Lifelong learning

Today, I drove to Clearbrook to talk to their Lifelong Learning seminar. It is mostly retired people. Community ed puts it on. There were well over 100 people there. I sang and played and talked.

It went fine. The people in Clearbrook are always fun and inquisitive.

I talked about China. For some reason, when the hour ended, I realized I had just told the sobering things and none of the funny things. I tried to sneak in some of the funnier stories, but it was too late. We were well into question time, and the questions were good. However, I realize now the presentation might have been a bit of a downer to these people who had come to my talk expecting a pick-me-up.

Probably I tended towards the downer side because I have been battling some sort of tummy and tired bug. I could barely stay awake on the drive there and back, despite a full night's sleep last night, and when I got home I went straight to bed and slept hard, barely waking up long enough to run up to the nursery to have afternoon coffee with the crew, then coming home and flopping right back on the bed for a few more hours. Good grief, I feel like a vegetable. Utterly washed out.

I was supposed to serve as a "team member" tonight in Glyndon for a DNR meeting on setting deer population goals. I was asked because our nursery has always had trouble with the deer, and we are always whining to the DNR to get rid of the pests. We have no complaints about how the DNR has treated us. They have built us two expensive electric fences, and they seem eager to help us with the problem. If a deer gets in the fence, they'll get us a permit to shoot the thing within minutes. That does us little good, since none of us hunt or care to learn how to shoot, so when a deer gets in, we end up calling in neighbors or employees. But that's our problem, not theirs.

The problem still exists. Dad sprays with Liquid Fence, a deer repellant, all summer on some of the items we know the deer particularly love. However, we have simply quit raising some of the more touchy things, like apple trees, which we now buy in, and in fact the problem has sort of leveled off.

So, instead of going to the meeting, which I don't think would have worked, I emailed my thoughts. We were to determine whether we would opt for a 1) 50% decrease in deer population 2) 25% decrease 3) no change 4) a 25% increase in deer population and 5) a 50% increase in deer population. I opted for a 25% decrease, even though I suspect 50% would be just fine.

I almost wanted to go to the meeting just to see if anybody showed up advocating a 50% increase in deer population. That would have been a treat.

TWINS: Okay, today's game showed the problem. Fat Sidney Ponson got roughed up in his four innings. Seven hits, three runs. Young Matt Garza comes in and is lights out for three innings. One hit, no runs. The kid is ready. But where will he start the season? In Rochester. And Ponson will drag his fat butt out to the Metrodomemound once every five days for the first two months of the season to get beat up by the opponents much like he has for the past four years. Finally, Terry Ryan will see the light. In June, Garza will be brought up. Ponson will be cut loose, sent back to Aruba. And the Twins will see if they can undo the damage done to their record in the first two months of the season by a washed up pitcher.

Oh, I almost forgot. At the same time, Carlos Silva will be dragging his fat butt out to the mound every five days, and getting whiplash from watching all the home runs launched off his non-sinking sinker. By June, Terry Ryan will finally see the light and will bring up young Glen Perkins from Rochester. Silva will be sent back to Venezuala. And the Twins will see if they can undo the damage to their record done by yet another washed-up, rotund pitcher.

If Ryan and Gardenhire had some guts, they would cut Ponson and Silva loose now, be happy that one out of three of their washed-up retreads, Ramon Ortiz, has shown promise, and go with the young guys. But Ryan and Gardenhire are two of the most conservative people in baseball. Their record shows that they know what they are doing in the long run, but oh do they frustrate you in the mean-time.

One thing the three retreads have in common: They are head cases. Silva has lost his confidence. The struggle to get it back has gone on now for over a year. Ponson is a flake who went through treatment and now only has "a few glasses of wine at a time." Ahem, I don't think that's how rehab works, Sidney. Ortiz is an emotional guy who has had a tough time since his father died three years ago. While you want these guys to have a chance, my compassion goes out the window when I realize that they are all well-fixed multi-millionaires who are taking a roster spot away from a deserving broke rookie.

I haven't talked about Boof Bonser. He had a fine September last year. And that was it. He stunk in July. Perhaps he started pulling it together, perhaps it was a fluke. I like Bonser, but he has, what, fifteen major league starts under his belt?

The Twins season is going to hinge on their starting pitching. It could be phenomenally good. Or it could be woefully bad. An injury to Santana could throw the whole thing into chaos.

Ah, but no matter what, the Twins are set to be an entertaining team.