Thursday, December 15, 2011


This is Glassford Hill.  Once upon a time it was a volcano.  You notice we don't call it a volcano.  Or a mountain.  Just a hill.  It's part of what separates Prescott Valley from Prescott.

And this panorama shows Prescott Valley and a great cloud formation in the distance, beyond what is supposed to be a park some day.  Right now it's just pastureland.  As you can see.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


For those of you concerned about the old Catalyst's weather, here's the real dope.  The heavy snow was in the mountains around Prescott and about 80 miles away where Flagstaff got around a foot.  But here?  Just a dusting.

It did rain much of yesterday but it only turned to snow around 9 or 10 last night and then moved off.  So, while it's chilly and wet outside, very little snow.

Monday, December 12, 2011


Now before you go gettin' all melancholy, listen to brother Greg Brown.

The rest of you . . . have a nice day!

Sunday, December 11, 2011


I watched the latest Republican debate last night.

Mitt - I'll bet you ten grand.

Newt - If you'd beaten Ted Kennedy . . .

Michelle - Newt Romney.

Ron - Abolish everything.

Rick P. - Who knows?

Rick  S. - I'm against everything.

And I thought "is this the best they can do?"

Then I watched our president on 60 Minutes tonight.  And I thought "why is this man trailing in the polls?"

And I thought "Presidential politics is the most ridiculous race in life."

In case you haven't figured it out by now . . . I support the re-election of Barack Obama as President of the United States.

Opponents may now state their case.

Saturday, December 10, 2011


So, Ebenezer Scrooge (before his epiphany) isn't scary enough for you?  Well then, consider Krampus.

Please take my best wishes for a very scary Christmas!

Friday, December 9, 2011


We got our Social Security information for the coming year in the mail today.  Hooray!  Next year we're going to get a COLA - a Cost of Living Adjustment.  But we've changed insurers for our Medicare prescription drug coverage and the premium will be taken out of our Social Security checks before we ever get them.  However, that information hadn't caught up to the SS people yet so it was not reflected in our new figures.  So I took the monthly totals and subtracted what will be deducted to give me a new figure.  Then I added mine and SWMBO's together to get the total of what our monthly checks will be.  Then I did the same with this year's figures and once I had a real total there, I subtracted it from next year's total.  And it's a nice round figure: $50.00.   Fifty bucks a month for the two of us.  That's our Cost of Living Adjustment.

That will just about pay our new Internet Service Provider for hooking us up to the big wide world.  But it won't do anything for the increased costs of food and gasoline.  'Course, gasoline prices have been dropping over the last several months for us.

So we'll scrimp and live, as it seems we almost always have, from paycheck to paycheck.  We're not poor, we're not homeless, we're not hungry.  So we'll be okay.

And there's always that Powerball ticket.

Gee, I wonder who those guys are.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


Today is Pearl Harbor Day, when Japan launched a surprise attack on the U.S. Naval Fleet docked in Hawaii.

The U.S.S. Arizona was struck, exploded and sank.

The body of the ship was left where it sank and today is a memorial.

For the United States, the sneak attack was the beginning of our entry into World War Two.  For more than 2,300 sailors at Pearl Harbor it was the end of their lives.

As President Franklin Roosevelt said then it would be a day that would live in infamy.  And it remains so today . . . 70 years and many more wars later.

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!