Monday, February 27, 2012


Well, it's over for another year.  The Academy Awards.  The Oscars.  The glitz.  The glamour.  The guys in basic black tuxedos.  The gals in gorgeous gowns.  I thought every woman looked fabulous this year.  The designers worked overtime and did a great job.  SWMBO and I disagreed on Meryl Streep's costume.  I thought she looked great, she and her friends (more about that later) thought she looked terrible.

Well, she won the Oscar so na-na-na-na-na-na.

But the absolute best costume and most beautiful woman at the Oscars was . . . ta-da-da-dah!

The incredible Gwyneth Paltrow.  All I could say was "wow!"

Lots of commentators were snarky about the choice of the emcee for the night.

Yes, as Billy Crystal himself displayed, this is his ninth time hosting the Oscars.  And his routine opening the show was typical, putting himself in each of the nominated movies.  But I think he's very funny and excellent for the show.  Maybe I'm getting old.

As for the awards, I was amazed to see Meryl Streep win because I had believed all of the hype about Viola Davis having it wrapped up for "The Help."  And just to turn it around, I had picked Janet McTeer for her supporting role in "Albert Nobbs" and Octavia Spencer won for "The Help."

Now here's the hooker.  Of the movies and roles nominated, I have seen "Midnight in Paris", (which won best Original Screenplay for Woody Allen), "The Descendants", (which won for Adapted Screenplay), and "Beginners", which got the Oscar for Christopher Plummer as Best Supporting Actor.

So I'm hardly a good judge.

But I know what I like.

Oh, I almost forgot.  SWMBO abandoned me, as is her wont.  Our friend, DK, has a ladies-only Oscar party every year at her home in Flagstaff.  SWMBO had declined it, I think, last year for some reason or another.  But this year she went.  She reports it was a great party, nine ladies making snide comments about all those Hollywood ladies while eating copiously and drinking perhaps even more copiously of wine.  Ahhh . . . . vino and movies.  How much better can it get?

Saturday, February 25, 2012


For those of you who are not into auto racing, you may not recognize the name Danica Patrick  Or you may.

She was an Indy car driver, a veteran of some 150 races.  She won an Indy car race in Japan in 2008.  She finished third in the Indy 500 in 2009.  But last August she announced she was leaving Indy car racing to drive in NASCAR. 

Thursday in practice for the season's first race she survived a tremendous crash into the wall, climbed out of her car and walked away.

One day later, driving her backup car, she won the pole.

Sunday the race gets underway at Daytona International Speedway.

Along with her racing career, she's been a model and is a spokeswoman for Go Daddy. com.

As one of my friends said today "she's got a great bod."

Here's the proof.

One way or another, this gal has a career in front of her.

Steve is right.  (see Comments)  She was on the pole for Saturday's race but crashed again and finished 38th.  But she'll be out there again today at the Daytona 500.

Friday, February 24, 2012


I don't know if it's because the Academy Awards are coming up or just coincidence but I've been watching more movies lately.  Herewith, my amateur reviews.

"The Kids Are All Right".  I thought this one was kind of ehhhh.  Annette Benning was great as one half of a lesbian couple with two teenagers.  And Mark Rufalo was handsome and appealing.  But otherwise it kind of left me cold.

Next, a documentary on "Sacco and Vanzetti".  I was curious about this one because SWMBO, many years ago, got so intrigued with their case that she read the entire trial transcript.  It was pretty well done and left me feeling a bit outraged at the racism that I feel led to their executions.

"The Rum Diary", with Johnny Depp playing a drunken Hunter S. Thompson character in Puerto Rico . . . which of course was based entirely on Thompson was fairly good because I like both Depp and Hunter.

"The Village Barbershop" with John Ratzenberger as a cantankerous beer drinking barber whose partner has just died was a delight.  He is forced into hiring Shelly Cole to save his dying barbershop.  It's very funny, melancholy at times but well worth seeing.

And then I charged into our DVR'd collection of movies.  I started with "The Maiden Heist" today.  Christopher Walken, Morgan Freeman and William H. Macy are all hilarious as they play against their strengths.  Marcia Gay Harden is equally funny as Walken's wife.  The three guys are all security guards at an art museum.  Each one is in love with a different piece of art.  When they are sold to a museum in Denmark they conspire to steal them during the move.

And finally, I finished today with an oldie but a goodie "12 Angry Men" with an incredible cast of Henry Fonda, Lee J. Cobb, Ed Begley, E.G. Marshall, Jack Warden, Martin Balsam, Jack Klugman, and Robert Webber and others are fantastic in this 1957 movie that was Sidney Lumet's film directing debut.  The 12 are jurors in a murder trial that seems open and shut as the first vote is 11 to 1 for conviction.  But Fonda works his magic and the final verdict is aquittal.  Highly, highly recommended.

And that's where we are right now.  Some goodies in there but some stinkers, too.  The next thing coming from Netflix is the second season of "Treme."  I can't wait.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

THE 20TH . . . AND LAST!!!

The apparently last debate of the Republican presidential nomination process took place last night in Mesa, Arizona.  The gang of thieves held 20 of them.  TWENTY of them.  They are probably, as Barry Goldwater was wont to say, "sick and tired of being sick and tired."  As are we, the poor television viewers of this sad and ugly saga.

So a quick review.  Virtually everyone I've read this morning mentions the four candidates sitting at desks that appeared to be too small for them, leaving them squirming like little boys.  Frankly I didn't notice that.  I did notice the professor on the far right . . . (hmm, I wonder if I was referring to the television screen or the political spectrum) . . . Uncle Newt seeming to have a difficult time holding his arms over his h-u-g-e midsection.  Calista must have already read the will if she keeps feeding him the Georgia diet!

Unlike his earlier debate styles, Newt seemed to be sharing an amused conversation with Romney (the dog abuser) most of the night.  Asked to describe himself in one word, Newt chose "cheerful."

At the other side of the stage was that groovy guy, Ron Paul.  He seemed to begin each of his answers with a chuckle or two.  I think everyone got a chuckle out of his reply to a question about why he had called Rick Santorum in a t.v. ad "a fake".  Paul looked momentarily surprised at the question and then said "because he's a fake!"  I can't really figure out what Paul's game is considering his dismal performance so far.  But he does provide some comic relief.

Then the two guys in the middle, who didn't provide any comic relief last night, Rick Santorum, the former Senator from the 14th Century, and Cousin Willard, Mitt Romney.  What the hell kind of a name is Mitt, anyway.

Since Santorum has risen to the top of the leaderboard as this week's "not Romney", he got much of the vitriol last night, from the other candidates and from the crowd, which may have been packed by Romney.  As Romney was introducing himself at the beginning, he was interrupted by applause.  Rather than continue his introduction, he quipped "as George Costanza says, when they're applauding, stop talking."

Santorum heard the unfriendly sound of booing several times as he told the crowd things like "I voted for it but I didn't believe in it" and "when you're on a team sometimes you have to take one for the boss."  The booing probably came from Tea Partiers in the room.  We should all remember this debate was held in Mesa, Arizona . . the once and possibly future fiefdom of Russell Pearce, who was the president of the Arizona Senate until he was successfully recalled not too long ago.

And Mitt, who still seems likely to win the nomination eventually.  Not that it will be worth much by August.  He was a little snappish, telling Santorum at one point "don't look at me, look in the mirror."

I'm sorry, folks.  I seem to have lost my sense of humor about this bunch of bull-goose loonies.  Thankfully, we'll have no more debates.  At least not until the Republican nominee demands to debate President Barack Obama.  But I'm not worried about that.  The Prez can just sing 'em to sleep.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


He's been at it again.  Last night was Blues Night at the White House and you-know-who was dragged into the act.

C'mon, Mr. President, express yourself!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


O.K.  Here's a mystery for you.  Anyone know what this is?

Here's a clue.  The first time we ever saw one of these was in 1985 in Saltzburg, Austria.

Got it now?

O.K.  I'll make it even easier for you.

By now, you should have guessed that this is a Salzburger Nockerl.  That is, a sweet souffle Salzburg is famous for.  It's a great way to use some extra egg whites you have in the fridge left over from some recipe that only used yolks.

The Nockerl is famously served with a sprinkling of powdered (confectioner's) sugar and maybe, as we had it, with a drizzle of raspberry ice cream syrup.


And by the way, I had nothing to do with the preparation of this.  All credit goes to SWMBO, who remembered that we saw them coming out of kitchens in a Salzburg coffee house.  They're so light that an entire one can be served to one person, as they were there.  She inquired what they were and after we got home she found a recipe for them.

Monday, February 20, 2012


Is there more Republican stupidity out there?  Oh, yes.

For example, one of Arizona's favorite sheriffs being caught "with his pants down" the other day.  Paul Babeau (I don't think it's pronounced Bobo though it should be) was "uncovered" by New Times of Phoenix in a story about his allegedly threatening to have his Mexican boyfriend deported if he went public about their relationship.  Babeau has since denied that but he couldn't deny the fact that he and "Jose" had had a relationship because there was one picture of the sheriff with his arm around him and the other hand inside his shirt.  That's inside "Jose's" shirt, not Babeau's.  And another picture showed the bald sheriff standing bare except for a pair of jockey shorts.  Let's see, that's how former Congressman Anthony Weiner posed and we saw what happened to him.

Babeau said he had resigned as co-chair of the Romney for President campaign in Arizona.  But, as of today, it appears he's still running for Congress.

Oh, and he admitted to being gay.

Here's a campaign button that expresses my views.

And here's a cartoon about our misguided friends in the Tea Party.

And to top off a near-perfect weekend, here's a picture of a sign at an Alaskan fishing resort that my longtime pal, Danny Bananas, sent to me.

I think what we need is fewer politicians and more satirists!

Sunday, February 19, 2012


Oh, this one inspired me.

"Hello, operator.  Could you tell me how to get to Caesar's Palace?"


Other, undoubtedly much better inspirations can be found at Magpie Tales.

Saturday, February 18, 2012


The other day in the grocery store, I noticed something I'd never seen before.  The sign said they were Lemon Plums.

I told SWMBO about them and she suggested I buy a couple, if they weren't too expensive.  So I did.

As I went through the checkout line, my cashier said "these are delicious.  Have you had them before?"

I confessed I hadn't and she said they turn red as they ripen and become much sweeter.  She said they were pretty tart when they're yellow like the ones I purchased.

So we set out to ripen them.  The next picture was taken two days later and you can see the red beginning.

A day later, even more red in the skin.

Finally, today, SWMBO said they appeared to be dead ripe.

So the grand opening began.  I cut vertically all the way around a hard core and pried the sides open.

The fruit clings firmly to the nut in the center so it became a little messy.

I got the first taste and found it very moist with a delicate sweet taste.  I didn't get any flavor of lemon at all.

SWMBO said she was disappointed and thought the flavor was bland, not as strong or sweet as other types of plums.

Your opinions may vary.  Give Lemon Plums a try if you see them in your store.

I found from Wikipedia that they are a fairly rare fruit imported from Chile.  You can read more here.

Friday, February 17, 2012


Hi, folks.  I know you've missed me, foaming at the mouth.  Guess what?  I'm back!

First of all the Republican circus.  Leroy Mitt Romney seems to be stumbling in all directions this week as his supposed lead in his old home state of Michigan appears to have been taken over by the (former) Senator from the 14th Century, Ricky Santorum.  I'm sorry.  He still looks like a cub scout to me.  But his views!  My gawd, his views!  On contraception.  I won't even mention his financial godsend who made an age-old but silly comment about aspirin between a woman's knees this week.  Even (former) Senator Santorum had to disavow that comment, though his own positions on women and contraception seem to be from . . well, as I said, the 14th Century.

But wait.  There's more.

I live in Arizona, the antidote to common sense and reality.  I have a friend in California (CALIFORNIA for gawd's sake!) who decries our state for the foibles of its legislators (most of them Republicans) and for our vaunted Sheriff Joe Arpaio.  Arpaio reminds me of the sheriff or police chief back in Pennsylvania in the day.  He's a thug and a publicity hog.  He also treads on the rights of minorities.  But enough about him.

What really got me going was a couple of bills in the legislature.  One (again) wants to arm students at our universities by giving them permission to carry weapons on campus as long as they have a concealed carry permit.  No bother about the fact that such a permit has been weakened by the legislature's deciding holders don't need any gun training.  I mean, really!  As the Arizona State University police chief said last night, "you've got students who aren't happy with the grades they've received, arguing with their professors, now you arm them?????"

Then tonight there's a report of yet another bill passing through the legislature which would create an armed militia to patrol the border for TERRORISTS OF AL QUAIDA OR HEZBOLLAH WHO HAVE ALLIED WITH MEXICAN DRUG DEALERS!!!  Can you believe this?

A Bloomberg News reporter said she had been an observer of an interview between Governor Jan "Wacko" Brewer and the head of the Border Patrol.  Brewer supposedly kept hammering the BP guy, asking "How many terrorists have you arrested?  How many Al Quaida?  How many Hezbollah?"

The Border Patrol guy kept telling her it was not true, there was no involvement of Middle East terrorists with Mexican narcotraficantes but the governor wouldn't have it.

As I said to my wife tonight, "what planet are these people coming from?"

As for the claim that the federal government ("...the Obama government...") isn't protecting the border . . there are now 20,000 agents on the border with Mexico.  During the Bush administration there were 10,000.

Sheeesh!  I gotta go mix a drink.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


Valentine's Day was a good one for us.  It began with tulips the day before.

Later in the day, Judy and I went to Prescott for a late lunch at a relatively new Italian restaurant, Rosa's.  She had Chicken Martini and I had Rigatoni Toscana.  We loved both entrees as well as a delicious Rosa's Salad that we shared.  No room for tiramisu though.

A great day.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012


Guess you all know what today is.

Yes, folks, once again it's Valentines Day.

Here's my Valentine from long ago.  Her name is Judy though she's referred to on this blog as SWMBO (She Who Must Be Obeyed).

I've been obeying her now for many years.

From back when I used to tote around a 35 mm SLR camera.  And from when I might have said something like this to her.

Time marched on, as it does and 42 years later most of our hair has changed color.

You're still my Valentine, Judy.  I love you.

But wait!  There's more!

Today is also a rather momentous birthday.  The state of Arizona is 100 years old today.  The story goes that the paperwork was ready by February 12th but it was decided not to sign it because it might detract from Lincoln's Birthday celebrations.  So two days later, on February 14th, 1912, Arizona became the 48th state in the Union.

Happy birthday, Arizona.

Monday, February 13, 2012


Looks like rain or snow up north over the mountains.

It's cold here - in the 40's.

By the way, if I was you, I'd get that crack fixed in your computer monitors.

Sunday, February 12, 2012


Kind of an ominous sky over toward the southeast this afternoon.

May have been what Tiger Woods was seeing all day.  After my support post yesterday and after 3 days with scores in the 60's, today he was paired with Phil Mickelson and shot a terrible 75.  Poor approach shots, bad putts.  I think he ended up tied for 15th in the Pebble Beach tournament.  Mickelson, meanwhile, had a terrific day, shooting 64 to win the tournament.  In his post match interview, Woods seemed totally stunned and unable to explain his collapse in the final round.

I finished my Abbey biography and have started one I got from the library yesterday.  It's a biography of Kurt Vonnegut Jr. and the title is a phrase he used repeatedly in his books:  And so it goes.  That may be the best way to sum up today's golf tournament finale.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

READY, SET . . .

Just warmin' up for Tuesday.  (Valentines Day)

Friday, February 10, 2012


It's been a very quiet day around here.  SWMBO went off for her regular lunch date with her daughter.  I spent the afternoon reading a book about Ed Abbey and occasionally watching the Pebble Beach golf tournament on television.

Ed Abbey was a complex and conflicted man.  I was surprised to read early in the book (Adventures with Ed by Jack Loeffler) that Abbey once went to San Francisco to visit some relatives and came away enchanted with the city.  This is a man who spent days, weeks, months, years and decades wandering around in the wilderness of the southwestern United States, railing about overpopulation and the degradation of the land by developers.  But, on the other hand, I don't know how anyone can not be seduced by the beauty and cosmopolitaness of San Francisco.  My favorite uncle lived there for 60 years.  I have visited the city several times and I, too, love it.

So, Pebble Beach.  It's kind of a silly golf tournament, which is a pro-am letting some of the silliest examples of golfing ability (like ESPN announcer Chris Berman) participate right alongside the professionals who make their living at this.  But I guess it raises a lot of money for charity so it's not all bad.  I freely admit that I have been a fan of Tiger Woods all these years, through his off-course scandals as well as the good years.  He's finally back playing well and is expected to have a great year on the tour.  As of right now, he's 6 under par for the first two days and 6 shots behind the leader.  Two days to play and with Tiger playing at his best six shots is nothing to make up.

Have a good weekend everybody!

Thursday, February 9, 2012


SWMBO and I rarely go to an actual movie theatre to watch a movie.  Netflix takes care of most of our desires, even though we're usually months late on the newest pictures.  As today when we finally went to a theatre to see "The Descendants".

So let me take the easy part first.  George Clooney is magnificent and even when they tried to dumb down his looks, he shines through.  SWMBO is a huge fan of his and I said it before she did, "Clooney is great to look at, for gals and guys."  Now, I think without the star of "The Artist" . . Jean Dujardin . . in the race, Clooney might win the Oscar for Best Actor.  But it seems Dujardin has that award wrapped up.  But I think this is the best Clooney performance ever.

Shailene Woodley and Amara Miller were equally convincing as the two daughters in the movie.  And Nick Krause was maddeningly irritating at first but then became loveable as Sid.  Robert Forster is believable as the father-in-law of Clooney's Matt King.  And Beau Bridges turns in a bravura performance as one of Clooney's (King's) cousins.

All in all, a lot of good performances here.  As my friend, Phil, said after seeing the movie yesterday "It will make you want to move to Hawaii, as if we all didn't always want to move to Hawaii."

But, again "The Artist" will, I suspect, prevent a Best Movie Oscar for "The Descendants".  Actually I'm not sure I even thought it should have been nominated for Best Picture.

But . . . who the hell am I.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012


What did I tell you?


We had a visitor on our back fence today.

He looked straight into the camera but didn't seem to mind being photographed.

SWMBO got out the bird book but we can't be sure what he is, other than some type of hawk.

We thought he was a Kestrel, though he doesn't seem to bear the head markings.

So, if you can give us a hint, let us know.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012


 SWMBO came home this afternoon from another house-sitting stint at the BRD's.  She brought some photos of a much grown Mister.  We can remember him as a tiny kitten.  Now, he's anything but.  He still loves his spot in the top of a cat tree, even if he sticks out in all directions during his naps.

But he seems surprised at his own growth, as when trying to enter a paper bag he used to be able to turn around in.  No more.

These growth spurts leave the poor thing defeated and exhausted.

But only for awhile!