Tuesday, June 28, 2016


Pumpernickel Rye Bread.  Hearty!

Monday, June 27, 2016


I was going to give the elves behind Oddball Observations a vacation but then . . .


. . . the monsoon arrived.

I have turned off the air conditioning and opened the house wide to the wonderful smell of ozone in the air.

This makes all those hot days worth it.

Saturday, June 25, 2016


To any of you who may have been offended by the intrusion of politics onto the normally-non-political Oddball yesterday, I apologize.

The mistake was mine in not explaining that I had intended the exchange to be by private email, rather than on the blog.

Be that as it may, today is another day.

The fever blaster says the temperature is 83 degrees outside at 9 o'clock yet I have the window open and a cool breeze is occasionally penetrating the upsurge in heat.

There is a Bluegrass Festival occurring in Prescott today and I had sort of planned to make an excursion there.

But, as frequently happens in my senior years, the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.

So we'll see.

Speaking of senior years, one of my friends and former colleagues in the tee-vee-news-biz is marking his 80th birthday today.

I now have three friends and/or loved ones in the 80's.

As I emailed the newest of the bunch this morning, hitting 80 is a milestone.  Except in golf. (He is a golfer.)

I'm less than a handful of years from reaching that level myself.

I find that reaching this age means one's life is much less full.

(Well, there is that friend who is the oldest of us who is going on a cruise to Cuba in a month or so.)

When I am not, as SWMBO is wont to say, "wasting my time at the computer" I spend my time scheduling doctor appointments, monitoring my intake of pharmaceuticals and napping.

Oh, I do spend an inordinate amount of time watching the birds.

And on my (very) short evening jaunt I have made the aquaintance of a bunny who freezes as I get to nearly 10 feet of him and seems to listen intently as I speak to him.

And there is reading.

I am about halfway through M.F.K. Fisher's "The Art of Eating", which I have been enjoying greatly.

And kitchen-stuff, such as the loaf of rye bread I made yesterday and which SWMBO and I agreed probably needs more rye flour in the recipe to "kick it up a notch."

And there's always something on television.

I don't know how many channels we have but I can always find something interesting to watch.

Last night it was a program showing the Mark Twain prize for humor being awarded to Jay Leno.

He's older, too.

Which brings me to my new favorite adage: Today I am older than I've ever been but younger than I'll be tomorrow.

Life is good.

Friday, June 24, 2016


Great Britain has decided to go it alone!

Good grief!

What does this spell for the November election in the U.S.A.?

If we ever needed humor, today is the day.

And here it is.

Okay, Gentle Readers, that's (about) it for this week.

Go ye out into the world and make the best of it this weekend and please, please remember: always keep laughing.

Here, kitty-kitty.  (uh-oh)

Thursday, June 23, 2016


Either the late 1980's or very early 1990's in Guadalajara, Mexico.

The then brown-haired, brownish-red bearded Catalyst and a new member of the family, the late and lamented new kitten Chulapay (Spanglish for Cutie Pie).

The picture was taken on our enclosed but open to the sky patio.

Chulapay used to climb up the wrought-iron window frames to the roof.

Once she disappeared for several days.

We posted pictures of her on utility poles and went around the neighborhood calling for her and asking people if they had seen her, to no avail.

Suddenly she appeared once again on our patio.

We assume she wandered over the adjoining roofs and got into someone's storage shed or closet without them knowing it and became shut in.

She refused to tell us where she had been.

This was a little later as she warmed herself under my desk lamp while supervising whatever I was doing.

She came back to El Norte with us in 1991 and survived Austin, Texas during which our apartment was flooded.

Then we brought her with us back to Arizona and she survived three more moves before she had to be put down.

We still remember her and I sometimes absent-mindedly call one of our two present cats by her name.

They just think I'm old and demented.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016


Along with the heat we've been experiencing there is still the drought in Arizona.

As the t.v. guys keep saying "Much of the Southwest is a tinder box."

Here are some pictures I shot recently in my area which illustrate the dry conditions.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016


A tale from my life of crime . . .

From mid 1987 until late 1991, SWMBO and I lived in Mexico as ex-pat retirees.

We went to Mexico on a tourist visa which was good for six months.

That meant we had to make a trip to the United States and then return to Mexico with new papers every six months.

Most of the time that was fine.

A nice trip to the land of milk and honey to do some shopping for items we couldn't find in Mexico at that time, like cheddar cheese and regular-size Vitamin C and a Sunday New York Times.

We would occasionally visit friends in the States, maybe go to a restaurant for a good steak, have a good time before heading back to our new home, over a thousand miles below the border, in Guadalajara.

But one time the trip to El Norte, as the time drew near, began to seen onerous.

One of my new friends in Mexico said I could buy papers right here in Guadalajara and not go to the border.

It was understood that these papers were forgeries of the official documents but were said to be perfectly passable.

So I decided to do it and was given an address in downtown Guadalajara.

(Guadalajara was the second largest city in Mexico at the time, about four million people strong.)

I parked my car in the garage at the huge downtown market, walked down the cement stairs and crossed through the market, past butcher shops where the heads of sheep and pigs were on display, past many small food stands, past every thing under the sun that could be sold.

Out on the street, I walked another block or so and found the address I had been given.

An open doorway with a young man idling in it (standing guard?) led to a steep and dark stairway.

I climbed the steps and found an office with several more young men standing around, staring at me.

Eventually I was escorted to an inner office where a very old man was seated at a desk.

I gave him my information, he told me a price and said to come back in a week.

I did, paid him the fee in cash and was handed my new papers.

Then I retraced my steps once more and drove home with a smile on my face.

I was good for another six months.

But my experience had me nervous, not sure if I was going to be robbed, beaten up, or worse, arrested by police posing as a forgery ring.

I never did it again.

The six month drive to the border was more preferable than the (imagined?) danger of buying fake papers.

That was many years ago in a foreign country.

I think the statute of limitations (if there is such a thing in Mexico) has passed by now.