Tuesday, December 16, 2014


SWMBO is happy.  Our neighbors are even happier.  A handyman came and cleaned up our front yard yesterday.

Behold the Before and After photos.

It looks better.  

For awhile.  

But unfortunately there are still leaves on the trees.  

Ready to fall.

For the price we paid, I'll be the handyman for them.

Monday, December 15, 2014


The third Monday morning photo.

It's coming but at a glacial rate.

Here's my role model.

No, it may look like Santa Claus but it's really my old disc jockey pal Orly Knutson, known to radio listeners throughout North Dakota, Indiana and Minnesota for 50 illustrious years as The Happy Norwegian.  I seem to remember when his beard was blonde. 

'Course his hair is white, too, so he may have had a "head" start on me.

Sunday, December 14, 2014


A look back at Saturday.  When I watched that short video I posted, I realized it was difficult to see that it was actually snowing.  None of it was sticking here but the flurries were filling the air.  A few moments later the sun was back out and it was all over.

The Bradshaw foothills are not snow-coated yet.

But their time will come.

SWMBO checked the temperature during that snow squall and it was 38 degrees.  A little chilly but just right for a casserole that evening.

I put it together from a mystery recipe I found that said it was Goulash.  But the goulash I remember from my childhood was Hungarian in flavor, with sweet paprika flavoring the dish.  This was more Americanized Italian but tasty.

And speaking of "dish", back then in North Dakota we didn't know the word "casserole."  Any melange of food cooked together was known then as "hot dish!"  I can't remember when the Frenchified term "casserole" made its way into my tongue.

We ate in and around watching a movie - The Flowers of War - about an American mortician caught in Nanjing (Nanking), China during the Japanese invasion and rape of the city in 1937.  Christian Bale is excellent as the mortician as is the rest of the cast.  This is a Chinese-made movie and much of the dialogue is in Mandarin Chinese with subtitles.  It is a brutal story with much violence but a measure of redemption stays in the mind.

Now it is on to Sunday with the Times for SWMBO and four crossword puzzles awaiting me.

Saturday, December 13, 2014


I just looked out my back window.

In the other room SWMBO is singing "I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas . . ."

I am inclined to smack her in the mouth but I fight back the urge.

Out the front, it looks like this.

Way down there in that gray haze, is Prescott Valley proper.

I didn't count on this when I moved to Arizona!


I can't seem to get going today.  I don't know why unless it's because SWMBO is back home and I'm unconsciously letting things slide. But I wouldn't do that, would I?  I HAVE put a packet of Christmas cards in the mailbox.  They're rubber-banded together.  I told SWMBO that seemed like a kind of bad deal for our mail person. But she said the gal just picks them up, throws them in a box at the post office and the workers there sort them and mail them.  So my Christmas duties are done.

We are slow tempo holiday celebrators.  There's usually a big meal though this year we are going to a brunch with the BRD and her Beau Jack.  We don't gift each other anymore and the list of gift recipients is down to a couple.  So it goes by pretty easily.

Speaking of the BRD and Beau Jack, they just returned yesterday from a week on Kona Island*, Hawaii.  They seemed happy, having gone horseback riding, snorkeling, boat riding and generally exploring the island.  The BRD said it's the best island yet.  They've been to Hawaii a couple of other times and have visited at least Oahu and Maui.  The trip was hampered by a stomach virus that Jack suffered through for a couple of days, then the BRD caught it for a day or two.  But they each got over it and managed to cram a couple of days of touristing in.  The BRD said one of the memorable sights was when they were out in a boat Thursday (I think) and the Pineapple Clipper was slamming some pretty huge waves onto the black lava coast.  She said that was a treat.

We've not been to Hawaii and who knows if we'll ever make it.  It's getting a bit late in the game for us to have such travels.  We ARE going all the way to Phoenix (about 80 miles) this week to see our friend Diane and her new home there.  It's the right time of year to visit Phoenix.

I'm making Goulash for dinner tonight.  It's not really Hungarian, it's more of an Italian goulash with ground beef, pasta, tomatoes and a couple kinds of cheese.  On the recipe I have noted that I made it last November and it was good.  (I just checked back and there was nothing in my blog so it apparently wasn't sensational!)

Well, that's about all I've got for today.  Oh, here's a quiz.  Anyone know what this is?

It grows up at the end of the street and I don't remember what it looked like when it was at its peak.  It looks fluffy here but when you look a bit closer . . .

 . . . it looks more bristly.  Well, if anyone can identify it, let me know.

*This is incorrect.  Check the comment from Phil and my response for accurate information.

Friday, December 12, 2014


Yes, I won't go away.  Here I am again with the confounded Friday Funnies.  First, an obligatory Christmas thought.

Next, we hear from a few celebrities.

For the dog lovers among you . . . don't leave them home alone.

And then there are my friends . . the cats!

Here's hoping you're fully charged for a great weekend.

Oh and by the way . . the actor and very successful Facebooker (he reportedly has more than 7,000 fans there) . . George Takei says what gets him the most likes, of course, are cat videos.

Keep laughing, folks, it will keep you young.

Thursday, December 11, 2014


A selfie in Monaco.

In 1985 Judy and I made our only tour of Europe, visiting seven countries in one month.  This picture was taken as we posed (smugly) in Monte Carlo, Monaco.  We were definitely above our class in this playground of the wealthy.

It is fitting that I post this photo today since there is a new heir to the throne of the Principality of Monaco today.  Actually there are two. Prince Jacques Honore Rainier and his twin sister Princess Gabriella Therese Marie were born yesterday.  Although the Princess was born first Prince Jacques is first in line of succession as the male offspring.

Here's a photo of the happy mom and dad.

They look more like they belong in Monaco than we did, I think.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014


So anyway there was that rainy day.  Or two.  During it I raised a question of whether that was a low hanging cloud or was it fog. Almost to a man (and woman) came the answer.  It was definitely a lowered cloud nearly touching the earth.

But a day or so later came a new phenomenon, one that I love to see.  It's known as Ground Fog.  From a distance, you can see the cloud of fog (sorry about that) clinging to the earth with clear sunny skies above it.  It looks like this.

And more stunningly, like this.

In StoneRidge, where I live and where I shot these photos the sun had already burned off the fog.  But in downtown Prescott Valley it was still clinging on.  I can imagine that it was a dreary, gray sight there.  But from a distance and a bit of elevation it is simply beautiful.

Now to the subject of landmarks.  Yesterday I noted that the low cloud was even obscuring Thumb Butte in Prescott.  A couple of my commenters thought that was a funny name.  So let me explain.

It is pronounced Thumb, as in thumb, and Butte, as in Beaut.  And it's a volcanic plug that resembles, from a certain angle, an upraised thumb.  Take a look.

See, it's a photo taken from the side with the right side being the thumbnail and the left being the pad on the thumb.  Some early pioneer/gold digger/mountain man/cowboy, perhaps a bit hazy from some "likker" gave it the name back in the day. It has become Prescott's official landmark and appears on signs, stationery and in local business names. 

It is part of the Sierra Prieta range just west of Prescott.  Incidentally early cowboys called the range "the Sierry Petes".  And they are featured in a piece of cowboy poetry by the late, great Gail Gardner.

The Sierry Petes (or, Tying Knots in the Devil's Tail)
Away up high in the Sierry Petes,
Where the yeller pines grows tall,
Ole Sandy Bob an' Buster Jig,
Had a rodeer camp last fall.
Oh, they taken their hosses and runnin' irons
And maybe a dog or two,
An' they 'lowed they'd brand all the long-yered calves,
That come within their view.

And any old dogie that flapped long yeres,
An' didn't bush up by day,
Got his long yeres whittled an' his old hide scorched,
In a most artistic way.

Now one fine day ole Sandy Bob,
He throwed his seago down,
"I'm sick of the smell of burnin’ hair,
And I 'lows I'm a-goin' to town."

So they saddles up an' hits 'em a lope,
Fer it warnt no sight of a ride,
And them was the days when a Buckeroo
Could ile up his inside.

Oh, they starts her in at the Kaintucky Bar,
At the head of Whiskey Row,
And they winds up down by the Depot House,
Some forty drinks below.

They then sets up and turns around,
And goes her the other way,
An' to tell you the Gawd-forsaken truth,
Them boys got stewed that day.

As they was a-ridin' back to camp,
A-packin' a pretty good load,
Who should they meet but the Devil himself,
A-prancin' down the road.

Sez he, "You ornery cowboy skunks,
You'd better hunt yer holes,
Fer I've come up from Hell's Rim Rock,
To gather in yer souls."

Sez Sandy Bob, "Old Devil be damned,
We boys is kinda tight,
But you ain't a-goin' to gather no cowboy souls,
'Thout you has some kind of a fight."

        So Sandy Bob punched a hole in his rope,
        And he swang her straight and true,
        He lapped it on to the Devil's horns,
        An' he taken his dallies too.
Now Buster jig was a riata man,
With his gut-line coiled up neat,
So he shaken her out an' he built him a loop,
An' he lassed the Devil's hind feet.

Oh, they stretched him out an' they tailed him down,
While the irons was a-gettin hot,
They cropped and swaller-forked his yeres,
Then they branded him up a lot.

They pruned him up with a de-hornin' saw,
An' they knotted his tail fer a joke,
They then rid off and left him there,
Necked to a Black-Jack oak.

If you're ever up high in the Sierry Petes,
An' you hear one Hell of a wail,
You'll know it's that Devil a-bellerin' around,
About them knots in his tail.

                                             Gail I. Gardner, 1917

And that, as a certain radio commenter used to say, is the rest of the story.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014


One day last week we were having an unusual amount of slow steady rain.  But I had to go into Prescott.  Here's how it looked as I pulled into town.  Wet, drizzling, cold with a very low cloud even obscuring Thumb Butte.

On a day like that, once my obligations were taken care of, there was only one solution.

A seat at the bar at the Prescott Brewing Company where I'm a huge fan of their Petrified Porter and their Fish and Chips.

(The day got better!)

Monday, December 8, 2014


I promised last Monday (check back if you like) to keep you updated on the progress of my beard.  I'll try to remember to post a new picture each Monday.  Here is the one I took a few minutes ago.

The chin is filling in nicely around my goatee.  But the sides are groaningly slow.  'Course it's only been a bit over a week.  Time will tell.

By the way, I suppose I should apologize to SWMBO for this picture.  She thinks I look terrible in "gimmee" caps.  I usually only wear this one in the morning because my window faces east right into the sun and the cap cuts down on the glare.

Sunday, December 7, 2014


The BRD and her Beau Jack are spending the week in Kona, Hawaii.

Hence her acronym BRD: Beautiful Rich Daughter.

Since she has three cats that live with her, her mother SWMBO (She Who Must Be Obeyed) is house- and cat-sitting for her for the week.  I was over there earlier today and took some photos of . . . yup, you guessed it . . . the cats.

This is Lilly, the friendliest of the tribe.

Her coat is so luxurious you just have to grab hold of her.  They ought to make women's coats out of fur like that.  She takes little urging to come up on the arm of the chair I sit in and ask to be petted.

Apparently she knows how beautiful she is.  She's always ready to pose.

On the other end of the scale is Mister.  Though he's the fattest solidest of the trio he is very shy at first and stays at arms reach.  

But eventually curiosity perhaps is too much for him and he relaxes. REALLY relaxes.

"Are you talkin' to me, buddy?"

And last but definitely not least is Jet, who is the most aptly named. He paces around like he runs the place and is difficult to photograph. Until HE relaxes.

The BRD is a nervous mother.  She asked me on her first day away to send pictures of the animals.  

I did better than that.  

I got a blog post out of it.

Saturday, December 6, 2014


What we had for breakfast yesterday.  And I finished off today.

Here's a closer look at the gooey crunchy goodness.

Unlike its appearance when it came out of the oven, it is NOT a baked octopus.

It's a special holiday treat from good old Trader Joe.  SWMBO blamed the "sugar rush" she claimed to have acquired from eating her share of it yesterday for the nap she had to take a short time later.  I fell asleep in a recliner with a golf tournament on so maybe she's right.  Or maybe, like so many of my friends claim, golf and baseball are so boring they'll put you to sleep!

Friday, December 5, 2014


Here we are again with what you've been waiting for ever since . . . yesterday.  It's the Friday Funnies!

If you don't remember "The Honeymooners" you'd better find someone older to explain that one.

This week the cats will just pop up randomly.

Wait a second.  Think about that one.

And with the StarCat and thanks to all of my contributors, I wish you a Merry Weekend full of laughs.  (Bet you thought I was going to say something else, didn't you?)