Wednesday, February 1, 2012


You have to watch this video.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012


Well, as expected Willard Mitt(ens?) Romney won the Florida primary.  Leroy Newt Gingrich was a distant second.  Which just goes to prove one thing about American politics: the dirtier your campaign, the more success you're likely to have.

After watching CNN project the winner the instant the polls closed, we quickly lost interest.  Tried a show on the Comedy Channel but it was too obscene for SWMBO and I wasn't paying attention.  Switched over to PBS and watched an entertaining program on Annie Oakley and a second one on Jesse James.  SWMBO is related to the Missouri outlaw but this program didn't make her feel proud.

Had seconds of Chicken Piccata and Fettucini Alfredo tonight and it was just as good as the other night.  SWMBO cleaned up a loaf of white bread I made the other day by turning it into excellent garlic toast to accompany the meal.  Butter pecan ice cream for dessert.  Damn!  We just eat too good.  Which may explain why we're both constantly nattering about how to lose weight.

My friend, Tom, was on his horse again today about Facebook and how we, the contributors, should share in the wealth the company is making because we provide the content.  I didn't get it when we went around about this awhile back and I still don't get it.  I seriously doubt if anything I or Tom might contribute to the conversation could be worth a sou.  But we have agreed to disagree.

I hear the Indianapolis Colts absent quarterback Peyton Manning has said today that he is not ready to retire.  That kind of statement usually means he's about to retire.  We'll see.  Thank goodness baseball season is only a few weeks from beginning.

The Stupor Bowl is Sunday.  I'm picking New England over New York.  But, as I have said often, I don't really follow professional football.  Tom Brady just looks to me to be unbeatable.

My computer has been running erratically slow since it was last worked on last Friday.  I found some instructions to change the size of virtual memory and did that tonight.  We'll see what happens.  I may need more RAM (random access memory - you didn't think I knew that, did you?  'Course I have no idea what random access memory means.)

Oy ve.  I think I'll call it a night.

Monday, January 30, 2012


A long time ago, back in the 1970's, when I was still a news reporter at a television station in Phoenix, I conned the news director into sending me to Washington, D.C. for a few days.  I thought it would be a good idea to do interviews with our congressional delegation as a new session of Congress was beginning.

So away we went, my buddy and photographer Steve and I.  'Course we had to do the standard stand-up in front of the capitol.

Now, Steve is a kind of a cut-up, as you can tell from this next picture.

Uh, well, I guess you can't.  But he soon had me posing in this Playgirl Magazine pose.

Oh, c'mon.  You didn't think I was going to take off my clothes, did you.  If I had, I might be a Senator from Arizona by now.

But anyway, none of this really matters except to set the scene for a culinary adventure.  One of the nights we were in town, we hooked up with a couple I had known back in Indianapolis, when I had worked there before decamping for Arizona.  They were working in D.C. by then . . Frank for some kind of public television operation and his wife, Hank, for Rolling Stone magazine . . and lived in Georgetown.  They took us to a favorite restaurant just a few blocks from where they lived.  Wish I could remember the name of it but it's lost to history.  (And to a bleary memory caused by way too many drinks that night.)  As I looked at the menu, I spotted something called Veal Piccata.  I not only had not eaten veal at that time in my life, I had never even heard of this dish.  But I tried it.  It was delicious!  Lemony and buttery and fantastic.

O.K.  Now we move ahead aways.  When we got back to Phoenix I raved to my wife about this meal.  'Course the Internet didn't exist then and I stupidly didn't go to the library to look it up in an Italian cookbook.  But SWMBO, being the true wonderful cook that she was, decided to create the dish.  It wasn't the same.  Oh, the veal was tender and lemony and buttery but it just didn't have the same bite that dish had back in Georgetown.  The attempts to create it went on for a couple of years, as I recall, with no success.

Until.  Until we got a Bon Appetit magazine one day which had a cover feature on a dozen or so great chicken recipes.  One of them was for Chicken Piccata.  It sounded great and it mentioned an ingredient we hadn't ever used.  Can you guess?  Capers.  Yes, capers.  So SWMBO prepared the dish and we held our breath until the first taste and . . . BINGO!  The capers were what made the piccata, well, piccata.  We coupled it with some fettucini alfredo and it became one of our favorites.

We had it last night and after nearly 40 years, it's still as good as ever.

Saturday, January 28, 2012


Saturday morning and the baking bug bit me.  So . . .

Pumpkin-Chocolate Chip Muffins

SWMBO says they're great and she likes the level of spiciness in them.  (Cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, allspice.)  I'd probably like them for that and for the sweetness. (White and brown sugars.)  But wouldn't you know it?  I had a big bowl of bananas and Smart Start cereal before I started on the muffins and I'm so full I couldn't even taste one!  But I will, if SWMBO doesn't eat them all first!

Recipe credit to Jennifer Reese of The Tipsy Baker and her cookbook Make the Bread, Buy the Butter.

Friday, January 27, 2012


I had a bit of a breakdown with my desktop computer yesterday.  It shut itself off several times, wouldn't re-load Windows when I turned it back on and finally presented me with only a black screen.  So off it went to the guy who built it and maintains it.  As I watched and waited, he fiddled with it.  Finally he got it back to normal.  (supposedly).  I took it home, got it on, then it turned itself off again and I was back to the same problem.  I took it back to my man and he said he'd have to observe it for awhile.  So, I patted the top of it and left it with him, sadness writ large on my face, I imagine.

I waited as long as I could stand it, then went back this afternoon.  He said one of the memory cards was going out so he'd switched the slots around and it had been working fine ever since.  (By the way, I have no knowledge that leads me to understand what he was talking about.)  But he didn't charge me any more than the 30 bucks he hit me for yesterday.  And it's home in it's accustomed spot and working fine.  So far.

It used to be that when my computer went into the shop I went into severe withdrawal.  But a year or so ago I bought my wife a laptop for Christmas so that's available as a back-up.  And this year she got me a Kindle Fire for Christmas.  So I've really got two backups.  So this vacation wasn't as bad as those in the past.

SWMBO suggested that the next time the desktop crashes and I need to get a new computer I should get a laptop also.  I'm not convinced of that yet.  I'm not happy with the display or the keyboard on hers.  But we'll see.

There was another customer in the store and he was told his 20 megabite hard drive was so full there's not even a line on the display.  Tom (my genius) said 20 megabites is a really small hard drive.  I commented that I remembered when that was considered a huge drive.  He agreed.  But times . . and the myriad worlds of the Internets . . have changed.

I also remember that we once were led to believe that computers would simplify our lives.  HA!

Thursday, January 26, 2012


This is a slightly naughty joke I received by email, especially for the blondes among you.

A lawyer boarded an airplane in New Orleans with a box of frozen crabs and asked a blonde flight attendant to take care of them for him.

She took the box and promised to put it in the crew's refrigerator for safe keeping.

He advised her that he was holding her personally responsible for them staying frozen, mentioning in a very haughty manner that he was a lawyer, and proceeded to rant at her about what would happen if she let them thaw out.

Needless to say, she was annoyed by his behavior.

Shortly before landing in New York , she used the intercom to announce to the entire cabin, "Would the lawyer who gave me the crabs in New Orleans please raise your hand?"

Not one hand went up, so she took them home and ate them.

Two lessons here:

1. Many lawyers aren't as smart as they think they are.

2. Many blondes aren't as dumb as most folks think.


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


While Blackwell and Muggles, and sometimes even Jazz, will share the big king bed there is usually some distance between them.  I guess it was colder today as the distance disappeared this afternoon.

Which brought to mind an old song from my college days.

Herewith:  The Kingston Trio.

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!)