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!

Monday, February 6, 2012

THE $$$$$ MAN

You're just going to have to bear with me here.  I know this is silly but it shows where a man's mind goes when he gets old and begins approaching senility.

Anyway, I was thinking the other day about the leading Republican candidate for President.

That's right!  The warm and cuddly Mitt Romney.  As I stared at his name a strange thing began to happen in my mind.  First, I thought, let's delete the first letter of his last name.

That leaves us with just "omney".  You may be beginning to get my drift.

Now let's reverse the position of those first two letters.

And what do we end up with?  Why the overriding principle for his campaign.

That would seem to indicate some type of internal psychic coding.  Since Magnificent Mittens has been shown to be far and away the richest of the candidates, since he shows little understanding of economic reality ("I make some money from public speaking . . . not much."  Well over 300 thousand dollars last year!), since he shows an incredibly tin ear ("I like to fire people" and "I'm not concerned about the poor.") and, as New York Times columnist Gail Collins frequently reminds us, he once drove to Canada with the family's dog strapped to the roof of his car . . . that coded and disguised word MONEY hidden in his name tells us everything we need to know about him.

But at least he's not as bad as Nasty Newt or as loopy as Dr. Ron "Goldbug" Paul.

Leastwise, we don't think he is.   Yet.

Saturday, February 4, 2012


I had a great day yesterday.  SWMBO was feeling akilter so I met the BRD for lunch at the famous Iron Springs Cafe.  We both had blackened catfish with a remoulade sauce, which is a specialty of the house and was absolutely fabulous.  Every one was smiling.

That's our great waiter, Derek, with the BRD.

Incidentally she got quite a compliment from a woman who had been sitting across the aisle from us.  As she got up to leave, she leaned in and told the BRD "You are the most beautiful woman I've ever seen."  Wow!  I told the woman, "that's why I call her the BRD."

She asked what that meant and I told her the "Beautiful Rich Daughter."  

Afterwards, the BRD said she'd been getting all kinds of compliments since she'd let her hair color go "natural".

Speaking of natural, I was thrilled by this view on my way home after lunch.

Just west of Glassford Hill Road was a huge herd of Pronghorns.  I love seeing them.  SWMBO said she had once read that this area, gradually being lessened by the encroachment of civilization, was a traditional "birthing area" for the Pronghorns.  It seems, in spite of busy roadways and new homes, they return here year after year.

Friday, February 3, 2012


We're nearly there, folks.  Only one two more days.

Tomorrow Sunday is the annual Stupor, oops, Super Bowl.  This year the New England Patriots take on the New York Jets.  Like the oddsmakers, I pick the Patriots and the great Tom Brady to win.

But here's what is truly important about tomorrow's Sunday's game.

It's the last one of the season!

Soon the overweight brutes of the gridiron can get out of the way as we true fans of sport prepare for the mighty season.

The right season.


Yay!  Whoop!  Hooray!

My prediction is the same this year as it has been for years past.

The Arizona Diamondbacks will win the 2012 World Series!

Place your bets.

(Football season has lasted too long . . I originally typed the name of that team above as the Arizona Cardinals!)

(My Lord!  I don't even know what day it is!  Note corrections above.)

Thursday, February 2, 2012


This morning SWMBO came into my den and said "it's snowing."

I turned and looked out the window and saw maybe three or four snow pellets falling.  That soon stopped and the rest of the day was mostly sunny.

But as I went out later this afternoon I caught this kind of Andrew Wyeth-looking scene.

Further in toward town, I snapped a couple of photos through the windshield.  (Yeah, I know.  I should never have let SWMBO know that.)  What caught my gaze was what looked sort of like a white tornado in the distance.

I guess it was just the front end of a rain squall moving across the horizon.  No buildings flattened in town as far as I could see.

I did take a photo of the big flag above Roberts' Market to show you how briskly the breeze was moving.  And I left some cars in the picture so you could see how big the flag is.

So far the weather seems to be moving around us except for the wind and some cooler temperatures than we've been having.

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!)

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.