Thursday, April 26, 2012


My birthday - Day Two.

I drove to Phoenix yesterday and went to an Arizona Diamondbacks game, courtesy of my old pal, Steve.  Unfortunately our team lost to the Philadelphia Phillies but we did get to see a great pitching performance by Cole Hamel and an ESPN-highlights play where a ball got away from the catcher and he apparently didn't realize the baserunner on first base was circling the bases.  When he did realize it, he threw him out at home as the runner was trying to score.

Anyway, not too many Dbacks highlights but apparently one was happening as I caught Steve grinning broadly.

Here's a short video of one of my favorite guys at the ballpark.  Turn your sound up.

This guy is famous for his loud chant "Ice cold lemonade, just like your grandma made!"  Unfortunately, I guess he hasn't worked out such a chant for cotton candy.

Meantime, outside, you get the feeling of the size of this parking garage and, in fact, all of the structures in downtown Phoenix.

That guy pictured in full swing on the poster is none other than the (now retired) hero of the Diamondbacks, Luis "Gonzo" Gonzalez.  Probably the most beloved former player.

Finally, as I was leaving the area, who should I run into but some of the Diamondbacks girls, who were gracious enough to pose for me.

With that, my day at the ballpark ended on a perfect note, even if my team did lose.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


Yesterday, my beloved SWMBO took me to Jerome, to the historic Jerome Grand Hotel, to the Asylum restaurant to celebrate my birthday.  The building apparently once housed a mental asylum, thus the name of the restaurant.

It's got great ambiance, sitting in a majestic old building on the edge of a cliff overlooking the Verde Valley of Arizona.  The red rocks of Sedona are clearly visible in the distance.

But let's get a closer view.  Dirty martinis.

Then, since it was mid-day, from the lunch menu, we both chose hot pastrami sandwiches and french fries.

The pastrami was marvelous, just the way I like it.  Also swiss cheese and grilled bermuda onions with a dash of mayonnaise.  The sandwiches were delicious.

Not to mention the fries.  Apologies to one of my readers but there was no puddle of ketchup with these.  SWMBO had some but just salt on mine were very tasty.

An Argentine Malbec wine from Mendoza was the perfect accompaniment.  $8.00 a glass seemed like a bargain to me.

Then on to dessert.  For me a creme brule cheesecake with blackberries and lots of whipped cream.

For SWMBO, perhaps a mistake.  A Chocolate Mousse Cake, which was too rich for her although I liked it.

The Asylum covers their very nice tablecloths with white butcher paper and provides a jar of color crayons, then invites you to scrawl on the paper.  This is the work of SWMBO.

Over the years, we have gone out for a meal to celebrate birthdays and anniversaries and holidays.  Invariable it seems that I am disappointed . . with the food, the service, the ambiance, or whatever.  This time everything was perfection.  As I said we had been to the Asylum before, several times.  But as I was leaving, I asked our excellent waiter, Dan, if there had been an ownership or management change in the past year.  He said absolutely not.

In which case, they have ironed out some changes, hired excellent people, inspired the kitchen and made this one of the truly fine restaurants of Northern Arizona.

The Asylum.  If you get to these parts, visit it.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


It is said you can tell a person's "real" age by looking at their hands and/or their neck.  Botox et al can keep the face looking young long after it's time comes to age.  But wrinkles and liver spots in the hands and the neck tell the true story.

That's my left hand this morning.

And there's my all-important right hand, the "mouse" hand.  Granted, it's held up off the table but the wrinkles do tell the tale.

My birthmates - Barbra Streisand (70 today) and Shirley MacLaine (78 today) both look pretty good, to my eyes.  Happy birthday to both of them.

Today is my 73rd birthday, though I am only 72 years old.  My grandfather used to say the day you were born was your first birthday, hence the distinction.  When I mention that to my friend, Steve, he always says "Oh, yeah, you count them like the Chinese."

At any rate, today is my birthday and SWMBO is taking me to lunch at a perhaps appropriate restaurant in Jerome, Arizona.  It's called "The Asylum."

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Saturday, April 21, 2012


Our mock roses are blooming.

From the photo above, you'd think they look just about like real roses, wouldn't you?

But they're much smaller.

The photo below compares them in size to a quarter I held up alongside the group.

No trick photography there. 

The blooms are just about quarter-sized or smaller and that's as big as they get.

But they're pretty, all the same.

Friday, April 20, 2012


I've been led to believe there is a type of chicken, a hybrid, called a Rock Island Red.  I wonder if this could be one of her eggs.

Probably not.

Thursday, April 19, 2012


A couple of people I know are off to New Orleans for a week of r and r tomorrow.  They're hoping to hear some good music, maybe something like this.

Laissez les bon temps rouler

(Let the good times roll)

Tuesday, April 17, 2012


Some photos of a fading bouquet.

SWMBO's favorite, a Carnation.

A science fiction fan's favorite, a very tropical-looking Lily.

The bouquet came to SWMBO from the BRD on the latter's birthday.  Rather nice to remember your mother on the anniversary of the day she gave birth to you.

Sunday, April 15, 2012


Well, lookie here.  Stephen at The Chubby Chatterbox has nominated me for an award.

It's the Sunshine Award.  Considering my sometimes sarcastic, sometimes snarky, sometimes snarly blog posts, I'm not sure I deserve it.  But, what the heck.

The rules of the Sunshine Blog Award are simple…

#1 Thank the person who nominated you with a link back to their blog. (Thanks Stephen! The link is posted above.  If you've never been to his blog, trust me, you'll enjoy it.  Stephen is a talented artist/illustrator and a very talented writer who spins great tales.)

#2 Answer a few questions about yourself.

Favorite color: Red, I think.  I do like black, too, but I'm told it and white aren't really colors.

Favorite animal: Cats.  And jackalopes.

Favorite number: 4, probably because there are an abundance of them in my birthdate: 4-24-1940.  Hasn't helped me out with the Powerball, though.

Favorite non-alcoholic drink: NON-ALCOLIC???  You've got to be kidding.  Oh, o.k., I guess it would be Diet Coke.

Facebook or Twitter: Facebook, I guess.  I've never tried and never will try Twitter.  (I know, never say never)

My passion: This damned computer.  And the Arizona Diamondbacks!

Favorite flower: I think it would have to be Lilac.  I keep threatening to plant a lilac bush around here but haven't done it yet.  But we had them around my house when I was a kid and I love the smell of them.

Favorite movie: Oh, man, there are so many.  Casablanca is one I never fail to watch.  And The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming is fantastic though I haven't seen it in quite awhile.

Favorite painting: I love anything by Renoir, particularly The Luncheon of the Boating Party.  Though I've lived for years in the Southwest, I'm up to here with cowboy art or Western Art.

Now, I'm supposed to nominate some other blogs for this award.  I was going to decline this one but I'll suggest a couple.

Judy, at Prescott Area Daily Photo
Tom, at Light Breezes

Saturday, April 14, 2012


April Fools Day was two weeks ago but the joker saved one last trick for us.

The BRD's birthday is April 11th.  SWMBO's birthday is May 12th.  Every year they go out for a long, lavish lunch somewhere between the two dates to celebrate another year.  Then they go to a nursery and buy lots of flowers to set out in front of the home of each. 

When she was younger, the BRD always used to push the season.  That is, after days of temperatures around 70 and trees greening and blooming, she would want to buy the flowers and get at it.  SWMBO always used to tell her "it's too soon."  The lesson has been learned.

Because nearly every year we'd wake to something like this.

Yes, it snowed again here last night.  Not much and it won't last.  The weather forecast says the high will be in the middle 40's today, the mid 50's on Sunday, the mid 60's on Monday, and the middle 70's for the rest of the week.

But for those of you who like this kind of thing . . enjoy!

Friday, April 13, 2012


I can't believe this.  You just have to watch.

This was sent by email from a friend of mine.  Here's the explanation that came with it:

This incredible machine was built as a collaborative effort between the Robert M. Trammell Music Conservatory and the Sharon Wick School of Engineering at the University of Iowa . Amazingly, 97% of the machine's components came from John Deere Industries and Irrigation Equipment of Bancroft , Iowa .. Yes, farm equipment! It took the team a combined 13,029 hours (6.26 years) of set-up, alignment, calibration, and tuning before filming this video but as you can see, it was WELL worth the effort. It is now on display in the Matthew Gerhard Alumni Hall at the University and is already slated to be donated to the Smithsonian.

Well, guess what.  It's a fake!  I showed it to SWMBO and she said, "It's not real.  It's computer animation."  That sent me to the Interwebs and darned if she isn't right.  Snopes has the goods on it at this location.

Blast!  Guess I'm getting gullible in my old age.

Thursday, April 12, 2012


I've read recipes that call for "resting" the meat once it is cooked to allow the juices to settle within.  But this goes beyond that.  This is resting the beef before it's anywhere near your barbecue grill or stovetop or oven.

I know, I know.  You're probably all getting tired of my fascination with the beef cattle near my home.  Well.  Get used to it.  These guys have.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


This is how it all started . . . 51 years ago.  A rock and roll radio station in Minot, North Dakota.  Ladies and Gentlemen, allow me to introduce . . . Bruce on the Loose!!!

I never understood why the studio photographer insisted on portraying a bunch of crazy disc jockeys as (relatively) well dressed, thoughtful, sensitive individuals.  We certainly weren't.  But I guess that's why they call them "glamour shots."

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


A photo I shot yesterday was a ghostly blur with a shadowy image inside that box.

Aha!  A few seconds later and a second shot with the flash stopped the movement and revealed the occupant/resident of that fairly new box.

It's Jazz in one of her favorite spots . . inside of a box.  I'm not sure why cats love boxes so much.  It may be because they would seem to offer protection or safety or coziness.  But they all have to try out any box that comes into the house.  This one is even big enough to accomodate Blackwell.  But Jazz tends to adopt and dominate the territory whenever a new one appears.

Monday, April 9, 2012


I ran across this photo recently.  It was taken in the early 1970's and shows your humble correspondent with his zany granddaughter, Christy.  Actually I think we both look pretty good in our Hawaiians, don't you?

The last time I saw Christy (a few weeks ago) she had black hair and lots of tattoos.  My beard is now grey and it's starting to creep into my hair, too.  No tattoos.  Yet.

Sunday, April 8, 2012


Here's where I'd like to be spending today.  In that hammock.

Saturday, April 7, 2012


Judy (SWMBO) and I celebrated our 41st wedding anniversary today.  We drove over the mountain and down through a very busy Jerome and an amazingly developed Cottonwood.  We used to live on that side of Mingus Mountain and the changes are amazing to us, even in the last year.

Then on into the Red Rock Country to Sedona.  I snapped a picture of one of the famous Pink Jeeps that takes tourists around the area.

On to Tlaquepaque (tuh-lock-ee-POCK-ee), a center for art galleries and shops designed on architecture from the town of Tlaquepaque, Mexico, a suburb of Guadalajara.  These don't appear to be very Spanish or Mexican but I've always liked them.

After browsing through a couple of shops, we went to the real reason for our trip, Rene's French restaurant.  Nice atmosphere, nice art on the walls.

I thought Judy looked beautiful today.

We didn't take a picture of me so I snapped one when we got home.  I definitely do NOT look beautiful.

But, back to Rene's.  There was a bottle of wine . . a rose adapted from an Argentine Malbec.

Then the food.  We shared a couple of appetizers: Bacon Wrapped Dates with a bleu cheese dip and Saute Brie served atop french bread with caramelized apples with fresh fruit on the side.  Judy's entree was Mushrooms Streudel - assorted mushrooms sauted in garlic and thyme, tossed with feta and provolone cheese encased in puff pastry.

I had Sand-Dab, a sweet, delicate flatfish finished with beurre noisette.

Just outside the restaurant, we visited one more shop and Judy found a big pot done by a Northern California artist, Bruce Fairman.  His pieces are coated in a glaze which contains gold, platinum and titanium.  She had to have it so it's now resting in our home.

All in all, a great day, a fine anniversary.  41 years seems like an almost impossible length of time.  But as I told Judy this morning, "Only 9 more years!"