Monday, March 31, 2008

What is this?

Without scrolling down for the answer, can anyone identify what these strange structures are?

They look a little like grain silos.

They might also be some kind of rocket launching platforms.

What are they?

O.K. Here's the answer.

They're just supports for a dock at Watson Lake near Prescott. It's the ground level approach of the first photo that may have fooled you.

It was a beautiful day to visit the lake, which is full of water from the rain and snow we've had this winter.

In years past, there was an ugly white ring around the lake, showing where the water level previously had been and now once again is. The "bathtub ring" is under water this year.

Also enjoying the day were some waterfowl.

March 31st, 2008. A nice day for a swim.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

This one's for you, Granny!

Knowing how Granny J likes the color R*E*D, especially on cars, I figured it was time to give her a look at BRD's warm weather car, as she calls it.

Even the centers of the wheels are R*E*D!

Since this is a 1983 Mercedes, the BRD has secured a most apt personalized license plate for her car.

We have a friend who, at middle age and unexpectedly single again, bought himself a little red sports car. He said every single man should have one.

I guess that goes for single (sort of) girls, too.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

March Madness - - - - - truly!

Before I begin, let me warn those who aren't interested in the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament that this post might get pretty boring.

I was looking at the bracket today and realized the Elite Eight, as they're called, has four Number 1 teams (North Carolina, Kansas, Memphis and U.C.L.A.) still remaining. Sounds like pretty good rankings by the people who do such things, right? After those four things fall off a bit but not much. There is one #2 team (Texas) still playing and two #3 teams (Xavier and Louisville). That leaves only one team and the ranking drops way off to #10 Davidson. Davidson? Who'd a thunk it? Well, I can tell you who the believers are. Gonzaga, which came into the Midwest Regional as the number 7 team; Georgetown, which was the number 2 team; and Wisconsin, which was the number 3 team. Those three powerhouses were all unceremoniously beaten by little Davidson, led by little (6 foot 2) Stephen Curry, who has scored over 100 points in the tournament so far.

Next up for Davidson is mighty Kansas, one of those four remaining #1 teams, Sunday. Will Davidson surprise yet another basketball powerhouse?

Ask the boys from Gonzaga, Georgetown and Wisconsin.

It could happen and a true Cinderella team could be playing in the Final Four. They don't call it March Madness for nothing.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Mr. Romance

Spring is in the air and romance rises to the surface. A long red (very red) limousine pulled up in front of our living quarters this morning and the driver opened the rear door for . . . Mr. Romance!

Now, Mr. Romance goes by another name and he's the BRD's steady beau. For three years in a row, he has shown up about this time of year in a stretch limo and he and the BRD drive off to the Marriage License Bureau. When the BRD comes home, she sticks the license up on the refrigerator door and there it remains. Until the next year. The license is good for one year. So far none of them have been acted on.

This year?

We shall see.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The Old Age Rag

It started this afternoon. SWMBO was taking a nap and I was paying a handful of bills. I had a couple of life insurance payments due. (Sidebar: I first got these two policies, relatively small ones, when I was about 18. My dad bought them for me because he thought it was important for me to have them. I've been paying on them for . . oh, man, almost 50 years now. As I was writing another check, I thought of how much money the company had received from me over the years and of how little my heirs are going to get out of it. But . . that's another story.)

Anyway, I was paying my bills chronologically according to when they were due. When I wrote out the check for the second insurance payment and put it in an envelope, I suddenly realized I couldn't find the envelope and payment for the first payment. I began looking all over. I went through a large trash basket several times. I went through my receipts file at least 4 or 5 times. Finally, SWMBO woke up and came in and I said "I have a mystery for you to solve."

So she went through the trash basket. I went through the receipts file again. I looked under my computer monitor, under the CPU, under my printer, under my bed, all around the desk on the floor. I had previously . . . because I was also doing my weekly chore of cleaning out the cat pans and refilling them . . . been through the entire house and garage, tracing my tracks. I even went out into the back yard and took a look around. I went out to the mailbox to see if I had taken the envelope out there.


Somewhere late in here I shouted "There's another one missing." The check for the company who picks up our trash also is missing. This caused yet another search of, now, all the old familiar places.

SWMBO finally gave up and said "Just write another couple of checks, put them in an envelope and mail them."

"But", I said, "what if I end up paying them twice?"

"You won't", she said, "the 'lost' ones will eventually turn up."

After a few more rounds of the house, I succumbed to this logic. I was in the closet, getting a couple of envelopes out and looking once again in the drawer where I keep the stamps . . thinking that I might have laid the envelopes in there . . when it came to me.

I had written these two checks out earlier this morning and mailed them.

Oh, shit.

I have a birthday coming up in less than a month.

And . . . this is a symptom of old age.


Sunday, March 23, 2008

One noisy bird

There's a large tree in our neighbor's yard and birds of all kinds (as well as the occasional hunting cat) inhabit it from season to season. This morning it was one of my favorites - a Texas grackle. They are raucous but the variety of calls they make is amazing. I think they are even more vocal than our mockingbirds, though the mockingbirds are usually more gentle in their vocalizations.

I sat outside and listened to the grackle this morning and wished I could have put some of his calls on this blog for you all to hear. At several points, there were sounds that appeared to be from him flapping his wings. SWMBO says he must be courting.

You can read more about grackles

Friday, March 21, 2008

Spring and yardwork!

As I have noted, spring is here. That always brings joy to my heart.

Except when I realize what that means.

Yes, it means warmer temperatures and beautiful blue sky days.

But . . . it also means . . . . . . . yardwork!

Now, normally, I shuffle most of this off onto SWMBO and the BRD. But the BRD has been busy and SWMBO has been having a problem with a wrist she broke many years ago so . . .

That leaves me.

First job, doing some pruning on our mimosa tree.

Now, I must admit that SWMBO did the original cuts but then called on me to get some of the higher branches.

Incidentally, that tree behind the mimosa is a Globe Willow.

It always buds up and greens out about a month before the mimosa, which has caused me to refer every year to the latter as "The Dead Stick." I threaten every year to just cut it down because it is obviously dead and a blight on my landscape. I bet if Meggie's GOM was here we could get the job done before the girls would notice.

But, to continue, next on my item of hacking and slashing was what SWMBO calls the Fountain Grass. I should have photographed it before I starting cutting because I thought it looked quite nice, tawny in the sun with curling fronds. But SWMBO said fresh green growth was starting to show so it needed a haircut. Here's what's left (poor thing.)

SWMBO thinks this should be shorter so I guess I'll be back out there.

BTW, while out laboring in the balmy sun today, I noticed the mailman coming.

Remember when mail jeeps were red, white and blue? Well, take a look at this one:

The driver says the color change is because the Postal Department doesn't own the jeeps now. He's a contract worker and says when he bought the jeep he wanted something that would stand out. As I told him, I don't think there's much danger of anyone hitting him by accident.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Spring is here!

Oh, yes. Spring is here! 70 degrees in our parts yesterday and already 62 at 11:15 this morning.


Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Is President George W. Bush insane?

I keep wondering about this.

Recently, he spoke to some of his warriors in Afghanistan. He said, approximately, -If I'd been younger and didn't have a job here, I'd like to be over there. It must be romantic to be part of a new adventure in democracy.

This from a man who dodged the Vietnam War and did not live up to his responsibilities as a member of the National Guard. The President is addressing people who are dying for his adventure. Granted, the Afghanistan war is at least more reasonable than the one in Iraq. But, what is this man thinking?

What is he thinking when he is doing his soft shoe shuffle in front of the White House?

What is he thinking when he cracks jokes and tells financial people that the economy is strong and he's optimistic about the country?





Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Monday, March 17, 2008

It's a fine green day

Well, now. I had forgotten that today is Saint Patrick's Day until some friends sent me an e-card, noting that on March 17th . . everyone is Irish.

I was particularly pleased because the automated card culminated in a big pint of Guiness Stout.

Once upon a time, back in another city, when I was working for a radio station, I went to a true Irish pub on Saint Patrick's Day. The owners had removed every stick of furniture from the pub and covered the floor with thick rubber matting. They posted a policeman at the door so that once the pub reached its posted maximum occupancy no one could enter until someone left.

And the Guiness began to flow.

I was calling my radio station throughout the afternoon and doing live reports on the activities from the pub. Of course, I had to indulge in a wee drop of the brew. Every once in awhile. As the afternoon wore on, my reports became . . . . more fluid. I'd like to tell you how it all ended but for some strange reason, I can't remember. So I'll just leave you with this final thought:

One correction for true lovers of that dark Irish stout. The correct brand name is Guinness. I lost an "n" somewhere in that mad crowd back years ago.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Submarine Races

Here it is folks!

The first annual coverage of the great submarine races!

Well, what did you expect??????

Special thanks to my pal, Danny Bananas, for the coverage!

Friday, March 14, 2008

The Hole in the Wall Gang

It all started when Lowe's decided to build a new home store in our neighboring community. The spot they picked was a ravine that needed to be filled in. It was. But there was a small community just to one side of the new Lowe's site. Lowe's had a huge wall of compacted dirt facing the community. They covered the wall with stone facing.

But then . . . the wall began to collapse.

One home sits facing the wall, only feet away from a huge grey wall. Previously, the homeowner had a view of a small creek and trees on a hillside. After considerable complaining, Lowe's bought the house from him.

A security car now sits in the driveway of that house. The guy in it told me there had been some movement at the edge of both of the holes even today.

The folks from Lowe's and the city have been talking, and talking, and talking about repairing the wall for months now. They say the problem was caused by some kind of moisture build up behind the facing. It appears the entire wall will now have to be torn down and rebuilt.

There was a lot of angry talk and letters to the editor in the local newspaper calling for a boycott of the Lowe's store. While some people are honoring that and shopping elsewhere, the parking lot at the store is never empty

Meantime, the scars in the wall get uglier, day by day. And the homeowners in the nearby development lose sleep at night, wondering if the entire wall will let loose and come down on their homes.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

A couple tips of the hat

It's supposed to be close to 75 here today. Spring has sprung. Right? Well, maybe, maybe not. By Sunday, the National Weather Service is predicting a possibility of snow showers and a high temperature 25 degrees lower. We have often remembered that our heaviest snowfalls occasionally come in March.

But SWMBO is already planning a plant-buying trip and the last couple of days saw her pruning the mimosa tree out front, with some help from yours truly. But for a real sign of spring in the high country, check out Granny J's blog today. She's getting her pots ready.

And, if your weather is bleak or you just need some laughs, my man Tombo has some hilarious videos on his blog today. I had tears running down my face from laughter.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Wow! (Prrrrrrr)

Aw gee. I've been given an award. Miss Kitty has found me worthy of it for having blogged about my owners . . . er, my cats. On behalf of Muggles, Jazz and Smoke, as well as myself, we thank you.

Sunday, March 9, 2008


O.K. For those of you who are Spanish impaired, here's the same video with both Spanish and English lyrics.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

This is fantastico!

Green Eyes

I may not be writing much . . .

. . . but I'm keeping my eyes on you.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Smoke, are you confused?

O.K. You've all met Smoke, right. He's the one in the middle here.

He's our "half-cat". We call him that because the other two . . . Muggles and Jazz . . . are "inside" cats and Smoke is an "outside" cat.

So, he comes in to visit part of the day.

(And...key to this story...he's a male and the other two are females)

Now I need to tell you that all of our cats are "fixed". Neutered. De-cojoned.

But Smoke. Smoke. What the hell happened with Smoke?

Recently, he has begun to feel the impulses of Springtime in Arizona.

SWMBO noticed it first because it happened as she was lying on the bed with Smoke and Muggles.

Suddenly, Smoke gave a couple or three little chirps and then leaped, without any further warning, on Muggles. He wrapped his front paws around her and began nibbling on the back of her neck.


I think you cat people know what comes next.

But it didn't.

Because SWMBO yelled, threw something and chased Smoke out of the room and soon out of the house.

This has now happened several times in the past week and SWMBO is getting a bit more than a little tired of it.

The other day, Smoke was lying on the bed next to SWMBO when the tell-tale chirps began.

Considering that SWMBO is NOT a female cat, she promptly threw Smoke out of the house.

1. He's an animal.

2. It's springtime.

3. He feels urges.

4. He apparently doesn't know he can't do anything about it.

5. But . . . what's a guy to do???

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

The Marines need a few good . . .



Dear Ma and Pa,

I am well. Hope you are. Tell Brother Walt and Brother Elmer the Marine Corps beats working for old man Minch by a mile. Tell them to join up quick before all of the places are filled.

I was restless at first because you got to stay in bed till nearly 6 a.m. but I am getting so I like to sleep late.

Tell Walt and Elmer all you do before breakfast is smooth your cot, and shine some things. No hogs to slop, feed to pitch, mash to mix, wood to split, fire to lay. Practically nothing.

Men got to shave but it is not so bad, there's warm water.

Breakfast is strong on trimmings like fruit juice, cereal, eggs, bacon, etc., but kind of weak on chops, potatoes, ham, steak, fried eggplant, pie and other regular food, but tell Walt and Elmer you can always sit by the two city boys that live on coffee. Their food plus yours holds you til noon when you get fed again. It's no wonder these city boys can't walk much.

We go on 'route marches,' which the platoon sergeant says are long walks to harden us. If he thinks so, it's not my place to tell him different. A 'route march' is about as far as to our mailbox at home. Then the city guys get sore feet and we all ride back in trucks. The country is nice but awful flat.

The sergeant is like a school teacher. He nags a lot. The Captain is like the school board. Majors and colonels just ride around and frown. They don't bother you none.

This next will kill Walt and Elmer with laughing. I keep getting medals for shooting. I don't know why. The bulls-eye is near as big as a chipmunk head and don't move, and it ain't shooting at you like the Higgett boys at home. All you got to do is lie there all comfortable and hit it. You don't even load your own cartridges. They come in boxes.

Then we have what they call hand-to-hand combat training. You get to wrestle with them city boys. I have to be real careful though, they break real easy. It ain't like fighting with that ole bull at home. I'm about the best they got in this except for that Tug Jordan from over in Silver Lake I only beat him once. He joined up the same time as me, but I'm only 5'6' and 130 pounds and he's 6'8' and near 300 pounds dry.

Be sure to tell Walt and Elmer to hurry and join before other fellers get onto this setup and come stampeding in.

Your loving daughter,

Monday, March 3, 2008

Republican Ribs

Damn! I'm sorry I missed this: John McCain grilling and chilling back home in Arizona.

Not because of the ability to "get down" with John McCain. But I'd like to try those ribs of his. I have a very simple recipe for barbecued baby back ribs that I think are delicious. But I'm always happy to try someone else's method.

McCain's cabin is fairly close to where I live . . . maybe 45 miles or so away. So it would have been easy for me to drop in. Of course, I would have had to maneuver past the state police and the secret service and whatever else was "protecting" the man. Almost worth it, though, for a taste of those ribs.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Memories . . .

I have now reassembled my blogroll. You'll notice, in my new respectful attitude, that I have used your correct blog names this time. If I've forgotten anybody, let me know and I'll add your link.

I'm back!

Due to a vast number of (well, okay, a few) requests, I am bringing back Oddball Observations for another run at blogging. This will be the third time and I can only hope it's a charm. The next time I get bored with blogging, I will try my best not to delete my blog. I'll just put up a notice saying I'm "On Hold" until the juices start flowing again.

I don't have much to say today so this will just be an announcement of my return.

Maybe tomorrow I'll be more "talkative."

In the meantime, thanks to all of my former readers who urged me to bring it back.