Saturday, October 12, 2013


Neither SWMBO nor I are of Greek ancestry, at least not that we know, but we can remember enjoying the annual Greek Festivals held in Phoenix in the past so today we traveled to the grounds of the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral for their 53rd annual Greater Phoenix fest.

There was lots of jewelry for sale.

There was Greek music and folk dancing, performed by a talented group of youngsters.

We took a tour of the Cathedral and heard an interesting talk about the religion.  We were invited but not pressured to attend a liturgical service.

Beautiful stained glass windows inside.

And, of course, there was Greek food for sale everywhere.

SWMBO had a Greek-spiced and grilled beef Gyro sandwich.  The beef was topped with tzatziki, tomato and onion.

And I feasted on a lamb shank (a treat I discovered years ago in a Detroit restaurant) which had been roasted with tomato, fresh garlic and Greek spices, and we shared a delicious bowl of Kalamata olives.

Of course we had to wash it down with some Greek beer and I had to start the day with a shot of Ouzo.  

All in all a fun time with a group of fun-loving people.  If you happen to be in Phoenix the festival continues Sunday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Friday, October 11, 2013


These are all courtesy of the BRD.  But . . . the Interwebs rule!
First, those caring doves.

This is why I don't go to movie theatres.

I prefer my C-pap machine to this cure.

Yeah, we all remember those days, don't we?

I've seen different versions of this before.  I don't know if Willie ever said it.  But he could have.

And finally, while this isn't really my cat, I can sympathize.

Thursday, October 10, 2013


First of all, an apology to the weatherman.  After months of moaning and groaning by your correspondent about the exceedingly and continuously hot weather, you have acceded.  It's about 2 p.m. as I write this and the outside temperature is 71 degrees Fahrenheit.  Now that's just about perfect.  One day recently when I remarked on the mild temperature and said "I'd be happy with this year round," a neighbor said "Oh, no.  I said that to a mailman here a few years ago and he replied with horror 'Don't say that!  If it was like that EVERYONE would move here!'"  So I'll put up with 3 or 4 months of agonizingly high temperatures if the other 8 or 9 months can be somewhat like todays.

But to the business at hand.

I found a couple of other residents with wishes for trick-or-treat visitors, it seems.

Note the rows of skulls around the front door!

One person decorated his entire garage door.

I thought at first he had painted it but SWMBO and I decided it was a kind of decal that will be removed after the horror of Halloween.

Speaking of horror, the BRD had come for a visit and apparently had seen some of these "decorations".  She was properly terrified, it seems.

Either that or she was preparing for her next career.

As an opera singer.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013


From time to time I write here about old friends.  Here's one of them.

That's Jess Cooper, way back in the 1960's when he was working for Senator Quentin Burdick in Washington, D.C.  Prior to that Jess had been my competition in Bismarck, North Dakota, a town with two t.v. stations. Jess was the anchorman and news director at one of them, I held the same positions at the other.  In spite of our nose-to-nose competiveness, off the job we became drinking buddies and great friends.  I hadn't seen Jess since sometime back in the 1980's when I stopped off in Bismarck on a lengthy trip.

Yesterday, I received an email from a mutual friend of both of us, the great Danny Bananas, of whom you've heard.  Jess had died.  He was 75 and his family found him in his back yard.  Jess had heart bypass surgery a couple of years ago but had seemed on the mend, according to Danny.  But then . .

He was a great guy and I'll miss him, even if it is only through rare emails and jokes.

Another friend of years is Karl Kindberg.  Here's a picture of the two of us with his lovely wife, Cathy.  This is a more recent picture but still probably 10 or 15 years old.

Karl was from Massachusetts but when he turned 18 or graduated from high school he announced he was going "out West" to become a cowboy.  He landed in Montana and satisfied that dream, then got into rodeo for a few years.  At some point he was a trapeze artist in a circus in Hawaii.  Later on he was in Hollywood, working on the Ozzie and Harriet show as both a character named Biff and as a double for David Nelson, the brother of Rick. (Someone once said "who knew David Nelson NEEDED a double.")  Somehow Karl found himself in Tucson and then Phoenix, working in television.  He and I shared a station for a number of years.  

Karl never really injured himself in his checkered past.  But now, at an "advanced age", he has had two hip replacements and the other day a knee replacement.  He's home from the hospital already and when I spoke to him on the phone this afternoon he was back to his rare form of humor.  He asked me if I'd heard of the Senior Senior Golf group.  I confessed I had not. He said they play three holes and the one who can remember the score is the winner!

And then there's my buddy Lew Ruggiero.  We had lunch today after not seeing each other for a long time so I got a CURRENT picture.

I don't really know how Lew got started in broadcasting but I know he was once a top disc jockey at a radio station in San Diego.  Somehow he came to our t.v. station, probably back in the late 1970's, as an assignment editor. And somehow he graduated from that to being a reporter.  (I have always had a great appreciation for street reporting, having done a lot of that in my prime, and think of anyone who has gone from the administrative side of the business back to the street as having "graduated.")

Lew was not just an ordinary reporter.  He was an exemplary reporter, tops in his field.  But, he told me today, when he was running out a contract and was 57 years old, he decided he had outlived the business and it was time to move on.  Lew had been taking classes at Arizona State University and (in his 50's!) he earned a Master's degree.  He thought he was going to teach but that didn't work out and instead he became a private investigator, working for another broadcast veteran.  He quit last June but still does occasional work for the same firm while he figures out what he wants to do when he grows up.

So.  Those are some of my friends.  I hope I haven't bored you with talking about them because, you see, I love them all.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013


It is customary in the desert, if one is unlucky enough to have a lawn, to "scalp" it in the fall.  That is to cut the grass down to the earth, leaving an ugly scar.  But then the ground is covered with winter rye grass seed and fertilizer and soaked with water.  I hadn't talked to our yard man enough and after a few days grew a bit startled at how much water was being consumed in this process.  It was pooling a couple of inches deep in some parts of the yard and attracting vast flocks of mourning doves, Gambel's quail, some unidentified birds and the occasional bunny or two.  The birds appeared to be eating all of the grass seed put there just a few days before.

Agustin had told me if the irrigation system was putting too much water on the ground that I should call him and he would come and adjust it.  Yesterday, I had had enough and turned off the system and called him.  He arrived this morning and adjusted the system to run for only two minutes at a time, rather than the six minutes it had been drenching the ground with until I turned it off.  But he cautioned that it must run every day for two weeks, then it can be turned back to every other day.  So it is done.

But meanwhile, late yesterday afternoon I came outside and saw this sight on my neighbor's roof.

Yes those are all the aforementioned mourning doves, just waiting for the water or more grass seed or something.  A funny sight.

But they weren't the only creatures seeking high places yesterday. After dinner last night as I came into the kitchen to clean up I spotted this high on top of our refrigerator.

That's Blackwell, our young boy cat.  He has an affinity for high places, for whatever reason.  But he apparently doesn't like being caught there and photographed.

I had barely taken the first photo when he was headed for the ground.  Good Blackwell.

Yes, folks, so goes life in the fast lane!

Monday, October 7, 2013


Stuff I swiped from Facebook today:

Here a few things you should never say to a man with whom you are having any kind of serious relationship:

"I spent all the money.  All of it.  On Cher tickets."

"I was thinking of gaining 40 pounds.  I'm feeling anorexic."

And: "I told the two guys from the Vegas Sports Book that you are no longer interested in paying the Viggorish.  That was OK.  Right?"

(Thanks to Meggie, Tom and Catherine for finding them first)

Friday, October 4, 2013


This house just a block away from where I live houses more than one child.  Perhaps even some adult children.  They are ready for the ghosts and ghouls to come visiting.

I can still remember a day when Halloween conjured up happy jack'o'lanterns like these.

But nowadays the images are more like these.

Apparently the modern theme is "the scarier the better."

Whatever your wont, Happy Halloween everyone.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013


This little ghostly butterfly, white with grey spots, is not nearly as large as he appears in the still photo.  He was getting his fill from the lantana in our front yard.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Friday, September 27, 2013


According to my calendar, today is September 27th.  We've just passed the Labor Day weekend.  It's over a month until Halloween.  It's about two months until Thanksgiving.  And nearly three months until Christmas rolls around once again.

Actually I just studied my calendar and it's 90 days until Christmas.  But it's never too soon for the folks at Walmart, apparently.  I was in a neighborhood Walmart store today and here's what caught my eye.

I took a second look and realized those are artificial Christmas trees, already decorated with lights and on sale NOW!

But wait, there's more!

Yes, the weather has broken but it's still 85 degrees outside.  And the Christmas decorations have already gone on sale.

I can remember being amazed when Thanksgiving "stuff" went on sale before Halloween had passed.  But this display today truly bumfuzzled me.  I was left with mouth agape.  But I recovered in time to take these pictures and remember this old bit of doggerel.

Roses are red,
Violets are blue-ish.
If it wasn't for Christmas
We'd all be Jewish.

As the sign says, Merry Christmas everyone!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013


As I said before, SWMBO has been in Florida for half a week, Venice in fact.  It's aptly named, considering the weather she's been experiencing down there.  Thunderstorm after thunderstorm.  In our telephone conversation today she said they came by a road today divided by a grassy median.  Water was running curb to curb in the street.  Several trucks had pulled up onto the median, leaving huge muddy ruts in the grass.  Then a fancy car tried to do the same thing and got stuck in the mud.

I can remember years ago when SWMBO first went to Florida.  She said she could take a shower, get out, dry off and minutes later be drenched in sweat again.  Her hair never dried out or became uncrimped.

Meantime, the weather back home in Arizona is breaking, finally.  It's 86 outside right now as I'm writing this just after 7 in the evening.  You may think that's hot but it's been over 100 at this time of night for three months or more.  And our humidity right now is 12 percent.  In Venice, where SWMBO is right now it's 82 percent.

I stepped outside to get the mail.  Several twosomes came by, out for an evening constitutional, enjoying the "cooler" weather.

I guess it's whatever you adapt to.  SWMBO's sister has lived on the Gulf Coast of Florida for probably 40 years or more and, apparently, loves it.  We have lived various places but most of them relatively dry for about the same amount of time and we love it.

But after an ill-advised attempt to live in Austin, Texas awhile back, I can testify that we could never live in a humid location again.

'Course, we have friends and relatives who think we're a mite daft for living in the desert where the temperature climbs and climbs for a fourth of the year.  But like my realtor told me awhile back . . . "those other 8 months, man, they are bliss!"

Oh, and by the way, SWMBO comes home tomorrow!  Now, that is bliss!

Monday, September 23, 2013


I just emailed my friend Tom, in California, about the family travels.  It went something like this.

SWMBO has been in Venice, Florida, since Saturday night visiting her sister, who had her 83rd birthday today.  When I spoke to her this evening she said there were two thunderstorms there today, in between of which they went to the beach and the pier so SWMBO could see the ocean (Gulf of Mexico).  She said she had to drive through standing water on the streets to get back to her motel and added that they had more rain there just today than Phoenix has had all year!  Highlight of the day: a white egret (hell, I don't know, maybe they're all white) walked right up to the house during one of the storms.

Meantime, the BRD and her Beau Jack are in the Turks and Caicos Islands for the wedding of one of BJ's sons.

As for me, I drove about a mile or less to the grocery store and back.

Friday, September 20, 2013


I have only my friend, Phil, to thank for this journey into the subterranean depths of gypsy jazz.  Stand back but turn it up.

The Fishtank Ensemble.

Thursday, September 19, 2013


My nephew, Barry, is celebrating (?) his 40th birthday today.

A good-looking lad, wouldn't you say?  He and his lovely wife Amy keep in shape by constantly back-packing, skiing, kayaking and whatever else they can think of to do on weekends.

But they do have some wind-down time and they might enjoy one of these in their house.

The BRD sent me this picture this morning with two notations: (1) finally got my sink fixed, and (2) don't worry, the left faucet pours white wine!

Well, a bit of warning to my nephew:

Finally, a picture I swiped from the Internet.  It's a fisherman close to shore at Ixtapa-Zijuatanejo in Mexico with a very interested group of on-lookers.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013


I went out after dark the other night and looked up at the sky and was stunned.  It was full of fluffy clouds that had a peachy color.  I got my camera and took several photos but they didn't come out peachy.  They came out yellow.

I think it was due to ground light from below.  The moon certainly didn't have anything to do with it.  Did it?

I thought it was somewhat mysterious.  If you look toward the bottom of the next picture you may see what I mean.

So what kind of music goes with that kind of sky?  I can think of only one song that fits.  (Though I did give a listen to Hoagy Carmichael's "Old Buttermilk Sky".)

Tuesday, September 17, 2013


For (much) more on Sisyphus, go here.  Sometimes I feel much in common with him.