivering violently, the heifer was looking around, responding, and holding up her head. After a while she began to chew her cud. Perhaps two hours after Jeremy first spotted her, her heifer's temperature hit 99 and Tom got her to her feet. She's back with her friends now, no doubt repeating her story over and over again. Jeremy gets the credit for a banner day today -- if he hadn't glanced outside when he did, that heifer wouldn't have a story to tell!

Saturday, November 26, 2005

An announcement

Many of you have complained about the word verification setting on comments, correctly pointing out that the letters are hard to read and that the process is a pain. I put it on in the first place because we were getting some comment spam, but perhaps the verification is more trouble than avoiding the spam is worth. So, I've turned off the word-verification feature. If we get a lot of spam in the comments, I may turn it back on again. If anybody wants it back on now, let me know -- otherwise, let's watch for a while and see how things turn out.


Thursday, November 24, 2005

Contest Winners

Well. The humorous prize was won by Panda, who got four votes (and one more on the heartfelt side), and the runner-up was Zachary Newbold who got two votes. The heartfelt prize was more closely contested with Cassie, Aurora, and Laura each getting two votes. Claire, Panda and I each garnered one vote.

The prize committee will decide soon how to divvy up the two $20 prizes.

I think there was considerable sentiment that the Rob entry deserved a prize, but lingering resentment at the clean sweep Rob usually makes at Murphymas prevented him from getting any votes. Both Rob and Cassie expressed the sentiment that they would vote for their spouses but for the fact that it was a little like voting for themselves. Cassie also thought the Newbolds should get a special family-togetherness prize because they all entered even if Claire had to beat them.

Thanks for all your entries. Maybe we can entice more entries next year, or maybe we can forget the whole thing.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

There's still time

to get your entry -- or entries -- in for the contest. What are you thankful for? Surely there's something!

And if you haven't entered yet . . . why not?


I made a new Murphy family record time for easy level Sudoku at at 2:31. Out of a million Sudoku puzzles solved in one week on that website, it ranks somewhere above the top 1%. I'd like to see someone try to beat that or beat 13:20 for the Evil level.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Contest Rules Reinforcement

1. Read the instructions.
2. The contest is for ANYONE, Murphy or not. If you're not a Murphy, please enter. Tell us what you are thankful for. We'd really like to know. Really. And read the instructions.
3. The prize is not a gallon of milk from "the cows out back". Read the instructions in the contest post. The prizes are actually mentioned.
4. Entries must begin with "I'm thankful for". Read the instructions.
5. Aurora's entry is lovely. Aurora gets a pass for not reading the instructions.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Start thinking now!

And get your entries in early. What entries? The entries to the Stornaway Farm Thanksgiving Contest. Stornaway Farm is offering prizes for the best "What I'm Thankful For" comment in the comments section of this post. ANYONE can enter. Just hit the comments link and leave a comment that begins "I'm thankful for". The deadline to enter is Wednesday, November 23rd at 11:59PM. The entries should not be excessively lengthy. They may be humorous, or they may be heartfelt. One entry per person. A $20 prize will be awarded to the most humorous, and a $20 prize will be awarded to the most heartfelt. The winners will be determined by a vote of the entrants. Voters may not vote for their own entry. Votes should be mailed to me at by Thursday, November 24th, Thanksgiving, at 11.59AM. Note the times. The winners will be announced by 03:00 PM Thanksgiving. Comments will be allowed in the comments section right along with the entries. Entries will be identified by the first three words. Further clarifications, if necessary, will be made in the comments section. Questions should be asked there, also. Good luck.

Farm Update

Stornaway Jersey October milk came in at $20.60! We've hit the seasonal period of decline in milk prices, but our milk becomes richer in fat and protein in the fall, and the net effect is an increase in our pay price. Eeyacho! (Which, if you don't recognize it, is usually followed by, "Who-a wona secona wull wa you so smaht!)

We've hit a lull in the calving season. Buffy is due in a week, and Mocha is due in December. Pretty quiet. But then we have 5 due in January, 4 in February, 6 in March, 5 in April, and a whole bunch in May. Breeding has been in full swing, however. Having kept over a number of cows and heifers a couple of months left me with thirty to breed since the first of the month, and I've bred all but a few.

I've got two new heifers that I'm very excited about, Blossom and Bazooms. They are sired by a young sire named Dane who is, in fact, Danish, being an own son of Lemvig. They are milking well, are very solid, though not stylish, and best of all, are very calm and serene, possibly due to the outcross genetics. I even had to get stern with Bazooms about getting into her stall when she comes in the barn, and she is still just as calm as can be. She also learned where her stall is and that it is to her benefit to get in the right one when she comes in.

It's snowing, the cows are in the barn eating good hay and resting comfortably, and the milk check was substantial. It's a good time to be a farmer.

Til next time.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Headed back up

We once were fourth in the nation, before the decision to grow the herd in 2002. We fell to about 25th, and now were back up to 15th! That's we as in Stornaway Jerseys, on the Jersey Performance Index. Second in the state!



Monday, November 07, 2005

If you don't say anything, you won't be called upon to repeat it.

I made Aurora read this, but it didn't seem to have any effect.

Ready to get into the Thanksgiving spirit?

Then click here.

(Make sure your sound is on.)


I'd come around to wondering, "Is Theo a cry-baby?" Turns out others have, too.

I also wonder about the whole RS ownership. Why do we see them all the time? Lucchino, Werner and Henry are always giving interviews and blabbing in front of cameras. They should be in the background (WAY in the background). It isn't about them, it's about the players. I think the three of them want to be stars, too.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Congratulations, S-E Varsity Soccer

The 2005 Sherburne-Earlville Varsity Soccer team . . .

. . . completed an undefeated season

. . . won its own season-opening tournament and the Hamilton Optimists tournament

. . . won the Division II championship title in the Center State Conference

. . . earned the unofficial all-league title in the Center State Conference by defeating the other division's champions

. . . earned the top seed in Section III, Class B

. . . got farther in sectionals than any Sherburne-Earlville soccer team has before them

. . . broke the school record for games won in a season

. . . broke individual school records for goals scored in a season and shutouts in a season

. . . earned a fourth-in-the-state ranking in Class B from the New York State Sportswriters' Association

. . . played every game in their season with heart, good sportsmanship, and class, and turned themselves into a living demonstration of the meaning of the word "team."

Good luck next year to those who aren't graduating and to the coaches -- and as for the seniors, oh, what a way to complete your soccer careers. It's not just your victories we're proud of -- it's the way you won them. Thanks for the fun, the pride, and the memories. Go, S-E!

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Who makes the most money from oil?

No, not the oil companies. The government! Since 1977, the government has made more that twice as much money as the oil companies. Tax relative to profit, that is.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Pigeons, Pigeons, Pigeons

While I'm pasting things into the blog from the Evening Sun, I can't resist adding this -- it's got to be the best-ever loony 30-Seconds call.

“On the bird flu, it isn’t chickens or ducks it’s pigeons causing this. All the cities over there like Germany, everywhere it’s going, is nothing but pigeons, pigeons, pigeons. And pigeons are filthy birds. They drink water out of streams and eat all kinds of that old stuff that is what you give them. Pigeons, pigeons, pigeons is what you want. Quit killing the chickens and the ducks, it isn’t them.”
Woman from Norwich

Thursday, October 27, 2005

The Evening Sun on S-E Soccer

The Evening Sun won't leave the link up for long, but while it lasts, it's here.

Marauders take top seed into Section III playoffs

By Patrick Newell
Sun Sports Editor

Perhaps the defining moments of Sherburne-Earlville’s remarkable soccer season occurred last week in back-to-back comeback wins over Frankfort-Schuyler and Mt. Markham.

F-S was the Division One boys’ soccer champion in the Center State Conference and hosting the Marauders, who had clinched the Division Two title. Unofficially, it was a showdown for the overall league championship. The Marauders trailed early, but regrouped with a barrage of goals in the second half. Two days later, nemesis Mt. Markham, last year’s sectional runner-up in the Section III class tournament, held a 1-0 lead entering the final five minutes of the game.

Miraculously, S-E not only tied the game, but scored the winner with just six ticks left on the clock. The victory ended a near-perfect regular season in which the Marauders went 17-0-1. Laurels followed earlier this week when, they garnered the section’s highest Class B honor as the number one seeded team and an automatic bye into the second round of the playoffs. “It was exciting for us to get number one seed, especially over Clinton, who is the number one ranked team in the state (S-E is ranked 12th),” said junior Travis Tomaselli, who scored the winning goal against Mt. Markham, and established a team single-season scoring mark with 24 goals.
Guiding the Marauders is Mike Rodriguez, who was handed the reins as head coach seven years ago. Until this season, his most satisfying moments came with Matt Lake and Joe Marso leading the offensive attack a few years ago. That club was as talented a team as the Marauders have ever had, but even they were outshined by this S-E club that adheres to the terms of unity and cohesiveness. Tomaselli, when asked to identify the team’s strength on the field, pointed to every aspect - from the goalkeeper and defense on up through the midfield and forward line - as a strength. And, he noted a strong bench that fills in with little drop-off in play.

As for creating a sense of team unity, it was the Lake and Marso group that collectively dyed its hair blonde before the season opener. That tradition has continued each season since, and even Rodriguez joined the fray earlier this month. “Coach Rodriguez made a deal with us that he would dye his hair blonde after we won our first league championship,” Tomaselli said of his previously dark-haired coach. “He was hesitant at first, but he kept his word. He is all about the team unity and carrying on the tradition established by the players before us.”

The Marauders’ journey to the top of the class seems a bit unlikely considering its five-win season a year ago. It took six games before the Marauders picked up a win, but a victory over Mt. Markham late in the season gave evidence of the club’s potential. “When I look back, I think the Mt. Markham game was the turning point,” Rodriguez said. “Just the way we competed against them and possessed the ball. Someone who was at that game said that we were probably the best four-win team he had ever seen. We certainly had shown flashes of what we were capable of doing, it was just a matter of consistency.”

Consistent winning came early and often in ‘05. The Marauders swept their own tournament and Hamilton tournament. They also battled back from a two-goal deficit in the second half to force a tie with Oneida. It was that contest in which Rodriguez fully realized this team’s unwillingness to accept defeat and doggedness to compete. “The guys were determined to make something happen in the Oneida game,” Rodriguez said. “We fought hard and the goals weren’t pretty ones...the guys just have a sense of confidence about them. They don’t panic when they are down.”

Staked to the number one seed, Tomaselli believes his team indeed merits the position, but needs to prove each game in the playoffs it deserves the ranking. “We know we are a good team, but we also know there are a lot of good teams out there that want to knock us off and give us our first loss,” he said. “We want to prove we’re number one to the end.”

The Marauders host their first Class B playoff game Friday against Ilion at 3 p.m.

Remembering the Villager

What a car. 1/31/1996 to 10/28/2004. 8 years old. 190,000 miles. Saved Luke's life.


S-E soccer is now ranked sixth in the state.

Go here and scroll down to Class B. Go S-E!

Saturday, October 22, 2005

What a game!

S-E played Mt. Markham today in the last game of the regular season, with its undefeated record at stake. At the beginning of the game, things did not look all that promising. It was cold and raining, as it has been for most of the last six or eight games. This was S-E's fourth game in the last six days, and the games have been intense and exhausting. At the last game, on Thursday night, Coach Rodriguez got red-carded, so he was not allowed to coach this game or even to attend it. Mr. Seddon went up with the team along with Mr. Lake instead. There was a glitch in the bus scheduling so the team had to wait half an hour for the bus and got up to Mt. Markham with only a short time for warmup. The two exchange students, Artur and Arthur, are both away for the weekend on a Rotary bus trip, and Jesse Hoff went with his family to Chicago, so the team was down by three players (though some JV kids came up instead.) Last time S-E played Mt. Markham, it was a close game that S-E won by one goal in overtime, and Mt. Markham has been steadily improving and winning lots of games since then.

Last year, of course, S-E broke Mt. Markham's two- or three-year undefeated record, and since then quite a rivalry has grown up between the two schools. Mt. Markham obviously figured this was their opportunity to get S-E back by breaking our undefeated season. They came out amazingly strong and, for much of the first half, outplayed S-E. On the wet field, S-E had more trouble than usual with passing and footwork, and Mt. Markham took advantage. Still, S-E held them to a scoreless tie at half-time, and by the end of the half S-E was getting its rhythm back. In the second half, S-E controlled much of the play, but in spite of that, at the 16-minute mark, Mt. Markham scored. The minutes ticked down fast from there; S-E had several opportunities but couldn't finish them -- and then with 4 minutes left, Wes Tomaselli scored to tie it up.

Now, it looked as though the game would have to be decided in two 10-minute overtime periods in that cold nasty rain. The clock ticked down to zero, but the teams kept playing. The scoreboard clock was wrong by a few seconds because it had not been stopped quickly enough when the goals were scored. The refs had told the kids not to stop playing when the horn blew. When it blew, Sherburne was in the midst of an attack on MM's goal, and they kept right at it. In that few seconds after the clock hit zero, with six seconds left in the game, Travis Tomaselli scored and the game was won!

Maybe in another hour or two my heartbeat will get back to normal.

With that final goal, Travis broke Matt Lake's record for the most goals scored in a season at S-E. If you put the whole thing in a movie, nobody would believe it. What a season! We don't know the sectional schedule yet, but watch this space -- as soon as we do know, we'll post it. Go S-E!!

Thursday, October 20, 2005

S-E is finally state-ranked!

With the season now at 15-0-1, the S-E soccer team has finally broken into the state-wide rankings of the New York State Sportswriters Association. Go here and scroll down to Class B. Congratulations, S-E!

There's a game tonight against Frankfort at 7 p.m. Frankfort has also had a great season. They are the champions of the other division in the Center State League, and this is their senior game, so it ought to be quite something. The final game of the regular season will take place this Saturday at 11 against Mount Markham, to be played in West Winfield. We don't have the sectional schedules or seedings yet. Go Luke!

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Helaine meets Johnny Damon!

Here's my Lexis friend Helaine with Johnny Damon. She reports that he looks different in person and that after 10 seconds in his company, she thought perhaps he was a little bit intellectually challenged. But as you can see, she enjoyed it! (And don't miss the signature!)

Milwaukee waves him home...

Sveum goes to the Brewers

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Who believed?

The players and manager did. The BG sportswriters did not.

The Four Seasons

Of course:

Nearly Winter, Winter, Still Winter, and Road Construction

or, has anyone seen this before?

Preseason, Season, Playoffs, and Off-season.

I didn't think that up, right?

Friday, October 14, 2005

Two worthy reads by neo-neocon

About depression at the NYT, but more generally about those who hope we fail in Iraq. Read the comments.

Longer. About Quaker pacifism. Read about the 1933 meeting at Oxford at the end of the piece. Excellent comments, including Orwell quotes. And this one:

"Pacifism is a shifty doctrine under which a man accepts the benefits of the social group without being willing to pay--and claims a halo for his dishonesty."-Robert A. Heinlein

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Noah's Ark

Tis the year 2001 and Noah lives in the United States. The Lord speaks to Noah and says: "In one year I am going to make it rain and cover the whole earth with water until all is destroyed. But I want you to save the righteous people and two of every kind of living thing on the earth. Therefore, I am commanding you to build an Ark." In a flash of lightning, God delivered the specifications for an Ark. Fearful and trembling, Noah took the plans and agreed to build the Ark. "Remember," said the Lord, "you must complete the Ark and bring everything aboard in one year."

Exactly one year later, a fierce storm cloud covered the earth and all the seas of the earth went into a tumult. The Lord saw Noah sitting in his front yard weeping. "Noah." He shouted, "Where is the Ark?"

"Lord please forgive me!" cried Noah. "I did my best, but there were big problems. First, I had to get a permit for construction and your plans did not comply with the codes. I had to hire an engineering firm and redraw the plans. Then I got into a fight with OSHA over whether or not the Ark needed a fire sprinkler system and floatation devices. Then my neighbor objected, claiming I was violating zoning ordinances by building the Ark in my front yard, so I had to get a variance from the city planning commission. I had problems getting enough wood for the Ark, because there was a ban on cutting trees to protect the Spotted Owl. I finally convinced the U.S. Forest Service that I needed the wood to save the owls. However, the Fish and Wildlife Service won't let me catch any owls. So, no owls.

"The carpenters formed a union and went out on strike. I had to negotiate a settlement with the National Labor Union. Now I have 16 carpenters on the Ark, but still no owls. When I started rounding up the other animals, I got sued by an animal rights group. They objected to me only taking two of each kind aboard. Just when I got the suit dismissed, the EPA notified me that I could not complete the Ark without filing an environmental impact statement on your proposed flood. They didn't take very kindly to the idea that they had no jurisdiction over the conduct of the Creator of the universe. Then the Army Corps of Engineer demanded a map of the proposed new flood plain. I sent them a globe. Right now, I am trying to resolve a complaint filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission that I am practicing discrimination by not taking godless, unbelieving people aboard!

"The IRS has seized all my assets, claiming that I'm building the Ark in preparation to flee the country to avoid paying taxes. I just got a notice from the state that I owe some kind of user tax and failed to register the Ark as a recreational water craft." Finally the ACLU got the courts to issue an injunction against further construction of the Ark, saying that since God is flooding the earth, it is a religious event and therefore unconstitutional. I really don't think I can finish the Ark for another 5 or 6 years!" Noah wailed.

The sky began to clear, the sun began to shine and the seas began to calm. A rainbow arched across the sky. Noah looked up hopefully. "You mean you are not going to destroy the earth, Lord?"

"No," said the Lord sadly. "The government already has."


From the Speech of Pericles in Defense of Athens

Our political system does not compete with institutions which are elsewhere in force. We do not copy our neighbours, but try to be an example. Our administration favors the many instead of the few: that is why it is called democracy.

The laws afford equal justice to all alike in their private disputes, but we do not ignore the claims of excellence. When a citizen distinguishes himself, then he will be called to serve the state, in preference to others, not as a matter of privilege but as a reward of merit; and poverty is no bar…

The freedom we enjoy extends also to ordinary life; we are not suspicious of one another, and do not nag our neighbour if he chooses to go his own way. But this freedom does not make us lawless. We are taught to respect the magistrates and the laws, and never to forget that we must protect the injured. And we are also taught to observe those unwritten laws whose sanction lies only in the universal feeling of what is right.

Our city is thrown open to the world; we never expel a foreigner. We are free to live exactly as we please, and yet we are always ready to face danger. We love beauty without indulging in fancies, and although we try to improve our intellect, this does not weaken our will. To admit one’s poverty is no disgrace with us; but we consider it disgraceful not to make an effort to avoid it. An Athenian citizen does not neglect public affairs when attending to his private business… We consider a man who takes no interest in the state not as harmless, but as useless; and although only a few may originate a policy, we are all able to judge it.

We do not look upon discussion as a stumbling-block in the way of political action, but as an indispensable preliminary to acting wisely. We believe that happiness is the fruit of freedom and freedom that of valor, and we do not shrink from the dangers of war.

To sum up, I claim that Athens is the School of Hellas, and that the individual Athenian grows up to develop a happy versatility, a readiness for emergencies, and self-reliance.

(More thoughts about Athens and other interesting ideas here.)

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Red Sox hot stove!

Schilling will be an ace next year and Pabelbon will be #2. Wakefield will be a great #5 starter and have another decent Wakefield year, leaving two spots on the rotation open for either Clement, Wells, another minor leaguer, (I like Dinardo) or an acquisition. Also, I found out from Mr. Seddon that there's a good possibility that the Marlins will be looking to trade MIGUEL CABRERA! If we lost Damon and got the 23 year old Cabrera, this team would be unstoppable. Another .300 hitter with great power, and speed, and a pretty good outfielder I think. Oh and I'll say it again, he's 23. Also, have you guys heard about one of our 2005 draft picks Jacoby Ellsbury? He's an outfielder who took I think Oregon to the college world series and then he had a great year in one of the lower leagues in our farm system. From what I've read I think he might be for real. But I'm drooling at the idea of getting Cabrera. Also his name is Cabrera, which from my experience in the last couple years is a good thing.

My New Favorite Yodeler

Click on videos.

Scroll down and Click on Movie 1 or Movie 2.

In movie 1 notice the legs when he really gets going.

Give us an S! Give us an E! What Does That Spell? S-E!

S-E is still undefeated! The Cooperstown game ended at 5-2 (I think) after a rainy, muddy, cold, dark Senior Game. And Your Brother Luke had a goal AND an assist -- pretty cool for his senior game.

The Cooperstown coach is a lousy sport who complained all through the game, got himself carded, didn't congratulate his own players when they came off the field, and finally pulled his team off the field early and forfeited, only a few minutes before the game would have ended anyway. This was ostensibly because he didn't like the ref's calls, but in fact, the calls were well-balanced between the two teams and seemed quite fair. Both teams got physical; both teams got calls; players on both teams got cards. It was obvious that what the C-Town coach really didn't like is that his team was losing badly. They rallied for a little while in the second half, but other than that, S-E dominated throughout. It was too bad to end the game with the coach's tantrum, because it was really a terrific game. It is a lot of fun to watch these guys play!

Later on I will scan in Luke's picture and congratulatory paragraph from the program, if I can make the scanner do it.

May versus Might: A grammar lesson on modals

By popular demand! From Dad, you get farm updates. From Mom, it's grammar lessons!

Here goes. I have evidently made Dad insecure by pointing out to him offline that there was a grammar error in his Red Sox post entitled "No Joy in Mudville." I told him that, in the sentence below, he should have used the word might instead of may.

If Schilling and Foulke had been healthy it may have been different.

OK, class, why is this wrong? Now, now, don't all shout out at once. Raise your hands . . . Right! The reason that might should have been used is that there is no longer any doubt. We know how things turned out. Schilling and Foulke weren't healthy, the season's over now, and it's too late to change anything. So, the correct word is might and not may.

Here's why. May and might are "modal" verbs, used to express shades of possibility. In the present tense, there is little or no difference between them, and either one can usually be used correctly. For instance:

I may go grocery shopping later. I might stop at Wal-Mart while I'm out.

Both of these sentences are correct. As used here, there is actually a subtle difference between them -- the first sentence suggests a possibility that is a bit more likely than the possibility suggested by the second sentence. May indicates that it's possible that the speaker will go grocery shopping. Might indicates that it's also possible, but a little bit less likely, that during the trip, she'll also stop at Wal-Mart. But this difference is minor, and in practice, the two words are used interchangeably.

In the past tense, on the other hand, may and might are not interchangeable at all. They carry distinctly different meanings, and this difference is what sometimes causes Mom to shout at sports broadcasters on TV. May is used to describe a possibility in the past about which there is still doubt. Might is for possible past outcomes that we now know did not happen. So:

The battle was so intense that Private Jones was lucky to survive it. He might have been killed. Private Smith, on the other hand, is still missing in action. We hope that he is all right, but he may have been killed.

See the difference? Both Jones and Smith were in danger, but we now know that Jones is okay. We still aren't sure about Smith -- he could be alive, or he could be dead. So, for Smith, we use may. For Jones, who is safe, it's might.

Some more examples, with the first two sentences in the past tense, and the second two sentences in the present tense:

I am angry with myself for failing last week's grammar test. If I had studied harder, I might have passed it. I studied much more carefully for yesterday's test. I am not sure yet, but I think I may have passed this time. The grades may (or might) be ready by now. I might (or may) stop by the classroom later to ask Mrs. Grundy how I did.

(A side note: May, used in the present tense, also carries a second meaning of ability, as opposed to possibility, with an overtone of permission. Thus: Mother, may I leave now? Yes, you may go, but not until I have finished this lecture about grammar. Here, may indicates both the ability to go, and permission to do so. In the present tense, might does not have this additional meaning. That brings us to this sentence of Dad's, from his long-awaited Farm Update:

You may (might?) submit names for heifer calves anytime.

This sentence is not about possibility -- it's about ability and permission. Dad is saying, with no doubt, that anyone can submit names, and that he grants permission to everyone to do so. May, here, is the correct word. Might would be wrong unless Dad wanted to change his meaning to add the layer of doubt and possibility that might conveys: I know that it's hard to think of heifer names, but if you can think of any, you might want to submit a few. )

So, now, a quiz! Some of the following statements are grammatical; others are dead wrong. The first person to post the correct answers in the comments gets an A.

1. If Dave Roberts had not stolen second base in last year's ALCS, the Red Sox may not have gone on to win the World Series.

2. If Dad had not happened to see "Flight of the Conchords" on HBO, this family might never have started making jokes about racist dragons and sick monkeys and big fat crazy pictures of New York.

3. It's a good thing that Panda chased those sheep and got himself banished from Virginia. If he hadn't done that, we may never have gotten a dog.

4. The summer drought made a big difference in the cows' productivity. If only it had rained sooner, they may have made more milk.

5. (From one of Dad's Red Sox posts. Extra credit if you can spot an error unrelated to may and might.) Pedroia can back up, or be the regular if Graffy can't be signed. He may be kinda hot now that we "discovered" him.

6. Did you check the family blog yet? I haven't had time to look at it yet today, but from all the excitement in the streets, I think Dad may have posted a new farm update!

7. Nobody has posted song # 73 yet. That may mean that we are running out of songs, or it might mean nothing.

8. If Dad had not posted "I am sixteen going on seventeen" in the first place, the whole song project might never have gotten started.

9. On the other hand, just think how terrible it would have been if we had not started the song project. In that case, you may never have heard that unforgettable recording of "Ayy Wah Doopah! Ayy Wah Doopah!"

10. If I hear the words may and might used incorrectly one more time, I may scream.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Farm Update!

By popular demand.

So, the late summer heat and drought nearly killed the pasture season. The cows were in at night, being fed valuable winter feed. It was a low point. But then came hurricane Katrina, bringing rain to the northeast, and the pastures recovered to a surprising degree. I've been able to keep the cows out on pasture during the day, and should be able to continue doing so until the end of the month.
But it has been difficult to maintain production at a comfortable level due to the changing of the diet between hay and pasture. When it was so dry it looked as if good hay would be hard to find this winter. So I put a together a concentrate that included heavy amounts of high fiber by-product feeds such as citrus pulp and soy hulls, the idea being that these ingredients function more as a forage than a grain, thus stretching the hay supply. Turns out that very nice hay is readily available. So I am removing some of these high-fiber ingredients and replacing them with starches and sugars. I expect to see a production boost this weekend when I start the new concentrate.
Haven't had any babies born in a month, and we're still at 99 Jerseys on the farm. Bazooms, Java and Toot are due in a week. You may (might?) submit names for heifer calves anytime. Bull calves don't get a name. Blossom and Buffy are due in Novemeber.
I have purposefully not bred any cows or heifers for the last 5 weeks and won't until November 1 for a variety of reasons. One, to give us a vacation from calving next june and July. Two, to reduce our dependence on a successful pasture season (i.e., enough rain at the right time). Three, to take advantage of higher fall milk prices. We'll see how it works out.
We had some fun a couple of weeks ago when Mom and I went four-wheeling, she on my ATV and me on Jeremy's. We went down on the nature trail and up through the woods with Panda running along with us. You have not beheld beauty until you've seen Mom driving an ATV. What fun!

Some people I hung out with when I was Growing Up

Where I grew up

296 Bridge Rd. Florence, Ma.


Monday, October 10, 2005

Need a job? Don't go to Europe!

Thanks for waiting!

Thank you for all the emails literally clamoring for a new Farm Update. It's been in the back of my mind for weeks, but I've been unable to get around to it. Also, I've been unable to get around to answering your emails, but rest assured that I have read each and every one. The only way I could reply to all of them would be to hire an assistant, and then, of course, you lose the personal touch. And who wants that? Yeah, me, either.

I will do a Farm Update in ten days or so. I'm planning on making a feed change this weekend. I'm sure you'll be fascinated by the results.

In the meantime, Joy and Polka are doing okay with their dislocated hips. They hobble out to 1L every day while the rest of the cows go to further pastures. I became quite concerned that they were in too much pain, so I asked them if they would prefer to stay around and milk as long as they were able, or would they like to go to the slaughterhouse. They said, "What's
the slaughterhouse?" And I said, "You know, go for beef." And they said, "What's beef?" And I said, "It's what's for dinner." And they said, "We thought we were having alfalfa for dinner." At this point, I decided to drop the subject, figuring that they would find out soon enough. But this morning they asked me why I hadn't bred them back. I told them that curiosity killed the cat. They said, "Oh NO! Which one?" At this, I fled.

Farm Update soon!

Saturday, October 08, 2005


I discovered this too late to add it to comment # 56 below, but you really shouldn't miss it. To hear song #56, even though it's a little scary, click this link.

No Joy in Mudville

The mighty Red Sox have struck out. They got cold just when they needed to get hot. Still, playoffs three years in a row along with World champions one of those years is nothing to scoff at. If Schilling and Foulke had been healthy it may have been different.

C'est la vie.

Next year: Sign Mueller for a couple more years at not too much money if possible. Leave him at third. Put Youkilis at first. Let Millar and Olerud walk, but thank them for their contributions. I'll miss Millar's friendliness. He's a good teammate. Sign Graffy for two years at not too much money,. if possible. Pedroia can back up, or be the regular if Graffy can't be signed. He may be kinda hot now that we "discovered" him. SS-Renteria. He should be better next year a la ARod. Catchers are set. RF-Nixon is set. CF-Damon worries me with his shoulder, etc. I'd love to get Rocko Baldelli. No long term contract for Damon. LF-I hope Manny stays. He is so unlike any other. But, if he wants to go, get rid of him for value. DH-set.

Pitchers, starting: Pick from Wakefield, Arroyo, Wells, Schilling, Clement, Papelbon, Alvarez, Lester, Dinardo, Meredith, Hansen. Go with the youth. Let the 40 yo guys wither on somebody else's vine.

Pitchers, relieving: Pick from Papelbon, Dinardo, Delcarmen, Resign Timlin? Resign Myers? Foulke comes back? Not sure I like Foulke. I guess I'd like him better if he could pitch.

Please no more end-of-career guys like Wells, Schilling, R. Johnson. I'd rather watch the young ones lose than the old ones struggle to win.

Friday, October 07, 2005

An Elementary Economic Lesson

"If Bill O'Reilly and government officials itching for price controls and tax increases get their way, repeating the mistakes of the 1970s, we'll get no more investment in energy production, and that will guarantee one thing -- higher prices for energy in the future."

So far, so good

S-E v. Waterville, 6-0. Now it's 12-0-1.

The Longest Comment String on the Blog is up to 46. That John Prine song is very odd, Aurora!

Caleb and Laura will both be home this weekend. So will Lucy. Yay!

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Take heart, Sox fans

In 1999 they were down 2-0 to Cleveland in the ALDS. They came back and won it. In 2003, they were down 2-0 to Oakland in the ALDS. They came back and won it. In 2004, we know what they did. Am I prediciting a comeback this year? No. It's a different team. But I'm staying positive. Even if they lose, it's been three straight years of great baseball, and the prospects are good for the future, considering the minor leaguers, the ownership, and the management.

What I'd like to see next year is Papelbon, Hansen, Delcarmen, Alvarez, and Dinardo on the staff, and less reliance on Wells/Shilling/Miller types.

In the meantime, there should be 2 or 3 exciting games left, minimum.

Monday, October 03, 2005


Excellent Column by Bob Ryan on Manny. Papi and A-Rod both deserve MVPs, but so does Manny, though he is rarely mentioned. I love those major league-leading 17 assists, especially the one yesterday. I also like that he remains an individual. Quirky, yes. But he makes up for it in spades.

Longest Comment Thread on the Blog

Hey, pay attention! Some of us could use some help down below.

Twenty-eight. Hmm. Twenty-eight . . . .

Saturday, October 01, 2005

How I Love Ya, How I Love Ya, How I love Ya, Frisco-o!

Oh, my hair's getting good in the back.

CSI: San Francisco

Communism-100 Million dead and still alive and kickin'. On the left.

Red Sox Reporting

I get most of my Red Sox news from the Globe. A couple of days ago they started this column, which is blog-like or diary-like. It's in the upper right corner of the Red Sox page. Try it. You'll like it.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

A Must Read

Still undefeated!

Sherburne-Earlville 3, Cooperstown 0

S-E now leads the league and has broken the school shutout record, with 6 shutouts, 8 goals scored against it, and 34 goals scored.

Some pictures:

Look, the guys in maroon are (almost) all blonde:

Hey, where's the ball?

Close . . .

Lileks at his best

Thomas Sowell points out that "No Blood for Oil" applies only in certain circumstances. Regarding CAFE standards, the chanters happily trade blood for oil. Make cars lighter and flimsier so they are less safe in a crash, and force people to drive smaller vehicles that get more MPG. So what if more people die. People are the scourge of the earth, anyway.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

And now, for Sunday's game!

A final score of 9-3 should have been enough for us, but our seats were so amazing that they overshadowed even the score. Here's our view of the field:

Here's the view of the Red Sox dugout:

Manny at bat:

Manny scoring:

Damon scoring:

More Sunday pictures

We were so close to the field that when Ortiz came over to speak with a friend in the stands, I was close enough to get this picture (zoomed only a little):
Here's Caleb's favorite player at bat:

Many recognizable players in the dugout here:

Look at all the Red Sox Red in the stands!
Here's Renteria at bat.
Don't we look happy?

Random Sights in Baltimore

Remember the decorated flying horses all over the Outer Banks? Baltimore has the same thing, only with crabs -- for instance, the birthday-cake crab that Aurora befriended in one of the other pictures. Here's a close-up of a beach glass crab that I really liked.
It wasn't a surprise to find crab sculptures in Maryland, but it certainly was a surprise to run into Albie, the racist dragon! (He keeps his back turned to the blue dragon behind him, because it's different to him.)
Here's the view from behind a waterfall that's part of a whole complex of man-made pools and falls in the Inner Harbor.
This meeting lasted for the whole weekend; every time we went by, they were still at it. In fact, I'll bet they are still meeting.
Here are Caleb and Aurora enjoying a ride around the harbor on the water taxi.

Katrina myth vs. fact

Read the comments.

Saturday night in Baltimore

Aurora and her crab:
Caleb and his sunglasses:

Dad and his brand-new 36" pipewrench: