Thursday, November 17, 2011


I had a pacemaker installed after I was diagnosed with atrial fibrillation a few years ago.  Since then I've had it replaced once.  Actually what I have just under the skin and above my heart is called an Implanted Cardioverter Defibrillator.  But everyone just calls it a pacemaker. 

About every three months a guy from the manufacturing company runs a check on it to make sure it's still operational.  That happened today.  No problems.  Everything intact and working correctly.  He did say that the machine indicated I had no natural heartbeat.  I responded to that with "let's be sure we keep that pacemaker working then."

Frequently the medics ask me if I feel better.  I always say the same thing.  I never even knew I had the atrial fibrillation before it was diagnosed and nothing has made me feel any better. 

The guy who checked me today said "in this business, no news is good news."

So I keep on (artificially) beating along.

All of which reminded me of this band.

I don't know whether any of those young men have ever had heart problems that caused them to have pacemakers installed. 

But they sure have gotten older.

Same band, same song . . . different era.


Wednesday, November 16, 2011


I know I've used this image before.  Not this exact one.  I just snapped this one today.  But a similar one.  Or maybe even "ones".  I may keep returning to this theme.  It's just that a flock of birds . . and they're not all the same kind . . gathered on wires like this just fascinates me.

When I was a little kid, there was a big tree in an alley about a half a block from my home.  It was called "the Big Tree."  I don't remember what kind of tree it was but it was huge and was easily climbed by a young squiggler such as myself.  I could get high in the tree and not be seen from the ground because of the leaves.  And there were places where the branches formed hollows and resting places, where I could lie back and contemplate the universe.  Or maybe the hurts and insults I had been dealt on any given day.  It was my hiding place.  I can remember that there were some wires that ran through the very top of the tree.  Probably telephone wires.  But I can remember one particularly dark day when I climbed to where I could easily reach those wires and I leaned forward and took one of them into my mouth.  I had no idea what would happen.  I assumed maybe instant death.

That must have been a particularly dark day.  But what happened?  Nothing.  I think there was only about a voltage of 9 volts in those wires and low amperage.  Had they been electrical wires, I think I would have had to have instant contact with two of them at the same exact instant to do any harm.

Who knows why kids in their moments of despair . . now long forgotten . . do the things they do?

Well.  I know this.  This photo I took today and these dark thoughts gave me a reason to introduce the great K.D. Lang in a bravura performance.  Bird On A Wire.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


During the short time that I lived in Austin, Texas, I found a huge number of talented songwriters and performers.  Many of them I discovered after hearing them on some of the many great radio programs at KUT, the station at the University of Texas.  They have one announcer who does a program of nothing but Brazilian music on Friday afternoon, another guy who does a '50's doo-wop show, and the incredible musical programming of John Aielli and his program Eklektikos.  Aieilli has been doing his panorama of music mornings for decades, featuring everything from opera to punk rock.  He also has live music at times in the studio.  It's a great show and you can tune it in on the Internet.

One of the performers I first heard in Texas and learned to love was Jimmie Dale Gilmore.  He was born in Amarillo, grew up in Lubbock, the home of Buddy Holly.  Gilmore's early influence was Hank Williams.  He's known for saying "Here's another one of my songs.  Hank Williams just happened to write it."

Jimmie has one of the most unique voices I've heard in popular music.  Give a listen as he joins Nancy Griffith on stage.

Monday, November 14, 2011


Sunday dawned a wet morning.  But it wasn't raining hard.  Just a steady mist, like something on the Oregon coast.  I wonder if bamboo grows in Oregon.

 Whether it does or not, it makes a good pallette for my Arizona raindrops.

As I said, it didn't rain hard, just enough to make the ground damp and leave some pearlescent raindrops clinging to leaves.

With that kind of dark, Holmesian day . . it was better to retreat inside to the Sunday paper.

Sunday, November 13, 2011


Yup.  AZ is absolutely correct.  Yesterday's picture showed a close-up of a rosehip.  It's what is left over from the bloom of a rose and, yes, Steve, some people make tea from them.

I guess it's time for me to realize that you gentle readers are too smart for me!

Saturday, November 12, 2011


Do you have any idea what this is?

I'll tell you tomorrow.

Friday, November 11, 2011

VETERANS' DAY - 11/11/11

It's a day to remember all of the young men and women, many of them now older, who have served their country in the Armed Forces.  I had two uncles who were in World War Two.  One came home, one didn't.  In more recent times, a veteran in our family is our grandson Rusty, known as Sergeant Russell Milburn II, shown here with his fiancee, Kayla.

After several hitches in the Army and tours of duty in Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan, the Sarge has decided to opt out of future service.  He may be a full-time civilian now but we thank him for his service.

To him and all the others - you done good.

Thursday, November 10, 2011


The BRD sent me the following video and I had to share it with you.  These three Italian teenagers are absolutely fantastic!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


Yesterday being off-year election day in America I thought we should have some politics on Oddball Observations today.

And then there's . . .

Hope you didn't forget to vote!


Come on guys . . . this is not funny anymore . . . let me in!!!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


What is it?

National Blog Posting Month.  November.  Every year.  Participants are supposed to blog at least once each day during the month.  I had a mind to try it this year but I missed November 3rd because my previous Internet Service Provider (which shall not be named) was down for 14 or 15 hours and I couldn't get on line.

So this is a bonus post, just for arrogant guys like me.  Enjoy!


Just to take a little joy out of yesterday's photos, here's another one that I also shot yesterday.  Looking west toward Prescott is a near white-out.

But, as the old expression goes, if you don't like the weather just wait ten minutes and it will change.  This, also, was taken yesterday.

That's Glassford Hill in the distance, the Granville subdivision in the foreground.

It was 32 degrees when I got up this morning but the sun is once again shining, the temperature is climbing and all this snow is either gone or should be before the day is out.  Thank goodness for small favors, eh?

In other news, I have a new internet service provider as of late yesterday afternoon.  Whereas my old provider promised me 1.5 megabytes per second but rarely delivered it, my new one comes to me at between 40 and 50 Mbs.  Quite a difference.  But I'm finding it has caused a problem for me.  What used to take me 4 or 5 hours is now over and done with in about an hour.  What am I supposed to do with all this extra time?

Monday, November 7, 2011


I had planned on showing this photo, taken Saturday, on my blog this morning.


Or maybe this one.

But instead here's what I found outside my window today.

The petunias seemed to be collapsed in tears.

Most of it is gone now.  But a couple of hours ago . . .

Still, there was beauty to be found.

Sunday, November 6, 2011


I thought at first it was what is called a "buttermilk sky."  But when I checked Google, I found a totally different image.  So I don't know if these cirrostratus (Ha! I'll bet that impressed you!) clouds have a common name or not.

Actually I'm not even sure they are cirrostratus though that's the closest image Google shows me.  Any cloud experts out there?

Saturday, November 5, 2011


The BRD sent over this photo of her front yard this morning.

No snow at our house, though.  A little spatter of rain but that's all.  Once again the weather predictors fail in accuracy.

But that's o.k. with me.  I'm not eager for snow and cold weather to arrive.

Friday, November 4, 2011


We have reached that time of year when it is all right to rhapsodize about food.  I love November.  Actually, I'm cheating.  This pumpkin pie was made by my blushing bride in late October and I had the last piece, smothered in whipped cream, for breakfast yesterday.

Some years ago, when SWMBO was married to someone else, she and her husband and their three kids used to travel from near Indianapolis to Detroit to visit his parents.  The kids always delighted in the fact that their grandfather would eat cookies with his coffee for breakfast.

But back to November.  It's not just Thanksgiving.  With family spread here and there it's a pretty low key holiday for us.  SWMBO still feels an obligation to make a pretty expansive (in more ways than one) meal for the day, even if it's just the two of us.  But she's not a big fan of turkey and she absolutely refuses to deal with the carcass.  So she's been doing a turkey breast for years.  (Not the same one.)  It's only white meat, which we both prefer, and it's a lot less mess.  Occasionally in recent years, I have bought a whole chicken and roasted it in the oven.  But I have to promise to pick the carcass, and I do.  (Just more for me.)

But pie.  Especially pumpkin pie, is one of my true pleasures.  We had the BRD and her Beau Jack over for brunch recently and SWMBO planned on serving lemon tart for dessert.  For some reason she didn't seem sure of it so we made, and devoured, two of them prior to the big day and the third tart.  As several people told me the other day, "Bruce, you are a lucky man!"

Now here's the kicker.  I don't really pay any attention to my weight other than to grieve when I'm looking in a mirror after a shower.  I don't diet, don't really watch what I eat and I ignore most of the wife (and chief nag's) comments on what I'm stuffing in my face.  I rarely weigh myself but the other day I was going to the doctor and decided to weigh myself at home before I left the house.  I HAD LOST 15 POUNDS!  Just in the last couple of months and I have no idea how it happened.  The doctor was very complimentary as I told him, oh, yes, I exercise, I'd been lifting weights, etc.  (That's another one karma, if it truly works, will bite me for some day.) 

SWMBO was happy but jealous.  She's the one who tries so hard to lose weight and usually has no luck at it.

But I felt so good about it that after I left the doctor's office I went straight to Jack in the Box to celebrate!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


I had forgotten that today, November 2nd, is the Day of the Dead.  That's kind of strange, since I lived in Mexico for nearly 5 years back in the '80's.

And even more so because I have this picture hanging on the wall of my den.

I bought in an art gallery several years ago.  I'm a big fan of Day of the Dead art and Frida Kahlo.  My wife (see previous post) does not like this artwork.  Just a couple of days ago she was sitting in here and said, out of the blue, "Y'know, I really hate that thing."  Well, it's my art and my room and it's staying.  But if you look at the lower right corner of the frame, you'll see it's added some panache.  That's a product of not enough dusting but I think it fits right in.

Here's a closer look.

Looks kind ghosty, doesn't it?

By the way, I discovered something as I was cruising the web today.  Today is also a palindrome day:  11-02-2011.  See it reads the same left to right or right to left, when you take out the hyphens.  Some guy says there will be only 4 eight-digit palindrome dates in the entire century.

So there you are.


I teasingly call her SWMBO, which stands for "She Who Must Be Obeyed."  That term comes from an English television show of some years back "Rumpole of the Bailey".  It was how the rumpled British barrister, Horace Rumpole, referred to his own dear wife.

She is difficult to photograph, mainly because she hates photos of herself.  But I got lucky the other day, in part because the new digital cameras allow one to take shot after shot after shot until you get one right.  She has a flicker of a smile . . possibly anticipating that much-ballyhooed tiramisu.

I think she's beautiful and she is the love of my life.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Monday, October 31, 2011


Looking at this picture may make you wonder whether that electrical cord is plugged into the Jack-o-lantern or into the cat.

It is Halloween and our black cat, Blackwell, seems intent on something.  I wonder if it's a mouse.

Aha!  It's his little sister, Muggles.  You will notice how cautiously she enters the room.

She circles around, keeping a close eye on Jack and Blackwell.

Having circumvented the two perceived threats, she settles down at a safe distance to study this bizarre creature.  Blackwell appears to have gone to get something to eat.

Having satisfied her curiousity and abated her fear, she heads for the other room for a nap, taking one last closer look at Jack.

But, is she safe?  She may think so but she's apparently forgotten Blackwell.  He, however, hasn't forgotten her. 


That's the end of my Halloween story.  If you can do better, have at it!