Friday, October 31, 2014

Have a Safe and Happy Halloween

Please don't text and fly! Happy Halloween.

One Down

Today was the final day of the season at Cottonwood Hills Golf Course. The boys showed up en mass to engage in friendly matches and show their pretty faces.

Afterwords, we convened at the Korner Club to parcel out the losses and winnings, and share a friendly drink.

Starting next week we will be moving over to Bridger Creek to enjoy the links which will be open until snow and ice cover no longer permits. Our German exchange student said today a teacher told her there are two seasons in Montana -- winter and golf. Us old retired guys push the latter as far as we can.

Have a nice day and good luck to all.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Before The Segway

There was the Autoped ...

Bismarck Tribune, March 31, 1922
They have one in the Smithsonian.

Autoped motor scooter
In collectionFrom the Smithsonian Collection
This lightweight scooter was built in 1918 by the Autoped Company of America, Long Island City, New York. It bears the number D3201 on the left side of the engine.
Physical Description
The 4-cycle engine, mounted on the left side of the front wheel, has an air-cooled integral-head cylinder bolted to a circular crankcase. In front of the cylinder is a breather tube that protrudes from the top of the crankcase; the carburetor and muffler are behind the cylinder. The Breeze carburetor has a screw-adjusted air intake, and its needle valve is operated by a small knob bearing numbers for convenience in adjustment. A shutter serves as a throttle control. On the side of the intake manifold is a small priming cup. The intake valve is automatic and the exhaust valve is cam operated.
The engine is geared to the wheel by means of a disk clutch. The flywheel, on the right side of the front wheel, contains a 6-volt lighting generator that originally furnished current for lighting and ignition, but the system later was altered by the addition of an ignition coil and four dry-cell batteries. The ignition switch is mounted on the right side of the frame, and the gasoline tank is above the front fender.
All control of the vehicle is through the steering column. Turning the column steers the machine in the conventional manner; pushing it forward engages the clutch; and pulling it back operates the internal, expanding brake on the front wheel. Turning the left grip operates the throttle, and turning the right grip operates the compression release through a wire controlling the opening and closing of the intake valve. A hand Klaxon is mounted on the left grip. The steering column can be folded down and secured to the rear fender for compactness in storage.
A headlamp is mounted at the right of the front wheel, and a tail lamp, on the rear fender. The operator stands on rubber pads on the frame of the vehicle. A two-pronged stand, attached to the underside of the frame, is operated by means of a pedal that extends through the floor.
A utility box, mounted toward the front of the machine, now contains the batteries that were added to the electrical system; an ignition coil is mounted just in front of the utility box.
The 15-by-2 1/4-inch pneumatic tires, made expressly for this vehicle by the Empire Rubber and Tire Company, Trenton, New Jersey, bear the inscription "Auto Ped Tire, Empire red, non-skid."
Date Made:
Gift of Lawrence Bourgeois

Additional pictures.

It folded up for portability.

Check here for more.

Monday, October 27, 2014

If You Think Obama Was Bad ....

Look at what the next president is saying.

Corporations and businesses don't create jobs? You don't like what is going on now, just wait. FYI, the campaign on whose behalf Hilary is appearing, Martha Coakley for governor, is down nine points in the latest independent poll to her Republican challenger. They don't even believe these people in Massachusetts.

Up in Elizabeth Warren land, even the fourth estate is jumping ship.
Not all is entirely well in the Commonwealth, though. In cities and towns far removed from the shiny new towers of Cambridge’s Kendall Square or Boston’s Seaport District, the economic picture looks much dimmer. Meanwhile, cracks are showing in the edifice of state government itself. The Department of Children and Familiesthe Probation Departmentthe state crime labthe board that regulates compounding pharmaciesthe state Labor Department’s unemployment systemthe Health Connector website — voters have come to know all these terms as shorthand for the kind of bureaucratic failures that make them doubt state government’s ability to help Massachusetts move forward.Effective activist government isn’t built on good intentions. 
To provide consistently good results, especially for the state’s most vulnerable and troubled residents, agencies need to focus on outcomes, learn from their errors, and preserve and replicate approaches that succeed. Baker, a former health care executive, has made a career of doing just that. During this campaign, he has focused principally on making state government work better. The emphasis is warranted. And in that spirit, the Globe endorses Charlie Baker for governor.
Have a good day, and good luck to us all.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Stop Paying it Forward

In the you got to read it to believe it mode, I am sure the parents would appreciate the support. But for the Tadios-Parker kids, I would not recommend planning a trip visit to mom and dad.

A federal judge has sentenced the former head of the Rocky Boy’s Indian Reservation’s health care system to a year in prison for using tribal money to visit her husband while he was in federal prison for stealing tribal money.
U.S. District Judge Brian Morris of Great Falls also ordered Fawn Tadios to pay $15,000 in restitution during her sentencing hearing Tuesday.
A jury convicted Tadios on three counts of theft in June.
Prosecutors say Tadios used federal money meant for the tribal health department to visit former Chippewa Cree chairman Jake Parker, Jr., in prison in South Dakota. Parker was given a 16-month sentence in November 2011 after pleading guilty to putting $59,000 in personal charges on a tribal credit card. He also was ordered to pay restitution.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

We Know Who We Are Voting For

In less than two weeks we will be exercising our constitutional responsibility as citizens of this great land to cast votes for federal, a few state and many local offices. 

We've been in Montana for two years and change now so the state and local political landscapes are much clearer to us than when we last voted in a general election, a mere three months after our arrival. 

We look at where candidates claim to stand on the issues only as a first cut. It is important to dig. We are pretty thorough in vetting candidates in order to understand their backgrounds, political and life experiences, and governing philosophies. We don't expect people to be saints in their personal lives, but integrity in the public arena is non-negotiable. 

Candidates reveal themselves in the choices they make in life and their achievements (or lack thereof), much more so than in any 30 second radio or TV spot. Many times the most revealing information you can get on a politician (or most anyone else for that matter) is what they do when they don't think anyone is looking. I look for candidates who have the background, the motivation and the will to do the right thing.

Montana is an odd state politically. To oversimplify a bit, voters are both anti-corporate and anti-government, or conversely pro-union and pro-liberty. When anti-corporate sentiments are brewing the Democrats do well. When anti-government animus is rising the Republicans do well. 

Second Amendment rights and insistence on the freedom to bear arms without state interference are huge. You walk into any sporting goods store, a ranch supply outlet, or even the Costgo, gun safes are front and center. This is not about abstractions. It's a matter of everyday life. 

Let me offer an example. For whatever reason, the deer population around town is up this year and there has been a lot of road kill. It has been coming up in conversation lately on a regular basis. 

I was talking to "Brian" about the dead deer scourge, when he mentioned that he was driving down Churchill Road the other day, and saw a severely injured deer writhing along the roadside. He stopped and got out of his truck, and observed the deer was mortally injured. He returned to his vehicle and retrieved his hand gun to put the young buck out of its misery. A few days later I was talking with "Jay." He had seen a badly injured deer on River Road a few days previous. He mentioned that he retrieved his pistol from his Subaru and effected the same result. I mentioned these incidents to "Dale" who told me that he had done the same thing many times, out in the country of course. He wouldn't shoot anything in town.

All these guys hard working, salt of the earth, decent, honorable and self reliant as they are, if they lived in DC, and were stopped and searched as a result of a traffic violation, would be arrested for felony gun possession and would be looking at doing hard time.

We live outside of town. In the two plus years we have lived here I have seen maybe a half dozen times a county sheriff's department patrol vehicle out our way. In stark contrast, there were plenty of days back in Arlington, Virginia in non-emergency situations, that I saw that many police cars in one place at one time (usually near the Dunkin Donut or hanging in the Goodwill parking lot, middle of the night). We may be lightly policed out here, but I can vouch that most (perhaps all) of my neighbors are armed with rifles and semi-automatic hand guns. They say don't mess with Texas, but you are bananas if you mess with citizens in Montana. Firearms are really important.

My view of the political world, forged by 33 years in Washington, DC, and decades of economic and financial analysis, is the federal government is too big, too wasteful, too debt ridden, too deficit driven, too imposing, too burdensome, too incompetent and too ready to pull the trigger, literally and figuratively. That doesn't mean I believe in no government. It does mean we marched right past what was reasonable, fiscally sustainable, and efficient and effective, many years ago. No sincere effort to productively reduce or limit any aspect of the federal government, or identify major paybacks from increased accountability, would come up empty. Washington, DC is totally out of control. 

I don't vote for anyone or anything, and I never have, because someone promised they would give me something. My voting these days is colored substantially by the reality that we are $18 trillion in debt, at perhaps the worst possible time, when we are about to see federal expenditures inexorably climb as the baby boom demographic tsunami makes the country's most populous generation takers instead of makers. I would be happy to see my federal pension limited or shaved as part of genuine fiscal reform because that would be good for the country and great for my children.

You mix all the above together and my views are very much libertarian -- I say libertarian leaning because I don't vote based on party labels. Running under the Libertarian Party banner doesn't qualify someone as the best choice in a given election, anymore than does qualifying for the ballot as a Democrat or Republican.

So here are my 2014 choices for federal office. I pray that they are right.

United States Senate.

One of the positive things about Montana is many of the Republican candidates have a libertarian streak. So it is with the Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate, Steve Daines. Daines is a first term U.S. Congressman who has taken votes to limit the size of the federal government even when those votes have been unpopular with constituents. His campaign motto is "More Jobs, Less Government." He means it. And he is not a lawyer. 

Daines is a local boy in his youth elected president of the student council at Bozeman High School,who earned a chemical engineering degree at Montana State, went to work internationally for Proctor and Gamble, and then returned to work in Bozeman with his father in the construction business. Through that work, Daines became acquainted with Greg Gianforte, founder of Right Now Technolgies, a highly successful tech startup that Daines joined, producing together hundreds of high paid jobs in the Bozeman area. I have been unable to find anyone who knows Daines personally or professionally who has a bad thing to say about the man or his character.

On the other side, the Democrats have been royal screw ups. Known for 36 years as Max Baucus' seat, Democrats have held this senate seat for a hundred years. Realizing that his role in drafting and managing the passage of Obamacare would likely be fatal in the 2014 election, Baucus announced his intention to retire and spend more time in his beloved Montana. It turns out that Montana is the neighborhood of Beijing, where an Obama offered ambassadorship beckoned. 

Democratic Governor and lawyer, Steve Bullock, chose John Walsh, his buddy and lieutenant governor, to complete Baucus' term when Max left for China. General Walsh, US Army, Ret., was touted for his honor in serving state and country, having commanded the Montana national guard and having served a rotation deployed in Iraq. Bullock was looking to give Walsh the edge of incumbency going into November's election. Wash's candidacy imploded in July when it was unearthed that he had plagiarized a paper required to earn his masters degree at the US Army War College. Walsh first responded claiming he made some paperwork errors and had done nothing wrong (virtually the entire paper was copied without attribution from other sources), then claimed post traumatic stress disorder and anti-anxiety drugs. Then he blamed his fraud on a soldier's suicide. Finally, he quit the campaign realizing his credibility and honor shticks were shot (his masters degree has been subsequently revoked and his rank as general will eventually follow). 

The Democrats chose to replace Walsh with one Amanda Curtis, a school teacher and first time Montana house legislator from Butte, who is really good at dissing, sassing and mocking her opponents (with a great big smile, of course), but not much of anything else. Vote for one of us she says. Check this out.
Curtis has said some unflattering things about gun rights, and Christians, and her desire to punch other lawmakers in the face—all of them in YouTube diaries she broadcast as commentaries on the Montana legislative session. Nothing terribly far-out there. The far-out part is her association with the Wobblies.
The Wobblies are the Industrial Workers of the World, a hard-left union of historical vintage that let the 20th century pass it by. “The working class and the employing class have nothing in common,” the group proclaims. “Between these two classes a struggle must go on until the workers of the world organize as a class, take possession of the means of production, abolish the wage system, and live in harmony with the Earth.”
Nothing says “modern, forward-thinking progressive” like warmed-over Lenin.
Curtis’ husband is more active in the IWW than she, but her admiration for communist economics doesn’t stop there. Not long ago she replaced her Facebook profile picture with a photo of Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, the former chairwoman of the Communist Party USA.
Well I ain't one of you, thank God, and Amanda, I hope the campaign lets you keep your spiffy new wardrobe when you return to the mining city for the next semester. 

RealClear Politics has spotted the Montana senate seat as the most likely to change parties in November.

As an aside, the Libertarian party candidate for senate is one Roger Roots a one-time skinhead and Nazi sympathizer, whose libertarian roots appear to be solely grounded in the legal arena. He has no economic cred. It appears he is a part year Montana resident. I never seriously considered voting for the man.

I will be happy to vote for Steve Daines.

US House Race

Here we are a mile high amid the mountains in Montana. And the mainstream party choices are a Capitol Hill staffer and a Navy Seal. I do not lie.

John Lewis, the Democrat, worked for Max Baucus. He has shot a single TV commercial in which he smugly states, "I will balance the budget the right way." When asked in the first debate what programs he would trim or eliminate to balance the budget, Lewis could not identify a single one. Enough for the lying scalawag. 

Ryan Zinke is a Navy Seal. Did I tell you. Ryan Zinke is a Navy Seal? Did I forget to mention, Ryan Zinke is a Navy Seal? Zinke won with the minority of the votes over three serious challengers in the Republican primary, two of whom were libertarian leaning candidates I would have been happy to vote for in November. Too bad they split up the vote. Zinke has zero cred on economic and fiscal issues, and not much of a philosophical core, other than he knows how to lead us into combat and war.

We turn to Mike Fellows, Libertarian Party candidate for Congress.
Welcome to the Mike Fellows for Congress Web site. Libertarians agree that you should live your own life without infringing on the rights of others. Government is simply force with a little mob rule thrown in.
Mike Fellows is running because we have no Fiscal Conservative that represents Montana. Congress continues to spend like drunken sailors. The national debt keeps rising with no end in site. Our dollar is weak and we see higher prices as a result. 
Please get out and vote. There are choices in folks who want a smaller government and lower taxes rather then the Tax and Spend or the Borrow and Spend candidates. Thanks for visiting and we look forward to your vote and help.
In the 2012 election, Mike Fellows ran for Clerk of the Montana Supreme Court, and received 43 percent of the vote, the strongest partisan election performance for statewide office of any Libertarian  candidate ever.

Mike Fellows is our choice for Montana's at large seat in the United States House of Representatives.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Montana Hospital One of Four Nationwide With Infectious Disease Isolation Units

We live in southwest Montana, just beyond the city limits of Bozeman. Across the wheat fields, within sight of our house, is the Bozeman Deaconess Hospital complex, shown in the Google Maps satellite view below.

Our neighborhood is in the front left foreground. Across the mid left and center of the screen are wheat fields. The red teardrop symbol in back right of the satellite view identifies Bozeman Deaconess, including the hospital plus 22 of its 23 associated clinics. I can swivel my head and see the hospital out our back living room window as I type this post. Helicopters frequently fly overhead ferrying in seriously injured patients to the emergency room, or taxiing critically ill heart disease patients, or other patients who can be better served, to specialized facilities east of us in Billings.

Not surprisingly, ours is a neighborhood heavily populated with doctors, nurses and other health care professionals. Our children go to schools with their children. There is abundant interaction and person-to-person contact. 

Bozeman Deaconess hospital is where we go for emergencies. It being a hundred or more miles or one or more mountain passes to everything else that you might call a city, there is really no other good option. Three out of our six household members see doctors in that complex. As the others age out of pediatric medicine we all will come to rely on the complex for our ongoing health care needs.

So when I heard a news report that one of the four hospital facilities nationwide specially equipped to treat people diagnosed with infectious diseases was in Montana, my ears perked up.  I checked to see where, and readily admit, I was relieved to learn the designated facility was in Missoula, 210 miles up the road.

Up along the Bitterroot Valley the local NBC TV station reports they are saying trust us.
MISSOULA, Mont. - St. Patrick Hospital officials answered questions Thursday from the Missoula Health Board about the hospital's Care and Isolation Unit, or CIU. 
It's one of four units like it in the country that is specially equipped to treat people diagnosed with infectious diseases, and it's received a lot of attention in light of the Ebola outbreak. 
St. Patrick Hospital's Joyce Dombrouski told the board that no one is currently being treated for Ebola at the hospital's CIU, and there aren't any plans for that to change.
To understand how it could, she says it's important to understand why St. Patrick's CIU was built in the first place. She says came at the request of Hamilton's Rocky Mountain Laboratories.
Doctors and technicians there work on vaccines and cures for infectious diseases, and the lab needed a place to treat anyone at the lab who became accidentally infected.
The lab also puts St. Patrick doctors and nurses through infectious disease treatment training drills twice a year.
Providence St. Patrick's Hospital, Missoula, MT.
All of that makes St. Patrick more than capable of treating a patient diagnosed with Ebola outside the city or state -- someone from Texas, for example -- but it would only come at the request of federal health officials, and St. Patrick would have the final say.
If St. Patrick were to get the call, the Missoula Health Department would have oversight and would perform safety inspections prior to any patient transfer. That's according to Missoula City-County Health Department spokesperson Cindy Hotchkiss.
"It's a rule that's been in place for a really long time," said Hotchkiss. "It basically states that we want to ensure that there's no way that this infectious disease could be spread through the process of transferring a patient."
At the end of the video (available at the link immediately above), the TV station says that the hospital has repeatedly denied its request for an interview. In total nationwide, the four infectious disease units can house 8 to 13 patients

The infectious disease crowd are all playing a relativity game. You are safe because there is something that is not currently happening that would make you less safe. 

The challenge with understanding and reacting to Ebola is that right now no one really knows how infectious it is. The statements made by "experts" and "scientists" concerning the low probability of transmission are based on pre-2014 experience in Africa, when there were a few dozen or a few hundred cases per year.  But this year there are already 10,000 documented cases, with some credibly claiming that numbers are dramatically under reported. The World Health Organization predicts new cases could reach 10,000 a week before the end of the year. 

Why has the rate of infections increased so dramatically? You don't hear the experts raising the question in public venues, much less trying to answer it. This story has a long way to roll and the crisis has a long way to come before it gets resolved one way or another.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Market Savvy

It turns out the President of Venezeula believes in market forces more than the President of the United States.
Nicholas Maduro, el President of the "Fifth Republic" of
Venezuela, guaranteeing free quality health care, free education
through college, a clean environment and protection of the
rights of all minorities and indigenous people. The country
is mired in a long term economic slump. Real incomes are plummeting.
CARACAS, Oct. 16 (Xinhua) -- Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro on Thursday blamed Washington for the slump in global oil prices.
Washington is "flooding" the market with cheaper shale oil to bring down prices and ultimately impact Russia and other oil-producing nations, Maduro said at a televised Cabinet meeting.
"The U.S. and its allies want to affect oil prices to harm Russia, which produces around 10 million barrels per day, and that is the vital income of their economy," said Maduro.
 Yet your President, Barack Obama, preaching to his legions of ignorant believers, has famously said "We can't drill our way to lower gas prices." If you are wondering why he can't get hardly anything right, it is because the President of the United States is immune to the realities of commerce and economics. He is no better on matters of national security and disease control. Barack Obama is the most non-empirical president ever, a fellow who is delusional to the point of thinking he makes things true by his mere utterances.

We have two years and three months left of this. God help us all. 

Friday, October 17, 2014

North Dakota Gold

Remember the intro to each 
Beverly Hillbillies episode, when Jed Clampett's rifle shot missed low and produced a gusher? Well, it seems Jed's aim has moved a smidgen or two north now. There is gold in them there hills, black gold that is, North Dakota tea. The western badlands and plains in North Dakota are checker boarded with drilling rigs and pipes. They extract and transport from the Bakken oil fields and the underlying Three Forks formation, now confirmed by the USGS to include 7.4 billion barrels of oil reserve, an estimate that will only increase in years to come. On top of that, the fields contain 6.7 trillion feet of natural gas. 

While some other states are raising tax rates to counteract stagnant or slowly growing revenue streams, North Dakota's tax revenues have risen by leaps and bounds, enabling tax rate reductions. Here is a 2013 report that highlights the favorable trends.
BISMARCK, N.D. — North Dakota’s last revenue report for 2013 from the Office of Management and Budget shows yet another month of double-digit percentage increases even after years of oil boom-driven revenue growth.
Six months into the 2013-2015 biennium, tax collections are running more than 20 percent above the previous biennium. Going back four bienniums to December of 2007, North Dakota’s tax revenues have increased nearly 135 percent. 
In terms of raw dollars, the largest increase has been in sales tax revenue, which increased $142.68 million to $638.44 million for the biennium to date. By comparison, sales tax revenue at this point in December 2007 were $279.33 million. 
As a percentage, the largest increase has been collections from personal and corporate income taxes, which have increased 43.7 and 65.6 percent, respectively. 
That comes despite a 19.3 percent cut for personal income taxes and a 12 percent cut for corporate income taxes passed by the Legislature last year, the third consecutive session in which both tax rates were trimmed.
Compare, for example, the state of Illinois, which raised its income tax rate by 67 percent and imposed a punitive corporate tax rate that is driving business out of the state. Also, contrast with California which has voted in double digit income tax rates on top of an incredibly high 7.5 percent sales tax. It is no wonder that North Dakota is now experiencing the most rapid population growth of any state in the country.

The state of North Dakota is profiting greatly from the rapid growth in the development oil and gas resources. But North Dakotans are not spendthrift short term thinkers or planners. They are putting a hefty portion of the oil wealth away in sovereign funds, a real investment for future generations.

Here is the scorecard,
The state Legacy Fund, a lock box for a portion of the state’s oil-tax wealth that was created in 2010, is now worth about $2.2 billion. The state Department of Trust Lands, which leases out North Dakota’s oil-bearing property, has about $4.6 billion – an increase of about 350 percent from fiscal year 2009, when the boom was just beginning.
The two-fund total of $6.8 billion may not sounds like all that much to those in the more populous environs on the coasts and through America's heartlands. But consider that North Dakota state population is 723,393. low enough to even allow some Montanans to sneer. Annual North Dakota state government expenditures are on the order of $4.5 billion. The Legacy and Trust Lands fund are growing on the order of half a billion dollars annually.  If the combined fund reserve and surplus ratios were applied to the federal government as a whole, we would have approximately $5 trillion in investments (as opposed to the actual $18 trillion in debt), and our annual surpluses be around half a trillion dollars compared to the last six year average of just less than a trillion dollars ($954 billion).

North Dakota voted this in, by a 27 point margin.
N.D. Legacy Committee issues Measure One statement

 N.D. Legacy Committee issues Measure One statement

BISMARCK, ND – In yesterday’s statewide election voters passed Measure 1, which establishes the North Dakota Legacy Fund. 
“This is a bright day for the future financial stability of North Dakota,” said North Dakota Farm Bureau Public Policy Director Sandy Clark. “North Dakota voters made the decision to leave a legacy for future generations. Projections for the 2011-2013 biennium will put $613 million into the savings account and still have almost $700 million for immediate needs.”  
The 2010 Legacy Fund measure requires 30 percent of the total collections of both the oil extraction tax and gross production tax are deposited into the fund. Deposits into and earnings of the Legacy Fund cannot be withdrawn until 2017. After 2017, the earnings from the Legacy Fund are transferred into the general fund, and the Legislature may spend up to 15 percent of the fund’s principle balance every two years with a two-thirds approval by both the House and Senate.  
Dakota Draper, President of the North Dakota Education Association, said, “The NDEA is very pleased that North Dakota voters have supported a plan to make sure that the oil resources we have continue to provide for generations of future North Dakotans long after the oil is depleted. The balance of saving and spending in Measure 1 enables us to take care of present and future needs of all North Dakotans.” 
The 2010 Legacy Fund is a more balanced approach than the similar measure proposed in 2008, which was based on specific dollar amounts rather than on set percentages.
Responsible fiscal management is spelled N_O_R_T_H  D_A_K_O_T_A, not anything that correlates with or emanates from our federal government. 

Have a blessed day and good luck to all.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Saturday Pictures

Saturday Pictures
October 11, 2014
(click to enlarge)

When we were down in Yellowstone a couple of weeks ago I realized I had left the mega capacity memory card we use in the Nikon camera back home in the front slot of my notebook computer. I found the smaller capacity backup we store in the camera case for such eventualities and used that to shoot some scenes. 

Later, when we downloaded the backup card for editing and archival selection we were pleasantly surprised to see a treasure trove of back in the day Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia photos, featuring our girls in period dress. During the 2013 federal government shutdown, we blogged a recommendation to visit Williamsburg (owned and operated by a private foundation) and Mount Vernon (ditto). Had the shutdown continued another week we would have recommended Monticello as well. Government shutdown or not, when we lived inside the Beltway in Northern Virginia, those were my three favorite places of historical note to visit. The privately run operations are much better than just about everything the government has to offer. When you travel to DC or Virginia, we highly commend these fascinating destinations.

Here are some of the "lost" photos, highlighting our girls in period costume, with matching outfits for their American Girl dolls no less. Enjoy!

Waiting for the carriage along Duke of Gloucester Street.

In the carriage.

American Girl dolls.

Posing with period actors.

Along the village green.

Playing the harpsichord (really).

In the warm spring sun.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

On The Road to Bathgate Act 4h: Aunt Laura Albina Foster

It was common back in the day for the eldest daughter to take on her mother's first name. She then would be known by her middle name within the family, and in many cases beyond, so as to avoid confusion with mom. It was normal back in the day to be named, first or middle, after an aunt or uncle. It was ordinary back in the day that if any of the children attended college, that would mean the eldest. And so it was with my aunt Laura Albina Foster.

Bina, as she was known to all, was born in 1890 to Isaac J. Foster and Laura Elizabeth ("Lizzie") Armstrong Foster. She was the eldest of the 11 Foster children who survived infancy. My father, George W. Foster, born 19 years later, was the youngest. Laura Albina Foster, pharmacist in her adulthood, died on November 3, 1928 of mortification of appendicitis. Following are the surprisingly large number of snippets and the themes we have been able to uncover and piece together of her life on this earth.

The Way College Used to Be

1910s era ad for what has become North Dakota State University, in Fargo, ND.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Saturday Pictures

Saturday Pictures
October 4, 2014
(click photos to enlarge)

Irving is our deer this fall; he is a young buck. We first spied our pal chomping on the broccoli in the garden.

Now he is a fixture under the crab apple tree, chomping down the fallen fruit.

We took our German foreign exchange student down to Yellowstone last Sunday where the buffalo roam.

And feed to fatten up for the winter.

We saw a water fall or two.


And geysers of course.

And a thermal area known as the Paint Pots.

We don't need national parks for outstanding views. This perspective is from Blake's classmate's home up Bearclaw Lane looking down the valley into town (Bozeman).

On the other side, away from town, we can see one of Warren Buffett's trains chugging around the bend and up the mountain.

And the gateway to Bozeman is a rock formation known as the nose, or George Washington in repose.

Have a great day and good luck to all!