Wednesday, March 25, 2015


After talking to one of my neighbors recently I learned about the existence of a series of trails in the development in which I live. I had scoped out a trailhead last week and yesterday I decided to go try the trail out from there. It covers a wide area and a large part of it is a broad sidewalk that parallels the golf course that is the center of StoneRidge.

It's very scenic. There are many people who use the trail daily, like the dogwalker in the above picture. As I watched, she actually ran a short distance, pushing a pram in which her little dog royally rode.

It's hard to make out in this heavily cropped version of the photo above it but take my word for it. I had never before seen these little carriages designed for small dogs but apparently they've become quite de rigueur as this is not the first one I've seen.

This nearby McMansion has an unparalleled view of the golf course but with all the scrubland surrounding it I think I'd be wary of snake invasions when the weather heats up.

But back to the trails. I found one asphalt trail that wound through some of the same scrub- and boulder-covered land and I took it only to find some rather steep elevations. I struggled a bit as my days of hiking rugged trails have disappeared along with my sense of balance. At the end (and beginning) of the trail loop I found the very best part of it.

A nice covered bench on which to sit, recover and watch the passing parade.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015


Let's see, we moved from Prescott Valley to Phoenix two years ago yesterday.

We moved from Phoenix back to Prescott Valley a little over 14 months ago.

In that time we have never had any electricity to the outlets on our front porch or back patio. We've asked people about it from time to time but yesterday SWMBO got serious.  She asked her daughter.

The BRD (Beautiful Rich Daughter) took some electrical training and worked with an electrician for about two years way back when she lived in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She quit one day when she was told to dig a ditch to lay cable in. She claims she said something like "Hey! I'm an electrician, I'm not a ditch digger! I quit!"

Knowing the dear, gentle girl as I do I would guess there were some other words included but those details shall be lost in the mists of history.

Anyway, the BRD told SWMBO that local electrical code requires a GFI outlet to be located in the garage for those outdoor outlets.

I swore there wasn't one but SWMBO went in search and found it. Behind a 7 foot tall storage cabinet. So we moved it out to where we could reach the GFI and began pushing buttons.

Behold! The back patio outdoor outlet worked! Then she went to try the front porch outlet. It worked for about a second then went dead. No pushing on the buttons did any good. And the one in the rear also was dead again.

SWMBO called the BRD again. She said the GFI had probably gone bad and would need to be replaced. That, she said, was above our pay grade and we should call an electrician.

We did and this morning Joe the electrician (who bears a resemblance to Billy Joel) came out. We told him about the GFI. He looked at it and said there was a scorch mark on it so that probably was the cause of the problem. But he insisted on checking for other GFI's throughout the house and looking at the circuit breaker box and so on. Finally he decided it must indeed be the GFI and opened it up. He said there was a loose ground wire, which he tightened and, Wunderbar!, everything now works.

During all of this we learned what GFI stands for: Ground Fault Interruptor. Actually he said the full name is GFIC with the C standing for Circuit. Suddenly it all makes sense.

All is well in the Taylor household. The BRD is a genius. Joe is a genius. We are fully powered up.

It just makes me want to kick my heels in the air.

But that's way above my pay grade.

Monday, March 23, 2015


Uh-oh. Invaders on the Savannah.

Savannah. That's what SWMBO named the huge plot of vacant land just to the east of where we live, between us and the town and the mountains. Never mind that this is what most people think of when the term "savannah" comes up.

I must admit that there is a similarity, though the wildlife is a "tad" different.

But getting back to the subject at hand, some cattle fained to intrude on our landscape recently.

Actually that archaic term "fained" is punningly accurate. All of the land on which Prescott Valley now sits was once rangeland owned by the Fain family. They still run cattle in and around the town on undeveloped land.

This one seems to think he's the boss.

I wasn't about to argue the point.

Sunday, March 22, 2015


Spring arrived Friday evening and we were celebrating it with a cocktail party on the patio over at the StoneRidge Grill. It began with short sleeve weather. My drink of choice is a Black Butte Porter from Deschutes Brewery in Bend, Oregon.

But it still got chilly once the sun went down. Down toward Phoenix there was what looked like a rain cloud.

We had a little rain earlier in the week and spring blossoms are bursting out all over.

Two different angles at our Redbud tree. The finches love it.

Another tree budding into leaves in the front yard.

A close-up of the trunk reveals a somewhat erotic sign of growth.

Some type of shrubbery is loaded with buds and bright yellow blooms.

While another nearby bush is covered with delicate little lavender blossoms.

Spring has definitely arrived in my part of the world.

(By the way, as always, all pictures can be "embiggened" by clicking on them.)

Saturday, March 21, 2015


Mario Andretti was in town this weekend. I, and a lot of other auto racing fans, went to Sun Valley Tire yesterday morning to get a look at the champ, who was making an appearance for his longtime employer Firestone.

Andretti looked good at age 75 though the thickness of his mid-section might prevent him from climbing into an Indy Car these days. He courteously was posing for photographs and signing autographs for a continuous line of fans who seemed thrilled to meet him.

I was lucky enough to meet Mario back in 1969. I had just gone to work at a radio station in Indianapolis and met Andretti, his team owner at the time Andy Granatelli, and a couple of astronauts at a cocktail reception in a hotel suite a short while before race day. Another news reporter and I got the bright idea to get everyone's autograph on a check blank. I had that check with the four autographs for some time before it disappeared. (SWMBO said when I reminded her of the story yesterday, "Oh! I was just thinking of Antiques Roadshow!)

It might have been a collectors' item because Andretti won the Indy 500 that year. Granatelli planted a kiss on his driver's cheek in the winners' circle.

Neither Mario nor any of the many members of his racing family have ever won the Indy 500 since that day and rumors say it is because of this kiss, now known informally as the Andretti Curse.

As Mario was being interviewed by Prescott Daily Courier reporter Doug Cook yesterday, I caught a glimpse of Andretti's socks.

After the interview, I got his attention saying "Nice socks, Mario!"

He grinned and then he laughed as I pulled up my pants leg to show him MY colorful Funky Socks. 

Mario Andretti - nice guy.

You can read my friend Cook's article here.

Friday, March 20, 2015


I just had a couple of words with Mario Andretti. But that's a story for another day. Tomorrow maybe.

Today is Friday. (Isn't it? I've been a little confused this week. Yeah, it's Friday.)

So let's get on with the hilarity that makes this day one you all wait for, week after week, year after year. 

Oh, by the way, did you hear Microsoft is finally dumping Internet Explorer for a new browsing system?

Thanks, Mr. Gates.

O.K. folks, that's all. (Who said thankfully??!!!)

Thanks to all my contributors (you know who you are), have a great weekend, and keep laughing! You'll live longer.

Thursday, March 19, 2015


I can't come anywhere close to the Wednesday ThrowBack Thursday post that appeared here yesterday. The mistake in posting it a day early was mine. So the best I can do is post a photo which I find I posted just about two years ago of a couple of clowns. 

And no, the one on the right is not a young Harpo Marx, though it may be his doppelganger. In truth (and in apology for that crack) it is my granddaughter Christy. She is now a young woman of 30-something who combines two seemingly disparate careers: state prison corrections officer and very talented tattoo artist. On second thought, the two may not be so much unrelated.

I suppose I could also apologize for that puka shell necklace I'm wearing.

But I won't.

Happy (real) Thursday!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015


What can I say? SWMBO, the author of the post below, just came in and said, "Do you realize you did ThrowBack Thursday on Wednesday? Today is Wednesday."

I said she was smart. 

And I'm an idiot.

So, this week there shall be TWO ThrowBack Thursdays. Read the post below and enjoy it.


Today is ThrowBack Thursday and I have invited a guest blogger to entertain you. SWMBO. That's She Who Must Be Obeyed, for newcomers to Oddball Observations. Also known as Judy Taylor, my wife and a talented writer. Take us back, Judy.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *
Former hubby and I were building a house with the aid and comfort of my contractor father. It was on land given to us by my parents. Land that had been in the family for over a hundred years. My grandparents lived in a house in the woods behind us. My parents lived in front of us on the State Road.

Although there were discussions (arguments) now and then, nothing came close to the Sunday morning when it was time to start laying the hardwood flooring in the 16- by 30-foot living room.

I was determined to have my flooring laid on a 45 degree angle, having seen this in a design magazine some time in the past. The two men, my father and my hubby, insisted, "It cannot be done. We already have the material and there would be too much waste cutting all those 45 degree angles every time we reach the other side of the room."

I said, "No waste. The piece you cut over there will fit perfectly over here."

"That won't work."

"Yes it will and that is what I want."







It was a warm spring morning and my mother was outside her house tending to her garden. She heard the clamour and walked down through the woods to see what it was all about.

"What is going on? I can hear all of you from our house."

"I want my flooring laid in a 45 degree angle and they won't do it!"

I was crying by this time.

My mother looked at her stubborn husband and her stubborn son-in-law and said, "This is her house. Do what she wants!"

She turned around and left both men speechless. They put down most of that floor that day. When it was finished my dad, who had fought hard against the idea, began bringing building clients to look at "his" prize project.

Then. We had gone to a marble quarry in southern Indiana to buy window sills for the house. While there we decided the rough marble would be great for our retaining wall. And it would be great for the fireplace in the living room. So we ordered tons of random slabs of marble delivered to our site.

The day came to build the fireplace facing. Hubby was struggling with pieces of marble, trying to set them all alike. Like bricks. I appeared on the scene and said, "THESE PIECES ARE NOT BRICKS! THEY NEED TO BE RANDOM!"

He said, "If you don't like what I'm doing . . then do it yourself."

And I did.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

(Catalyst again: I was prompted to ask Judy to write this piece because I had heard the story and because of a blog posting by Val the Victorian the other day. If you haven't read it, read it here.)

Tuesday, March 17, 2015


Today bein' March 17th it's the day for the wearin' o' the green. (And corny fake Irish accents.)

So, don a shamrock, grab a pint and join in the fun.

Not everyone has an Irish leprechaun to wish them well. But I do.

His name is Jerry Michael Welsh, better known as Big Jerry. I met him through my good friend Reed. Jerry is truly Irish from his year- round shorts and Hawaiian shirts down to his huge, welcoming smile. His emails always sign off the same way.

Forever and For Always Irish!!!

Yesterday's email included an Irish Friendship Wish:

May there always be work for your hands to do;
May your purse always hold a coin or two;
May the sun always shine on your windowpane;
May a rainbow be certain to follow each rain;
May the hand of a friend always be near you;
May God fill your heart with gladness to cheer you;
And may you be in heaven a half hour
     before the devil knows you're dead.

Jerry is a kind friend of animals as he is a friend of any man or woman. He is a true leprechaun.

It seems strange to thrust such praise on a man I've only met once in my life. Maybe it's Irish magic.

I had another Irish friend many years ago, a fine news reporter with a dogged and quirky personality. He's gone now but I'll always remember Will Murphy.

To them and to you, I wish a happy St. Patrick's Day.

Monday, March 16, 2015


. . . little Jimmy Madison was born.

Well actually, his given name was James Madison and he was born on March 16th, 1751. He later in life became known as the Father of the Constitution, though he referred to it as a product of many heads and many hands.

Madison served two terms as the fourth President of the United States and, though he tried to keep the country out of war, he was plagued by a second battle with the British for independence known as the War of 1812. The British captured Washington and burned the White House in 1814 but Madison's plucky wife, Dolley, managed to save a portrait of George Washington before fleeing.

They were a pretty good pair, the Madisons. So let's strike up the band and salute them both today.

This next picture has absolutely nothing to do with the Madisons but something about the brilliant display of white blossoms made me think of Jimmy so . . here it is.

The tree is just one street over from my back door and I was struck by it while out on my daily walk the other day.

By the way, today's date also marks the day Judge Roy Bean, the so-called "Law West of the Pecos", died in Langtry, Texas, in 1903. I haven't found a hanging tree to commemorate him. But there is a namesake watering hole in Prescott named after Bean's legendary saloon.

So, maybe after saluting the Madisons, we might all stop off at the Jersey Lilly and raise a glass to the old reprobate, "Judge" Roy Bean.

Sunday, March 15, 2015


Over at the Prescott Valley Civic Center, where government lives, there is a lot of concrete. The plazas and hillsides in the area would be ideal for skateboarders, you might think. But No! There are pedestrians around here and the town leaders don't want them run down.

Hence, the unfriendly sign.

As you can perhaps tell, some in the younger generation have not taken kindly to the admonition.

But the town means business and here is one example of the force of law. A nice curving ramp has had stones cemented to it to deter the rapscallions from using it for an adventure course.

So begone, skateboarders!

But cheer up. There is a fine skateboarding facility designed for your use.

Unfortunately it's in Prescott, eight miles away.

Saturday, March 14, 2015


This is our birdbath (and our flagstone walk) in our back yard.

This is a closer view.

Hey! I said BIRD-bath!

Who let that bee in here?

Dear?  There was a bee in our bath and he's left me feeling all fuzzy.

Where is he? I'll take care of him!!!

So ends today's saga of the birds and the bee(s).

What? You were expecting something different?