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Friday, February 28, 2014

FRIDAY FUNNIES

It's been a fun-filled week in my state as it became flooded with news media from around the world once again.  No, it wasn't a retrial of Jody Arias.  But it was almost that big.


By the way, Beau Jack is celebrating his birthday today.  I hope it won't be like this.


We're expecting a rainy weekend in Arizona.  But . . .


I'm up early today because I have to go in for some routine medical tests.  Part of establishing service with a new doctor.


The new doc didn't seem amused when I told him I'd lived my life like a very famous man.


Well, that's it, fo . . .

Oh, yeah, you didn't think I'd forget the cats, did you?


Have a great day and a fun-filled weekend, folks!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

MOOOOOOOOO . . . .

There's a market in Prescott selling farm to customer produce.  Sort of a farmer's market under a roof.  But the outdoor decor is what makes this place special.


Up on the edge of the roof are two cows.  One of them is lying down and gazing out over the busy street in front of the store.  The other one is standing and looking down at the ground as if he's thinking about making a leap to freedom.  Or better grazing.


Always the stickler for accuracy, SWMBO said they look like Holsteins except these are grey and white and true Holsteins are usually black and white.

Maybe that hot Arizona sun faded their color.

(Oh, and in case you couldn't tell, they're not real cows.  They're . . . . cow-ikins.)

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

SPRINGTIME IN FEBRUARY

This scares me a little but take a look at the flowering trees in my neighborhood.  We could still have winter snows but right now it definitely looks like spring.






Monday, February 24, 2014

BJ and the BRD

I was not going to post today because I couldn't think of anything to say.  Then I got a photo from the BRD (Beautiful Rich Daughter) of her and her Beau Jack at a black tie event last month.


I think they make a pretty darned good looking couple.

I kidded the BRD about Beau Jack apparently forgetting his "black tie" but she said "the most interesting man in the world can, or not wear anything he chooses...breaking the rules and setting trends."

Can't argue with that.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

SIESTA TIME



Blackwell and Muggles have different places and postures for their daily siestas.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

COUCH POTATOES: ARISE!

This is going to take some work.




Friday, February 21, 2014

Yup, it's the FRIDAY FUNNIES!!!

First off, let's deal with those folk who are living through their fourth or fifth winter season of the year.  So far.  It's only February, folks.







For you folks who may have been confined to your homes by winter weather and who have had to rely on delivery pizza, here's some good advice.


Lemmee see, Valentine's Day was almost a week ago . . did I forget it?




Oh, I can't forget the cats.





In these days of life being dominated by social media, if YOU feel mocked there is always a solution.


Have a jolly weekend, friends.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

IN EUROPE . . . WITH BADGES

In 1985 (Wow!  That's 29 years ago!) SWMBO and I made our first (and only, so far) trip to Europe.  We had a month, light luggage and a Eurail pass.  What I discovered early on was that every place we visited had their own personal "badge" for sale.  I began collecting on our first stop.


Every first time visitor to London must visit the Tower and so we did. The crown jewels were fantastic but I can still hear the guard (Beefeater?) repeating constantly "Move the line along, please.  Move the line along."

After a few days in London we inaugurated our Eurail pass with a train ride to Dover, then across the channel by hydrofoil to Oostende, Belgium.  Another train took us to our stop for the night - Bruges.


We loved the "Venice of the North" with its canals and we spent an extra night there before heading into Germany and a stop at Cologne. We viewed the cathedral with it's outer walls still marked with bullet holes from World War Two.  

We could have taken a Rhine river cruise but were too late for it the day we wanted to leave so another train took us to Mainz & Wiesbaden.


Walking around Wiesbaden on Easter Sunday we began hearing the bells tolling from high up in the church in front of us, then another church perhaps a mile away began.  I referred to it as "Dueling Church Bells."  

We loved Germany and spent a couple of nights at the medieval city of Rothenburg and going through the amazing Christmas shops of K├Ąthe Wohlfahrt.  Then it was on to one of our favorite stops - Munich.

We loved this huge city with it's very clean and modern U-Bahn (subway) and the absolutely amazing Viktualienmarkt . . a huge daily outdoor food market in the center of the city.  We bought meat and cheese and fruit and chocolate there for a "picnic" dinner in our room.

Next it was on to Austria.


The gorgeous city of Salzburg where we visited a Mozart museum (and yes, I did touch his piano in spite of signs warning me not to) and watched with fascination a high-class lady eating a sausage with her fingers.  Again, as all along our voyage, great chocolate everywhere. This was also the city in which one or the other of us dropped our camera and broke it on the cobbled street.  But we found a replacement in a small shop and were soon on our way on a beautiful train ride past the Alps to Innsbruck.

It was there we fell in with a happy group of Austrians in a tavern. The night of "many beers" left both of us with a terrible hangover the next day and we went to a chain hotel for two of the worst cheeseburgers we can remember.

The next train ride took us from snowy country down the mountains to Florence, Italy.


We were there in April and it was freezing cold with a gale force wind blowing.  There was no heat in our room and when we asked about it the landlady told us "It's not the right time of year for heat." We left early and headed for the Riviera, which an International edition of USA Today promised would be warm.  San Remo was and it felt glorious.  I can remember walking through the Old Town area and coming upon a local busker playing guitar and singing an Italian-accented "Hotel California."  I also remember walking on the beach and meeting a young woman who was wearing only the bottom half of her bikini!  She smiled and said "buon giorno" as we passed.

An American expatriate couple at the next table in a restaurant heard us saying we were heading for Monaco next.  The woman told us "Don't take the train, it's all through tunnels and you won't see anything.  Take the bus."  We did and it was a glorious ride along the Mediterranean.  I tried and failed to "break the bank in Monte Carlo" with a few spins in the gorgeous casino.  After walking around the harbor and noting grandstands being set up for a gran prix race we took a train to Nice, where we accidentally stumbled into a gay biker bar but we stayed for a beer.


The next day it was the TGV (high speed train) to Paris, where we spent the final four days of our tour.  The Louvre was amazing.  I had planned on spending my birthday in Paris.  (April in Paris, y'know.)  We had a disappointing experience with a cafe we chose for dinner but the next day we had a great meal on a riverboat on the Seine and decided THAT was my birthday celebration.

So finally our visit to Europe ended and we headed for home, flying from Orly Airport directly to Dallas, Texas and a connecting flight home to Phoenix.


Guess what.  They sell those badges in our country, too.

We have talked many times about our Grand Tour.  We decided that was our exploratory trip and the next time we would go to just one country and take our time.

We've never been back.


Wednesday, February 19, 2014

THINGS YOU MAY NOT HAVE KNOWN ABOUT ARIZONA

(I have to thank one of my old pals from radio days - Danny Bananas - for sending me this.  There was a lot more but I excerpted it.)

Arizona has 3,928 mountain peaks and summits, more mountains than any one of the other Mountain States (Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming.)

Arizona's climate can yield both the highest temperature in the nation and the lowest temperature in the nation in the same day.

The hottest temperature recorded in Arizona was 128 degrees at Lake Havasu City on June 29, 1994.  The coldest temperature recorded in Arizona was 40 degrees below zero at Hawley Lake on January 7, 1971.

The world's largest solar telescope is located at Kitt Peak National Observatory in Sells, Arizona.

In 1912, President William Howard Taft was ready to make Arizona a state on February 12, but it was Lincoln's birthday.  The next day, the 13th, was considered bad luck so he waited until the following day. That's how Arizona became known as the Valentine State.

Mount Lemmon, in the Santa Catalina Mountains, is the southernmost ski resort in the United States.

If you cut down a protected species of cactus in Arizona, you could spend more than a year in prison.

Located on Arizona's western border, Parker Dam is the deepest dam in the world at 320 feet.

Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station, located about 55 miles west of Phoenix, generates more electricity than any other U.S. power plant.

Oraibi, a Hopi village located in Navajo County, dates back to before 1200 A.D. and is reputed to be the oldest continously inhabited community in America.

Many of the founders of San Francisco in 1776 were Spanish colonists from Tubac, Arizona.

Rainfall averages for Arizona range from less than three inches in the deserts to more than 30 inches per year in the mountains.

The amount of copper used to make the copper dome atop Arizona's capitol building is equivalent to the amount used in 4.8 million pennies.

You could pile four 1,300-foot skyscrapers on top of each other and they still would not reach the rim of the Grand Canyon.

The westernmost battle of the Civil War was fought at Picacho Pass near Picacho Peak in Pinal County on April 15, 1862.

There are 11.2 million acres of National Forest in Arizona and one-fourth of the state is forested.

The longest remaining intact section of Route 66 can be found in Arizona and runs from Seligman to Topock, a total of 157 unbroken miles.

Kartchner Caverns, near Benson, is a massive limestone cave with 13,000 feet of passages, two rooms as long as football fields, and one of the world's longest soda straw stalactites: measuring 21 feet 3 inches.

You can carry a loaded firearm on your person in Arizona with no permit required.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

NUTS AND BOLTS

I added a weather gadget to my blog the other day.  It's over to the right just above my picture.  When you first come to Oddball, you can check to see what the weather is at that moment.  Then I won't have to brag tell you about it.  Nobody has mentioned it so I wasn't sure anyone had noticed it or if they just weren't going to give me the satisfaction of continuing to grin.

= = = = = = = = = =

One of the advantages of moving is having stuff in boxes that you hadn't seen in a long time.  And, in my case, having lost a really nice compass in the deluge of boxes.  Somewhere that dang-blasted compass is hiding but so far I haven't been able to find it.  What I DID find was a collection of QSL (confirmation) cards from my second ham radio career.  I got my first amateur radio license when I was 15.  I held it for about 11 or 12 years before I let it lapse during a divorce.

15 years later I got interested in the hobby again and re-tested and got my license again with a new call.  That lasted for about 15 years until SWMBO and I opened a bookstore and I just didn't have time for the hobby anymore.  But in that second stage of my amateur radio career I "worked" (made contact with) other "hams" in over a hundred countries on every continent in the world.

QSL cards are personally styled postcards with your call letters, location and pertinent information about the contact which the hams exchange.  I didn't quite get to 100 countries confirmed but I came pretty darn close.

Well I ran across those foreign cards I'd received last night and I went through them today.  I no longer found any reason to keep them but I just didn't want to throw them away.  So I contacted a local ham radio club and they've agreed to take them.  Maybe someday they'll become an exhibit on QSL'ing.

Here's my card from back in the day.



And here's one that I was particularly proud of.  It's the QSL card of the late Tom Christian from Pitcairn Island in the South Pacific.  He was one of the descendants of Fletcher Christian, who led the mutineers of the Bounty episode to settle on the island, scuttling the ship so they could never escape.  Tom was the "Voice of Pitcairn" for decades with his ham radio setup.


Another card I'm especially proud of is this one, of another of the most well-known amateur radio operators in the world.


The owner of that card, posing jauntily by the sports car, is none other than the late U.S. Senator Barry Goldwater.  Pictures of his "ham shacks" in Washington, Scottsdale and Newport Beach are displayed as well.  I never talked to Barry on the radio but I did handle a lot of get well messages for him when he was in a Phoenix hospital recovering from a surgery.  And, in my professional career as a television newsman, I interviewed him on numerous occasions.

But that's another story for another day.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

HOW TO TELL IF YOU'RE LIVING IN ARIZONA

It's the middle of February.  Much of the United States and many other parts of the world are struggling with fierce winter storms of ice, snow, sleet, freezing rain, rain and flooding.

Meanwhile, my former neighbor and his new dog are relaxing in Phoenix.



(His wife told me the pool heater wasn't turned on and the water was freezing.  But what does he know.  He's from Edmonton, Alberta, and when the temperature gets above 40 F. he puts on shorts and a t-shirt.)

Saturday, February 15, 2014

THE FULL MONTY . . OOPS, I MEAN MOON!

The first photo was taken the day before the full moon.  The waxing gibbous moon . . 99% of it . . can be seen faintly high up.


X marks the spot.


Well not really.  These were just a couple of random jet contrails marking the sky.

O.K.  Now comes the full moon and some of the worst photos ever taken of it.


This was taken through a window from my desk.  Kinda looks like a reflected 60 watt ceiling bulb, doesn't it?  But it's the moon.  I swear it.

Then I went outside armed with my mighty Nikon Coolpix 1.22 and my smartphone camera.  The first three photos are from the smartphone.






And the last one is from the Mighty Nikon.


About the only thing you can tell from my excellent photography is that the moon is round (full).  I've tried to photograph it before with the same results.

If you really want to see good pictures of the moon, go to to Dr. M's blog.  He has more sophisticated cameras AND knowledge of how to use them.  He gets photos like this.


Not too shabby, eh?

Friday, February 14, 2014

FRIDAY FUNNIES

You didn't think I'd forget what day it is, did you?


Happy Valentine's Day!

And Happy Birthday, Arizona!  102 years old today.

But back to the subject at hand.


Oooohh, that was rough, wasn't it?  And today of all days.  Oh, well. Onward!





Today's quiz . .


And finally (as one of the anchormen I used to write for said before the last story of every newscast) . . .


Have a great day, folks, and be nice to your mates!