Thursday, October 31, 2019


The Walk of Fear.

One Prescott Valley home is ready for trick-or-treaters.

On the other side of their driveway the spooks are seemingly dressed for a party.

While some ghosts are having parental problems.

If you, or your children, are thinking of scaring the neighbors while wearing a bed sheet, here are some suggestions.

Then there's poor Timmy, not to be confused with our friend Timmer.

But getting back to home and yard decorations for a bit . . .

This next one really goes for the Fear Factor.

Finally, since this Halloween falls on a Thursday, I searched the ThrowBack files to find this image of a much younger Catalyst and She Who Must Be Obeyed.

Dressed to Kill.

Or, actually, to go to a party at the BRD's home.

The talented (and beautiful) Judy made both costumes.

Happy Halloween, everybody.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019


Sunset Point is a highway rest area roughly 40 miles south of where I live and roughly 40 miles north of Deer Valley in Phoenix.

It is well-used for it's huge parking lot usually occupied by semi trucks on one side and cars and SUV's on the other.

The relatively clean rest rooms are a welcome sight to travelers.

But on the other side from the freeway are some magnificent views of the east side of the rugged Bradshaw Mountains.

It's a wonderful panorama viewed and photographed by tourists and locals alike.

It offers a nice contrast to metropolitan Phoenix, at more than 4.7 million people the 11th largest metro area in the country,  just a short drive away.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019


All decked out for Halloween.

A smug Houston Astros fan . . . aka Wally.

Two gray-haired old men . . . aka Baseball Steve and Catalyst . . . intent on their "smart" phones.

Monday, October 28, 2019


Another blasted cold front is blowing into my area.

Flags were flying straight out most of the time yesterday.

When I rose from the Arms of Morpheus shortly after 6 o'clock this morning the temperature was 32 degrees (F.)

Later as I was changing the water in the birdbath I had to chip off a light layer of ice.

Just in time for Halloween.

Maybe this will cut down on the trick or treaters and I'll have a lot of candy left over.  (heh-heh)

Sunday, October 27, 2019


The Prescott Valley Farmers' Market marked the end of their summer season with a Harvest Fest today.

There were baked goods for sale.

Hot soup.

Who could resist another refrigerator magnet?

Or four?

There were some fluffy birds and their matching chicks.

And baby goats.

And I can never resist photographing a lady wearing a snappy hat.

Everyone has a good time at a Farmers' Market.

Saturday, October 26, 2019


When the forests call for it, crews perform what is called a "controlled burn".

They deliberately set a fire to burn out brush and trees where the landscape has become too crowded.

The downside of this is that the forest is close to the cities and it can get uncomfortably smoky.

This was from a controlled burn south of Groom Creek a week or so ago.

But we can get smoke from fires far away, too, depending on wind conditions.

Williams is 50 to 60 miles north of us and a burn was being conducted in that area this week.

When strong winds blew from north to south here is what we got.

While the smoke is a nuisance, we can at least be thankful that we don't have the raging fires that are plaguing California at the present.

Our thoughts are with family and friends that live over there.

Friday, October 25, 2019


It's Friiiiiiiii-daaaaaay!!!

The day of the week when we all get to chuckle, giggle, snigger, smirk, guffaw and laugh a little or a lot.

So let's get started right now.

And that's it for this week.

Now whether you prefer the Astros or the Nationals, Fox or CNN, Vegan or Carnivore . . . try to have yourselves a wickedly wonderful weekend.

Halloween is next Thursday so try hard not to eat all the candy before the trick-or-treaters begin ringing your doorbells.

And always remember to keep laughing!

Here, kitty-kitty . . .

Thursday, October 24, 2019


Let me begin by showing you the latest manifestation of our local horse racing venue.

It is a somewhat grand structure that has gone through many owners, opened to great acclaim, for several years hosted the County Fair stolen away from nearby Prescott, closed, sat idle and now, under yet another new owner, is said to be back in business.

But regardless of that not-so-vaunted history, it reminds me of a time many decades ago with Baseball Steve (before he'd found his love for baseball) and our respective wives.

We had been to one of those extravagant Sunday brunches and decided to introduce Steve to the Gentle Art of Horse Racing.

Enroute we stopped off at his house to pick up a bottle of what he passed off as champagne.

(He was still drinking in those days.)

Me, snarkily: "Is this real French champagne, Steve?"

Steve:  "If it isn't I blew three dollars a bottle."

This merry band of rollickers then journeyed to a track in North Phoenix with the name emblazoned on the building: Turf Paradise.

(Its somewhat seedy interior belied the sobriquet.)

And we played the ponies with our extravagant 2 dollar bets for the afternoon, sometimes winning, more often losing.

Finally it came down to the last race and while studying the racing program Steve saw the name of one of the steeds: Water Brownie.

He decided to place his final bet on this horse in spite of the fact that it was the longest of longshots.

We tried to talk him out of it but his determination was strong.

And whaddaya know - the valiant Water Brownie won that race!

As my hazy memory recalls, Steve collected about 75 dollars for his 2 dollar bet.

The story comes up from time to time and the legendary name Water Brownie lives on.

(Ah, yes, I remember the day . . . .)

Wednesday, October 23, 2019


Listen up, class, today we're going to talk about stress.

Specifically the stress you feel in your dreams.

I worked for a number of years as a television news producer.

Which meant that I had to plan and organize newscasts on a daily basis.

That involved writing, editing others' writing, picking visual elements and getting it all together in a timed package that fit into a certain number of minutes.

I left t.v. news way back in 1985.

But I occasionally still have what my wife and I jokingly call "The Producer Dream".

It's nearly always the same.

The clock has ticked down to the time for the newscast to begin and for a variety of reasons I have absolutely nothing prepared.

Sometimes I rush into the studio with a handful of "wire copy" (pages ripped from an A.P. or U.P.I. machine - though I doubt they even exist in this digital age).

There is no video, no photos, no stories from any of my reporters.

And I am in a total panic.

Then I wake up and realize it was only a dream.

I don't know why I have these dreams more than 30 years after I left that profession behind.

But yesterday I was reading an essay by the best selling and honored Japanese writer Haruki Murakami.

He related his history with his father, who was a very intelligent and disciplined man, graduating from university with honors and becoming a teacher.

Murakami said when he was young he was not interested in school and learning and his father became more and more upset by this to the extent that they did not see each other for more than 20 years.

And then I read this passage which leaped off the page at me:

I still have nightmares in which I have to take a test and can't answer a single question. Time ticks away as I do nothing, though I'm well aware that failing the test will have major consequences -- that sort of dream.  I usually wake up in a cold sweat.

Judy had read this article before I did and when I asked her about it we both laughed as she exclaimed: "The Producer Dream!"

We have talked with other people over the years and found that seemingly everyone has their own particular stress dream.

I'm just glad it's not only me.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019


It is Autumn.

Or some would say Fall.

Both words for this season of the year come from England centuries ago, before the second coming of colonists to North America.

I'm counting the so-called Native Americans as the continent's first colonists.

The term "Fall" is generally believed to come from the concept of the leaves falling from the trees.

But even before Autumn and Fall there was a name for this time of the year.

Can you guess it?

It was called "Harvest", for obvious reasons.

All of this amounts to me showing you some photos I took last week high up on Mingus Mountain, just a handful of miles from my home.

How did I reach this wild and rugged land?

I thought you'd never ask.

Via the winding road you can see in the distance.

It's a lovely drive in any season of the year.

Well, maybe not winter when there can be snow on the road.