Multiclassing Vs. Dual-Classing

Clayton Andrews is an example of multiclassing:

Clayton Andrews doesn’t fit the stereotype for pitchers. He keeps it loose before he pitches, he’s 5 feet, 6 inches tall, and he plays in the outfield on his off days.

“I don’t really have time to be just sitting around and not doing much,” the Milwaukee Brewers prospect said.

Although most baseball players are told to concentrate on one position when they reach high school, the left-handed Andrews was encouraged to express his two-way skill set throughout his career.

Rick Ankiel, on the other hand, is an example of dual-classing:

Ankiel was a pitcher with the Cardinals from 1999 until 2001, when he found himself unable to throw strikes consistently. After trying to regain his pitching form in the minor leagues and briefly returning to the majors in 2004, he switched to the outfield in early 2005. For two and a half years, he honed his skills as a hitter and fielder in the Cardinals’ minor-league system. He returned to the Cardinals on August 9, 2007.

I know, I’m an old school gamer. Kids these days only know multiclassing.

The Source of That Thing Daddy Always Says: “Happy Birthday To Me”

Sometimes, when something favorable appears or happens, I am prone to saying “Happy birthday to me.”

The source, like so many of the catchphrases I spout, comes from turn of the century beer commercial that I saw over and over again when watching hockey games on television with my beautiful wife.

To be honest, repeating catch phrases or brand taglines from things my children have seen is so very unsatisfying.

And although I might not be Golden Corral age yet, I am getting close to that young lady is cute age.

Like “Trump” But With A British Accent

Meghan and Harry reportedly barred from using ‘Sussex Royal’ label going forward:

According to the Daily Mail, the two had hoped to leverage “Sussex Royal” into not just a new website but a “global trademark for a range of items and activities, including clothing, stationery, books and teaching materials” and a new charitable organization with the name. The pair began using the term in early 2019 after their branch-off from Prince William and Kate Middleton’s household, Kensington Royal.

Kind of how you got Trump steaks, Trump University, Trump Homes, et cetera.

However, Meg and Har’s venture would be really classy and not mockable because they’re right-thinking folk.

Wherein The Internet Educates Brian J., Again

The night before last, my wife read something to me that had the word “bungalow” in it, and I said that you really don’t hear about bungalows except in California.

Then, yesterday, someone linked to and quoted an article about black families leaving Chicago, and the first paragraph is all like:

Hardis White, 78, could hardly wait to break out of suburbia.

He dressed in a flannel shirt, jeans and a Bears cap, strode out of the rectangular bungalow he shares with his wife and daughter and folded his tall frame behind the wheel of his silver Nissan sedan.

So I was all like, wut?

So I read up on bungalows and learned more about the architectural style. There’s even a Milwaukee bungalow style, which I’ve undoubtedly seen a bunch of.

But I guess I read a lot of detective fiction set in California where vics, perps, and sometimes detectives live in bungalows. Which is why I was mistaken.

But a reminder that sometimes this little Internet thingy can be a force for education and not just political poo fights.

On Augustine: Philosopher and Saint by Professor Phillip Cary (2005)

Book coverAfter finishing Luther: Gospel, Law, and Reformation, I was very pleased to find that I owned this audio course about Augustine by the same professor. This course, though, was in the original shrink wrap which means I paid full price for it or at the very least paid The Teaching Company directly for it when it was on sale. So I leapt right into it.

The series is only 12 lectures, half the size of the Luther series, and it follows the same pattern with biography, historical context, and then theology, albeit abbreviated by the brevity of the series. Which, I guess, is redundant since both those words share a root.

The lectures include:

  1. Church Father
  2. Church Platonist
  3. Confessions–The Search for Wisdom
  4. Confessions–Love and Tears
  5. Confessions–The Road Home
  6. Augustine’s Career as a Christian Writer
  7. Faith, Love, and Grace
  8. Evil, Free Will, Original Sin, and Predestination
  9. Signs and Sacraments
  10. The Inner Self
  11. The Trinity and the Soul
  12. The City of God

The course emphasizes the influence of Platonism on Augustine and, hence, a lot of Christian thinkers. It shares a lot of content with the Luther series, of course, where the thinkers overlap. More than the other series, though, this book reminded me how much of Augustine’s writings I have scattered amongst the Nogglestead library and made me want to read the translated primary sources that I have available.

For something to read between men’s adventure paperbacks, I would guess.

At any rate, another course that I’m glad I listened to. Which means I should change up topic matter to keep the theology from becoming repetitive and stale.

Environmentalist Activists, Fabulists Left Out

Amid the actual economic repercussions from a disease outbreak (Cathay Pacific flags “significant” drop in H1 profit, capacity cuts due to coronavirus, Singapore downgrades 2020 economic forecast amid coronavirus outbreak, Japan manufacturers remain pessimistic as coronavirus fears grow, etc.), academics remind us that climate change might someday have a cataclysmic economic impact:

A shocking new study says extreme weather events caused by climate change could result in an economic recession “the likes of which we’ve never seen before.”

The research, published in Nature Energy, notes that financial markets are not taking into account the risks that catastrophic events such as floods, droughts and other extreme weather events will have on the economy.

“If the market doesn’t do a better job of accounting for climate, we could have a recession — the likes of which we’ve never seen before,” the study’s author, University of California, Davis accounting professor Paul Griffin, said in a statement.

Griffin added the amount of “unpriced risk” in the energy market is significant, noting this is what caused the Great Recession. “Right now, energy companies shoulder much of that risk. The market needs to better assess risk, and factor a risk of extreme weather into securities prices,” he explained.

You know the only way to avoid the economic impacts of climate change? Economic impacts–taxes and new economic incentives/subsidies/fees–that benefit climate change activists and governments.

Let’s just see how well humanity does after the current actual threat before we move onto ones that we make up.

(Coronovirus links via Instapundit.)

In Their Defense, Boston’s “Long Time” Is Only 5:22 has a gallery of Longtime celebrity couples then and now, although the pictures are actually presented Now followed by Then. But I do not want to quibble with that.

What I quibble with is the “longtime” designation. Sure, some of the couples have been together since the 1980s or 1990s, which is qualifying as a long time these days (he asserted, limping after his most recent triathlon class). But so many of the longtime couples here only became a couple during the last part of the Bush 43 administration.

Maybe that counts as a long time in Hollywood or in San Francisco. However, I go to church, which regularly celebrates 50th, 60th, and 70th wedding anniversaries. So 13th anniversaries of couplehood is a good start.

Since I mentioned it, here’s “Foreplay/Longtime” by Boston. Which runs almost eight minutes, but the intro part (“Foreplay”) is almost two and a half.

Book Report: Little Town on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder (1942, ?)

Book coverI read The Long Winter in December, and I’ve pretty much determined I’m going to read the rest of the series by the end of the year, so here we go.

Well, sort of–I had shelved These Happy Golden Years out-of-order, so I actually read a couple chapters of it before I saw in the front that I was going out of order, so I set that aside and jumped into this book.

This book sees Laura get a job in town for a couple of weeks that will provide some money to help send Mary to college. Mary goes to college; the town develops a little more. Winter is not so bad the next year, but to alleviate cabin fever, the town decides to have weekly town meetings called Literaries that start out with a spelling bee and end with a blackface minstrel show (OUTRAGE!!!!!!!!!1!). Well, I would be outraged, except, as you all know, I am guilty of reading the banned literature, so I’m too guilty to be outraged.

The book ends with a lead-in to the next book, I can tell you as I read the first bit of it: Laura takes a teaching position at a small settlement 12 miles away (which is about the distance I traverse several times a day to deliver and pick up my boys from their school in the city). In the latter half of the ninteenth century in North Dakota, though, this was quite a distance, and she would live with a family in the setllment and not see her family–or her new beau, that Wilder boy, very often.

The book continues to evolve as the character ages. In this book, she pays more attention to clothing and fashion than in other books, and the subtle content changes over the course of the series to reflect the age of the character. I appreciate the effort and effect.

Thanks to this, I’ve learned the origin of the term “lunatic fringe”: It originally meant bangs (which Laura wants) before Teddy Roosevelt turned it into a political insult (source).

I also felt a connection with the book in that Laura receives for Christmas. She has a 1883 blue and gold copy of Tennyson’s Poems. I myself have a brown copy of the same book that was inscribed by the then-owner in 1893. So Laura Ingalls and I practically owned the same book. Although this was not her copy obviously. Not only do I have a copy of this volume, but at some time I happened upon a second and gave one to my mother-in-law.

At any rate, as I mentioned, I’ve already started These Happy Golden Years, so I shall probably finish that at some point in the next couple of weeks. I’m sure you can’t wait to hear my twee reflections on the next children’s book I plan to read.

What Would I Say To Myself Then?

So we attended an archery meet this weekend, and a kind of gawky looking kid came in, and I said to my beautiful wife, “I just walked in the door.”

This thought proved delightful not only to my wife, but also brought forth a belly laugh from the teacher whose son was shooting on the same lane as the lad.

I was a thin, gawky young man. Here I am at eighteen at my high school graduation party in May 1990.

I was only spared the heavy glasses because advances in contact lenses meant they could now (that being 1988 or so) correct severe astigmatism and because, for some reason, my sainted mother sprung for said contact lenses when I was in high school. We never were very flush with money, so I cannot ever understand why she sprung for them. Were they something I got in the summer when I went to my father’s home in Milwaukee and got all my dentistry and medical things taken care of under the aegis of his union benefits? That’s more likely.

At any rate, a commercial for Kia that aired during the Super Bowl features football player Josh Jacobs wondering what he would say to his younger self:

As this is a football player, the advice is to have faith in the football.

I expect my message to myself might be different.

Have faith, young man. Although you cannot put any weight on now no matter how much you exercise or how much protein powder you choke down, eventually you will be able to put on muscle if you want. In thirty years, you could go from an adult medium to a 2 XL, you can spend lots of time in a gym, and you can listen to heavy metal whilst doing so. Which could very well make you assume some of the characteristics of the very young people who torment you now.

You can marry a beautiful woman, have a couple of good kids, and pursue an interesting and lucrative and well paid career and yet be vaguely unsatisfied with it. You might spend much of your time restless, hoping for something better, kind of like you’re rushing through these teen years. Instead of focusing on tomorrow and the next best thing and growing up, you should spend today with your brother and your mother and your family because someday too soon they won’t be with you any more.

You know, I could give my younger self the same advice I give my contemporary self, and I’d probably heed it just as little.

You Got Chocolate In My Musical Peanut Butter!

You know, WSIE, the former jazz station and now smooth jazz “The Sound” from Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville, is not afraid to mix in some interesting musical choices. In addition to Sacha Boutros, Janet Evra, and Ashley Pezzotti (along with other favorites like Hiroshima, Keiko Matsui, Cindy Bradley, Al Jarreau, and so on).

Sometimes, they mix in a little Stevie Ray Vaughn and Steely Dan (and Donald Fagen solo). So they go a little towards blues rock. Today, they were all:

BTO, “Looking Out For Number One”.

You know, it’s bluesy enough to fit in with the sound. But some of us are old enough to consider BTO to be Album-Oriented Rock (later known as Classic Rock).

Fun story: I saw BTO in concert once. I have already mentioned it once, but I haven’t told you the whole story. BTO was the early afternoon act on one of the side stages at Summerfest in the early 1990s, and Weird Al was scheduled after them. So I stood on a bench amidst a bunch of aging bikers and didn’t think anything of it. I danced poorly, probably thrashed a bit, and had a great time. Then, after BTO finished, the bikers meandered off, and the Weird Al crowd of thirteen year olds mustered in, and many of them demonstrated Attitude brokered from being away from Mom for the first time, and they were getting a little restive. So I bailed out on Weird Al, the only chance I’ve had to see him live for nothing but the price of a Summerfest ticket, because I was either going to have to deal with abuse from thirteen-year-old tough guys or might end up in a scuffle with said tough guys, and even if I won (not a sure thing as I was a hundred and twenty gangly pounds at eighteen), I would have lost. You know, it probably wouldn’t have been like that, but I tend to extrapolate every conflict into physical violence as I lack the tact to defuse a situation.

Wait, where was I? Oh, yes, listening to WSIE. Which has returned to its more normal playlist of Diana Krall and Al Jarreau whilst I’ve been typing this and wondering exactly how bad I come off relating the BTO anecdote en toto. Not Toto. That’s another band entirely, and I’m sure WSIE could play some selections from them no problem.

Another Captcha Failed

Logically speaking, none of these squares have buses; as a matter of fact, the image only contains a single bus spread over four squares.

I know, I am reading too much into it, but I sometimes still get a little bit anxious when trying out captchas. Sometimes the images are blurry, or the text is ambiguous as to what I’m really looking for.

Another Castle Turns Brian J.’s Head

Forget that other castle for sale.

I want this one instead:

A castle tucked away on 2,400 acres, visible to the outside world only from water or air, is on the market for $24.75 million — more than twice the asking price of any luxury property for sale in the St. Louis area.

It’s being touted as a once-in-a-lifetime chance to own a private estate that includes a furnished castle with a conference center and an 18-hole golf course, according to the listing by Cushman & Wakefield real estate firm.

Union Pacific has for more than 30 years owned the nine-bedroom, limestone mansion with a gun tower used in the Civil War. The railroad used it as a corporate retreat, but in 2018 decided to close it to cut costs.

I’ve read about this property from time to time in history books and whatnot, but I never thought I’d have the chance to own it.

Which depends upon me winning the lottery. But, still, like buying a lottery ticket gives you one chance where you had none without it, the property being for sale gives me a chance where I had none when it was not for sale.

Well, no, I guess I’ve always had the chance of societal breakdown leading me to becoming a regional warlord and using it as my headquarters. So maybe I have two chances now.

You can view the property listing here.

Wherein My Beautiful Wife Mistakes A Flugelhorn For A Trumpet

Gentle reader, as you know, I like to spend my evenings in a recliner with a good book whilst a “fire” burns in the fireplace and smooth jazz plays (although not currently WSIE as the AirPort Express gave up the support ghost).

The other evening, a song came on as my beautiful wife entered the room, and she said, “Rise?”

“Chuck Mangione, ‘Feels So Good’,” I replied. And we repeated the exchange pretty much verbatim until I explained that it was not, in fact, Herb Alpert, and then she heard it.

I mean, I was able to authoritatively say Chuck Mangione even though this song, like “Hungry Heart” by Bruce Springsteen and “Baker Street” by Gerry Rafferty, was one that I’d heard in my youth and hazily remembered. Unlike “Hearts” by Marty Balin, this instrumental (radio edit) did not have lyrics that I could have used to look it up on the Internet were I so inclined.

But I still stream WSIE on my computer, and I heard the song a couple of times, and I remembered it and thought, It’s that song. After a couple such instances, I thought, perhaps I should learn its name since I might not get the chance again. So I paid attention when it came on again and looked at the name/artist text on the live stream.

Which is why I could with certainty that I don’t often demonstrate say, “Chuck Mangione, ‘Feels So Good’.”

How good it feels to you, gentle reader, is up to you.

I Will Miss Some Of The Bubble 2.0 Companies When They’re Gone

My beautiful wife and I took a date weekend to St. Charles this weekend that was originally scheduled as a polite fiction to visit my aunt but ended up being superseded by her memorial service. When a friend from my martial arts school was scheduled for his first professional BJJ match in St. Peters (the next suburb over from St. Charles), I asked my beautiful wife to schedule a trip back to St. Charles for us.

We stayed at the same AirBNB where my family and I stayed on the nigh of my aunt’s memorial service, which allowed me to pick up the suit that I had inadvertently left behind. We also took advantage of Lyft to get too and from an Italian restaurant so that we could share a bottle of wine during the meal, and I said to her, as we awaited our car, that I was going to miss services like Lyft when they failed, and I likened some of the new companies/services to the dot-com era Web sites that were going to change anything.

A headline today underlined what I said to my wife: Uber CEO says ‘era of growth at all costs is over’ after losing $8.5 billion last year.

It’s a good thing I got my suit back now, as even AirBNB is losing money ahead of a planned IPO.

I have to wonder what will happen if AirBNB goes belly up, and a lot of its “hosts” suddenly find themselves overextended in property that they no longer can make payments on.

You know what would be great? The burst of the dot-com bubble and the mortgage meltdown all at once!

That’s Awful Pretty Font For A Protection Racket

Spotted on a door of a shop on Historic Main Street in St. Charles:

Click for full size

An envelope taped to the shop door that says Confidential for Owner.

I cannot imagine what the envelope might contain. A note about the sale of the building with information about the new owner for the lessee? Information about the local protection racket and rates? A thank you card for a great gift purchased within?

Although it would have been very, very easy to have taken it and read it, I am not the owner, and I ain’t got no truck with no MacGuffin.

But taping something with that label to the door seems like an easy way to make sure that the confidential note does not get to the owner.

Book Report: The Death of Common Sense by Philip K. Howard (1994)

Book coverThis book is a look at how several factors systematically removed discretion from government and how that made government worse. It’s broken into a couple sections, and basically it boils down to these themes:

  • The increase in regulations makes it difficult to get anything done and hampers citizens.
  • The reliance on overdetailed processes takes discretion away from individuals in the government and makes everything inefficient, costly, and time consuming.
  • The profusion of “rights” for varied aggrieved classes means groups vie against each other for their own benefit.
  • Changes in educational policy, including making it a property right and introduction of due process protections for discipline, have neutered schools and educators.

I want to remind everyone here that this book is twenty-six years old, so these ruminations precede our current state of affairs which are the poisoned vine from those roots.

The author seems to come from the center-left perspective from that antiquity before Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden are considered moderate on the left.. I base this mostly on that he quotes left-leaning, albeit reasonable types, more than conservative sources. He doesn’t light into Republicans and seems like he’s trying to rein in some excesses of government power while still saying that its activist do-gooding is good. More of a Daniel Patrick Moynihan type. But nobody listened.

He does quote Walter Olson a couple times, though. I used to cite, Olson’s blog, a lot. But that time was closer to this book’s publication than now. How long have I been blogging, anyway? (Seventeen years in March.)

Oh, and as this is the 1990s, we have a Good Trump appearance.

Processes designed for public participation have also taken on a life of their own. In 1991, Donald Trump was persuaded by a coaliton of civic groups (including one I am active in) to adopt a plan for developing a seventy-acre abandoned rail yard he owned on Manhattan’s West Side. Arms locked together, this odd coalition of do-gooders and the Donald entered New York’s three-level zoning approval process. In total, our group attended over one hundred formal meetings, including twelve large public hearings, at which, I could (and did) testify, everyone said basically the same thing over and over. At the end of the process, an intense eighteen months later, the objectors sued. Their main grounds? After thousands of hours of meetings, they complained that the process–specifically, that one draft legal document had been provided six weeks later than certain others. They also said the environmental impact statement, almost two thousand pages long, was not complete. Our coalition won in court. But the project was held up another eighteen months for the litigation.

I would say, “See the meme above about what the future holds,” but according to his Wikipedia entry, Howard has worked with the Trump administration. Also, from his Wikipedia entry, I see that members of the board of his nonprofit included Bill Bradley and George McGovern–along with Alan Simpson and Tom Kean. So he’s a real centrist.

At any rate, I bought this book in 2007, and it has been on the bookshelves in Old Trees and Nogglestead for thirteen years. I’d say I’m looking out for the author’s other works, but I’d probably leave them on the shelves for a long time as well since I get my daily dose of political theory in blogs and don’t generally want to sit down and read them in my recliner.

Still, I agree with this book and didn’t have to throw it once.

On Luther: Gospel, Law and Reformation by Professor Phillip Cary (2004)

Book coverNow this was a good lecture series.

I was certainly underwhelmed with On the Bible as the Root of Western Literature, and I might have thought that On Heaven or Heresy went on a bit long, so I wasn’t really that keen on a new series with religious overtones (although the aforementioned are more literature and history than theology).

But this series of lectures really is all of the above. It’s 24 lectures, longer than the others, and it includes a biography of Luther, the historical context to his writings, the differences in theology that developed between Luther and the Catholic Church (and the Reformists and the Anabaptists and the Baptists), and then it focuses a couple of survey/summary lectures on Luther’s relationship to different things.

The lectures are:

  1. Luther’s Gospel
  2. The Medieval Church–Abuses and Reform
  3. The Augustinian Paradigm of Spirtuality
  4. Young Luther Against Himself
  5. Hearing the Gospel
  6. Faith and Works
  7. The Meaning of the Sacraments
  8. The Indulgence Controversy
  9. The Reformation Goes Public
  10. The Captivity of the Sacraments
  11. Reformation in Wittenberg
  12. The Work of the Reformer
  13. Against the Spirit of Rebellion
  14. Controversy Over the Lord’s Supper
  15. Controversy Over Infant Baptism
  16. Grace and Justification
  17. Luther and the Bible
  18. Luther and Erasmus
  19. Luther and Predestination
  20. Luther and Protestantism
  21. Luther and Politics
  22. Luther and His Enemies
  23. Luther and the Jews
  24. Luther and Modernity

The presenter declares himself to be an ecumenical Protestant, which puts a religious listener at ease without remaining a bit tense waiting for a sucker punch or acerbic rejoinder to believers. He presents Luther as a person and a person of his time, with his contradictions and flaws over his career but never in an accusatory fashion.

So I learned a bunch. And I’ve set aside the course guidebook to review. And I might actually listen to this series again as my beautiful wife only heard parts of lectures as we traversed southwestern Missouri on the way to basketball games and archery meets over the last month, so she might want to listen to the whole set.