Sunday, November 11, 2012


Even in Iraq and Afghanistan it's not all shooting and getting shot at. There are also USO shows from time to time.  My grandson, of whom I'm immensely proud, Sgt. Russell Milburn, spent 12 years in the U.S. Army in Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan.  Along the way he got to have some fun.

With Louis Black . . . 

. . . and with Robin Williams.

But those were only rays of sunshine in some otherwise dangerous and dreary days.  I salute you, Russell, and thank you for your service.


What a relief.  The snow passed us by.  Oh we had a few flakes late yesterday afternoon but nothing stuck and the storm is now up in Colorado.

But it's a mighty crispy day.  42 degrees F. out there at high noon.  When I rose from the arms of Morpheus early this morning the temperature was sitting on the overnight low: 28 degrees.  

SWMBO had me unhook the hoses from our two outdoor water taps as the temperature was dropping last night so no damage there.  But her basil plant, which she neglected to bring into the house, got crisped.

It's a long way from those long snowbound winters I grew up with in North Dakota many years ago.  I can remember building snow forts, sliding off the second floor roof of our house directly onto huge drifts, and ice-skating for hours - - all in 20 below temperatures.  When I'd come inside, I'd sit on our steam radiator to warm my young and nearly frozen bones.  Those were the days!  But I couldn't handle those icy temperatures now.  Among other things I've lived in Arizona too many years.

I remember our first Christmas in Phoenix 40 years ago.  I posed for a photograph in the community swimming pool with a holly wreath on my head and holding a glass of champagne.  The family back in North Dakota simultaneously loved and hated that picture and finally got around to telling me I didn't have to keep telling them about my warm weather as they chilled through December and January and February and March.

Ah well.  Speaking of the arms of Morpheus, take a look at this Gratuitous Critter picture of a turtle apparently seeking warmth in a clutch of puppies!

Friday, November 9, 2012


An early winter storm is scheduled to move through the northern part of Arizona this weekend.

It looked like it was already starting this morning.

The sky is alive with clouds moving briskly and much cooler temperatures.

There's a 30 degree temperature drop and some snow forecast.

I'm staying inside.

It looks like my Gratuitous Critter is feeling the chill also.

Thursday, November 8, 2012


It's another day in the world.  We're all (most of us anyway) still alive.  Autumn continues with blue skies and sunshine here.

But wait!  An early winter storm is headed for Arizona this weekend. Temperatures are expected to drop 30 degrees.  Snow is predicted for the northern part of the state.  Perhaps a trace even here.  The seasons (as was proven by the Northeaster storm on the upper East Coast) continue revolving, regardless of man and his political battles.

By the way, I suppose . . since the Republicans did pretty well in Arizona in Tuesday's election . . that I can show you the Gratuitous Critter picture I had on hand for them.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012


An interesting election note: Representative Connie Mack lost his U.S. Senate bid in Florida to Bill Nelson.  But Mack's wife, Mary Bono Mack, also lost her reelection bid to the House.  That's two sizeable salaries lost in one family.  'Course they both have big pensions and probably are both independently wealthy.  A better retirement than mine!

Earlier in the year, Republicans had hoped to take control of the U.S. Senate.  When they nominated Tea Party candidates like Mourdock in Indiana and Akin in Missouri, they doomed that plan.  Instead of gaining control, they lost seats to Democrats.  Donnelly in Indiana, McCaskill in Missouri, as well as Warren in Massachusetts, Tester hanging on in Montana, Heitkamp apparently winning in North Dakota, Klobuchar in Minnesota, Murphy in Connecticut.  When the Democrats are joined by several Independent victors, they're likely to have a 56 to 44 edge in the Senate.

So it was a pretty good day for Democrats.  Of course, here in my state of Arizona, not so good.  Jake Flake defeated Richard Carmona for the Senate, Romney was a large winner of the state and 80 year old "toughest sheriff in the Universe" Joe Arpaio won reelection to a sixth term.

Oh well.  It's over.  Finally.  And the 2016 campaign for President begins today.  Yegods.  I'm still tired from this year's.

But to all of those Republicans, especially Tea Partiers, who were so sure about this year's results, I offer today's Gratuitous Critter picture.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012


President Barack Obama


This one is just for my readers in the United States of America.  Today is the day we elect our national and state leaders.  Your right to vote is your most precious freedom.  Whichever candidates you support (it hurts me to say) go to the polls and cast your votes today if you haven't already.

Monday, November 5, 2012


Last night, it was catfish cookin' in a black iron skillet.

Now, I'm aware that there is a cultural antagonism to catfish among some of the elites.  But I'm tellin' you, you cook that up with some garlic and butter (al mojo de ajo), as our friends south of the border say . . . and it's nirvana.

So.  That takes care of Sunday night.  Monday?  It was a day of unbelievable beauty at a yard across from the BRD's front door.

I've got to say - my current existence is full of light and life

Sunday, November 4, 2012


I was out running errands yesterday and made a stop at Fain Park.  I spent some time watching the ducks.

First there was one.

Then there were two.

Then there were four.

Then, finally bored with this silly game, they swam away.

Which brings me to today's Gratuitous Critter photo.

This one makes me wonder (a) what is the dog thinking, (b) what is the buffalo thinking, and (c) who will win this face-off.

Saturday, November 3, 2012


We are now a mere three days from this year's Presidential election.  I know one person who consistently says Mitt Romney is going to have a landslide victory.  This person spends an inordinate amount of time watching Fox News and listening to Rush Limbaugh.  I believe all three are wrong.

On the other hand, I put all of my faith in Nate Silver and his 538 blog.  I have mentioned him before but just to remind you . . Silver correctly predicted the winner of 49 out of 50 states and the winners of all 35 Senate elections in 2008.  So his record is pretty good, I'd say.

This year he has consistently said President Obama is the favorite, for which he has drawn the ire and criticism of a number of pundits, most notably Joe Scarborough, who say Silver just can't be right.

In his blog today, Silver said:

"There were 22 polls of swing states published Friday.  Of these, Mr. Obama led in 19 polls and two showed a tie.  Mitt Romney led in just one of the surveys, a Mason-Dixon poll of Florida."

Further on Silver concluded:

"If the state polls are right, then Mr. Obama will win the Electoral College. If you can’t acknowledge that after a day when Mr. Obama leads 19 out of 20 swing-state polls, then you should abandon the pretense that your goal is to inform rather than entertain the public."

And with that, I leave you with today's Gratuitous Critter photo.

Friday, November 2, 2012


For some reason I don't have a lot of inspiration for today's blog.  I switched over to Google Chrome from Internet Explorer a day or two ago and think I like it.  It does take some getting used to but it seems to be faster than IE.  Only time will tell.

Had a doctor appointment this morning.  All is well.  In spite of my diet the doctor said I'm not diabetic.  Close but not there.  Yet.  My doctor, incidentally, is Chinese.  His name is Ying Wang.  We were talking this morning and he reminded me that while he was born in China his parents moved the family to Brazil when he was 10 years old.  So, here's this Chinese boy speaking Portugese and then he moved to the United States and had to learn English.  I told him about an adventure we had when we lived in Mexico.  We used to rent movies even though the sound would be in Spanish.  They had English subtitles.  Anyway one time I rented the movie "Dona Flor and her Two Husbands" which was based on a novel by one of my favorite writers in those days, Jorge Amado.  But when I put the movie in the VCR and started watching it I couldn't figure it out.  Then I realized that Amado was Brazilian, as were the people who made the movie.  So the speeches were in Portugese and the sub-titles were in Spanish.  Fortunately we knew a bit of Spanish and had read the book so we were able to follow along.  I always thought Portugese sounded like Spanish as spoken by a German!

One of my blogger buddies, Joan Perry, has a great series of links on her site today for people who might want to contribute to help the victims of Hurricane Sandy.  You can find her links here.  If you have a few extra bucks those folks could use it.

I'm about written out for today so here's today's Gratuitous Critter picture.

Just horsin' around.  That might make a good picture for Mothers' Day.

Have a good weekend, y'all!

Thursday, November 1, 2012


It is November 1st and the marking of the Day of the Dead is upon us.  I have an artwork that I purchased some years ago in Jerome, framed and hung on the wall of my office.  SWMBO hates it, for some unknown reason, but I've always liked it.

Just in case you're not familiar with this particular day . . it is said to be the day when the spirits of our dead relatives and friends come back to visit.  In Mexico we went one year to a graveyard on the Dia de los Muertos.  People come to the graves of their departed ones and have a picnic, with tacos, beans, tequila and whatnot.  This can go on for 24 hours.  It is not a period of mourning but rather to remember the ones who have passed on and to celebrate their lives.  Guitars are strummed and people sing favorite songs.  I think it's kind of a nice idea, to spend one day remembering the good things about the ones who have gone to their graves before us.

Halloween 2012 fini

Here are a couple of the trick or treaters who visited our home last night.

We had a grand total of only nine youngsters ringing our bell last night.  I always want to be prepared for more so I bought a box of 100 Tootsie Pops in preparation.  SWMBO, who was in charge of answering the door, encouraged everyone to take two.  I figure that's 18 passed out, leaving us with a basket containing 82 more.

As SWMBO said this morning, "Now what are you gonna do?"

Since I'm not a big fan of Tootsie Pops, I had no answer.

Maybe today's gratuitous critters can help.

Somebody snuck into this picture, I think, wearing his Halloween mask!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012


It's that time of year again.  Time for the spooks to come out.  Mt. Vernon Street in Prescott awaits with frightening decorations for the annual influx of thousands of trick-or-treaters.

Down on Whiskey Row, the Jersey Lilly has a new doorman.

And the bartender looked somewhat horrible.

Downstairs at the Palace, the BRD and her Beau Jack (background) celebrated Halloween with their annual private party Saturday night.

Here are some of their guests.

Over at the Firehouse Kitchen there were more revelers, looking a bit fuzzy.  (Ghosts?  Or cocktails?)

Back on the street a man was wearing an appropriate for Halloween shirt.

He said his mother gave it to him!

Speaking of shirts, a local cab driver was wearing one advertising free rides home tonight for those revelers who didn't bring along a designated driver.  Good idea.

Nearby, an English bulldog was taking it all in with just a touch of green-eyed envy.

And today, we'll let him be the subject of the gratuitous critter picture.

Happy Halloween, everybody.  Stay safe.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012


I stopped in the Palace Saloon last Saturday evening and spotted a couple more old timers dedicated to keeping the days of the Old West alive for the present generation.

And just outside, a quartet alighted from a cab (not a stagecoach) preparing for a night of liquid refreshment, apparently.

Of course it is nearly Halloween and a number of costume events were going on in the Whiskey Row saloons.  More on that tomorrow.

In the meantime, here's today's gratuitous critter picture.

And one suggestion from President Barack Obama: you might consider a donation at this time to the Red Cross, which is performing yeoman duty back East in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.

Monday, October 29, 2012


The East Coast of the United States is under attack from Mother Nature today and probably for the rest of the week.  Our thoughts are with the people suffering under the effects of what is being called a Super Storm.

To lighten the mood, I offer today not one, not two, but three gratuitous critter pictures.

Sunday, October 28, 2012


Look what I found as I was ambling about on Whiskey Row in Prescott last night.

That's a highly-polished 1946 Cadillac, as advertised by it's license plate.

SWMBO told me later it was one of the first generation of new cars built in peacetime after World War Two.  The rear compartment had a bench seat plus a jump seat facing it.  Lots of leg room.

A beautiful car with that big V Cadillac emblem front and rear.

And, yes, that is the ghostly image of your correspondent behind the V.

But the emblem more favored by young (and old) men rides at the front of the hood.

The flying goddess. Beautiful bit of streamlining.

And speaking of beautiful, here's today's gratuitous critter picture.