Thursday, May 31, 2012


A few days ago the fabulous Golden Gate Bridge over San Francisco Bay celebrated it's 75th anniversary.  I have fond memories of the construction through the photographs of my father's brother, Zenas Howland Taylor.  He lived in San Francisco for many decades and he and some buddies watched the construction from their "swimming camp" just down the coast.

This is my Uncle Zenas at the beach.

And this is the beginning of what was the famous Golden Gate Bridge over San Francisco Bay.

As you can see from the photographs, only the huge suspension towers were in place at this point.  None of the cable had been strung nor the roadway built.

The members of this swimming club had their own construction project underway on the beach.  Using driftwood and construction material that floated onto shore, they were building their very own "camp" for protection from those nasty Northern California winds.

This was the 1930's, the glory years for that Band of Brothers.

A few years later, Uncle Zenas had put on some weight and was looking good on one of his many visits to one of his favorite places for climbing and camping out - Yosemite National Park.

These pictures came to my attention after his death.  But they help me to remember my favorite uncle.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012


This may not seem odd to you but it is rare when all three of our cats occupy the same territory.  Muggles and Blackwell are normally all right with it.  Muggles and Jazz are all right with it.  Muggles and Blackwell are definitely NOT all right with it.  Blackwell takes Jazz' spite in stride but if he's in the area Jazz usually wants to be somewhere else.

That's why SWMBO was stunned this morning when all three chose her bed for a mid-morning nap.

Monday, May 28, 2012


The continuing saga of . . .

. . . the honeysuckle vine . . .

. . . and it's eagle-eyed observer . . .

. . . il comandante!

Saturday, May 26, 2012


The BRD says robins are stupid because you can practically walk up and touch them.  I think they're bold.  And sassy.

Now, mourning doves.  They are dumb.

Thursday, May 24, 2012


My patio cover, with wind chimes and wind.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012


Have you ever wondered what a television news producer does to earn a living?  Well, here's your answer: smoke constant cigarettes (maybe not so much anymore) and talk on the telephone.

That's me at the Republican National Convention in Dallas, Texas, in 1984.  Outside it was very hot and humid.  Inside the convention building it was ice cold, air conditioned to the point of death.  It needed to be that way in the huge auditorium to counteract the hot television lighting.  But this was a workroom away from the convention floor and the only lighting, as I recall, was fluorescent.  But . . air condition one, air condition them all.

Consequently I caught a cold the first day (of about ten) that we were there and wore that windbreaker and the nice Stetson hat I bought on the first day for the entire tour of duty.  It was a miserable week.  But . . . I did look pretty sharp, didn't I?

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Saturday, May 19, 2012


I asked SWMBO what these blossoms were called and she told me "begonias".  That's be-GON-yas with a long O.  Whenever I hear a word like that it takes me back to a trip I took some years ago with my friend Steve.  I'll call him Baseball Steve to distinguish him from other Steves and Stephens who read this blog.  Baseball Steve is the guy who has treated me to many Diamondbacks games.

Anyway, we made a trip one Fourth of July to the tiny town of Patagonia, in southern Arizona.  Patagonia is pronounced like begonia.

And that took me further back to a song I heard decades ago.  Turn up your sound, please, and listen to the mastery of B.B. King.

Thursday, May 17, 2012


I was out taking a look at what remains in the back yard last night.  Lo and behold, the much ignored honeysuckle bush just keeps right on growing.

The fragrance of a honeysuckle vine in full bloom is almost beyond compare. 

And it prompted turning to a great tune by the immortal Fats Waller.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012


The BRD reports that the gekko lizards come up onto her front porch in the morning to warm up after a cool night.  She opens her inside door, leaving the screen door closed.  And all three of her cats line up side-by-side to watch the show on their very own Kitty TV!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Monday, May 14, 2012


We are home after a couple of days in the big city of Surprise, Arizona, a western suburb of Phoenix.  We attended a friend's retirement party, then celebrated SWMBO's (number deleted) birthday with a wonderful dinner at the Vogue Bistro.  It's a French restaurant with a celebrated female chef, Aurore . . from a variety of restaurants including the Four Seasons in Chicago.  A couple of marvelous and huge martinis preceded foie gras, Oysters Rockefeller, filets mignon, a nice bottle of red wine, and a complimentary creme brule for the birthday girl.  (She shared.)  An unforgettably good meal.

The next night's dinner, at an Italian restaurant, was forgettable.  'Nuff said.

We got home at noon today.  SWMBO is taking a much needed nap and I'm about to follow.  I may soon look like Muggles did the other day. 

As SWMBO would say, "that is a very domesticated cat!"

Friday, May 11, 2012


Among the smaller birds (as opposed to birds of prey like hawks and eagles) I don't think any is as brave as the robin.  All he needs is a little running water to practically come up and sit in your hand.

"Hmmm, are you sure this is safe?"

"Oh, that feels so nice.  My feet were getting very hot with all this hopping around."

"Okay, you got my profile.  Now how about a face-on portrait.  And while you're at it, how about my theme song!"

Thursday, May 10, 2012


This smooth lookin' car should be retired.  Why?  Because it's 65 years old!  It's a 1947 Ford.

When it was brand new, it probably sold for around $2,500.  Restored, with all original parts, it will cost a bit more.

The car is parked outside Empty Pockets Garage in Prescott Valley, Arizona, which advertises that they work on "street rods & customs."

Here's another one parked in front of the garage.

This one is a 1934 Ford.  But I wouldn't have had to tell you that.  All you'd have to do is get behind the proud owners' "set of wheels".

Wednesday, May 9, 2012


Yesterday was a sad day.  First there was a crashing defeat for U.S. Senator Richard Lugar in the Indiana Republican primary.  He was defeated by a 20 percent margin by a Tea Party backed state treasurer.

When I first got to know Richard Lugar in 1969 he was the mayor of Indianapolis and he started it on a growth pattern that has made it a cosmopolitan Midwestern city.  Before Lugar's reign it used be called Indian-No-Place and the cornfield with lights.  Earlier this year it hosted a stellar celebration of the Super Bowl.

I covered Lugar for three years before leaving Indy.  I was super impressed by Lugar's intelligence and the genius that was Uni-Gov, extending the city limits to take in all of Marion County.  I can still see Lugar's wry smile and the twinkle in his eye when he was pleased by something a reporter had asked him.

Lugar went on to the U.S. Senate and has spent 36 years there.  He's white haired, 80 years old and heavier than he was in those golden days gone by.  But listening to him speak it was obvious that his health and his intelligence was just fine.  I think he could easily have done another six year term.  But the voters thought otherwise.  It was a rude way to treat a man who has done so much for Indiana, the nation and the world.

Closer to home, fire broke out in a barbecue restaurant that shared a building on Prescott's legendary Whiskey Row with a food store and with a long-time and well-loved saloon, the Bird Cage.  Firemen fought a great battle keeping the flames from spreading to the rest of the Row but when it was over the Bird Cage and the other two businesses were totally gutted.  Even at noon today, hundreds of people were standing across the street staring at the rubble.  Many seemed stunned.

Weekends used to see dozens of motorcycles coming and going and parked in front of the Bird Cage.  Many folks who didn't spend time there thought it was a biker bar.  And it was.  But there were also hippies and city leaders and businessmen.  And a lot of people who just loved good music.  A lot of bands have played at the Cage and a lot of people have danced on its miniscule dance floor.

But no more.

At least for now.

There's no good word yet on whether the building will be rebuilt though many people who have heard about the great fire of 1900, in which the entire Whiskey Row was burned to the ground and later rebuilt, are saying the Cage has to be rebuilt. 

We'll see.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012


No macros today.  Just a couple of photos to show you how our roses have burst into bloom this week.  First the arbor covered with Fourth of July blossoms.

Then the pink roses against one of the walls.

The Fourth of July roses are the ones I had been calling Firecracker Roses ever since they had first been planted several years ago.  But Keith, aka Bricky from way down in southern New Zealand corrected me recently and the Google confirmed it.  So from now on, they are Fourth of July roses.

Now, as to the patio.  Let me thank all of you who responded to my plea for help and advice as to what to do with it.  While several of you suggested the multi-colored abstract SWMBO had thought of, in the finality of it we had to consider that we just live here.  The duplex belongs to the BRD and she wasn't keen on the idea of the reddish-brown being mixed up with green and blue and white.  So the artist, Stephen aka the Chubby Chatterbox, had the best suggestion and we are going to go with another coat of a similar color to what's already there.  It should give it the look we'll enjoy without becoming too much for future tenants, should we decide to move some day. 

One other thing: While I have used the word "we" generously, I can assure you (much to the continued laughter of Dana, the Bug) that I shall avoid at all costs being involved in anything other than possibly driving the gals to and from the paint store.

Monday, May 7, 2012


When we moved in here, the front patio was bare, grey concrete.  Neither SWMBO nor the BRD liked that so they tinted it with a sort of reddish-brown stain.  After a year or two it started looking kind of ugly.  So they bought some paint of the same shade and they painted it.  Voila!  A nice new patio.

That was some time ago and it's started looking bad again.  After some discussion the gals decided to take the paint off right down to the bare concrete.  So Judy has worked on it for 7 or 8 hours with a power washer.  The paint comes off . . . mostly.  But the stain is another matter.  So here's the current result.

Now most people would probably say (as I did), "Man, that looks terrible."  But then it started to grow on me.  I think it kind of looks like a patio in one of those old homes in Italy or Mexico.

SWMBO, being of an artistic nature, said she was thinking about getting some blue and green pigments and doing a sort of abstract earth-as-scene-from-outer-space patch job on it.  I think that's a pretty good idea but nothing has been decided yet.

What do you think?

(By the way, you will notice that this has been from the start and continues to be the gals' project.  I have studiously avoided getting anywhere near any manual labor on it.  But I'm always eager to give my opinion on their work.)