Wednesday, July 17, 2013


That was fun.  Lots of guesses and some of them were actually correct, including one on Facebook and one that arrived in an email.  I think those folk know me too well.

I did like Steve's guesses (JPG photos) and I'd say those were correct as well.

But here is the real solution, as displayed by a somewhat overweight and out of shape model.

It's the Hawaiian shirt I was wearing yesterday.  To the mystery solver who said it was a Tommy Bahama shirt, I'd have to say I don't think so.  Good Hawaiian shirts are made with the patterns meeting perfectly across the fronts.  As you can see, this is kind of a mish-mash.

As for those who suggested it might be some type of seat cushion, I think you've been conferring with Blackwell, who occasionally climbs on board my reclining figure and kneads my ample tummy.

Thanks for playing along!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013


Can anyone tell me what this is?

Monday, July 15, 2013


The monsoon finally arrived in our area this afternoon.

Sort of.

The sky was promising late in the afternoon.  But the rain fell beyond those mountains in the distance and all we got was a few drops.  (By the way, sorry about the power lines.)

There was a lot of hue and cry on the local television channels and, to give them their due, some areas of The Valley got some heavy rain for a few minutes.  But here?  Nada.

Still the temperature cooled 10 or 12 degrees and there is hope for the coming days.

Meantime, all we have is some pretty skies.

Sunday, July 14, 2013


SWMBO and I were sitting in the living room watching television when we heard a sharp report.  We both looked toward the front door and I said "that sounded like a gunshot outside."

But as I got up and went to look out I remembered that I had left the door to my den open.  I glanced in and here's what I saw.

That's an old piece of furniture I use in which to store magazines and other overflow stuff.  But if you look upper left in the photo you'll see the face of Blackwell, the mysterious and inky boy cat that lives with us peering guiltily out.  Down on the floor below him is a magazine that he dislodged when he jumped into this strange perch.  It made a sharp "whap" sound as it hit the floor.

Kind of like a gunshot outside.

Saturday, July 13, 2013


Many people asked us why we would move to Phoenix when we lived in a semi-retirement town in the cool country of Arizona.  Our answer was: for the culture.  We have been fulfilling our desire for culture in many ways since we returned to the desert that we left 28 years ago. Today was a visit to the MIM - the Musical Instrument Museum.

Now we had been there once before, for the Iris Dement concert.  But that was in the evening after the museum except for the theatre had closed.  So today we went for the exhibits.  And to mark Bastille Day (which is actually tomorrow).  The MIM was taking two days to celebrate, with special French meals being served in their cafe and French music at various times during the two days.  We were treated to a short performance by a Phoenix-based gypsy jazz band - Zazu.

Marvelous to hear the musical styles of Django Reinhardt and other French bistro songs. Talking with the musicians after the concert gave truth to the old expression - you can't make a living playing jazz.  The excellent bass player is also a general contractor.  The young man playing the white guitar said this was his last gig because he's starting medical school. Sad that these talented musicians can't support themselves with an art they are so good at.

But on to the museum.  This is the only museum of its kind, devoted to music of all kinds and types from around the world.  There are instruments on display like the world's first Steinway piano.

And an early harpsichord.

There are drums . . .

. . . and in the Experience Gallery, youngsters and adults can have a hands-on experience of their own.

There are drums and rattles and bells and gongs and chimes and everyone is invited to "chime" in!  The kids love it!

Oh, I forgot to mention there were face-painters on hand and this young lady is also wearing a French rosette that she made herself to commemorate the day.

Here's another example of the face-painter's art.  Looks like a Lion King to me.

But, once again, back to the museum.

There are guitars galore.

Including some famous ones.

Many of the exhibits feature video screens with short clips demonstrating the art as part of the display.

In the artist gallery there are exhibits highlighting performers from Pablo Casals to Elvis Presley.

That last one is the belt and holster Elvis wore in his movie, Charro.

I'm wondering now why I didn't photograph Casal's cello, or the yellow legal pad sheet that has Roy Orbison's printed lyrics to Pretty Woman.

So what else is there?

A display of Zildjian cymbals, the world's best . . .

. . . and, speaking of drums, one of the drums that opened the 2008 Beijing Olympics . . .

. . . a huge organ in the mechanical music gallery . . .

. . . a four-horned instrument of some kind or another . . .

. . . a display of bowed instruments . . .

. . . one on the beginning of an orchestra . . .

. . . instruments from seemingly every country in the world.

And costumes from musical celebrations from countries far and wide.  (above: Sardinia)

There is much, much more to see.  I haven't even begun to show you the galleries from Latin America or Africa or Oceania.  My feet, frankly, wore out.  But I'll be back, again and again.  And when the weather cools off, there's a delightful outdoor gallery to rest in.

Friday, July 12, 2013


What it's like to live in a golf course community.

Every night.  The sprayers come on.  Never mind that Arizona is in a decade-or-longer drought.  Spray-spray-spray.

I have also seen the sprayers doing their work in the daytime, under the hot Arizona sun.  So why is that?

To keep those lush fairways and greens . . . green.

I definitely have mixed feelings.

Thursday, July 11, 2013


There is not much I like better than vanilla ice cream.  (This is purported to be crushed vanilla bean.)

Sorry about the blur.  I was trembling.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013


So we return you once again to the Phoenix Art Museum.  

There is a cowboy art gallery but I didn't know one could take photos when I went through it.  I was struck to see an Alexander Calder drawing leading it off.

In the Western America gallery, there are some beautiful sculptures of Native Americans on display.

There is also a model of the famous sculpture by artist Auguste Rodin - The Kiss.

Among other pieces that caught my eye was a painting - The Leek Seller - by the Polish/French artist Alfred Swieykowski. (gesundheit!)

One work in the Latin American collection couldn't be ignored.  It is a huge three-panel work with brilliant colors.

It shows a scene, presumably in a church in Mexico, where a man portraying Jesus is about to be hung on a crucifix.  The combination of modern-day dress and historically costumed figures is fascinating.  I sat and stared at this for quite awhile.

SWMBO was caught studying a piece in the Modern Art gallery.  She probably liked the colors but was at a loss to explain the painting's meaning.

She was probably more oblivious of the work on a wall behind her.

It's an immense work composed of lines of paint.  Sort of like a prism.  It's pretty but . . .?

Speaking of being confused, the next two photos show a work built from charred pieces of wood that came from a church after it was struck by lightning.  They are suspended on filament from the ceiling in a cube-shape.

The pieces of charcoal drift slowly creating a shadow pattern on the floor.  It is fascinating but confusing.  Perhaps created just to make one think.

Also in this area a work by the artist Chuck Close.  

It resembles a photograph but is actually a weaving of thousands of strands of thread of only eight colors.  Close is an artist of infinite patience as is shown by this work and by other huge portraits he has created with dots of paint.

One of SWMBO's favorites is the Thorne Rooms collection.  The Phoenix museum owns some 20 of them.

They are miniature rooms, some duplicating rooms in actual houses, created mainly by an Indiana native, Narcissa Niblack Thorne.  She had created miniature pieces during her travels and began creating rooms to house them.  In her creations, one inch equals one foot.  They are intricate and lovely.  I particularly liked this art deco room.

We have seen them many times over the years but we always return.

And one of my favorite areas of the museum is the Asian Collection with a rotating display of works.  I love Oriental art.  (I have my own collection of inexpensive Buddha statues.)  But the works in this collection are truly stunning.

So ends this visit to the Phoenix Art Museum.  I hope you've enjoyed the tour.  If you are in the area, you should visit in person.  It's a treat for sure.

Sunday, July 7, 2013


It occurred to me that some of you faithful readers may have thought my last blog post (STELLA WHO?) may have been a bit "girly".  So let me set you straight.

I have just returned from Chase Field in downtown Phoenix.

The baseball bats should tip you that this is the home of the Arizona Diamondbacks baseball team.  If they don't do it, this should.

The shirts were worn by a couple perhaps about my age.  They were among many worn by over twenty-thousand fans leaving the park after today's game.

"Our" Diamondbacks won, incidentally, completing a sweep of the Colorado Rockies. In three games the Diamondbacks out-scored the Rockies 22 to 2 and presently reside in first place in the National League West with a 4-1/2 game lead over the Los Angeles Dodgers, who will begin a three-game visit to Phoenix tomorrow.

It was a pleasant afternoon in an air-conditioned stadium with my friend and benefactor, Steve.  

A manly sort of afternoon.