This INTRODUCTORY page is only updated every few months or so. Last update:

On the left side are links to the central blog page, which gets updated almost every day, as well as links to the introductory pages for the various categories that are covered in my blog.

Current time and date:

Key pages on this Web site:

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~ THE BLOG ~ Baseball (intro) Politics (intro) Latin America (intro) War (intro) Wild birds (intro) Our canaries Culture & Travel Science & Technology Academics * Photos *

* NON-blog category pages


Subliminal Apple

You have found your way to a unique, multifaceted Web site / blog, some parts of which may delight your senses and edify your mind, while other parts may confuse or offend you. Links to each of the major sections of this site are on the left; roll over those links to get a quick "preview" of each one. This site has been under development for ages and ages, and there are always a few messy details to fix up and always something new for curious minds. Please stop again for a visit!

The central blog (Web log) page brings together comments on all topics. Note that the Academics and Photo gallery pages toward the bottom are not Web logs and thus not frequently updated.

Photos (clockwise from top left): Graduation Day at U.Va., May 2002; at Machu Picchu, Peru, March 2004; GOP float at 4th of July parade in Staunton, 2007; Yankee Stadium, July 2004; the Pentagon, October 2001; Western Tanager, March 2002; various mushrooms; Mount Rushmore, South Dakota, August 1998.

Featuring a comprehensive set of original baseball stadium diagrams and photos, and tables of comparative data, with blog commentary focused on the Washington Nationals and New York Yankees. Dedicated to the proposition that baseball plays a unique role in overcoming social distrust and uniting our fair republic.

Photos (clockwise from top left): Nationals Park, Yankee Stadium II, Busch Stadium III, Coors Field, Citi Field, PNC Park.

Featuring chronologies of U.S. presidents, Supreme Court justices, foreign leaders, etc., with blog comments focusing on prospects for restoring a limited-government republic and rebuilding civil society. "Can we all get along?"

Photos -- Top row: the White House, and a group of "Tea Party" protesters at the Staunton July 4 parade. Middle row: Creigh Deeds, Bob Goodlatte, Bob McDonnell, Bill Bolling, and Dickie Bell. Bottom row: Ben Marchi, Scott Sayre, Ken Cuccinelli, and George Allen.

Featuring background information on the political situations and recent history of all twenty nations in Latin America, along with other pages with comparative data, with blog commentary focused on Peru and the Andean region.

Photos (clockwise from top left): Revolutionary Monument in Mexico City; Machu Picchu ruins in Peru; pyramid at the Tikal ruins in Guatemala; Plaza Murillo in La Paz, Bolivia; Sandinista monument in Managua, Nicaragua; and painted ox cart in Costa Rica.

Featuring pages with chronologies of the war in Iraq, comparative data on military affairs, and war games ("conflict simulations") that are in various stages of completion, with blog commentary focused on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Photos (clockwise from top left): Vietnam Memorial in Washington; B-24 Liberator bomber from World War II; National Guard troops in Staunton, VA departing for Iraq; the Pentagon in October 2001; Civil War battlefield in New Market, VA; and in center, D-Day Memorial in Bedford, VA.

Featuring past records of annual bird arrivals, with blog summaries of recent observations of wild birds on field trips with the Augusta Bird Club, with others, at home, or alone.

Photos (clockwise from top left): Bluebird, Tree swallow, Ruby-throated hummingbird, Cardinal, Magnolia warbler, Barred owl, Painted bunting.

The amusing escapades of our canaries Princess (2001- ) and Luciano (2008- ), as well as fond memories of Goldie (2000-2001) and George (2001-2008), who are no longer with us.

Photos (clockwise from top left): Princess taking a bath; George guarding Princess at her nest; George eating basil flower, Princess with an "adopted" baby; Princess and George on our wedding photo; and Goldie in the sun light.

The "residual" blog category, with everything from pop culture to music to religion to lengthy travelogues to brief reports on day trips here and there.

Photos (clockwise from top left): Blackfriar's Theater in Staunton, VA, home of Shenandoah Shakespeare; National Cathedral in Guatemala City; church near Volin, SD; engraved stellae at ruins of Copan, Honduras; folk musicians in La Paz, Bolivia.

Focusing on Macintosh computers and other Apple-related topics, space travel, astronomy, and the "paradigm shift" of Chaos Theory.

Photos (clockwise from top left): My old iMac computer ("Flower Power" edition), recently retired; the Space Shuttle Discovery blasting off; the full Moon; and Steve Jobs introducing the iPod Nano on an Apple video Webcast.

A summary of my academic research work and teaching positions, with a short synopsis of my dissertation, philosophy of teaching, etc.

Photos (clockwise from top left): The Rotunda, Univeristy of Virginia; Hunt Hall, Mary Baldwin College; Wilson Hall, James Madison University; Gray Hall, Sweet Briar College; Burruss Hall, Virginia Tech; and the old U.Va. Cavalier logo.

A copious gallery of photographs from near and far.

Photos (clockwise from top left): Mushroom; an elevated view of Machu Picchu, Peru; fall colors near Blacksburg, VA ; Marbled Orb Weaver spider; Red-spotted Purple butterfly.

"It's not just a blog, it's an adventure!"

This blog is distinguished in many ways from the rest of the "blogosphere." My blog entries cover a rigidly defined set of topics, with varying degrees of intensity according to how much is going on in each area, and how much time I have. Being somewhat of a "do-it-yourselfer," I chose a "home-made" approach rather than conforming to the common blogging systems such as Blogger or WordPress. The blog entries and archives are arranged in a sort of "proprietary" scheme that I developed over time. When I first started this Web site, in fact, I didn't even know what a blog was, because I consciously put off keeping up with the Internet during the 1990s until I finished my doctoral dissertation. Now I'm overcompensating. Finally, being an old-fashioned, soft-spoken kind of guy, I avoid attention-grabbing sensationalism and strident rhetoric, and strive instead to maintain a reasonable, dignified, respectful tone. The only object of annoyance toward which I have persistently "ranted" about has been Peter Angelos, owner of the Baltimore Orioles, but he is no longer much of an issue for Washington baseball fans. (Fans of the Orioles have every reason to be mad at him.)

Political beliefs (arguable, fact based)

Until May 2008, the underlying theme of this blog was "subverting the dominant (statist) paradigm," which implied a libertarian zeal for radically scaling back the power of the government in domestic affairs. In any case, however, I never was fond of dogmatic approaches, and I'm a bit skeptical of the "rugged individualism" of Ayn Rand and the comcommitant atheistic tendencies. My idea of making this country a "more perfect union" (not a utopia) involves a building strong local community, and in that sense I share many of the inclinations as Rod Dreher, author of Crunchy Cons; see my Sept. 6, 2006 blog post on him. Here are some basic tenets of my somewhat unorthodox socio-political outlook:

Personal opinions ("no accounting for taste")

The general conclusion that I draw from these premises and observations is that the only way that the United States can avoid a further erosion of its precious culture of civility is to sharply cut back on the size and scope of the Federal government. The older I get, however, the less hopeful I am that such reforms might be practical, especially given the current backbiting in the Republican Party, and as a conservative I think the best we can do now is adopt enough reforms to maintain our status as a free people.

My background and interests

I am in the unusual position of being a native-born Virginian who grew up on the Great Plains of South Dakota. I have had a strong interest in politics and science since my early teen years, which is also when I began taking music seriously (playing guitar). After graduating from college, I returned to the Washington D.C.-Northern Virginia area, where I spent the 1980s working in the Federal Government. I then went back to graduate school at the University of Virginia, and in January 2002 earned a doctoral degree in Foreign Affairs. (See my Academics page.) The blog categories are indicative of my wide-ranging interests.

For most of my younger years I was on the left side of the political spectrum, though I always favored market-oriented economic policy, thanks to my college education. (I had a grudging, secret admiration for Ronald Reagan, you might say.) During the late 1980s I steadily lost faith in the Democrats and finally gave up in late 1990, disgusted with their leaders unwillingness to confront Saddam Hussein over his seizure of Kuwait. In the early 1990s I moved toward the political center and worked with the Concord Coalition, a public policy advocacy group devoted to balanced budgets and fiscal responsibility. The decisive turning point came in 1995 when the Republicans gained a majority in Congress and began implementing a comprehensive set of policy reforms. I was deeply impressed and became affiliated with the Grand Old Party.

In October 2002, a few months after moving to Staunton, I became a member of the Staunton Republican Committee, and in the fall of 2004 I temporarily set aside my career goals in order to devote full time to helping reelect President George W. Bush. Since then, I have participated actively in several election campaigns. I also created a joint Web site for the Staunton, Waynesboro, and Augusta County Republican Committees:, which terminated in March 2007 because of disagreements among the local party units. After that, I launched a Staunton-only Republican Web site:,* paid for and authorized by the Staunton Republican Committee. I was elected Secretary of the Committee in March 2007, but after strong disagreement over meetings which was leaked to the public by other Republicans, was removed from that post by higher party officials five months later. I was told was done for the sake of party unity and was not a reflection of any wrongdoing on my part. There was no evident procedural authority for such removal, however. At the request of the local Republican elected officials, who desired help in publicizing their reelection campaigns at a time when the local party committee was in disarray, I set up the Web site in September 2007. I then ran for chairman of the Staunton Republican Committee in March 2008, losing to the incumbent. After further disputes and irregularities ensued within the party, I relinquished control over the Staunton GOP Web site to another party member and allowed my committee membership to lapse. In 2009 I was chosen to be the chairman of the Mountain Valley Republican group. Obviously, there is "more to the story" than I am at liberty to disclose right now, but the full truth will come out in due course...

* As of October 1, 2008, clicking on that link automatically redirected visitors to the Staunton Republican Committee blog, which has not been updated since September 17, 2008. For lack of interest, the Web site was allowed to "die" in March 2010.

As for my attitudes, I am stubbornly nonconformist regarding social norms (i.e., not "politically correct"), and only vaguely attuned to fashion or pop culture. I am inclined toward the conservative side on most social issues, but I dislike the cynical exploitation of emotion-laden "wedge issues." My musical tastes range from rock and roll with a "country" slant, e.g., the Eagles; America; Crosby, Still, and Nash; and John Mellencamp; as well as some bluegrass and classical music. I have always enjoyed outdoor sports such as golf, softball, and bicycle riding, but was never a "jock." Over the years I have become more of a nature lover, and since the late 1990s have been a semi-serious bird watcher. I am fascinated by foreign cultures, especially Latin America.

Finally, I am very proud of my wife Jacqueline, who was born in Peru. Indeed, the original (rather corny) name for this blog was "Los Clems." ( Click here to see us together in Costa Rica. ) Cliches aside, we are truly blessed to share so many tastes in music (rock, salsa, etc.), food (enchiladas, salsa, etc.), and pastimes (hiking, bicycling, travel, camping, nature, baseball), and indeed we do almost everything together. Exception: I (Andrew) tire of shopping almost as quickly as Jacqueline tires of politics. (I must admit, her skepticism of what politicians promise is certainly well founded.) The content on this Web site in part reflects the fact that my career as a scholar of international relations, focusing on Latin America, is intertwined with our family life.

Claims to "fame"

Does some of that sound far-fetched? Well, it's all true. Believe it ... or not!

Frequently asked questions


When did I start to blog?
I launched my personal Web site in early 2002 and first began to post blog-like comments semi-regularly in handpointMay 2002. However, I did not really blog on a consistent, standardized basis until November 2004, and the transition to the new (home-made) semi-automated blog system based on permalinks was completed in handpointDecember 2004. As far as I know, I am the first blogger in the Staunton-Waynesboro-Augusta County (SWAC) area.

What were some other key blogging milestones?
Based on my new skills in PHP scripting, in late May 2005 I made the blog system 99 percent automatic, and created a blog post template page for the sake of aesthetics and ease of navigation. In handpointSeptember 2006 I enabled the "impressions" feedback feature on my baseball stadium pages, and enabled blog comments shortly thereafter. Finally, I created RSS/XML feeds (from the proverbial sweat of my own brow, mind you) in handpointFebruary 2007, after which this blog began to be "broadcast" to a wider audience for the first time.

Where did the name of this blog (or lack thereof) come from?
It's taken from the song by the acoustic rock group America "Horse With No Name," which I adopted in December 2005. It's also an (ironic) allusion to my very open blog identity. The blog itself has "no name," but the blog author has always been clearly identified.

What is my relationship with other local bloggers?
Through my encouragement, other SWAC-area Republicans began blogging in 2005 and 2006, and at first I was very proud to have led the way. I always sought to encourage active, open, constructive dialogue among Republicans, hoping to build a bigger and stronger majority. Sadly, however, others in the party disagreed with that "Big Tent" approach, and tensions began to grow. In April 2007 a nasty dispute with some of my erstwhile colleagues erupted as a side-effect of the bitter Hanger-Sayre primary campaign race. Some of us have since reconciled, and I remain hopeful that, someday, we will "all get along" once again.

Where did that background photo in my blog banner come from?
It's the Missouri River Valley, near where I grew up in South Dakota.

Do I have a FaceBook account?
facebook Yes, I reluctantly signed up in March 2009, and after some struggle I gradually figured out how to make good use of it. Since the fall of 2009 I have been keeping up with it on a regular basis, usually at least once a day. I will be "friends" with folks who have already registered for this Web site, or those with whom I have become acquainted via e-mail. Thus far I have resisted the Twitter phenomenon, loathing the way that it forces the English language to be compacted, but I may eventually relent...

Do I have a Blogger account?
Yes, but mainly for the purpose of commenting on other blogs, which I don't do very often. See my Blogger profile page. In late 2006 and early 2007 I posted a few blog comments under the name "Andrew C" or "And Rue."

Do I have a YouTube account?
Yes, but I have only submitted a few videos thus far. See my YouTube page.

Do I have a LinkedIn account?
Yes, I finally joined in March 2010, but have not done much with it thus far.

What other online social networking services do I use?
In 2007 I also posted a few comments as "Cholo1" on the Staunton News Leader "talkback" feature, have done so (as "AndrewClem") more frequently on their new system that began in April 2008. In March 2009 I registered with, using the cryptic pseudonym "AC/DC2005," which stands for my initials, the District of Columbia, and the year that baseball returned there. In late 2009 I registered with, using a similar moniker.

Who is my intended blogging audience?
Those who share my passion for baseball, and ballparks in particular, of course, but also anyone who cares deeply about this country and is searching for a fresh, thoughtful point of view on vital issues of the day -- more likely, someone in Virginia and especially western Virginia.

Why do I continue to blog?
Because my personal and educational background gives me a unique perspective on politics and matters of public interest in general, and I believe very deeply that our country -- and the Republican Party in particular -- needs more independent, honest voices who are not afraid to "question authority" or challenge "conventional wisdom."

"I blog, therefore I think I am."
(attributed to a nameless blogger)

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