Government Inside Out

Saturday, January 23, 2010

1:30 p.m.

Room 111-A Chancellor’s Complex, UCSD Campus


David Klein has had a lifelong career at the State Department and will analyze our government from the inside. 





SDIS definitely had a change of pace for its November meeting.  “Change of pace” is a baseball phrase, also called “change-up.”  It is a pitch thrown with the same motion as a fastball; because it travels slower, the pitch is more difficult for the batter to time. 

The World Series was over; not so the thrill of baseball for those who gathered to hear SDIS member David “Doc” Noel speak.  Doc, a consummate baseball player and aficionado, had just published a baseball novel.  His excitement, evident in his talk as in his book, swept his audience right along.

No matter that Doc, an eminent dentist, holds faculty positions at UCSF and SDSU and has authored many professional publications. No matter that Noel's co-author and friend from childhood, Alan Alop, is an attorney with many publications of his own.  No matter that their careers have taken them far afield of the diamond.  Baseball is their theme.  It is their shared love of the game drew them into a writers’ duet. 

The book is fiction.  As its title suggests, however, The Best Team Ever — a Novel of America, Chicago, and the 1907 Chicago Cubs draws us back to the era and the sports rotogravure of the time. A fictional tale wrought over a sepia-toned background.

The factual historical setting, Noel emphasized, is thoroughly researched, the details thoroughly vetted.  In 1907 ball fields, for instance, only the next-door neighbors’ walls constituted outfield fences.  The Cubs neighbor was the local mental health institution -- thus the designation for a certain type of person, "way out in left field."  The 1907 Cubs took spring training at a local wilderness spa which featured a particular spring – Spring # 7 – from which came the water they drank.  The spring mineral water worked its wonders, and they won the World Series in 1907.  Then, they stopped drinking the water from Spring #7 and never won again... at least, not until recently.

As for the character depiction which forms the palette for the novelist’s artistry, The Best Team Ever offers a protagonist based on Blaine “Kid” Durbin, an actual young pitcher with a short and unexceptional career.  However, the book features a full panoply of colorful real-life characters such as Mordecai Three-finger Brown, a pitcher whose won-lost record has never been equaled. And when the writers went looking for a bit of dialog coaching, they turned to Chicago sports columnist Ring Lardner.

 Noel has been a baseball fan ever since his Great-aunt Ethel first took him to a game at Wrigley Field in 1949. He stressed that his book has been, from start to finish, a labor of love. For many of us, that would describe our own scholarship.

--from our Special Correspondent Janet Kunert




A full colloquium of independent scholars returned this year to celebrate the season at Carlsbad by the Sea.  Marla Jenkins made the arrangements and nothing was overlooked.  She particularly thanks Janet Kunert and Al Christman for their help in arranging the venue, and Delina Halushka who capably handled the reservations.  The menu choices were salmon or turkey; the service was cheerful and prompt; and the dessert was a special surprise.  Scholars began by socializing and sharing ideas, and many conversations continued genially around the four large tables which graced the spacious, airy room.  It was a wonderful time of sharing and friendship.



Works in Progress

Works-in-Progress will not meet in January.  In November they discussed Donna Boyle’s provocative article, "Healthcare Dilemma: Legacies of Feudalism and Slavery."  Scholars wishing to present in February should contact Cathy Blecki.


Colloquy Café

Colloquy Café will meet Wednesday, January 20, 2010, at 1:30 pm.  The topic for this conversation is Lies.  Those who are interested in attending should contact Sam Gusman at


The Literary Group will begin the new year with a meeting January 11, 2010 at 10:30 a.m. in the home of Donna and Harry Boyle.   Gerry Horwitz will lead a discussion on Death in Venice, a novel by Thomas Mann.  Contact Harry Boyle at (619) 296-4055.


Science (aka Brain Study Group)

The Science (aka Brain) Study Group will meet on Friday, January 8, 2010 at 3 pm at Bea Rose's apartment to discuss Chapters 7,8 and 9 of Richard Feynman's book, The Pleasure of Finding Things Out.  For further information, please call Bea Rose at (858)  458 - 9263. Visitors are welcome.



Board Change

SDIS Board regrets to announce that Sam Gusman resigned as Executive Vice President, effective December 1, 2009, because “my personal situation is such these days that I can no longer commit to attendance at regular meetings on Saturday (Board and general membership sessions).”

Sam assures us that “I remain a strong supporter of SDIS and want it to succeed in being all that it can be,” and that he will continue to participate in the Colloquy Café.  We thank Sam for his energetic participation on the Board and his ongoing interest.

On December 4, 2009, the Board appointed Anne Ewing to complete Sam’s term that ends May, 2010.  Anne graciously accepted, and we extend to her a warm welcome and our thanks.

-- SDIS Board


From the National Coalition of Independent Scholars

NCIS will host a reception for independent scholars at the AHA meeting in San Diego, January 7-10, 2010, Manchester Grand Hyatt. If you'll be attending, please let Neil Dukas know at

General Notices: If you have member news or suggestions for articles for NCIS’s The Independent Scholar, please be sure to get those to Shannon Granville at s.l.granville@­ as soon as possible. We'd love to hear from both individuals and affiliate societies as to your recent activities and work.

Author’s Inquiry to SDIS:  “I am writing an article for the Pennsylvania Gazette (the U. Penn alumni magazine) on independent scholarship and I am looking for independent scholars with a Penn connection to profile. I found your contact information through the NCIS website and I am wondering if you might know anyone who fits the bill. I'm particularly interested in talking with people who graduated from Penn, either as undergraduate or graduate students. Any help is much appreciated. Thanks very much, Kevin.” -- Kevin Hartnett (207) 841-0699.”


From the President

The Winter Solstice marks the welcome turn from darkness toward light.  Over the past few months we have gathered information from you in the form of our survey.  The Board met on November 12th and considered all your input and various initiatives to help SDIS to grow.

SDIS exists only to help us all be better scholars and more informed thinkers.  Your survey responses were most helpful, and you will see new ideas implemented as our way forward becomes clear, opportunities arise, and as leaders step forward to serve.

This issue of the Notebook marks not only the start of a new year but a time of renewal for SDIS.  Thank you for your input.  We are at the dawn of a new era of vitality and fresh engagement, an era of richer scholarship.    -- Donna Boyle, December, 2009


February Meeting

The February meeting will be

Saturday, February 20, 2010.


The speaker and topic are still tentative and will be announced when plans are set.



About SDIS

San Diego Independent Scholars (SDIS) supports unaffiliated writers and researchers and welcomes everyone who appreciates creative and intellectual activities in the humanities, science, and the arts.  SDIS is a non-profit organization and an affiliate of the National Coalition of Independent Scholars.

Donna Boyle,


Scholar’s Notebook is the newsletter of SDIS. Please send your news for the Notebook to Jack Cumming, the Notebook editor: or by mail to 2855 Carlsbad Blvd N116, Carlsbad, CA 92008. The deadline for submissions is the 25th of the month prior to publication date.









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