Wednesday, July 18, 2012


SWMBO sprinkled out some catnip the other night.  It's the cats' drug of choice.  Muggles got to it first as Jazz waited politely.

Though Jazz was waiting patiently, Muggles seemed to be sticking out her tongue at her.

Maybe she's just working up to a sneeze.

A little later, after Jazz had her taste and lay down near the stash, Blackwell showed up to see what the big deal was.

He soon found out.

Jazz and Blackwell never get this close to each other without some trouble.  But both stoned?  A different story.  And I do mean stoned.

Blackwell:  "Is anyone going to supply us with some chocolate?"

Jazz:  "I'd get some but unfortunately I can't move right now."

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


This is a picture taken a couple of weeks ago of my high school graduating class.

The class of 1958.  This was their 54th class reunion.  I wasn't there.  As I have not been to one since my 10th reunion, in 1968.  To add to that, I haven't been back to my home town since 1988, 24 years ago.

All of which may explain why I can only identify a few of the people in this photograph though I grew up with most of them in a very small town in isolated North Dakota.  People change over the years and I have come to realize that if you're not keeping track of the changes through the years, you lose track of what the people now look like.

Who would have thought, for example that this handsome young guy from 1958 . . .

 . . . would turn into this gray bearded old guy in 2012?

That guy in the upper left in the group picture was one of my best friends in high school and, amazingly, he hasn't changed hardly at all.  Plus I've seen him a few times in recent years.  He now makes a trip down to Arizona and Texas about every winter and stops for a cup of coffee with me.  I remember seeing pictures from, I believe, the 50th reunion which featured a fashion show and he ended it by coming on stage in the same outfit he wore to our senior prom.  It still fit him perfectly! 

But most of the rest of us have put on weight, gotten gray or white haired or even bald.  And of course a handful of my classmates aren't around anymore.

Time.  It's a killer!  Know what I mean?

Monday, July 16, 2012


I snapped this picture the other day at an intersection in Prescott.  It's through my windshield.  Sorry for the reflections.  And for the crack.  (Shhhhhh!  Don't tell anyone.)

Sunday, July 15, 2012


Saturday was the big day for the Old Fireside Plaza's annual Hawaiian luau day.  This is the third year that Goodwin Street in front of the plaza has been closed off after tons of sand have been dumped on it for a sand volleyball tournament.

The entire plaza is decorated, Hawaiian style.

There is live entertainment by local bands, a pig roast, raffle prizes and much more.  Visitors are encouraged to "dress Hawaiian" and many of them do.

The employees of the plaza's shops also dress the part.

I could feel this poor fellow's pain.

The mascot for the Arizona Sundogs hockey team showed up and posed for pictures.

Security is provided by the Arizona Rangers in their natty all-black uniforms.

That's probably a pretty good thing considering some of the other employees and their costumes.  If you're not an admirer of the female form you might want to look away.  But you'll be missing something.  After all, it's Hawaiian, right?

This young lass was getting a compliment from a female customer on her red hair.  One of her male co-workers commented "Don't worry, no one's going to notice it today."

I asked this young lady to pose as I wanted a picture of her tree.  She commented, "that's one I've never heard!"  But she posed.

What can I say . . . but . . . aloha!  Oy!

Saturday, July 14, 2012



In nearby Prescott, it rained hard this morning, then came back in the late afternoon.  Good thing because that meant it didn't wash out the Hawaiian luau that was going on in downtown.  I'll have pictures of that tomorrow.

These pictures were taken this afternoon after the rains came back.

If you look closely at this second picture, you can see the rain coming down diagonally.

Meanwhile, when I got home I found it sprinkling lightly but nothing like the torrential downpour I drove through to get home.  The ferocious thunderstorms have slid by us for the most part.

But here's the cloud formation that brought that heavy rain.

So thanks to all of you who were concerned about us and offered to send us some of your rain.  We can still use it but I think the monsoon is going to take care of us for awhile.

Friday, July 13, 2012


See that little tinge of color up there at the top of my patio roof?

Take a closer look.

Those are a few blossoms on our Trumpet Vine.  There are quite a few more, tooting out their hope for some rain.

Just send us some damned rain!

Actually Prescott, which is just a few miles west of us, has had a couple of good rain storms in the past couple of days.  But the rains have been splitting and avoiding us here in Prescott Valley.

But . . it will come.

Thursday, July 12, 2012


It's looking more and more promising for some rain.  We've had a few sprinkles but that's all.  But this is what caused that low temperature I showed you in my last post.

Dagnab it, there's got to be some rain up there somewhere.

Stay tuned.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


Oh I bet you've all been worried about me since my Monday post, right?  Well, I'm okay.  Except that I ran my foot into a leg of my bed this morning and split the end of my little toe open.  I'm so used to running into things that I didn't think anything of it.

UNTIL!  As I was walking around in the kitchen I suddenly looked down and saw spots of blood all over the floor.  Oh, hell!  But I put a bandaid on my toe, cleaned up the floor and SWMBO never knew anything about it.  Until I told her later.  So it goes in the life of the old and clumsy Catalyst.

But there's better news.  At late afternoon I passed an electronic sign and was amazed to see this.

Oh, not that, you idiot.  The next one.

Can you believe that?  Nearly 5 o'clock in the afternoon and only 73 degrees.  That's California coastal weather!  Amazing.

But even more amazing was the sight just a few hundred feet away that SWMBO called my attention to.

That my friends is a double century plant, rising perhaps 25 or 30 feet into the air.  Since they reportedly bloom only once in about 100 years, that's pretty darned amazing.

All hail the plant of the century!

Monday, July 9, 2012


I had my first, and hopefully last, cancer surgery today.  It was a squamos cell carcinoma about the size of a quarter on my upper right arm.  I have no idea what caused it except that I was always a fair-haired, fair-skinned boy who took no heed of the dangers from the sun's rays.  I burned my skin to a crisp more than once.  And perhaps this is how I paid for it.  I think this will be the only picture from this adventure.

It's not much.  Just my arm heavily bandaged and wrapped with an elastic bandage.  SWMBO tells me I will have a scar to brag about once it's healed . . probably about 5 inches long.  But I don't think I'll show that to you.  I'm not LBJ, after all.

The medical assistant shot me full of numbing stuff, about 6 hypos full, until my arm just felt like a piece of dead wood.  They had me lie on my left side, covered me with all kinds of paper stuff and the doctor began slicing.  At least I guess he did.  I felt nothing until late in the game when he hit an area that hadn't been numbed.  I said, loudly, "Ouch!  I felt that!"  He apologized and called a second assistant who emptied yet another hypo into me.  No more pain. 

I carried on a jocular (as only I can) conversation with the doctor throughout the surgery and told him how good my arm felt when he began doing the subcutaneous stitching.  It felt like it was becoming taut and muscular again.  Well, actually that "again" may be an overstatement since I've been a rather flabby guy for decades.

SWMBO . . . okay, my wife Judy . . . stayed in the room the entire time and said the doctor did some fine chain stitches.  At one point she asked him if he'd ever tried crocheting.  He said he didn't think he had the patience for that.  I then accused him of making a pun: patience - patients, get it?

Finally it was over and contrary to the doctor's warnings, I have had no pain or discomfort whatsoever.  This is about 6 hours after the surgery.  I'm happy and as the saying goes "cancer free."

Let's hear it for modern medicine.

Sunday, July 8, 2012


Swabia is a mountainous region in southwestern Germany that borders both Switzerland and France.  It produced this.

That, hungry readers, is an onion, bacon and caraway tart.  Let's view it from the Oddball helicopter.

Actually Swabia only produced the recipe.  This particular tart was produced by SWMBO.  It is delicious.

It contains copious quantities of onions and bacon and caraway seeds.  And some butter.  And egg yolks.  And cream.

Is it any wonder that I obey a woman who can create this kind of culinary masterpiece?  Swabia, gastronomy, SWMBO . . . you have my heart.

Saturday, July 7, 2012


The Rolling Stones are always good for some hip-shakin' music on a quiet Saturday.  But check out the stunning Lisa Fischer, trading riffs with Mick on this live version of Gimme Shelter.

By the way, think 11 and 22.  I just noticed this is my 1,122nd post here on Oddball.  Thanks for following along.

Friday, July 6, 2012


She's back!  Yes, once again SWMBO (She Who Must Be Obeyed) has been rankled and has risen to . . the pen.  Herewith, her recent epistle:


I'm fed up!  Why is everyone trying to improve on watermelon?  What's to improve?

The last straw was a recent potluck dinner party when one of the guests said, "You all are my guinea pigs tonight.  I tried a new salad recipe.  Hope you like it."

Well, I didn't.  Watermelon accompanied by garlic and olives and tomatoes, for God's sake!  Garlic, olives and tomatoes love each other but they get together and jump on watermelon and kick all the texture, flavor and beauty right out of it.

Today I received a new magazine in the mail and there it was: a recipe for tomato, cucumber and watermelon salad, with cilantro, scallions and cayenne!

Okay, folks.  I'm not a complete purist.  One of my favorites is a "Melon Salad" using equal amounts of watermelon, honeydew and cantaloupe with a bare hint of raspberry vinaigrette and fresh mint.

If you do much more than this, you kill the essence.  And don't even let me hear that you put some on the grill.

I'm just sayin'.

Thursday, July 5, 2012


Long before electronic spam . . .

. . . long before Monty Python's spam . . .

. . . long before Spamarama,

    . . . long before Spamalot,

there was simply Spam, a spiced meat product invented by the Hormel company in Austin, Minnesota. 

It is a canned precooked meat product.  The name Spam came from a combination of the words "spiced" and "ham".  As of 2007, seven billion cans of Spam have been sold.  3.8 cans are consumed every second in the United States.  You can read a lot more about Spam here.

It is actually quite fascinating, including the surprising information that Spam is sold in many varieties of flavors . . like Spam Hot and Spicy, with Tabasco flavor added; Spam Oven Roasted Turkey; Spam with Bacon; Spam Garlic; and many others.

Spam is on the menu at McDonald's restaurants in Guam, Hawaii and Saipan, and on Burger King menus in Hawaii.  In fact, it is so popular in Hawaii it is sometimes referred to as The Hawaiian Steak.

All of which is to tell you that . . . wait for it . . . I like Spam.  SWMBO and, I'm sure, a lot of other people think I'm nuts.  She can't even stand the smell of it.  But I like it.

Take a big hamburger bun, slather some mayonaisse on the bottom half, some margarine on the top and insert a couple of slices of Spam.

Top the Spam with a slice of American cheese.

Top it with the other half of the bun, add some potato chips and . . voila!  A sandwich fit for a king.

Or a Viking.  (see previous Monty Python video)

Wednesday, July 4, 2012


Regular readers of this blog may recall that SWMBO decided our front patio looked like the dickens and needed some work.  If you hadn't heard about it or can't remember, here's a link to that story.

Well after the power washing, here is what she had left.

It stayed that way for quite a while as she contemplated it and discussed various ideas for what to do with it.  Then around the middle of May we went to Phoenix and stopped in at a house party.  The host and hostess have a lovely back yard, much of which was covered in a patio of the same hue as ours used to be.  SWMBO chatted with the hostess about it and got some tips on what to do.

When we came home she bought several cans of Rustoleum paint.  But by then it was too hot to work outside.  Finally she knew it wasn't going to get any cooler until the monsoon blew in and it would bring rain so it was "now or never".  So on a couple of mornings she rose at some obscenely early hour and worked on the patio.  Here is the result.

She wanted that sort of mottled look, not just solid reddish-brown like it was the first time.  I think it looks pretty darn good.  And I was warned more than once to stay away so my investment in sweat equity is ZERO!

Oh, and by the way, happy Fourth of July!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012


I'm a very light eater in the morning so this is fine with me.

A toasted and buttered English muffin, topped with Blackberry preserves.

Thank you, T.J.

Monday, July 2, 2012


Yesterday was the first of July . . another hot day in Arizona.  But a few clouds in the sky presage the upcoming monsoon season and some cooling rain.

Meantime, SWMBO fired up the grill yesterday evening and threw on an abundance of veggies.

You can't beat fire-grilled veggies.

Once the grilling was done, the vegetables joined a couple of slabs of oven roasted beef brisket and dinner was served.

Yes it was hot outside but it was worth it.  I kept the cook and myself supplied with drinks and cleaned up afterward, like a good boy.

I can hardly wait for leftovers tonight!