Tuesday, December 6, 2011


With the temperature climbing all the way up to 35 degrees I think only members of the Polar Bear Club would take to the water today.  Except for the ducks in this picture, who seem to be enjoying it just like a day in August.

 They must have one heckuva insulation system to brave those waters.

Monday, December 5, 2011


Glassford Hill, above and back of the Granite Dells.

Sunny skies today but not very warm (in the low 30's).  But around my home, the snow and ice was melting.

Meantime, one old member of the family was still grumpy about the snow and the cold.

Sunday, December 4, 2011


Wasn't it just yesterday that I said I wouldn't bore you with any more snow pictures?  Well that was yesterday.

You think that's funny, do you?

Oops, who left the deck chair out?

Since none of our cats go outside any more, this must have been a visitor during the night.  Probably that pretty calico that's been hanging around.

For those of you who can't believe there is ever snow in Arizona, here's a photo of my indoor/outdoor thermometer at 8 o'clock this morning.

Again I must remind you that we don't live in the low desert of Phoenix or Tucson.  We're at about 5,100 feet elevation and some 80 miles from Phoenix.  Right about now, Phoenix is looking pretty good to me.

Saturday, December 3, 2011


On this lazy Saturday I could show you more pictures of more snow.  We had a fairly good covering from our second storm of the week early this morning.  Maybe an inch or two.  As the temperature rose, the snow began to disappear and now it's pretty spotty out there.  But I figured you've seen enough Arizona snow for awhile so . . .

This is Jazz, after an infusion of catnip.  Cats, if they like it and not all cats do, are drawn to it, eat a bit then lie down and roll in it.  Sort of a contact high, I guess.  Eventually they go into this semi-catatonic state until it wears off.

Now Jazz and Blackwell don't get along.  Normally, all the big black cat has to do is look at Jazz and she begans to hiss and snarl.  On this day, he came over and, typically, sat down about 18 inches away, seemingly just to irritate her.

Jazz scowled at him but that was about all.

When Blackwell got bored and headed for his food bowl, Jazz relaxed once again into her catnip haze.

Friday, December 2, 2011


Yesterday, as a winter storm was building:

Even the cattle, in spite of their wooly coats, looked cold.

Today there is a little more snow on the ground and the sky still looks threatening.


During the most recent hullabaloo about Herman Cain, I emailed a friend of mine and asked him what he made of it.

My friend emailed back saying Cain was toast.  Cain's presidential chances, he said: None.  None.  None.

Thursday, December 1, 2011


I decided to test my skill with the camera last night by (trying) to photograph the moon.

What I learned is that, even with a tripod, I am not very steady with my camera.  But that ineffectiveness can provide some interesting shots.  For example, I suppose I could pass off this next one by saying I had gotten a great shot of Saturn.

Sure I did.  With my tiny point-and-click Nikon Coolpix camera.

But my next photo has me confounded.  I thought there was a man in the moon but this picture sure looks like a cat in the moon.

I guess I'd better stick with macro photography.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011


Hooray!  I got a check in the mail today.  It was my share of the settlement in the lawsuit of Brice Yingling d/b/a Alamo Auto Sports and Andy Scott vs. eBay, Inc.

Before I go any further let me say that I have no idea who Brice Yingling, Alamo Auto Sports or Andy Scott are.  I do know who eBay is, though, and I used to sell books there.  According to the letter accompanying the check my payment was calculated on fees I paid between April 21, 2005 and August 26, 2009. 

I do remember selling some old auto magazines on eBay and it probably was during that time period.

At any rate, I'm glad it's finally over.  Here's my check amount:

Just in case you can't figure that out, here is the amount in the corner of the check.

You've got it - nine cents. 

I got a check for nine cents.

In the mail.

In an envelope with a "First-Class Mail, Presorted" designation printed on it. 

According to the GOOGLE, that cost 39 cents.

To send me a nine cent check.

What a country!!!

Monday, November 28, 2011


All right, due to popular demand and a din rising to a roar of shouts for the story of the bat, here it comes.

As I said in my previous post, I had bought a couch (used) at a thrift store.  My girlfriend at the time, in spite of the scorn she heaped on me for bargaining the price down at a store run by a religious organization, deigned to join me on the bargain couch from time to time.

But this particular night, only a couple of days later,  she was nowhere to be seen.  I had been out at a pub slaking my thirst and trying to recover from a long day at work.  As I opened the door of my darkened apartment, I sensed rather than saw something flit through the air.  I quickly closed the door and switched on the overhead light.  That made the being intensely crazy.  I now recognized it as a bat as it flew frantically from one side of the room to the other.  I backed into my tiny kitchen and seized the first item to come to hand, a large cast iron frying pan.

As the bat flew near, I tried to bring it down by swinging the frying pan at it.  Well.  As anyone who has ever had one of those big black pans in his hand knows - they're damned heavy.  So my attacks on the bat appeared to be in slow motion while the bat was going full tilt boogie.  After a couple of futile swings, I determined that this was not going to work.  So I looked for something lighter to attack with.

Let's see.  The big black frying pan wouldn't work.  So what do I need?  A broom? NO!  What I then went in search of was . . . a smaller, lighter frying pan!  Makes sense, doesn't it?  If the big pan is too heavy, get a smaller pan.

Now, you may be laughing by now.  But my fear of the bat coupled with a certain heightened blood sugar level from my night at the pub had me rising to the frantic level of the bat.

Eventually I brought him down with a lucky swing.  But as I examined him on the floor I discovered that he was only stunned.  (After the saga was over, I was reminded of the comment by the petshop owner in a famous Monty Python skit about a dead parrot:  "He's not dead . . he's only sleeping!")

Well, good creature that I am, I managed to scoop the bat into something with a cover, carry it carefully outdoors and release the bat to the night sky.

Returning to my abode, I tried to figure out how that bat had happened to be in my apartment.  As I looked around my gaze fell on that bargain thrift store couch and . . . whether it was true or not . . . the couch took the blame for harboring the bat.  And I told my girlfriend, that was why I had bargained the price down.  Without knowing of the presence of the nocturnal creature, my sixth sense had intuited that something was strange about that couch.

And that's the story of the bat.

Sunday, November 27, 2011


This is a true story.

Way, way back in time . . so long ago that I can now remember the story . . . I needed a couch for my new, dusty, crusty apartment.  But I had little funds and so I found myself at a St. Vincent de Paul thrift store.  And there I found a couch.  A big, red, velvety couch.  They had it listed at $11.  I offered six.  They accepted and I took my couch home.

Later, I exhultantly called my Roman Catholic girlfriend and said "I've got a couch!"  I then told her the story about the purchase.

I expected her to be thrilled with my bargaining power.  She had criticized me in the past for paying whatever price was demanded, usually far in excess of what I should have been paying.  So I was thrilled.  And I expected her to be thrilled.

Instead, she said something like "you did what?"  I replied that they had asked for $11 and I bargained them down to $6.  "Wasn't that great?", I implored.

Her reply.  "You cheated the St. Vincent de Paul charity organization out of five dollars?"

Ice hung on her words.

I had failed again.

Later, I came home one night and found a bat flying around my apartment.  Apparently it came free with the couch.

But that's another story.


Read more Magpie Tales at this site.

Friday, November 25, 2011


I was looking at the paper the other day and I noticed a "brief" about gasoline prices. They are all listed as . . for example . . $3.16 per gallon.  But the actual price is $3.169 per gallon.  Which is, effictevely, $3.17 per gallon.  So why do the media lie to us.  If it's $3.16 that's one thing.  But if it's really $3.17 per gallon, then why not tell us?  Damn them.

O.K.  Change of topics.

This is about the small percentage of people who still smoke.  Now, truth be told, I smoked for 33 years.  I smoked heavily.  3 to 4 packs a day.  I always try to slack that off by saying I had an  ashtray on my desk and a lot of those cigarettes just burned out in the ashtray.

But, truth be told, I smoked a lot of cigarettes.  And some dope.  Though not much of that.

But now, after 20 years of not smoking, I can afford to become self-righteous.  I see people smoking . . not often . . but men and women with a cigarette in their hand while they're driving . . and I think . . "don't they know what they're doing?"

I think I want to become one of those LOUD performers who try to tell smokers to quit.

But I won't.

They'll just have to learn on their own.

If they do.

Before they . . . .


I think that path will take you all the way around Watson Lake but I've never found out for sure and probably never will.  Never will walk it, anyway.

I like our Mimosa tree in the front yard although since it always puts out leaves later than the Globe Willow, I kid SWMBO every spring, saying it's nothing but a dead stick and I should cut it down.  But when it finally does get its leaves I think it looks kind of Oriental and I love it.  Until this time of year when it drops all of its leaves in our front yard and across our driveway.  So, because SWMBO told me to, I've just swept the driveway and deposited the leaves in our trash can, nearly filling it.  And I'm beat.

So that's about it for me today.  See you tomorrow.

Thursday, November 24, 2011


I have to give credit where credit is due and this time that goes to The Chubby Chatterbox who has posted today on the best turkey he ever ate.

It brought to mind a Thanksgiving tale of our own.  Back in the 1980's we lived in Mexico for several years.  There were many other expatriate Americans living in the area at that time and a bunch of us would gather for parties, probably more frequently than was good for our health.  One Thanksgiving, our good friend L decided to have a party at her house.  She went to a local market and bought about a 15 pound turkey, paying some exhorbitant fee like $2.00 a pound for it.  Only problem: she didn't have an oven.  SWMBO volunteered to cook the turkey for the party.

So, came the big day.  She put the turkey in the oven and turned it on to 475 degrees.  She always does this for the first 15 minutes to sort of sear in the juices.  Then the oven temperature goes down to between 325 and 350 for the rest of the cooking.  So the turkey goes in.  Oven goes on to 475.  SWMBO says "I'll just take a quick shower."

I helpfully poured the first Margaritas of the day.  SWMBO came out of the shower, took a Margarita, sat down, leaned back, and completely forgot about the oven.  Until about an hour later.  She suddenly and violently remembered it and ran to the kitchen.  Pulling the turkey out, it was appearing completely done, very brown.  She tented it with foil and put it back in the oven, now at the much lower temperature.  When it was finally done, she covered it with foil and nestled it into a box with newspapers packed around it.  And we left to cross town to L's.

When we got there, the crowd was pretty much assembled and everyone was enjoying their drinks.  And enjoying their drinks.  And enjoying their drinks.

Judy fretted but what could she do?  Finally it came time for the meal.  The turkey was unwrapped, still plenty warm, and carved.  A miracle!  It was moist and marvelous.  Like the Chubby Chatterbox's memory, probably the best turkey ever.

There's an old expression that says God watches out for fools and drunks.

Happy Thanksgiving, all!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


So we're finally getting some real autumnal color.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


There was something of a light show on the rocks in the Granite Dells yesterday afternoon.  As the sun peeped out of some angry clouds to the south, a shaft of light would illuminate sections of the rocks while the rest were dark.  Imagine an early prospector seeing this as a sign of where to look for riches.

And here's the sky filled with clouds that occasionally allowed a bit of light to peep through.

It looks promising for moisture but as far as I know only a bit of rain came down.  Nice view, though.

Monday, November 21, 2011


Since I happened to be in the area this morning, I thought I'd take a couple of pictures and give you an update on the construction of the Prescott area's first Trader Joe's store.  The view is from behind and above.

And in case you have any doubt, there are now a couple of signs decorating the property.

A construction sign further up the road says the store is opening in 2012.  Other spaces in the mini-strip are available for lease.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Saturday, November 19, 2011


I had my big black boy-cat on my lap the other day and I was admiring his whiskers.  They seem to be very, very long to me. 

But then I was thinking as I was uploading this photo . . a cat has whiskers for a reason - to warn him when he's getting too close to something or heading into a hole that's too small for him.  They are, in essence, curb feelers.  Now Blackwell has become a very big cat, though as I was trying to weigh him the other day he seemed to be only 17 pounds, which isn't really all that big, I guess.  But if he's pretty wide, he probably needs extra long curb feelers.  I wonder if whisker length varies from cat to cat to accomodate their different sizes.

I didn't come to a real conclusion on that.  But I think my theory may be correct.  The whiskers have to be sort of like what people are saying is wrong with our economy - too big to fail.

Friday, November 18, 2011


(Check the calendar.)

Yup!  It's Friday night!  Yay!  Hoorah!  Pour me another!  Tequila shots!  Yeahhh!

Back when I was working for a living, Friday nights were time for unrestricted bacchannalia.  (Stop.  Check the dictionary.  Yup.  Spelled that last word correctly.  Proceed full speed ahead.)

Where was I?  Oh, yeah, Friday nights.  As many of us as were left around the t.v. station where I worked and could be convinced that this was the proper way to celebrate the end of a week would head to a bar.  First it was the Mardi Gras.  On to the Playboy Club.  Then the Spaghetti Company.  Later a place our well paid weatherman from the station was a partner in.  Can't remember the name but they poured very healthy (or unhealthy) drinks.  Then it was the Tavern on the Green.  All along Central Avenue in midtown Phoenix.  I think only the Spaghetti Company still exists.

In spite of the fact that we were the responsible journalists and television technocrats in town, we always drank just one more.  One too many in many cases.  Wow!  If I could calculate the gallons of booze that we disposed of in those days, I think even the Guinness folks might be interested.

Of course, there were some flirty Friday nights that sometimes developed into more serious encounters.  I think I'm one of only a few of that long ago gang that is still married to the same woman.

Heady times.  We ruled.  Well that was a long time ago now and since I've been fully retired, I frequently don't even remember when it is Friday night. 

When a gal at the pharmacy asked me last Monday "how was your weekend?", I was stuck for awhile for an answer.  I finally told her "y'know every day is the weekend for me these days."

You know, somethin' tells me old Jerry Lee didn't have too many Lonely Weekends.

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.