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!

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