Sunday, June 1, 2014


Just about a month ago I told you about the Century Plant and showed you photos of it's beginning and growth.  You can find that post here if you'd like to refresh your memory.  I'll be right here when you come back.

So anyway, the plant begins to put out clusters of blooms.


As you can see when you look closer, these are what I would call bloom pods.

These are the antepenultimate stage of this mighty but doomed plant.

Now we move on to the penultimate stage, where the red pods open and the true blossoms burst forth in a blaze of . . . surprise . . . yellow color.

Once the plant has fully bloomed it's bye-bye, baby.  The mighty Century Plant, having put on a fabulous show, will die.  As my friend Phil commented, it reminds him of the salmon in the Pacific Northwest that spawn and then die.

Saturday, May 31, 2014


It's been a quiet week here in Lake Wobegone.  NO WAIT, some other guy is using that line.  Sorry Mr. Keillor.

Well, it has been quiet around here though there is occasional activity in the menagerie that holds forth in my back yard.  As evidence, click on the link below.

All right.  In my constant Wild Kingdom-like search for interesting life on our planet, I must now venture forth.  Until we meet again, stay interesting.

Friday, May 30, 2014


Something new this week to kick off the Friday Funnies.  An actual video of the exciting activity around our birdbath and hummingbird feeder.  Brace yourselves.

O.K.  Take a minute or two to calm down from that and I'll proceed with the rest of this week's humor.

And, no, I didn't forget the cats.

Keep the chuckles going, folks, and have a great weekend!

Thursday, May 29, 2014


1971.  My new MGB . . . and a flat tire!  (Dig those pants!)

Later, up and running and smiling once again.

(Along with mutton chops and a hippie headband!  Ah, the 70's!)

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Tuesday, May 27, 2014


We have a couple of new tenants with more on the way.

We watched a male and female finch build this nest atop a pillar under our front porch a week or so ago.  Once it was built, they disappeared. I thought they'd abandoned it.  But SWMBO consulted her bird books and the Almighty Google and then said that they were "on their honeymoon."  Apparently they leave for a couple of days to feed and mate.

And she was right.  After about 48 hours the the female returned to the nest several times for a period of time, apparently laying her eggs. Now she's been perched on the nest continuously for most of a week.

SWMBO says it may be another week before the eggs hatch.

I keep watching.

Monday, May 26, 2014


As the numbers continue to grow . . .

. . . we continue to mourn.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

An Editorial

Willfull Ignorance in Wyoming
by the New York Times Editorial Board

The year has already produced three alarming reports involving climate change.

The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reaffirmed the overwhelming consensus among scientists that the planet is warming, that humans and the burning of fossil fuels are largely responsible, and that the world must take aggressive, concerted action.

The federal National Climate Assessment described frightening changes, including unusually severe and persistent droughts, already occurring in the United States.  And two weeks ago, two groups of scientists reported that the West Antarctic ice sheet had begun to disintegrate irreversibly, a process that, over centuries, could cause a large and destructive rise in the oceans.

Despite all this, many leading politicians continue to dispute the science and resist any effort to regulate and reduce the emissions of carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas.  Among the prominent deniers are two Floridians -- Senator Marco Rubio and Gov. Rick Scott -- whose state is greatly at risk from even modest and relatively short-term increases in sea levels.

Some of this is to be expected in a political season, when politicians will do almost anything to prey on the public's fear of job losses.  What is truly depressing is the news that Wyoming's State Legislature has become the first in the nation to reject the new national science standards for schools, standards that include instruction on the human contribution to climate change.

The legislators' action arose from various motives, including hostility to government regulation generally and, more specifically, any teaching that seems to threaten the coal, oil and natural gas industries that are important to Wyoming's economy.  But it seemed also to be a willful effort to leave a whole generation of children in the dark about climate science.  This is more than standard-issue political posturing.  It is madness.

Saturday, May 24, 2014


I have written about Bronzesmith before but yesterday SWMBO and the BRD and I all visited it together as they were holding an open house.  It is a full service art foundry and the work it turns out is exceptional.

I am partial to ravens but this next piece was one of my favorites.

The mystery behind that (supposedly) unsupported hand stopped me in my tracks.

I shot this picture with people in it so you could see the scale of some of the works on display.

Inside we were given an informational tour and watched some of the work going on.  This is a patina artist, who explained that the hotter the metal becomes the darker the colors.

I'm not sure if these are a pair of his shoes or someone else's.

Lost wax molds.

A very muscular fellow working around temperatures that rise into the thousands of degrees.

The extremely remarkable Deb Gessner who takes a one-dimensional sketch and turns it into a three-dimensional sculpture. You may remember her working with artist Bob "Boze" Bell to create the sculpture from his portrait of the "Not-So-Gentle Tamer" that now stands as a 10-foot bronze near the Prescott Valley Town Hall.  At present she's working on another of his works, this time of Billy the Kid.

A few well-formed bronze hands, waiting for future work.

And some smaller finished works in the gallery.

This state is full of Western and Native American artists so many of the works reflect that heritage.

But not all.

This was done from a sketch by the noted cartoonist Bil Keane, based on characters from his long-running Family Circus.  But after his death his children worked with Ms. Gessman to create the sketch in bronze but altered to show the face of the dad as Keane himself. The 9-foot-long finished bronze is on display in Scottsdale, where Keane made his home.

As we completed our tour, I spotted one of the other attendees leaving with a purchase she had made.  

Apparently she likes ravens too.

Should you find yourself in Prescott Valley, Arizona, Bronzesmith is open for tours every Thursday at 10 a.m. for $10.  You must call ahead to make reservations.

Friday, May 23, 2014


Good morning, Chicago!

Happy Memorial Day Weekend!

Ain't technology great?

Speaking of cats . . .

Here's a fact known only to people who have located their NSA spying videos:

Have a great weekend, folks, it's a long one.  Or as we old retirees say "It's just another weekend."

Thursday, May 22, 2014


Innsbruck, Austria, 1985.  I am overcome by the beauty of this city's setting at the foot of the Alps.  Or perhaps by the altitude and the effect it (and the high-octane beer available locally) had on me.

Meantime . . .

. . . my lovely wife, Judy, seemed overcome by the charms of one of a group of locals we ran into and then joined as we closed a bar we were all frequenting.  His name was Bruno.  Judy and I were in agreement that he should henceforth be known as Beautiful Bruno.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

SORRY . . .

Well, that didn't work.  Apparently the pictures would not show up for you folks.  It worked fine on my machine but . . . so it goes.

I took my car (NOT a G-M model) in to a dealer and had four, count em, 4 recall problems attended to this afternoon.  It only took about an hour and a half and they washed my car.  All free.

I've been battling with my television.  The other night Judy had Pandora playing through the t.v. and when she was done she just turned off the television.  We don't have a WI-FI equipped t.v. but the DVR is and gets the Pandora.  When SWMBO turned the t.v. on again the next day it was locked up on a Pandora screen and I couldn't turn the DVR off.  Finally got rid of it by cutting the power to the device.  Then we couldn't get a signal from Direct TV.  I tried everything without success.  Finally called for tech support and they couldn't solve the problem either.  I scheduled a tech visit for Wednesday.

But then, like the old ham radio operator I used to be, I kept diddling with it.  Finally just plugged the Direct TV box directly into the t.v. set and, lo and behold, it worked!  Of course that meant I no longer had the use of the DVR.  I have a little box that resides between the Direct TV box, the DVR and the TV set.  It's a whatchamacallit thing that should result in everything working in unison.  Before, when I wanted to watch a movie in the DVR or play Pandora through it I just turned on the DVR and it took over.

I think I finally solved the problem when Judy remembered a tiny remote that (supposedly) controls the whatchamacallit box.  I have been able to run both the t.v. and the DVR now but it adds one more frickin' remote to the coffee table.

Why can't my life be more simple?

Monday, May 19, 2014


I am indebted to a friend, Lovable Lorinda, for forwarding the following on to me today.  I know not who the true author is but I enjoyed it.  I hope you do.

I  know some of you will not understand this message,
but I bet you know someone who might.  I came across this phrase yesterday.    'FENDER   SKIRTS'

A term I haven't heard in a long time, and thinking about
'fender skirts' started me thinking about other words that quietly disappear from our language with  hardly a  notice like 'curb  feelers'.

    And 'steering knobs.' (AKA) 'suicide knob,'   'neckers knobs.'

Since I'd been thinking of cars, my mind naturally went that   direction first.  Any kids will probably have to find some older person over 50 to explain some of these terms  to  you.

Remember 'Continental  kits?'  They  were rear bumper extenders and spare tire covers that were  supposed to make any car as cool as a Lincoln  Continental.

When did we quit calling them 'emergency brakes? At some point 'parking brake' became the proper term. But I  miss the hint of drama that went with 'emergency brake.'

I'm  sad, too, that almost all the old folks are gone who  would call the accelerator the 'foot feed.'  Many today do not even know what a clutch is or that the  dimmer switch  used to be on the floor.  For that matter, the starter  was down there too.
Didn't you ever wait at the street for your daddy to come home,  so you could ride the 'running board' up to the house?

Here's a phrase I heard all the time in my youth but never anymore -  'store-bought.'  Of course, just about  everything is store-bought these days.  But once it was  bragging material to  have a store-bought dress or a  store-bought bag of candy.
'Coast to coast' is a phrase that once held all sorts of   excitement and now means almost nothing.  Now we take the term  'worldwide' for granted.  This floors me.
On a smaller scale, 'wall-to-wall' was once a magical term in our homes. In the '50s, everyone covered his or  her hardwood floors with, wow, wall-to-wall  carpeting!  Today, everyone replaces their wall-to-wall carpeting with hardwood floors. Go figure.  

When was the last time you heard the quaint phrase 'in a family  way?' It's hard to imagine that the word  'pregnant' was once considered a little too graphic, a little too clinical  for use in polite company, so we had all that talk about stork visits and 'being in a family way' or simply 'expecting.' 

Speaking of female items, nobody talks about 'housedresses' any more.  All the ladies wore them.  Nobody wore slacks or 'blue jeans' except if you were a farmer.

Apparently  'brassiere' is a word no  longer in usage. I said  it the other day and my daughter cracked up. I guess it's  just 'bra' now.  'Unmentionables'  probably wouldn't be understood at all. 

I always loved going to the  'picture show,' but I considered 'movie' an affectation.
Most of these words go back to the '50s, but here's a pure '60s  word I came across the other day 'rat fink.'  Ooh, what  a nasty put-down!
Here's a word I miss - 'percolator.'  That was just a fun word to say.  And what was it replaced with? 'Coffee  maker.'  How dull... Mr. Coffee, I blame you for this.
I miss those made-up marketing words that were meant to sound  so modern and now sound so retro.  Words like  'Dyna Flow' and 'Electrolux' and 'Frigidaire.'  Introducing the 1963 Admiral TV, now  with  'Spectra Vision!'
Food for thought.  Was there a telethon that wiped out   lumbago?  Nobody complains of that anymore. Maybe  that's what Castor oil cured, because I never hear mothers threatening  kids with Castor Oil anymore.
Some words aren't gone, but are definitely on the endangered list.  The one that grieves me most is 'supper.'  Now everybody says 'dinner.' Save a  great word. Invite someone to supper. Discuss fender skirts.

Sunday, May 18, 2014


No words.  Just blossoms.