Friday, January 21, 2011

Just messin' around

Sunnny days are always good for photographing shadows in the backyard.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The King's Speech

SWMBO and I have just seen "The King's Speech", the story of King George VI and his struggle with his stammering.  Colin Firth should easily win the Oscar, as he already has won the Golden Globe, for Best Actor in an amazing performance.  But Geoffrey Rush also should have at least a nomination for Best Supporting Actor.  Both were sensational in this enjoyable movie.

As a curious sidenote, just as we entered the theatre and were trying to adjust our eyes to the darkness, we encountered the BRD who was unexpectedly in attendance.  May I say that we all loved the movie.

Long live the King!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

By the way . . .

I would be remiss if I failed to mention yet another new blog from an old friend of mine, one Frank Phillippi who writes from the environs of Virginia near to the power elite.  He is one who keeps a weather eye on those in power in Washington.  But his blog reveals another interest all together (or should that be altogether?  Oh, never mind.)

You may inspect his blog at Vinyl Stats.  Enjoy!

Trader Joe's and construction updates

Some good news to report on the long desired Trader Joe's location in our area today.  Prescott Valley Economic Development Director Greg Fister told a meeting of the town's Chamber of Commerce yesterday morning that he'd "bet his paycheck" that Trader Joe's will be coming to this area this year.  He said it's more likely that the store will be located in Prescott than Prescott Valley but we can live with that.  There's been a huge urge by the communities to have TJ's locate here with, up until now, no positive reaction.  Of course, Greg could be just optimistic but as tight as he is I doubt he'd risk a paycheck in such a cavalier fashion.  So we wait.  But the anxiety level has been raised a notch.

Up on the north side of town, construction work is continuing on the Highway 89-A overpass over Viewpoint Road.  Workers are taking advantage of the great weather recently to make some progress.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

A turnaround?

Much has been made of President Obama's speech in Tucson this week.  Pundits are asking (and sometimes answering their own questions) if it means a turnaround in the mean-spirited politics that has been going on for way too long.  Like many of the punditry I'm not so sure the new spirit will last.  But since I have said rather mean things about Arizona's Senator John McCain a couple of weeks ago, I feel I owe it to him to praise him now.

McCain has written a very complimentary and, has been said by others, "graceful" op ed piece which will appear in print in tomorrow's Washington Post.  I suggest you read it and join me in thanking the Senator for his kind words. 

In politics as in life one can be wrong sometimes and right (no pun intended) at other times.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Space talk

Recently I recommended a new blog to you written by a long time friend of mine, Tom Cochrun.  Now Tom can get a little spacey at times, like when he sent me an e-mail with a link to this article.

Go ahead, I'll wait here while you read it, if you have the patience.

Now I've picked on Tom for years about his undependable spelling though it appears he's gotten better at that since Spell Checkers became common in computer programs.  But, spacing between sentences?  As you have probably already noted, I always put two spaces between sentences.  Now this writer at Salon says I've been doing it all wrong.  Well I'm sorry.  At this late date I don't think I can change.  It's automatic with me.  So, if you're one of those one spacers you'll just have to live with my errors.

As for Tom, here's a message for you, buddy:

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


Work is slowly getting underway on the Highway 89A overpass over Viewpoint Road.  Slowly because as it was about to start a snowstorm blew in and it took awhile for everything to melt away.

I'll try to remember to keep you posted.


There's a function around here called the "Tuxedos and Tool Belts Ball."  Having neither a tuxedo or a tool belt, I've never been to it but here's what I'd like to hear to get those outfits dancing.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


Today is January 11th, 2011.  In abbreviated form, that makes it 1-11-11, as I realized when I read my friend Judy's blog this morning. 

Those numbers kept rolling around in my head all day.

At first (there's another 1) I put meaning to it when I heard SWMBO stir and I went to the kitchen to make her a cup of tea.  Normally I get her teabag and grab a packet of sweetener at the same time to put in my second cup of coffee.  But today those numbers had me thinking about something I'd read recently about multi-tasking.  We seem to have become accustomed to multi-tasking, doing two and more things at once.  For example, surfing the Internet while also checking our e-mail and half-listening to the news coming from the nearby radio or television set.  Add to that thinking about tasks coming up ahead in our day, wondering if we have some English muffins in the kitchen, re-living last night's exciting football game, considering whether that was what kept me from getting to sleep until nearly 3 a.m., and a plethora of other things.  It's enough to make anyone more than a little addled as the brain struggles to keep up.  The article I read said that multi-taskers generally don't do any one of the tasks well.  We have become adept at keeping many balls in the air but we're finding less and less applause for our act.  It's the old thing of heading into another room to do something but forgetting what it was you were going to do.  That's usually blamed on getting older.  But I think it's more and more because we're all trying to do too many things at the same time.  At least, thinking about doing them.

So, I resolved to try to change that and do just one thing at a time and to try to concentrate on that one thing.  But it's not easy.  For example, just now I was thinking ahead about where I want this little essay to go in the next paragraph while I was typing this one.  That may take multi-tasking to a ridiculous extreme but I think you can get the idea.

O.K.  It's another paragraph and this is the second thought I had.  It came from the television newscast where a scientist of some type or another was saying that Jarred Lee Loughner, the man who murdered a handful of people in Tucson Saturday morning, was almost certainly schizophrenic.  He claimed this was 99 percent certain because of things we have learned about him since his heinous act.  And various pundits are now saying words to the effect of "he may not have been influenced by right wing talk radio or Sarah Palin and her map because, while he seemed to be a fan of Ayn Rand and the gold standard he also seemed to favor the Communist manifesto and books like 'To Kill a Mockingbird'."  Maybe his brain couldn't handle all that multi-tasking and just . . broke.

So where do I go from here?  I don't believe I have any good solutions to anything right now, except to go to sleep tonight and be thankful that tomorrow will be merely 1-12-11.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Assassination: A Way of Life

We were stunned today to hear of the shooting of Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords in Tucson.  As it stands now, she is out of surgery and expected to survive, even though she was shot in the head at a political event outside a grocery store in Tucson.  Also as it stands now, 17 other people were shot and at least five of them were killed, including a 9 year old girl and a federal judge.  The perpetrator of all this violence was said to be a young man, 21 or 22 years of age, armed with some type of automatic weapon.  Amazingly in this day and age, he was taken into custody before he could do damage to himself.

This sad news brings me to think of other such tragedies.  Too close together were the murders of President John F. Kennedy, his brother Senator Robert Kennedy, Martin Luther King and the wounding of Governor George Wallace.  There also was the murder some years later of John Lennon.  When all of those horrible acts took place, I was working as a newsman in radio and television.  While I was thrown into the frantic scuffle of trying to report on those incidents it was also a sad and horrifying event for me as well as the great majority of my fellow Americans.

Will this madness never end? 

When will we ever learn?

Friday, January 7, 2011

A fantasy day

So I was out today admiring the show being put on by the clouds in a beautiful blue sky.

When something came into view!  I snapped a quick picture, almost out of frame of this . . . could it be?  An honest to gosh flying saucer?

Then something else appeared.  A helicopter!  Apparently in pursuit of this unearthly object.

Maybe I wasn't crazy after all.  Obviously the helicopter pilot had seen what I had seen.

But then the helicopter came lower and lower and eventually landed at a nearby hospital.  It wasn't chasing the flying saucer after all.

So - - - -

Oh, all right.  The mystery is over.  I actually inverted the photo.  Here's one taken from a little further away, not inverted.

My flying saucer was actually the top of a street light, with a little trickery by me in the photo editing stage.  There are many of these modernistic light poles in our town.

So back to the clouds, where apparently my head has been today.  This time I included a bit of the mountains in the lower right corner for perspective.

You're probably thinking "it's about time you got some perspective, Catalyst!"

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Big Bucks!

I noted the other night that one of the two winners of a 380 million dollar jackpot in the lottery game Mega Millions bought his/her ticket in Post Falls, Idaho.  I happen to know someone from that town, up there between Washington and Montana.  I just sent the person an e-mail saying I hoped it was theirs.

Tonight on television the other winner, a man from Washington state not far from Post Falls, was shown after he came in with his wife to claim his 190 million dollar prize.  He told how he had come in to the bedroom, wakened his wife and showed her the winning numbers and his winning ticket.  He said it would last for generations because "we're not going to blow this!"

I have dreamed for years about "winning the big one".  Quite a while back, we won around $1,200 in a lottery game right before Christmas.  I don't remember what we did with the money but it certainly made that year's Christmas bills go away.  Incidentally, we've probably spent that 12 c-notes on more lottery tickets with never a big winner.  $3, $4, $7 . . that's about our take and lots and lots of losing tickets. 

SWMBO and I have seriously thought for a long time how we would handle a super big money win in one of those games.  Of course, our heirs would be well-fixed, probably even the ones that rarely speak to us.  You just know the phone would start to ring more regularly.  We used to travel quite a bit and, hopefully, we would do much more of that.  But, we're pretty well fixed with "things".  So, other than a new car, a new place to live and . . and . . and . .    Well?  What would we do with all that money?

But as the commercials say - "You can't win if you don't play."


update: My acquaintance in Idaho has just e-mailed back to say he didn't win.  He said when he went in to the office to claim his share of the big prize he was told he had to buy a ticket to win.  As he put it: "Details, details."

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Cold Lake Watson


No kayaks on the lake today.

But if you click on these photos to magnify them, you will see quite a few ducks enjoying nice cool swimming weather.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The Maverick changes

I was driving past a gas station/convenience store today and noticed the sign: Maverik.

I guess I'm like most everybody else.  Whenever I hear that word, no matter how it's spelled, I think of one thing: John McCain.

There was a time, in 2000 and again in 2008, when McCain claimed that title.  I think the news media first branded him with it but McCain took it on proudly.  Now . . . he says he never was a maverick.  Huh?

Of course, McCain spent part of his early adulthood bombing the Vietnamese.  Then, after being shot down, he spent quite a few years being mistreated as a prisoner of war.  Now?  Hugs.

Speaking of which, McCain has become quite a hugger.  Here he is with Rudy Giuliani.

And George W. Bush.

And his Independent but mostly Democrat pal Joe Lieberman.

And, of course, his running mate in 2008, loony Sarah Palin.

Even the guy who trounced him in the 2008 election, President Barack Obama.

So, what became of John McCain?  The Maverick?  The lovable hugger?  Well it's a mystery to most everyone but he still seems bitter about losing the presidency.  Twice, if you count Bush knocking him out in the primaries in 2000.  He seems to do nearly nothing except oppose everything Obama proposes.  Many people have said he just seems like a bitter old man.  In short, he has become this:

Monday, January 3, 2011

January 3rd

I've been quiet since my burst around the end of one year and the beginning of a new one.  There's nothing wrong.  I just haven't been inspired.  Watching a lot of football on television, including tonight's stunning trouncing of Virginia Tech by Stanford at the Orange Bowl.  I had an uncle once who spent time at Stanford, actually living in Herbert Hoover's house for a time, snitching oranges from his tree outside an upper floor window.  I saw that Condoleeza Rice made it to the game, as she did when the Stanford women's basketball team ended Connecticut's run at 90 victories.  Guess she needs a little face time these days. 

I'm presently reading "The Last Stand" by Pulitzer finalist Nathaniel Philbrick about the campaign that led up to Sitting Bull's decisive victory over George Armstrong Custer and his troops.  It all took place in southeastern Montana, not too far from where I was born and spent my first 29 years in the Dakotas.  Good book.  If you like histories of the West.  The Indians win . . . for a time.

So . . . enough until another day and some more inspiration.

Oh, almost forgot.  It's warming a bit.  Temperature rose to 40 today under sunny skies.  It will get slightly warmer throughout the week.  And that makes me glad!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Yet another year

Made it.  Again.

The eve was quiet.  I was fiddling with my computer.  Didn't even watch the ball come down in New York.  Tuned in for a moment earlier and got sick of Anderson Cooper and that horrid woman they team him with so turned to PBS and a program of piano music featuring Lang Lang and the New York Philharmonic.  Much more peaceful.

To bed long before midnight and a good sleep.

It is very cold outside.  21 degrees in the early afternoon.  Got down to 3 below zero last night.  But . . it's a new year and the sun is shining.

Friday, December 31, 2010

New Year's Eve

SWMBO was spectacular with a simple dinner.  An Alsatian onion tart and a salad of field greens and tangerine with raspberry vinaigrette.

 Accompanied with a glass (or two) of Prosecco.

Snow in Arizona at the end of 2010

Now, here is video proof of the snow that fell December 30th, 2010, outside my home in Prescott Valley, ARIZONA!


How to get from 2010 to 2011

There are a variety of ways to get through the turning of the calendar page from one year to the next.  One can go out, have a good (or worse) meal in a restaurant, drink copious quantities of champagne with friends (or complete strangers), dance, toot on paper horns while wearing paper hats, or . . . . you can do it like three "members of my family" do it.

May I present Muggles.

and Jazz.

and Blackwell.

And one more of Muggles.  Not because I love her any more than the other two.  It's just that she seems to be the most expressive sleeper.

From the three of them, from SWMBO (who is napping in another room) and from me - may you all have a most happy, healthy and prosperous new year.

December 31, 2010

2010 is going out like an iceberg in Arizona.  Here's a photo of Glassford Hill I took within the last hour.

I had to go down to the corner store and it was c-o-l-d!  How cold was it?  Here's the reading (in Fahrenheit) from my indoor/outdoor thermometer at 11 o'clock in the morning.

Needless to say, I will not be venturing out again until Monday, when the outside temperature should be up in the 30's, at least.  I mean, take a look at the sun.

So much for warm, sunny Arizona, huh?  Ah well, as we always say, this, too, shall pass.

Thursday, December 30, 2010


Blackwell looks out the window this morning and says . . . WTF?

A little later, the sky darkens, the snow begins again and the wind picks up.


Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The beginning . . . and Tombo!

The storm that moved through California yesterday has arrived in my area - Arizona - today.  Mostly rain mixed with snow at my location but considerably sloppier in Prescott where more of the snow was sticking.  Out here in Prescott Valley, there was what the weather people are calling "snow mist" this afternoon.  Looks an awful lot like fog to me.

The snow is expected to continue tonight and tomorrow and colder temperatures should mean it will start piling up.


I almost forgot to mention that I had lunch with the irrepressible TOMBO today . . he of Tombo's Blog and also of widespread travel.  Tombo is a Prescott, Arizona born-and-bred native who has decided to see a bit of the world.  He's recently returned from an amazing trip that took him to San Diego, all the way up the coast to Seattle, across the gut of the country to Wisconsin, NEW YORK CITY, Massachusetts, down the East Coast to Charleston, Key West, then back west to New Orleans and (new favorite) Lafayette (that's Lah-Fay-Et), Louisiana, Arkansas, New Mexico and eventually back to Prescott for Christmas.  But he won't stay long, he says.  Soon it's back on the road with his faithful companion, Scrappy Doo, to bigger and better horizons.

It was neat to see the well-bearded lad and hear of his adventures.  It makes a white-bearded old-timer like me a bit envious but glad he's doing what I only talked about many decades ago.

Travel well, Tombo.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The lull before the storm

Lots of sunshine . . . blue skies . . .

. . . but wait!
That nasty old man winter is supposed to come storming through our area beginning tomorrow and dumping lots and lots of snow.

We'll see.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

One from the sun

The northeastern U.S. is getting snowed in for awhile so here's a little something to help ease you through the day.  At least until five o'clock.

Friday, December 24, 2010

A foggy day . . .

Prescott Valley was blanketed with fog this morning.

Some birds seemed confused . . .

Homes were shrouded in a ghostly vapor . . .

A football field was abandoned . . .

But eventually the sun began to burn off the fog and the mountains became visible . . .

Santa will be able to find his way tonight!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Welcome, new blogger!

There's a new writer on the horizon.  My long-time friend, Tom Cochrun, has started a blog: Light Breezes from his redoubt on the Central California coast.  He's a talented boy*.  Check him out.

* - He's been my friend for over 40 years so I guess the term "boy" may be questionable . . for him or for me.  But I won't hedge on the other term - "talented".

It's not the Alps, but . . .

It's all I've got.  Fresh snow on our Black Hills/Mingus Mountain.