Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Monsoon clouds

(They're bigger and better if you click on them)

Saturday, August 14, 2010

The beginning

I received some unexpected photographs this week from a friend of my family. I hadn't seen anyone from that family since they moved to California back in 1953. That was the year my mother died at an early age. I decided to post several of the photos.

This is my mother. SWMBO says her hair was probably done with a "finger wave."

A little later . . . 1940 . . . I came on the scene.

At the age of 2, I was a plump young boy. Now I'm 70 and after decades of skinniness I'm . . . more than a little plump again.

I was interested to see that I had an affection for the feline, even way back then.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Mag 27

The esteemed Willow, of Willow Manor, tweaks our minds every week with a photo prompt. She invites her readers to write a poem, an essay or a story based on the photo. Here is this week's photo.

They had been married nearly 60 years. Walter and Agnes had been young at heart when they wed. It was 1952.

Many things happened that year of their marriage.

A pretty young English woman became Queen Elizabeth II when her father died.

In the United States a former general, Dwight Eisenhower, was elected president.

"The Diary of Anne Frank" was published.

In Argentina, Eva Peron died of cancer at the age of 33.

Television debuted in Canada.

Jimmy Boyd’s recording of "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus" was released.

During the many years of their marriage, history continued to be made as well as the passage of thousands of sillier events.

Walter and Agnes had their losses over the years. They had never had children but had suffered the loss of their parents.

Walter thought of all these things as he struggled to turn the wrench on the old water pipes in the basement. He stopped for a moment, staring at the rust around the pipe fittings.

"That’s what I am," he thought. "Full of rust."

He put the wrench down and walked slowly up the stairs, feeling the aches in his joints with every step. He went into the living room, where Agnes sat reading a book. He bent over and kissed her cheek.

She looked up, surprised, and asked "what was that for?"

Walter smiled and said "for the rust."


I invite you to visit Magpie Tales to read the submissions of other writers.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

A-way out west . . .

A-way out West . . . where only the power lines interrupt the landscape.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Who do I write like?

I was reading one of my favorite bloggers this morning - Jerry at Gently Said and he intrigued me with an exercise to determine who one writes like. He got the tip from another blogger who mentioned a site called "I Write Like". You can find it here. You submit a piece of your writing and hit the "Analyze" button and in seconds the program tells you who your writing resembles. Jerry's experiments produced Isaac Asimov and James Joyce. Not a bad couple of scribblers.

Well! What egotist in his garret could resist this?

So I submitted my latest Magpie Tale. I expected it would tell me my writing resembled some English writer - Chesterton or Conan Doyle or someone of that ilk. But the program said it was Raymond Chandler! Still not so bad. Hmmmm (sez I), let me try another piece. This time it came up with Harry Harrison. Now I'm not a sci-fi or fantasy enthusiast so I've never read any of his work but I knew the name. Well, let's try a third piece. This time I got Stephen King.

Now I didn't . . . like many other submitters . . . draw a James Joyce but still, those aren't bad writers to be compared with. (I wonder how many of them perpetually end sentences with prepositions!)

Hey! I've got an idea. I'm going to try submitting this blog post and see what the program says. Hang on.

Well . . . I'll be darned. Cory Doctorow. The Canadian blogger, journalist and science fiction writer. (I had to go to Google to learn this.)

It seems everyone writes like someone famous. I like this program.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Mag 26

"Drowned? Drowned, you say"

"Yes, inspector, we found 'im lyin' there dead. Blue as one of 'em Blue Men from Las Vegas, over in the colonies."

"And since it hasn't rained for a fortnight and the swimming pool is bone dry, how do you suppose he drowned?"

"Well, see, inspector, we figures he was held down on his back and water was poured into his mouth while his nose was held until . . well, until he drowned."

"And the water came from where? I don't see a hose anywhere."

"Inspector, we suspect they used that 'ere waterin' can."

"Ah, I see. And this happened when?"

"The fellow was seen at his pub last night at closin' time so it was after that."

"Yes, and the pub closed at an hour before midnight and it is now half past eight in the morning. So it was within the last 8 hours, correct?"

"That's right, inspector. Pretty smart of us to figger it out, wa'nt it?"

"Except for one thing, Dee-tect-ive."

"What's 'at, sir?"

"The plants growing through the handle of the watering can. And IT HASN'T RAINED FOR A FORTNIGHT!!! I think you'd better do some more investigating."


Oh, that damned Poirot, he's always so smart. Or it could have been Holmes. Or Dalgliesh. Well, anyway, this was only an exercise, prompted by the fiendish Willow with her photo prompt (obviously from some place where it actually rains.) You can read more offerings at Magpie Tales. Meantime, the inspector will try to figure this one out.

Dog Days?????

Who ever said they had to be called the DOG days???

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Steve & I - bearded and not

I made an excursion down to Phoenix last night to take in an Arizona Diamondbacks game with my buddie, Steve. (The D-backs won 6 to 1 over the Washington Nationals.) But I was stuck by our changing appearances. Steve and I, that is.

You see, for many years, Steve had a full beard. A few years ago he looked like this.

Looks happy, doesn't he?

At roughly the same time, I looked like this.

Hmmm, I appear concerned, don't I?

Well, as I have said, times change. This is how Steve and I looked last night at the ball park.

Steve appears unsettled while I appear to be proud of my foliage. (Even though it's white.)

I think Steve needs to grow his beard back again. He says he doesn't think he will. That may have something to do with his wife telling him he looks younger bare-faced.

As for my hirsute appearance, I say I'm modeling myself after the late Jerry Garcia.

'Course, he had better hair than I do. But he's dead, too!

Anyway, here's my goal.

Yeah! Z.Z. Top! I have the dark glasses already. I don't know about that cap, though.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

More from Jerome

I have some more pictures of Jerome today, courtesy of my friend who toured the town with me recently. From the first two, you can see some of the old charm of a once-abandoned mining town.

(Click on photos to expand)

This is an old movie projector from a former theatre, now a museum.

Betty Boop is very big in town.

And Catalyst, with an old friend from the late 50's.

(All photos courtesy T. Decker Cochrun)

Sunday, August 1, 2010


Some photos from last Monday's visit to Jerome.
(Click on them to expand)

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Rain, blessed rain

Yes, there was rain in those clouds. And it's been falling steadily but lightly now for a day or more.

(Click on photos to enlarge)

Most of the time, it's just a light sprinkle . . a mist, actually. But sometimes the moisture builds up in the clouds and it comes down in a torrent.

However - - it is a blessing for our parched, dry Arizona. Yes, there is occasional flooding but if people are careful that usually doesn't cause problems.

The plants are thriving and pleased at their long-awaited drink.
P.S. - In case you come under the same confusion as SWMBO, that second photo is NOT of a marijuana crop in our backyard. It's bamboo!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Arizona monsoon clouds

Mag 25

An old lock
protects nearly forgotten
Willow of Willow Manor challenges writers each week with a photo-prompt.
You may read what much more talented writers have come up with at Magpie Tales.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Old Friends

We had a visit from friends of more than 40 years this week. Tom and I worked together in Indianapolis those many years ago. They retired to California three years ago and came to see us for a couple of days.

As is frequently our wont, we traveled to Jerome yesterday to view a few shops. Tom, in particular, loves the store that sells multitudes of kaleidoscopes.

In the upper left of the photo above you can see the Jerome Grand Hotel where we had lunch in the Asylum restaurant with its amazing views of the Verde Valley.

All in all, a great day with much talk of old memories, dear and some now gone friends and past adventures. Though I have changed some of my less healthy habits, Lana says I am "still crazy after all these years."

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Monsoon skies

The monsoon has finally arrived over the past week in Arizona. These pictures don't give you a real good idea of the way the storms fill the skies but you can see some thunderhead activity here.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Blackie Detroit video!

My pal, Blackie Detroit, makes his video debut. He kept wanting to rub against my leg but who wants a wet cat to brush up on you!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Mag 24

"Sergeant, what do you suppose happened here?"

"G-g-g-god only knows, sir. The house was locked with a deadbolt. We had to b-b-b-break a bay window downstairs to get in."

"Sergeant, will you try to get yourself under control and stop shaking!"

"Y-y-y-yes s-s-s-sir."

The detective stared at the bed, rumpled with sheets and blankets tossed about, the impression of two heads still imposed on the pillows. There was no blood, no signs of any violence at all. But the occupants of the room, of the home, were missing.

He stared at the window above the bed, locked shut . . as were the windows along the wall. The house seemed to be an impenetrable fortress but Mr. and Mrs. ___________ were nowhere to be found. His men had searched from this room on the upper floor throughout the house, down to the basement. He, himself, had explored the walls, knocking to see if a hidden compartment existed. But there was nothing. No sign of the couple at all.

They were known throughout the village but no one knew them well. They had kept to themselves, made no friends. No one knew the source of their income or where they had come from before moving to the house barely seven months before. They had come in the night, at first creating gossip that they might be vampires. But when they were seen outside in the daylight, that rumor died.

Now they had disappeared.

The alarm had been sounded by a gardener at a nearby home, who had seen no sign of their existence for several days and notified the police. And now, having entered the home by force when no response came to the bell or to repeated knocks on the doors, the detective stood alone in the room, staring at the bed.

The only clue came from a night watchman at a nearby factory, who claimed he had seen a bright light in the sky, hovering over the house, a few nights previous. But he was the only one who had noticed anything at all out of the ordinary.

Now it was up to the detective to solve the mystery of the disappearance and, quite frankly, he didn’t have the vaguest idea about it.

Do you?


Mysterious Willow has posted the photo prompt and invited others to write from their memories or their imaginations about it. My tale is totally imaginary. You can read others by clicking on Magpie Tales.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


Our strange cats

Jazz found a comfortable (?) place for a nap this morning, entwined with the vertical blinds. It's like she was intently going some place and suddenly dropped with exhaustion.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The poseur

Call me "Blackie Detroit"

Monday, July 19, 2010

A ghostly night

It is a night like tonight that makes a chill come over me. The sky mainly obscured by clouds, the moon sneaking some light through at times.

It makes me think of Sherlock Holmes adventures on the moors of the British Isles. For instance, in "The Hound of the Baskervilles". One expects to hear the mournful howl of a great hound echoing though the night and sending a tremor of fear through my body.

It is a night made for murder most foul. I can nearly feel the cold dampness penetrating my body under my greatcoat.

But then suddenly I realize I'm dressed in a Hawaiian shirt and a pair of shorts and it's nearly 80 degrees outside. So I give it up and go inside to the ballgame on t.v. and later to bed.

Blackie and the birds

I was sitting at my computer this morning when I heard a terrible racket outside being made by what sounded like a Hitchcock movie: The Birds.

In truth it was some apparently very angry birds. I had seen mockingbirds in this type of mood before and glanced around.

Aha! Sure enough. It was my friendly neighborhood cat - Blackie Detroit. (Explanation: When he first showed up, frightened and wary of me, I slowly befriended him and named him Blackie. Later one of our neighbors and I had a conversation about him and she said she called him "Detroit". Hence his strange compound name.)

At any rate, he was just making a slow reconnoiter of our backyard, seemingly unconcerned about the noisy birds who would occasionally dive-bomb him. But I suspect he was more cunning than he appeared.

Eventually, he went under the fence and disappeared. But still I heard the birds in "high dudgeon". I later looked over the fence and found Blackie Detroit casually reclining on another neighbor's picnic table, just waiting for one of those noisy birds to get within claws reach, I suspect.

At this point, he has moved on again, as have the birds. The outcome is yet to be decided.