Wednesday, April 8, 2015


SWMBO prepared an elegant dinner for our big day yesterday. Thick pork chops baked in a white wine mushroom sauce, asparagus, a mix of golden quinoa and jasmine rice. Lovely and it followed a couple of episodes of "Newsroom".

Today is laid back. A chance to use some windows pictures I took awhile back and have been hanging onto until inspiration struck. No inspiration today, really, except for the alliterative muse.

I wonder if architects ever think about the window cleaners.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015


April is a celebratory month in our family. On the first, April Fool's Day, the BRD and her Beau Jack go down to the county courthouse to take out a marriage license. It's not that they intend to marry. It's just become a silly tradition with them. Six years and counting. Then they take a chauffered limousine to a luncheon spot and meet a bunch of friends. This year we joined them. I took pictures but for some reason this is the only one I saved.

The BRD said she liked this one because she looked thin. As usual, I just think she looks beautiful.

It's crazy but I did save a couple of other pictures, shot through the window of the club where we had lunch.

Amazing what a little (a lot) of money can do in a desert climate, isn't it. This is the Club at Prescott Lakes. I guess those two bodies of water are the lakes. Beau Jack told me when visitors from the Midwest come to play golf they say "Those aren't lakes. They're just ponds!"

But, getting back to the subject of this blog. In another few days, the BRD will celebrate her birthday. Then one of my sons has his birthday. A couple of weeks after that I will have an epochal birthday (more on that later). And today is the 44th anniversary of the day SWMBO and I got married. (Happy anniversary, dear.)

So, all in all, it's a good month for the greeting card industry.

Monday, April 6, 2015


I just ran across this and had to share it with you. Call it a Monday Bonus Post. 

Oscar Peterson and Count Basie perform . .


Today, as all good Americans should know, is a very special day. (Even though the Chicago Cubs started their newest losing season yesterday with the St. Louis Cardinals handing them their first defeat of the year) It is Opening Day for the 2015 Major League Baseball Season!

Down at Chase Field in Phoenix groundskeepers were preparing for tonight's contest of the Mighty Arizona Diamondbacks and the (reigning World Champion) San Francisco Giants. The dadblasted Giants have won three of the last five World Series so it's about time for the Diamondbacks to have their turn.

Up here, at Catalyst's Castle, spring is continuing it's growth pattern.

The Redbud tree is becoming greener by the day as leaves replace the purple flowering buds.

The Rocketman Russian Sage is taking off like crazy after being hacked to the ground by my gardening expert, aka She Who Must Be Obeyed (SWMBO). As I told her the other evening as we were enjoying drinks on the patio, you can practically see it growing as you look at it.

I like to sit out on the front patio to greet the various dog-walkers who pass by.

My Faithful Companion, Blackwell, would love to join me but since we know him to be an Escape Cat he is confined to the house. He has to satisfy himself by getting as close to me as he can. Whenever I go out the front door I find him patiently waiting for me just inside when I return.

Muggles caters more to SWMBO, taking an afternoon nap on her bed.

"Will you get that blasted camera out of here. I'm trying to sleep!"

The front patio is off limits to not only Blackwell but me these days too.

A pair of warblers has built a nest atop one of the pillars and I've been told to give them their privacy for the birthing season.

Perhaps building their nest right next to this smiling sun face will give them better luck then the finches who nested atop another pillar last year.

So, life goes on around here, my occasional intrusions on it notwithstanding. Mother Nature seems to be telling me to just "leaf" it alone.

Sunday, April 5, 2015


I couldn't find any children. Guess they're all out hunting Easter eggs. But enjoy this video, thanks to my childhood friend Jimmy the B.

Saturday, April 4, 2015


Nature plays the strangest tricks on us. Take, for example, the Redbud tree right outside my den window. Through the winter months it is a barren skeleton. 

As the weather begins to warm a little it comes alive again and a week or so ago it was ablaze with purple blossoms.

Now another stage has begun as the blossoms give way to green leaves.

The leaf on the left still has a yellowish tinge to it's greening. The one on the right is a tad further along.

In another week or so the purple will all be gone and the tree will be a sea of green leaves, providing a hiding place for finches and sparrows before they drop down to the birdbath for a sip or perhaps a plunge.

The seasons are moving fast and summer is lurking. I think Mother Nature exhibits a great sense of humor in her creation of the changes in her floral decor.

Friday, April 3, 2015



One .

Two . .

Three . . .

Are you noticing a theme here? 

It's all about food and drink.

And I don't have a funny cat picture this week so . . .

I said I don't have a funny cat picture this week but I do have . . .

With that frightening thought, have a great weekend, folks. Thanks to my generous contributors. I couldn't keep doing this without you. (Well, I could but it wouldn't be near as much fun.) 

Keep laughing, my friends.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

ThrowBack Thursday

SWMBO made a joke once about how I would never leave the beach until the sun went down. During our days in Mexico (1987-1991) we went to the Pacific coast as often as I could convince Judy that it was important to do so. In the early days we liked Puerto Vallarta. Later we discovered the tiny very Mexican (except for an expatriate group of gay men from the states) community of Cuyutlán, south of Manzanillo. I can remember coming over a slight rise in the road heading to the beach and seeing a car with Texas license plates. I looked at Judy and said "there goes the neighborhood." We spent many happy times in Cuyutlán over the years.

But this post is about earlier times. In Puerto Vallarta. It was and is full of American tourists but one could still enjoy a sunset, drink in hand, on the beach. Judy caught me just after the sun had gone down, in tropical costume, barefoot and ready to party.

Those were the days!  ¡Viva México!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015


You can relax. I can't think up any jokes to play on you today. But I will tell you about one I pulled many years ago.

It was somewhere between 1970 and 1972 and I was working as a radio newsman at WIBC radio in Indianapolis. April 1st came around and I sat down at my typewriter. (You can Google "typewriter" if you don't know what I'm talking about.)

I began to write sentences about the sudden peace settlement ending the Vietnam War. That's the only one I remember but it was a page worth of "good" though improbable news, like the school system getting a sudden influx of cash from a lottery winner or a long-running and bitter bus strike being settled. Just one sentence about each subject. I figured the giveaway would be down near the end when I wrote that long-time political enemies, the local chairmen of the Republican and Democratic parties, had reconciled and formed one combined party to work for the good of the county. Then at the end of the piece I wrote something to remind people of what day it was and signed it off.

Well! Apparently very few people heard that last sentence as we heard later that telephone lines (you may have to Google that, too) were jammed all the way to Chicago. Apparently people heard what they wanted to hear. I was a bit startled but my news director ran the piece over and over throughout the day. I think he later wrote a story explaining what we had done and, if not apologizing for it, at least commenting on how people had been taken in.

As I said before, nothing new this year but here's hoping you all have a happy April Fool's Day and, as the saying went when I was a kid, "don't take any wooden nickels."

Tuesday, March 31, 2015


I spent 30 years working as a broadcast journalist. That's a fancy term for a news reporter on radio and/or television. I started out as a disc jockey in my college days, then worked for a newspaper for about 6 months, then went back to radio in the same town: Minot, North Dakota. A couple of years later I found a job at a television station in Aberdeen, South Dakota. I did everything there - news, weather, sports, MC'ed the weekly Polka Party, and broadcast our live coverage of a bowling tournament. I had bowled a bit in my youth but I was extremely bad at identifying the splits in this tournament. I'd say "well, it looks like a 4-8 split for him," and a spectator sitting right next to me would murmur "no, that's a 7-10," and I'd make a correction on air. Mortifying.

When the Fischer quintuplets were born soon after I had taken over the one-man news department, I was awakened by a call from UPI in Chicago asking me for news about them. It was the first I had heard about the multiple births. Later, NBC called wanting film of the new kids and I had to confess that our television station didn't have a movie camera! Regardless of all that I managed to parlay the massive (for Aberdeen, South Dakota) news onslaught into a job back in my home state in Bismarck, North Dakota.

I spent six years there and became news director when the guy who had hired me found a new job in San Francisco. Nice advancement I thought: Bismarck, North Dakota to San Francisco, California. But my turn came later, when a disc jockey friend of mine from the radio part of the radio and television combine I was working for got a new job in Indianapolis, Indiana. A few months later he called me and said his new station was looking for a newsman and I should apply. I was concerned about the move to a 50,000 watt radio station in a market of a million or more from my job in a market of maybe 50,000 souls. Would I be good enough? What if I couldn't cut it? My friend assured me that if I didn't I could always go back to a station in North Dakota or Minnesota with the Indy experience on my resume. I thought about it for awhile but finally sent off a tape and resume and forgot about it. Several weeks later I received a call and a job offer. With some trepidation I said yes.

When I arrived, I quickly learned that I was the only person on the staff who could write a complete sentence. And quickly. So I stayed for three years, had a great time, met the lady who became SWMBO, and also made a friend I've hung onto for 45 years.

Later I moved to Phoenix and worked for a television station there for 13 years before taking a break of 16 years before winding up with several years at a tiny AM radio station in Prescott, Arizona.

Well. I've bored you all with that lengthy story in order to explain something about yesterday's blog post. I was checking Facebook in the morning and saw that it was the birthday of a former news director of mine, Jim Willi, and also the 70th birthday of Eric Clapton. Somehow, in my first-cup-of-coffee-of-the-day mental meanderings, I reasoned that BOTH men were turning 70. Oops! I later learned from the somewhat outraged Mr. Willi that he was only 67!

One of the first rules of news gathering is: get it fast and get it right. The old reporter had failed that rule. "They" say: once a reporter, always a reporter. What they don't say is: everyone makes a mistake occasionally. But needless to say, I was embarrassed.

I've been wondering for some time how to use this photo. I think this is the time and place.

"...This is Bruce Taylor, reporting from oblivion."

Monday, March 30, 2015


The sands in the hourglass keep drifting slowly downward. Actually it seems like the older I get the faster that darned stuff runs through. Today marks the 70th birthdays of a former news director of mine, Jim Willi,* and one of the greatest guitar players of all time, Eric Clapton.

Here's a victorious picture of Jim on a lake near Dallas, Texas where he now lives.

Jim had black hair when I worked for him.

That other guy celebrating 70 today has had a remarkable career. Here is a list of some of the bands he played with.

The Yardbirds
John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers
Blind Faith
Delaney and Bonnie and Friends
The Plastic Ono Band
Derek and the Dominos

He has played guitar with virtually everybody, from B.B. King to Bob Dylan to the Allman Brothers to John Lennon and George Harrison.

We wish him and Jim happy 70th birthdays with this performance by Clapton of one of his hit songs, Layla.

* Now I don't know where I got that but Jim Willi tells me that he's only 67. And he's continuing his "remarkable career" in broadcasting. Sorry, boss.

Sunday, March 29, 2015


Some plants I found on a short hike recently.

I have no idea what this stuff is but it's pretty. I'll bet one or more of my commenters can identify it.

These leaves look very defensive.

Speaking of defensive. One of the first things one learns on moving to Arizona: keep a distance from the cacti.

These are called prickly pear in the Estados Unidos. Down south of the border the pads are harvested, de-thorned, cooked and eaten. They're known as Nopales there and, when pickled, are quite tasty.

Saturday, March 28, 2015


As you enter the development where we live you come to a stop sign where you can either go straight ahead or turn left or right. Straight and left are homes in StoneRidge. To the right is a gravel road which leads to some scattered homes outside the development.

The other day I was driving around, exploring, and decided to try that rough road to see what I could see. I was amazed to find it turn back into pavement a mile or so in and then to see what I saw.

The road turned out to be the Old Black Canyon Highway which before the Interstate Highway System came to Arizona was the way one drove to Phoenix. The land, as does StoneRidge further south and east, backs up to the Bradshaw Mountains.

But what really got me was the immense size of many of the houses in this "back of the beyond".

Notice that one second from the left even has its own planetarium.

This next one, sitting high atop a hill, was my favorite.

It's hard to believe that is a home. It looks more like a mountain chalet or a country club of some sort. It must have a massive fireplace, judging by the size of that chimney.

One can often be surprised by what one finds by just a little looking around.

Friday, March 27, 2015



Thank God It's Franklin.

Er, wait, that's not right.

Oh, never mind. Rev up your chuckle cortex.

Yup, Spring has definitely arrived. The temperature is forecast to hit 94 in Phoenix this weekend. And it's still March!

Still, there remain a few science deniers out there.

I'll just ignore the "flat earthers" and pet my cats. 


Have a great weekend, folks. Thanks to my contributors and always remember . . . (what was it????) . . . oh, yeah, keep laughing!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

ThrowBack Thursday

From 1996 to 2003 Judy and I owned and operated a new and used bookstore called BOOKENDS in Prescott Valley. This first picture was taken near the beginning.

The next picture was taken some time later. The stress is beginning to show.

It was fun but also incredibly frustrating. Bookselling sounds like an easy way to make a living. 

It isn't.