Thursday, January 22, 2009

Signs of the times

Today we take you on a little tour of our neighboring city - Prescott - "Everybody's Home Town." Except maybe it isn't. Following up on a rumor we paid a visit to one of P-town's oldest restaurants - the Pine Cone Inn.

Well the sign shows promise of fun.

But wait! High noon and this is the parking lot.

What's going on? Aha, the rumor is true as this sign on the front of the building points out. (Sorry about the blurriness. Photographer failure)

The word is the restaurant had been for sale for a couple of years but so far no buyers have surfaced so the doors have been locked.

Well, moving into downtown in the heart of the restaurant and bar area, we found another place shuttered.

We heard the same story on this place. Been for sale for a couple of years but no one is interested. Looks like the luck of the shamrocks didn't help.

And finally, here's one that's been closed for quite awhile. Last time around it was called N'awlins. Before that it was Zuma's. And who knows what before that. It's a nice building with a roomy interior and only half a block from the center of town but apparently no one wants it either.

Could be the recession but I don't know. My town has recently opened two new hotels and at least one new restaurant. Maybe "Everybody's Home Town" has lost it's charm.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

President Obama

Now the tough work begins.

Photo courtesy the Los Angeles Times

Monday, January 19, 2009

Only a few more hours

Tomorrow . . January 20th, 2009 . . will be an historic date for America as Barack Obama is sworn in as the 44th President of the United States of America.

I have some years on me and, like many others, I had never thought I would experience the inauguration of an African-American as president.

Today was Martin Luther King day and tonight my memories have turned back to the middle 1960's. I attended a radio-television news director's convention in Chicago. At one noon luncheon we were addressed first by former president Dwight David Eisenhower. I grew up in a Republican family and, while my father had supported Robert Taft for the Republican nomination in 1952, when Eisenhower won and then won the presidency . . he became a hero and somewhat of a demigod to him. But Ike was not a good public speaker. He read his speech to us and even that was not a stirring address. Later, Martin Luther King spoke. I was sitting in a front row, just a few feet away from the podium. King began in his slow, Southern way of speaking by apologizing because he had forgotten his notes back in his hotel room. And then he delivered a spellbinding speech with no hesitations, no ers and uhs (as Eisenhower's speech had contained), but just an amazing oratorial performance. I have no memory of what he said but I still remember how amazing a public speaker he was.

I have seen the "I have a dream" speech many times over the years and it still sends a chill up my spine. And I have seen the speech King gave the night before he was murdered in Memphis, where he said that he had seen the mountain top, that he may not get there himself but that he knew the mountain top would be reached.

Well, I ramble. Barack Obama is also a great orator though not as chillingly good as King, in my opinion.

But tomorrow, he will become the president of a nation that is facing great challenges and serious problems. Four or eight years may not be enough for him to solve all of the problems.

But he has a huge majority of the population favoring him and backing him. In a country beset by problems and the worst economy probably any of us have experienced, we wish him well.

Sunday, January 18, 2009


I can not believe it.

Barack Obama is about to be inaugurated as the President of the United States

...and . . . .

the Arizona Cardinals are going to the Super Bowl!!!!

What a year.

Sing out! (2 more days!!!)

(Thanks, Tommy)

Saturday, January 17, 2009

3 more days

As I'm writing this, President-elect Barack Obama and Vice President-elect Joe Biden are speaking to the crowd in Wilmington, Delaware as they make their train trip from Philadelphia to Washington, D.C. (It's a little colder than it was when the picture above was taken.)

It seems like all of America, if not all of the world, is waiting for this new team to take office.

Me too.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

6 more days . . or 5

Less than a week left of the Bush presidency. As we here in America watch countless interviews with the President and the Vice-President, we ask ourselves . . . WILL IT EVER END?

Here are some of the soon-to-be ex-president's "finer" moments.

To the world: we apologize.

Saturday, January 10, 2009


O.K. I know I'm a bit looney over the moon. But this is a big one.

I just wish I had a longer lens for my camera. As it is, the moon just sort of washes out with the brightness. With a longer lens, I might be able to show you some detail. But here's the 100% full moon tonight.


I cook in spasms. That is, I go for awhile where I am enthused about cooking and tackle some unimaginably beyond-my-abilities recipe, am disappointed by it and refuse to enter the kitchen for weeks.

But I'm learning to do simpler recipes. Most recently that has come down to Mark Bitten's column and blog from the New York Times. I also recently discovered that a friend from my bookseller days, J. Godsey, is writing a blog about cooking for one. I found a recipe in her blog for simple popovers. So yesterday I decided to try it. SWMBO has some of those neat silicone muffin tin liners so there was no need to spray the pan. I followed Godsey's instructions carefully but discovered the popovers were crispier than I would have thought they should have been.

SWMBO reminded me that Godsey lives at about sea level in Massachusetts and we are at 5,100 elevation in Arizona. She reminded me that in baking, the elevation can make a difference and adjustments are often required.

So today I tried it again but reduced the oven temperature from 400 degrees to about halfway between that point and 375, and also baked the popovers for only 30 minutes as opposed to 35 in Godsey's recipe.

Voila! They were perfect!

Slice one open, toss in a dab of butter or margarine and a slathering of Trader Joe's Boysenberry jam and it was a little dab of heaven.

(Sorry about the slight blurriness of the second photo. I must have been trembling with hunger and anticipation!)

Friday, January 9, 2009

What the hell is that?

I took this photo a short time ago.

Any one have any idea what it is?

It looks like the fallout from one of those old paper punches on a dusty floor.

Or a mysterious hole into another dimension.

Well, that last one might offer a clue.

Or not.

O.K. Enough teasing.

Here's a more distant look.

Yup. It's the moon over my neighborhood on a crispy cold evening.

But more than that. The Internet(s) tell me it is a Waxing Gibbous moon that is 98% full.

Now there's some information you can use at the bar.

Thursday, January 8, 2009


Rumor on the street is that Prescott Newspapers Inc., which prints and publishes the Daily Courier in Prescott and several weekly papers around the immediate area, has laid off 90 employees recently. No confirmation yet but it would not be surprising considering the problems in the industry, the shrinking size of the Courier and the news-stretching going on there. Half a page of new baby pictures? C'mon!


Prescott restaurant operator Barry Barbe has put down a rumor that he's closing his tapas restaurant El Gato Azul. He says next year he may close it for the winter season because the tiny place with a larger outdoor patio is more of a summer restaurant. But he insists it is successful.

Barbe also operates 129-1/2 An American Jazz Grille and has a new interesting looking lunch menu.


President-elect Barack Obama tells NBC's John Harwood he's going to try to hang onto his Blackberry, in spite of protests from the Secret Service and Washington lawyers. He also seemed embarassed by questions about his shirtless photos in Hawaii while on his recent vacation.


Vice-president Dick Cheney told Mark Hollinger of CBS that he's really a warm, lovable sort. He also denies that he called the shots in the White House, saying President George W. Bush always was in charge. I don't know. I just read the Cheney bio Angler and there seems to be too much evidence to the contrary.

Of course there's that old line about politicians: how do you tell when they're lying? If their lips are moving.


In Cleveland: Blagojevich headed for impeachment.

In Washington: Burris headed for the Senate.



Granny J has been kind enough to point out, gently, that Cleveland is in Ohio while the Blagojevich impeachment trial is being held in Illinois, where he is the embattled governor (temporarily). Which is to explain why this is being written in the same color as my face. Sorry, Cleveland.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Alone . . but eating well!

There must be some single folk out there in my vast multitude of readers who battle with the recipe books, trying to figure out how to boil down one of those delicious sounding dishes that serves 4 to 6 people. Well, bachelors and bachelorettes, I have help for you. A friend of mine has a blog devoted just to you. Her name is, as she insists, j. godsey and her blog is Well Enough Alone. I urge you to visit it and examine her simple but tasty recipes and great photography. She has pointed out to me that any of the recipes can be easily increased if you have someone to share with. Check it out!

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.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Thanksgiving photos

This was what it was all about. That's not a turkey. That's a pork loin that's been stuffed with a mixture of figs, pine nuts, celery, cranberries and bread.

Now, she (at her choice) is rarely photographed but the lady on the left, in command position, is SWMBO. Next to her is the BRD and her beau. (He always knows where the camera is!)

A better photo of the BRD. Did I lie?

And then, of course, the beau and the host. (No, really, he actually is younger than me!)

I liked this shot but it looks much better if you click on it. It's a sort of after-the-feast photo.

We all had a marvelous time and a marvelous feast.

Jazz, however, seemed unimpressed.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Gee, another one!

I seem to be finding new blogs of interest. I've just added another one to my list. Check out "Walk this Way" over there on the right to find out what's happening in the Great Southeast. Today, Joan reports on a funny prank pulled on the merchants in Charleston.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Pardon me

This year, the BRD and her beau are coming over for Thanksgiving Dinner. But SWMBO decided to follow the examples of George W. Bush and Sarah Palin, both of whom have been on television this week pardoning turkeys. However, I've seen the White House menu. Turkey! And Governor Palin announced shortly after her pardon act (in front of a turkey slaughtering plant) that she would be responsible for the Thanksgiving turkey at her house.

But, I digress.

SWMBO announced that this year the main entree at our house will be . . . Stuffed Pork Loin. Mmmmmmmmmm. Don't get me wrong. I love turkey. But SWMBO hates picking the carcass after the meal. And she does wonders with pork loin. Plus the additional items are all in the Thanksgiving tradition. I even made a few of the smaller items myself!

So, Happy Thanksgiving and enjoy your turkey, pork or . . . like a friend in neighboring Prescott . . . Chinese meal this year.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A quick note . . .

. . . to tell you I've added a link to another blogger over there on the right. It's "Touch the Wind". Warren is in Tucson and posts some beautiful pictures and interesting blog items. Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Gawd bless Thanksgiving!

This is the greatest holiday in the world.

No gifts.

No valentines.

No drinking green beer.

No anything.

Except celebrating the wonderfulness of food.

Of eating to excess.

I love Thanksgiving.

In preparation of which, I whipped up a pumpkin cobbler this afternoon.

See it?

Smell it?

Taste it?
We sampled it tonight.

It was wonderful.

See that picture up above?

It's not my cobbler.

I stole it from the Internet(s).

But trust me.

My cobbler was delicious.

Gobble, gobble.

Cobble, cobble.

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.