Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Uncle Jay - 2008

My dear friend, Granny J tipped me to this one:

End of the year

As I write this, 2008 has just 8 hours remaining. Some of my readers will be close to that midnight kiss, the uncorking of the champagne or . . perhaps if they are of my age . . happily in dreamland.

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.


Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Monday, December 29, 2008

The visitor

For the second time in a week, we had a visitor just outside my den window this morning. He seems to like his high vantage point and the sun.

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


It's over!!! Christmas is over!!! Yayyyyy!

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

Scandinavian Christmas

My mother was Norwegian. Though we did avoid like the plague eating lutefisk at Christmas, we did load up on lefse. This year, my beloved cousin Bonnie Rae sent me a huge package of homemade lefse. For that, I thank you, darlin'. And to show my appreciation, here's a special treat.

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

The Christmas Cookie Rules

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.

2. If you drink a diet soda after eating your second cookie, it also has no calories because the diet soda cancels out the cookie calories.

3. If a friend comes over while you are making your Christmas cookies and needs to sample, you must sample with your friend. Because your friend's first cookie is calorie free, rule #1, yours is also. It would be rude to let your friend sample alone and being the friend that you are, that makes your cookie calorie free.

4. Any cookie calories consumed while walking around will fall to your feet and eventually fall off as you move. This is due to gravity and the density of the caloric mass.

5. Any calories consumed during the frosting of the Christmas Cookies will be used up because it takes many calories to lick excess frosting from a knife without cutting your tongue.

6. Cookies colored red or green have very few calories. Red ones have 3 and Green ones have 5 - one calorie for each letter. Make more red ones!

7. If you eat cookies while watching "Miracle on 34th Street" these also have no calories because they are part of the entertainment package and not part of one's personal fuel.

8. As always, cookie pieces contain no calories because the process of breaking causes calorie leakage.

9. Any cookies consumed from someone else's plate have no calories since the calories rightfully belong to the other person and will cling to their plate. We all know how calories like to CLING!

And finally...10. Any cookies consumed while feeling stressed have no calories because cookies used for medicinal purposes NEVER have calories. It's a rule!

Monday, December 22, 2008

It's the season to get lit

I set out to take a few pictures of the Christmas decorations around town tonight.

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

Holiday horrors

Hi, folks. How ya doin'? Enjoying the holidays? Ahhh, you sick b______!

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.

(Bah, humbug!)

Monday, December 15, 2008

The White House

I was watching a CSPAN special tonight about the White House. Laura Bush was giving Brian Lamb and the viewers a tour of the building. I was amazed at how large the quarters are, with very long hallways. I have seen the White House, from across the street near the Washington Monument. I was there during President Nixon's first inaugural week. I was thinking how small the building looked then but how spacious it looked tonight. Right now CSPAN is showing a tour Jackie Kennedy gave Charles Collingwood back in the early 1960's. What surprised me about this one was that it was in black-and-white. I was working in television in 1963, when President Kennedy was assassinated. I had to go back in my memories to recall that color television was just coming into its own then. I remember our television station a year or two later had film or videotape in color, then, but our studio cameras were still black-and-white. So it presented a strange contrast to the viewers, I'm sure.

But I digress.

SWMBO was surprised by Laura Bush's ad libbing ability during tonight's tour. But I recall that she was a teacher, or at least a librarian. And she is an educated woman. So her ability to talk easily about something she loves does not surprise me.

Another surprise was the amount of art on the walls. Some amazing pieces, including one of Mrs. Bush's favorites . . a Mary Cassat painting that has hung since at least the first President Bush's time in the White House.

SWMBO said "I wonder how Barack Obama will feel about all the old black servants there." I said "Well, they're not slaves, they're servants!" I think he'll be okay with them.

It will be an interesting time and I hope to be able to one day see Michelle Obama giving a tour of the White House.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Blue Friday

It's a cold grey day. 52 degrees (11 Celsius). The forecast calls for cloudy skies, cool temperatures and a possibility of rain or snow showers. SWMBO and I are going down to Scottsdale Wednesday and Thursday afternoon will tour the Desert Botanical Garden and see the glass exhibit there by Dale Chihuly. The BRD and her beau went yesterday and were very impressed and pleased. But sunshine would be good and something warmer than the predicted 60 degrees would be even better. But you go with what you've got, I guess.

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.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Another blogger

Oh, oh, oh! Got another one.

Joan, from Walk this Way led me to this one. Check out Old Horsetail Snake for some good humor.

Or for those of you in the U.K., humour.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Wednesday, December 3, 2008


Blogging has become such a part of the universe, there is now a collection of terms to go with it. Joan, of Walk this Way, tells us about them here. Bet some of them will remind of you of someone!

Quotations from Mr. Bill

Well look at what I found in my e-mail this morning. These came from an old friend who originally was called Boom Boom. Then he became Boomer. I guess now he thinks of himself as Mr. Bill.

Mr. Bill's Laws of the Perversity of Nature

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


The construction continues to move along on the new Prescott Valley public library. I took this photo this morning. It's a huge building but it's architectural style still leaves one scratching his head.

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.