Archive - 2004

January 4th

New column posted

More on the Mars Rover is posted in the "Column" section of this website...In other news, it was nice to see that the Packers won...they'll do better than the Vikings ever would have...The temperature back home has sunk below zero making the "cool" temperatures here in Tucson seem very tolerable...I had a wonderful meal at a Guatamaulan restaurant named Maya Catzal last night...chili pepper stuffed with nuts and potatoes...made my scalp sweat, as hot food should...

Mars rover sends back pics

NASA's Mars rover has been sending back pictures all day today which indicate it landed just fine and will be able to eventually, after nine days of getting ready, begin to roam around the surface of Mars.

This has been a big two days for NASA. The comet mission and the Mars mission are the first two missions since the crash of the Shuttle last January. Success in these highly-publicized missions means a continued flow of dollars. Failure means inquiries and appearances in front of Senate committees and questions about where is all this money going.

January 3rd

NASA rover touches down

Attended a NASA-sponsored event at the University of Arizona tonight celebrating the touchdown of the new Mars rover. The event started with talks by several of the scientists who are a part of the research mission, and ended with a live feed from mission headquarters as the spacecraft descended through the Martian atmosphere and landed.

January 2nd

2004 Jay Buckley Baseball Tour schedule announced

Check out the new schedule at

Oh man. Twenty-four baseball tours to choose from. I am particularly tempted by the one which starts in Phoenix and works its way up the West Coast. What is wonderful about this tour is that you spend three days in San Francisco and three days in Seattle watching the Twins play the Mariners.

The English language and two party systems

There is no law in this country which says we need only have two major political parties. It just happened. When a party like the Whigs dies, a party like the Republican takes its place.

Oddly, the same holds true for all English-speaking countries that I can think of. England, Canada, New Zealand and Australia have historically had two predominant parties.

Agricultural subsidies under fire

With farmers making up less than 2% of the electorate, it shouldn't be a surprise that ag subsidies are endangered. The sugar program is of particular interest to those of us who depend upon the Red River Valley economy.

Right-wingers see ag subsidies as socialism; left-wingers see the poor farmers of nations to the south deprived of our lucrative market, and not just in sugar. Free-traders (who can be either left or right wing, it seems) are certainly not in favor of tariffs and subsidies.

Ted Williams

Spent the early afternoon reading a biography of Ted Williams entitled Hitter by Ed Linn. The prose is old style--a bit inflated and flowery. Linn was a reporter who covered Williams' entire career, one of the rare writers who Williams tolerated.

Some tidbits:

January 1st

Lotto fever

The Powerball jackpot has climbed to 200-plus million dollars, so the convenience stores are selling a lot of tickets. Meanwhile, there was a little news story about the man who won $300 million last year at this time. Seems his life has become something of a nightmare as he has been beseiged by requests from charities and people in financial difficulty. His daughter has lost all her friends.

December 31st

Service with a hop at the IHOP

Just went for supper at the International House of Pancakes across the street. I avoid the place because I don't think their pancakes are all that good. But I do remember two years ago eating there and being amused by the waiters and waitresses. One waiter in particular had the whole place in stitches with his antics. He teased customers, bantered with the cooks, and carried on in such a manner that I think the whole place was watching him do his job just to see what he would come up with next.