Monday, April 29, 2013

Waking the Bats in My Belfry

I'll start by apologizing for the lack of new content over the past several weeks. With baseball season in full swing and family events taking over my life, I've been short on time to put order to my thoughts. With the way ideas fly around in my head, such a task can be arduous for me. I think my greatest hurdle to more consistent posting is my preference for writing each entry without interruption. Now that I've made excuses, I think the time has come for me to sculpt my next compositional masterpiece.

While I have a variety of ideas for future posts, I thought I should take some time to write a bit of a "potpourri" entry as a way to generate some momentum and ease back into blogging. I openly admit that this style is inherently flawed due to inconsistent flow and a seemingly random nature, but I will do my best to minimize the damage. (I should be okay, since my writing style often provides a sense of randomness to individual concepts. Today is just a chance to reverse the trend.)

I suppose I should start by summarizing what I've been up to lately. Aside from my gratuitous baseball watching, I've actually done a fair amount of reading. I finished Written in Stone by Brian Switek a while ago and recently read through Your Inner Fish by Dr. Neil Shubin. (I'll be writing an in-depth review of each book once I get back in a groove. I'm also waiting to get my copy of the latter back from my dad.) I'm now about knee deep in a change-of-pace book, Baseball in the Garden of Eden by John Thorn. Pretty cool read so far, and I recommend it for anyone that enjoys the game. (Probably no review coming on this one, though as the saying goes, "Never say never.")

I know I usually include images from the books I've read, but I don't have any right now. Instead, here's an historically accurate depiction of life during the Late Cretaceous.

With as much reading as I've managed to do lately, I shudder to imagine the progress I would have made if I wasn't so busy back home in Big Timber with the family. For the sake of brevity, I'll stick to highlights. I had the pleasure of attending a Missoula Children's Theatre production of The Pied Piper, starring my older nieces, Jillian and Paige, in key supporting roles. (They were key because they're the only reason I'd pay money to see the play.) I also spent a couple of weekends in Big Timber so I could watch the girls in their youth-league basketball games. 

The best part of the past month though was probably taking Jillian to see Jurassic Park in 3D. At 9, she's only a few months younger than I was during the film's first theatrical run. I wasn't impressed with the 3D, but I'm not a fan of the medium. At least it gave Universal an excuse to put the movie back in theaters. Anyway, while I did some other interesting things over these past few weeks, I think I've made my point that being a good uncle is hard work.

Speaking of hard work, I can pretend I did some during the whole Makoshika State Park fiasco here in Montana. (If you don't know what I'm talking about, I blogged about it. For those who have not kept up with the bill's progress, over the past several weeks it met little resistance in either house of the Montana state legislature. (For the full rundown of events, here's the link: I am proud to report that despite the misguided and uninformed intentions of "my" legislators, Governor Steve Bullock emphatically vetoed MT House Bill 392 on 25 April. (They are clearly "my" legislators by default. I wouldn't trust them to decide what I should have for supper.) Here's a re-enactment of the governor flexing his veto power:

I believe this is a great victory for paleontology, helping to ensure that recovered fossils will stay within the scientific community and keeping government officials from sticking their noses into our business. (As a testament to their poor grasp of this matter, here's audio from one of the bill's hearings: Skip ahead to 1:26:47 for some real talk from the bill's sponsor, Representative Alan Doane.) As a final note on the subject, the "Current Bill Progress" on the bill's official page is listed as "Probably Dead", making it one of the few dead things that don't matter to paleontologists.

The letter from Governor Bullock announcing his decision to veto HB 392.

I must have rambled more than I originally intended, as I've reached a desirable length for this post and I still have a number of topics I meant to cover. I guess that means I've got something to blog about later in the week. I'm definitely looking forward to it. 

For those of you who've waited patiently for me to come back to my writing, thanks for keeping hope alive. For anyone that didn't, I forgive you. Unfortunately, the time has come for me to sign off and take my brain train to another station, so I'll talk to you all the next time I come around. Goodnight, everybody!

Notes: Dr. Neil Shubin is on Twitter(@NeilShubin), though he doesn't use it much. (He uses his more than Jack Horner though...) John Thorn(@thorn_john) uses Twitter as well. Not sure how many people are interested in the thoughts of the Official Historian for Major League Baseball, but at least he's not a Kardashian.

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