Monday, August 31, 2009

So that's what she does

Our older daughter moved back to Dubuque a year ago to teach biology at Loras College. I sort of knew what Kate's graduate research at the University of Wisconsin involved, but comprehension of the details escape me. (When I was in school, I avoided the wing where science was taught, let alone the actually classes.)

Anyway, she wrote up an description of her research interests that even I can understand (somewhat).

Today marks the first day of classes in her second year at Loras. Good luck, (assistant) professor!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Schalk book added to library collection

My friends at Dubuque's Carnegie-Stout Public Library, 11th and Bluff streets, have added my Ray Schalk biography to the collection.

The development made the library's official blog, which is handled by Mike May.

During my research on the Schalk biography, as well as my Red Faber project before that, the library staff was great help. A special shout out goes to Mirdza Berzins, who helped with many Interlibrary Loan transactions and many other searches.

Thanks, Mike, Mirdza and the crew at Carnegie-Stout!

Thursday, August 27, 2009


I give up.

After the Chicago Cubs today lost 5-4 to the last-place Washington Nationals, lost the series to the aforementioned cellar-dwellers and remain nine games behind the St. Louis Cardinals in the National League Central Division, I have exhausted all hope that this team will rebound and make the playoffs.

OK, the standings do make it clear that the Cubs would face long odds to catch the Cards now. But bigger leads have been lost this late in the season. (Remember the 1969 Cubs or, more recently, the Mets?)

In a way, it will be nice to have the rest of the season free -- free from concern about the Cubs. No need to check scores. No need to stay up past bed-time to watch the end of extra-inning games. I'm unsubscribing to the Cubs post-game alert e-mails; win or lose, I don't care.

For the record, I will still go to a game next week in Chicago as part of a bus trip. But also for the record, I bought my ticket in March, when every team is in First Place.

By the way, this is a separation, not a divorce. Cubs in 2010?

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

IBM brings service center to Dubuque

After a nearly year-long process, IBM has opened its global technology service center in Dubuque.
The first 300 employees are working in the renovated Roshek Building downtown, with another 300 due to be hired by the end of 2009. Another 700 or so are to be hired in 2010.

The occasion was celebrated with a ribbon-cutting ceremony this morning on Locust Street just outside the Roshek Building.

The senior IBM official on hand, Mike Daniels, was the wrap-up speaker.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Shameless plug

I was interviewed today by Iowa Public Radio concerning my new book, Ray Schalk: A Baseball Biography (McFarland & Co.)
The interview, which runs more than 40 minutes, airs statewide on "The Exchange" 10-11 a.m. CDT Monday, Aug. 24.
The network also offers live streaming.
The program will be available as a podcast (for 10 days afterward) and as an MP3 (indefinitely).

Monday, August 17, 2009

Family time

Madame X and I arrived home from our New England vacation in time to take my Dad and his good friend Beverly to a private event we co-hosted -- wine-tasting, dinner and dancing (to Sid V and the Human Resources) at Park Farm Winery, outside Bankston, Iowa, about 20 minutes west of Dubuque. About 30 people attended.

The next morning, Saturday, Dad got reacquainted (after more than a year) with great-granddaughter Claire and was introduced to his other great-granddaughter Lise.

Andy and Josie came over from Madison, and that evening we (that includes Claire, Lise and their parents) enjoyed a cookout.

It was a great wrap-up to my vacation. Now, back to work!

Friday, August 14, 2009

The rain in Maine is something we disdain

Actually, rain never impacted our 11-plus days in Maine (and other New England states). There was an overnight T-storm, but that was it. Our sunny and dry (and occasionally foggy) weather was the exception, not the rule, this summer -- so the locals told us -- and we made the most of it.

Here are a few pictures from our trip. When time and energy permit, I might do a little slideshow, but these will have to do for now.

Our home away from home for our
first week, at Prospect Harbor, Maine.

The fog rolls in at Prospect Harbor, about a half-mile
from our cottage.
Lobster boats and pleasure craft share the harbor.

Our favorite site was Schoodic Point, on the "quiet" section of Acadia National Park. It was just 10-15 minutes from our cottage. Just as beautiful as the main section of Acadia, at Bar Harbor, one peninsula down, but much less crowded. We spent several hours here, in our 3-4 visits, just taking in the scene.
One visit to Schoodic Point included
a picnic lunch, under the watchful eye of a "local."

At Schoodic, we came across international
sculptors working granite during a summer-long symposium.
Ear plugs were provided.

As we started making our way to points south, we happened upon Fort Knox in Prospect, Maine (not to be confused with Prospect Harbor), which happened to be hosting its annual "Pirates Day." This gentleman didn't appear to be from Somalia, but we didn't ask questions.

The old and new bridges at Prospect, Maine. The new structure,
Penobscot Narrow Bridge and Observatory, allows visitors to take in the scenery from 400-plus feet up -- a little unnerving for some. But we made it.

Our visit occurred during Maine's Fiber Arts Tour. Madame X claims the timing was just coincidental. In any case, we found some interesting sites, including this alpaca farm, where the family spun, dyed and sold alpaca yarn.
Is this Lexington or Concord? (The latter.)