Monday, April 30, 2012

JUST LOOKING


SWMBO got this picture of Blackwell, peering out the back window this morning.

Jazz would jump clear up on the window sill to perch.

Muggles couldn't care less.

But Blackwell got past me yesterday evening, in spite of a glancing kick to his head.  He came to us from the outer world but after being neutered and, on more than one occasion, taking advantage of being let out with us by going over a six foot fence to "explore" . . we have successfully kept him in the house.  But last night, he escaped.  Spring hormones, maybe.  Well, he spent about an hour outside before he came home and was coaxed in the front door, partially by Jazz whining and snarling at him.

He wants to go out.  But we don't trust him.  He got horribly hurt when he was a kitten and lived outdoors and I (and my bank account) just don't want that again.  Granted, he is a much bigger cat now and probably could handle himself.  But, there are cars and occasionally coyotes and javelinas and skunks and so . . . he stays inside.

But we let him look.  And dream.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

APRIL SHOWERS - MAY FLOWERS



That's how it looked a few days ago as rain showers moved in for a day.

Here's what it produced.


Those are called mock roses and they are the first to bloom.




The last three are called Firecracker Roses.

I think you can see why.



Saturday, April 28, 2012

Friday, April 27, 2012

JEROME ODDITIES

Jerome, Arizona, only about 15 miles from me geographically is a thousand light years from where I live in attitude.  It has been everything from a booming mining town with a population of 15,000 to a ghost town with a population of around 150.  Then the hippies came, finding cheap if not free housing.  Then artists.  Then retirees.

Currently Jerome is what many would call a tourist trap.  Dozens of art galleries and gift shops fill the town.  Real estate, which was dirt cheap when I first saw Jerome, is now expensive.  Because of underground blasting, the town on the side of a mountain lives on somewhat fragile ground.  If one buys an old house one finds it costs a lot to shore up the house with concrete.

But it's a great place with views to die for.  I love visiting it even on a Tuesday in April when the streets were jammed with tourists.

But, as I said at the beginning of this post, the town is thousands of light years from here, because of an apparent attitude of whimsy in the air.  Let me give you a couple of examples.


I have to give credit to my friend Judy, who takes and posts some amazing photographs at Prescott Area Daily Photo, including regular photos of these flamingos.  Whoever has adopted the roadside pink plastic birds decorates them regularly for holidays and special days.

Directly across the road is this mystery.


Some time in the distant past someone created this hillside parking space.  That old truck has been parked there behind iron bars for as long as I remember.  I don't know the story but perhaps someone who knows it will reveal the secret of the truck and it's owner.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

A DAY AT THE PARK

My birthday - Day Two.

I drove to Phoenix yesterday and went to an Arizona Diamondbacks game, courtesy of my old pal, Steve.  Unfortunately our team lost to the Philadelphia Phillies but we did get to see a great pitching performance by Cole Hamel and an ESPN-highlights play where a ball got away from the catcher and he apparently didn't realize the baserunner on first base was circling the bases.  When he did realize it, he threw him out at home as the runner was trying to score.

Anyway, not too many Dbacks highlights but apparently one was happening as I caught Steve grinning broadly.



Here's a short video of one of my favorite guys at the ballpark.  Turn your sound up.

video

This guy is famous for his loud chant "Ice cold lemonade, just like your grandma made!"  Unfortunately, I guess he hasn't worked out such a chant for cotton candy.

Meantime, outside, you get the feeling of the size of this parking garage and, in fact, all of the structures in downtown Phoenix.


That guy pictured in full swing on the poster is none other than the (now retired) hero of the Diamondbacks, Luis "Gonzo" Gonzalez.  Probably the most beloved former player.



Finally, as I was leaving the area, who should I run into but some of the Diamondbacks girls, who were gracious enough to pose for me.



With that, my day at the ballpark ended on a perfect note, even if my team did lose.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

CELEBRATION AT THE ASYLUM

Yesterday, my beloved SWMBO took me to Jerome, to the historic Jerome Grand Hotel, to the Asylum restaurant to celebrate my birthday.  The building apparently once housed a mental asylum, thus the name of the restaurant.



It's got great ambiance, sitting in a majestic old building on the edge of a cliff overlooking the Verde Valley of Arizona.  The red rocks of Sedona are clearly visible in the distance.

But let's get a closer view.  Dirty martinis.


Then, since it was mid-day, from the lunch menu, we both chose hot pastrami sandwiches and french fries.


The pastrami was marvelous, just the way I like it.  Also swiss cheese and grilled bermuda onions with a dash of mayonnaise.  The sandwiches were delicious.


Not to mention the fries.  Apologies to one of my readers but there was no puddle of ketchup with these.  SWMBO had some but just salt on mine were very tasty.


An Argentine Malbec wine from Mendoza was the perfect accompaniment.  $8.00 a glass seemed like a bargain to me.


Then on to dessert.  For me a creme brule cheesecake with blackberries and lots of whipped cream.



For SWMBO, perhaps a mistake.  A Chocolate Mousse Cake, which was too rich for her although I liked it.



The Asylum covers their very nice tablecloths with white butcher paper and provides a jar of color crayons, then invites you to scrawl on the paper.  This is the work of SWMBO.



Over the years, we have gone out for a meal to celebrate birthdays and anniversaries and holidays.  Invariable it seems that I am disappointed . . with the food, the service, the ambiance, or whatever.  This time everything was perfection.  As I said we had been to the Asylum before, several times.  But as I was leaving, I asked our excellent waiter, Dan, if there had been an ownership or management change in the past year.  He said absolutely not.

In which case, they have ironed out some changes, hired excellent people, inspired the kitchen and made this one of the truly fine restaurants of Northern Arizona.

The Asylum.  If you get to these parts, visit it.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

BIRTH DAY

It is said you can tell a person's "real" age by looking at their hands and/or their neck.  Botox et al can keep the face looking young long after it's time comes to age.  But wrinkles and liver spots in the hands and the neck tell the true story.


That's my left hand this morning.


And there's my all-important right hand, the "mouse" hand.  Granted, it's held up off the table but the wrinkles do tell the tale.

My birthmates - Barbra Streisand (70 today) and Shirley MacLaine (78 today) both look pretty good, to my eyes.  Happy birthday to both of them.

Today is my 73rd birthday, though I am only 72 years old.  My grandfather used to say the day you were born was your first birthday, hence the distinction.  When I mention that to my friend, Steve, he always says "Oh, yeah, you count them like the Chinese."

At any rate, today is my birthday and SWMBO is taking me to lunch at a perhaps appropriate restaurant in Jerome, Arizona.  It's called "The Asylum."

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Saturday, April 21, 2012

MOCK ROSE EXPLOSION

Our mock roses are blooming.


From the photo above, you'd think they look just about like real roses, wouldn't you?

But they're much smaller.

The photo below compares them in size to a quarter I held up alongside the group.


No trick photography there. 

The blooms are just about quarter-sized or smaller and that's as big as they get.

But they're pretty, all the same.



Friday, April 20, 2012

IDLE THOUGHTS

I've been led to believe there is a type of chicken, a hybrid, called a Rock Island Red.  I wonder if this could be one of her eggs.



Probably not.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

DELTA BOUND

A couple of people I know are off to New Orleans for a week of r and r tomorrow.  They're hoping to hear some good music, maybe something like this.


Laissez les bon temps rouler

(Let the good times roll)

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Flora

Some photos of a fading bouquet.



SWMBO's favorite, a Carnation.


A science fiction fan's favorite, a very tropical-looking Lily.


The bouquet came to SWMBO from the BRD on the latter's birthday.  Rather nice to remember your mother on the anniversary of the day she gave birth to you.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

SUNSHINE ON A CHILLY DAY!

Well, lookie here.  Stephen at The Chubby Chatterbox has nominated me for an award.


It's the Sunshine Award.  Considering my sometimes sarcastic, sometimes snarky, sometimes snarly blog posts, I'm not sure I deserve it.  But, what the heck.

The rules of the Sunshine Blog Award are simple…


#1 Thank the person who nominated you with a link back to their blog. (Thanks Stephen! The link is posted above.  If you've never been to his blog, trust me, you'll enjoy it.  Stephen is a talented artist/illustrator and a very talented writer who spins great tales.)

#2 Answer a few questions about yourself.


Favorite color: Red, I think.  I do like black, too, but I'm told it and white aren't really colors.


Favorite animal: Cats.  And jackalopes.


Favorite number: 4, probably because there are an abundance of them in my birthdate: 4-24-1940.  Hasn't helped me out with the Powerball, though.

Favorite non-alcoholic drink: NON-ALCOLIC???  You've got to be kidding.  Oh, o.k., I guess it would be Diet Coke.


Facebook or Twitter: Facebook, I guess.  I've never tried and never will try Twitter.  (I know, never say never)


My passion: This damned computer.  And the Arizona Diamondbacks!

Favorite flower: I think it would have to be Lilac.  I keep threatening to plant a lilac bush around here but haven't done it yet.  But we had them around my house when I was a kid and I love the smell of them.

Favorite movie: Oh, man, there are so many.  Casablanca is one I never fail to watch.  And The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming is fantastic though I haven't seen it in quite awhile.

Favorite painting: I love anything by Renoir, particularly The Luncheon of the Boating Party.  Though I've lived for years in the Southwest, I'm up to here with cowboy art or Western Art.


Now, I'm supposed to nominate some other blogs for this award.  I was going to decline this one but I'll suggest a couple.


Judy, at Prescott Area Daily Photo
Tom, at Light Breezes

Saturday, April 14, 2012

APRIL FOOL!

April Fools Day was two weeks ago but the joker saved one last trick for us.

The BRD's birthday is April 11th.  SWMBO's birthday is May 12th.  Every year they go out for a long, lavish lunch somewhere between the two dates to celebrate another year.  Then they go to a nursery and buy lots of flowers to set out in front of the home of each. 

When she was younger, the BRD always used to push the season.  That is, after days of temperatures around 70 and trees greening and blooming, she would want to buy the flowers and get at it.  SWMBO always used to tell her "it's too soon."  The lesson has been learned.

Because nearly every year we'd wake to something like this.


Yes, it snowed again here last night.  Not much and it won't last.  The weather forecast says the high will be in the middle 40's today, the mid 50's on Sunday, the mid 60's on Monday, and the middle 70's for the rest of the week.

But for those of you who like this kind of thing . . enjoy!







Friday, April 13, 2012

MUSIC BY JOHN DEERE!

I can't believe this.  You just have to watch.


This was sent by email from a friend of mine.  Here's the explanation that came with it:

This incredible machine was built as a collaborative effort between the Robert M. Trammell Music Conservatory and the Sharon Wick School of Engineering at the University of Iowa . Amazingly, 97% of the machine's components came from John Deere Industries and Irrigation Equipment of Bancroft , Iowa .. Yes, farm equipment! It took the team a combined 13,029 hours (6.26 years) of set-up, alignment, calibration, and tuning before filming this video but as you can see, it was WELL worth the effort. It is now on display in the Matthew Gerhard Alumni Hall at the University and is already slated to be donated to the Smithsonian.

Well, guess what.  It's a fake!  I showed it to SWMBO and she said, "It's not real.  It's computer animation."  That sent me to the Interwebs and darned if she isn't right.  Snopes has the goods on it at this location.

Blast!  Guess I'm getting gullible in my old age.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

RESTING BEEF

I've read recipes that call for "resting" the meat once it is cooked to allow the juices to settle within.  But this goes beyond that.  This is resting the beef before it's anywhere near your barbecue grill or stovetop or oven.


I know, I know.  You're probably all getting tired of my fascination with the beef cattle near my home.  Well.  Get used to it.  These guys have.





Wednesday, April 11, 2012

THE ROCK JOCK

This is how it all started . . . 51 years ago.  A rock and roll radio station in Minot, North Dakota.  Ladies and Gentlemen, allow me to introduce . . . Bruce on the Loose!!!


I never understood why the studio photographer insisted on portraying a bunch of crazy disc jockeys as (relatively) well dressed, thoughtful, sensitive individuals.  We certainly weren't.  But I guess that's why they call them "glamour shots."

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

A GHOST

A photo I shot yesterday was a ghostly blur with a shadowy image inside that box.



Aha!  A few seconds later and a second shot with the flash stopped the movement and revealed the occupant/resident of that fairly new box.


It's Jazz in one of her favorite spots . . inside of a box.  I'm not sure why cats love boxes so much.  It may be because they would seem to offer protection or safety or coziness.  But they all have to try out any box that comes into the house.  This one is even big enough to accomodate Blackwell.  But Jazz tends to adopt and dominate the territory whenever a new one appears.

Monday, April 9, 2012

YOUNGER DAYS


I ran across this photo recently.  It was taken in the early 1970's and shows your humble correspondent with his zany granddaughter, Christy.  Actually I think we both look pretty good in our Hawaiians, don't you?

The last time I saw Christy (a few weeks ago) she had black hair and lots of tattoos.  My beard is now grey and it's starting to creep into my hair, too.  No tattoos.  Yet.