Thursday, May 31, 2007

Quote of the Day

" . . . there are quiet victories and struggles, great sacrifices of self, and noble acts of heroism, in it - even in many of its apparent lightnesses and contradictions - not the less difficult to achieve, because they have no earthly chronicle or audience - done every day in nooks and corners, and in little households, and in men's and women's hearts - any one of which might reconcile the sternest man to such a world, and fill him with belief and hope in it . . ."
--Mr. Dickens, The Battle of Life

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Smothered

This afternoon I was on the phone with my best friend (and younger brother) discussing his plans for the upcoming weeks. When I called he was asleep. At three in the afternoon, mind you, he was dead asleep. He proceeded to tell me how he had been up much of the previous night with a friend of his playing Guitar Hero and watching scary movies. When our call ended I found myself jealous. Not of Guitar Hero or the scary movies, just of the carefree attitude he can have at his age and the wide open summer he has ahead of him. How would it be?

As I've thought over the last week or two about my own summer plans, I have felt something I can explain only as smothered. I feel smothered.

Last fall when I began the academic year I had accepted leadership of the College Democrats, was beginning another term on the ASISU Senate, was carrying a full class load, and two jobs, one of which was the daunting Stallings Collection. I resigned from the College Democrats, eventually resigned from the Senate after fighting a valid (and uphill) fight, and remained dedicated to my school work and the Stallings Collection. Looking back, that first month of fall semester I felt completely smothered.

In comparison to how I feel now, I would take that first month of fall semester hands down.

The weird thing is, in comparison to my responsibilities then, what I have on my plate now in no way compares. What I've come to conclude from this is that it isn't necessarily the time commitment that wears us down with our obligations, it is the personal nature of those obligations. If they are highly personal to us they take far more energy.

This summer I am trying to finish up two remaining requirements for my Bachelor of Arts in History. The classes themselves aren't difficult, granted I admit Latin American History is not my thing, but summer school feels like an imposition.

It bothers me that these classes and those I was taking the last part of the spring semester felt like an imposition. What else should I be doing with my life if not going to school? It is not senioritis. In the back of my mind I still love school just as much as I did that second or third day of kindergarten when I figured out what it was all about. And I know that this is an opportunity many don't get and I am incredibly thankful. It's just not been the best year for me academically.

This summer I am supposed to be working feverishly on the Stallings Collection. And I am. It's just slow going. Preserving history is nothing if not slow going.

Part of why I am feeling smothered has a lot to do with the people I surround myself with. This is absolutely not a bad thing. I'm just not very good at accepting the help of others, much less asking for it. The people around me are wonderfully supportive people who I know care for me, it's just difficult when you're a highly independent young person who isn't used to that sort of thing.

Ultimately this is where the smothered feeling has manifest itself.

A dear friend of mine said to me today that "somebody has got to mind the store," meaning somebody has to be watching over each of us to make sure we're doing what we're supposed to be doing. Very true. I guess I need to learn to accept that.

The overwhelming smothered feeling I've been grappling with the past few weeks doesn't seem to be easing, but I think in addressing it and recognizing its presence I can also learn to recognize the wonderful people (and outstanding influences) I have in my life.

Now if I could just recognize the necessary evil that is summer school...

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Profound...And Not So Much

Yesterday I mentioned that in James Patterson's 6th Target there was a line I found particularly interesting. I couldn't remember what it was. Well, with all my spare time I skimmed through the book last night and found it. Once I found it I realized it was nothing close to profound, but particularly funny if not down right hilarious if you understand the love Mr. Patterson must have for music (displayed frequently in his writing).

From page 207:

"And the piano was wrecked!"

Profound, no, but in the story they are investigating a series of murders and attacks in an apartment complex and this particular quote comes from a scene where the investigators have entered an apartment where a woman has been bludgeoned and in the process rammed the piano causing it's destruction. Not funny in the sense that this poor woman was brutally murdered, but leave it to Patterson to find the sight of the "wrecked" piano the most profound thing to say in that moment. Hilarious. And damn, it was a beautiful piano...

Now for the profound, really, truly profound. I was reading Uncle Orson Reviews Everything, that lovely site by Orson Scott Card that I adore. And in his latest post he writes of colleges as status symbols. You know, the typical 'if she went to an Ivy League school she must be brilliant and worth hiring argument. Anyway, Card writes:

"A good student can get a good education anywhere that has a decent library and a handful of good teachers -- which is the most you ever get in the Ivy League or other high-reputation schools."
Wow. What a simple, yet profound truth. I'm at a state university, in a state most people disregard no less, and yet with a handful of superb teachers and a decent library (extraordinary with the Stallings Collection added to its holdings) I have received an excellent education.

So, like I said, profound and well, not so much.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Smorgasbord Saturday

Saturday is here again and I've yet to live up to my promise that I would be posting on the Pocatello Community Charter School, Mr. Walter Cronkite, and hell, I can't even remember what my other promises were. I always have great plans for posts, I'm just not very good on the follow through. This very thing is the reason I was never a decent softball pitcher...

In music related news, I have discovered perhaps the greatest Eric Clapton album yet. Me and Mr. Johnson, released a couple of years ago, is the most amazing Clapton album I've listened to. How I missed it until now is anybodys guess. But now I have it and if you don't and you like blues and Clapton go out and buy it.

I'm out of town next weekend, or at least that's the plan as of now, but that means this weekend I'm at home resting, relaxing, and watching a whole lot of television. Have you seen Shut Up & Sing? If you haven't seen the documentary about the Dixie Chicks political ordeal, the one that started with the comment that they were ashamed George W. Bush is from Texas, go rent it, buy it, whatever it is you do to get your hands on really good films. I bought my own copy and watched this afternoon. Wow. Really wow. The whole time I was thinking I better get out and buy some of their earlier albums. And then I got thinking about the last Grammy awards and how well the Chicks did. Bravo. Their latest album is a steal as well. Buy that while you're out searching for my recommendations. Taking the Long Way is one of those albums you could listen to over and over again without getting sick of it. In fact I do listen to it all the time and I'm still just as hooked as I was after the first time I heard it.

In other television news, NBC has brought Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip back for a few weeks to finish airing the series. Yes, the series. It was cancelled. It is now running on Thursday nights (where it probably should have been in the first place, not Sundays) at 9pm (here anyway). Thursday night's episode featured a great role for Allison Janey. One that makes fun of her endlessly and brings back that old spark she and Danny had on The West Wing. I've heard a lot of people say their disappointment with Studio 60 stemmed from so many things coming straight out of The West Wing, too many recycled plots, quotes, etc. I, on the other hand, find that to be part of the brilliance of Studio 60. It is sort of like The West Wing never ended. And, if you've ever seen The American President, you know The West Wing took much from it. It's the way Sorkin writes, get over it.

In baseball news, Barry Bonds hasn't hit a home run since May 8th. Can't say I'm all that disappointed with that, gives me more time to prepare myself for Bonds passing up by baseball hero. It does disappoint me that Bonds isn't hitting at all since he's on my Yahoo! Fantasy Baseball team, but hey, you can't have a whole roster of studs. Hell, I can't have a handful. Chipper Jones is hurt, Brian Giles isn't in good shape, three of my pitchers are on and off the DL, and I'm down to 7th place (in a league of 12). My own damn fault for picking up Barry, I guess.

My favorite historian has a new book out. Just released is Nixon and Kissinger: Partners in Power by Robert Dallek. I'm only on page 200, but so far I have been impressed. The thing I love about Dallek is his honesty. I was able to read several of his books on Johnson without much pain--Johnson is my least favorite U.S. President. The power struggle and intense personalities of Nixon and Kissinger is certainly not lost on Dallek.

Yesterday I read the latest installment in the Women's Murder Club series by James Patterson. The 6th Target is another superb thriller by Patterson with all the great little pieces I love so much about Patterson's writing. I wish I could remember the quote I laughed about for a good hour...it'll come back to me. And when it does, I'll share. Speaking of Patterson, I can't remember if I ever posted the piece I was working on about Patterson. I better double check.

That's it. For a Saturday, not too bad, though not so political. And geez, I'm slow getting the blog template back to normal. I'll get on that tonight.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Yesterday is further proof that...

...I will never run for office. Why? Because on the very day my party, the party I've loved since the day I was old enough to understand the key and often trivial differences between Republicans and Democrats, conceded to a President who is the leader and key architect of the worst foreign policy objectives of recent American history, the most controversial thing I had to say was that John Smoltz deserves a place in Cooperstown.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Welcome to Cooperstown, Mr. Smoltz

Tonight John Smoltz hit the landmark of 200 Major League career wins. In a shut out game at Turner Field in Atlanta, Smoltz threw seven perfect innings to take home his 200th win.

Had it not been for field rules I'm sure the first person to congratulate Smoltz would have been his old teammate Tom Glavine (pitching for the Mets tonight).

Smoltz is the 106th pitcher in the history of Major League Baseball to win 200 games. He joins his former teammates Glavine and Maddux on that list of pitchers. And it is certain tonight that John Smoltz' place is secure in the baseball hall of fame.

Welcome to Cooperstown, Mr. Smoltz. And that fine career of yours isn't even over yet. How about another hundred or so wins?

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

House Cleaning

As you may notice over the next few days there will be some minor changes to the template of The Political Game. Please bear with me as I make a few changes. The sidebar is all out of whack with this new template change and some how all of my updates went with the old template and it will take a few days for me to make the necessary changes. If you don't see links to your blogs, hold your horses, they'll be back soon!

Monday, May 21, 2007

Truth at Ridenbaugh

I just stumbled across this article over at Ridenbaugh Press. Any other day I may not have thought much of it, after all I've been to Rupert, but just yesterday I was in Heyburn with my younger brother who described to me in great detail these "categories" Stapilus speaks of. Scary.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Idaho Senator Larry Craig on YouTube



"The Nation's Cemetery"

The June 2007 issue of National Geographic is not one to be missed. The issue has a full, black and white, three page spread of Arlington National Cemetery as well as numerous other gorgeous photographs of the Nation's cemetery and a beautiful article by Rick Atkinson.

This past Friday on Jeopardy! there was an entire category dedicated to the men (and women) buried at Arlington National Cemetery including William Howard Taft, a man I've come to greatly admire. It didn't occur to me until this morning that perhaps the producers of Jeopardy! placed the category in Friday's show to correspond with the latest issue of National Geographic.
Something in the Atkinson article stuck out to me and wasn't something I had ever thought about before. Every day at Arlington the grounds staff has a list of the funerals scheduled. The listing for each person includes their name, military rank, and next of kin. In all the time I've studied Kennedy and as many times as I've watched the clips of his burial at Arlington, I'd never known or thought about that sheet of paper with the list of funerals scheduled for November 25, 1963. Atkinson adds the schedule entry to his article:

John Fitzgerald Kennedy, Cdr. in Chief. NOK: Jqcqueline Kennedy, widow.

I wasn't alive when Kennedy was killed. I wasn't there when they buried him in Arlington. I've watched the films, read nearly everything there is to read on the funeral, and yet as I read that entry I got choked up. How heartbreaking. The nation mourned the loss of their leader, a wife mourned the loss of her husband, and they didn't even spell her name right nor did they mention that Kennedy had been a war hero, a veteran of the United States Navy. I had never given thought to the concept of what those groundskeepers must have felt as they prepared to bury the President of the United States, they too in mourning, they too in shock.

The article is accompanied by a map of the cemetery including the choreography of the hours. The map reminded me that Medgar Evers is buried at Arlington, not far from Taft and General Omar Bradley. I remember reading the book by Evers' wife, but I'd forgotten the portion that discussed his burial. The article discusses in detail the history of the cemetery, small anecdotes of the cemetery before it was thrust into the light and status of a national icon, a status that undoubtedly came with the Kennedy burial. And yet in all its glory and aura of heroism, the article reminds you of the cemetery's simplicity--the uniformity of the headstones and something I was reminded of, the one simple cross marking where Senator Bobby Kennedy was laid to rest.

There are few places in the world that are as somber as Arlington and the article does that fact justice.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

IDAHO YESTERDAYS

© Idaho Yesterdays, Used with permission of the editor.
When I was in the fourth grade I picked up a copy of Idaho Yesterdays, the state historical journal, for the first time. One of the first articles I read was a piece on Senator William Borah. At the time one of the few things I knew about Borah was that Senator Frank Church liked him well enough to have a portrait of Borah hanging in his congressional office. That portrait of Borah is now hanging in the Church reading room in the Department of Special Collections at the Albertson Library on the campus of Boise State University and my knowledge of Senator Borah is no longer restricted to the connection between Senator Church and that portrait.

Over the years I have read with great interest and excitement every edition of Idaho Yesterdays in print. By every edition I mean every edition in print since the journal was first published in 1957. I have spoken here on numerous occasions about political heartbreak, but I've not often mentioned the historian's equivalent. When Idaho Yesterdays ceased to be, or at least stopped being published for a time, I was heartbroken. I had read IY for years and it's disappearance from my reading list certainly was not met with acceptance. I was beginning my senior year of high school when the journal stopped being published due to state budget cuts. My senior year of high school was awful in many respects, the disappearance of IY included. To my surprise the journal returned and at the time I had finally made my way to Idaho State University after a rather eventful trek to Kent State University in Ohio. Looking back I can't help but wonder if part of the reason I am majoring in history at ISU now isn't at least due in part to the return of IY.

This past week I was given my own copy of the latest edition of the journal (photo above) and I must say that they just keep getting better and better! The last edition, centered around Idaho politics and communism in the state, was brilliant. By far my favorite edition ever published. However, with each glance at the latest edition I am forced to reconsider which edition is my favorite. The current edition centers around exchanges in Idaho ranging from the dietary obstacles of the Lewis & Clark expedition to the near mythical status associated with Donald McKenzie.

Last summer I had the wonderful opportunity to work as a student intern for IY and in doing so I had hands-on experience with the editorial and publication process. This is the first edition of IY that I have been able to watch from the beginning to publication which has given me quite the perspective. From this new found perspective I awaited the published edition with a few reservations. I admit to being skeptical about the musical addition, an idea to the credit of IY's editor, and it turned out to be brilliant. The musical addition is a CD in the back of the issue and on the CD are three tracks from Bona Fide and Friends, an Idaho trio. Absolutely brilliant.

If you have never before read Idaho Yesterdays, now would be a fine time to start. I cannot speak highly enough of this publication and of the people behind it.

Also, if you are interested in reading past editions of the state history journal the following institutions would be good places to start: Boise State University's Albertson Library has hard copies of every edition printed from 1957 to present located in both Special Collections and the McCain Reading Room, Idaho State University has an incomplete series located in Special Collections as well as a complete series housed on the third floor of the Eli M. Oboler Library in the Idaho Documents section (maybe I'll see you there), the Idaho State Historical Society has copies in the Idaho History Center located off of Old Penitentiary Road, the N.L. Terteling Library at Albertson College has a complete set, Lewis and Clark State College in Lewiston has a near-complete set in their library (with exception to the latest editions since the journal was reestablished, periodicals are shelved alphabetically in this library on the second floor), the Marshall Public Library in Pocatello has a few early editions that can be located by a librarian named Gene, and I am told, though I have not seen them with my own eyes, that the University of Idaho has a complete set as well. Can you see I am trying to get you all out looking for this superb publication? If all else fails, I have a nearly complete set at my house and I'd be more than happy to share.

In every edition of Idaho Yesterdays there is something for everyone. From fourth grade Idaho history teachers to twenty-something aspiring historians like me.

Every now and again in the Stallings Congressional Collection I run across letters written to Stallings by young Idaho students seeking information for their fourth grade Idaho history classes and I can't help but think back to the first edition of Idaho Yesterdays that I read as a fourth grader who had received the copy from my own congressman, unfortunately not Stallings, after inquiring about Idaho history materials. Don't wait to be introduced to Idaho Yesterdays by your congressman, start reading today.

Smorgasbord Saturday Snapshot


My eighty year old grandfather has been home alone all week so I have been making the trek to Blackfoot to check on him quite regularly. His cocker spaniel just had puppies and they are sooo cute--this coming from someone who is certainly not a pet person. Aren't they adorable?

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Weekend Series

This weekend the ISU server will be down which means I probably won't be able to access my email from 9am Saturday to 9pm Sunday. One might think this is no big deal, but I am a complete email addict and not being able to access my email is, well, a major catastrophe.

Except I am actually looking forward to this weekend for that very reason. I plan on turning off my phone for most of the weekend as well.

Next Friday I am taking the GRE (graduate entrance exam) so I can begin graduate work in the fall. I have some studying to do this weekend for that. I need to finish up a paper for the Spirit of the 60s course that I took an incomplete in this past semester. And I need to get caught up on the readings for my summer Latin American history course. I also need to refresh my memory so I can take a final exam for a course that ended way back in February that I also took an incomplete in.

The reason I tell you my weekend schedule and the server ordeal is because I have a weekend series of posts planned--real, in depth posts. A few of the topics on my mind that I would love to find the time to write about include the Pocatello Community Charter School, the most recent edition of Idaho Yesterdays, an update to add to what will become many, many posts on the progress of the Stallings Collection, and a few comments about Walter Cronkite (a tribute to Cronkite will be running on CBS tomorrow night).

It should be a happening weekend here at The Political Game, so keep an eye out.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Mothering

I don't know much about motherhood. I know a few women who get "motherly" on me every now and again, women I should appreciate a great deal more than I do for that very thing. But I do know this is what mothers and daughters should be.

Crossing Jordan

There seem to be a fair number of series finales this spring--Gilmore Girls, 7th Heaven (hopefully for real this time), The George Lopez Show, King of Queens, etc. Not to mention the shows cancelled in their first season--some that needed to be cut (Jericho, Close to Home), some wonderfully written (Studio 60), and some that just weren't on long enough for viewers to even have an opinion (The Black Donnelleys).

I'm one of those people who never catches on to how truly wonderful a series is until several seasons in. The two shows that fit this category for me are two of the only series I actually own on DVD--The X-Files and The West Wing. There are a few others that I've just recently started watching like Without a Trace, NCIS, and the late Gilmore Girls that I've absolutely loved. And then there are the shows I watch sporadically like Law & Order (all three), CSI (all three), and ER.

The title of this post is the title of a show that does not fit any of the categories mentioned--it's a show I've watched from day one. Crossing Jordan is one of very few shows that I watched from the first episode clear to the end. The only other shows I can think of off the top of my head that I watched from day one clear to the end are Dawson's Creek and Judging Amy.

What originally caught my eye about Crossing Jordan was the setting. I love Boston. One trip to Boston isn't enough and if you haven't been, book a flight tomorrow. So I began watching the show for all the city and then I really started to enjoy Jordan. Her independence and attitude is something that I think drew in a number of women in my age group. The quirkiness of Bug & Nigel was a bonus. And Garrett. Garrett was like a modern day Bogart and they played on that. Or at least the first couple of seasons did. Somewhere down the road things took a bad turn and the show slowly fell apart. In fact tonight's series finale was supposed to be the season finale until the last minute when NBC pulled the plug on the show.

This is exactly the same thing that happened to Judging Amy. They were set for another season and then got pulled near the end of their last season. To me it makes much more sense to let a show go out their last season knowing they are ending. That way it doesn't feel rushed and the characters get their last moments, episodes, etc.

The thing is, Jordan didn't end feeling rushed, but the episode was poorly planned and not what I started watching the show for. No Boston. So I watched fifty minutes or so of the finale and wasn't impressed. I was annoyed with the plane crash. Annoyed with Garrett being near death. And I certainly didn't like Bug being away from Lily. There were so many things I wanted to happen--I wanted to see Max (Jordan's dad) back. I wanted to see the former love interest of Garrett, D.A. Ranae Walcott back. But no. I was disappointed...

...Until the last ten minutes. Of course there was a happy ending. The plane wreckage was found, the crew saved, yada yada yada, but Garrett thanked Jordan for coming back from L.A. You'd have to have watched from the beginning to understand this, but it was a very touching sentiment. Most of all my favorite part of the finale was the closing song. Quite awhile ago, I don't even know what episode or season, all I know is that Jordan cried in her dad's arms at the end of the episode, this beautiful John Hiatt song called "Thirty Years of Tears" played in the background. There it was tonight at the end of the series. Quite fitting if you ask me.

Alright, that's enough from me on television. I'll spare you any more talk of what I've been watching at least until the fall.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Stallings Collection News

I received the official letter from the Office of the President of Idaho State University today stating that they will continue to fund me as a presidential intern working on the Stallings Congressional Collection for the upcoming 2007-2008 academic year!!

A few weeks ago I gave a presentation on the project and emphasized that the collection will allow ISU to be a research destination for many, many scholars. And it looks like my presentation as well as my dedication to the project has paid off.

The collection, as I'm sure I've mentioned, will open to the public in January of 2008. The main (Washington office) collection will be completely processed at that point and the rest of the files (from district offices and Stallings' work as U.S. Nuclear Waste Negotiator) will be completed soon there after.

ISU's acceptance of this project and monetary dedication to it's completion signals only a small portion of what I am hoping will become a new era of research at Idaho State.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Bike to Work Week

May is National Bike to Work Month and May 13th-18th is National Bike to Work Week with Friday the 18th being Bike to Work Day.

This past week I picked up a stack of information from the Bannock Planning Organization, the Portneuf Greenway Foundation, and the Idaho Transportation Department about the National Bike to Work Week. I am very impressed with the amount of work going into Porteuf Valley Bike to Work and wonder how I've missed it all these years that I've been in Pocatello.

There were two events over the weekend supporting the Green Bikes program and the Poky Free Bikes organizations here in town. I wasn't in town most of the weekend so I couldn't attend, but both of these organizations are worthy of all the support they can get. If you are interested in more on National Bike to Work Month, bicycle safety, the goings-on in the Portneuf Valley, Portneuf Greenway bike trails, and other environmentally friendly transportation you can visiit http://www.pokybiketowork.org/.

I can't commit to riding my bike every day this week to work and school, but I will be riding on Friday if not several days this week as I do most weeks when my time is spent on campus.

Please join me in this environmentally friendly, healthy, and fun week of cycling!

Weekend Snapshots


I love this statue! Situated right next to the Veterans Memorial, this statue is the epitome of the irrigated West and so very Idaho-esque (yes, I just made that word up).


I was in Burley on Saturday and stopped at the Cassia County Veterans Memorial right next to the courthouse on Overland. I'm not entirely sure when it was constructed, but it was my first visit.


The latest shot of the new Bright Tomorrows facility on Washington & Walnut. The roof is nearly complete (including the shingles) and most of windows and exterior doors have been installed.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Bonds

It seems every day now there appears a myriad of articles on Barry Bonds chasing Hank Aaron's home run record. Every day somebody else weighs in on the historical and societal implications of Bonds inching closer and closer to the record, yet in all the controversy and opining the strongest position being taken isn't written on paper, it's the action (or inaction) of Hank Aaron. Aaron has stated that he will not be in attendance when Bonds hits his 756th home run--passing up the long time record of 755 home runs hit by Hank Aaron.

Good for Hammerin' Hank!

I read today in The Birmingham News that older fans of the game tend to defend Aaron, while younger fans are in favor of Bonds passing up the record (an inevitable milestone). I don't necessarily agree. I, at the rightful age of twenty-two, am quite alarmed by the pouring out of support for Bonds. I suppose the argument can still be made that there is no hard proof that Bonds actually used steroids, but come on, have you looked at the man? I have a rookie card of Bonds who was much smaller then, though muscular and fit. Looking at him now, be in not for his one-of-a-kind smile, you wouldn't know he was the same guy. His broad shoulders appear inches wider than they ever did when he was a rookie and the man is simply huge. Did he use steroids? I'd bet my life savings on it.

In addition to my confusion as to why younger fans are still supporting the known steroid user, I have to wonder about today's young baseball fans. Have they no sense of history? Have they no respect for the leaders, heroes, and legends of the game? I would never in a million years put Barry Bonds in a category with the all-time best. Never would he appear among the giants--Babe Ruth, Willie Mays, Jackie Robinson, Rogers Hornsby, Lou Gehrig, Ted Williams, Ernie Banks, et al. You just don't look at Barry Bonds and say, yeah, he's got what the Great Bambino had. Hell no. So, I stand by my amazement that younger fans of the game are watching anxiously for the great 756.

Knowing that a few readers might say that younger fans are supporting Bonds because they grew up watching him, I must confess that there was a season of Giants baseball that I watched closely. In fact if I missed more than one televised game that year I would be surprise. The year was 1993, I was eight years old, and I loved Will Clark. For you baseball fans out there, you know that Will played first base for the San Francisco Giants as a rookie and up until 1993. He then played for Texas and Baltimore, ending his career after fifteen seasons. He played in six all-star games, received the gold glove award, and was a great all around player. His last year with the Giants was Bonds' first year and I think Bonds hit something like 45 or 46 homers that first season playing for the Giants placing him atop the leader board for homers in the regular season. It's not that I didn't like Barry, he had a stellar first season in the bay city, but there was just something smug about him that I didn't like. At eight I knew there was something about Bonds that just wasn't heroic.

The first year Bonds played with the Giants was the only year of my entire life I was a bigger fan of any team than I was of the Braves (I went back to the Braves in the '94 season and have stuck with them since).

You have to ask yourself how you feel about Cooperstown and then ask yourself how you would feel with Bonds having a place at Cooperstown. Perhaps my view of Cooperstown is skewed because one of my earliest memories of the Baseball Hall of Fame is Johnny Bench being inducted in '89 and I keep thinking of the alphabetical list of hall-of-famers and the thought of Bonds situated between Wade Boggs and Jim Bottomley distresses me. Looking at this year's inductees adds to my dismay--Cal Ripken, Jr. and Tony Gwynn, two true gentlemen of the game. I suppose I should worry less about Cooperstown, Bonds' place is secure with the heroes of baseball unless hard proof of his steroid use (proof other than Mr. Canseco) comes out between now and his induction, and worry more about Hammerin' Hank. In the back of my mind I had hoped nobody would ever take my favorite players' place on that leader board.

Regardless of when Bonds hits 756, the expected date is mid-June, I'll be with Hammerin' Hank--not at At&T Park or watching on ESPN.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Smoltz v. Maddux

Today the Braves and the San Diego Padres face off in Atlanta at Turner Field. This is game three of a four game series, so nothing newsworthy here except for a particular match up--yep, you guessed it Smoltz vs. Maddux. Two pitchers whose last matchup was in 1992.

Now, I'm a growing fan of the Padres and I don't need to elaborate on my feelings about the Braves, so as you can imagine I have quite enjoyed this particular series. Why today matters? Maddux. Greg Maddux is a former Brave and back in the good ole days he and Smoltz pitched together. He, Smoltz, and Tom Glavine. Can you believe it?

This match up has had me thinking about my all-time favorite Braves. Here they are, a fantasy roster of sorts, and some extras:

C: Javy Lopez
1B: Fred McGriff
2B: Marcus Giles
3B: Chipper Jones
SS: Rafael Furcal
OF: Andruw Jones
OF: J.D. Drew
OF: David Justice
P: Tom Glavine
P: John Smoltz
P: Greg Maddux

Other Favorites:
Ryan Klesko, Adam LaRoche, Brian McCann, Wilson Betemit, Jeff Franceour, Johnny Estrada, Vinny Castilla, Brian Jordan, Ryan Klesko, Julio Franco, Henry Blanco and Pete Orr.

Least Favorite: There's only one. With time I've forgiven David Justice for committing the ultimate sin (trading to the Yankees), but the one who I may never like again--Gary Sheffield. Yuck.

It shouldn't come as much of a surprise to anyone that some of my added favorites are catchers and first basemen. I was a catcher. First base when my knees were on the fritz. And center field when the temper was on the edge and it was that or face ejection.

Speaking of ejections--Bobby Cox is rapidly approaching the milestone of becoming the MLB manager who has been ejected the most. I think he'll pass up John McGraw with a few more ejections. The thing about Cox lately that I've noticed is the times that he is ejected they are logical complaints he has. Granted, call an umpire a horse's ass doesn't help his cause, but the man fights the right fights.

Back to the point at hand--today's game is only being televised on MLB-TV and FSN-HD, but I look forward to some great clips on Sports Center tomorrow night. Thursday the Padres and Braves will face off again and this time it will be televised on TBS (I plan on recording it).

Community College Proposal: Weighing In

Despite my earlier reservations I am beginning to see not only the need, but the necessity behind the creation of a community college in the Treasure Valley.

As a student who was born and raised in Idaho, I had very little intention of staying in Idaho for my college career, but was pleasantly surprised by what Idaho State University had to offer me. However, it is evident to me now (four years after graduating from high school) that had I not been awarded numerous scholarships at ISU and offered many from other universities, I would not have had the opportunity to attend college in Idaho much less anywhere else.

My position is one shared by many in my age group throughout the state. They not only need to attend college to attain a degree that will ensure them a good paying job, many of them would really like to attend college. What? Kids actually want to go to school? Yes, some of us do and only a few of us can afford it on our own.

This is why my opinion has changed so drastically regarding the creation of a community college in the Treasure Valley. At first I was not convinced that the state could afford it. The state can't seem to afford the universities it already has an obligation to support. But, here's the key--communities can afford to support colleges and/or universities. I say this knowing that communities like Twin Falls have been ultra supportive of CSI and CSI draws business to Twin that may not have come otherwise. And the Treasure Valley can certainly afford it. They have nothing to lose with a community college and so much to lose without it.

As one of my fellow bloggers mentioned, Idaho's biggest export is its children. So true. Of the eighty some odd students I graduated from high school with I can name at most a dozen who are attending school in Idaho. The cost is a huge part of this as well as the realization that when we are all finished (I suppose I shouldn't lump myself in this category since there are few places I'll be able to teach Idaho History when I'm through with my college career) there will not be decent job opportunities for us here.

Though not a resident of Canyon or Ada county, I am a resident of Idaho who sincerely hopes that the state can turn this around and keep our promising young students here. I know first hand that many of the students I go to school with are the future leaders of this state. I've often thought about the kid sitting next to me in a class and whether he or she could go on to govern this state. And on the flip side I've often thought about the kid sitting next to me at a restaurant or on the bus and wished more than anything that Idaho had something to offer him because he would make a wonderful leader for Idaho.

For more information on the need for a community college in western Idaho and for voting information for the residents of Canyon and Ada county, please visit Community College Yes.

More Bright Tomorrows




Sunday, May 6, 2007

A Cultural Wasteland

Every Sunday night I have a ritual which includes watching 60 Minutes on CBS and tonight I heard Lou Dobbs agree with a former Harvard professor of his who said Idaho is the cultural wasteland.

Dobbs grew up in Rupert, Idaho. Sure, I can understand a comment like that coming from a native of Rupert, but I can't help but think this was a blow below the belt for Idahoans.

I've never been a fan of Lou Dobbs. His view on immigration is a far cry from mine and he and I have very different opinions on many issues. However, he isn't afraid to come out and say he does not support George W. Bush and he isn't afraid to say publicly what a disaster the War in Iraq is. Despite his good qualities, Dobbs seems to have forgotten the good qualities of Idaho, much less Idahoans.

Bottom line--he's no Cronkite.

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Smorgasbord Saturday

Evidently I don't have much to say today since it has taken all day for me to think up something for this post. Earlier I was engrossed in a book about The Washington Post and now I'm watching closely the Dodgers/Braves matchup.

While watching baseball I have decided that wherever I go for graduate school (meaning wherever I am after my MA is complete at ISU) it better be in or near a stadium. Wouldn't it be great to spend every Saturday or Sunday of baseball season at a stadium? On a related note--I think I've mentioned that I play in a Yahoo! Fantasy Sports league and my team isn't half bad. My one complaint is that the fantasy baseball league I'm in, as well as most fantasy sport leagues, prevents team managers from dropping players that are ranked fairly well. This is understandable in that some pretty bogus trades are attempted by managers throwing away their chances of finishing the fantasy season in good standing, but this means I'm stuck with Chris Carpenter who is going to be out for at least three months for elbow surgery! I keep hoping that Yahoo! will re-evaluate his situation and take him off the "can't cut list."

Starting Monday it's Finals Week at ISU. For the first time in my college career I don't have any finals. It is an odd feeling to not be stressed to the limit like my classmates. This is due in part to taking an incomplete in several of my classes, but also due to the nature of my academic experience these days. Mostly I work on the Stallings Collection and everything else fits in where it can.

Speaking of the Stallings Collection, I gave an end of the year presentation this past Wednesday to a group of people, the VP of Academic Affairs, VP of Student Affairs, and Richard Stallings to name a few, on my progress on the collection and it went really well. It no longer concerns me that the University doesn't understand what a wonderful resource they have here. I'm thinking about starting a weekly (or monthly) series of posts on the progress of the Stallings Collection as I prepare it to open to researchers in January. What do you all think?

It has been pretty damp in Pocatello today so I haven't gotten out to take more pictures of the Bright Tomorrows project, but I assure you it is moving along quickly. In fact I'm not sure I've ever seen a project come together so quickly in my entire life.

I don't seem to have a lot of news to share today or really anything of substance to say. However, I could mention that Wally Schirra died a few days ago. For those of you who didn't go through a phase of wanting nothing more than to be an astronaut, Schirra was one of few astronauts to take part in three of NASA's famous space programs, Gemini, Apollo, and Mercury. As a nine and ten year old Schirra was my hero. I soon discovered I couldn't do math which shot my chances at being an astronaut, but hey, Schirra is still a worthy hero.

Don't expect a Smorgasbord Saturday next week. It's my birthday this coming week so I might drive home on Saturday to see some friends and stop in to visit my family. But you can expect another Smorgasbord post the following week.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Barn Raising Snapshots


Bannock County Sherrif Lorin Neilsen with Pocatello City Councilman Brian Underwood

Chubbuck Mayor Larry England (left), Bannock County Commissioner Larry Ghan (middle), and Pocatello Mayor Roger Chase (right).

Kathy Downes of Bright Tomorrows

Idaho Rebel Joins LaRocco Campaign

I'm just now settling down for the day and see that Julie Fanselow of Red State Rebels has signed on with the LaRocco campaign.

Last year I was able to write for Students for Grant, a gig Julie fixed me up with, and it was soooo much fun! I learned so much from that experience and continue to learn from (and look up to) Julie. I think all Idaho bloggers wish to be as talented as Julie and as on top of things, I certainly do.

Congratulations, Julie! And more importantly great job to Larry LaRocco for snagging her. I've always been impressed with LaRocco, he's a smart guy and a great campaigner, so it didn't surprise me at all that he took this leap. Let me just say that if by chance there were to be a Students for LaRocco (or something similar) I would be honored to write beside Julie and on behalf of LaRocco. Not that I'm hinting or anything...

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Bright Tomorrows Barn Raising Celebration

As many of you have noticed over the last several weeks I have documented the tearing down of a city landmark (I suppose if you are George Hansen you think the old City of Alameda office was a landmark) and the quick progress in building a child advocacy center known as Bright Tomorrows. My interest in this stems not only for the close proximity it is to where I live, but the amazing community effort going into the project.

Bill Isley of Tuscany Builders, a local contractor here in Pocatello has donated labor and as far as I can tell the materials to build this new facility and Rod Saunderson owner of Saunderson Electric had donated his time and resources in terms of the electrical. I also believe the plans for the project were donated by a local architect. There have been crews from all over town in my backyard in the last several weeks including many workers from the City of Pocatello. It is simply amazing how quickly this project has come together.

And now the "real" work begins. Starting tomorrow the project will enter the "barn raising" stage which includes framing the entire building in 72 hours. From May 2nd through the 4th we will see the building come together and the community really pitch in.

On May 3rd from 3-6pm there will be a Barn Raising Celebration for those involved in the project and the immediate neighbors. Mayor Chase will be on hand to speak and the main movers & shakers in this project (namely Isley) will be able to talk about the project and how it all came together.

The amazing thing about Bright Tomorrows coming into this neighborhood (their pamphlet says they are a central location where specially trained professionals work together with the common goal of supporting families during the investigation of suspected child abuse) isn't that it all happened so quickly, but how much the community's attitude has changed in regard to facilities like this. When the facility I work in was first proposed the neighbors weren't particularly pleased with the idea of having an entire facility dedicated to the care of the developmentally disabled (and some mentally ill), but now you would never know that. The neighbor directly across the street picks up a few of the residents for church every Sunday and the neighbors seem very welcoming now. And this isn't the only facility in the neighborhood. Behind us is the Pocatello Free Clinic, down the street is an assisted living facility for the elderly, and near by is what I think is a certified family home for the disabled. It just amazes me at how welcoming the community has been to these facilities and the incoming Bright Tomorrows facility.

It should be a noisy couple of days around here, but I am looking forward to seeing the building up and the organization move in. If you happen to be in Pocatello, drive on by the corner of Washington and Walnut in the next couple of days to see the project.