A Gift For Those Who Need It (and have everything else)

An article in this morning’s Gazette about a custom coffin-maker in Red Lodge Montana aroused my interest. A coffin is something most of us will need at some time or other in our lives, so it seemed logical to me to let others know what is available. The shape Mr Herzberg calls classic is the one pictured here. It costs $1175 though I suppose you could add some things that might jack up the price somewhat. And then if you live in Florida or some other faraway place the cost of shipping would have to be taken into account. He does personal deliveries within a 100 mile radius, which would include Billings.

I’ve always wondered why the “classic shape”? Kind of vaguely resembles a turd, doesn’t it. I mean, it doesn’t seem to correspond to the human body, does it? And it makes the construction a little more difficult. So, if anyone knows, let me in on the secret, even if it is something obvious.

[It occurred to me several weeks later to mention that if $1175 seems like a lot for a coffin, then you should check out your local undertaker’s wares. And if it still seems like a lot, then maybe a family could go together on it. Just use it for display, then after the funeral, burn ’em, but not the coffin, which can be used again and again. Just an idea.]

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A Modest Proposal


While surfing the Net recently, I discovered that the 2008 baseball season will be the last at the House that Ruth Built. It will be torn down in favor of a New Yankee Stadium being built even as we speak just across the road.

And furthermore, that the new Washington DC Baseball Park will open for business in April 2008.

And Finally, that the Holy Father, Benedict XVI, will be saying a Mass at the Washington DC Baseball Park on April 17, 2008.

It seems to me that this might be a golden opportunity to combine history, urban amazement, entertainment, sport, and religious fervor in one glorious long Spring break. We could probably throw in a little old-time transportation kicks riding the rails from DC to NYC.

Double Life?

I did a double-take at the grocery store yesterday. As most of you know, I get most of my understanding of what is going on in this country from the magazines and newspapers lining the checkout aisle at one of two Albertson ‘s stores in Billings Montana USA.

Here is what I want to know: Is somebody in our extended family leading a double life, posing as a hard-working Mom and Rider and Writer by day and posing for certain magazines at other times?

1st Sunday in Advent

They call this one the metamorphosis of Cobb Field

The last couple of days have been very cold and a little snow has fallen so progress on the New BallPark has slowed. There are many piles of dirt around the periphery so I guess this means that the new playing field is going to be at least 6 to 8 ft lower than it used to be. There are lot of nice pictures at http://www.prpl.info/ including this one above.

I just sent in my order for season tickets. They have figured out how to get a few more bucks out of the faithful. From the above picture we need to keep our fingers crossed that the park will be ready by next June. I thought it would be good to get some seats just above the homeplate side of the Mustang’s dugout, which has been moved to the third base side of the stadium, probably for the shade. But the worrying thing is that it looks like there may be sun on most of the seats, at least early in the evening. The artistic versions of what it will eventually look like take some liberties with perspective. Watch this space.

Some of the ways we celebrate the season in Billings Montana. Thanksgiving decorations at Mt Olive to the left. And a quick look at our new bishop co-seated at St Patrick’s to the right. Of course, the usual miraculous events of Sunday morning were part of the excitement of the weekend.

As the perceptive reader will no doubt have noted, the above orphan italicized sentence was the only one that appeared and must have looked lonely. It was supposed to be accompanied by some other stuff including some pictures. I will try again today 12/4/07. The earlier stuff was from 12/2/07, the 1st Sunday in Advent. Please forgive the peculiar way of putting together this blog.

There was a lot going on over the weekend. We had a rehearsal on Friday evening and Saturday afternoon for the Voices of Christmas, a home-made celebration of the season with the Community Orchestra (I play trombone in that group), the Shrine Chanters, a ladies group called the Akzents, and two pros, Wally Kurth and Laura Twelves. The former was a regular on some afternoon soap and grew up in Billings. His family still lives here. Laura just moved to Billings and has a big voice and uses it well it various ways. She should be good in an operatic setting.

The concert was Sunday afternoon and went off fairly well. I think our Maestra Bollman has whipped the orchestra into a reasonable shape. She did get a little excited on one of our orchestra pieces and fortunately we ran out of music just before the runaway wagon would have crashed. I think the audience thought that was the way she planned it. Maybe it was.

And then of course, there was the whole audience, which filled much of the orchestra seats and most of the loge, a goodly number for this early in the season.

In the evening we went to First Presbyterian to hear and see Rocky Mountain College musicians sing and play their version of Lessons and Carols. I think our Dr Steven Hart is at least part wizard. The most memorable for me was a nice combination of that exceedingly beautiful and hauting “Of the Father’s Love Begotten” with some African hymn with the latter in Swahili I am guessing. Nice, very nice. They have a new music faculty member whose specialty is the tuba, so maybe there will be some exciting things happening in town for the low brass.

I went back to check on the New BallPark today. They are working away as if their life depended on getting this thing done ahead of time. Though there are storms in the East and storms in the West, little old Billings is in the 50s today. This is exciting.

No Country For Old Men


No Country for Old Men: My recommendation is Go see the movie! It’s good. Lots of nice ordinary people get offed though. It reminded me of Flannery O’Connor’s response to the question: Why are your characters and stories so bizarre? She said ” When you are speaking to a deaf world, you have to shout loudly.” Or something to that effect.

Those ordinary people are one of the high points. I swear they are real people, picked up off the barren plains of West Texas. Llewellyn Moss, the ordinary person who sets the whole thing in motion, is a little younger and a little more agile than I pictured from the novel. The evil psychopath is perfect and the Sheriff is the best I’ve ever seen.

No Country for Old Men: I like these Wikipedia entries. I wondered about a scene near the end where the good guy Sheriff figures out where the bad guy is hiding but then walks away. Wiki suggested that maybe the hiding place was in the Sheriff’s mind. I am glad that others had a few problems with some of the loose ends.