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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

PHAROAH MARKS, MY PHUT!

Yesterday's puzzle picture has been solved.  The guesses were pretty much all of a kind.  Well except for Bobby's guess of a toilet roll holder (????)  And then Tom, who didn't have any idea at all.  But Steve and Dana the Bug were very close and Quilteddogs was right on the money.

Here's an expanded photo.


It's the bridge over Viewpoint that will eventually carry traffic on Highway 89-A.

Thanks for the guesses and congratulations to QD on her good eye.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

THE PHAROAH'S MARK


Can anybody tell me what this is?  (Don't be fooled by the blog post's title.)

The winner will receive . . . . . my admiration!

Monday, August 29, 2011

BEAU JACK AND THE DIAMONDBACKS

Take him out to the ballgame.  Not.



(Photo courtesy of the BRD)

Sunday, August 28, 2011

DOVELET

This morning I went out to check on baby dove.  He was sitting in his nest, all alone, apparently waiting for someone to bring him some food.  Late this afternoon, I went out again and found that he has left the nest and was securely perched on the gridwork next to it.  He didn't seem at all concerned about me.  At least I don't think he was, though his eyes look pretty big as he carefully watched me take photos of him.



At any rate, he seems to be growing fast and will probably test his wings in a day or so and that's the last I'll see of him.  So this is his graduation picture.  Vaya con dios, young dove.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

WATER


Something different from Hurricane Irene.

Friday, August 26, 2011

BIRTH!

There has been an opening.  Sometime in the past couple of days that egg the dove couple had been sitting on in front of my home has hatched.  I discovered the new nestling this morning.



It's staying close to mother (or father) right now, especially through a rain shower this morning.  But judging by its size it will soon be leaving the nest and creating more hoo-huh-hoo-hoo racket in our nice quiet neighborhood.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

A MUSICAL INTERLUDE

All right, enough about those damned doves for awhile.  Give a listen to one of the most brilliant talents around.  Esperanza Spalding.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

DOVE UPDATE

I snapped a picture this morning but I can't tell whether this is mother or father.


Maybe some of my "dove experts" can tell me.

----------------------

Later: SWMBO wisely suggested I look on the Internet to answer some of my questions.  So I did.  And I learned this: Incubation takes two weeks.  Mom and Pop take turns on the nest, he usually in the morning and early afternoon, she in the afternoon and night.  Also: when one or the other is flushed from the nest, it will typically flop to the ground and flutter around as if it has a broken wing.  This is to lure the predator away from the nest.  That's exactly what happened when I took today's picture.  The camera makes a little beep when it takes a photo and that apparently frightened the bird, which exploded off the nest and then down to the ground about six feet away and began fluttering around on the ground, one wing sort of acting like it wasn't working well.  Horrified, I retreated to the house and when I checked later, the bird was back on its nest.  Fortunately the rowdy departure had not dislodged the egg(s).

Monday, August 22, 2011

DO DOVES CRY?

I have a small problem.  It's a dove mother.  Or mother dove.  It's in a tiny nest on the arbor in front of the house.  A week or so ago, I noticed a shattered egg on the tile.  I looked up and saw this rather raggedy nest.  And I saw a dove's tail end on top of it.  Uh-oh, says I.  They're breeding.  But it's been several days now and each time I pass under it I look up and there she sits.  She has reversed her position now so I'm looking right up into her face (?).  Her big dove eye stares back at me and never blinks.  Nor does she tremble or move even a millisec.  (Whatever that is.)  I had become concerned and asked SWMBO "do you suppose she's dead?"  I mean, she looks petrified.  But then she reversed her position so I know she's alive.  And that eye.  It haunts me.  It doesn't blink.  I wonder if doves CAN blink their eyes.  She doesn't seem to be afraid of me, though I stare at her from only a foot or so distance.  And she stays.  I mean, the temperature has been around 90 in the daytime and she's always on the damned nest!  I asked SWMBO tonight how long dove eggs take to hatch.  She said maybe as much as three weeks.  I said "But she doesn't ever seem to leave the nest.  What about food?  What about water?  I've even thought of somehow bringing her a tiny cup of water."  SWMBO laughed at me.  She said "she'll be okay, she probably leaves the nest to eat and drink . . (SOMEWHERE) . . in the early morning."

Well, we don't particularly like doves.  They cluster around and they're noisy with their "hoo-huh-hoo-hoo" sounds constantly.  But.  And it's a big but.  This is a mother dove.  So I'm stuck checking on her, worrying about her.  Gawd!  I feel so stupid.



If you're still reading, give some thought to my blogger buddy Joan, down in Charleston, South Carolina.  She seems to be right in the path of the new Hurricane Irene.  Tell her to keep her head down.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

STUFF I'VE BEEN THINKING ABOUT

O.K.  Brace yourselves.  I'm finally gonna blog but I'm not sure where this is heading.  I may offend some, or all, of you.  But, what the hey, I'm old now so what do I care?

I'm watching the Iron Chef on the Food Channel.  I love this show.  But I think Morimoto might get beat tonight.  Wait.  Let's see.  Well, I'll be darned.  He won it again, in all categories.  But he cut his finger.  So it goes.

Libya.  The rebels (who don't want to be called rebels) apparently are winning a decisive battle in Tripoli tonight.  Two of Gadhafi's sons reportedly are in rebel hands.  Many, many residents have come out praising the turnover.  There is still shooting as I'm writing this and Colonel Gadhafi is still urging his supporters to continue fighting.  There is a BBC report that he is in Algeria but the daffy dude is unpredictable.

MY Arizona Diamondbacks have now lost five games in a row.  The Giants finally won today so they're only 1-1/2 games behind my guys.  We have a few more days out of town before the team returns home, which is usually much more friendly to them.

It is hotter than h--- here but, as I remind myself, it is only the third week of August.  It's Arizona.  It's supposed to be hot.  But we could use some of that monsoon rain that is slipping off to the east.

Speaking of which, another hurricane is heading toward Florida.  It may only be a tropical storm by the time it gets there but it may also gain strength.  No one can really tell, in spite of all the technical skill the weather forecasters now have.

We had a visit from a friend today who worked in television and radio for many years.  She, as she has told us on the last couple of visits, has become totally upset with "our" old t.v. channel in Phoenix.  She complains about their programs but mainly today about the use (or over-use) of the term "you guys" by the t.v. news reporters.  As in . . . reporter pitching back to the anchors "so that's it from here, guys . . ."  Never mind the fact that the anchors are a "guy" and a "gal".  She says everybody overuses that term and she hates it - "Can you imagine Walter Cronkhite ever saying that?"  Well, no, I can't.  But times change and so does language.

I have another friend who has been a lifelong liberal Democrat.  But he is just beside himself with the actions of President Obama in the past nearly three years.  But I say it's a different time and a different scene in Washington.  I think he's doing the best that he can and we need to just give him time to do what's best for the country.  My dad was a lifelong Republican.  But he always watched the presidential speeches on television because "he is our president."  In these times, people seem to forget that we have only one president and he represents all of us.

One other subject to rant about.  Education in the U.S.A.  I was shocked, as I can imagine many of you were, when I heard the news story about the teachers who cheated on their students' tests to pass them on.  One teacher said "what are we going to do when we have a student who comes to begin high school and they are reading at a third grade level."  Too often, students have been passed on and on and on without doing the work or learning ANYTHING.  I fear that we have a generation, perhaps two generations, of young people who are virtually illiterate, who have no job skills, no education.  They've been trained to pass "the test", not to know anything.  I can only wonder where this nation is going with all of these un- or under-educated children "taking over" for we older and dying people.  Where will it all end?  Is it Rome all over again?

O.K.  I think I'm through for now.  I'll get back to you.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

LOOKING AROUND OUTSIDE

Let's see how observant you are today.  See anything?



O.K.  I'll make it easier for you.  How about now?



Oh, all right.  Let's get in nice and close.


You should now be able to see the tail end of a dove, nesting in the arbor in front of our house.  I don't know what she'd do if I turned on that string of Christmas lights beneath her.


Meanwhile, on the other side of the yard, these things have taken bloom.  From the number of buds, it looks like it will be a good year for them.



They're pretty but there's one problem.  I can't remember what the darned things are called.  Any help out there?

Update:  The flower is called "Rose of Sharon".  My thanks to the lady who planted it - the Beautiful Rich Daughter.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

MUSIC, MUSIC, MUSIC!

O.K.  Here's a short introduction to music appreciation.  It came in an e-mail from a former colleague.


Music Styles




JAZZ


Five men on the same stage all playing different tunes.

 BLUES


Played exclusively by people who woke up this morning.

 WORLD MUSIC



A dozen different types of percussion all going at once.




OPERA


People singing when they should be talking.




RAP


People talking when they should be singing.




FOLK


Endless songs about shipwrecks in the 19th century.




BIG BAND


20 men who take turns to stand up plus a drummer.



HOUSE MUSIC


OK as long as it's not the house next door.

DOG(?) DAYS

So, people say "where's your blog?  Haven't seen a new post for awhile."

And the only response I can come up with is "It's the middle of August, I'm bored, and lazy.  It's the Dog Days."  Or as you might say in our neighborhood, the Cat Days.












Saturday, August 13, 2011

ALL HAT - - NO CATTLE

I'll bet you thought this post was going to be about the presidential campaign announced today by Texas Governor Rick Perry, didn't you?

Sorry.  Fooled you again, just like the clouds over our part of Arizona.





Some promising clouds in the sky yesterday.  It's been mostly overcast much of the day today.  Rain?  Only a few drops.

Friday, August 12, 2011

LUCKY PEACH

For foodies: a new food magazine put together by New York chef David Chang of the famous restaurant Momofuku's.
 

I got my copy yesterday and have made a quick run-through of it.  It's about 175 pages with absolutely no advertisements!  If you can imagine an impromptu and alcohol-fueled conversation (rant) between Chang, Anthony Bourdain and Wylie Dufresne at Cafe de la Concha in San Sebastian, Spain, you may begin to understand the unvarnished language used throughout the magazine.  For example, one of several photos of paper-wrapped chopsticks scattered through the magazine - this one emblazoned with how-to-hold-them drawings with the heading "Would you f---ing learn how to do this already?"

There are a number of easy-to-follow recipes in there also but a warning - this entire issue is dedicated to one subject: ramen.  Not the type you get in packets from the grocery store but real hearty ramen.  Like the one pictured on the back cover.


Lucky Peach is slated as a quarterly.  This is the first issue.  You can get a closer look and even buy it or subscribe at the McSweeneys web page.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

CAT UPDATE

Big surprise, huh?  Old Catalyst writing about cats again.  What can I say?  I lead a quiet life.  So anyway.  You may recall that the BRD added another kitten to her menagerie a couple of weeks ago.  She sent over a couple of pictures recently.



He seems to have run down in that picture.  Wrigley, too, seems to be exhausted from trying to keep up with the new cat who, so far, seems to have the name Taz, short for Tasmanian Devil.  He is an active little rascal, according to the BRD.


Even Lily seems surprised that little Taz finally has run down but she seems not too relaxed about the intimacy.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

COMPUTER WOES

Sorry, friends.  I've been out of pocket for a couple of days with my computer in the "hospital".  Got it back about an hour ago along with a bill for around $85.  Turned out a piece of RAM had gone bad and needed to be replaced.

That after I mistakenly suspected a virus and purchased a $60 Norton protection plan.  Oh well, at least now I'm protected.

On another front, here's a photo taken at Chase Field Sunday during the Dodgers/Diamondbacks game.


I'm not sure what he was doing there but the D-backs did win, in spite of the blueness of this character's outfit.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

BEAT L.A.! BEAT L.A.! BEAT L.A.!

My Arizona Diamondbacks had lost two in a row to the Los Angeles Dodgers so it was my duty to go down to Phoenix and take charge for the final game in the series.  Amid chants of Beat L.A.! echoing through the stands, the D-Backs took an early 2-0 lead on a home run into the swimming pool off the bat of Kelly Johnson.  But the Dodgers fought back and eventually had a 3-2 lead late in the game.  But the home team came through as Cody Ransom crushed another two-run home run late in the game and the Diamondbacks bullpen shut down the Dodgers over the last two innings.

Here's a shot of my buddy and host, Steve Torbeck, and I at the game.


The one bad thing about today?  107 degrees in Phoenix.  Thanks Diamondbacks for a domed stadium.

Friday, August 5, 2011

FRIDAY FUN

I am indebted to my friend Dawn, who lives in Newfoundland for tipping me to the subject of today's post.  By the way, check out Dawn's wonderful video of the incoming tide.

But, to today's post.  Watch and listen to Tim Hawkins.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

LEADING UP TO A QUIET EVENING

Yes, I know.  I've been quiet again, especially here on my blog.  It's not due to any lingering pain from my angiogram.  In fact, I haven't had any.  Part of the reason for having the procedure was to see if opening up a couple of veins might eliminate the cramping I'd been having in my right calf.  And it seems that worked.  I made a trip to Sam's Club the other day, which as anyone who has ever been in one knows is about as big as a major league baseball park.  I walked briskly (or as briskly as I walk these days) and did not have a recurrence of the cramp.  But I told SWMBO afterward the real test will be when I go to a store and do a lot of slow walking, starting and stopping, and standing in one place for awhile.  Strangely, that seemed to bother me more than a brisk walk.  Well today was the day.  The first Wednesday of every month is what is known hereabouts as Old Farts' Day at a local supermarket.  Discounts galore and it draws hundreds, if not thousands, of what are politely called Senior Citizens.  We have avoided it frequently but the larder was low and SWMBO decided today would be a good day to load up and to test my leg.  There was no disappointment.  The store and the parking lot were both jam-packed.  I had to park some distance from the entrance, then go back out to find a spare shopping cart in the parking lot.  Then I was sent to the deli for a couple of items and stood waiting to be served for probably 20 minutes or more.  We got out of the store after something over an hour and all went well with my leg.  So that part of the mystery may be solved.

Now as to my Diamondbacks baseball team.  They had a very good 9-game road trip, winning six of the games, winning each series with San Diego, Los Angeles and San Francisco and finally catching the Giants again for first place last night.  Unfortunately today's final game was a bit different.  The team recently made a trade to acquire pitcher Jason Marquis because of his very good record of mastering the Giants.  He made his debut today and gave up 8 runs in 5 innings.  Oops!  So the Diamondbacks once again are one game behind the Giants.  And since it was an afternoon game, I'm looking forward to a quiet evening.