Saturday, November 22, 2008


I was just stunned. I read that President John F. Kennedy was assassinated on November 22, 1963.


How can that be? I was a radio and television newsman on that day and spent the following many, many hours reporting on the murder and the murder of Lee Harvey Oswald.

Coincidentally, SWMBO and I just watched a television program on Oswald and the assassination. People like attorney Mark Lane are still claiming that someone else murdered the president.

But, 45 years ago? How can that be?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Great Balls of Fire!!!

From the Guadalajara Reporter:

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.

Merry Pranksters - Part Two

So yesterday I told you about one of the greatest college pranks I ever read about. I was (regretfully) not part of it. But here's one that I WILL admit to, lo these nearly 50 years later.

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

Merry Pranksters

Something someone else said in a comment on another blog I was just reading made me think of one of the best college pranks I can recollect. To add that it was pulled on a Dean of Men who was instrumental in ending my college career a year before made it all the better.

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

1929 . . . and today

Back in the 1929 Financial Crash it was said that some Wall Street Stockbrokers and Bankers JUMPED from their office windows and committed suicide when confronted with the news of their firms and clients financial ruin . . . Many people were said to almost feel a little sorry for them . . . . . .

In 2008 the attitude has changed somewhat.

(I altered the sign for you more sensitive readers.)

Friday, November 14, 2008


I know. This is the easy way out. When you don't want to talk about politics and you can't think of anything else to blog about you rely on your friends and e-mails and the "Internets". The sweet lady who sent me these by e-mail has a great sense of humor . . . or as she might write, "humour". So, with thanks to Meggie, here are some thoughts to ponder.

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

Veterans' Day 2008

Well, he's not technically a veteran . . . but he's ours! That's our grandson, taking a break in Iraq. Don't ask why an Army sergeant is playing with a toy dinosaur. Some wise guy sent him that in a Christmas box, I think.

As for his veteran status. See he served a couple of hitches in the army, visiting such beautiful spots as Bosnia, Kuwait and Iraq before getting out. So, then he was a veteran.

But he later decided to go back into Uncle Sam's boys and girls club and he's back in Baghdad. But the latest we've heard is he is about to get rotated back to the states for awhile. He also says he's decided to re-up for another hitch in the Army. So it may be awhile before he's a full-time veteran and can play with his dinosaur whenever he wants to.

In the meantime, let's honor all of the veterans today . . . from all over the world.

Friday, November 7, 2008

More growth

This funky little convenience store is doomed.

Yes, the long-familiar Robert's Marketplace will soon be gone.

Some time in early 2009, the little red and white building will be torn down.

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

Election Day 2008

Here it is, folks, the day we finally will find out who our next president will be here in the U.S. of A.

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

More Halloween horribles

These characters were all photographed wandering along Whiskey Row in Prescott, Arizona, on Halloween night, 2008.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Halloween on the row

As I mentioned before, the BRD and her beau went to Whiskey Row on Halloween night. I must say, I've never seen them looking better. (Click on the pictures for a magnified view. Especially note the BRD's eyes.)

She's ready to put the bite on someone.

The BRD and a couple of friends on the street.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Halloween - a bust!

Halloween at Catalyst's home was a bust this year. The doorbell only rang four times and only 8 trick-or-treaters were here for their candy. That's an all-time low for us but it's been gradually tapering off the last few years. There seem to be more and more community parties for the kids these days and a de-emphasis on door to door visits for hand-outs.

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!

Friday, October 31, 2008


Ladies and Gentlemen (My Friends), the next president of the United States of America.

Now if that doesn't scare the hell out of you, I don't know what will.

Happy Halloween, everyone!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Arizona - A Tossup State!

John McCain may not only lose the presidential race next Tuesday, he may lose his own state.

These are the results of a brand new poll in Arizona.

Cronkite - Eight Poll

Let there be joy!

Monday, October 27, 2008


SWMBO made a pot roast a week or so ago. When I asked her today what we would have for supper tonight, she said "I think I'll run the pot roast past us one more time. But there's plenty of meat but I'm low on vegetables. Guess I'll have to cook some up to add to the meat."

A little while later, I could hear some sizzling sounds and smell a great aroma coming from the kitchen. On a trip through the room, I saw this wonderfully colorful melange in a large saute pan on the stove. I said "that deserves a photograph."

So click on that photo to enlarge it, view it's glory, then close your eyes, lean back and smell that flavorful aroma. Then . . . come on over!

Sam I Am

Prescott Valley's newest big box store opened last Thursday and judging by the crowds of people flocking to the store it's going to be a huge success.

Welcome Sam's Club, the warehouse outlet associated with the Wal-Mart empire and worthy competitor to the Costco store located just a few miles up the road toward Prescott. As I see it, the biggest disadvantage to the store right now are the lines and lengthy time it is taking to buy a membership. I had done a tour of the store last week and liked what I saw (plus it's closer than Costco to where I live) so today I grabbed a spot in line and waited. It took awhile but finally I had my membership card in hand and went to find SWMBO, who had been touring the store.

Sam's and Costco are very much alike in store layout, merchandise and price but I find the new Sam's Club to be much brighter due at least in part to a great number of skylights throughout the store. I had originally thought it was just more white paint and perhaps brighter lights but another shopper had noticed the skylights and called them to my attention. You can see a number of them in the following photos.

SWMBO also noticed that through the center part of the store the shelves are lower than at Costco, giving good line-of-sight and perhaps contributing to the brightness.

At any rate, it is a fine addition to the town and again judging by the crowds the economic downturn doesn't seem to be having a large effect in Prescott Valley.

Best of all . . . it's pretty much "one stop shopping."

Sunday, October 26, 2008

T. Bone . . er, T. Boone

T. Boone Pickens is a man who has made many fortunes in the oil business.

He is now 80 years old and has changed his tune.

Now, he says oil isn't the answer.

Something he is famous for is the answer: wind power.

The rich windbag says we have to build many huge windmills across our country and link them to multi-million dollars worth of transmission lines to take our dependence away from . . . you guessed it, OIL!

Funny. This happened about the time the stock market crashed, reducing Pickens' hedge fund value by half.

While I favor solar power, wind power and other green sources of energy, I must say: Don't buy this charlatan's message. He is in it for his own pocketbook. Purely.

(This is the man who personally funded the lying, slime-covered Swift Boat attacks on John Kerry four years ago. He says he would do it again. He is an evil man. Reject him.)