Archive - Dec 2004

December 12th

Bernie comes to class

State representative Bernie Lieder came to speak to my American Government class at UMC last week. The class responded well to Bernie, and he seemed to enjoy himself.

Bernie is sort of soft-spoken, and much loved down at the legislature. He is the only member of the legislature remaining who has World War II combat experience. He was in the Battle of the Bulge.

I haven't heard Bernie tell the story himself, as he doesn't really talk about the war, but during the Battle of the Bulge, he was just about shot for being a German spy.

When blizzards fizzle

It was supposed to be stormy today, and the wind is blowing something fierce, but no snow is coming down, and the loose snow that was floating around last night stuck in place when the temperature rose above freezing yesterday afternoon and evening.

The rise in temperature, however temporary, made quite a difference. Visibility is good this morning, even with wind gusts headed up towards fifty miles-per-hour.

UPDATE at 12:30 p.m.: Now the snow is coming down and the visibility is plummeting. I guess we'll have a storm after all.

Koskie pretty much gone

Looks like the Toronto Blue Jays are going to win that battle for Twins third baseman Cory Koskie. That is unfortunate. I suppose you can't blame Koskie for taking $19 million instead of $8 million.

Koskie has a difficult time living up to his potential because he is injured a lot. He had a bad wrist last year, and that cut down on his homers. He was out a while this year, and I forget why, but he was productive when he did play. He also has a tender back. He plays in pain all of the time.

December 11th

December scenes

Here is what it looks like in northern Minnesota at 4 p.m. December. I think the oak look particularly haunting this time of year.

Here is the sunlight on one of the beams of the Swamp Castle a couple of days back.

December 9th

A bearable existence

Sometimes The Onion comes up with something painfully hilarious. Oh, and some bad news for workers here. And for kids here.

Sawing firewood

I haven't sawed a lot of firewood in my life. The little I have burned, I have filched from Dad's supply. But the Swamp Castle is going to use a lot more, so I have started sawing.

The lengths can be almost four feet long. I enjoy that. It is easier to stack firewood which has some length to it. I am working on some of the wood felled this summer to make space for the house.

Swamp Castle at the Tyvek stage

Two milestones in one day: first, we have reached the Tyvek stage. That is when the house is shrouded in the materiel called Tyvek, which keeps wind out while allowing moisture to escape.

Second, the first dozen or so windows went in. Ken and Joe hauled the windows out to the building site in several loads. By the end of the day, light was coming in where light hadn't come in before.

December 8th

Twins keep Radke

After taking things down to the wire in negotiations--if the Twins wouldn't have signed Radke or offered him arbitration by last night at 11 p.m., he would have been gone--they two sides agreed to a two-year $9 million deal.

I haven't always been a fan of Radke. He is so laid back sometimes you wonder if he cares. But this past year, he pitched like a machine. His won-loss record wasn't that good, but that wasn't his fault. His ERA was amongst the best in the American League, and he pitched a lot of innings.

December 7th

Teeth, etc.

Went in for the six-month checkup and tooth cleaning today. That's exhausting, no matter how well it goes. My shoulders get all tense. Those instruments hit the sensitive spots and make 'em scream. I had x-rays, so I gagged on the cardboard thing which the farthest back.

They have an ultra-sound tooth cleaner now which apparently loosens the plaque. Then there is the jet scrubber which shoots baking soda mixed with cold water at the tooth. Wow, does that cause a howl.

December 6th

Winding down

The semester is coming to an end. In American History, we are finishing up the Civil War, touching a little bit on the sobering era of Reconstruction. In World Civilization, we managed to get Columbus to the New World and we'll stop at that. In American government, we are spending a little time on "America's place in the world."

State representative Bernie Lieder agreed to come to my government class on Wednesday, so the students are looking forward to that. They have questions about issues that concern them, and I told them not to be shy.