Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Thought for Today

The last time I attended a professional basketball game, the Celtics were playing the Bullets in the Capital Center, and Larry Byrd, Kevin McHale and Robert Parrish were patrolling the court. I don't care about the NBA, I don't care about the Los Angeles Clippers and I don't care about Donald Sterling, if that is the owner guy's name.  I wish they all would just curl up into a ball and go away. I don't need their moralizing drama show to learn how to not classify, group and treat people according to race. It is what comes naturally. Move on -- the old coot will be dead long before he will change.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Saturday Pictures on Sunday, Part 2

Saturday Pictures
April 27, 2014
(click to enlarge)

Teacher at school gave our oldest a black and white film camera over the weekend and told her to go out and expose a roll. She got some views in town with her mom yesterday and recruited me to take her out for something scenic late this afternoon. I took along my digital. We popped over to Trail Creek Road, up the slope, over the divide, and down towards Paradise Valley. "Dad," she said, "I can see why they call it Paradise." Homework assignment, check.

Saturday Pictures on Sunday, Part 1

Saturday Pictures
April 27, 2014
(click to enlarge)

Local farmers and their suppliers are working hard to cultivate and plant their fields.  I took these pictures of work on the wheat field behind our home. The elk herd viral video was headed towards the mountains in the background. 

A supply truck motors down Bozeman Trail Road.

Crop Production Services runs a surface dusting operation.

The duster continues.

 Stopping for resupply.

An old barn and outbuildings across the street.

Working right through until the sun goes down.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Plowing snow in Yellowstone National Park: A big, beautiful job | KBZK.com | Z7 | Bozeman, Montana

Plowing snow in Yellowstone National Park: A big, beautiful job | KBZK.com | Z7 | Bozeman, Montana

Federal Land Grab

BLM police tase Cliven Bundy supporters armed with cell phone cameras.
The story of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy down in Nevada has become well known. It's about the struggle of a rancher and his cattle claiming prescriptive rights earned through generations of toil, investing in countless improvements to the land and continuing a hundred years of use, against the unrestrained power of the United States Government, and one of the eleven police forces armed and operated within its Department of Interior.

Now down in Texas, a yet larger land grab is being planned by Barack Obama, his yuppie Department of Interior head, Sally Jewel, and Harry Reid's henchman, Neil Kornze, installed as Interior's Bureau of Land Management chief.
Does the federal government plan to take control of 90,000 acres of Texas land along the Red River?
Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott is the latest state official asking that question in relation to a looming U.S. Bureau of Land Management decision about what to do with a swath of federal and American Indian land in Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas — including the acreage in Texas along a 116-mile stretch of the Red River.
The Red River of the South forms much of the border
between Texas and Oklahoma.
On Tuesday, Abbott sent a letter to Neil Kornze, BLM director, seeking information about the agency’s plans for the land, some of which North Texans have long considered theirs, using it for cattle grazing and growing crops. 
“Private landowners in Texas have owned, maintained, and cultivated this land for generations. Despite the long-settled expectations of these hard-working Texans along the Red River, the BLM appears to be threatening their private property rights by claiming ownership over this territory,” wrote Abbott, the Republican candidate for governor. “Yet, the BLM has failed to disclose either its full intentions or the legal justification for its proposed actions. Decisions of this magnitude must not be made inside a bureaucratic black box.”
Governor Rick Perry and the attorney general in Texas are fighting back.
On Tuesday, state Attorney General Greg Abbott, who is running to replace Perry, raised the issue in a letter to the BLM director. He also told Breitbart.com he’s ready to “go to the Red River and raise a ‘Come and Take It’ flag to tell the feds to stay out of Texas.” 
Abbott reiterated his comments Wednesday night on "On the Record with Greta Van Susteren." 
"At a minimum, (the federal government is) overreaching, trying to grab land that belongs to Texans, or worse, they are violating due process rights by just claiming that this land suddenly belongs to the federal government, swiping it away from our Texans," said Abbott, who threatened court action. "This is just the latest symptom of what seems to be a federal government run amok that is messing in states’ rights and now messing in private property rights."
Perry told Fox News he stands with Abbott on this issue. 
“It’s not a dare, it’s a promise that we’re going to stand up for private property rights in the state of Texas,” Perry said, calling the federal government “out of control.”
The consolidation of power and riding roughshod over the rights of hard-working, dedicated private citizens comes as no surprise. Obama's Department of Interior police expropriated rights and shut down property not their own during the government shutdown. We reported last October:

I've been advising tourists to go down to Mount Vernon during the Federal Government shutdown. Mount Vernon is open and welcoming. It's privately owned and privately funded. The Mount Vernon Ladies Association is clear, stating that " Mount Vernon does not accept grants from federal, state or local governments, and no tax dollars are expended to support its purposes."
Barrycade at Mt. Vernon parking lot.
Well that's not enough to establish independence for the petulant, grubby, power mongering presidency of Barack Obama. The National Park Service (NPS) sent its jack booted rangers, U. S. Park Police, and burly maintenance workers down to Mount Vernon to shut down all the foundation owned parking -- Barrycades is what the barricades have come to be known. Barrycades appeared as if from nowhere to block off publicly accessible areas that are unstaffed and have never been shut down for any reason (including many previous government shutdowns). Obama's move is not only ridiculous.  It's lawless.

Mount Vernon is owned and operated as a public trust by the Mount Vernon Ladies Association.

The Mount Vernon Ladies are a cooperative crowd. Their parking is open and available to all, including those looking for a place to anchor a hike or begin bike ride along at the southern terminus of NPS's Mount Vernon trail. Cooperativeness just makes them an easy target in the world of Obama. 

Confronted by the Mount Vernon Ladies Association the National Park Service has backed down, removing the saw horses and police tape from the entrances to all but a distant satellite lot that fills only during the heavy summer tourist season.  

The barricading of the parking lots at Mount Vernon comes at the same time the National Park Service has blocked off many other public monuments, memorials, and parks. They’ve even blocked off small parking lots that are otherwise unmanned. In fact, every parking lot along the George Washington Memorial Parkway has been barricaded.
Three space Barrycade on public road.
That includes a parking spur with a mere 3 spots located on the parkway between Mount Vernon and Old Town Alexandria.
At the moment there is no word on when the government shutdown will end, when the National Park Service will remove their barricades, or why the barricades were really necessary in the first place. Hopefully those answers will all become apparent soon.
Petulant twits carrying out Obama's will -- NPS, you are totally losing my respect dudes.

The creepy presidency continues.

Thugs are running the show. Good luck to all.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Climate Change at Work

Al Gore, Barack Obama, NASA and the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change, all agree, global warming is driving climate change, which manifests itself in extreme weather. So let's see what's been going down the last few springs.

In 2012 tornado activity was uncommonly low.

In 2013 tornado activity was even lower yet.

And so far in 2014, tornadoes are down even more.

Thanks for the warnings and your prescience guys! Global warming isn't science, it's a religion, as practiced by a proselytizing, bombastic, brainwashing sect.

Sunday, April 20, 2014



The girls got out theIr egg decorating aprons last night!

Out back, the ground beneath the last remnant snow drift is being resurrected -- that slice of earth hasn't seen sun since the week before Thanksgiving.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Morton Grove Before the Baby Boom: Club Rendezvous Goes Up In Smoke

Club Rendezvous before the fire.
While The Dells was the renowned crown jewel of the clubs in Morton Grove during the roadhouse era, Club Rendezvous was part of the supporting cast. Located east of The Dells, on the south side of Dempster, towards Marmora and Menard Avenues, Club Rendezvous was built in a converted, classic Chicago-style brick bungalow, with a frame addition slapped on to the front. 

It was an intimate setting, with limited ingress and egress, which offered drinking, dancing and dining, and held out for revelers the possibility of whatever else its name implied. The club was frequented by Northwestern University students who drove four miles west out Dempster to escape the dry environs of Evanston for raucous and celebratory nights out. There was one way in and one way out.

Our first post in this Morton Grove roadhouse series, about The Dells, involved a fire and arson and no lives lost. In this post, as will be the sadly be the case in other roadhouse stories, there were victims.  

During Prohibition, there developed north and northwest of Chicago an area known as the roadhouse district.
The center of this district is the small village of Morton Grove, population 1,974. Within its confines exist or existed most of the larger roadhouses, as well as innumerable small “neighborhood” drinking spots for the working man. The Club Rendezvous, on Dempster street east of Austin avenue, was one of the better known small dance and drink places. Chicago Tribune, March 26, 1935.
Mr. and Mrs. Elmer (Al and Rose) Cowdrey were the Club Rendezvous proprietors. On the surface it seemed that they lived a rather normal and mundane life. The Mrs. entertained her friends for tea or its substantial equivalent.
The Daily Herald, May 5, 1933.
Along the way, nevertheless, the couple's home had suffered serious fire damage. The home was repaired and the Cowdrey family moved back in to resume their tranquil domestic life.
The Daily Herald, November 10, 1933
But digging beneath the veneer of normality, the goings on at the Cowdrey residence raised more than a few questions.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Retired Life

The thing about being retired is that you don't have to be worried in the least about whether you are wasting your time or doing things that might appear weird or out of place. Without the yoke of a 9-to-5 job, or an all-consuming personal business, or a supervisor or a manager to pin you down, choices open up everywhere.

Sometimes on the way home from the golf course (nothing unusual about that for a retired guy) I will just veer off, head down to Cottonwood Road, wind around the bottom of the mountain slopes and then turn up Hyalite Canyon to the reservoir or beyond,
Hyalite Canyon scarp and cliffs.
enjoying the scenery every mile of the way, and taking in the joy of hikers, campers, fisherpeople, hunters and boaters, here and there.

Then there was last January. For a week I picked up stakes and hung out in Bismarck, North Dakota, during its coldest winter in decades. One night I ate at a Red Lobster, because, well, I never had. There were blizzard and blizzard-like conditions daily. I mean, what kind of a whacko nut travels to Bismarck in the middle of the winter except someone whose work compels it? Me! The payoff has been some extraordinary blog posts on family history, with more to come. I actually can't wait to get back to the State Historical Society of North Dakota and dig some more.

Now, I was confident the Bismarck trip would have a substantial payoff. My next journey, I really don't know.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Morton Grove: Before the Baby Boom

A very popular post on this blog, Growing Up in Morton Grove, has received frequent attention from others who grew up in the northern Chicago suburb in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. 

I grew up in a cape cod style house at the corner of Austin Avenue and Davis Street. Two and one-half blocks down the street was a small strip mall, where the Rexall Drug Store, a National Tea grocery store, Dahm's department store, Jean's Bakery, a Ben Franklin 5 & 10 and a dry cleaner were located. Across the parking lot from the grocery store was a record store and a diner-like restaurant. There were some medical offices in back. The stores were tiny by today's modern scale, but they were my world as a child.

One of my favorite things growing up was stopping in at the bakery for a scrumptious chocolate eclair -- the best ever, yummy. My mother would send me to buy three large butter crust bread loaves, sliced, at the bakery. I can still smell the fresh aroma to this day. I can still smell the ground coffee at the rear of the National Tea. The five and dime was a source of a piece of candy or a play thing now and again. My dad had his work shirts washed and starched at the cleaners. The record store was where we bought our first Beatle's 45s. I saved nickels to buy packets of baseball cards, stale gum included, at the drug store. 

Morton Grove map of 1930s roadhouses.
This serene scene of youthful innocence had not always been so, however. The exact northwest corner of Dempster Street  and Austin Avenue in Morton Grove, Illinois where the shopping center was located, had once been home to a roadhouse, speakeasy and gangland haunt known as The Dells. Think Al Capone, his mobster contemporaries, cronies and henchmen and you got it. From time to time, I'll be writing on The Dells and others of the goings on during the 1920s and 30s up and down Dempster Street and south down to Lincoln Avenue.  

For this first post, let's whet our appetite by reprising a report on the The Dells' ignominious end.

Freeport Journal Standard, October.8 1934



Chicago, Oct. 8.--(AP)--Four men, armed with sub-machine guns today kidnapped the watchman at the Dells roadhouse in suburban Morton Grove, spread gasoline throughout the main floor and set fire to the place. Firemen form surrounding suburbs were unable to check the flames. 
The Dells for many years was one of Chicago's most widely known roadhouses. It was from the Dells that John Factor, wealthy speculator, was kidnapped. Roger Touhy and several members of his gang are now serving terms in the state prison at Joliet for the kidnapping. The resort was closed early this summer when State's Attorney Thomas J. Courtney ordered its liquor license held up. 
Paul Ott, watchman, told police that the four men drove up to the roadhouse in an automobile, forced their way in and made him a prisoner. Although he was bound and blindfolded, Ott said he could tell from their conversation that the men covered the floors with gasoline. 
The "torches" then drove him about a mile to Lincoln avenue, Morton Grove, and then threw him from the car, Ott said. 
Despite the efforts of fire departments from Evanston, Morton Grove, Niles Center, Park Ridge, Glenview and Northbrook, the roadhouse, valued at $75,000, was destroyed.

There are many stories to be told. Let the telling begin.

Five of the boys had the presence of mind to pose for this photo as The Dells burns to the ground, October 7, 1934.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Snow Removal: Opening the Parks

It's April and we are trying to catch up with spring here in Montana, clearing away the snow.

They are working to open up the roads into Old Faithful at Yellowstone National Park. That requires really big rotary plows.

Yellowstone NP employee removes snow and ice jam from rotary plow, NPS Photo.

The feds use the rotary driven snow throwers to dig through really deep snow.

Clearing snow from the Yellowstone Loop Road, along Lake Yellowstone, NPS Photo.
The snow plowing, wedging and throwing dudes got their very own video.

Here is the Yellowstone story.

YELLOWSTONE LAKE, Wyo. — Spring is finally coming to this snowbound high country, but don’t assume that it’s a gentle transition from winter.
The roar of straining diesel engines is deafening, vibrating bystanders’ chests. Linked by what seem to be insignificant strands of green synthetic rope, two 20-ton bulldozers pull a 27-ton road grader with a plow. The strain can at times be so great that the 4-inch diameter rope is stretched to only an inch-and-a-half thick. It takes this extensive effort, and much more, to break the snow’s firm grasp on Yellowstone National Park’s remote mountain roads. 
Lance Tyson grins as he watches the work, his large grease-stained hands grasped together as he leans through the window of his mechanic’s truck. The smell of diesel exhaust hanging in the air. 
“It doesn’t get any better than this,” he says. “There’s no tourists, nobody bothers us, and the buffalo and elk calves are being born.”
Read more: http://billingsgazette.com/news/state-and-regional/montana/yellowstone-plow-crews-labor-to-open-park-for-spring-visitors/article_2d67ea8b-3bb8-5f41-a008-e8791341c9d1.html#ixzz2z1ATYRxn

Meanwhile, below Yellowstone they are clearing the approach road to Yellowstone's southern entrance through Grand Teton National Park.

Crews are clearing snow from roads and highways in Grand Teton National Park, NPS photo.

It is a step-by-step process.
Grand Teton National Park road crews cut through the deep snowpack on the Teton Park Road between the Taggart Lake parking area and Signal Mountain Lodge—a distance of 15 miles— and completed this portion of the annual spring plowing on Friday, April 4. The Teton Park Road has now melted down to pavement and is currently open to non-motorized recreation such as walking, roller-blading, and biking. 
However, road crews are still in the process of clearing the Jenny Lake scenic loop road, as well as other auxiliary roads and wayside areas, according to a statement released by the park’s public affairs office.
The biggest challenge is up north at Glacier National Park, the where the first order of business is to bring in heavy duty excavators to clear away avalanches.
A "steam" shovel carves into avalanche debris near Red Rock April 10 on Glacier Park's Going-to-the-Sun Road. Courtesy of Glacier National Park.

Here is the Glacier National Park story,
A rumbling fleet of snowplows and excavators began the daunting task of clearing a path along Glacier National Park’s Going-to-the-Sun Road on Thursday, forging through a winter’s worth of snow and heralding springtime in Northwest Montana.
On their first day of work, plow crews on Glacier’s west side encountered a familiar obstacle – the 25-foot deep avalanche at Red Rock, the first of many colossal drifts along the 50-mile-long feat of engineering.
The road is plowed through winter up to Lake McDonald lodge, and once plow crews clear the section of road between the lodge and the vehicle gates at Avalanche Campground, cyclists and hikers can enjoy access to the road without having to worry about vehicles.
“Once they get through (the avalanche at Red Rock) they have to clear the Avalanche Campground before we open the gateway for hiker-biker season,” park spokesperson Denise Germann said.
On the east side of the park, crews are working to clear the Many Glacier area, Germann said, and park officials will begin updating the website so visitors can follow the plowing progress.
“They are finding lots of snow. There is definitely lots of snow everywhere and bigger drifts than normal,” she said.
Brian Domonkos, water supply specialist for the Natural Resources Conservation Service, said snowpack levels measured on Flattop Mountain, elevation 6,300 feet, measured 51 inches of snow water equivalent – or the amount of water in the snowpack – which, as of April 11, was 119 percent above the median.
Wintery weather persists in Glacier Park’s high country, and on Logan Pass, park officials measured record winds of 139 mph. Germann said they did not yet know whether the winds caused damage.
“We had record winds but no damage that we are aware of, but we can’t know for sure until we get into the higher country,” she said.
The 139 mile per hour winds were just last week. Going to the Sun Road will not be cleared and opened end-to-end before June 20th. Glacier got over a foot of snow last night

The season is short but incredibly sweet. Come one, come all, and enjoy!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Tick-Tock-Tick-Tock --- Keystone XL

Now, thanks to the re-election of Barack Obama as President of the United States of America, the Keystone XL pipeline remains in limbo, years after it should have gotten whole-hearted support. We have a president who fails to comprehend the importance of energy to a prosperous economy, and the key role that energy independence plays in our national security. 

I was in Bismarck, North Dakota this past January. Believe me, there is no global warming up there dude.  It's about time the double talking lawyer in the White House gets off his rear and makes a move that is good for America. A decisive majority of  both houses of Congress agrees. The Keystone XL is swell.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Common Core

I have three children in public schools -- two in middle school and one in elementary. Next year we will hit a trifecta. We will have one student at Bozeman High School, a second at Sacajawea Middle School and a third at Longfellow Elementary. They are three different kids. There is no standard and little commonality among them.  But don't tell that to the progressives and bureaucrats who have grabbed the reins of control in our public education system.

In my family's life, the centrally administered, top down programs of Common Core, Race to the Top and No Child Left Behind are not abstractions, but central definers of how our children's lives proceed in school every day. It's not a pretty picture.  

This weekend I noticed a Wall Street Journal Op Ed written by Peggy Noonan on Jeb Bush's presidential aspirations, which for the life of me I can't understand, because the fellow has nothing to offer this country other than more of the same, albeit with a dose of integrity that is sadly missing from today's White House.

Noonan took Bush to task for his support of federal education standards, and expressed the frustration that I feel towards the sound bite education philosophy more clearly than I ever could.

A year ago I attended a meeting in which Jeb spoke of his support for the core to conservative education policy intellectuals. When told the subject of the meeting, I was confused: He's for Common Core or against it? For it? Really? In what abstract universe are conservative intellectuals operating? Federal standards for what should be taught in the classroom would immediately be received with skepticism by parents who, year after year now, have seen their children turned into test-taking monkeys. They are taught to the test, and the tests seem to exist so that school systems can claim achievement. What used to be called the joy of learning gets crowded out. Moreover, some parents, maybe a lot, would assume any new education scheme would be administered by the education establishment, meaning a lot of Lois Lerners—apparatchiks, ideologues, politicos. Federal programs like Race to the Top and No Child Left Behind always mean well, but maybe the answer to our education woes won't come from the federal level.
Peggy added her personal story.
Parenthetically I note that conversations with public-school teachers the past few years have reminded me how lucky I was, in high school in the 1960s, not to be surrounded by people who insisted I excel. They let us choose our own speed. I don't remember being hounded by tests, which was lucky because I didn't do my homework or test well. But I felt free to spend all my time reading good books and pondering things. I didn't always attend school, but I did experience the joy of learning. The indifference of the educational establishment was a great gift to me. It allowed me to get an education.
Peggy Noonan, who is one of the most thoughtful, articulate, knowledgeable and influential individuals of her generation, would not be Peggy Noonan if she was sliced and diced by the cookie cutter system churning away in public schools today.

At the front end of the scale we have a second grader who could not speak a word intelligibly to anyone outside her family when she started first grade. There is nothing about Common Core, Race to the Top or No Child Left Behind that helped or is helping our youngest to learn and grow. Do you think that repeatedly being told your daughter tested zero on useless tests told us or her anything of value, when she didn't have the verbal skills to respond?  

The only way to help her learn is to accept who and where she is and move from there. Ultimately she is making it, and will make it, not because of the system, but because she has parents who have been willing to pay for supplementing and promoting her education outside of public schools and have fought school administrators to the mat when they use the system to pigeon hole her using meaningless data. And she had a teacher who understood. We will let nothing and no one get in the way of our child's education. Sadly we are among the few.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Ice Free Arctic?

Chief climate change fear monger, Al Gore, told us the Arctic would be ice free by 2013.

His supporting cast, the global warming climatologist fear mongers, to keep their story alive and distract us, told us uncommonly cold winter in the central and eastern United States was due to cold weather shifting from the west leaving warmth behind -- affecting Alaska in particular.

So what happened to the sea ice this year off the Alaskan coasts, now that we are beyond the date of no return in a winter season where Alaska roasted?  The maximum Arctic ice extent (white below) was about as near normal (the amber lines) as you can get with only slight deviations near Alaska, much more than compensated for by additional sea ice off the eastern Canadian coast. 

The polar bears can sleep soundly another year -- Al Gore and the grubby scientists looking for government grants, I would hope not.

2014 maximum sea ice extent, National Snow and Ice Data Center.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Water Storage Montana Style

We don't get much rain.  We do get plenty of snow, mostly at the higher elevations.
According to the monthly water supply outlook report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service in Bozeman, as of April 1, Montana was at 143 percent of normal snowpack and 156 percent of the same time last year. 
Statewide snowpack, at 22.2 inches of snow water equivalent (SWE), was the second-highest in 34 years of recording. In 2011, SWE over the same time was 20.9 inches. 
Full of purples and dark blues.
Precipitation across the state was the same in March as in February. Only two sub-basins — the Wind River basin in Wyoming leading into the Bighorn River and the West Fork of the Bitterroot River — saw small decreases in snowpack, while the rest of them saw increases. 
“March snowpack accumulation continued the trend February set last month by increasing snowpack an average 13 percent across the watersheds of the state,” the report said. 
The upper and lower Yellowstone River basins were at 157 and 143 percent of normal snowpack and 174 and 168 percent of 2013, respectively. They combined to put the entire Yellowstone basin at 150 percent of normal and 171 percent of 2013. 
In the upper basin, the Red Lodge-Rock Creek basin is the highest it has ever been for SWE, at 203 percent of normal, while the Shields River basin is at 168 percent of normal. 
Streamflow forecasts for the lower basin bumped 20 percent over the last month, to 138 percent of normal. 
In the Bighorn Range in the lower Yellowstone basin, areas have seen 165 to 181 percent of normal March snowfall and SWE totals across the entire lower basin were the third most in 34 years of record keeping. 
The April-July streamflow forecast for the lower Yellowstone basin is 159 percent of average, up 25 percent from March 1. 
In the combined Smith, Judith and Musselshell river basins, snowpack finished the month at 160 percent of normal and 167 percent of last year. 
The Musselshell drainage saw a noticeable jump from last year, up 592 percent, due largely to the fact that it was at just 27 percent of normal at the same time in 2013. 
Streamflow forecasts are also up for the entire basin, at 215 percent of average and 420 percent of last year, assuming average precipitation through July. 
Across the Missouri River basin, March set a new SWE record for April 1 thanks to 173 percent of average snowfall, although it hasn’t topped the total record set in 2011. Overall it is at 160 percent of normal, 168 percent of last year and up 14 percent from last month, the report states. 
The streamflows could be at 148 percent of average, according to the report’s forecast, and 199 percent of last year.
Read more: http://billingsgazette.com/news/state-and-regional/montana/montana-snowpack-through-march-near-levels/article_3894a7f9-61fe-5267-a0a9-f78ad19514b4.html#ixzz2yUQN1vwj

The ample snow packs mean that fishing will be good, groundwater will be replenished, reservoirs will swell to the limit and irrigating will be great -- good for the local agricultural economy, and a shot in the arm nationally when California's output will be down. 

Meanwhile, here in Bozeman we've gotten great snow melt on the east side this last week, so,

Thirteen holes is better than none.


Post by Bridger Creek Golf Course and Academy.
Darn. I predicted April 8. So close and yet so far.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Jumping the Fence

Our neighborhood elk herd video has gone viral, with over 1.4 million views on YouTube, which is about 400,000 more than there are people in the entire state of Montana. Too bad we can't count the deer and the elk, or cattle. We'd get a second representative in the House. And heh, you got to love the little one.

The Masters (Repost)

Masters week is here. The golfing world’s attention will be focused on the lush fairways, rolling hills, lightening fast greens and historic layout of Augusta National Golf Course, located just south of the South Carolina, Georgia border. For those not in the know, The Masters is the first of golf’s four majors – the others being the United States Open, The (British) Open Championship and the PGA Championship. The course and tournament are progeny of golf legend Bobby Jones, who nursed them from infancy to become the most renowned course and revered tournament in golf.
Augusta National 13th Hole
The Masters is about renewal and rebirth.  It is adorned by flowering spring bulbs, blooming azaleas and dogwoods, stately magnolias framing the the clubhouse lane and towering pines along the fairways. By virtue of its early season position the Masters both creates and limits possibility. Only the winner of The Masters can achieve the most coveted (and never accomplished in modern times) feat in golf – coming home victorious in each of the season’s four majors, the Grand Slam.

The Masters is link between young and old. The Masters is the youngest of the majors but the most revered. For the old of it, Fred Couples looks strong and is hoping for a miracle at age fifty four. Ernie Els is back. And Phil Mickelson shows signs of rounding into form. Zach Johnson is playing well. For the first time this year a father son team, Craig Stadler from the Champions Tour and son Kevin from the PGA tour, are teeing it up. Two time major champion Rory McElroy leads the young contingent and will be joined by other under age twenty five tour winners, Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reid. Many are looking this week to a breakthrough victory by Dustin Johnson. Look for the tournament to be a typical Masters classic not decided until the back nine on Sunday afternoon.

Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player
The Big Three in their Masters Green Jackets
The Masters bestows uniquely among the majors the honor of first teeing off Thursday morning to living legends. This year the honorees are Jack Nicklaus (6 time Masters champion), Arnold Palmer (4 time champion) and Gary Player (3 time Masters champion). They once dominated professional golf as the Big Three. Decades later they are being honored for lifetime achievement and lasting contributions.  They have earned the privilege of driving the first  tee shots into the morning dew.   

Byron Nelson, Gene Sarazen and Sam Snead
For almost two decades the honorary threesome had been Sam Snead (3 time Masters champion), Byron Nelson (2 time Masters champion) and Gene Sarazen (1935 Masters champion), gentlemen who legitimized professional golf in the post Bobby Jones era. Sadly, they are no longer with us, but we still have memories of Snead’s slamming swing, Nelson’s ruthlessly efficient stroke and Sarazen’s elan. Ken Venturi had the honors once.
Jock Hutchison and Fred McLeod
First Honorary Starters
The remaining two members of the exclusive honorary starters club are Jock Hutchison and Fred McLeod, who paired up from 1963 through 1973, which happens to intersect with the nine years I caddied at Glen View Club in Golf, IL.  Why those two?  Neither man won The Masters. But each did win another important tournament at Augusta. Bobby Jones was an organizer of the PGA championship for senior golfers, what today is called the Senior PGA Champrionship. And the first two Senior PGAs were played at Augusta National Golf Club. Hutchison won the first one in 1937, and McCleod won the second one in 1938.  

Jock Hutchison was a member at Glen View. I caddied for him. I did not believe a word the old guy said when he pointed to a club in his bag and said “I won the Open Championship with this mashie niblick laddie.” But thanks to Jock I can say today that I caddied for a successful pro, a one-time honorary starter at the Masters and a British Open and PGA champion. I can say that with confidence because now we have the Internet.

Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer walk across Hogan's bridge on the 12th hole at Augusta National before this year's champions dinner at the Masters.