Saturday, October 13, 2012


I received an email today from a former colleague of mine in Indianapolis.  I knew of his battle with cancer previously.  But I thought this piece of writing was so beautifully done that I asked his permission to post it on my blog.  He generously granted that permission so here's the story.

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I am a fairly emotional person. Apparently I display it only through my work. Now, that I think about it all of my feature reporting for TV and Radio has been based on what I feel must be right. Then I would find someone with those virtues and extol them. These found me.

Just the other day as I got out of my car a man (and his wife) came towards me from their position of waiting. I thought it might be for a bus, but they were not in the correct spot. Maybe he would ask. Then he told me they were waiting for a taxi to “go see the maples.” My first impression was that they were Japanese. He corrected me. “We are Korean, visiting from Chicago. We came by the big GreyHund last night. I have been here 35 years and no learn English.”

I convinced him his language was fine. I did not tell him he was miles away from the color of “the maples.” Then the taxi came to take them back downtown. They could not get a hotel there last night since they had no credit card. Somebody referred them five miles out of the center city for a fifty-dollar night. We met; I did not really help. I did not give directions miles away to the colorful trees. But he felt the need to talk about it. He came to me with her in tow. Then they were gone.

At their elderly age they were ready to get up and go to see things. They had no plan. They just went. They had a purpose. And they just went. Happily.

This was the same day I went… to hear the beginning of my prognosis for prostate cancer which has become very aggressive since we first took note in early December, last year. Since then there has been a plan and a purpose but it did not seem obvious to me. Every three months I receive a hormone shot to maintain the speed of the cancer growth into the lymph system. Happily, the PSA (prostate specific antigen) test shows a great reduction in numbers indicating cancer. But that is almost too late.

A full-body bone scan early this year indicated the presence of lesions in my liver, possibly in my pelvis, and maybe more. A month ago it was determined with a new MRI that a major growth on my left femur just below the hip was the reason for a major complaint while attempting walking. That curtailed my part-time position as a tour-guide inside the Lucas Oil Stadium for a while.

Immediate surgery to “burn” the tumor off the bone with RFA (radio frequency ablation) proved it was the same cancer which had traveled from the prostate.

Confirmation is one thing. Consternation is another. We are advised as older males to be constantly vigilant for the prostate problem. It can arrive in young males too. It is the most prevalent cancer in males, after skin cancer. Prostate Cancer can start with no symptoms. Apparently mine started without me. It was immediately labeled aggressive and has been so. I have been told not all cancers are detected. I have one which slipped through.

The doctors mentioned many months ago that there would be no cure, just maintenance. Maybe two to five years of maintenance. They mentioned it again this past week… along with the fact that several other methods could be used, including some new ones just on the market. Each month there will be a shot (Xgeva) to maintain the bone loss (which allowed the tumor outside the femur) plus another attempt to curtail the growth in the lymph system.

Many friends constantly ask the regular question “what did the doctor say?” This, then, is an effort to compile the words he said along the way. Mostly it has been a wait and see procedure. Now, it will be a more aggressive approach to an aggressive cancer.

For now, there is no radiation or chemo planned but that may change.

I am an emotional man who lives alone, but I am not lonely. I have many friends around the world. And I have my family here in Indianapolis, my hometown. On the way home from the doctor I became suddenly aware of my future while listening to one of my favorite styles of music. It prompted many tears… of realization of how good I have it with my medical treatment.

I have a plan. I am pleased, too, that I met that Korean couple just passing through Indianapolis to see “the maples.” I will continue to follow this adventure of mine, as far as it goes.                                                       
                                                           ---Will Murphy

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Thank you, Will, for sharing your story and all the best of luck with your treatment.

Friday, October 12, 2012


There is no question about it.  Autumn has arrived.  Tree leaves are either changing color or dropping to the ground or both.  The temperature has nose-dived.  Here in Prescott Valley at 11:15 on this Friday morning the temperature outside is 53 degrees Fahrenheit.  There are water puddles on the ground from an overnight rain.  A friend who lives in Flagstaff, which is a couple of thousand feet higher than here, says she turned on her furnace for the first time last night.  And a mountain near her has snow on it for the first time this year.

I love cold, rainy days if I can stay inside.  When I was a teenager in North Dakota, I had a tiny room with a steam radiator, an old armchair by a window that looked out on the outside world, books and my short wave radio.  I would tune the bands and listen to stations from London, from Moscow, from Quito, Ecuador, and, of course, the Voice of America.  I escaped that cold rainy (or more likely, snowy) world outside.

Some years later, a ham radio operator in New Mexico told me he used to like to turn off the lights in his room, lean back in his comfortable recliner and listen to tunes from Radio Tahiti.  It helped him wipe out the stresses from his job.

Nowadays I no longer have a short wave radio but I've got something even better - the Internet.  There are thousands of radio stations I can connect with and listen to their programming as if it were a local station.  No fading, no static.  Of course, that kind of takes some of the romance out of it but I still like it better than the old "analog" days.

And there are Internet radio sources.  One of my favorites is Pandora.  Right now I have it on and am listening to some soft jazz on French Cafe Radio.  I also have Brazilian Radio, the Hot Club of San Francisco, the Turtle Island String Quartet, and Le Surdoue on my favorites list.  One can search by artist, genre or composer to find just the type of music you like.  As you can probably tell, I favor soft sounds at home  When I'm in my car the radio is usually tuned to NPR although sometimes I tune in a Classic Rock station.

Radio has always been a big part of my life.  It began with a big floor model Philco in our living room on which I listened to the Lone Ranger, Fibber McGee and Molly, the Great Gildersleeve and Amos and Andy.  Then I moved on to my short wave period.  Then I became a ham radio operator.  Later I went to work at several radio stations, work that finally took me away from North Dakota to Indianapolis.  I had also worked for some television stations in North Dakota and that experience helped me land a t.v. job in Phoenix.  Almost 20 years later I found myself out of work and a couple of years from Social Security.  I landed a job with a radio station in Prescott and spent three years there.

Oh, I should include our period in the late 80's/early 90's when we took an early retirement and moved to Mexico.  My ham radio "rig" kept us in touch with family and friends back in the United States.

Well.  This has covered a lot of territory since I began writing about autumn.  I've been meaning to take some pictures of the pumpkins everywhere, of the fall flower displays at stores, and probably some of my  immediate surroundings.  But today, I'm just going to stay inside where it's warm, listening to Louis Armstrong singing and playing "A Kiss to Build a Dream On" on Pandora.

Thursday, October 11, 2012


I must confess I had never heard of Phantom Frank until our doorbell rang last night.  When I went to answer it I found a plate of delicious brownies, a picture of Phantom Frank (looking curiously like the Frankenstein monster) and a bit of doggerel telling me I must post the picture on my front door after making two copies of it and the poem and then deliver some treats to two of my neighbors along with the picture and the poem.


Never one to stand down from a challenge, SWMBO got busy in the kitchen today and these are the result.

They are her own invention - Oatmeal Cranberry Butterscotch Chip cookies.  Taking it upon myself to determine their quality I sampled one.  Two actually.  They are delicious.  They will be delivered in the same way we got ours sometime after dark.  I trust they will be enough to protect us from Phantom Frank.  The final condition is the one doing the delivering must not be seen. 

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On another front, quite different, one of my former colleagues in the television news game has been named the Best Veteran Television Anchor in Phoenix by Phoenix Magazine.  Here's the picture that accompanied the honor, given to Lin Sue Cooney.

She looks considerably less touseled when she's on the air but just as beautiful.

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And finally, in case no one has pointed it out to you yet, today is one of those magic dates - October 11, 2012, or 10-11-12!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012


We had to make a trip to Phoenix today to take care of some business.  But one has to eat, doesn't one?  SWMBO picked the eatery . . one of our favorites even though it is a chain . . Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen.  It just looks like New Orleans to me.

We like to eat in the bar, where you can either sit "at the bar" or in adjacent big leather booths.

As befits a drinking as well as eating establishment, a large assortment of different types and shapes of glassware is sparkling and ready.

Try as I might, I can't seem to get away from the blackened catfish fillet over dirty rice.  I order it every time I go here.

And today that was accompanied by a Sam Adams Octoberfest brew in an iced flagon.

By the way, we did precede the entree with a shared appetizer:  six Oysters Pappadeaux.  They are baked on the half shell with crabmeat and spinach and topped with Hollandaise sauce.  Unfortunately, we dug into them so fast I forgot to photograph them.  But trust me.  They, like everything else, are delicious.

We were seated next to a very large man and his wife who we learned were visiting the restaurant for the first time on their 2nd wedding anniversary.  He was declaiming loudly about how good the food was and I chatted with him briefly.  He said he wanted to try alligator so he had the appetizer.  He was so delighted with it he ordered an alligator entree.  And he told the waitress he had never left a restaurant with unfinished food in a "doggy bag" before.  But he told me this restaurant was his new "supremo!" 

We, too, by the way, had doggie bags with us as we left.  And as I shook my neighbor's hand and congratulated them once again on their anniversary, I left him with a quick "See ya later, alligator!"

Monday, October 8, 2012


About mid-day Saturday I set out for Phoenix in our '98 Dodge Neon to attend a celebration of the life of a former colleague who recently passed on.  My timing was perfect but as I got off the freeway at the intersection where the event was being held at a hotel, my car stopped running.  I managed to coast through the intersection.  Then several good citizens stopped and pushed the car by hand up a hill and into a caution lane so I didn't block the traffic any longer.  I had already called AAA and the guy showed up as I stood at the edge of the road staring at the big motel where the event was happening.  He loaded the car up on the back of his truck, put me in the passenger seat and off to a garage we went.  He said maybe it's something simple, they can fix it and get you on your way.

The garage was closing minutes after we got there and had no one to look at my car.  So I left it there, had a shuttle from the garage take me back to a Denny's restaurant alongside the freeway where an airport shuttle picked me up about 45 minutes later.  And a little over an hour and a half later, I was back home.

Today I got a call from a guy at the garage.  He didn't waste any time.  After he identified me, he said "are you sitting down?"  Then he told me the timing belt had broken, a significant amount of water had leaked from the water pump, several other belts looked like they needed changing and an engine mount was sagging.  He said they could fix all that but the car might still not run because possibly the valves had been damaged.  At this point, I asked him how much money he was talking about.  He said "around 16 hundred dollars."  I laughed and said that the car was only worth 15 hundred, probably less.

So we're going to sell it to a salvage yard that has offered 200 to 300 dollars for it.

Fortunately, we have another vehicle that belongs to the BRD that I drive for courier duty for her business.  She will allow us to use it until we can get a new car.  Which, right now, we can't afford. 

As I've often said "life got complicated when the first horseless carriage was invented."

Friday, October 5, 2012


Chipper Jones played his last game with the Atlanta Braves tonight after a 19 year career with just one team.  But his career ended on a sour note from his team's fans.

The game became controversial with a bad infield fly rule call that came late as the St. Louis shortstop and left fielder both failed to catch the ball.  Atlanta fans went berserk and held up the game for a long 19 minutes by tossing beer cans and liquor bottles on the field.

There is a tradition of fans growing angry at umpires' calls that go against their team.  But even though it appeared this was a terrible call, the terrible acts of a lot of Atlanta fans was even worse.  It makes me wonder if American fans are going the way of the soccer rowdies in Europe.

St. Louis won the game 6 to 3 and ended the Braves' season.

Atlanta's manager told the umpires he was officially playing the game under protest.  A ruling is expected later tonight.

Thursday, October 4, 2012


"Ask not for whom the chime tolls, it tolls for thee." 

(Bowdlerized version of a John Donne poem refrain.)

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Well then, the debate.  Like virtually everyone who watched it with an open mind, I thought Romney stuffed the President.  Mr. Obama seemed professorial, bored, wishing he was somewhere else.  Romney was incredibly aggressive.  He won but today's Gallup tracking poll shows hardly any change in the President's 4 point lead over Romney.  So, do debates have any effect on the campaign?  It will have to be up to a much wiser political commentator than myself to tell.

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If you want to see an amazing video of a master kite flyer, hie thee over to my friend Warren's blog from Tucson - Touch the wind - and watch the show until the end.  Fantastic.

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If you want some real fantasy fun, plan on cyber-attending Tess Kincaid's annual ball at Willow Manor. 

You can meet anyone you've ever wanted to or even bring them yourself.  I hear Bobby Valentine is now free.  Maybe you could bring him.  Go here for all the details

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I finally got the movie Salmon Fishing in the Yemen today and watched it.  As a hopeless romantic, I give it 5 stars.  The other day I watched a 1979 flick A Little Romance, Diane Lane's first movie at the age of 13.  She co-starred with Laurence Olivier and the charming child actor Thelonious Bernard.  Bernard won a couple of awards, made one more movie and quit the business to resume his studies.  He went on to become a dentist and live quietly with his wife and children in France.

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O.K. lords and ladies.  That's my Thursday report.  Here's hoping your TGIF tomorrow is eventful and fun.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012


I had to make a stop at the grocery store this morning and look what I found in the parking lot.

I don't think it's totally authentic.  Looked to me like there was some extra hardware under the (nonexistent) hood.

I had to double-park to quickly snap these pictures so I forgot to check on what kind of car it was.  Does anyone know?  The back license plate said either "Tom's 24" or "Tom's 29".

I know.  I used to be a much better reporter.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012


I sent this picture to one of my granddaughters the other day.  She's a very intelligent girl who has a degree in International Studies after spending several years at a University in Israel.  But she's never used it and works now as a prison guard.  Well she says they're called corrections officers now but she still works in a state prison and carries a gun.  But her other job, which is self taught (I should have mentioned that she has the family gene for artistic prowess) is that as a tattoo artist.  So, as I said much earlier, I sent her this picture recently.

Being blessed also with a great sense of humor, she responded with a laugh and said she'd have to find one and put her own label on it.  She said she had one client who got a wedding band tattoo when he got married, then had it lasered off when he got divorced four months later.  Now he's asking her about a new tat for his new wife-to-be.  She said it reminded her of this Norman Rockwell painting.

She said those guys who constantly change their minds, as well as their wives or girlfriends, are great for business!

Monday, October 1, 2012


When I was in Prescott the other day, I stopped at the Palace Saloon for a beer.  I took this picture in the mirror of the back bar.

The Palace is the centerpiece of Whiskey Row in Prescott.  There are a handful of other saloons along "the Row" but the Palace is the place for tourists and locals alike.  It's been up and down over the years.  Back in 1900 there was a fire that burned down pretty much the entire block.  Patrons of the Palace managed to carry the back bar across the street to the Courthouse Square where drinks continued to be served.  Later when the saloon was rebuilt the bar went back where it belonged.  It originally came to the Palace in the 1880's. 

Among the legendary names of former patrons are Wyatt Earp, Virgil Earp, Morgan Earp and Doc Holliday, all of whom visited or lived in Prescott before moving on to Tombstone, Arizona. 

In present years the Palace has been restored to the grandeur of days
gone by.  But the Old West lives on.  Here are a couple of local characters I sat next to at the bar.

If you ever visit Prescott, Arizona, you have to stop in at the Palace.  I'll meet you there for a cold one.

Sunday, September 30, 2012


That's twelve hundred!  That's how many posts I've made to this blog, including this one.  Hard to believe.

And time marches on.  One could call this "What a difference a day makes."

Actually the two pictures were taken about 3 weeks apart but they show the contrariness of my mind.  SWMBO says she can't understand it.  I started growing the full beard at the height of the summer heat.  Then when the weather cooled off I shaved most of it off back to the goatee. 

The weather did not influence my decisions.  I don't know what did, really.  Curiousity, more than anything.  I wanted to see if I looked like Hemingway yet.  But, no, not white enough yet and since I'm now 72 it probably never will get that white.  So it goes.

Saturday, September 29, 2012


I took a drive into Prescott today to take a look at the Corvette show at the courthouse plaza.  There were hundreds of the cars parked on three sides of the plaza.

There were cars of just about every color known to man.

And some colors that were special mixes, like the purple and yellow combination on this replica of a 1998 Indianapolis 500 pace car.

And speaking of the Indy 500, there were some other cars on hand, like this 2012 Indy race car.

I used to work in Indianapolis so I've seen lots of race cars but I'm always struck by the tires.  I think they're called racing slicks.  No tread at all.

There also were a couple of relics from my era - like this one from 1949.

And the always beloved 57 Chevvy.

But today the Corvette was king.

The engine on this one stood up so high a specially designed hood had to be designed for it.

Although red seemed to be the most popular color I must say I was partial to the yellow ones.

Of as much interest to me as the cars were the clever personalized license plates their owners came up with.

So with that thought - I'm quicker - and the roar of hundreds of mighty engines, we say goodbye once again to Corvette-land.

Friday, September 28, 2012


Yesterday, as noted earlier, was the first day of the Yavapai County Fair in Prescott Valley, Arizona. 

First, an historical note.  "Yavapai" is a Native American word, pronounced YAV-uh-pie.  It was the name of a tribe of Yavapai Apaches who lived in this area long before the white man came.

But on to the fair.  I always love the garish colors.

This vendor, "Sassy Lil Thangs", is a prime example.  I didn't even look at her various tsochkes but the colors certainly do get one's attention.

When I go to the fair with SWMBO, I have no doubt what she wants to see.

Just like Hugh Hefner.  BUNNIES!

There are other critters present.

Geese and ducks. 

Incidentally, the critters were caged inside a huge tent covering that had a lot of red in it.  Hence the tint.

There was a turkey or two.

There were goats.

There was even a tiny (and very pregnant) dwarf goat.

And lots and lots of sheep.  (Sorry Dr. M, I neglected to photograph them.)

But rabbits is what SWMBO wanted and rabbits is what she got.  Lots and lots of rabbits.

Maybe I should have said lops and lops of rabbits.  There were many of this variety, called lop-eared or just lops because of the way their ears hang down.  The ears on the front bunny can't seem to decide which way they want to go.

This is a prime example of a lop.  Note the ears.

I liked this little mostly-white bunny with the very black ears.

So ends our trip to the fair.  Oh, we did go inside Tim's Toyota Center and looked at a quite large photography exhibit and many examples of student art.  And, though I was drawn, SWMBO doesn't care for the carnival and midway so we left and went instead to a local Mexican restaurant for beers and nachos.