Monday, April 30, 2007

Bright Tomorrows Progress




I'm sure the neighbors think I'm absolutely nuts when I mosey on out to take pictures of the progress, but I am quite interested and amazed by the project taking place behind my house. More on this tomorrow.

Monday, Monday

Just a few minor things I thought I might post this morning...

I had a great meeting with one of my professors (and friend) and he sent me home with two books to read--Katharine Graham's autobiography and Ben Bradlee's autobiography! Isn't that awesome!?

As I was reading the ISU student bulletin this morning I realized that the documentary Shut up and Sing is going to be shown on Wednesday night at 7pm here on campus, but I'm sad to say I have about four too many things going on that day (and night) and won't be able to catch that. Does anyone know if it is going to DVD? I'd love to watch it.

Yesterday I watched one of the most intense baseball games (from a defense perspective) I have ever seen and here's the kicker--the Colorado Rockies were playing! As hard as I try I can't be a fan of the Rockies even with Matt Holliday playing for them, but hear you me, SWEET game. I saw for the first time in my life an unassisted triple play and it was awesome! Additionally, there were several double plays and a few stellar saves by Jeff Franceour (of the Braves). All in all, even though the Braves lost, it was one of the most amazing baseball games I have ever watched.

Oh, and I have new music to listen to just in time for finals week: John Mayer's Room for Squares and Heavier Things as well as Mat Kearney's Nothing Left to Lose.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

One of My Favorites...

Can you tell I'm missing the days of Sunday The West Wing posts?

Impressions

Watching Freedom Writers forced me into a greater form of appreciation than I have previously carried for the superb teachers I have had in my life. Realizing just what the teacher in the film had put on the line to ensure her students' success made me ever more appreciative of a handful of teachers that undoubtedly sacrificed at the very least their time to push me along.

Maybe I've mentioned this before, but I had a rough go from about the middle of seventh grade until the beginning of my junior year of high school. I think they call it the teenage years. I was probably in attendance a grand total of one hundred days throughout junior high, but somehow passed. The "somehow" can be chalked up to my ability to teach myself just about anything, a trick I used to continue to teach myself how to play the piano and a trick that didn't come equipped with any sort of mathematical ability, and, like I said, a handful of wonderful teachers.

I wouldn't necessarily say I was a delinquent through that span of time, but I certainly wasn't a star student or poster child for anything. Difficult I think is the best word to describe me then. This was due to numerous other factors outside of school and I think by and large due to my complete boredom in school. However, there were a few astute individuals who recognized the problems and gave me the direction I needed.

Early on I had a teacher that gave me extra work as a reward for my boredom. Sounds insane, but it worked. Evidently keeping me busy was the answer. This teacher was a part of my educational experience from the middle of fifth grade through the end of junior high. What is even more important about this woman was that she also had the unique opportunity of teaching both of the Rowe children. Poor woman. My brother and I are as different as night and day in the classroom. But regardless of how we were in the classroom she pushed us every step of the way and was genuinely concerned with our happiness and success. She even spoke at his baptism. Her impact on our lives is something we still talk about. Just last week when we were in Boise my little brother started talking about how much he liked school (he would never say now that he likes school) when he was in her classroom.

High school for me was two completely different experiences. There were the two years at one high school that were a continuation of my junior high years in terms of attitude and success and then there were two years at another high school that have largely shaped the college student I've become.

The first two years of high school can be characterized for me as one mistake after another. I can't say my friends were the kind any decent parent would like their child to have, I can't say my attitude was any better than any typical fourteen or fifteen year old, and I can't say my scholarship was anything worth remembering. In fact the only time I even cared about my schoolwork was when I was in art class (I graduated high school with art honors--the only person in my graduating class to do so), in one teacher's English class, and in every single class they stuck me in that Bert Marley was teaching. Art was a release for me. English was a pleasure. And Mr. Marley was the challenge. World History, German, and Mythology. Not my top subjects by any stretch of the imagination, but something about Bert's teaching style and concern for me kept me going back and kept me enrolled in school. I'm sure I've mentioned before that as a sixteen year old there was nothing I wanted more than to drop out of high school. Nothing in the whole world. But I didn't because I had fabulous teachers my sophomore year who gave me direction and discipline and a wise guidance counselor who kept placing me in Bert's classes.

My sophomore English teacher was/is wonderful. Her husband is now the Bannock County Clerk and every time I see either of them I am greeted with hugs and the reminder of how much I owe her. My sophomore year I was introduced to the Romantic poets and I'm not sure anything about reading for me has been the same since I first read Oscar Wilde, Hemingway, and Pearl S. Buck.

After my sophomore year we moved which is a hard thing, I think, for any sixteen year old. New environment, new friends, new everything. It turned out to be the greatest thing that ever happened to me as a teenager. Though I had two amazing teachers at the previous high school, I wasn't thriving and I wasn't happy. The next high school would change everything for me and it would once again be the teachers that left the lasting impression.

I continued taking art classes, but it wasn't art that saved me. It was one very kind, gentle, U.S. History teacher who took me under her wing and challenged me. There is nothing like a good challenge in the classroom and she did just that. With her the lessons she taught me extended far beyond the walls of that classroom and some of the greatest things she ever taught me didn't happen in the classroom. She was far more than my teacher as she supported me through some of the most difficult personal trials I've ever experienced. She was and continues to be one of my greatest friends and cheerleaders. She is a constant reminder to me of what a person is capable of enduring. We stay in touch and I still feel like she is rooting for me on the sidelines as I navigate my way through college.

As a senior in high school I had another English teacher that challenged me and introduced me to beautiful literary works. When I think about him I still wonder why I am not an English major. Just a week or two ago I emailed him to ask a couple of questions and among a number of comments and answers he shot back was a statement that there is nothing in the whole damn world better than Tolstoy. His enthusiasm about English made me want to be in his classroom every single day. His enthusiasm is something I hope to have every last day of my academic career. He is responsible for my love of James Joyce and he introduced me to The Picture of Dorian Gray. I had never read something so heavy and profound and even today can't think of another single reading experience that hit me so hard.

When I graduated from high school I was living with a couple, two married teachers from my high school, and their family after a particularly rough go with my own family. Being with them allowed me to graduate from high school which was at that time my ultimate goal next to getting into college. It was a far cry from the person I was as I approached my sixteenth birthday. To them I am forever grateful as well.

As a college student I have had three professors that have been just as influential, if not more so, than those I had in high school. One has since left ISU, but remains a huge part of my life. Two semesters in her classroom were nowhere near enough time for me with her, but two semesters in her classroom taught me a lifetime of lessons. The other two will serve on my graduate thesis committee. And one of those two has become my dear friend and mentor. The influence of these educators is endless.

Finishing Freedom Writers had me thinking a lot about impressions. The teachers I've had in my life have left lasting impressions on me. They have done for me what no one else in my life was able to do--point me down the path I should travel and give me a slight push when needed. As I've been thinking over the impact they've had on my life I can only hope that I have left some sort of impression on them. I hope I'm the kind of student that reminds teachers why they are in the classroom. I hope I'm the kind of student that rewards them with even small successes. Without a doubt I didn't used to be the kind of student any teacher would want in their class, but on the other hand had I not been that kind of student I don't think I'd be talking about these wonderful men and women who changed my life forever.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

What I Did With My Saturday...Ouch.

Smorgasbord Saturday

As a matter of housekeeping: If you haven't noticed, I have added a few sites to the blogroll on my sidebar--a lovely link to a great organization called Disability is Natural and this lovely blog called French Toast Girl that I love mostly for this woman's artist talents and the way she refers to herself as our "toastess."

In the last week or so both Jack Valenti and David Halberstam passed away. Halberstam wrote one of the greatest books I've read about the Kennedy administration and the choices leading us into Vietnam, The Best and the Brightest, and Valenti was in the motorcade when Kennedy was killed in Dallas. Both of these men have equally shaped my perceptions of the Kennedy administration and assassination. It is really unfortunate that I never had the opportunity to meet either of them. A few semesters ago there was a great panel put together by CSPAN at the Kennedy Library that Valenti attended. I wanted to go, but they were out of space before I knew about it and called to reserve my space. Anyway, these two men left a lasting impression on me.

I have news about the Bright Tomorrows facility that is going up behind my house, but that deserves a full post. I am more and more impressed with the project by the day despite my complete irritation with them cutting down the tree.

Lately I seem to be watching a great deal of movies. I'm not entirely sure why other than I go to work and come home with little to no homework since I had to take incompletes in several of my classes this semester. So, I've watched The Last King of Scotland, Notes on a Scandal, Freedom Writers, The Queen, and the entire first season of Without a Trace. I can't say I particularly enjoyed Last King, I commented here about my viewing of Notes on a Scandal, but I was thoroughly impressed with Hilary Swank's performance in Freedom Writers, Mr. Cromwell's performance in The Queen (the man never plays anything near cruel and as Prince Philip he certainly wasn't kind), and am absolutely entranced (is that a word) by the relationships within Without a Trace and how they seem to connect perfectly with the lives of those missing people they are out to find. And Freedom Writers touched me. I suppose that is because I am who I am and am where I am because of very dedicated and supportive teachers who have pushed me every step of the way to make something of my life.

Today I took a trip over to the Post Office because I wanted to buy a sheet of these really sweet stamps...but due to the craze over eBay and the number of people who send things out of their homes daily, I was there FOREVER! The lady in front of me had no less than fifty packages. Geez, all I wanted was a sheet of really cool stamps. And then to top it off once it was my turn to move up to the counter they didn't even have a full sheet of the really cool stamps. So I ended up with a half sheet and a book of those new forever stamps. Only I could be bothered by that. Not as bothered as I was when the local bookstore didn't have a single book of Frost's poetry, but pretty damn close!

There seemed to be something else I wanted to throw in for Smorgasbord Saturday, but at this moment it has escaped me. In other news, perhaps those of you interested in the ongoing processing of the Stallings Collection at Idaho State Unviersity would like to know that Richard Stallings kindly donated his papers from his gig as U.S. Nuclear Waste Negotiator this past week. They will be housed with his congressional papers and I couldn't be more excited!

Friday, April 27, 2007

My Only Complaint...


...they cut down the gorgeous tree!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

On Friends

I've often wished I could title all my posts the way Joan Didion titled so many of her essays. How simple a title like "On Keeping a Notebook" appears, yet how deep and meaningful it is. My posts however often lack depth and distinction as Didion's essays never did, but this particular post requires no further title than a simple Didion-esque one.

This past weekend I was in Boise with my best friend (also known as my younger brother) and a high school friend of mine. Of my high school friends I remain in touch with only a handful or so and of those I can't say that many of them knew me all that well in high school to begin with. With time this particular friend of mine and I have grown together, though we are separated by the miles between the University of Idaho and Idaho State, and we have grown to appreciate our unique perspectives as we face the challenges and questions that young adults often do. It is interesting to me how close she and I are now, four years removed from high school, and how much we've both grown up in four years. We are now more understanding than ever of each others flaws, though I'm convinced she has none, and we are ever more aware of each others weaknesses.

Perhaps what I was reminded of most this past weekend is how forgiving we are of one another. I can make enormous mistakes, believe me I have and continue to, but she forgives me every time and is a mere phone call or email away always.

My plan for the trip to Boise originally included a stop at the high school where I graduated. I was hoping to stop in and visit with a few friends, but due to a very unfortunate tragedy in one of their lives, I was unable to stop and missed the opportunity to be reminded of how much I've grown since those days in the halls of Declo High School. If you would have told be six years ago that some of my closest friends and the people who care for my success the most would be a handful of teachers and friends from that school I never would have believed it. Even though I was unable to stop to visit, just the thought was reminder enough of how truly blessed I am in my life to have people who truly care for me and want nothing more than my success.

The other reminder handed to me was that of how loving my younger brother is. There is a line from one of my all-time favorite songs that goes something like this: "Can you imagine...your best friend always sticking up for you even when I know you're wrong?" He is that best friend for me. And perhaps in the back of my mind always looms the reminder that he is looking up to me and I should behave accordingly. It is almost as if he is always saying to me that he'll forgive me, but please don't let it come to that. Oh, how forgiving he is. The only major fight he can remember us having as kids (we are seven years apart in age) is one in which I hit him with a licorice rope. I don't remember this at all and can remember many, many other fights that were more or less my fault for not appreciating his youth and sense of humor. He remembers the licorice rope incident only because he hates licorice and it was hilarious. Have we never had a major fight? Probably not. Does he always forgive me? Yes. In my many mistakes and moments of short-tempered actions, he always forgives me. And regardless of his mistakes as many as there can be in the horrible period of the teenage years, I always forgive him. I always will.

My younger brother will always be my best friend. Or I suppose he will always be my best friend until he and I marry and our respective spouses become our best friends. But in my heart he will always resemble what a best friend should be.

The people I look up to in my life are people I know will make mistakes, but will do so hesitantly or quite by accident because they know I am looking up to them. My younger brother looks to me to set an example, to pave the way, and I don't take that lightly. I suppose our responsibilities as friends is to do exactly that--not take anything lightly. Friendship is the most sacred bond, friendship among siblings even more so, and though the trust of friends and that bond may take years to build and solidify, it takes mere seconds to break down. Taking friendship lightly will ensure its corrosion.

Spending a weekend in Boise with these two wonderful people really opened my eyes to the blessings and true friendships in my life. I was pleased to walk my young, non-political brother through the state capitol, show my high school friend a sample of my work on the Stallings Collection, and more than anything allow them the opportunity to spend time together. More important to me than my relationship with each of them is knowing that they like each other as well. There is no greater feeling than that of knowing the two people you truly believe in, care about, and trust, like each other as well.

Isn't it amazing how people come into our lives at the time in which we either need them personally or need something they offer as a reminder, a reminder of what we must do or what we have done or overcome in our lives? I've learned that those people aren't necessarily going to be in our lives forever, but their impact will be.

I was wise enough to stay in touch with this particular friend from high school, though hesitant at first. I continue to be stubborn enough to not allow distance and obstacles to prevent my brother and I from having a close friendship. And for the friends that I can't see on a regular basis, I hope I continue to be mindful enough to send them postcards now and then.

Have you thought about the meaningful friendships in your life lately? What are you doing to ensure they remain?

My apologies to Ms. Didion for not doing "On Keeping a Notebook" justice despite my profound respect for her talents, "but that is, as they say, another story."

Another Thought In Passing

Changed
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

From the outskirts of the town,
Where of old the mile-stone stood,
Now a stranger, looking down
I behold the shadowy crown
Of the dark and haunted wood.

Is it changed, or am I changed?
Ah! The oaks are fresh and green,
But the friends with whom I ranged
Through their thickets are estranged
By the years that intervene.

Bright as ever flows the sea,
Bright as ever shines the sun,
But alas! they seem to me
Not the sun that used to be,
Not the tides that used to run.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Sweet Redemption

I come to you this evening from Boise, Idaho where I am currently hanging with my kid brother. This is only the second time he has ever been to Boise and his last trip here was for his fourth grade field trip. Tonight as we got into town we made a loop through downtown, out Warm Springs Ave., through the campus district, and then up past the Boise depot. He is amazed by all there is to see in Boise.

And...so far he has only made fun of me once and not for an entirely nerdy thing (or maybe it was). As we were driving between Mountain Home and Boise we passed Clint Stennett & Wendy Jacquet riding in his truck with his Senate 5 license plates and I waved. Yes, I, an avid Democrat waved. In Idaho don't all Democrats feel as though we are one tight knit group? I must admit I was happy to see them after learning Senator Bart Davis may be our next Idaho Supreme Court justice...I needed a political pick-me-up. Long story short, my non-political brother thought it odd that I'd be treating two Idaho legislators like celebrities. Really, just a simple wave on the interstate. A simple 'You guys are awesome, keep up the good work' wave.

You're probably wondering why this post is titled as it is--I assure you it has nothing to do with my trip to Boise or the encounter with Stennett and Jacquet...this morning prior to leaving Pocatello I gave a 45 minute presentation to a History class at Idaho State University. Sure, this is a common occurrence and I give all sorts of presentations on the Stallings Collection and its importance, but this particular presentation meant a lot to me. Why? Because the instructor of this class is someone who failed me as a wide-eyed freshman who hadn't even decided on a major yet. It didn't phase me that he had failed me--in fact he may be the reason I decided to pursue a major in History. But today I felt as if I had a lot to prove and was seeking some sort of redemption. I should also say since this professor failed me as a freshman I retook the class, passed with an A, and also took an independent study course from him in which I worked harder than I have ever worked on one single research paper and he gave me an A. However, today I still felt as if I had much to prove. I did. Whatever there was to prove I left that classroom this morning feeling quite satisfied with myself and my presentation. Redemption? Maybe. It sure felt like sweet redemption.

Thought in Passing

Something Left Undone
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow


Labor with what zeal we will,
Something still remains undone,
Something uncompleted still
Waits the rising of the sun.

By the bedside, on the stair,
At the threshold, near the gates,
With its menace or its prayer,
Like a mendicant it waits;

Waits, and will not go away;
Waits, and will not be gain said;
By the cares of yesterday
Each to-day is heavier made;

Till at length the burden seems
Greater than our strength can bear,
Heavy as the weight of dreams,
Pressing on us everywhere.

And we stand from day to day,
Like the dwarfs of times gone by,
Who, as Northern legends say,
On their shoulders held the sky.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

My Day of Jubilee

Today marks somewhat of a milestone in my life, not a major one by any stretch of the imagination, but a milestone of good health worthy of celebrating and that I plan on doing. Tomorrow morning I am giving a presentation to Dr. Ron Hatzenbuehler's class at Idaho State University on the research value of the Stallings Collection and then I will be on the road to Boise.

Returning from the trip will signal two things--back to work on the Stallings Collection full time and back to classes full time...just in time for the semester to be wrapping up and summer school will be beginning.

The greatest part about the trip to Boise, other than the mere fact that I have a bad case of cabin fever, is that my best friend of fourteen years, my kid brother, is going with me. And while we are in Boise we're going to catch up with a dear friend of mine from high school who will be there for an interior design conference.

I am very excited for the trip and quite antsy to get out of town. We don't even have any big plans for the trip, just fly by the seats of our pants sort of planning. Should be a great time and I will tell you all about it when I return. I'm taking my laptop with me to Boise, so I may post along the way, but nothing serious until Monday.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

News Out of Pocatello: Draper Murder Trial

Channel 6 is reporting that the sequestered jury in the Brian Draper murder trial here in Pocatello is now (at about 4:15 pm) in deliberation. There should be a verdict by the end of the day--I'll keep you posted.

UPDATE 8:59 PM: News Channel 6 is reporting that the verdict is in and the court proceeding will reconvene in 20 minutes.

A warning for those of you following this and are thinking about checking out the KPVI website--the page is very slow to refresh...

UPDATE 9:32 PM: In Judge Peter McDermott's courtroom, the verdict has been returned in the trial of Brian Lee Draper, a Pocatello student accused of killing classmate Cassie Jo Stoddart with alleged co-conspirator Torey Adamcik (all three 16 years old) last September. The charges are murder in the first degree and conspiracy to commit murder in the first degree.

The Verdict: Guilty on both charges.

In terms of sentencing, I'm not sure when that happens, but I know the prosecution was shooting for life in prison.

I also think that the conclusion of the Draper trial is just what we can expect from the upcoming Adamcik trial.

As a side note in this very disturbing story, I have been very impressed with the coverage KPVI has consistently put out for the community and I am equally impressed with the new setup of their website.

Notes on a Scandal

Wow. Really wow. I just finished watching Notes on a Scandal. Wow.

I am absolutely blown away by the twisted story that lays out so beautifully in this film. I had read the book by Zoë Heller, originally titled [What Was She Thinking?] Notes on a Scandal, around Christmas of my sophomore year of college (2004), and I didn't particularly enjoy it nor did I even glimpse the magnitude of the story. After the film came out in theaters this past December I sat down to read the book again so that when I viewed the film I would remember the details in an attempt to judge the filmmaker in his challenge of doing justice to the book.

Today the DVD was released of the film and I picked it up on my way home. As I sat down to watch the film I have to admit my expectations were low because I wasn't particularly happy with the book either time I read it and I have found only a handful of movies based on books that I felt did justice to the author's creation.

Boy was I wrong going into this one.

Not only are Judi Dench and Cate Blanchett amazing actresses, as you are watching them you seem to forget that these women are anyone other than the characters they play onscreen. If I didn't know better I would believe I had just met two women by the names of Sheba Hart and Barbara Covett. Perhaps that is what makes them amazing actresses?

When I read the novel, both times, I found it odd in one portion of the book (wonderfully scripted for a scene in the film) that Barbara had asked Sheba if when she was in school they participated in a somewhat odd stress-reducing activity of stroking each other's arms. Sure, weird, I know, but I didn't read anything into it. Somehow throughout the entire novel I missed the complete obsession Barbara has with Sheba in a very twisted way. I missed in the novel, or maybe it wasn't there, that Barbara had this sort of an obsession with a previous woman. And I must say with mention of the restraining order, the order placed by the previous female teacher that Barbara had become obsessed with, I was stunned. How did I miss this?

In addition to this, I hadn't realized the age difference between Sheba and her husband. Bill Nighy plays Richard, Sheba's husband, in the film and his appearance in contrast to that of his wife, played by Cate Blanchett, is stark.

I'm quite disappointed in myself for having missed so much in the book--which seems to be very close to the film because many of the lines rang in my head as very, very familiar.

One of the other very unexpected things that came with viewing the film is my disdain for both Sheba and Barbara for tearing apart that family (which you sort of are lead to believe comes back together near the end). My first reading of the book left my angry with Sheba for having given up so much for a mistake, my second reading left me the most angry with Barbara for betraying her friend, and my watching of the film left me angry with them both more or less because of Ben, Sheba's son. Maybe the book mentions it and my memory does not serve me well, but it wasn't until Ben's entrance in the first family scene with Sheba, Richard, Barbara, and the children, that it dawned on me that Sheba's disabled son has Down Syndrome. I have a very soft spot in my heart for those with Down Syndrome and when Ben walked into the room I think the best way to describe my reaction was rage. I was so furious with Sheba for doing what she did and even more furious with Barbara for watching her friend's life fall to pieces.

The affair between Sheba and her student doesn't come to light for a good twenty minutes into the film which is much different than the book where it appears on page one. At least in the book you know from the beginning, the movie gives you time to hope it isn't really going to happen.

Have I mentioned how blown away I was by the accuracy and brilliance of this film? The entire film rings familiar to those who have read the book which can't be said for some films taken from the context of books.

I finished watching the film a good hour ago and I am still sitting here amazed with it. Surprised, completely thrown off, and reeling, but very much impressed with this particular filmmaker and whomever created the screen play. Wow.

Really wow.

ISU Responds to Tragedy at Virginia Tech

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff:

In the wake of the tragic violence at Virginia Tech University, where more than 30 people were shot and killed by a lone gunman, Idaho State University would like to express sympathy for those touched by this traumatic event.

ASISU president Ryan Sargent is making arrangements for a vigil. This will allow the ISU community to publicly express its solidarity with its peers at Virginia Tech. Details will be publicized as soon as they are available.

We extend our thoughts and prayers to the Virginia Tech campus, as well as to the family and friends of those who have been touched by this violence. We join the nation in mourning the loss of innocent lives.

With Sympathy,
Dr. Arthur C. Vailas
President, Idaho State University
-- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --

To the Entire ISU Community:

In response to the tragedy at Virginia Tech, we want the Idaho State University community—faculty, staff and students—to be aware of several opportunities to assist in dealing with this situation and its aftermath, as well as support mechanisms that will be available.

First, on Monday night, April 16, 2007, at 7 p.m. in the Garrison-Turner dining hall, an open meeting will be held to discuss the issues and how ISU is responding. Staff from the Dean of Students’ Office, the Department of Housing, and the Counseling Center will be present to address concerns. In addition, the Counseling Center will make available over the next several days licensed counselors and psychologists to meet with faculty, staff, or students on an as-needed basis, regardless of time of day. The center’s number is (208) 282-2130 in Pocatello and (208) 282-7750 in Idaho Falls.
Further, ISU Public Safety, Pocatello Police, and Housing staff (both student and professional) will be making additional rounds and contacts both in residence halls and across campus.

Another initiative involves student leadership at ISU.

We also encourage anyone with concerns or questions about Idaho State University’s response, or suggestions for actions that may be needed, to call the Dean of Students’ office at (208) 282-2315, or the Office of Public Safety at (208) 282-2515.

Sincerely,
Dr. Lee Krehbiel
Interim V.P. of Student Affairs

Steve Chatterton
Director of Public Safety

Monday, April 16, 2007

Thoughts & Prayers

My thoughts and prayers go out to the families of those who were killed today on the campus of Virginia Tech and to the officials who are trying to both deal with the details as they unfold and who are there trying to console the victims' families.

I was just finishing junior high school when the Columbine massacre occurred and now as I am finishing my senior year of college another horrible massacre has occurred. These incidents serve as a reminder to me, and many, many other students across the nation, that we are very comfortable in our every day routines and we often take for granted campus safety. I for one was much more thankful for my cubby hole in the basement of the library today--hidden away from the world--and I didn't once complain about the seclusion.

I would also like to express me deep regards to a dear friend of mine who is struggling today with the untimely death of her brother.

They buried Petty Officer 2nd Class Curtis Hall in Burley, Idaho, today. After the streets were lined with community members paying their respects yesterday as his body was brought home, today the community came together again to bury a fallen hero.

There just don't seem to be any cheerful stories in the news today. This too shall pass. Until then all I can offer are my thoughts and prayers.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

No. 42

Saturday, April 14, 2007

A Fallen Hero In My Hometown

Evidently, as apparent in this editorial, some in Burley and the Mini-Cassia area were irritated with the South Idaho Press editoral decision to hold a story about the death of a sailor last week in Iraq.

Chip Thompson, managing editor of the South Idaho Press, wrote on Tuesday that even though at times a story is already circulating in the community, it is necessary for the paper to wait. It is necessary to give the family of the fallen proper time to learn of their loss and appropriate time to grieve.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Curtis R. Hall was killed near Kirkuk. Hall was one of three members of a bomb-disposal convoy killed while conducting combat operations.

As an American every fallen soldier in Iraq bothers me immensely, but when the fallen are Idahoans, I tend to step back and really face the issue that I so often ignore with the evening news--our brave soldiers are dying in a war we should have never entered and should not allow our president to control.

I've spoken with Diana Rowe-Pauls of We Have Failed Our Duty As Citizens several times about the death of her brother and even though we are not related, I wish we were because not only is she a wonderful, bright, articulate person, she understands very intimately the cost of this war. And she has not been afraid to stand up and say we shouldn't be there, we need our men and women home now.

Today I could not agree with Diana more. Bring them home. Bring them home now.

Curtis Hall's parents built a home next to my best friend in Burley when I was a kid. Curtis Hall's mother worked at my elementary school. Curtis Hall was often enlisted in the horrible task of walking me into the school when his mother was on bus duty because as a five and six year old I struggled with the idea of being away from home for more than ten minutes at a time and was known to scream bloody murder once the school bus pulled in front of the school. He didn't ever mind when his mom made him walk this screaming girl, just three years younger than him into school. Curtis was so unbelievably mature and brave. He saved his father in a rafting accident, was his mother's pride and joy, and was looked up to by many.

The death of Curtis R. Hall has been a reminder to me and I hope through me a reminder to all those that read this that Iraq is costing far more than Congress, the President, and the Department of Defense are willing to admit. Iraq is costing us brave and admirable men like Curtis Hall in staggering numbers.

My prayers are with the Hall family, my thanks to Chip Thompson for holding the story despite angered readers, and my thoughts are with the leaders of this nation who owe it to the friends and family of Curtis Hall and thousands of other fallen heroes to get us out of Iraq now.

Iraq: Silent Chamber

Smorgasbord Saturday Snapshots


More progress at the site of what will eventually be Bright Tomorrows--looks like they are working on the plumbing at this point.


Figured I hadn't shown a picture of my bulletin board in awhile...



Took my bike out today to the AMI Trailhead south of town. Pretty nice day in Pocatello, but I only passed one person on the trail. I'm hoping to feel up to City Creek sometime soon.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Quote of the Day

"Mere opinions, in fact, were as likely to govern people's actions as hard evidence, and were subject to sudden reversals as hard evidence could never be. So the Galapagos Islands could be hell in one moment and heaven in the next, and Julius Caesar could be a statesman in one moment and a butcher in the next, and Ecuadorian paper money could be traded for food, shelter, and clothing in one moment and line the bottom of a birdcage in the next, and the universe could be created by God Almighty in one moment and by a big explosion in the next— and on and on." Galapagos, Kurt Vonnegut

Thursday, April 12, 2007

So [He] Goes...

The esteemed author Kurt Vonnegut has died. Here, an excerpt from the UK's Guardian:


Perhaps I am too young to have fully grasped Vonnegut's influence, but can fully understand why today many are in mourning. It occurred to me as I read the headline this morning that all year as I've been giving presentations on the Stallings Collection at ISU, my power point presentation has ended with a quote from Vonnegut: "History is merely a list of surprises. It can only prepare us to be surprised yet again."

_______________________
Kurt Vonnegut
1922 - 2007

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Apologies, Articles, & Afterthoughts

First and foremost I wish to apologize to d2 of 43rd State Blues for merely stating that the conflict taking place over there is simply "very interesting." I was out of my mind most of the weekend dealing with a plate full of problems and though I was watching curiously, amazed at how ridiculous the other party is behaving, I didn't mean to be so dispassionate and dismissive by calling the situation merely "very interesting."

Another apology of sorts is related to yesterday's YouTube post. I should have prefaced the video with some sort of explanation. Chris Hartwell lived next door to me in Burley when I was kid. My earliest memories of baseball are with the Hartwell boys. They are the reason I love the Atlanta Braves--otherwise I would have ended up a San Francisco Giants fan--and every year when baseball season rolls around I think of them. Chris went to George Washington University and was the intern director for Larry Craig for awhile (don't hold that against him). Now he is living in Utah with his new wife and continues to concentrate on his music. When I ran across that YouTube video I just had to share.

I finally tracked down this article by Richard Stallings on the broken promises of the legislative session. Take a look...

And by way of articles, I found this little piece by Bill Nye (yeah, the Science Guy) particularly funny. You know hitters are scared when they're having the Science Guy dissect the pitches of Daisuke Matsuzaka.

As an afterthought, maybe I should mention the chaos of the weekend and why my posts have been so random and vague these days. As a side effect or outcome of being so sick in February and March, my blood pressure hasn't played well with my eyes. My vision in my left eye with my glasses on is a measly 20/100 which from what I can tell isn't good at all. So, that lovely problem has caused some awful headaches. And I am forced to switch back and forth between contacts, glasses, reading glasses, or a combination of reading glasses and contacts. Hopefully this issue will be resolved soon and I'll be a little less grouchy and a little more able to read without getting a headache the size of Texas. To top it all off I was up most of Saturday night dealing with our fire alarm because our self-cleaning oven was turned on without any ventilation... Needless to say, if I've come across a little irritable and, as a friend would say, "terse," I apologize.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

My Friend Chris

New Release: Bobby on DVD

The DVD itself looks like this (top), though I am much more fond of the movie poster (below).



Sunday, April 8, 2007

One Very Effed Up Weekend

The only positive thing I have to say about Easter weekend is that I had a very lovely lunch with a very intelligent man on Saturday who I find myself looking up to more and more with each passing day.

Me using the term "effed" is proof alone that I've had a rotten weekend. What a bizarre word.

I had to blow off a friend Saturday night who I had hoped to catch a movie with. I had to blow off someone else today because of chaos at work. And I haven't had enough sleep which causes me to be grouchy on its own.

This evening I happened to watch the CBS drama Cold Case which I watch fairly frequently. However, tonight it was very good in a historical sense and very rough in an emotional sense. One of my favorite characters on television happens to be Detective Lily Rush who has a one of the most difficult relationships with her mother that I ever seen. That alone wore me out.

I realized I had left my cell phone on silent when I got home today and now have numerous phone calls to return, but I think it is probably too late in the evening to do that and I'm more than ready for bed.

Another positive--the Braves beat the Mets today. Kelly Johnson had a solo homer in his first at bat which was amazing. Really, I just love those red uniforms...

Also, my Yahoo! Fantasy Sports team is up twelve points to a few great players including Mr. Andruw Jones--who for all intents and purposes we can refer to as Superman from here on out. Bobby Abreu and Chris Carpenter might be in trouble (Abreu was hit by a pitch, Carpenter is having arm troubles), but the rest of my team isn't looking too bad.

Some things to look forward to on this awfully horrible day--Andruw Jones will wear the number 42 on the 15th in honor of Jackie Robinson day, the great film Bobby comes out on Tuesday (which I plan on running right out and purchasing), and tomorrow I am going to watch Charlotte's Web.

I'm hoping for a less effed up week.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Smorgasbord Saturday

I've been watching very closely the Craig/Vandersloot ordeal go down over at 43rd State Blues for hours now...come to find out while I was gone, d2 made the decision to redact the original rumor written by Tom Paine. Very interesting, to say the least.

I ran across a great little blog--quite by accident--last night that I'd like to share with you all: Boston 1775 is an analysis based in the history of the American Revolution. If you have a minute, take a look. And hopefully you'll all appreciate it, as I did.

While I'm on the topic of great finds in the blogosphere--here's a great semi-blog (more than a blog, but I consider many, many blogs to fit this category) all about baseball. The ultimate blog if you ask me!

Schedule related--the Braves will play tomorrow, Easter Sunday, against the Mets. Sexy red uniforms even... So far it has been a very strange series between NY and Atlanta due to weather and screw ups. Will make for an interesting game. As a side note, TBS has picked up the playoffs this year which I am very excited about. Though they are cable, I enjoy their commentators much more than I do those over at Fox.

Last night I was able to finally watch The Good Shepard and I must admit I went into it with very low expectations. Perhaps it coming out at the same time as a similarly titled film--The Good German--or all the hype of other movies coming out this week had detracted from this particular film. Whatever the case may be, for someone like me, this story of the CIA in its early years (leading up to the Bay of Pigs fiasco) was very enlightening and I found it to be not only well written, but the script itself was well executed. I bet the copies flew off the shelves at your local video stores, in fact I snagged the last copy of my local, favorite Video Stop, but when they return to the shelves, pick up this great film.

As long as I'm on the topic of films I've watched recently, I must recommend a great Jacques Tati film titled Playtime. If you have never watched a Tati film, I highly recommend you do so. This past week the gentleman I work with on the Stallings Papers asked if I had seen the film and I hadn't, but once upon a time had seen Tati's film The Big Day (very loose translation). So, I was up for the viewing and was pleasantly surprised by this French film. Tati, for those of you unfamiliar with him, is very clever and his films for the most part play on this wit and are able to present comedy without over doing it. In a world of films with cheap comedic value (without meaning to take a stab at them, I would suggest the works of Jon Heder and Will Ferrell), it is a wonderful experience to sit down and watch comedy that isn't reaching for the laugh, but rather accomplishing it quite simply on its own merit.

I can't seem to think of anything else that qualifies for a Smorgasbord Saturday post, so in parting I will wish all a Happy Easter--however you choose to celebrate Easter. I don't necessarily celebrate Easter, but rather celebrate the changing of the seasons. So, however you choose to celebrate I wish you a happy day of good weather and good friends!

Friday, April 6, 2007

You know it's serious when they bring in the porta-potty...




Bright Tomorrows

As you all have noticed, I have been quite curious and fascinated with the construction project that is taking place behind my home in Pocatello. Well, today I have answers.

While I was leaving the Administration building at ISU this morning I ran into Mayor Roger Chase. As we stopped to discuss other matters, I thought quickly enough to ask him about the project is taking place where the old Campfire USA building (and prior to that and many other businesses, the City of Alameda office) once stood. He reminded me that the Campfire building was in fact condemned due to environmental problems. I knew there were problems with the building, but I wasn't entirely sure what they were until I saw them tear down the first exterior wall which revealed large amounts of mold on the interior walls. Perhaps a faulty and leaky roof had allowed this. Regardless, the building could no longer be used and was scheduled to be torn down.

After discussing the building itself and the close proximity to my own home (an assisted living facility for developmentally disabled adults where I am the houseparent) which the mayor's wife was instrumental in getting the neighborhood to agree to its construction many, many years ago, Mayor Chase filled me in on some details:

The new facility that is being built is in fact a behavioral treatment center for sexually abused children, the current facility for Bright Tomorrows is located on Maple. Mayor Chase mentioned that he had promised the neighborhood that he would not be placing any health facilities in the area when the plans for the new hospital were made public, but he could not let the children that would be using the behavioral center go without a proper facility. So, after public hearings the City of Pocatello decided to go ahead with the project and the center will be built as planned.

What amazes me most about the project is what it is costing the City of Pocatello--next to nothing. Why? Because a local architect, a local contractor, and many local contributors have donated their time, talents, and money to build the facility.

I am going to do a little more digging to see if I can find the exact cost of the facility and details on who is doing the work. I can't say how proud I am of all parties involved, including members of my neighborhood who have allowed this project to go forward. Within in two city blocks there are two assisted living facilities (one for the elderly, one for developmentally disabled adults), the Pocatello Free Clinic, and the soon to be home of Bright Tomorrows.

Another very nice thing the Bright Tomorrows center will bring to the community, other than the services they provide, will be office space available to the Pocatello Free Clinic that right next door which will allow for the Free Clinic to open its doors to more low-income patients.

As I get more details and as I take more pictures of the progress I will keep you posted.

The ISJ

If you happen to be in the Pocatello area, please pick up a copy of the Idaho State Journal. In it you will find a very nice section on the Civilian Conservation Corps.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

The Story Behind the Stallings Collection

As many of you know, I am currently serving as a Student Administrative Intern (what was once called a Presidential Intern) at Idaho State University. My project, as proposed last April, is to create a preliminary inventory of the Stallings Congressional Collection housed in the Department of Special Collections at ISU. My original proposal is by no means a reflection of what I am actually doing. It is a major understatement of the project I have taken on.

Processing, cataloging, and creating an extensive finding aid for the Stallings Collection requires not only many, many hours of work, but a great deal of research. Since I began the project, I have visited three universities and the state historical society in an effort to better grasp the contents and organization of political manuscript collections. I have looked at the papers of numerous Idaho politicians, many of Richard Stallings' contemporaries, and have formed my own conclusions of what works and what doesn't in terms of preparing a collection for researchers.

Long before the prospect of spearheading this project arrived before me, I began a research project under the direction of a professor at ISU using primary resources to form a particular conclusion. I had taken this on as an independent study course due to my disinterest in the traditional courses being offered that semester and as an attempt to challenge myself. What I didn't know is what the research project would become. One November day, just before the Pocatello City Council elections, I was driving around Pocatello campaigning with Richard Stallings. We were discussing my academic pursuits and the courses I was planning on taking in the spring. I mentioned that I wanted to take on an independent project looking at primary sources, but that I was bored with the most used collection at ISU--the papers of Dr. Minnie Howard. It was in that moment, that November day, when I learned that former Congressman Richard Stallings' papers were sitting in boxes in the basement of the ISU library and had been since 1993.

My independent research project began as an attempt to understand the changing political nature of Idaho's Second Congressional District, but due to the lack of polling data within the collection, I shifted to addressing the issue of Stallings' pro-life stance and how that was perceived by Idaho voters. In one semester I had opened nearly every last box of that collection, a total of 266 boxes, completely fascinated by this career that I somehow had known so little about. It was in that one semester that I realized how much I admired Richard Stallings and how important those 266 boxes were and are to Idaho history and to ISU as a whole.

I applied for the presidential internship following a meeting Stallings had with then President Gallagher and thought it was a long shot that a presidential internship would be awarded to a student wanting to process a congressional collection. But I sold the collection in my proposal--I spoke confidently of its importance as a key resource for Idaho historians, journalists, political scientists, and scholars. I stood by my belief that the Stallings Collection would offer a unique glimpse into the everyday working of American government as well as would offer wonderful resources related to environmental policy, federal nuclear energy regulation, and the farm credit crisis of the 1980s.

What was originally going to be a project resulting in a preliminary inventory of the collection as a first step toward a final processing of the collection allowing it to open to the general public in January of 2008 became an enormous undertaking requiring every effort I could muster and every minute I could spare. My responsibility and obligation to this collection has grown in ways I didn't know a person could when it came to an attachment to 266 boxes of paper. It is a responsibility I do not take lightly and I consider myself to be a steward of sorts, hoping to bring these scholarly resources to others who will appreciate them as much as I do.

My presidential internship ends with the semester and I am having to reapply. I feel myself trying to justify my work and how important the collection is to the university. Though it has been a trying day in doing this, I stand by my belief that this collection will provide unique research opportunities to the university, the community, and the state of Idaho.

Looking back at that November day of campaigning when this wonderful opportunity caught my attention, I am so grateful. Grateful to ISU for allowing me to take on this opportunity and am immeasurably grateful to Richard Stallings for having faith and confidence in my abilities as well as trusting me with this very treasured period of his life. The wonderful quote from Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, "some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them" comes to mind when I think of my part in the Stallings Collection. I may not be great, but greatness has been thrust upon me. I'm taking part in something great and will one day be able to say that while I was a student at Idaho State University I was a part of creating this great and lasting tribute to a true Idaho statesman and public servant.

Now It's a Hole...

Quote of the Day

Be advised; Heat not a furnace for your foe so hot
That it do singe yourself: we may outrun,
By violent swiftness, that which we run at,
And lose by over-running. Know you not,
The fire that mounts the liquor til run o'er,
In seeming to augment it wastes it?
-- William Shakespeare, Henry VIII

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Spring Style?

** Editor's Note: So, I'm going back to work tomorrow (Yippee!) and hopefully all classes next week which means my frequency in posting may slow a bit. Because I anticipate this and know my next 2 posts (or soon to be posts) on Patterson and short stories will take a substantial amount of time, I want to throw this post up--fairly off the wall, but on my mind.

Have you ever spent any amount of time thinking about the uniforms major league baseball players wear? I have. Recently I've become fond of the Braves' alternate uniforms and when I was a kid I thought the Montreal Expos must be out of their minds to be out there in that get-up. But really if you think about it, some teams have had a rough go with uniform choices.


One of the most recent teams that has caught my eye are those poor Arizona Diamondbacks--their uniforms were awful before, but now they are even worse! They've upgraded to some red uniforms that are way too similar to the Astros' uniforms. I heard on Fox Sports (the crappy Rocky Mountain version that shows the Rockies games waaaay too often) that when the Diamondbacks took the field for the first time some announcers confused them for the Astros and wondered what was up with the schedule... Though I much prefer red over their old purple color, they really should have thought this one through. The sad part? It takes a whole lot to convince the league to allow a team a new look and many people are involved--don't you think somoeone might have said, hey, I think they look too much like Houston? The same argument could be said for certain versions of the Giants and Tigers uniforms, but that's an argument for another day.

Another team that seems to have gotten the shaft when it comes to uniforms is the San Diego Padres, but more and more I am loving their new lineup of uniforms. Home, away, alternate, they are all good. And more and more I am liking the Padres as a team... probably nothing to do with their newest lineup of uniforms, but hey, it could have helped right? Now don't get me wrong, a lot of great players wore those old uniforms, but come on, you just can't feel good about playing ball in those!
One uniform that I just love is this one for the Nationals. They've come a long way not only as a team (remember the Senators?), but as a stylish group of ballplayers.
Yep, you heard it here first on a political blog, nonetheless. I think a group of men wearing cups and spitting who knows what out the corners of their mouths are stylish!

A GREAT Dear Abby

April 3, 2007, 1:11AM
Dear Abby
Rude use of 'retarded' hurts many

Dear Abby:

I was so glad to see the letter from "Irritated in Missouri" (Feb. 11), referring to people calling each other "retarded."

I have a son with Down syndrome who is my absolute joy, and it breaks my heart to hear people use his disability as a derogatory insult. My son is my hero, and I am proud to be his mother. I cannot say his name without smiling.

No parent I know denies that their "special" children are mentally retarded, but to use the name of their disability in a derogatory and insulting manner is inexcusable.

Thanks for letting me vent!

PROUD TO BE SHANE'S MOM

Dear Proud:

You're welcome. I, too, have heard the word "retarded" abused, and some of the people who have done it are in public life and should know better.

When I printed that letter, it resonated with many readers who have family members with disabilities who also described how hurtful it is.

Read on:

Dear Abby:

I am the younger sister of a mentally retarded woman. Anyone who knows my sister knows she is sweet, funny and caring.

She also has feelings and knows when she's being ridiculed, even if she doesn't always understand what is being said about her.

I have heard people my whole life use the word "retarded" as a derogatory slur. They stare and talk like we can't hear them when we're out with my sister.

I was taught from an early age that teasing anyone for any reason is wrong. I would have been punished for behaving that way.

I can understand the curiosity of small children. But older children and adults need a refresher course on basic manners, and parents and schools should stop turning a blind eye toward children who behave like this.

MISS M. in Ormond Beach, Fla.

Dear Abby:

I am the parent of a daughter with developmental disabilities, and it is painful when I hear a friend or colleague use the term as an insult. Thank you, Abby, for reminding people to treat others with respect.

For people who would like to learn how to talk sensitively about people with disabilities, I recommend a Web site: www.disabilityisnatural.com. There they will find commentary regarding "People First Language." I hope this is helpful.

TRICIA T., Roswell, Ga.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Quote of the Week

"People ask me what I do in winter when there's no baseball. I'll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring."
~Rogers Hornsby (of the once Boston Braves)

Opening Night & Fantasy Baseball

It is officially opening night of the 2007 Major League Baseball season!! Tonight the Mets and St. Louis play and also today of the Grapefruit and Cactus Leagues (pre-season, spring training sort of games) the Giants and the A's.

I, mostly out of tradition, do not celebrate until it is opening day with the first game of the Atlanta Braves season. So, I will be celebrating, albeit from the couch and with nothing strong to drink, tomorrow when the Braves take on the Phillies at 1:05 (Eastern). Also playing tomorrow are the Nationals against the Marlins, Yankees against the Devil Rays, Toronto against Detroit, Indians against White Sox, Dodgers and the Brewers, Cubs and Reds, Arizona and Colorado, Kansas City and Boston, the A's and the Mariners, Orioles and Twins, Houston and Pittsburg, and last but not least the Angels (formerly the Anaheim Angels, now the Los Angeles Angels at Anaheim??) against the Rangers.

How I have celebrated today is with a live draft on Yahoo! Fantasy Sports. My fantasy team is all set up and though I only got a handful of the players I pre-ranked, I am for the most part happy with my team. Here they are:

Ivan Rodriguez--Detroit, Catcher
Adam LaRoche--Pittsburg, 1st Base
Marcus Giles--San Diego, 2nd Base
Chipper Jones--Atlanta, 3rd Base
Edgar Renteria--Atlanta, Short Stop
Morgan Ensberg--Houston, 3rd Base
Orlanda Cabrera--LA Angels, Short Stop
Bobby Abreu--NY Yankees, Outfield
Andruw Jones--Atlanta, Outfield
J.D. Drew--Boston, Outfield
Mike Cameron--San Diego, Outfield
Barry Bonds--San Francisco, Outfield
Brain McCann--Atlanta, Catcher
Brian Giles--San Diego, Outfield
Brandon Inge--Detroit, 3rd Base
Sean Casey--Detroit, 1st Base
Chris Carpenter--St. Louis, Pitcher
Dontrelle Willis--Florida, Pitcher
Brad Lidge--Houston, Pitcher
Tim Hudson--Atlanta, Pitcher
Brad Penny--LA Dodgers, Pitcher
Grad Maddux--San Diego, Pitcher
Kevin Millwood--Texas, Pitcher
Rafael Soriano--Atlanta, Pitcher
Jered Weaver--LA Angels, Pitcher

I can't remember the exact order in which I drafted them, but I can say the top two players I wanted were Jose Reyes of the New York Mets and John Smoltz of the Atlanta Braves, neither of which I snagged in time. I think I was 8th in line with the way the computer randomly picks your draft lineup in your league (I think there are 10 people in my league which I picked some what randomly based on its name which is the Washington Nationals). I do know that my first round draft pick was Bobby Abreu--and for the record I have never drafter a single player from the Yankees, this is a first. My second round pick was Andruw Jones and third round ended up being Chris Carpenter mostly out of shock that no one had snagged him yet. And Pudge Rodriguez came in the fourth round. I picked all my catchers in the first ten of twenty-five rounds. Can you tell I'm a catcher? The players I was most resistant in drafting were Barry Bonds because of the steroid issue and his risk of injury odds being high, Jered Weaver because he is currently on the DL, and Sean Casey because I am always hesitant when it comes to last year's hot players.

With all this said, my main philosophy in drafting players is picking players that I love to watch. Looks like I'll be watching some serious Padres baseball this year! This will be a first as well. I would have snagged Mike Piazza if I wasn't over my limit with catchers when his name caught my eye... And I've always watched the Tigers and Braves so that won't be out of the ordinary. But as you can tell, if you have any knowledge of baseball, I picked some old Braves (Maddux), newly relocated Braves (LaRoche, Giles, Drew), current Braves (Hudson, the Jones boys, Renteria, Soriano, McCann), and a few guys I hope will one day cross over and be Braves (mainly Willis).

My team by no means looks like the top team in my league, but I'll be happy watching these guys' stats and keeping track of a few of my favorite teams. My one disappointment? For being on a league called the Washington Nationals, it really sucks that I don't have a single player from the Nationals...