Tuesday, April 8, 2014


As we were headed home from our road trip, we pulled into the tiny burg of Skull Valley.

What we saw at the now-closed fuel station was a blast from the past.

Now THOSE are some classic cars.

Monday, April 7, 2014


On our visit to Wickenburg, we encountered this old train engine and caboose near the railroad tracks.  No longer in service except for museum-type encounters, I'd imagine.

Did you pick up the railroad?  Here's a broad hint.

Next on our road trip - a surprise encounter in Skull Valley.  Stay tuned.

Sunday, April 6, 2014


Wickenburg, Arizona is a town that takes its Western heritage seriously.  The downtown or Old Town area is the home of half a dozen life-size sculptured characters in bronze by the artist J. Seward Johnson.  They were donated to the town by the DeVore Foundation.

A jeweler in the store which this character stands outside said this was Henry Wickenburg, for whom the town is named.  But my own research revealed that it is just an iconic miner of the 1800's leading his burro.

Wickenburg, incidentally, led an interesting life.  He was a Prussian prospector who came to the United States in the mid part of the 19th century and discovered the Vulture Mine, which became the most important gold mine in Arizona.  Over the years, an estimated 70 million dollars worth of gold came out of it.

But Wickenburg tired of gold mining and sold his 80 percent of the mine for $85,000.  He received $20,000 in cash and a promissory note for the remainder.  The new owners, however, refused to pay him, insisting that Wickenburg had not held a clear title to the property.  He spent the $20,000 on attorneys fees as he fought unsuccessfully to be paid.  In 1905, the now penniless Wickenburg walked into a grove of trees behind his home and took his own life with his Colt revolver.  He was 85 years old.

But he lived on as his tent camp near the mine became the town named after him.

This sculpture stands near the railroad tracks in town and represents a young school teacher newly arrived by train.

This one is Mrs. Elizabeth Smith, the original owner of the Hassayampa Hotel in the late 1800's.

This one stands in front of the Gold Nugget Lounge and is a Mexican vaquero playing his guitar and singing.

Then there's my favorite.  A duet of sorts as a cowboy talks to (and perhaps bargains with) a saloon girl.  These two stand in front of the Bar 7 Lounge.

It is not difficult to see what attracted the cowboy.

There is one other sculpture I missed.  It depicts a felon chained to a tree.  The story goes that when the jail was filled, additional law-breakers were chained to the big tree out in front.

There are a number of smaller sculptures around the streets.  There are four each of Gila monsters, Tarantulas, Roadrunners and Rattlesnakes.  Those might have scared me out of my skin if I had noticed them.

Saturday, April 5, 2014


Feeling the lure of the wide open spaces in our adopted state, SWMBO and I took a road trip yesterday.  We headed into Prescott, then out White Spar Road and southwest through miles of heavily forested land. There were still scarred areas from a huge forest fire many years ago. On through the small communities of Wilhoit, Peeples Valley and Yarnell, which is becoming an antique haven.

Incidentally, many towns are named for people.  Prescott was named for the historian most well-known for his book The Conquest of Mexico, William H. Prescott.  He was a lawyer in Boston and never visited the town that bore his name.

Peeples Valley is named for a successful prospector, A.H. Peeples, the leader of a group that discovered Rich Hill, a gold deposit in 1863.

Yarnell was named for another prospector, Harrison Yarnell, who discovered the Yarnell mine in 1873.  Half of this town was destroyed by a fire that took the lives of 19 firefighters last June. But homes are being rebuilt and the small community is fighting back from the tragedy.

Just outside of town, Yarnell Hill descends 1,300 feet in four miles. The views are spectacular.

The trip down the mountainside on a divided highway is winding and could make one nervous.  High, rock-covered ledges on one side and sheer drops for hundreds of feet on the other of the narrow road.

I know.  I don't have any pictures of that road and its hazards.  I was driving.  Okay?

Anyway we crossed the plain below and journeyed on to Wickenburg, our destination for the day, and the Desert Caballeros Western Museum, which was featuring an exhibit of artworks all done by female artists.  No photography allowed but I can tell you the quality of the work was excellent.

After lunch and a little tour around town we headed for home.  I told you the highway coming down Yarnell Hill is divided but heading back before it divides the driver is confronted with this seemingly impossible situation.

It doesn't look like there is any way over that mountain range but the road turns to the right and skirts the highest peaks.

Arizona was formed by volcanic eruptions in the distant past and one can't help wondering about them as miles of tumbled boulders are passed.

By the way, that's a Saguaro cactus in the foreground.  The flower which forms on the top of the stalks is the official state wildflower of Arizona.

Recalling the view from the top of the hill, imagine what the occupant of this southwest-ward facing structure has.

Taking the Kirkland cutoff back to Prescott eliminates much of the winding roads as it travels through the tiny communities of Kirkland and Skull Valley.  The topography is different also.

By the time we returned home we had covered about 150 miles.  In coming days I'll show you some of what we saw in Wickenburg and a surprise encounter in Skull Valley.

Friday, April 4, 2014


Yes, folks, it's time once again for (drum roll) The Friday Funnies! To those of you who might say "Oh, that's a crock" . . .

Then there are the before and after (dinner) photos . . .

Now if you think that's a bit squirrely, all I can add is "Ready everyone?  Say Nuts!"

Enjoy your weekend, folks, and always remember to include a laugh or two in your daily routine.

Thursday, April 3, 2014


The 1970's in Phoenix.  My days as a television news reporter.  Local boy Vincent Furnier is relaxing prior to his concert that night.

Oh, yeah.  You might know him as rock star Alice Cooper.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014



My dear friend, Lori, forwarded these to me and I decided to share them.

Sports quotes you may have never heard

Last year we couldn't win at home and we were
losing on the road. My failure as a coach was
that I couldn't think of anyplace else to play.
Harry Neale, professional hockey coach

"Blind people come to the ballpark just to listen to him pitch."

- Reggie Jackson commenting on Tom Seaver

"I'm working as hard as I can to get my life and my cash to run out at the same time. If I can just die after lunch Tuesday, everything will  be perfect."

- Doug Sanders, professional golfer

"All the fat guys watch me and say to their wives, 'See, there's a fat guy doing okay. Bring me another beer.'"

- Mickey Lolich, DetroitTigers Pitcher

"When it's third and ten, you can have the milk drinkers; I'll take the whiskey drinkers every time."

- Max McGee, Green Bay Packers receiver

"I found out that it's not good to talk about my troubles. Eighty percent of the people who hear them don't care and the other twenty percent are glad you're having them."

- Tommy LaSorda ,LA Dodgers manager

"My knees look like they lost a knife fight with a midget."

- E.J. Holub, Kansas City Chiefs linebacker regarding his 12 knee operations

"My theory is that if you buy an ice-cream cone and make it hit your mouth, you can learn to play tennis. If you stick it on your forehead, your chances aren't as good."

- Vic Braden, tennis instructor

"When they operated, I told them to add in a Koufax fastball. They did but unfortunately it twas Mrs. Koufax's."

- Tommy John N.Y. Yankees, recalling his 1974 arm surgery

"I don't know. I only played there for nine years."

- WaltGarrison, Dallas Cowboys fullback when asked if Tom Landry ever smiles

"We were tipping off our plays. Whenever we broke from the huddle, three backs were laughing and one was pale as a ghost."

- John Breen, HoustonOilers

"The film looks suspiciously like the game itself."

- Bum Phillips, New Orleans Saints, after viewing a lopsided loss to
the AtlantaFalcons

"When I'm on the road, my greatest ambition is to get a standing boo."

- Al Hrabosky, major league relief pitcher

"I have discovered in 20 years of moving around the ball park, that the knowledge of the game is usually in inverse proportion to the price of the seats."

- Bill Veeck, Chicago White Sox owner

"Because if it didn't work out, I didn't want to blow the whole day."

- Paul Horning, Green Bay Packers running back on why his marriage
ceremony was before noon.

"I have a lifetime contract. That means I can't be fired during the third quarter if we're ahead and moving the ball."

- Lou Holtz ,Arkansas football coach

"I won't know until my barber tells me on Monday."

- Knute Rockne, when asked why Notre Dame had lost a game

"I tell him 'Attaway to hit, George.'"

- Jim Frey, K.C. Royals manager when asked what advice he gives George
Brett on hitting

"I learned a long time ago that 'minor surgery' is when they do the operation on someone else, not you."

- Bill Walton, PortlandTrial Blazers

"Our biggest concern this season will be diaper rash."

- George MacIntyre, Vanderbilt football coach surveying the team
roster that included 26 freshmen and 25 sophomores.

"The only difference between me and General Custer is that I have to watch the films on Sunday."

- Rick Venturi, Northwestern football coach

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Sunday, March 30, 2014


For some unknown reason, in my retirement years I've taken to retiring for the night earlier than I have for many decades and rising at the crack of dawn, or earlier.

Last night, I turned out the light before ten o'clock after reading a bit in my current book and promptly went to sleep.  Until about 3 a.m. 

I wakened then, as I frequently do, and made the middle of the night visit to the bathroom.  Then back to bed.  Where I rolled and tossed, as the expression goes, for half an hour becoming more and more awake.  
Finally I gave up.  I rose, went to my den and turned on the computer.  I checked the Powerball numbers, learned once again that I was not a zillionaire, read a couple of emails, scheduled a couple of payments for next month, scanned the Sunday New York Times digital edition, worked two crossword puzzles from the L.A. Times, checked the current news to see if any legitimate sign of that missing airplane had been found yet (it hadn't), and finally turned the computer off at about 5:30 and went back to bed.  Now, I'd finish my night's sleep, I reasoned.

I reasoned wrong.  About 45 minutes of sleeplessness later my right foot, which suffers from neuroma or nerve pain, was driving me nuts.  It suddenly occurred to me that I might have forgotten to take my "night pills" before turning out the light.  I checked.  I had overlooked them. Included in my night pills is an over-the-counter sleep aid and not taking it last night apparently caused my wakefulness.  So I rose, took my "morning pills", which includes something for the foot pain, sighed mightily and got dressed.  Outside to pick up the print edition of the Sunday New York Times.  Warmed a cup of coffee and here I am about 2-1/2 hours later.

 I just related my experience to SWMBO and she noted correctly "It sounds like a nap day."  It does indeed and I hopefully will enjoy one. Or two.

But I was just thinking as I wrote this:  "Damn!  This growing old business is not a lot of fun!"

Friday, March 28, 2014


We begin this week with thanks to Bill Maher, who suggested as the perfect Republican presidential candidate in 2016 . . . this man.

While trying to get that picture out of your mind, you may find yourself staring at the sky like the creatures here . . .

I wonder if thse two aren't the offspring of that couple in my banner photo.

Here's how I sometimes feel after I've visited the barber.

And mustn't forget the kitties.

And finally, this next guy could be my avatar.

Have a great weekend, folks, and don't forget to laugh a little.

Or a lot!

Thursday, March 27, 2014


Apparently my affection for cats started at an early age.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014


Yesterday . . . it looked like rain . . .

But, as so often happens in Arizona, the rain never quite touched the ground.  Today it's sunny and windy.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014


Purple mountains, aqua-blue sky, billowing clouds . . . it's the Wild West, pardner.

Monday, March 24, 2014


Last night about 10:30 or later I heard some loud thumping noises coming from just outside the house.  (It was probably a neighbor dumping some garbage into his bin.)  But being the brave warrior of my hearth, I opened a sliding door and was peering out into the inky darkness.  I saw nothing.  Except a (not so) small dark shape zip past me and out into the yard.  It was this inky evildoer.

Blackwell is an inside cat.  He KNOWS that.  But he can't resist an open door and will go through it if it stays open too long or if the door opening person isn't on alert.

So last night, when our neighbors were either sound asleep or preparing to sleep, there was Blackwell outside and me too, calling his name.  Fortunately he was apparently frightened as he kept crying whenever I would call.  I went inside to secure a flashlight, then opened the garage door.  I was afraid the noise of that door opening would scare the cat into running but he was still out there, somewhere.  Tracking the sound of his voice I quickly spotted him and called him home.  He obediently (strange for him) went into the garage, up to the door into the house and as I opened it he proceeded inside.

It had all occurred in about five minutes and I was frankly quite amazed by his quick return.  

So, after being scolded by SWMBO for "letting him out" we all settled down and resumed our normal breathing once again.

Meanwhile, Blackwell's older sister Muggles apparently slept through the entire adventure in her favorite spot.

Sunday, March 23, 2014


SWMBO invited the BRD to have a Sunday brunch with us.  We went to a favorite place, the Iron Springs Cafe.  A spicy Bloody Mary was just waiting for me.

SWMBO snapped a picture of the BRD and I.  Those Bloody Marys may account for the somewhat silly looks on our faces.

Good drinks, good food, good conversation, good times had by all.