Wednesday, December 31, 2008
As the year draws to a close, here's a look at the bottom of a birdbath in our back yard. Some leaves, a rock, some water, some ice.
And a twisting trunk of a wisteria vine.
These aren't really Christmas lights. Well, they are. But we didn't put them up there for Christmas. They're always up there. And rarely lit.
And I was sure you'd want to see a current picture of old Catalyst so I took this one, with a piece of metal latticework.
Meantime, just inside the rear door, the impatient Jazz awaited my return. She always wants to go out if I go out, although she is never allowed to. So she watches through a window, crying and squalling. Poor Jazz.
HAPPY NEW YEAR, EVERYONE!!
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Monday, December 29, 2008
I don't know whose cat he is but he's a pretty thing. Of course, SWMBO always likes the orange Toms. (Click on the photo to get a better look at his inquiring eyes.)
Friday, December 26, 2008
Now let's take a look at the year behind us.
Big political winners -
Barack Obama (of course)
Sarah Palin (Oh, my god)
French President Nicolas Sarkozy - Doing the right things after a shaky start. Great looking wife.
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown - Another guy who didn't look like he'd get through his first year, post-Blair, but has recovered his footing.
Big political losers -
Robert Mugabe - Lost the election but still stayed in power. Says there is no cholera in his failing country.
John McCain - Too many compromises with people he didn't even like. Joe the Plumber? C'mon John!
Bill Clinton - Has lost his political skills, it seems. Can't hold his temper in check or keep his mouth shut.
Rod Blagojevich - The Illinois governor with the weird hairdo and weirder idea of governing. Even in Illinois.
Ted Stevens - Longtime Alaskan power broker gets convicted, then defeated for re-election.
Madelyn Dunham - Missed seeing her grandson elected president of the U.S. by two days.
Other big winners -
The New York Yankees. - I know, they didn't even make the playoffs but next year they've got a brand new stadium and they've spent half a billion dollars on several of the best players in baseball.
Clint Eastwood - Keeps making great movies.
Other big losers -
Wall Street firms, banks, the American taxpayer.
Detroit car companies and their union employees. It's sunset and getting darker.
Heath Ledger - Ooops, mixed too many drugs.
There are probably plenty more but that's it for now. Add your own.
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
To those of you who, like Lucy (see comment below) don't know what lefse is . . . think flour tortilla (if you're familiar with Mexican food) but made with left over mashed or riced potatoes. What you end up with is a circle of thin fried dough on which you spread butter and sugar, roll into a "cigar" and eat it. If you have a sweet tooth, you'll love it. Here are some recipes, history and the like.
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Christmas Cookie Rules
1. If you eat a Christmas Cookie, fresh out of the oven, it has no calories because everyone knows that the first cookie is the test and thus is calorie free.
Monday, December 22, 2008
I swear to you I did not have a drop of alcohol before this venture.
As usual, the photos look better (or worse) if you click on them. At least they show up bigger on your screens.
Happy holidays everyone!
Sunday, December 21, 2008
SWMBO and I went down to the Big City this past week for a couple of days. Canceled out of the Chihuly exhibit because of cold weather. We'll get back later for that.
Had some great meals in restaurants. $48 for four martinis and $20 for a glass of wine at The Capitol Grille. But it was worth it. Food was good. Wait a minute. Did I say it was worth it? The menu said they were pouring Smirnoff vodka. I could have bought a bottle of it for 12 bucks! Oh, what the hell. It's once a year or so.
We drove around the Valley. Used to be called the Valley of the Sun. Now you'd have to call it the Big Valley. Something like 5 million people crowded in now. One street near our resort (a free ride thanks to the BRD's time share plan) had a Mercedes dealership next to a Hummer dealership next to a Land Rover dealership next to an Audi dealership next to a BMW dealership next to a Jaguar dealership. I think. It was something like that anyway. Amazing.
Couple of days later we drove around the perimeter of Metrocenter, which was the first big shopping center in the Phoenix area, back in the 70's. Now we found empty stores that used to house Trader Joe's, Best Buy, Circuit City, Bennigan's and more. Signs of the recessionary times. A friend who lives in the Valley told us later it was partly that and partly a changing neighborhood: now people are avoiding it because of the fear of drive-by shootings.
Quite a contrast.
But the oysters, blackened catfish and gumbo were still fantastic at the nearby Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen.
Watched our Arizona Cardinals in the snow in New England today. They lost 47 to 7. I called a friend after the game and exclaimed "They scored!" The team made the playoffs for the first time in god knows how many decades. Now they've decided to lose the rest of their games, I guess.
I look at the obituaries in the Sunday New York Times each week and I figure maybe . . . just maybe . . . I might have ten years left. Or ten months. Or ten minutes.
Eat and drink heartily, my friends, and best of the holiday wishes to you.
Monday, December 15, 2008
Friday, December 12, 2008
We'll be staying at a time-share resort courtesy of the BRD. Always nice to have one of those R ones in the family, especially when they share.
I expect that will be about the extent of our holiday celebrating this year. We've put up no lights, hardly any decorations, sent no cards. You get to the age where it's just more work than it's worth. Of course we do have a friend who is 76 and can't wait to decorate her house and a tree in her yard and to play Christmas music on her stereo non-stop for over a month and to shop, shop, shop. However, she said the recession means there will only be "stocking gifts" this year, nothing under the tree. But then she reports how she put gussets in the Christmas stockings a year or two ago so they'd hold more! And while she lives alone she has several children, numerous grandchildren, cousins, and friends of the family who all seem to get in on the "racket". She also said she had cut way back on her cards this year, too, only sending out 57 (at last count.)
Well some people still get excited about Christmas. SWMBO and I just can't wait to get it over with.
It's looking like the recession is going to put a serious crimp into the hopes of retailers in the U.S. this year. Every day there is word of more layoffs, store closings and the like. Brings to mind that song Elvis recorded some decades back although this year it probably should be called Black Christmas.
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Monday, December 8, 2008
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
Nature sides with the hidden flaw.
You cannot successfully determine beforehand which side of the bread to butter.
If you drop your toast it always falls with the jam side down.
If it doesn't, you put your jam on the wrong side.
The chance of the bread falling with the buttered side down
is directly proportional to the cost of the carpet.
Mr. Bill's Law of Selective Gravity
An object will fall so as to do the most damage.
Mr. Bill's Laws of Selective Physics
It is a mistake to allow any mechanical object to realize you are in a hurry.
If it jams ‑ force it. If you can't force it, get a larger hammer.
If it breaks, it needed replacing anyway.
When all else fails, read the instructions.
Whenever you are looking for a standard screwdriver; You will find a phillips
Whenever you are looking for a phillips screwdriver; You will find a standard.
Mr. Bill's Laws of Infernal Dynamics
An object in motion will be headed in the wrong direction.
An object at rest will be in the wrong place.
A wire cut to length will be too short.
It works better if you plug it in.
If a project is not worth doing at all, it's not worth doing well.
The solution to a problem changes the problem.
When working towards the solution of a problem,
it always helps if you know the answer.
Inside every small problem is a large problem struggling to get out.
The trouble with resisting temptation is it may never come again.
Life is what happens to you while you're making other plans.
Washing your car to make it rain doesn't work.
A taxpayer is someone who doesn't have to take a civil service exam
to work for the government.
All things being equal, a fat person uses more soap than a thin person.
Infinity is one lawyer waiting for another.
Murphy was an optimist.
Monday, December 1, 2008
Of course, this nearby "sculpture", which stands at the entrance to the grounds of the town's public buildings might leave one scratching one's head, too.
Sunday, November 30, 2008
Now, she (at her choice) is rarely photographed but the lady on the left, in command position, is SWMBO. Next to her is the BRD and her beau. (He always knows where the camera is!)
Friday, November 28, 2008
Thursday, November 27, 2008
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
No drinking green beer.
Except celebrating the wonderfulness of food.
Of eating to excess.
I love Thanksgiving.
In preparation of which, I whipped up a pumpkin cobbler this afternoon.
We sampled it tonight.
It was wonderful.
See that picture up above?
It's not my cobbler.
I stole it from the Internet(s).
But trust me.
My cobbler was delicious.
Saturday, November 22, 2008
Friday, November 21, 2008
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Jalisco's unique 'round stones' receive cash boost
Written by Tom Marshall
Saturday, 15 November 2008
JALISCO - The famous “round stones” (piedras bolas) of Ahualulco del Mercado were once an exclusive port of call for explorers well-versed in the art of tracking down poorly promoted but fascinating sites of interest in provincial Jalisco.
More than 150 balls of rock that are almost perfectly spherical are spread throughout a forest in the Ameca Valley.Now thanks to the injection of ten million pesos over the past two years, the site is more accessible than ever to tourists and daytrippers.
The piedras bolas comprise of around 150 strange balls of rock that are almost perfectly spherical and spread throughout a forest in the Ameca Valley.
“These symmetrical boulders are unusually large. Nothing quite like them exists elsewhere in Mexico, or, according to current scientific opinion, anywhere else in the world,” writes Tony Burton in his excellent tome, “Western Mexico: A Traveller’s Treasury.”
Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania believe the boulders are 25 to 30 million years old. There has traditionally been a lot of mystery about how they were formed. People used to think giants built them or they were somehow man-made, but more conventional theory suggests they were created during a volcanic eruption in the Tertiary geological era.
The uniqueness of the site has spurred the Jalisco Secretariat of Culture to invest seven million pesos in 2007 and three million so far this year in the area’s infrastructure. The money has been spent on new paths that provide excellent views of the flora in the area, a camping zone, three cycle routes of varying difficultly and a pair of new of suspension bridges.
The aim is to improve and expand tourism in the area, as well as protect the boulders, scientifically known as megaspherulites.
The piedras bolas are located 14 kilometers south of the town of Ahualulco de Mercado, around 70 kilometers west of Guadalajara.
It was one a classmate of mine (whose father amazingly was on the board of directors of the college) and I designed one night. We had (in our sophomoric way) grown indignant at what we conceived as the slovenliness of the night watchman. Keep in mind this was a fairly small college . . . student body at the time only about 500. We had noticed that he had failed occasionaly in one of his duties, which was to lower the American flag from a high flagpole at sunset. He would make the rounds of the various classroom buildings after their curfew for the night, make sure no one was still inside, turn out any lights, lock the doors and then go home to his bed. But he was forgetful about bringing down the Stars and Stripes.
So we decided to make an issue of this. One dark night, my classmate and I skulked through the shadows and entered the campus dining room through a window. We then swiped all of the silverware . . . well, all of the forks and spoons, as I recall . . . emptied them into a pillowcase, tied them to the flag-raising rope and raised it to the top of the flagpole before retiring to our beds for the rest of the night.
I admit it. I didn't have the nerve to show up for breakfast but my friend did. He said it was interesting watching the early risers trying to eat their grapefruit and eggs and cereal, using only knives.
Well, the sad thing was that the pillowcase was fairly early noticed at the top of the flagpole and silverware was retrieved.
The watchman continued his absent-minded rounds and we began looking for something new to do to avoid studying and have some fun.
Monday, November 17, 2008
Here it is:
A new lawn was being sodded in front of "Old Main" . . . which doubled as office space for the higher-ups and classroom space for the lower-downs. One dark and stormy night (well, I guess it wasn't stormy at all) but it was early in the witching hours after midnight, after the one security guard for the campus had made his rounds, decided all was well and gone home to his bed. Someone climbed the outer wall to the second floor office of the Dean of Men, opened a window and crawled in. Opening the office door and the building door from the inside . . . who knows, maybe some pilfered keys were involved . . . this miscreant allowed his collaborators to enter. They carefully removed all of the furniture from the Dean's office to a hallway outside and then, using the rolled up sod outside, like wall to wall carpeting . . made a pretty green lawn in his office. Then they moved all the furniture back inside to it's precise previous location and, before locking the doors and leaving for the night, posted a "Keep Off the Grass" sign prominently just inside.
I can hear the suppressed giggles now as they crept down the hallways and out of the building, leaving no trace of their nocturnal work . . . except in the Dean's office!
From hundreds of miles away, I read about the stunt on the AP wire and applauded.
p.s. The Dean's unfortunate name was Perry Gallas. If anyone knows of his whereabouts and tells him of this story, please inform him that I had absolutely nothing to do with it. But I certainly would have!
Sunday, November 16, 2008
In 2008 the attitude has changed somewhat.
(I altered the sign for you more sensitive readers.)
Friday, November 14, 2008
I used to eat a lot of natural foods until I learned that most people die of natural causes.
Gardening Rule: When weeding, the best way to make sure you are removing a weed and not a valuable plant is to pull on it. If it comes out of the ground easily, it is a valuable plant.
The easiest way to find something lost around the house is to buy a replacement.
Never take life seriously. Nobody gets out alive anyway.
There are two kinds of pedestrians: the quick and the dead.
Life is sexually transmitted.
Health is merely the slowest possible rate at which one can die.
The only difference between a rut and a grave is the depth.
Health nuts are going to feel stupid someday, lying in hospitals dying of nothing.
Have you noticed since everyone has a camcorder these days no one talks about seeing UFOs like they used to?
Whenever I feel blue, I start breathing again.
All of us could take a lesson from the weather. It pays no attention to criticism.
In the 60's, people took acid to make the world weird. Now the world is weird and people take Prozac to make it normal.
How is it one careless match can start a forest fire, but it takes a whole box to start a campfire?
Who was the first person to look at a cow and say, 'I think I'll squeeze these dangly things here, and drink whatever comes out?'
Who was the first person to say, 'See that chicken there? I'm gonna eat the next thing that comes outta its butt.'
Why is there a light in the fridge and not in the freezer?
If Jimmy cracks corn and no one cares, why is there a song about him?
If quizzes are quizzical, what are tests?
Do illiterate people get the full effect of Alphabet Soup?
Did you ever notice that when you blow in a dog's face, he gets mad at you, but when you take him on a car ride, he sticks his head out the window?
Why doesn't glue stick to the inside of the bottle?
Do you ever wonder why you gave me your email address?
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Friday, November 7, 2008
Yes, the long-familiar Robert's Marketplace will soon be gone.
But wait! It will soon be replaced. By this:
The new, bigger Robert's Marketplace is being built just to the rear of the present structure. Along with much more space and a quite stylish look, it reportedly will house a pizza restaurant and a branch of the post office.
Meantime, just across the street, another nearly identical building is nearing completion. It will be an office complex housing medical and dental offices, according to owner Robert Hamill.Hamill appears to have done well as he moves into becoming a real estate baron!
And it's nice to see some new buildings and some commerce finally coming to the "back side" of my town.
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
John McCain held a post-midnight rally at the courthouse square in Prescott this morning. He brought Senators Lindsay Graham and Joe Liebermann in with him and Hank Williams Jr. warmed up the crowd. I didn't attend because of the very late hour but the BRD's beau said he was going and might have some pictures for me.
Another note from a friend told me I had neglected to post about Sarah Palin's being cleared of ethics violations up in Alaska yesterday. So there. Now I have. The same day the governor released her long-promised medical records. Surprise. She's in good health.
As for the election, the first returns came in a little after 10 p.m. my time last night from Dixville Notch, New Hampshire. Obama had 15 votes, McCain 6. That's from the tiny settlement that hasn't voted for a Democrat since 1968 - - forty years ago.
So the day wears on. As for me, I am proud to say . . .
Monday, November 3, 2008
Sunday, November 2, 2008
She's ready to put the bite on someone.
Saturday, November 1, 2008
Except in neighboring Prescott, where the tradition continues on Mt. Vernon Street, where residents spend a lot of money on candy and decorating their homes for the literally thousands of Halloween trick or treaters. Granny J reportedly paid a visit to the street and has promised photos of the ghouls and goblins. There are some photos today on the Daily Courier website as well but many more of their own staff in costume.
Just talked to the BRD. She and her beau went, costumed, to Whiskey Row last night. She said he took lots of pictures of people in costumes so maybe I'll share some with you once they've recovered from closing all the bars in town!
Well, I've gotta go now. Y'know somebody has to eat all this candy left over from last night!