Monday, January 23, 2012


That's the Godawful Oblivious Poppycockers.

Self punishers that we are, we watched the umpteenth Republican presidential contendors debate tonight.  Why, oh why, do we do it.  There is lots of other programming on television.  There are "Dog, the Bounty Hunter"; "Miami Ink"; "Dog Whisperer", "Tommy Lee Goes to College" and many other quality programs.

But no, we waste our lives watching a diminishing band of lunatics trying to become the favorite of the Republican party to be destroyed by President Barack Obama.  I mean, who's going to compete with this:

But, anyway, the Final Four went at it again tonight down there in Florida.  Mighty Willard (Willard Mitt Romney - you can look it up) wielded the cudgel tonight over his opponent Leroy (Newton Leroy Gingrich - you can look that one up, too).  Willard, having been duly worked over by Leroy up there in the intellectual hotbed that is South Carolina last week, decided he was going to give that fat little spider a taste of his own medicine.  And so he did, at one time reducing poor Leroy to a near-Rick Perry moment, when he paused for a lengthy time before trying a comeback.  One would have thought that Leroy had been so stunned by the Mormon onslaught that he couldn't think in great ponderous thoughts, as is so often his wont.

Meantime, poor Ricky Santorum (looking for all the world like a Cub Scout) and patient Ron Paul (who appeared simultaneously bored and amused) anchored the ends of this duel in the swamp.  They each got about 10 percent of the time allotted to the other two dingbats.  And that's about what they're worth. 

One has to nearly feel sorry for Santorum, who looks so aggrieved but also shamefaced when he is suddenly called upon to answer one of the rare questions directed his way.

Not so for Ron Paul.  He is always ready to lecture us on his bizarre theories of monetary and Constitutional reform.  As he nearly said tonight, he knows he has no chance of winning the presidential nomination but he loves the attention his out-of-date theories are getting via his continued candidacy.

(By the way, did you hear about his son, Senator Rand Paul?  He set off an alarm at the airport in Nashville today, refused a TSA patdown and was denied permission to fly to Washington.  Seems like the whole family has been smokin' that wacky tobaccy.)

So anyway, tonight Willard (Mitt) got tough with Leroy (Newt).  We'll see how that goes over with the fine Republican voters of Florida, several hundred thousand of which have already voted. 

But in Washington, laughter (and maybe some Al Green music) is resounding from the White House.

Saturday, January 21, 2012


Some members of our family dined at Olive Garden today.  Here are some of our selections.

 Mussels di Napoli

 Stuffed Chicken Marsala

Lasagna Rollata al Forno

And our very efficient waitress, Lorraine

Now, how do we get rid of all the poundage we gained today??!!

Friday, January 20, 2012


Early morning sunrise today.

That's from my front yard.

But it changes fast.  This next one is about a minute later from my back yard.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


I can't begin to describe my reaction to your reactions to SWMBO's essay yesterday.  It seemed to strike a chord with many of you.  But we had to explain to a few of you that we are not depressed, not necessarily going into a retirement center, certainly way not ready for a nursing home.  Her essay was meant to be a light-hearted retelling of some history in our family.  So, lighten up, people, and laugh a little.

Be that as it may, let me speak for Judith Taylor (ah, hah, at last her real name revealed).  I've told her she should do this but she doesn't think it's necessary.  So I'll do it.

Thank you.  Thank you for your comments and for your own stories.  We both wish you all well and we are very grateful for the many compliments to her writing.  I've been telling her for years that she is good.  Maybe now, just a little bit more, she knows it.

'Course she'd never admit it.

I'll try to get her to log in here again someday and offer some more of her unique style.  'Til then, I say again, thanks!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


I have been asked for space for a guest blogger today.  She is my beloved SWMBO.  She Who Must Be Obeyed, for those of you who don't know.

- - -

A Suitable Dungeon

     More than thirty years ago I found myself in the terrible position of deciding my mother's future.  She had had a couple of "minor" strokes and my father had recently passed away.

   It wasn't safe any longer for her to live alone in their retirement house in Florida.  She left stove burners on and forgot them.  She stumbled frequently and almost fell.

   I was summoned from across the country to "come and help me deal with Mother."  My sister had moved near our parents when they retired to Florida.  But she was still working and "the mother situation" had become critical.  It was obvious that we had to deal with the problem quickly and I was required to be there.

   We started looking at potential "retirement centers" . . really nursing homes.  Upon returning to her house the first day we found Mother sitting on the edge of her bed.  She looked up and gave us an evil look and said, "Well, did you find a suitable dungeon for me today?"

   We were spent from the mental and physical effort of the day.  Both of us plopped on the bed beside our mother and one of us said,  "No, not today, Mother," and we laughed rather hysterically.  Mother looked at both of us and couldn't see the humor in the situation.

   The next day we heard of a brand new retirement center that was opening in three weeks.  We took the tour and instantly decided it was perfect.

   Mother had been a gardener and bird watcher all her life.  We told her of the beautiful gardens all around the place.  She inquired as to whether she could take her bird bath with her and put it in one of the gardens.  We said we would see if that could happen.

   We scheduled a visit for the three of us to do a walk-through of a possible apartment for Mother.  It was on the third floor.  She liked the sparkling newness of it all and that she could take her own furniture and personal things.  We walked out on her private balcony and looked around.  One of us mentioned that the bird bath would like nice down below in the garden.

   Mother looked around for a minute and said, "That bird bath would be so far away I wouldn't know if they were drinking or shitting!"  Then she stomped away.  My sister and I looked at each other and knew we had work to do.

   Over the next few days we lobbied for the place by pointing out the amenities.  "You can have your own little refrigerator and microwave and coffee maker.  You won't have to cook major meals.  They will be served to you in the dining room."

   "I won't know any of those people," she snarled.

   "But you can get to know them."

   "Why should I?  None of my friends will know where I have gone.  Nobody will ever visit me." 

   She had really been a loner, almost anti-social and suddenly she worried that the few friends she had would never visit her.  She worried that no one would speak to her at the dinner table.  It was rather ridiculous that one of the best-read, most informed persons in the area was worried that there would be nothing in common with these people.

   But slowly she started to look semi-kindly on the new place.  It was very different from anything she'd ever known.  The move proceeded.

   There was a terrible wrangle over her learning to use an electric coffee maker rather than perking her coffee on the stove.  "I know good coffee and I know bad coffee and this stuff is bad."

   One morning as we sipped our "bad coffee" in the new living room a movement outside the picture window attracted my attention.  A giant Blue Heron was leaning down to drink from the bird bath in the front yard.  He was so casual about it.  My heart was pounding as I whispered to my mother, "Look, oh look at that!"

   She said, "Oh yes, he stops by a few mornings a week for a drink."

   Mother adjusted quickly and was quite satisified with her new home for the rest of her time.

 - - -

   My daughter and I have lunch together often on Fridays.  Last week she handed me a brochure for a new retirement center in town that is holding an open house for the public in a week or two.  She asked if I'd be interested in going and looking it over.  I said I'd like that. 

   When I came home and handed the brochure to my husband, he asked "Has she found a suitable dungeon for us?"

--by Judith Taylor

Monday, January 16, 2012


No mail today.  The bank was closed this morning.  Must be some kind of holiday. 

Here's a picture I took of a house through the trees back in the 1960's.  I've become a better photographer since then.

The best speaker I ever heard in person was Martin Luther King Jr.  It was some time around when this picture was taken.  Within a year or so.  I was attending a convention of the Radio and Television News Directors' Association in Chicago.  The luncheon speaker was the former President of the United States, Dwight D. Eisenhower.  He wasn't very good.  Stumbled through his speech poorly.

After a break Dr. King was introduced.  I think I was sitting in a front row, just a few feet from him.  After first apologizing because he had forgotten his notes back in his hotel he then spoke, sans notes, for 30 to 45 minutes.  No "ums", no "ahs", no hesitation.  Just a truly gifted speaker and a great speech.

We miss him today.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Another visitor

It's been in the lower 50's today but the wind has been blowing all day and it's overcast and it just looks cold out there.  Which may have prompted a visit from a local denizen.

He did turn around when I tapped on the glass but I was shooting through a screen and the picture didn't come out well enough to show you.  Suffice it to say he has beautiful amber eyes.

Saturday, January 14, 2012


I took this picture at the Watson Lake overlook recently.  But I'm darned if I can think of anything to say about it.  So.  It's all yours.

Friday, January 13, 2012


I can't remember where it came from but when I was a kid in North Dakota there was a jingle I used to hear on the radio:

 "Whether it's cold
   or whether it's hot,
   we're gonna have weather,
   whether or not."

The weather here today is pretty decent.  Temperature in the 50's, sun shining, blue skies.  Not bad for a winter day in January.

But other spots in the country aren't so nice.  My buddy, Tom, of Light Breezes, and his friend Mike left their homes in the sun in Central California yesterday morning.  Their flight out of San Luis Obispo was delayed because of fog.  When they got to Phoenix they had missed their connecting flight and spent nearly 12 hours sitting around the airport.  Finally they boarded another jet and landed in Indianapolis at 1 o'clock in the morning.  As Tom reports on his blog, roads were snow and ice covered.  Today's high temperature there was supposed to be about 19 degrees as the snow continued to fall.

So, Tom, wise old peripatetic pal, here's something to remind you of how it is back home.

(Just to rub it in, I swiped a photo Tom took and posted on his web site just a week ago!)

Thursday, January 12, 2012


I've been thinkin'.  My dad used to say that.  When he did, SWMBO'S eyes would roll because she knew something weird was about to come out of his mouth.  So.  I'm his son.  And . . I've been thinkin'.

I am constantly amazed at the things that come out of Weird Old Ron Paul's mouth and the ideas that come out of his head.  Tonight, SWMBO and I came up with it.  Crazy Ross Perot.  They're both from Texas.  Their names have the same initials.  And their ideas are equally bull-goose-looney.  Weird Old Ron Paul sounds like a reincarnation of another guy who never could get elected president - William Jennings Bryan.  Except Weird Old Ron Paul supports returning us to the Gold Standard and Bryan wanted us to live on Free Silver.

Now then, let's get to the subject of dogs.  As you regular readers know, I'm a cat man.  But I have observed dogs and I believe I know them as well as the next man.  So . . hypothetically . . whereas Crazy Ross Perot most resembles a miniature Dachsund . . yap, yap, yap . . Weird Old Ron Paul is more like a Doberman Pinscher.  I mean let's face it . . he is about 6 foot 13, isn't he?  But compare the voices of Weird Old Ron Paul and Crazy Ross Perot.  Pretty similar, aren't they.  Yap, yap, yap.

Now to the rest of the field, if we can even honor them that way.  Jon Huntsman, the elegant but hopeless moderate in the race: a Weimaraner.  Grey as the ghost he shall soon be.

Newt Gingrich - (the fat little spider) - is either a Welsh Terrier or an English Bulldog.  Barking away, running in circles, but hopelessly hopeless.  Nasty little creature.

Rick Santorum - a Bloodhound.  Nose to the trail, trudging along, but his eyes give away his hopes.  Which are none.

Rick Perry - Oh, we do love to make fun of this Son of the Alamo, don't we?  I think he's a Boxer, throwing punches right and left but not hitting anything.  A loud bark but not much bite.  After all, he's confused about what he's supposed to be doing, in spite of his proud appearance.

And then there's Mitt Romney, the leader, the eventual nominee, the sacrificial lamb.  With his pedigree he can be nothing less than the Borzoi.  Beautiful to look at but not much else.  He will succeed in winning the nomination of a party that will be singing . . "the party's over."

Arf.  Bow wow. Grrr.  Snarl.  Goodbye G.O.P. hounds of hell.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


Every once in awhile I start thinking about days gone by.  My pal, Tom Cochrun who writes the blog Light Breezes and I worked together for a few years back in the late 60's/early 70's.  Here's how Tom looked when I first met him at WIBC Radio in Indianapolis.

Sort of looks like a Latin salsa musician, doesn't he?

Okay, just to make it up to him, here's how I looked in the previous year.

This was taken in Miami Beach at the 1968 Republican National Convention.  I don't remember who the guy on the left was but he has a look on his face as if he's thinking "Oh, god, here I am covering an important political convention and I have my picture taken with this bozo in a Nehru jacket!"

Well, Tom and I covered a lot of politics in our days in broadcasting.  But this year's Republican primaries so far make me just a bit envious of the Chuck Todd's and the Jake Tapper's of today's news circus.  Seems to me like they're having way too much fun.  But then I remember the hours spent every day, the lack of sleep, the occasional hangovers, the lousy food, and I'm glad all I have to do is read about it in the newspapers and watch it on t.v. 

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


Mitt Romney was declared the winner of the New Hampshire primary as soon as the polls closed tonight.  As I'm writing this, there are less than 20 percent of the votes counted but Romney has 35.5 percent.  His next closest opponent, Ron Paul this time, has less than 25%.  Jon Huntsman, who staked his campaign on New Hampshire, is third with 17 percent.  Newt Gingrich is fourth right now but Rick Santorum is gaining and is breathing down the giant spider's neck.  But Rick Perry.  Rick Perry!  Will he go back to Texas this time and stay there?  He has less than 1 percent of the vote.  This photo reminds me of Perry's chances of winning the nomination.  Dead on the ground.

Perry is barely ahead of Buddy Roemer, a former Louisiana governor you may have heard about.  Or maybe not.

And Michele Bachman and Herman Cain . . both of whom have pulled out of the race . . . are still getting votes.

By the way, Mitt is giving his victory speech and spouting lies about Barack Obama.  He's on his way.  To defeat.  And back to the private sector to gain joy by firing more American workers.

Monday, January 9, 2012


I have had two acquaintances die in the past week from suicides.  They lived far apart and did not know each other.  Phil Donahue is quoted as saying "suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem."  In the first incident, the problem . . one of health . . did not seem to be a temporary problem.  In the second I just don't know.  The reason seems unclear.  Friends of both of the individuals all said the same things: the victim was the last person in the world one would have thought of killing themself.

I think many, many people are like the classic description of a duck: serene on the surface but paddling like hell underneath.  Too many people seem to keep their troubles to themselves until they feel they just can't deal with them any more.  And so they take the final step.

It is not for we survivors to judge them.  We are left with trying to understand the victims and their motives.  It is a difficult and nearly insurmountable task.

Sunday, January 8, 2012


The Denver Broncos beat the Pittsburgh Steelers in overtime this afternoon.  On their first play, Tim Tebow passed for a touchdown and the game was over.  I called my friend in Denver and said "I'm now a believer."  But . . . the Broncos will have to face the New England Patriots next Saturday.  Will it be Tebow Time once again?  As was proved today . . miracles can happen.

Very cool and windy today.  I spent my 6 minutes in the sunshine as I try to improve my facial color but otherwise it felt cold outside and I stayed inside.

60 Minutes tonight - stem cells for sale by a con man.  Terrible.  Twins going to war - equally horrible.  Truffles - how can any one pay that price, even if they're not fakes from China.

And so it goes.

Saturday, January 7, 2012


It is a beautiful day in Arizona on this January 7th.  I was just out back filling the bird bath, taking in a bit of the sun and truly enjoying the day.  But then it's a beautiful day nearly everywhere in the U.S. today.  So much so that the nightly news anchors are making the unusual January weather their lead story.  They just can't get over it and they can't stop talking about it.  "Is it global warming?", they seem to be asking, "or el Nino?"  Whatever it is everyone seems to be enjoying it.  60 degrees in Chicago . . enough for convertible cruising . . and even in Fargo and Bismarck and Minot in the normally frozen north of North Dakota . . my old home.  People are jogging in t-shirts and shorts in New York City.  Last year at this time traffic there wasn't moving as a huge snowstorm blanketed the city.

I had a comment from a blogger friend down in Oz (Australia) this week noting that it was summer down there and the citizens were preparing to roast through another hot summer.  Well, Meggie, maybe you should come up to this side of the equator where folks are enjoying a warm, balmy winter.

By the way, some of you may have tried to reach Oddball Observations last night only to be told the blog had been removed.  And for several hours it was.  I still have had no explanation but early in the evening, as I was trying to send an email to a friend, my Google account was suddenly suspended.  OO disappeared, as did my Gmail program.  I was forced to rely on a long dormant Yahoo account to send and receive mail.  It was pretty depressing when I turned out the lights but sometime early in the morning, Google responded to my pleas.  My pal Tom sent me an email at 1:30 in the morning saying he had just accessed Oddball again and allowed that apparently the overlords at Google had allowed me back on the grid.  So here I am, not as I feared forced to rebuild everything from scratch on some other platform.  Just the same as before, writing somewhat tepid blog posts.  Glad to be back.

Now, let's kick it up a notch.

Friday, January 6, 2012


(Cartoon credit: Bizarro by Dan Piraro)

Thursday, January 5, 2012


Tuesday night the Iowa Republican caucuses were held.  Michele Bachman visited all 99 counties so people could get to know her better.  Apparently they did.  She finished in a far distant sixth place but exhultantly told a small crowd of supporters that she was marching on all the way to the presidency.

Then she went to bed and perhaps had a chat with folks who said her campaign was broke and her hopes had been nullified.  The next day she pulled out with a speech in which she pronounced "poignant" just like it's spelled.

The Texas Tornado, Governor Rick Perry, after a lowly 5th place finish, said he was going home to Texas to "reassess my campaign".  That translates into: "write my concession speech."

But, out on a jog the next morning, he heard a voice from above (or perhaps a commercial on the radio of a passing car) that said "But wait!  There's more!"  Soon he announced that he was going on to make a fool of himself in two more debates in New Hampshire and continue his campaign in South Carolina.

Was it that last drink I had last night or is something else making me feel dizzy?

Stay tuned, gentle readers.  If you think it's been nuts so far, just wait until Newt gets wound up.  Oh.  He is?

Wednesday, January 4, 2012


Finally.  Sure, it's only January 4th but it seems like forever.  The Iowa Republican caucuses are finally over.

The big winner (by 8 votes out of over 100,000 cast) was Mitt Romney.  Rick Santorum followed close behind.  Loopy Ron Paul finished in third.  Nasty Newt Gingrich slumped from first place in the polls two weeks ago to a distant fourth in the final vote.  Rick Perry, confused as ever, finished fifth and said he was going home to Texas to (lick his wounds) reassess his campaign.  Folks, that means he's dropping out.  And dead last was the miracle worker, Michelle Bachman.  Last night she was full of spunk, saying she was headed for South Carolina.  Then she canceled her flight and this morning, less than 12 hours later, she announced she'd had enough.

By the way, in the drawing above, I make the candidates to be, from left to right, Romney, Gingrich, Perry, Bachman, Paul and Santorum.  Your views may vary.

So it's on to New Hampshire.  The very angry Gingrich got out of Iowa on a chartered flight before midnight and arrived in the first primary state in the dark of night, scuttling off the plane like a venomous spider.

So, let's see.  What are we left with?  Five candidates.  Probably four after Perry's expected departure speech.  Plus Jon Huntsman, who's been lurking in New Hampshire, ready for the big show to descend.  And in Iowa?  Must be a feeling of disappointment to Republicans who saw their much vaunted caucuses end up in a virtual tie.  Kind of like a lot of (c'mon, you had to know this was coming) rotten corn.