Tuesday, September 3, 2013


These first three are courtesy of my friend, Danny Bananas.

Danny is a legendary in his own mind duck hunter.  But even he would not take a shot at this Chinese Mandarin duck, would he?

This Tibetan mastiff dog allegedly sold for 1.5 million dollars.  I wonder if that Chinese zoo bought it for their lion "lyin" cage.  Would they get their money back when the dog roared barked?

I presently live in a golf course community but there are no hazards on it like the one facing this golfer and caddy in Australia.  Don't worry, mates. They're just playing through.

And speaking of Australia, my good friend Meggie from Down Under gets the credit for this sign she discovered on the InterWebs.

A proper adage to close out this post.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Friday, August 30, 2013


I have been exchanging some emails with a long-time friend of mine in the past day or two.  He began it by saying the other day that he couldn't see any reason for the U.S. to attack Syria.  I responded along the lines of Assad being as bad as Hitler and the U.S. being the remaining super-power it has an obligation to at least stop his use of chemical weapons against his own people.  President Obama seems "hoist on his own petard", as someone once taught me many years ago.  In other words he said publicly that any use of chemical weapons would "cross the red line", requiring action by the West.  So now Assad has done just that: used chemical weapons to kill over a thousand of his own people, including women and children, many while they slept.  So can Obama NOT order a strike?  That would virtually gut his presidency, it seems to me.  But, as my friend points out and rightly so . . . what if the strike doesn't really accomplish anything and Assad continues to kill his countrymen.  Then what?  And what if Hezbollah in the West Bank and Gaza are joined by similar forces in Iran to attack Israel in retaliation.  I believe Israel can take care of itself and any war between them and Iran might have a positive side if Iran's nuclear weapons program is destroyed in the process.  I can't believe that either Jordan (which is already caring for over a million refugees from Syria) or the Saudis or least of all the Turks would side with Assad.  There are reports that Russia has sent warships toward the Mediterranean but would Putin actually start World War Three over this?  

It is a conundrum but a very dangerous one.  I believe Obama is being extremely careful in making his decision.  I hope he has luck on his side as well.

But enough of that.  Let's get back to that cat from yesterday.  He is, in fact, hiding in plain sight.  Let's have one more look.

The cat, with color that blends him into the landscape, is at the upper right, below the large cactus plant, the pathway and the rocks.  He is sitting up and once you see him you'll never miss him again.

Have a good weekend and, if you're a religious type, pray for peace.  The rest of us will hope for peace.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

HOW TO . . . .

How to turn raisins back into grapes.

How to drive your cat crazy.

How your cat will drive you crazy.

How to read your fortune in leaves.

How to make a blog post when nothing interesting or photogenic has happened in your life.


P.S.  If no one finds the cat, I MAY tell you tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013


As I sat in my lonely writer's garret, contemplating my navel the state of the world, I wondered, wondered, what (on earth) shall I blog about today to make this world better, to improve on this day, to make my life just one scintilla worth living.  

Frankly, I was stumped.

But then I went to Facebook.

First, I learned that the "big thing" at this years Texas State Fair is . . . wait for it . . . deep fried Nutella.

Common decency prevents me from going any further with that recipe.

But then I found enlightenment!  Veracity!  Truth!


Now that should make your life more meaningful, as it did mine.

But wait!

There's more!

The Cat and Dog Small Containers Video!  Watch!  And Enjoy!

All right.  Just so you don't think I've totally lost my sense of right and wrong, there's this:

Good advice for everyone.  All the time.

(By the way, my thanks to Dana and Joyce for the tips on the videos)

Tuesday, August 27, 2013


Our area of Phoenix finally got a break from the monsoon yesterday evening.  As frequently happens this time of year it began with a dust storm.

That view is looking south into the teeth of the haboob . . or "big dust storm".  The mountain range that marks the southern border of Phoenix has disappeared.

The sky becomes an ugly sort of brown as the visibility drops.  But then, after these long dry months, comes the refreshing rain accompanied by some lightning, quite a bit of wind and wonderful thunder.

Today is forecast to be clear, sunny and hot again but the possibility of more rain exists from Wednesday though the end of the week.  We can use it but at least now I can stop bitching about the lack of it.

Monday, August 26, 2013


SWMBO, the BRD, Beau Jack and I shared a meal and conversation the other day.  I had forgotten until I read Tom's post today about one of the conversational topics that came up.

It began with SWMBO relating how her novel-in-progress is based on a series of letters written by a far-off uncle of hers before and around the beginning of the 20th Century, i.e. the 1890's and up.  It is quite amazing that she was able to acquire the letters, that they had been kept in her family for over 100 years and that she was able to make transcripts from them.

This led to an admittance by Beau Jack that he had thrown away many letters and papers of his father's when he passed away.  SWMBO was appalled at the loss of this history and BJ acknowledged that he had kept his father's diary.  He also noted that he had kept a diary himself for a couple of years in his youth and he still had it in a filing cabinet.

But this conversation then led, on SWMBO's part, to the Internet and all of the blogs and photos that exist only on the Internet.  In the cloud world, I suppose.  She contended that some day all of these things will disappear - poof - as the Internet collapses or turns into something else.  And all of those digitally rendered images and words and thoughts will be lost for all time.  Unless they have been printed out and kept on paper.

I have read speculations about the death of the Internet or the World Wide Web as some new technology comes along.  Let's face it - these communications technologies, as we know them, are less than 30 years old.  And the amazing growth in technology and development is hard to grasp.  I can remember my first computer, a Commodore, I believe.  I thought I was in hog heaven when I had figured out how to hook it to my ham radio.  How long ago that now seems.

I recently began streaming data onto a television set and was somewhat surprised to find a Picasa program that had hundreds of pictures I had used over the years.  Many of them were worthless, used only to illustrate a long-forgotten point.  But there were others, too, of friends and family.  Photos that, for reasons of posterity (?) I would not want to lose.
But SWMBO and the others made me think - will that magical POOF happen while I am still alive or later?  Will my blog and photos live on after me until the great dissolve?  Will my handprints on the cave of existence be there years and decades and centuries later?  Or not?

And finally and somewhat wistfully this thought - will any one really care?  

Sunday, August 25, 2013


The weather forecasters have been predicting for days that this weekend would be filled with tropical rain and thunderstorms.  Something like this, I supposed.

About 3:30 Saturday morning, I was awakened by a fierce clap of thunder. With anticipation I went to the window.  I saw some heat lightning to the west but no rain falling.  I went back to bed expecting to be lulled into blissful slumber by the falling rain at any moment.

That was it for Saturday but the weathermen had promised that Sunday was really going to be the day for rain.  And it came.  I know that because I was out on the patio counting the drops.  Literally.  Not enough to dampen the ground even.

It has been cooler.  It appears today's high will top out at around 87, easily 20 degrees cooler than the other day.  The skies have been grey.  Or gray. (I never can remember which is which.)  But rain?  Never anything more than those random drops, so far.  This is the alleged height of our "Monsoon Season".  Not too monsoony, if you ask me.

But I will continue to have hope.  After all the football season is nearing and everyone knows one can only truly play real man's football in mud.

Friday, August 23, 2013


Even after all these years, even after a week of perfect idleness, even after losing my car manual, even after losing an expensive pair of sunglasses, I still love Friday nights.  I don't know exactly why.  But there are indications the weather is changing for the better.  There's a better than half possibility of rain, maybe even a thunderstorm or two this weekend.  When that happens the temperature drops even as the humidity rises.

In the news, the mayor of San Diego is finally resigning.  Syria is becoming more of a problem for Obama, with chemical weapons warfare breaking out and the opposition a hodge-podge of groups who don't agree with each other or with us.  Senator Ted "Crazy" Cruz of Texas wants to shut down the government unless he gets his way at defunding the Affordable Health Care law.

So there's really no reason to feel good right now but still . . .

So turn up the volume on your speakers, get into dancing mode and rock into Friday night with this song.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013


It was sprinkling here awhile ago.  I went out and stood in the back yard.  I could feel an occasional drop but there wasn't enough to get wet.  Maybe this weekend or so the weathermen are proclaiming.

My yard men are now here cutting the grass.

It's only 98 here now as it's been overcast all day.  But now the sun is coming out.

I'm bored with this long hot summer.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013


Don't blame me.  This is a food truck in Houston.  The picture was sent to me by a (to be kept anonymous) friend.  Thanks, Frank.

With that, I'm flyin' West.

(In my mind, anyway)

Monday, August 19, 2013


O.K.  So most of you know by now that I love cats.  Well in a period of intensive scientific research web surfing while bored this afternoon, I found a few cat pictures from the web that I like.

Like this one.

Or this one.

Anyone who has ever had a Christmas tree and a kitten in the same room must be familiar with a scene like this.

There are some pictures that are sort of intellectual.

By the way, you'll notice the spelling isn't all it could be.  It's difficult for those furry little creatures to type correctly all the time.

So there's just a sample of what's available via the World Wide Web. 

But wait!  How about THIS fearsome prospect?

Sunday, August 18, 2013


Stephen, of the Chubby Chatterbox, has been a great influence on me with his great story-telling and absolutely marvelous illustrations.  I've already got the story-telling down (though not as good as Stephen) so I decided to try my luck with the paintbrushes.  Here's my first attempt.

So what do you think?  

Still life with apples.  

Not too bad, is it?

I think I did well with the sheen of the fruit, and the light reflections.

Not to mention the thatch of the basket.


Can you give it a critique?

Oh, all right.

So I lied.

That's part of story-telling.

Here's the original, before it was dealt with in my PHOTO-editing software.

Yup, it's just a photograph.

Actually, I prefer one I took with a little less light on the subject.  It seems to bring out the deeper reds.

So, there's my "story" for today.

And apologies to Stephen, a REAL artist.

Saturday, August 17, 2013


For a change, the two feline members of our family were sharing the back of the couch without sparring or spitting.

SWMBO took the photos and walked around to get one face-on.

It was fairly dark in the room so a flash was called for, making the cats' eyes seem to be lit from within.  And Blackwell (in the rear here) really does have two eyes.  One of them is just hidden in this photo.

Both of the critters seem to be eyeing me in the kitchen and thinking "does this mean treats for me???"

Friday, August 16, 2013


And, without cropping, to give a sense of place.

Never fear.  It's only the setting sun reflecting from a cloud mass in the Western sky.

Thursday, August 15, 2013


Tonight was the highlight of our year (half year, actually) back in the Phoenix metropolitan area.  We went to a concert at the beautiful Ikeda Theatre at the Mesa Arts Center.

The very modern theatre is a delight for the eyes, both inside and out.  Here's a view in the concert hall before the show.

The balconies along both sides are attractively constructed and gorgeously lit and the walls look like they've been constructed out of high-tech cardboard.  I'm sure they are great for the acoustics, which were incredible.

As for the concert, it was a wonderful evening of melody and lyrics performed by Lyle Lovett and His Large Band.  The musicianship was incredible.  Several members of the band were from the Phoenix area originally.  Others came from the great music venues of Muscle Shoals, Alabama; Nashville, Tennessee; and, of course, Texas.

We've been a fan of Lovett since we first heard his music when a fellow ex-pat brought us a tape when we were living in Guadalajara, Mexico, back in the 1980's.  Lyle performed several of our favorites including my all-time pick "If I Had a Boat".  And during the encores he did "North Dakota", which you may know is the state I hailed from many decades ago.

Signs and a public address announcement before the show warned that no photography was permitted in the concert hall.  However, as the show went on, I noticed more and more smart phones being used to take photographs and finally I chanced a shot with my camera.  It's not very good but it will give you an idea of the size of his Large Band.

Mr. Lovett, of course, is the pale-faced gent holding a guitar at the center of the photo.  Other accompanists included a pianist, a violinist/fiddler, a backup singer, a bassist, a drummer, a cellist, a mandoline/guitarist, a lead guitarist, and horns: tenor, alto and baritone saxophone and a trombone. Every one got their turn to solo and all were of the finest quality.

It was a great show and now I'm attempting to calm down so I can finally get some sleep.

Thanks, Lyle.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013


Once again today I went to a baseball game with my o-l-d buddy, Steve. Once again the Arizona Diamondbacks scored a walk-off victory.  This time in the bottom of the 14th inning.  That's three walk-offs in a row and a sweep of the Baltimore Orioles, who did not appear pleased.  Steve, on the other hand, did appear pleased.

It's always nice when your buddy has a big smile on his face, even though this picture was taken before the victory.  I suspect even then, Steve knew about the joy to come.

I, on the other hand, grew weary after about 11 or 12 innings and said my goodbyes as Steve lingered on.

But as I got down to the main floor of the arena, I wondered if maybe I could inveigle my way into one of those MUCH-CLOSER-TO-THE-ACTION seats.  So I made my way to the lower floors.  I asked an usher if I could take one of the many empty seats.  He directed me to a row or two just below him.  I went down and took a seat.  

But then I began to notice all the empty seats far below where I sat.  I thought "why can't I take one of those."  I turned to look for "my" usher but he was distracted so I just stood and walked down many stairs until I was just 20 or so rows above the Diamondbacks dugout and there I took my seat.  Unchallenged.  Just another baseball fan.  The view was exemplary.

I turned and craned my neck several times to try and pick Steve out, way-way-way up in the "nosebleed" seats but I couldn't spot him.

So I turned my attention back to the game.

Well, there was that "Diamondback Girl" right in front of me.  Fancy that.  I sat through a couple of more innings but finally gave up, left the ballpark and headed for home.  On the way, I heard the victorious hit and run in the bottom of the 14th inning.  Great game.  Great team. 

Next time?  C'mon down, Steve.  I'll show you how.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013


In our living room, a ceiling fan whirls constantly in this overheated summer to provide some additional cooling to prevent the air conditioning from running constantly.  It is where SWMBO and I gather to watch television or movies.  It doesn't bother me but SWMBO says the downdrafted air dries her eyes out and irritates them.  So about a week ago she came home from a shopping trip with this.

Let me assure you this is not a traditional color of any garment, visor or cap for her to wear.  I noted that it was "hideous", or words to that effect.  She answered that she knew that but she only got that color to keep me from swiping it.


But to continue.  A few days later came a post from my California tennis-playing friend, Tom, about a new shirt he had acquired.  Stand back from your screen, folks.  Here it is.

Tom noted that the color was unlike his normal colors of white or blue and he talked in this post and in this one about a certain amount of derision the shirt prompted from his playing partners.

But Tom, never one to take criticism lying down, handled himself well, I thought.

Incidentally, that visor SWMBO brought home looks even more glowing when a picture was taken with the flash on.

So never fear, Tom.  If my wife is right, at least no one will steal your shirt.

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

Last night and the night before were the supposed height of the meteor showers.  SWMBO went out around 2 o'clock Sunday night and saw two.  Last night we both went out around the same time and saw two more.  I may have seen a third just as we were getting up to head back into the house to bed but it was so fast I couldn't be sure.

Suffice it to say that there is so much ground light emanating from the Phoenix metropolitan area that a meteor search is somewhat groundless (to coin a phrase).  I read on Facebook that a former colleague of mine who lives in Prescott, the area we moved to Phoenix from in March, went out with his family last night and saw perhaps a hundred.  Much less population there, therefore much less ground light.  I wish I'd have been there.

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

I was out running around at mid-day yesterday and saw a sign for Tom's Barbecue.  Never one to miss some good Q I went in and had a brisket plate special with red beans and rice.  Excellent.  Tom's has five locations as well as operating a big pink food truck.  Don't know why I didn't get a picture of that.

Later I stopped in at the local NPR radio station, KJZZ, to visit an old friend, Al Macias, who is the managing editor there.  It was good to see him after all these years.  After a lengthy conversation about "the good old days" when we worked together at KPNX-TV in Phoenix, he gave me a tour of the station.  Quite plush and, as he noted, very quiet.  Not like our old noisy newsroom.  And everyone was so YOUNG!