Wednesday, January 28, 2015


Here we go again.

The beard I patiently waited to grow out for 6 weeks or so.  I was hoping for a true Santa Claus look and if I had waited longer that dishwater look on the sides might have become white.  Or at least whiter.

But I didn't.

This morning I got rid of those sides and went back to my goatee.  Fuller, now.

We'll see how long this lasts.

And before you all start on me, yes it does bring a smile to my face. 

(Sort of.)

Tuesday, January 27, 2015


"With my back to the light, he'll never see me"

"With my special vision, I'm scanning the horizon"

"My radar detectors are on full alert"

"I should chase the invader but this blanket is so-o-o-o comfy"

"Oh, all right.  Just get me from my best side"

Monday, January 26, 2015


I hadn't meant it as a contest but . . . we have a winner!  Steve Glossin, my ex-pat friend from Northern California now retired from the military and living in Germany, hit it nearly spot on. Steve is the author of the blog Life is Good (Most of the Time) and several novels of international intrigue. He correctly identified yesterday's photos as close-ups of the sandstone slabs in my back yard altered with some photo-shopping colors.  I said "nearly" spot on because the slab in my header was not among those so altered.  But its neighbors were. So, as they say on the award shows, let's have a big round of applause for Steve.  It makes me think he may have had some type of military career as an analyst of some type. Congratulations, Steve.

Which brings us to celebratory Monday.  For the past two weeks I've been on not a diet exactly but an alteration of my lifestyle.  Much less booze, eating an early breakfast, avoiding fast food, and the like. This morning I'm proud to tell you the scale says I've lost 10 pounds. SWMBO would be quick to tell you that men always lose weight faster than women.  But I feel good about it if still not good about my weight.  The battle goes on.

Don't I look slimmer?  (Actually not much.  This picture was taken a few days ago.)  

Who knows how much weight I will lose when that beard comes off!

Sunday, January 25, 2015


Blue-phrates Delta

Point Porterhouse Rare

Moonlight Serenade

(Don't take it too seriously, folks.)

Saturday, January 24, 2015


I went to another lecture this morning, this one at the Sharlot Hall Museum.  It was on the Spanish-American War in Cuba with a bit of a side trip to the Phillipine-American war.  

According to lore, newspaper publisher William Randolph Hearst created the war with his yellow journalism of the day.  He sent artist Frederick Remington to Cuba to supply him with pictures of the war.  Remington supposedly wired Hearst that all was quiet and there was no war.  Hearst allegedly wired back "You furnish the pictures, I'll furnish the war."  But today's speaker, historian John Stewart, said there is no evidence that anyone ever said that.  My thought was "why ruin a good story with facts!"

Stewart also said the part of the Maine that was sunk in Havana Harbor was later refloated and examination revealed that the explosion that sank her came from inside the ship, not from a Spanish or Cuban mine.  As one of my favorite writers, Kurt Vonnegut, might say "so it goes."

On the way home I stopped at a bridge that crosses Lynx Creek in the StoneRidge subdivision where I live.  There are always many cars and trucks parked along there.

When I first moved here I stopped one day and was told that the drivers of those vehicles were panning for gold down in the creek. Today I chatted with another fellow who confirmed that story.

He said it's mostly flakes and dust that the panners collect but once in awhile someone collects a tiny nugget about the size of a fingernail on your smallest finger.  But that could be worth 800 to a thousand dollars so it's worth searching for one.

Whether one makes his fortune or not it's nice to get outside on a warm sunny day and commune with nature.

Just to give you a feel for it, here's a short video with the sound of the burbling creek to sooth your soul.

Friday, January 23, 2015


Oh, go ahead.  Laugh a little.

And with that poor kitty fighting off baptism, we bring a close to this week's Friday Funnies.  Thanks once again to all contributors (especially my East Coast Stringer) and victims of theft.

Have a great weekend, folks, and . . . you know . . . keep laughing!

Thursday, January 22, 2015


In 1985, just about 30 years ago, SWMBO and I made our one and only trip to Europe.  On the last stop of our "grand tour", we spent four days in Paris.  (France. Just to allay the confusion of some of you who might think I'm talking about Texas or Kentucky or Tennessee or California or Idaho or any of the other towns named Paris around the United States.)

Well.  When an American tourist visits Paris that tourist must visit the great art museum, The Louvre.  And we did.  I was impressed with the room after room of paintings by famous artists. And by the Egyptian sculpture.

(Uh-uh, don't touch, Bruce.)

I didn't get a picture of Mona Lisa because a recent attack on it by a madman had resulted in bulletproof (and highly reflective) glass being installed in front of it.  It was smaller than I had expected.

But I did finally get a shot of this lady after the many Japanese tourists posing with her moved aside.

I asked SWMBO if she wanted her picture taken with the Venus de Milo.  She said she didn't want the comparison.

But here's the carved marble that really amazed me.

You can tell me about the David (we saw him in Florence, Italy) and the Pieta (we saw one of the many carved by Michaelangelo) and any number of other masterpieces.  But just look at this mattress.  It resembles an air mattress in a swimming pool but the detail of the wrinkles in it was just amazing to me.

Oh, and the reclining figure wasn't bad either.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015


My good friend Tom of Light Breezes has been filling his blog and my email box with beautiful pictures from his current stay in Hawaii. 

I've never been to Hawaii.  

I appreciate his photos.  

Even though it makes me a little envious.  

Since I've heard that envy is one of the Seven Deadly Sins I am pleased to be able to respond to his photos in kind today.

This was our sunset sky last night.

And a slightly different angle over our neighbor's home.

It ain't Hawaii but it ain't bad.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015


Is this a volcano?

It certainly looks like one to me.  It is in the Bradshaw Mountains foothills just to the south of StoneRidge in Prescott Valley, where I live.

It pokes it's head up above the other hills around here.  Here's a photo to show how close it is to the surrounding development.

If it is (or was) an active volcano I suspect it is long extinct.  Just the other direction is Glassford Hill, the landmark of Prescott Valley and a proven extinct volcano.

Photographed from these angles it doesn't really look like a volcano to me.  No cone shape. But a little further around the side and you can see where the lava flew 10 to 14 million years ago.

They're not real good photos.  The entrance road to the property that I discovered was not closed off or posted but I decided not to get any closer.  By cropping my photo you can get a bit better view.

You may notice some towers up at the peak.  Those are various radio transmission towers that the town and the county administer. I'd love to get up there to the top at 6,177 feet but I believe it is restricted territory.  There's probably a locked gate somewhere up the road aways.

But if that other one, to the south, ever decides to come to life the residents of StoneRidge may be in for a rude awakening.

Monday, January 19, 2015


I love reading the behind-the-scenes stories about historical figures. One of the most recent I read was about the man whose legacy we recognize today, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  

He was often compared with Mahatma Gandhi but King didn't like that comparison because he said their methods were different. King practiced nonviolence but it was not the same as Gandhi's passive resistance.  Once someone was telling King that Ghandi had begun yet another of his seemingly endless fasts to try to achieve his aims.

King listened, then jokingly commented "I guess he's never tasted barbecue."

While not exactly a noble quote with which to remember him, I think it brings out the humanity and humor of the man.

Saturday, January 17, 2015


Many years ago, when I was a television news reporter and producer in Phoenix, I made the acquaintance of Jana Bommersbach.  Like me she was originally from North Dakota.  But she was a newspaper reporter.  Later she wrote for magazines, won nearly every award for her work known to modern ma. . . er . . . woman.  She has written the definitive book on the so-called trunk murderess, Winnie Ruth Judd.  She has been a teacher and a television commentator. Actually Jana has done damned near everything and been great at all of it.

So it was a treat to attend a lecture and book signing of hers at the Prescott Public Library the other night.

Jana was talking about her latest book and her first try at historical fiction.

She knocked it out of the park.  Cattle Kate is the story of another woman wronged, represented as a whore and a cattle rustler for over a hundred years.  But Jana put her investigative tools to work and wrote an entirely different story about Ella Watson, a homesteader in Wyoming in the 1800's whose presence and refusal to sell her land so angered a neighboring rancher that he and a handful of other men eventually lynched her and her husband.

Jana spoke for an hour in an impassioned delivery that kept a crowd of more than 60 people spellbound, interspersing her heroine's story with historical facts about some amazing women of the Old West.

After her bravura performance, she signed my personal copy of Cattle Kate in typical Jana-fashion.

Apparently it's my week for lectures.  This afternoon SWMBO and I attended a talk at the Phippen Museum about the legendary Kolb brothers of the Grand Canyon.  In the very early 20th century the two brothers from Pittsburgh built a photo studio at the head of the Bright Angel Trail just below the rim of the South Rim.  Eventually one of the brothers left for California but Emery Kolb stayed for the rest of his life, until he died in 1976 at the age of 95. After the very interesting talk by historian Phil Payne I spoke with him and told him I had done a television story on the brothers' photo studio and interviewed Emery shortly before his death.

All in all, it's been an interesting week.

Friday, January 16, 2015


The Friday Funnies kick off another weekend with the sorta sad tale of a homeless man.

Wise guys finish last.

Continuing right along, there's a common theme to this next bunch. I call it "Six Reasons Not To Mess With Mother Nature."

If that hasn't convinced you to stay safely inside the four walls of your house, take it from the obligatory cat picture.

And with that last comment purring in your ears, let me just add A BIG THANK YOU to my contributors this week.  You know who you are.  Have a great weekend, folks, and . . . keep laughing!