Tuesday, October 18, 2011


This is not fog.  Nor is it a low-lying cloud.  It's smoke.

Here's a pulled-back view that gives you a better idea of its scope.

The smoke is billowing up over the Bradshaw Mountains from a controlled burn in the Prescott National Forest south of Prescott. The Forest Service hopes, by doing these burns, to prevent an out-of-control wildfire. The forest comes right up to Prescott and could do serious damage.

A few years ago, just such a fire scared the daylights out of a lot of people in Prescott and several outlying homes were lost.

So, in spite of a certain number of people who complain about the smoke drifting into town every time there is a controlled burn, it's probably a pretty good idea.

Sunday, October 16, 2011


Some afternoon sunlight through a screen door.

Changing colors in a bamboo plant

Fall colors on leaves

Ivy climbs a fence

Pampas against a blue sky

A wider screen view

The underside of a mimosa tree

And a mimosa pod

Autumn, sweet autumn

Saturday, October 15, 2011


This is a shrine, probably about a mile or less from where I live.

Wednesday evening, around 7:30, a vehicle was being driven at a high rate of speed, went out of control and overturned on the passenger side.  A 12 year old boy who was a passenger was ejected and was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital.  Another passenger, a 9 year old boy, had a broken leg.  The 21 year old driver of the car suffered only minor injuries.  He is in jail, facing a number of serious charges.  Police say drugs and alcohol may have been involved.

These shrines erected at the site of fatal accidents have been growing.  I can remember seeing much more simple ones from much earlier days.  This one has stuffed animals, notes to the deceased, candles and other decorations.

It was a tragedy, regardless of the cause, for many people.  The driver of the vehicle probably will go to prison.  The 9 year old will be haunted by the experience for years.  The family and friends of the dead boy will suffer.  And a young life has been snuffed out for no good reason.

It is all very, very sad.

Friday, October 14, 2011


I swear this will be the last post I do for awhile with amusing (?) photos of birds.  So, let's get started.

"O.K.  Is everybody on board?  Staying dry?"

"Say, that's not a bad idea."

"That's the dumbest thing I've ever seen."

"Oh, just shut your trap, willya."

"In my Easter bonnet . . ."

"Heh-heh-heh.  That's all, folks!"

Thursday, October 13, 2011


The subject of today's blog is the avian world and its members search for a good meal.

Sometimes that involves a bit of disagreement over whose meal is whose.

It seems this struggle goes on with smaller birds, as well, though perhaps a bit less strenuously.

Some of our colorful friends prefer to be fed directly by the chef, though this fellow seems to be considering the daily fare with some skepticism.

And always, in the bird world as in the human universe, there are the gourmets, who gaze on their impending meal with a curious eye and an imperious attitude.  Even a piece of cheese can be dissected for provenance, for appearance, for aroma before the ultimate test, taste.

I hasten to add that I took none of the preceding photographs and I know nothing of their creators.  As I said yesterday, they came in an e-mail, the modern way of receiving something "over the transom."

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


As I was thinking of a title for this blog, it occurred to me that many of you may be unfamiliar with a transom window.  I guess it's not a feature of many homes these days.  I suspect it was a feature dreamed up before air conditioning became prevalent.  Basically, it's a small window directly over a door that could be propped open for air flow.  Here's a photo of one.

Anyway an expression evolved as "something came in over the transom", meaning something unexpected came into your house through that window.

Now that we have that straight, I have a variety of items to show you that came to me by e-mail today (or over the transom.)

First is a series of remarkable photographs by a professional sports photographer in Phoenix of a giant dust storm this summer.  Take a look at the amazing photographs from the blog of Mark J. Rebilas.

Next some photographs of a home project at my cousin Bonnie's house in Billings, Montana.  The deck around their house was about 30 years old and they decided they needed a new one.  Here's how it began.

And here's the finished product.

Pretty darn nice, isn't it.  As Bonnie said, not bad for a bunch of amateurs.

You may remember my cousin Bonnie from an earlier post.  She's a bluegrass musician, playing a variety of instruments.  Looks to me like she's got her own stage for some concerts now.

Not being much of a handyman myself, you can well imagine when I saw these pictures I was all eyes.

  Or should I have said "owl eyes."  Actually, that was one of a number of photos sent to me by my friend, Meggie who blogs from "way down under", as we Northern Hemisphere snobs like to say.

I'll try to put some more pictures from "over the transom" on in another post.

Monday, October 10, 2011


I know, I know, I keep having these lapses in my blogging.  And I know when I don't post, there are millions out there who feel bereft. 


Maybe not millions. 

Maybe thousands.



O.K.  Two or three.

But, you see, as I have said many times before I live a very sedentary life these days.  I don't think you'd be interested in my trips to the pharmacy to pick up prescriptions.

Or my now infrequent visits to the kitchen to try to cook something.

(However, I did make a foray there last night.  We had some leftover Kraft macaroni and cheese.  And several pieces of chicken that were cooked a few days ago.  So I had the idea to plate the mac and cheese and slice up the chicken fairly finely and arrange it over the m&c and heat it up in the microwave.  But I figured it might be pretty dry so I tried a trick I'd seen many fancy chefs use on the food channel.  I fried an egg, sunny side up, and placed it on top of everything else.  Y'know what?  It was pretty darn tasty!  But I don't think I'll send the recipe to Bon Appetit.)

So, any way.  I need something to blog about before I can bring myself to blog.  After several days of what we used to call in broadcasting "dead air", it arrived in an e-mail from the BRD this evening.

She said she'd brought the plants in for the winter and arranged them along with a couple of cat beds.  And she said it seemed to be kitty approved.  I agree.  Here's her photo.

On the top level, Lilly and Jet.  Underneath, Mister Taz.

The newcomer down below originally was called Taz, short for the Tasmanian Devil.  But of late the BRD says she's been calling him "Mister" more often.  So I have dubbed him Mister Taz.

Or, like most cats, maybe he just chose his own name.

Friday, October 7, 2011


The season is finally over for my Arizona Diamondbacks.  The Milwaukee Brewers finally ended it for them in the bottom of the 10th inning this evening with a hard-fought one-run victory in the 5th game of the 5 game series.  So congratulations to the Brewers.

But D-Backs fans have nothing to be ashamed of.  They went from worst in their division last year to first this year, defeating the incumbent World Champion San Francisco Giants by 8 games.

The real star of their team is this man.

He is their manager, Kirk Gibson.  He is given credit for changing the attitude of this team and making them champions of the National League West this year.  Nearly everyone says he should be named the National League Manager of the Year.

Meantime, as we Brooklyn Dodgers fans used to say back in the 40's and 50's - "Wait 'til next year!"

Thursday, October 6, 2011

OH . . .

It is always such a good night when the Yankees get beat!


I was a big critic of George W. Bush during his presidency, for a lot of things but largely because of his crippled syntax.  But he looks darn near eloquent, next to Sarah Palin.

I quote from Ms. Palin's interview with Greta Van Susteren on why she decided not to seek the presidency in 2012.

"I concluded that I can be an effective voice and a real decisive role in helping get true public servants elected to office, not just in the presidency, but we have 33 senate seats coming up, we have a House of Representatives that we need to strengthen in numbers, conservatives who understand that our country has got to get back on the right track economically here and governors' seats around the nation."

Now, I ask you: does that make any sense?

Does Sarah Palin ever make any sense?

W, we hardly new ye.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


I have decided, after much consideration of the ins and outs, that I shall not, this year, seek the presidency of the United States.  I'm sure you're all disappointed but, as New Jersey Governor Chris Christy said yesterday, "now is not my time."

I think you should know that I have put in virtually no thought to running for president.  I have not discussed it with my wife or children or her children or my grandchildren or her grandchildren.  Neither have I mentioned it to my brother or his children (my nieces and nephews) or any of their children.

None of my friends have been consulted about this great decision.  I don't have a pastor but if I did I can assure you that he would not have been consulted either.

Nor would my psychiatrist, if I had one.  Nor any of my doctors, of which I have too many.

No, this has been totally my decision, reached after I stopped laughing when I just read that Sarah Palin has decided that she won't run for president in 2012 either.

Needless to say, I am still happy to accept any monetary donations that my friends, families and followers would care to send me.

Gosh darn it, this is shaping up to be quite a politicial season, isn't it?

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

DECEMBER 21, 2012

Remember the horror that was Y2K?  And all of the predictions of the End of Times through the years from one religious quack or another?  The current one stems from the calendar of the Mayan Indians of Mexico, which supposedly comes to an end on December 21st, 2012, at 11:11 p.m. Universal Time.  That's the prediction of one Lawrence E. Joseph, an alleged writer.

But others, like Sandra Noble, executive director of the Foundation for the Advancement of Mesoamerican studies, say to render Dec. 21, 2012, as a doomsday or moment of cosmic shifting, she says, is "a complete fabrication and a chance for a lot of people to cash in."

So, as the old saying goes "don't sell the farm."  I suspect we'll all make it to Christmas Day next year.

But in the meantime, the sky over my part of Arizona today resembled some kind of apocalypse.

Monday, October 3, 2011


It looks like Autumn has finally gotten serious.  The high temperatures on the past balmy weekend were in the lower 80's.  Even today it is forecast to hit 79.  But tomorrow, ah tomorrow, that's when the temperatures will begin to drop.  Tomorrow's high is forecast to be 70, Wednesday's 69 and by Thursday the forecast high is 60!  That's SIXTY DEGREES, folks.  Flagstaff, only about 80 miles from here but a couple of thousand feet higher in elevation, has a possibility of SNOW!

Yes, I'm afraid the balmy days of summer are gone for this year and it won't be too long until we see something like this.

And then we'll be right back to complaining about the snow, the ice and the cold weather and wondering if summer will ever come.

Saturday, October 1, 2011


The baseball playoffs have begun and my Arizona Diamondbacks and their star pitcher Ian Kennedy were beaten in their opening game by the Milwaukee Brewers.  It was only 4 to 1 but it's still a loss.  Not as bad as the 9 to nothing drubbing Tampa Bay gave Texas yesterday or the 11 to 3 lesson the Phillies are handing the Cardinals as I write.  But a loss is a loss, especially at this time of year.

However, to quote a great American scholar, "tomorrow is another day."  (Scarlett O'Hara)

Friday, September 30, 2011


It's Friday.  Time to relax, kick back and have some fun. 

If you're one of those people who still practice meatless Fridays, you might want to try some tasty catfish.

I hope none of you need to fly anywhere this Friday.  It's become more and more of a hassle.

Where ever and however you spend your day, make it a fun one!

Thursday, September 29, 2011


All right, this time I'm really gonna tick some of you off.  I know it but I just can't restrain myself.

I was a draft dodger back in the late 50's-early 60's.  Not a real brave dodger who went to Canada or something.  I mean, first of all, I was going to college.  That got me "deferred".  That's a real polite way of saying "Let someone else go."

Then I left college behind and I was probably fair game for awhile.  But then I got married.  And my new wife had a 2 year old son.  So I'm not only married, I'm a father.  That got me deferred big time.  All of this was in the time of Korea.  Vietnam hadn't even begun yet. 

So, I never served my country in the military.  Sometimes I feel a bit sorry about that but most of the time I say "thank God".  I don't think I ever had that killer instinct.

All of which is to say that I sometimes scorn and sometimes praise those veterans who proudly make their service known.  Now, on the scorn side, are those guys who put "General, U.S. Army, Retired" or some such on their mail boxes, their personalized envelopes, their business cards, or whatever. 

But there are the other guys.  The fighters.  The guys who left friends behind on the battlefield.


I saw a car in a parking lot today and I took a picture.  I have no idea what the owner has in his history but he's sure proud of it.  And he may have reason to be.  Anyway, there's the picture.

What do YOU think?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


I'm not sure why it is but the BRD and I both seem to be drawn to black cats.  Don't get me wrong.  We have other cats of different hues and shades and the like.  But especially at this time of year, as we near October and work through the month to that most hallowed of nights . . the 31st . . . Halloween . . . well, then that's when a truly black cat comes into its own.  Just a short time ago, I received a photo by e-mail from the BRD of her black cat, Jet, posed provocatively and letting us all know what Halloween is all about.

I accused her of being lucky with that shot but she says she's been shooting him for three days to get it so I'll just say she's a great photographer.

Now, that's not all.  You may remember my blog post yesterday about that big black Jeep.  Well, the BRD's Beau Jack sent me two, count 'em, TWO photographs today of HIS jeep.  It's a little more rugged than the one I saw.  Take a look.

I like the look of that winch on the front.  You never know when you're going to have to pull some prissy yuppie's car out of a ditch.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


Now I'm a sensitive guy.  I have my feminine side.  Don't get me wrong.  I appreciate my wife and my daughter and can understand their concerns when things get rough.  But . . .

I mean but . . .

There are some times when a man just has to be a man.

This happened to me the other day when I looked out the window and saw this car in my neighbor's driveway.

That, my friends, is a Jeep.  And not one of those bright red, girly kind of Jeeps.  This one is matte black, tinted windows, high off the wheels.  It's a JEEP, damnit.  The way it was supposed to be made.

Dog-gone!  That's a MAN'S ride!

Sunday, September 25, 2011


Last year around this time, the BRD and her Beau Jack went to a Halloween party.  She had a single pumpkin outside her front door.  When they returned from the party they found the pumpkin smashed to smithereens, probably by some disappointed trick-or-treater.  Being the BRD, she just swept the detritus off into a garden area.  This year here's what those abandoned seeds have produced.

Meanwhile over at our house the Pampas grass is really flying its freak flag these days.

That plant has grown to 7 or 8 feet tall this year.

Yes, autumn is in the air.  Even if the temperature is still climbing to the upper 80's every day.

Saturday, September 24, 2011


The results are in from the latest Republican Straw Poll, this time in Florida.  They are as follows:

Michelle Bachmann          1.5%
Jon Huntsman                   2.26%
Newt Gingrich                    8.4%
Ron Paul                             10%
Mitt Romney                        14%
Rick Perry                             15.43%

And the winner by better than 2 to 1 over Perry in second place was . . . . . .tadatadadah!

Herman Cain with 37.11%

All of which goes to prove that Republican voters in this year of the Tea Party are stone cold crazy!


There are some . . . like my long-time-ago colleague Tim . . . who say "I can't watch baseball . . it's too slow."

I could say I follow my team because I'm older and slower now.  But I don't think that's true since I've been following Major League Baseball since I was around six years old.  (And that's a long time ago!)  At any rate, last night was exciting to me as my Arizona Diamondbacks beat the reigning World Champion San Francisco Giants to clinch the National League West Division title for 2011.

I watched the game on television and then what seemed like close to an hour of the team celebrating on the field, in the locker room, back on the field and finally into a group jump into the swimming pool beyond the outfield.  It brought to my mind the fact that these guys are all just boys playing a game.  Sure there are million dollar salaries among them but when a big victory comes they all act like kids.  And it's fun to see.

So, they've reached one plateau.  Next are the playoffs and if they survive them it's on to the World Series.  Only a week or so ago the team celebrated the 10th year anniversary of their biggest win as a team so far.

Could they repeat this year?  Their great manager, Kirk Gibson, didn't predict that last night but he did have a great quote: "We're a damn good team!"  Well said, Kirk.  Here's hoping.

Friday, September 23, 2011