Monday, February 10, 2014


My blogger friend (whom I've never actually met) Judy has done a fine job of documenting a "big man" in Prescott.  Take a look.

Now that you have the history, here's an update.  I think the Big Cowboy originally advertised a muffler shop and he held a big muffler in his hands.  

But in later reincarnations, his hands were empty.

I drove by today and stopped to take a picture.  Lo and behold, someone has a different idea.  Take a look at what he has in his right hand.

Like any good gambler, he's holding the cards so I can't see what they are but from the smile on his face, I think Big Johnson has four aces!

Sunday, February 9, 2014


I viewed with shock this remarkable photo recently.

I was disturbed at first, wondering if a sinkhole had developed under this lovely apartment home.  

But then I looked at the caption again.  Something about San Francisco having very steep hilly streets.  And I realized the photo had been manipulated.

So I manipulated it back to what I think is normal, though it still seems like hazardous parking conditions.

I don't know about you but I certainly wouldn't want to come home a bit tipsy.  One mis-step while getting out of my car might involve a roll down the hill!  And walking back up would be a killer.

Saturday, February 8, 2014


News came today that Alex Rodriguez has dropped his lawsuits against Major League Baseball, the players' union and the commissioner.  That means he will accept his 162 day suspension and will not be able to play in the 2014 season or the postseason games.  My opinion: it's about time and his punishment is not enough.  I think anyone found to have used performance enhancing drugs or steroids or anything else that is banned by the game should be kicked out of that game.  Forever. And they shouldn't be eligible for the Hall of Fame either.

Even without such a rule, Pete Rose has never been able to make it into the Hall.  But that is decided by sports writers and some of them have been hinting that they might vote for him in the future.  So let's take it out of their hands and just make these cheaters ineligible.

. . . . .

Now I haven't ranted about politics for quite awhile but you can't keep a good man quiet forever.  So, let me take on the Senator from Kansas, Pat Roberts, who is running for reelection.  He was first elected to the House in 1981 (33 years ago).  He kept getting reelected every two years until 1997 when he ran successfully for the U.S. Senate.  He's been ensconced there ever since.  Only thing wrong with this picture? He doesn't have a home in Kansas.  He lists his official voting address as the home of a couple of friends and supporters.  Roberts says he stays there when he goes "home" but many Kansans say they haven't seen him for years.  The Senator is making many more visits to Kansas now because of a Tea Party challenger.  Let's face it, if he spends most of his time in Washington it makes sense for him to have a home nearby, like Virginia, where he and his wife actually live.  But seems like he ought to also have at least an apartment in the state whose voters sent him to Washington.

Longtime Indiana U.S. Senator Richard Lugar got into this same mess when he was defeated in a Republican primary a couple of years ago. People said when he came to Indiana he stayed in hotels. 

So let's require these pols to maintain a real legal residence in their home state.  Okay?

. . . .

Then there's the case of Allan Levene.  He's running for the House in four states at once.  Georgia (where he lives), Michigan, Minnesota and Hawaii.  Apparently if he wins in the primary election in any of those states, he'll then move to that state and establish an official voting residence before the general election. This seems like politics at its most crass.  I suppose we can forgive Levene.  After all he was born in London (England) and didn't come to the U.S. until he was 21.  He eventually became a naturalized citizen.  I was just wondering what he'd do if he wins the primary in MORE than one state.  I guess he'd pick one and pull out of his campaign in the other(s).  Politics just gets curiouser and curiouser.

. . . .

Finally a different subject.  Rudeness.  I know a woman who had a dinner party for several guests.  When the meal was served one guest said she couldn't eat that, she was allergic to this, etc.  Now this person hadn't said anything about her food problems when the invitations went out or when she first arrived.  Just when the food was served.

Is that rude to the hosts of the meal?  I think so.  I think I'd just say to her "How are you with water?"

O.K.  My ranting is over for today.  Your turn.

Friday, February 7, 2014


So I haven't blogged since Tuesday.  SWMBO told me "If you don't have something to say, just shut up!"  And it's been a slow week.  I mean, how often can I talk about the weather, right?  BTW, the storm that was forecast to blow through here last night apparently fizzled out. No rain or snow at my location.

O.K.  Let's get on with it.  Since the Olympics have begun, let's finish off the Super Bowl first.

This one could be me and SWMBO.

Then there's me, first thing in the morning, wondering "Where's my coffee??!!!"

This seems like a good morning to have dogs starring in the funnies.

"I hate this game."

"O.K.  I caught him.  Now what do I do?"

Then there's the visitor to your swimming pool.

Birds are always good.  The two on the sides are saying "Just try to blend in."

And even in the avian world, family problems.

But as this graceful surfer might say, "Life is groovy, man, just enjoy it."

There!  Maybe that makes up for my days of sloth this week.

Have a fab weekend, folks!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014


The photos in this post were all shot yesterday.

In this one toward the mountains it looked like rain.  Or mist.  Or fog.

A little later in the day, looking toward Phoenix.

Clouds were rolling across the sky but not dropping any moisture on my part of town.

Looking toward the northeast, the mountains are nearly obscured in mist or fog.

"What was that sound?  Was it the Hound of the Baskervilles?"

Monday, February 3, 2014


The title of this post could reflect the feelings of Denver Broncos fans. The team took a whuppin' in yesterday's Super Bowl. Congratulations to the Seattle Seahawks.  They were definitely the better team.

But here's the real reason for those question marks.  We have a couple of trees in our backyard that we can't identify.

With the help of these three pictures I'm hoping someone can tell me what they are.

Sunday, February 2, 2014


I had missed photographing the amazing clouds in the sky on Friday but noticing the sky late Saturday I ducked out with my camera. Here is what I found.

To the east from my location, this strange flat-bottomed cloud was hovering in an otherwise blue sky.  And down at one end it appeared to be dumping a hearty rain shower on the land.  (By the way, if you click on the photos they become larger for even better viewing.)

Now, then, there's a fabulous post by Sharon today on her blog Sharon's Sojourns about the famous Abbey Road street crossing. I loved it and it prompted me to seek out the webcam she mentions. You can find it here.  It's on a very busy street but every one who comes by has to walk across for photos or just to say they've done it.

Saturday, February 1, 2014


I had to drive into Prescott yesterday and decided to have some fun. After the purpose of my errand my first stop was the Prescott Center for the Arts to see their current exhibit, Primary Colors.  I enjoyed it very much.  I was the sole person in the small gallery which gave me time to study each artwork.  Many fine photograpic images, as well as other artwork.  I came away convinced that there is much talent in the area and I encourage everyone in the area to go see the exhibit.

Then it was on to the Peregrine bookstore, which is run by an old friend of mine, Tom Broderson.  Tom was one of the proprietors of the Satisfied Mind bookstore, now gone, and was one of the original founders of Changing Hands bookstore in Tempe.  All three of these are very fine shops for the book and magazine lover.  As usual, I dropped a few dollars, picking up a copy of Lapham's Quarterly and a new book of photographs by the great Annie Leibovitz.  It is good to have a fabulous bookstore within easy reach but not close enough to tempt me more often.

I paid a visit to the new Bird Cage Saloon on Whiskey Row in downtown Prescott.  The original bar was destroyed by fire a couple of years ago and the new location is just a couple of doors south.  It's larger than the old "Cage", slick and smooth and the restrooms are a vast improvement as well.  One of the owners, Deb Stamm, told me to check them out.  I visited for awhile with Deb and then headed out again.

When I came out it was cold with a bit of rain in the air and a gusty wind blowing.  I decided I needed something hot (and alcoholic) and headed for the long bar at Murphy's for one of their fine Irish Coffees. My timing was perfect as snow grains were pelting down as I got out of my car. But the drink was warm and tasty and I had a long conversation with a fellow on the next stool, Jim, an expatriate Chicagoan who now lives in Prescott.  He picked Seattle to win the Super Bowl.  I'm for Denver but we still had a congenial chat.

Braced for the weather, I now ventured toward home but had to stop off at Trader Joe's to pick up a few food and wine items for the big day tomorrow.  

A stop to renew my membership at my neighborhood Sam's Club and one final stop at a supermarket for bread and I headed home.

'Twas a day well spent and well enjoyed.  Today I'm home alone as SWMBO and the BRD are enjoying their weekly lunch date - this week at Macayo's.  

Darn, now I'm getting hungry.

Friday, January 31, 2014


When your move is complete and the weather is nice what do you do? Oh, just horse around.

A friend of mine, Peripatetic Phil, is off to Texas today and then onto a cruise ship for a tour of Mexico, Belize and Honduras.  I sent him this card.

Speaking of traveling, some people seem to get more out of their foreign visits than others.

Others are surprised by a friendly greeting from the local wildlife.

Progress check: are you howling with laughter yet?

I was just thinking how things have changed over my lifetime.

Women might tell you that some things never change.

But if you look at executive offices in major companies today you'd say that's not true anymore.

The pay differences between men and women, however, have not changed that much.  So you can appreciate this editorial cartoon by the Arizona Republic's Pulitzer Prize winner Steve Benson.

Well, I'm getting too serious for the Friday Funnies.  So just let me leave you with this thought on the Big Weekend.

Have a happy weekend, folks, and may the best team win!

Thursday, January 30, 2014


SWMBO and I visited one of Prescott Valley's newer restaurants today for lunch.  Culver's, which is part of a chain of fast food restaurants which originated in Wisconsin, just opened Monday.  I had read on their website that the place should be avoided at lunchtime as it is very crowded.  We went at about 2 o'clock and it was still jammed.  But we got in, waited in line for maybe 10 minutes, placed our orders and had our sandwiches delivered to our table in a prompt and reasonable manner.  It is obvious the employees are trying very hard to please and we were pleased with their service and our food.  SWMBO was surprised to find a pork tenderloin sandwich on the menu.  It was something she remembered from her teen years in Indiana.  The big chunk of meat stuck out from all sides of the bun, just as it did at Northwood, a place that one had to go to for the purpose of seeing just who was dating who, as well as the food.  She said today's sandwich compared favorably with those of her youth.  I had a simple Bacon Deluxe Butterburger.  I don't think either of us will need dinner (or as they say in Wisconsin, supper) tonight.

It's turned a teensy bit cooler today and the skies have been overcast all day.  It "looks like rain" and the forecast calls for a 50 percent chance of it tomorrow.  Of course as I have learned over the years, that also means a 50 percent chance it won't rain.  But then there's that changing weather pattern as a result of Global Warming . . .

Just a little tease for tomorrow's Friday Funnies!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014


The sun is continuing to shine, though through thinly partly cloudy skies. I think I shot this picture yesterday.

But it is supposed to be overcast tomorrow. Friday a 40 percent chance of rain is forecast as the temperature plummets to 55 degrees. I'd like to see the rain.

Atlanta, Georgia, meanwhile, is in gridlock after an unusual snowstorm brought two inches of snow yesterday.  TWO INCHES! When I lived in North Dakota we'd call that a snow SHOWER! People might drive a little bit slower but nothing else would change.

TWO INCHES of snow.  Sheesh!  Of course they did get ice after the snow.  So the pictures on television this morning were of hundreds of cars and semi-trucks totally stopped on the freeways. People, the news pundits say, have been TRAPPED in their CARS for 24 hours and longer because no one can move.  

A Home Depot store put up dozens of others who couldn't leave because of the STORM!

The National Guard is patrolling the highways, handing out bottled water and Meals Ready to Eat to the poor folks TRAPPED in their cars.

The news media is after the scalps of the Governor, the Mayor, the Police Chief, the head of street maintenance.  Anyone in fact who let this TRAGEDY occur.

I moved to Arizona to escape all the snow and cold weather.  But then I moved to a higher elevation in the state and we occasionally have snowstorms here.  But even with 4, 5, 6 inches of snow on the ground, people just keep going or they stay home.

May my guardian angels protect me from ever going to Atlanta in the wintertime.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014


Pete Seeger has died.

To some of us, this is the passing of an age.  Here's an excerpt from his obituary in the New York Times.

Mr. Seeger’s career carried him from singing at labor rallies to the Top 10 to college auditoriums to folk festivals, and from a conviction for contempt of Congress (after defying the House Un-American Activities Committee in the 1950s) to performing on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial at an inaugural concert for Barack Obama.

That's quite a career.  I saw him perform with Arlo Guthrie - as he often did - once at Celebrity Theatre in Phoenix.  He celebrated folk music.  He was one of the good guys.  Rest in peace, Pete.

Sunday, January 26, 2014


You've all heard about it.  Maybe lived in it.  Two-thirds of the nation is freezing.  Actually colder than freezing.  Snow and ice cover the streets and the land.

But not here.

Sad as I am to report this to you shivvering citizens, here in Arizona the sun continues, day after day, to shine.

The temperature rises, day after day, to the 60's.  Our streets are free and clear of snow and ice.

As we were returning from a restaurant breakfast this morning we saw a man hiking alongside the road in a t-shirt.  "Shirtsleeve weather," SWMBO commented smugly.

Even the distant mountains, topping off at near 8,000 feet at their highest points, are free of snow.

Now before my smarmy attitude about our wonderful weather becomes too much for you, let me add that we are in the midst of a drought.  We could use rain.  Lots of it.

But you folks in the Midwest and the East and even the Southeast can keep your snow and ice.

We like it this way just fine.

Friday, January 24, 2014


It's all about cats this week.  For those of you who don't like cats, take heed.  I read this past week that people who have a pet cat are less likely to suffer from heart problems and more likely to heal quickly from strokes or heart surgeries.

But wait!  This is supposed to be funny.  Unlike me, cats remember to stretch when they first arise from the arms of Morpheus.

Cats tend to disobey stereotypes and make friends with odd creatures.

Apparently there is a legitimate reason for that old hipster expression "You are one cool cat."

And for all of you who liked the "toner" picture from last week, here's another group showing the varying colors of cats.

That's one of those "awwwww" pictures.

Have a fun weekend, folks!

Thursday, January 23, 2014


SWMBO came into my den this morning and said she was going into town for some shopping.  She said she'd probably be gone for quite awhile.  I (stupidly) asked if there was anything I could do for her while she was gone.

She dramatically said "Since you asked . . . could you vacuum the carpets and the floors?"

"Oh, sure", said I.

She left.  I vacuumed the whole house.  While doing so I had encountered some empty boxes and I knew there were some others in the garage so I went out with my trusty box cutter and demolished them. I filled one garbage bag with paper that had been used for packing.  I filled another bag with even more paper and the remains of a few boxes.  Then I filled a third bag with the rest of the cut-up cardboard.

Then, noticing that some of that damned insulated stuff, kind of like styrofoam popcorn, had littered the floor, I swept the garage and put it in the third garbage bag.  Then I moved a few full boxes around and generally neatened the garage up.  (If you could see our garage right now you'd know "neatened", as used in the previous sentence is a relative term.)

At the end of all this, I was totally bushed.  The Ibuprofen and the muscle relaxant I had taken had met their match.

During all of this, except the stuff in the garage, my trusty superintendent Blackwell had been wandering around keeping an eye on me.  Actually he just fixed me with this wondering stare, as if to say "Is this guy nuts?"

(The picture of Blackwell has been tweaked for a project the BRD is working on.  Gives him sort of a ghostly stare, doesn't it?)

Wednesday, January 22, 2014


As we continue to assimilate to our new home little problems arise. Yesterday it was time to hook up the washer and dryer.  I did the washing machine fairly easily but SWMBO said she'd take care of the dryer.  In Phoenix I had a devil of a time getting the vent tube connected.  So she went behind the machine to work on it and she said "you had better go into the other room until I get this done."  So she went at it and from time to time, I would hear a muffled string of profanity and then a loud scream.  Alarmed by the latter I stepped in and inquired if she was okay.  "YES!", she yelled, "Just leave me alone with this damned thing!"

I did.

Finally she gave up.  The vent tubing is round and the outlet to the outdoors is oval.  Plus the tubing seemed to be the same diameter as the dryer evacuation vent.  She commanded me to check at a hardware store for a piece of tubing just a half inch larger.  And if I could find something to deal with that circular vs. oval problem that would be good too.

At the hardware store I was quickly told that all tubing is the same size.  But they did have a converter thing that was oval on one end and circular on the other.  I bought it.  SWMBO went at it again. More screaming ensued.  She finally got the converter piece attached to the wall outlet and the tubing onto the other end of it.  Massive amounts of duct tape made it seemingly secure.  But she was having trouble getting the other end of the tubing onto the dryer.  And besides, it seemed too long to coil up neatly behind the dryer.  I finally told her to get out and I'd fix it.  That involved moving the washer so I could get behind it, jamming the tubing down and cramming the dryer up against it.  It ain't neat but I think it will work.

So, on to other problems.

We subscribe to DIRECTV and moved our equipment up here from Phoenix and one of the company's technicians installed it the day after we moved in.  But we are in a smaller house than the one in which we lived in Phoenix.  So instead of hooking up four television sets, we only needed three.  Yesterday I called the company's office and after about 40 minutes on the phone got the fourth connector taken off our account.  This morning we had no television on any of the sets.  So I called them back and spent another 20-30 minutes on the phone with them and everything is back to working.  Of course, DIRECTV is in a contract dispute with The Weather Channel and it doesn't appear right now.  But I suspect that will be taken care of in time.

Anyway to know what the weather is doing, all I have to do is step outside and look at the sky.  Today it's a bit gray.

It even looks like it could rain but there's none in the forecast.

By the way, once the sun is back out and the weather warms a bit I suspect this is where we'll be spending much of our time.

Our covered back patio, just large enough for a table, four chairs and a barbecue grill.  I predict they will all be used in time.

Finally, it is time once again for some remarkable music.  I am indebted to my friend and former colleague, Big Jeff, for making me aware of this man.  Tommy Emmanuel is an Australian virtuoso of the style of guitar playing known as finger-picking.  This is a great example of his talent. Enjoy.