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Friday, January 31, 2014

FRIDAY FUNNIES

When your move is complete and the weather is nice what do you do? Oh, just horse around.


A friend of mine, Peripatetic Phil, is off to Texas today and then onto a cruise ship for a tour of Mexico, Belize and Honduras.  I sent him this card.


Speaking of traveling, some people seem to get more out of their foreign visits than others.


Others are surprised by a friendly greeting from the local wildlife.


Progress check: are you howling with laughter yet?


I was just thinking how things have changed over my lifetime.





Women might tell you that some things never change.


But if you look at executive offices in major companies today you'd say that's not true anymore.


The pay differences between men and women, however, have not changed that much.  So you can appreciate this editorial cartoon by the Arizona Republic's Pulitzer Prize winner Steve Benson.




Well, I'm getting too serious for the Friday Funnies.  So just let me leave you with this thought on the Big Weekend.


Have a happy weekend, folks, and may the best team win!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

CULVER'S AND COOLER WEATHER

SWMBO and I visited one of Prescott Valley's newer restaurants today for lunch.  Culver's, which is part of a chain of fast food restaurants which originated in Wisconsin, just opened Monday.  I had read on their website that the place should be avoided at lunchtime as it is very crowded.  We went at about 2 o'clock and it was still jammed.  But we got in, waited in line for maybe 10 minutes, placed our orders and had our sandwiches delivered to our table in a prompt and reasonable manner.  It is obvious the employees are trying very hard to please and we were pleased with their service and our food.  SWMBO was surprised to find a pork tenderloin sandwich on the menu.  It was something she remembered from her teen years in Indiana.  The big chunk of meat stuck out from all sides of the bun, just as it did at Northwood, a place that one had to go to for the purpose of seeing just who was dating who, as well as the food.  She said today's sandwich compared favorably with those of her youth.  I had a simple Bacon Deluxe Butterburger.  I don't think either of us will need dinner (or as they say in Wisconsin, supper) tonight.

It's turned a teensy bit cooler today and the skies have been overcast all day.  It "looks like rain" and the forecast calls for a 50 percent chance of it tomorrow.  Of course as I have learned over the years, that also means a 50 percent chance it won't rain.  But then there's that changing weather pattern as a result of Global Warming . . .


Just a little tease for tomorrow's Friday Funnies!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

SUNNY ARIZONA - PARALYZED ATLANTA

The sun is continuing to shine, though through thinly partly cloudy skies. I think I shot this picture yesterday.



But it is supposed to be overcast tomorrow. Friday a 40 percent chance of rain is forecast as the temperature plummets to 55 degrees. I'd like to see the rain.

Atlanta, Georgia, meanwhile, is in gridlock after an unusual snowstorm brought two inches of snow yesterday.  TWO INCHES! When I lived in North Dakota we'd call that a snow SHOWER! People might drive a little bit slower but nothing else would change.

TWO INCHES of snow.  Sheesh!  Of course they did get ice after the snow.  So the pictures on television this morning were of hundreds of cars and semi-trucks totally stopped on the freeways. People, the news pundits say, have been TRAPPED in their CARS for 24 hours and longer because no one can move.  

A Home Depot store put up dozens of others who couldn't leave because of the STORM!

The National Guard is patrolling the highways, handing out bottled water and Meals Ready to Eat to the poor folks TRAPPED in their cars.

The news media is after the scalps of the Governor, the Mayor, the Police Chief, the head of street maintenance.  Anyone in fact who let this TRAGEDY occur.

I moved to Arizona to escape all the snow and cold weather.  But then I moved to a higher elevation in the state and we occasionally have snowstorms here.  But even with 4, 5, 6 inches of snow on the ground, people just keep going or they stay home.

May my guardian angels protect me from ever going to Atlanta in the wintertime.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

SO LONG, PETE

Pete Seeger has died.

To some of us, this is the passing of an age.  Here's an excerpt from his obituary in the New York Times.

Mr. Seeger’s career carried him from singing at labor rallies to the Top 10 to college auditoriums to folk festivals, and from a conviction for contempt of Congress (after defying the House Un-American Activities Committee in the 1950s) to performing on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial at an inaugural concert for Barack Obama.

That's quite a career.  I saw him perform with Arlo Guthrie - as he often did - once at Celebrity Theatre in Phoenix.  He celebrated folk music.  He was one of the good guys.  Rest in peace, Pete.


Sunday, January 26, 2014

WHETHER IT'S HOT OR WHETHER IT'S COLD . . .

You've all heard about it.  Maybe lived in it.  Two-thirds of the nation is freezing.  Actually colder than freezing.  Snow and ice cover the streets and the land.

But not here.

Sad as I am to report this to you shivvering citizens, here in Arizona the sun continues, day after day, to shine.



The temperature rises, day after day, to the 60's.  Our streets are free and clear of snow and ice.



As we were returning from a restaurant breakfast this morning we saw a man hiking alongside the road in a t-shirt.  "Shirtsleeve weather," SWMBO commented smugly.

Even the distant mountains, topping off at near 8,000 feet at their highest points, are free of snow.


Now before my smarmy attitude about our wonderful weather becomes too much for you, let me add that we are in the midst of a drought.  We could use rain.  Lots of it.

But you folks in the Midwest and the East and even the Southeast can keep your snow and ice.

We like it this way just fine.


Friday, January 24, 2014

FRIDAY FUNNIES

It's all about cats this week.  For those of you who don't like cats, take heed.  I read this past week that people who have a pet cat are less likely to suffer from heart problems and more likely to heal quickly from strokes or heart surgeries.

But wait!  This is supposed to be funny.  Unlike me, cats remember to stretch when they first arise from the arms of Morpheus.


Cats tend to disobey stereotypes and make friends with odd creatures.


Apparently there is a legitimate reason for that old hipster expression "You are one cool cat."


And for all of you who liked the "toner" picture from last week, here's another group showing the varying colors of cats.


That's one of those "awwwww" pictures.

Have a fun weekend, folks!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

NEVER ASK

SWMBO came into my den this morning and said she was going into town for some shopping.  She said she'd probably be gone for quite awhile.  I (stupidly) asked if there was anything I could do for her while she was gone.

She dramatically said "Since you asked . . . could you vacuum the carpets and the floors?"

"Oh, sure", said I.

She left.  I vacuumed the whole house.  While doing so I had encountered some empty boxes and I knew there were some others in the garage so I went out with my trusty box cutter and demolished them. I filled one garbage bag with paper that had been used for packing.  I filled another bag with even more paper and the remains of a few boxes.  Then I filled a third bag with the rest of the cut-up cardboard.

Then, noticing that some of that damned insulated stuff, kind of like styrofoam popcorn, had littered the floor, I swept the garage and put it in the third garbage bag.  Then I moved a few full boxes around and generally neatened the garage up.  (If you could see our garage right now you'd know "neatened", as used in the previous sentence is a relative term.)

At the end of all this, I was totally bushed.  The Ibuprofen and the muscle relaxant I had taken had met their match.

During all of this, except the stuff in the garage, my trusty superintendent Blackwell had been wandering around keeping an eye on me.  Actually he just fixed me with this wondering stare, as if to say "Is this guy nuts?"


(The picture of Blackwell has been tweaked for a project the BRD is working on.  Gives him sort of a ghostly stare, doesn't it?)

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

WEDNESDAY HODGEPODGE

As we continue to assimilate to our new home little problems arise. Yesterday it was time to hook up the washer and dryer.  I did the washing machine fairly easily but SWMBO said she'd take care of the dryer.  In Phoenix I had a devil of a time getting the vent tube connected.  So she went behind the machine to work on it and she said "you had better go into the other room until I get this done."  So she went at it and from time to time, I would hear a muffled string of profanity and then a loud scream.  Alarmed by the latter I stepped in and inquired if she was okay.  "YES!", she yelled, "Just leave me alone with this damned thing!"

I did.

Finally she gave up.  The vent tubing is round and the outlet to the outdoors is oval.  Plus the tubing seemed to be the same diameter as the dryer evacuation vent.  She commanded me to check at a hardware store for a piece of tubing just a half inch larger.  And if I could find something to deal with that circular vs. oval problem that would be good too.

At the hardware store I was quickly told that all tubing is the same size.  But they did have a converter thing that was oval on one end and circular on the other.  I bought it.  SWMBO went at it again. More screaming ensued.  She finally got the converter piece attached to the wall outlet and the tubing onto the other end of it.  Massive amounts of duct tape made it seemingly secure.  But she was having trouble getting the other end of the tubing onto the dryer.  And besides, it seemed too long to coil up neatly behind the dryer.  I finally told her to get out and I'd fix it.  That involved moving the washer so I could get behind it, jamming the tubing down and cramming the dryer up against it.  It ain't neat but I think it will work.



So, on to other problems.

We subscribe to DIRECTV and moved our equipment up here from Phoenix and one of the company's technicians installed it the day after we moved in.  But we are in a smaller house than the one in which we lived in Phoenix.  So instead of hooking up four television sets, we only needed three.  Yesterday I called the company's office and after about 40 minutes on the phone got the fourth connector taken off our account.  This morning we had no television on any of the sets.  So I called them back and spent another 20-30 minutes on the phone with them and everything is back to working.  Of course, DIRECTV is in a contract dispute with The Weather Channel and it doesn't appear right now.  But I suspect that will be taken care of in time.

Anyway to know what the weather is doing, all I have to do is step outside and look at the sky.  Today it's a bit gray.



It even looks like it could rain but there's none in the forecast.

By the way, once the sun is back out and the weather warms a bit I suspect this is where we'll be spending much of our time.


Our covered back patio, just large enough for a table, four chairs and a barbecue grill.  I predict they will all be used in time.

Finally, it is time once again for some remarkable music.  I am indebted to my friend and former colleague, Big Jeff, for making me aware of this man.  Tommy Emmanuel is an Australian virtuoso of the style of guitar playing known as finger-picking.  This is a great example of his talent. Enjoy.






Monday, January 20, 2014

PROGRESS REPORT

We continue to unpack and to place our "stuff" around the house. It's coming together and today I took a car's trunkload of flattened cardboard boxes to a recycling plant.  It felt good and I can now walk somewhat freely through our garage.  

Meantime.  

(Spoiler alert: I'm going to talk a bit about sports so those of you who can't stand it can just scroll ahead.  Or wade through it.  You might enjoy this.)

Yesterday was a big football day here and throughout the land. Peyton Manning led the Denver Broncos over the New England Patriots to the AFC Championship and a berth in the Super Bowl. Manning has been saddled with criticism for years that he is the best quarterback in the game with only one Super Bowl ring.  Now, he'll have a chance to win his second and I suspect he and his Broncos will be at least the sentimental favorite.

But they'll have to take on the Seattle Seahawks who came from behind in the 4th quarter to defeat the San Francisco 49'ers for the NFC Championship.  The focus, unfortunately, in that game came down to Seattle's mouthy cornerback Richard Sherman.  He'll have the Super Bowl to prove his claim that he's the best player on the field.

Meantime, I was informed today of a strange coincidence.


An old friend in Denver to whom I sent this photo said the real question may be whether anyone in either state will remember the game.  And the beat goes on.

Probably a lot of people, no matter where they live nor what vice they favor, may be feeling a bit like this today.


Now to end this on a happy note, I am indebted to the fantastic Tess Kincaid, poet extraordinaire, for showing me this absolutely wonderful music video earlier today.  Robert Plant, he of Led Zeppelin, shows he can sing sweetly when he's paired with the lovely Alison Krauss.  Expand the picture and turn up your volume.  I swear it won't hurt.


Sunday, January 19, 2014

A NEW VIEW

We have moved to the Stoneridge development of Prescott Valley. This is our new view to the northeast.


Those are Arizona's Black Hills, with Woodchute and Mingus Mountains being the highest points, on the left.  I took the photo last night as the sun was beginning to set.  There's a lot of open space between us and the town of Prescott Valley, which you can see down there in the distance.  If you click on the photo, it will enlarge to give you a better idea of the view.

Right now...it's back to football.  At halftime, Denver is leading New England 13 to 3.

Friday, January 17, 2014

I BET YOU THOUGHT I WASN'T COMING BACK

But then how could I after making such fast cyber-friends with all of you?

Our move is complete.  Well, that means we're in our new home in northern-ish Arizona.  We still have much of our life packed in boxes scattered through the house and garage but we're slowly getting it together.

The weather was perfect for the move and the high temperature here is in the lower 60's day after day.  I can live with a winter like this. But having lived here before I know about February and early March snowstorms so I'm prepared.

But wait!  It's Friday!  That means the Friday Funnies!  This may be how Judy (SWMBO) feels.  Or it may be how I feel.


This next one is for the people we left behind in mega-Phoenix and for others who live in large cities with traffic jams.


Just so I don't get in trouble I need to tell you that those were both courtesy of the New Yorker magazine, which has the absolutely best cartoons and you should run right out and buy a copy or a subscription.

The next one was titled "Running Low on Toner".  Think about it.


And finally, how could I overlook the travails of New Jersey's Governor Chris Christie.


(This was sent to me by diehard Republican Beau Jack!)

I think I like it even better than the one of a Christie-like figure sitting on a stool facing into the corner with a bright orange traffic cone on his head.

I'm glad to be back.  Have a wonderfully frolicsome weekend, folks!

Monday, January 13, 2014

TWO DAYS TO GO

Our stay in Phoenix will come to an end in less than two days now. We move on Wednesday, just shy of 10 months after we moved here from Prescott Valley.  Now we will return there, though to a different home. People have asked why.  There are reasons.  We found the cost of living here much higher than we had expected and much higher than in Prescott Valley.  And the BRD lives in Prescott . . . just about 10 miles from PV . . . and was disturbed to see us move away.  She had, after all, left her 20-year adopted home town of Tulsa, Oklahoma, to move out here to be nearer to us some 13 years ago.  So, late learners that we are, we decided to return to her new environs, where she is settled and happy.  Now (perhaps) she will be even happier.  I think we will. And Phoenix, with its museums and concerts and restaurants will only be 100 miles from our new home . . about an hour and a half distant on relatively high speed highways.

So there you have it.  Plus, on our last visit to Prescott a week or so ago, we tried a tiny new restaurant . . Prescott Lobster & Seafood . . and found their Connecticut Lobster Roll sandwiches exquisite.  Not to mention the gelato that finished our lunches.  It's a great addition to the local dining scene and we hope they will enjoy success and a long life in the city.  We know we will be back.

Oh, and by the way, if any Mainers (residents of the state of Maine) are reading this . . they have Moxie!


This is reputed to be a special soft drink with health-giving qualities. We didn't try it on our visit but we will in the future.  And I just like the name.

So tired as we are right now and will be even more in 48 hours, we're looking forward to our new adventures in our old/new home.

We have done this before.  Too many times to count anymore.  But after all.  We've got moxie!

Friday, January 10, 2014

FRIDAY FUNNIES

You wouldn't think I would have enough time to scrounge up a bunch of funnies but I guess the people I steal from my friendly contributors have been more active this week.  So without further ado . . .







Then there are my buddies, the cats.









Speaking of "old", I've always been of the persuasion that the older one gets, the wiser one becomes.  There's proof of that belief all around us. For example . . .


Enjoy your weekend, folks!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

THE NO-POST POST

Since you got two last night, you don't get one today.

But never fear!  Tomorrow is Friday and you know what that brings?

The Friday Funnies!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

ADDENDUM

Just after I published my last post, SWMBO came in and said "Look on the table."



Blackwell says "Don't even THINK about leaving me behind!"

THE MOVING BLUES

As you all know by now, we're moving.  Again.  The last time we moved I swore it would be the last time.  That was 10 months ago. 

As everyone knows moving is one of those experiences one should never repeat.  I have moved somewhere around 30 times in my life. My brother has lived at the same address for probably 40 years.  Or more. So which one of us is the smart one?

Of course, it's really not all that bad.  We have hired a crew to come on moving day and fill the truck for us.  The BRD has volunteered to drive it to our next home, about 100 miles away.  And another crew has been hired to unload it.  So all we have to do is pack up all our life's possessions.  Not bad, right?


Dream on.

The constant packing is a chore.  And as we fill box after box, we begin to ponder the all important question.  Did we rent a big-enough truck? Or will it look like . . .


But I'm not worried.  Not really.  It will all be fine and will work itself out.

I grant you.  Sometimes my patience wears thin and I raise my voice. But then I'm reminded of this and I calm down fast.


Only a week to go, folks.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

A BORROWED BLOG POST

We are moving.  In one week.  I'll bet you know what that means. Among other things it means my blogging will be sparse.  But I have friends.  And they send me things.  My dear Lori sent me a bunch of WOW photographs today.  I picked out a few to show you.

Like the tenacity of the humble tulip.



Or of those insane people who climb mountains.


Even more insane, in my view, are these people out for a casual bicycle ride.


Along with a strange mind, that trip requires absolute nerve and steady hands.

Then there's this picture of Manhattan.


And the amazing power and wonder of nature.


And, impressively, over my state's very own Grand Canyon.


Lastly (you already know I love cats) this amazing picture.  "Baby turn my brown eyes blue."


Thank you, Lori.  Luvya!