Saturday, September 30, 2017


I was surprised the other day as I was sitting at my desk to look up and see Blackwell not only outside but walking along the wall at the back of our property.

I was alarmed because he is not allowed to go outside and we have to be careful around open doors because he is nevertheless known as our Escape Cat.

But then as I was about to rush outside to try to retrieve him I got a better look.

It wasn't Blackwell but a visitor we had not seen before with longer hair.

I called to him and he stopped and gazed at me for a moment as I got one blurry picture shot through a screen window.

I think regular readers of this blog will see the resemblance to Blackwell but he was right behind me, enjoying a patch of sunlight.

Since I've been opening my window and putting up the shade he is either up on the shelf behind my computer monitor helping to monitor the birdbath or, when the sun shines in, enjoying the "warm spot" on the floor.

Friday, September 29, 2017


Gentle Readers, another weekend is about to roll around after yet another trying week.

One of my contributors sent me a mess of quotes from the great humorist Will Rogers recently and, judging from what I see on the news, this is a good week to pass some of them along.

Down at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue sits the U.S. Capitol and the offices of 435 (supposed) representatives of all of the rest of us here in the Good Old U.S. of A.

With a fond tip of the hat we'll say so-long now to Mr. Rogers.

Moving right along . . .

I seem to be a bit cynical today so I guess I'll just close this out with one wish for all of you.

And always remember to keep laughing!

Here, kitty-kitty . . .

Wednesday, September 27, 2017


Yeah, I know.

"All you ever talk about is drinking!"

Listen, when you get to my age there's not a lot else.

But this isn't about my quaffology (I made that one up!)

It is about Happy Hour at Ye Olde Blue Birdbath.

A Mountain Jay was one of many who partook of my "bird-tending" offerings this afternoon.

It happened suddenly.

There were birds of various types suddenly swarming the backyard.

It began with the jay at the "bar", when suddenly a big old mourning(?) dove nearly landed on his back.

(I am seriously questioning the adjectival description of these big bullies as "mourning".)

Actually, I don't think they are bullies . . I just think they're stupid.

Meantime, another Jay watched irritably from above.

The one at the birdbath was repeatedly slaking his thirst.

While this was going on a Phoebe's Say was twitching around on the ground beneath him, flipping up bugs from the sand for it's dinner.

It moved too fast for me to get a photo.

But there were others.

Robins and House Finches.

And Goldfinches.

Yeah, I know, once again.

I'm working with a cellphone camera here.

It doesn't zoom so well.

Or maybe I just couldn't hold it still enough when I was zoomed in.

Maybe I just need a drink.

Salud!  Prost!  Santé! Cheers!  Bottoms Up!

Tuesday, September 26, 2017


They're being called "Littles" this year.

I've never heard of that before but then I'd never heard of someone being "woke" until recently either.

It's hard to keep up with a language that seems to have a new vocabulary with each generation.

But getting back to the littles, which are becoming bigger every day it seems.

I photographed one crawling up the outside of my window a day or two ago.

When I grew up these were called grasshoppers.

The little ones were just called baby grasshoppers.

But now they're known as "littles" and there must be thousands of them in my area.

They hop everywhere when I go outside to do a teensy bit of weed pulling in the back yard or when I walk across the street to get the mail.

I'm reminded of the very old expression: a plague of locusts.

So far the trees and shrubbery around our home seem to be impervious to the pests.

Or maybe they just don't like the flavors.

Doesn't seem to stop their growth though.

Maybe they're eating my weeds!

In which case I may have to adopt them.

Monday, September 25, 2017


A couple of weeks ago I posted about Gayle's Beau Jack's son and his wife evacuating from their home in Key West as Hurricane Irma was bearing down.

(You can re-visit that post here if you missed it or are so inclined.)

They've been sheltering here in Arizona since then but they left very early this morning to return to their home, which apparently survived the storm with only some tree damage on their property.

So yesterday was brunch day and here they all are.

(left to right): Jeremy, Jack's oldest son; Marina, a native of Venezuela and Jeremy's wife; Gayle, the fabulous BRD; and her bearded Beau Jack.

Not a bad looking lot, eh?

Incidentally, Gayle has had eye surgery recently and her dark glasses were worn all day to cover up the (temporary) damage.

I'm not sure if the others were wearing shades with her as a joke or if it was really protection from the sun glare on a beautiful day in Arizona.

Saturday, September 23, 2017


The following short essay, titled "On School", was written in the 1850's by a young Elvira Johnson when she was a school girl at Dublin Academy in Dublin, Indiana.

It was found among some family papers.

I have only made two correctional additions (in parentheses) to Ms. Johnson's text.

We could not spend our time in a more useful way than going to school.  There are many coloured children that are deprived of the privilege of going to school because they are of a different colour.  The colour ought not to make any difference but it does make a great difference with some people.  It is not always that we have the opportunity of going to school therefore we should (be) very attentive.  If we do not improve (in) our time in school while young, in old age we will look back with regret and think "were I to have this life to live over again how different I would spend my time in school."  There are some children that do not go to school with the intention of learning but with the intention of having a little fun.  They do not yet know the necessity of education.

Elvira Johnson was my wife's great-great-grandmother.

Friday, September 22, 2017


Ah yes, Gentle Readers, once again we have maneuvered our way through another difficult week.

It is also the event known as the Autumnal Equinox, or more familiarly as The First Day of Fall.

So let's get out there and kick some leaves.

Raking can wait awhile.

But first a little humor (or humour, depending on where you reside.)

I think that last one is my favorite this week.

What's yours?

Now listen, folks, it is up to you to have a scrumptious weekend, full of feasting, frivolity and laughter.

Above all, always keep laughing.

Here, kitty-kitty . . .


Thursday, September 21, 2017


It wasn't too long ago, perhaps a week, that we were complaining about the long-lasting hot summer.

Temperatures were still climbing into the 80's every day here in the Central Highlands of Arizona even as the Autumnal Equinox was bearing down on us.

It's tomorrow at just after 4 p.m., by the way, that Fall officially begins.

One day, returning from a grocery trip, I spotted this downpouring of rain.

It struck me as odd, appearing to be white whereas a downpour like this is usually a darker coloration.

Apparently it was sunlight shining through the water.

You can see the hills behind it have sunlight on them.

And then, a few days later, there was this sudden storm.

Rain was pounding down and for a short time there was also some hail.

That's not snow surrounding the birdbath.

Our front door is metal and the hail sounded like it was going to knock the house down for a short time.

Evidence was left just outside the entrance.

And then it passed and the sun began beaming down again, eliminating all the signs of a late summer storm and making steam arise from the land.

But today the wind is blowing briskly outside and the past few days and nights have been cooler.

Just in time for Autumn.

Bring on those jack-o-lanterns!

(A home decorated for Halloween on Mt. Vernon Avenue in Prescott a few years ago)

Monday, September 18, 2017


SWMBO and I have two cats.

(Okay, let me put that a different way.)

Two cats have SWMBO and I.

As keepers.

As feeders.

As affectionate petters.

These two cats have been together since each of them were foundling kittens.

You'd think they would love each other.

And I think they do.

But Blackwell, the male, the younger of the two, lies in wait for Muggles, the female, the older but more fragile of the two, to go anywhere.

To eat.

To defecate.

And then he chases her back to her spot on the M's bed.

She (SWMBO) yells at him.

To no effect.

I say "he just wants to play."

To even less effect.

But other times of the day, they are inches apart, sleeping, the best of friends.

Who can figure out cats?

Friday, September 15, 2017

L'humour du vendredi (or the Friday Funnies)

I thought I'd try to bring a touch of class to the title of this blog post this week but I dunno.

Maybe I should just stick to The Old Familiar.

At any rate, Gentle Readers, the temperature only just climbed into the 70's as of 9 a.m. so I guess autumn is upon us.

Today's edition of the Funnies may answer the question: what is the best way to be photographed posing next to a statue.

Or not.

Here goes . . .

Several of the posers favored a violent confrontation.

While Political Correctness seems to be the law of the land these days, it was refreshing for this old codger to see that there are still some sassy females around.

I give a Hat's Off to all these inventive models.

What was your favorite?

Now if you're laughing already, that's a great way to start an inspiring and perhaps slightly salty weekend.

Keep laughing.

Here, kitty-kitty . . .