Wednesday, May 11, 2011


Call me what you will but I can't resist my avian friends.

These are bluejays.  Or mountain jays, to be specific.  They were either friendly or mating.  I'd suspect the latter since they don't often seem very friendly.

A bit later this big-breasted robin showed up.

He took an interest in the bird bath.

Apparently being accustomed to such appliances, he knew that fresh cold water wasn't just for drinking.

Having splashed most of the water out onto the ground, he turned and glared at me, as if to say "Hey, do I stare at you when you take a bath?"

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


. . . yesterday I wrote briefly about birds in the hand.

Today it is about one bird in not exactly the bush but in our as yet unbloomed Mimosa tree.

In this next view part of a twig makes it appear as if he has four eyes.  I assure you it is an optical illusion.

And then there's cookery.  Last night I cooked Chicken Saltimbocca.  For those not familiar with it, chicken breasts are flattened to a quarter of an inch or so, salted and peppered, layered with several small basil leaves, topped with prosciutto, lightly floured and sauteed in butter and olive oil.  When they are golden, a sauce is prepared consisting of white wine, lemon juice, chicken broth and a bit of flour for thickening.  Yum.

SWMBO fixed a pea risotto to accompany the chicken.  Delicious!  And, joy of joys, there was enough to have it again tonight!

Now, here's a puzzle for you.  Can you figure out what this is?  It is baked in a 12-inch (or so) black iron skillet.

The second photo should give it away. 

It is a Skillet Chocolate Chip Cookie! 

I swiped the recipe from Melissa at Alosha's Kitchen.  Hers looks better than mine because I think I baked mine a bit too long.  All I know is that the half I have left is hard as a rock.  But it is tasty!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Magpie 65

He gazes at the birds
In his hand.

He wonders.

What has nature wrought?

He thinks.

This is all that life means.

Birds . . .

In the hand.

Others.  At Magpie Tales


O.K.   But what's the rush?

Sunday, May 8, 2011


My Mom
Hattie Loretta (Hylland) Taylor

A Western Mom

Instructions for all Moms

Here's hoping you all have a
Happy Mothers Day!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Friday, May 6, 2011


I spotted this group of motorcycles this week and couldn't resist a photo.

Parked nearby all by itself was this lovely white Harley.

Of course, I couldn't be sure but the contrast to the bright colors of the other bikes could mean that this belonged to "The Leader of the Pack!"

Thursday, May 5, 2011


Blackwell was taking a breather from his toils of the day, lying in the shade on the back patio, nearly asleep.

So you thought.  But without changing his position, he was suddenly awake.

And then . . in a blink . . on alert.

What stirred him to this stage?

Need you even to have asked.  Just look at that plump, prime target.

But the story ends well.  The bird, dumb as it is, flew away to safety before Blackwell started his charge.

And another day slows to a conclusion.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


These photos are products and proof of an idle mind.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


In the past 48 hours, the world has changed.  Again.  I had resolved not to write about the killing of Osama (Usama) Bin Laden.  But I just read a good posting by a blogger friend of mine, Dana of Bug's Eye View.  She referenced several other bloggers who have written, meaningfully, of this event.  So rather than trying to come to grips with this event myself, I refer you to her blog.  Good job, Dana.

Monday, May 2, 2011


While I was out this past weekend, I passed a road construction project with a bunch of my namesakes parked until Monday.

What's that, you say?  You don't understand what I mean by "namesakes"?  They're road graders, aren't they? 

Well, yes, but it's the name of the road grader.  In case you missed it, here's a close-up.

To further clarify, they are Caterpillars . . shortened to Cat, just as my pen-name, Catalyst, is by some of my readers.

All hail Cats!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Mystery Train

Ever seen a railroad crossing like this one?

There don't seem to be any tracks!

And I gather this is some type of switching tool for changing tracks around but one of you old time railroad buffs will have to either confirm or correct that.

Well the fact of the matter is that this was once a roadbed for a railroad line but it's long abandoned and now has been converted into a trail for hiking.

Now that's nice but did you read the fine print carefully?

With that type of warning I think I'll confine my hiking to a nice enclosed shopping mall!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Watch List

If you're a fan of international intrigue, have I got a book, AND AN AUTHOR, for you!  The book is "Watch List" and the author is Steve Glossin.  Many of you may know Steve as a blogger who photographs and describes the antics of the squirrels he feeds on his balcony in Germany.  But Steve is also a writer.  He has published three books (available on Amazon as eBooks and instantly downloadable to your Kindle reader.)  They are, in addition to "Watch List", "Death Mask" and "Prophecy of the Medallion." 

I have just finished "Watch List", having read over half of it this afternoon.  It is a mesmerizing tale of the Knights of Malta and a modern-day brother and sister team searching for a secret from their ancestors going back centuries.  The Catholic Church, a Maltese Mafia and others are all involved.  If you like books by Robert Ludlum and his like, you'll love "Watch List" as the intrigue, the violence and, yes, the sex keep you turning pages.

I am proud to say that Steve Glossin is my friend but even if I'd never met him (on the Web) I would recommend this book. 


Steve Glossin, Author

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Mag 63


That picture and that title brought back a lot

of old memories.

Over the years

I often thought of doing a regular radio program

Or a television show

Or a magazine

Or a newsletter.

I would call it “Kaleidoscope”

To indicate the variety to be found


The years went by,

As did the jobs.

I never put together the radio program

Or the television show

Or the magazine

Or the newsletter.

But eventually I did put together a blog.

It ranges over a variety of subjects,

Features a variety of music,

And a variety of pictures.

And I called it:

Oddball Observations.

This was prompted by a sweet and talented lady named Tess Kincaid, aka Willow.  She began Magpie Tales back in February of 2010.  Each week she posts a photo and encourages, dares, stimulates her readers to compose a poem, a story or whatever prompted by the photo.  This week is the 63rd such week.  You can find submissions by other writers at Magpie Tales

So long, Phoebe

Phoebe Snow died today from complications of a brain hemmorhage she suffered last year. She was 60 years old and a great singer.

And Katie Couric made it official today.  She's moving on.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Birthday Dining Review

Yesterday was my birthday.  As my gift for the day, SWMBO said she was going to do all of the cooking and all of the cleaning up.  Now that is a treat!

I believe I have mentioned on previous occasions that my wife is an excellent cook.

So we started the day with breakfast, a meal we don't often eat anymore.  (I know, I know, it's the most important meal of the day but it's just too much for us to deal with that early in the day.)  I had no idea what was coming but it turned out to be one of my favorites: Eggs Benedict.  Delicious!

That allowed us to avoid lunch since the breakfast carried us right through to dinner.  And what a dinner!  I'm not sure that we have ever had these in our home: LOBSTER TAILS!  They were gigantic and were accompanied by a wonderful rice and vegetable dish, asparagus, and a salad with greens and strawberries.  I was in seventh heaven.

But a couple of hours later dessert was served.  Strawberry cheesecake with some more sliced strawberries on the side.  I went to bed a happy man.

Unfortunately, my camera instincts didn't kick in and I have no photos of the food.  But I can tell you that too many days like this will further convince me to never go to a public beach again.

No, no, that's not me.  I have never owned a Speedo!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Call the fire department - - no wait!

What on earth is causing those flames???

Oh, never mind.  They just lit the candles on my birthday cake.

71 and counting.

And to those of you who mark the day - Happy Easter.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Lookin' back - some more

A few days ago I visited a European car show.  In the comments, I mentioned the 1971 MGB I once owned.  Guess what?  I found some pictures!

Of course, those cars did have their problems.  Fortunately the manufacturers included a tire pump.

That was in Indiana.  A year or two later found us in Scottsdale at an arts fair.  SWMBO (She Who Must Be Obeyed), me and the girl who went on to become The BRD (Beautiful Rich Daughter).

And some years later, at work in California, a stop at the beach.  In a leisure suit!

Lots of good memories in those old photos.