Monday, June 13, 2011


Take a look at my old, old, old buddy.  This is Steve Torbeck.

Steve has a birthday tomorrow, June 14th, 2011.   He will become 62!  It's his first Social Security birthday and he deserves it.

I got to know Steve back in 1972 (he claims) when he came up from the "minors" in Tucson to join we "professionals" at what was then KTAR-TV in Phoenix.  If Steve is correct, I beat him there only by months.  I was a reporter/producer, Steve was a photographer.  We hooked up and became great friends, probably due to the fact that we both liked to drink and be silly.  Lots of adventures ensued. 

Steve quit drinking more than a couple of decades ago and it probably saved his life.  I haven't and it probably hasn't.  But, amazingly, nearly 40 years later, we're both still alive.

Steve went on to become a "one man band" at Channel 12, originating "12 Country", where he not only photographed but reported stories from around Arizona.  I can remember arguing with him about doing a "stand-up" in his pieces.  He didn't want to, thinking (as many, many other reporters did in those naive days) that it just distracted from his story.  I told him those days were gone, he was now a "star" and it was necessary to do it and keep his job.  So, he finally agreed.

He left the t.v. station before I did and started his own company, which was known then and today as First Take Video.  The name was a kind of in-joke dating back to his days in Tucson, where he earned the nickname Five Take Torbeck.

During my days as a reporter, Steve did me well.  Later, during my days as a producer, he did me well with his reports from the backroads of Arizona.

And during the past few years, after Steve became a hardcore baseball fan, he's done me well by inviting me to join him at games in Phoenix.

Steve is one of my true, good friends.

Happy birthday, pal.  I love you.  (But for god's sake, don't ever tell anyone I said that!)

Sunday, June 12, 2011


SWMBO has been away for a few days.  The BRD has been gone for a few days so SWMBO has been house- and cat-sitting for her.  Which left me at home with our three cats.  We got along all right but Muggles is definitely SWMBO's cat and she let me know it the last two days.  She would come into my den and cry and cry.  I would tell her that her mistress would be home in a day, and then I'd tell her she'd be home tonight.

So tonight when she came home, she was suddenly surrounded by all three cats . . . all of whom seemed to be saying "YOU CAME BACK . . . YOU REALLY CAME BACK!"

But Muggles was the most happy and she lay as close as possible, draped over the end of the couch, happy again.

Meantime, the big black boy cat, Blackwell, has finally discovered a way to get out of the back yard.  He found he can leap up to the top of the wall up by the gate and mince along the top of the fence and achieve freedom.

So after two evenings of that, I refused to let him out of the house.  Does this picture (through a screen door) appear to show a cat trying to shame me into letting him out?

Well, he can just wait.  SWMBO says I have to get him a harness and one of those 20 foot leashes with a button that pulls him back.

He'll just LOVE that.

Friday, June 10, 2011


It's 85 degrees at 3:30 in the afternoon.  June 10th.  Less than a month until the monsoon is scheduled to start.

Oh yes we do!  (I heard those dubious snickers about a monsoon in Arizona.)

It's a regular season here, usually starting around the 4th of July and running until September.  If you were to check the description of a monsoon, you'd learn that it is a change in the direction of the wind.  Where normally our "breezes" (heh-heh) come in from the West Coast, during the monsoon season they blow up from the southeast.  Dust storms down in Southern Arizona first, sometimes bringing rain.  Up here the mountain tops apparently dig into those clouds, releasing more rain.  Not a lot, mind you, but enough to cool down the late afternoons and evenings.  After a few weeks of dry, sunny heat-filled days, the cooling monsoon rain is a relief.

I remember my first day in Phoenix, back in July of 1972.  I was in a little store when raindrops began coming down outside and everyone rushed outside to get wet.  I thought they were crazy but then I learned that it hadn't rained for something over 100 days.  I got used to it and became a little crazy myself, in time.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


We've taken to letting Blackwell join us for cocktails on the back patio.  It took awhile.  He was taken, initially, with jumping over into the neighbor's back yard and then, who knows where, until he got tired, or hungry, and came home.  Well.  I didn't like that, even though he wears a collar with a badge with his name and our telephone number.  I would get very nervous about where he had gone and I'd search and call his name and worry, worry, worry.

Ridiculous, eh?

But that's the life of a pet owner.

So I finally put up enough fencing and chicken wire and glass chunks that he was defeated in his escape plan.  So, now he is confined to our fenced-in backyard and he has only us to commune with.

Now if I could only break him of his habit of rolling in a patch of dirt immediately upon his escape from the house.

Monday, June 6, 2011


I accepted my friend Steve's invitation to go to Phoenix yesterday and attend the final game in the series between OUR Arizona Diamondbacks and the Washington Nationals at Chase Field.

The next photo shows an angry Justin Upton, just after being hit by a pitched ball for the fourth time in this series.  An umpire is trying to calm him down as Matt Williams moves into the center of the action.  The Washington pitcher has been tossed out of the game and their manager is about to be evicted.

Both managers and two pitchers were ejected and four players were hit by pitches.  Espinosa of Washington was hit twice by two different pitchers.  We kept waiting for a "donnybrook" to break out but it never did.

This young fellow was a hero in our section as he made a great one-handed grab of a high foul ball.  He got a standing ovation from the crowd.

Finally, here are the two old codgers - Steve on the left, me on the right - getting ready for a Diamondbacks victory.  Unfortunately it was not to be.  Our team made a gallant run in the 8th and 9th innings when they scored their only runs to tie the game at 4 apiece.  But they couldn't bring the winning run across and a grand slam home run in the 11th inning brought victory and a series split with the lowly Nationals.  Still, a great day in the park.

Saturday, June 4, 2011


Prescott Valley advertised an arts and crafts fair for this weekend.  I stopped by briefly this morning.

Unfortunately what I saw was more crafts than arts.


Thursday, June 2, 2011


FACEBOOK, as some of you know, is one of those "social networking" sites.  I joined it awhile back, then got off it when a former colleague of many years ago got "pissy" with me, then got back on it with limited "friend"-ships.  Sometimes I post, sometimes I comment, but mostly I just read stuff that others have brought to the site.  One of my longtime bookseller pals, J. Godsey, seems to spend an unconsciounable amount of time turning up interesting items.  For example . . this bit of information.

Later, she turned up a great list of non-fiction articles which I suppose I could have found on my own if I read the Atlantic.  But I'm having enough trouble trying to keep up with my New Yorker subscription.  But there's some interesting reading on that list, like the article about Trader Joe's.

Then there's Turner Classic Movies, one of the few commercial sites to which I subscribe.  They send out tips on upcoming films they'll be showing on television.

Of course, I had to subscribe to my Arizona Diamondbacks site, which tells me lots about my favorite team.

Then there's my blogger pal, Joan Perry who keeps me up to date on restaurant news from Charleston, as well as a ton of other items about the city.

I could go on and on but I think I've given you enough information on what keeps me turning to FACEBOOK.  With all of that and blogging and e-mail and much more on the Internet, I'm having trouble getting through two books I recently brought home from the library.

Good thing I'm retired so I have all this spare time! 

Wednesday, June 1, 2011


Please forgive the use of the word "family" above but it seems that once you get to know someone really well through the blogosphere, they become part of your family.  One such person is Meggie, away down in Australia.  She has just recently lost her husband, Les, after 45 years of marriage.  He was known as GOM, for Grumpy Old Man, on her blog.  They had some rough times together, as he would pull up her plants, mistaking them for weeds, or rearrange the kitchen according to HIS wants so Meggie couldn't find things.

But they had many, many good times together, too.  Many of those good times Meggie related on her blog as well.  Now she has to slowly accustom Les/GOM's favorite dog, Leo, to the fact that his master is gone.  Time and the love of friends, family and "strangers" from all over the globe will help Meggie through the difficult days.

So, if you knew her from her blog, Life's Free Treats, or from anywhere else, be kind and send her a message or a comment on her blog.  She needs us now.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011


I know.  Those hackers are taking over the Internet and causing a lot of problems.  I shouldn't feel this way.  So, I'm sorry.  But this story tickles me pink!

Saturday, May 28, 2011


I'm sure I know how a number of you, up in years, feel when the grandchildren come to visit.  They are full of energy while you get progressively more and more tired, even if you're just sitting watching their animated activity.  By the end of the day you're exhausted while they're still going.  We had some of that experience last weekend when our grandkids were here for a visit.  But it may have been even worse for the BRD's dog, Wrigley.

You see, Lesly arrived with a new Yorkie, about six weeks or so old and he was absolutely full of energy.

This was one of the few times all weekend when he was relatively quiet though you can tell by looking at his face that he was "ready to go."

Well, Wrigley . . . whom I have said probably should have been named Wiggly . . . didn't quite know what to make of this small bundle of manic behavior.  (By the way, his name is J.B. and I think he'd been drinking some!)  J.B. ran circles around Wrigley, challenging him from time to time to one game after another.  Wrigley tried to ignore him but it just didn't work and by the end of the day, he could just stand and stare, though his tail was still in motion.

I knew just how he felt, though my tail wouldn't have been waggin', it would have been draggin'!

Friday, May 27, 2011


Who would have believed it?  I haven't posted here since Tuesday!  Can't say I've been busy so I guess lazy is the term.

Memorial Day weekend is upon us and for former Indiana residents it's time for this year's running of the Indy 500.

This is one guy who won't be in the race with his classic roadster.  Noting the "Hoosier" labels on his tires, I asked him if he was one.  He said he wasn't.

Lots of activities going on in the area this weekend.  An Indian festival, arts events, music everywhere.  Here's some homegrown art in an alley next to the parking garage in downtown Prescott.

Hope you all have a happy Memorial Day weekend and don't forget the men and women in uniform.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

MAG 67

Now, this is an interesting bunch.

First there’s that pompous poseur with his monocle, staring affectedly up towards the light.

The young lady, ignoring her platter of chicken . . or is that pigeon . . , follows his gaze. But not without some disinterest and boredom.

The paid lute player to her left is rapt in his music, or in the cash that he will earn for this gig.

There’s a waitress (or waiter, who can tell these days), dressed in typical New York goth black, trying to do her/his job.

And then there’s the guard, who’s doing what he should be doing: keeping his eye out for interlopers.

So, what does this painting tell us?

Well, I’ll tellya what I think. I think these are a bunch of outta work hacks who are trying to become art objects. But, y’know, I think they’re mostly extras who stumbled into this scene in the hopes of winning the artistic “American Idol” competition.

My vote? They haven’t got a chance.

Except for the guard. He’s got an interesting face and I think, if he can carry a tune, he might be okay to lead a rock band.

We’ll see.

More at Magpie Tales.


Bob Dylan is exactly one year and one month younger than I am. 

I still prefer his music from his beginnings.

Monday, May 23, 2011


Our grandson, Sgt. Russell "Rusty" Milburn paid a visit to Arizona this past weekend, accompanied by the love-of-his-life, Kayla.

Well!  That brought a gathering of the clan together.  Rusty's twin sister Christina (Christy).

And his older sister, Lesly.

And her son, the handsome and precocious Donovan.

Of course, the BRD was in attendance.  Actually she hosted most of the weekend at her lovely home.

She and SWMBO planned the entire event for days in advance.

The BRD's Beau Jack aided in the hosting and competing with Donovan at a yard game.

I think I have revealed in the past a fascination with women's painted toenails.  This weekend I was in, as they say, hog heaven!

Although we all had great conversations with our soon-to-be civilian and his lady, I noticed that they never strayed far from each other.

And one final shot of the young-uns as cars were about to take to the road for different directions.

It was a great weekend reunion and everyone left happy. 

Thursday, May 19, 2011


Prescott is known for its summer festivals of arts and crafts and the season is underway.  A big festival was held on the Courthouse Square recently.

I liked what this young lady did with her cut-offs, adding a stylish fringe.

One of the sellers in the festival was an apparent expert in the art of Bonsai.

I'm not sure what these are but they are beautifully done.

One lady had a beautiful display of silk scarves.

This lady was dressed as artistically as her paintings!

And there was the garlic seller . . . in costume.  Check out the hat.

Nearby a yummy display of decorated apples.

And for the wine collectors, a novel wine rack carved out of stone.

Sellers I talked to said sales were pretty good and it looked like everyone was having a great time.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


It's been a moist Wednesday, a bit of rain drizzling down.  It will be that way until Friday when our grandson arrives with his lady friend.  And a couple of granddaughters will join him here from different directions.  The weekend will be warm and dry and full of family fun.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


This is Prescott's signature sight - Thumb Butte.

It doesn't look very much like a thumb from this direction but from the north the resemblance is better.

The much more impressive sight is to the north - Granite Mountain.

The next several photos were taken, as were the previous two, from atop Prescott's parking garage.  I think you can see why they're not included in brochures from the Chamber of Commerce.

The next one is kind of an exception to that rule when one crops out the wires and other stuff atop the building.  It's the rear of the Jersey Lilly (second floor) and the Palace Saloon (ground floor).  The owners have done their best to convey the western image.

But, looking toward the picturesque county courthouse, the view across rooftops returns to the ugly.

We just have to face facts.  While somewhat interesting, the views of rooftops just aren't very scenic.

Saturday, May 14, 2011


SWMBO had a birthday this week.  She is still as beautiful as ever.

Happy birthday, J.G.

Friday, May 13, 2011


Some of you observant types may have noticed that today is a day the superstitious fear - Friday the 13th.  I am not one to fear it and, therefore, bring greetings from two of my cats.

Which brings me to a story.  Once, long ago, we were giving a party.  An African-American co-worker arrived at the door and when I opened it to him, Primo - a former very black feline in our family - slipped out.  My co-worker, Ron, reacted with a shudder and asked "How can you have a black cat in your house?"

I said "Why not, I'm letting you in, aren't I?"