Saturday, March 31, 2012


Just to prove they actually got the license, here's the blushing smirking BRD at the license bureau.

And here's the happy couple.

But I think that's the closest they'll ever get to the altar!


Now, don't get excited.  There is no reason to send congratulations or gifts.  No date has been set, nor will one.  But the BRD and her Beau Jack picked up a marriage license yesterday.

(pause for effect)

Actually this has become a tradition for them.  This is the sixth consecutive year that the handsome swain has arrived in a chauffered limousine to pick up the BRD for the trip to the License Bureau.  Once the piece of paper has been acquired, they head off to champagne and lunch.  The license goes on the BRD's refrigerator door and stays there until next year.

Normally this event takes place on April 1st, for obvious reasons.  But since the Fool's Day falls on Sunday this year, the event had to be moved up.

Here then, properly limousined and champagned, are the Beau Jack and the Beautiful Rich Daughter.

They included some good friends in their celebration this year and all seemed to be having a great time.

Happy . . . whatever . . . and many more!

Friday, March 30, 2012


People driving on Winchester Drive approaching Addis Avenue in my town might wonder about that steeple protruding from the brush.

It's merely an optical illusion.  When one crosses the highway, it becomes apparent.  This is the huge new (still under construction) L.D.S. (Mormon) Church.

I wonder if Mitt is coming to town.

Correction: An earlier version of this post identified the building as a Mormon temple, whereas it is a church.  There is a distinct difference, according to my editor (SWMBO).  My apologies.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Wednesday, March 28, 2012


Last week I told you my nephew, Barry Taylor, and his wife, Amy, had come to Arizona for a five day backpacking trip into the remoter areas of the Grand Canyon.  What they didn't know when they left 80 degree weather in St. Paul, Minnesota, was that Arizona had been hit with a freakish early spring snowstorm.  But armed with reservations at the Canyon and the foolhardiness bravery of youth, they set out.

You will notice there is snow everywhere.  Quite a bit of snow covering a narrow trail leading to the depths.  No room for any false moves.

But as one descends into the Canyon the climate changes, the temperature rises and the snow melts.

I didn't say the footing got any safer or easier.  But these two have hiked in Bolivia.  They have hiked into canyons in Death Valley where there were no trails.  I asked how they didn't get lost.  Barry said "topo maps."  And they didn't get lost this time, in spite of this.

As one goes deeper, the walls open somewhat.

And then they were down at the bottom.

Barry and Amy might say "just another walk in the park."  But I'll bet they slept well in that 4-pound-tent.

Since I moved to Arizona 40 years ago I have thought of hiking the Canyon.  But I put it off too long and now I'll just have to live vicariously through the adventures of my nephew and niece.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Monday, March 26, 2012

Sunday, March 25, 2012


Tiger Woods won his 72nd PGA tournament today . . the Arnold Palmer Invitational.  It's the 7th time he's won this tournament.  Today he battled Graeme McDowell in the final round and ended up at 13 under par with a five-stroke victory.

It's awfully good to have him back in top form once again.

Next stop?  The Masters in Augusta, Georgia, in two weeks.  Guess who the favorite will be.

Saturday, March 24, 2012


Yes, I know you're stunned at the news but it's true.  Bush's consigliere has a heart.  Oh, it's not his.  I was sitting here quietly reading when SWMBO came in and said "Did you know Dick Cheney had a heart transplant today?" 

No, I didn't.  Curiously I had just read this morning that the old war criminal had canceled an appearance in Toronto because "Canada is too dangerous!"  Maybe for him, even with a new heart.  Apparently he had to be barricaded behind storm troopers in a hotel in Vancouver awhile back when he went there for a book signing.  It seems people in Canada have a lot less tolerance for Cheney than our leftists in the United States.

So . . I went to the Web and found a brief saying a spokeswoman stated Cheney had been waiting 20 months for a transplant and he did not know the identity of the donor.  He's recovering at Inova Fairfax Hospital in Falls Church, Virginia.  Just in case anyone wants to drive over and demonstrate in the street.

Friday, March 23, 2012


I have removed the "spam catcher" from this site.  This time you have my good friends Stafford Ray from Australia and Steve Glossin from Germany to thank.  When the "robot detector" isn't there, I get some guy, or machine, or algorithm, trying to put meaningless comments on my posts.  Since I have my blog set up to send me each comment by email when it comes in to the blog, I get them . . always from "Anonymous".  But it turns out they never make it onto my blog because the all-knowing and all-powerful Google intercepts and quarantines them.  So I guess the small problem I have of deleting the emails is worth a lot less than the grief some, if not all, of you gentle readers go through trying to decipher those mystery words.  So thanks, Ford and Steve, for gigging me to do it.  Come, read and comment, my friends, no more barriers.

Sheesh!  For just a second there I was sounding like John McCain.  That's not a good thing.

As I said recently, I've been slowly reading through a book my wife gave me for Christmas.  It's selected writings done for Rolling Stone magazine by the late Hunter S. Thompson.  This afternoon, while simultaneously watching Tiger Woods take over the lead in the Arnold Palmer Invitational, I was reading the section where the evil Richard Nixon finally gave up the ghost and resigned the presidency.  Thompson reports that a few weeks later he was wakened out of a dead (and no doubt drug and alcohol induced) sleep by a telephone call from Dick Tuck in Washington screaming that Gerald Ford had just pardoned the Trick.  Hunter said he went into panic mode because his story of Nixon's demise was due at the magazine in 24 hours and 15,000 words were already set in type.  The good doctor's version had Nixon sure to serve time in prison for his various crimes as President.  And now that was all excised by Gerry Ford.

Well, it's a good story as only Hunter could weave one.  As a true blue Nixon hater, I know I read it when it came out in the magazine but it did my heart good to peruse the words again.

A true blue Michigan State alumnus and fan who is a friend of mine was in Phoenix last night watching Louisville trash his team in the NCAA tournament, ending their year with only a Big 10 championship.  I was interested that he wrote bitterly on Facebook of Louisville's "aggressive style of smashmouth ball."  I was doubly interested because the New York Times this morning wrote how Louisville "beat the Spartans the way the Spartans beat other teams for years.  It bullied the perennial March bully, staggered the usual tournament tough guy..."  I guess a true fan can only see it one way.

Maybe that's why I prefer the gentler sports.  Golf.  Baseball.  Politics.

And by the way for those of you concerned about our godawful snow storm last weekend - it's all gone.  Actually it was pretty much all gone by Thursday as a high pressure system once again dipped into Arizona and the temperatures rose to the upper 60's.  Spring has returned.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


I've been somewhat remiss in my blogging duties lately.  'Course when one starts thinking of it as a "duty" it may be time to rethink the whole process.  But I've done that before and I continue so . . what the hey.

Saturday was preparation and delivery of the BRD's Christmas present dinner.  Sunday was preparation and dining on SWMBO's wonderful dinner for Amy and the Bear.  (My nickname for Amy and Barry - see previous posts).  Monday was lunch with the two of them.  And then we collapsed.  Sort of.

I had a doctor appointment Monday morning.  Judy had one today.  We each have one tomorrow.  And so it goes.  As I have so often said "if we didn't have these doctor appointments we wouldn't have any social life at all."  Of course, this week that was negated.

So, other than that, I finished the Sunday New York Times Monday evening.  I finished an ebook by Gail Collins called "Scorpion Tongues" today.  It's about political gossip since the days of George Washington up through the Bush 2 presidency.  It convinces one that it's not really worse than ever.  It just keeps on, maliciously through the years.  It does make one wonder about politics, though.  Oh well it keeps it somewhat interesting.

I see today's news is dominated by a gaffe made by a Romney spokesman who said the general election campaign will be sort of like an Etch-a-Sketch, sorting everything out for a new start.  Of course, Gingrich and Santorum have happily posed with Etch-a-Sketch toys today, talking about how Romney will change his views once he gets the nomination.  And the Democrats have joined in the fun.

So I haven't missed a thing.

Football!  Now there's an amusing sport.  Denver won the sweepstakes and signed Peyton Manning.  Then they traded Tim Tebow to the New York Jets.  But then the Jets found out they'd have to pay Denver an additional 5 million bucks to cover Tebow's bonuses and the Jacksonville Jaguars leaped back into the competition.  (Tebow reportedly would prefer to play in Florida, where he is very popular from his college career.)  But then later came word that the Jets had made the deal and Tebow would indeed come to New York.  Where he'll have to deal with their reigning quarterback, Mark Sanchez, and his followers on the team.  Methinks Mr. Tebow will not have a happy, or probably long, career in the National Football League.

Which is not to avoid mentioning the problems incurred by the New Orleans Saints, who have had their head coach suspended for a year, their general manager for half a year and who have been fined huge amounts for their policy of paying bonuses for nasty hits on opposing team members.  Gawd, the more you hear the more you find disgusting in professional sports.

So.  Politics.  Sports.  Both dirty.  Both condemnable.

What's left?


Guess we'll leave that to the Republicans.  And to another day.

Monday, March 19, 2012


We have just had a long awaited visit from my nephew, Dr. Barry Taylor, and his wife, Amy Fredregill, of St. Paul, Minnesota.  I had not seen Barry in 24 years so there was a lot to catch up on.  Considering that he and Amy are about to celebrate their 5th anniversary, we had never met her before.

Barry had been at a medical conference in Las Vegas since Wednesday, Amy joined him there on Saturday.

They came to our home last night for a dinner, a lot of wine and hours of conversation.  Then we joined them for lunch today before sending them on their way.

"On their way" means to Tusayan, Arizona, just south of the Grand Canyon.  Tomorrow they will descend into the canyon for a 4 day backpacking trip.  When they go on one of these trips they choose the most remote areas they can find, where they're not likely to see another person for the entire time.  Considering that Northern Arizona has just been through a 48-hour winter storm that dumped about 13 inches on the south rim of the Canyon, we were a bit doubtful.  But they have tons of experience and they've done this particular trip before.  Plus the weather began clearing up today and will be warming up through the next several days.

We loved their visit and wish them well as they continue their adventurous life.

Sunday, March 18, 2012


Here's one for the files.  This is what it looked like in my neighborhood yesterday afternoon.

And . . for all of you folks who wish you could have just one more taste of winter . . here's what it looks like outside this morning.  In Arizona!

Saturday, March 17, 2012


I wish I had pictures of it.  SWMBO presented her daughter with a special Christmas gift today - dinner for six at her house, giver not to be invited.

This goes way back to when the BRD was not nearly as gorgeous as she is now and was living with a guy in a small apartment in Phoenix.  We were all poorer then so the daughter was given a dinner for four, lasagna, salad, french bread, some kind of dessert.  It was all prepared and taken to her apartment.  All she had to do was heat it up and be a hostess extraordinaire.  She loved it but I had no idea how much she had appreciated it.

Last year at our Christmas Eve gathering at her house, she brought it up and told her Beau Jack about that great gift.  Well, said her mum, here's your first Christmas gift.  She presented her with a scroll that was the same gift only a bit advanced - a tossed salad with Cuties and Craisins, raspberry vinaigrette and toasted almonds; beef bourguinon over egg noodles; french baguette; and a dessert of chocolate crepes with a warm vanilla sauce and fresh raspberries.  It brought tears to the BRD's eyes so this year she did it again.

That was nearly three months ago and today was the day the BRD selected.  So we have returned after delivering all the food to the BRD's house ahead of her guests.

It's a great, personal gift and the way SWMBO cooks it's probably as good as it gets.  As SWMBO said when the BRD answered the door, "MERRY CHRISTMAS!"

Thursday, March 15, 2012


As the temperature hovers in the 60's, buds and tiny flowers are popping out on the trees.

But hold on.  Old Man Winter has (at least) one more shot.  A winter storm is due to hit the state this weekend with heavy snow in the forecast.

He likes to play these games most every year.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


Newt Gingrich lost both the Alabama and Mississippi primary elections tonight.  That was supposed to be his territory.  But he LOST both states.  How much longer will we have to put up with this fat little spider.

This photo is not photoshopped.  It is an actual photo of (big) Newt dancing with his (####) wife the other night. 

The man may feel like he's big enough for the job of president.

We feel like he's too big.

Goodbye Newt.


Friday, March 9, 2012


Yes, after all these months and years, Trader Joe's has finally opened it's first store in our immediate area.

Only a couple of hours after the doors were opened, parked cars ringed the building.

SWMBO said she probably wouldn't go near the store for a week or so because it would be mobbed.  During the months since the store was announced there has been a running feud going on in the local paper.  On one side people like me who said they couldn't wait for the store to open.  On the other side the grumps who said it wouldn't be popular.  Guess which side won the argument today?

The employees wear Trader Joe's t-shirts or Hawaiian shirts.

I merely walked through the store, taking pictures.  I didn't even try to shop.  Not today.  But lots of people did.

A couple of doors down, a Five Guys hamburger shop appeared to be still under construction.

I asked a fellow bolting steel tables together when they would open.

"11 o'clock," he said.  That was less than an hour away.  He said at 8 o'clock this morning they didn't have any tables.

There's another shop - the House of Bread Bakery Cafe - in between Five Guys and TJ's but it looks like it's opening is a little ways away yet.

Meantime, adjacent to the Trader Joe's property more ground has been cleared and leveled in preparation for construction of another row of shops.  Sort of looks like the economy is recovering.

Thursday, March 8, 2012


SWMBO and I made our annual trip to Scottsdale today for the 2012 Celebration of Fine Art, a huge show with more than 100 artists displaying their work and demonstrating their techniques under huge white tents.  The show lasts three months and features some of the finest artists in the nation.  Unfortunately photography is not allowed so I can't show you any of the show.  I am happy to say that every one of the artists I spoke with said the show had been good for them.

Many of the artists have been showing here year after year.  One artist we spoke with today was back for his 19th consecutive year.  Apparently they return because sales are good, even in tight times.  It's a great show with many different styles of art.

Then it was time for lunch and we went to one of our favorite restaurants in Phoenix - Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen.

The outdoor patio is beautifully designed and features water features and gorgeous spring blossoms.

Inside, lots of dark wood and skylights with a seafood theme.

There is the requisite lobster board above a tank of fresh water.

But getting down to our lunch.  We began with an assortment of six baked oysters.  Unfortunately we scarfed them all down before we remembered the camera so all you get is a photo of the aftermath.

But we did better with the entrees.  Mine was my favorite - blackened catfish with Cajun spices, red beans and rice.

SWMBO couldn't resist the Cajun Combo - blackened catfish and shrimp Creole over Dirty Rice.  She brought a large portion home for her evening dining.

A couple of glasses of wine - Australian Shiraz for her, Argentine Malbec for me - topped off the meal.

A terrific meal after which we paid a visit to a nearby Barnes and Noble bookstore.  Our local store closed at the end of the year so this was a treat.  We picked up a couple of iced Mochas for the road and headed for home.  A little over an hour later we were there.

A good day.