Friday, April 17, 2015


Oh, stop being so demanding. Here it is. The end of the week hilarity.

O.K. folks, that's it. Have a fantastic weekend, special thanks to my contributors, whoever they may be and . . . oh, wait. I just had one final thought.

Keep laughing, friends!

Thursday, April 16, 2015


Where I lived for 15 years, Phoenix, Arizona, people like to brag about the swimming pool they have in their back yard.

Well, big deal, sez I.

I had a pool in my backyard in NORTH DAKOTA when I was a kid. 'Course, with our tundra weather it was only open for a couple of weeks in our abbreviated summer. But still.

Oh, want proof, do ya?


Be prepared to watch the future young Olympian about to dive in for a refreshing dip.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015


I was standing by the patio door gazing out at the back yard this morning when a movement caught my eye. SWMBO was sitting nearby and I told her "there's a little lizard doing push-ups on our hose."

I then went to the window in my den which looks directly down on the scene and snapped this picture.

As I said he's a pretty small lizard so you may have trouble seeing him.  Here's a closer view.

I'm not sure what the little rascal thinks he's going to do with that hose but it's probably warm from the sun so that may be the sole attraction.

There are many of these tiny fellows around the property. We tolerate them because they keep the bug population from overrunning us.

I've only seen one bunny this year and the warblers are still occupying a nest outside our front door. No sign of little ones yet.

And that's your wildlife update for today.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015


I'm told that somewhere in this great and vast land there is a possibility of snowballs being formed this month.

But, thanks to my great wisdom, not where I live.

Instead, this is the closest I've had to snowballs in April.

Oh, I know. They don't look much like snowballs in that picture. But when I was enjoying a wee cocktail on my patio yesterday evening and the wind was blowing the branches around, they did resemble snowballs.

Now many years ago . . . wait . . . it's scores of years ago . . . actually decades ago, I lived in the barren land of snow and ice known as North Dakota. And when I was a bit of a lad it was not unknown for there to be snow in April. In fact, I can remember my mother telling about a blizzard one year on her birthday. And she was born on June 6th!

That's mom and I on a wintry day though I doubt it was on her birthday.

And what idiot left the front door open??!!

On those blissful (remember, ignorance is bliss) days of our youths, it fell to my older brother and I to shovel snow off the sidewalk in front of our house.

As you can see by this photograph, I am practicing my management skills by directing Wayne (the brother) where to put the snow. (He was probably thinking of telling me where to put my advice!)

But wait a second. This is beginning to resemble a Throwback Thursday post and that wasn't my intention.

So let's take a closer look at that snowball tree in our backyard.

The tree is known as a Red Tip Photinia, though you'd be hard pressed to explain that given this picture, covered as it is with snowy white blossoms.

Another look, though, may give you a hint.

Eventually those blossoms will fall away and what will be left is a tree with leaves that turn a deep reddish color. Hence, the red tip monicker.

I have no idea what Photinia means.

But I know this is about as close as I want to get to snowballs these days.

Monday, April 13, 2015


In a feeble attempt at humor Saturday, I said a walk in the park always relaxed me, even in Washington, D.C., and showed this picture.

I started thinking about that and about what people would think: there he is in the nation's capital, right outside of Congress, and he's lying down on the job!

So, I decided to take back my dignity and show you that I wasn't always such a goof-off. In fact, I had been working so hard I was just a bit tired.

So there. Your true hero back on his feet in front of the Capitol (and in front of legendary photographer and friend Steve Torbeck) doing my job like any self-respecting news reporter. I have no idea what fool's mission had taken us to the District of Columbia but suffice it to say we had a good time.

Oh and, by the way, you might have noticed the two spellings of a word that sounds alike. I checked (Googled) it. Capital, with a second a is the correct spelling of the city in which the capitol, with an o, is located.

Told you I worked hard.

Sunday, April 12, 2015


According to the wizards at Blogger who keep track of such things this is my 2,000th post on this blog.


To think when I began writing this blog I was only a young lad.

Actually, y'know, Blogger is wrong. I can't remember when I began this blog but I wrote it for a long time, then got tired of it and dumped it. Then after awhile I began writing it again. Then I apparently deleted the new one. Then, on March 2nd, 2008 I brought it back to life once again with this post.

Due to a vast number of (well, okay, a few) requests, I am bringing back Oddball Observations for another run at blogging. This will be the third time and I can only hope it's a charm. The next time I get bored with blogging, I will try my best not to delete my blog. I'll just put up a notice saying I'm "On Hold" until the juices start flowing again.

There was a little bit more but nothing of importance. To be totally accurate, I doubt that anything I've written in the ensuing seven years has been "of importance." It's just given a longtime journalist and writer the opportunity to keep plying the keys.

So thanks for reading and commenting or maybe just "lurking", as the saying goes. I'm not going anywhere, at least that I know of, so I'll just continue trying to make Oddball somewhat interesting, if not "of importance."

Saturday, April 11, 2015


Republican presidential candidate Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky has already gained a reputation for being testy with news reporters. The political cartoonists have taken note.

Maybe what the Senator needs is a calming walk in the park.

That certainly used to calm me down, even in Washington.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Los Viernes Funnies (The Friday Funnies)

Everybody should learn a little Spanish, right?

All right, on with it.

Here, kitty kitty. 

Oh, guess not, huh?

Hey folks, have a great weekend, thanks to my contributors, and keep chuckling!

Thursday, April 9, 2015


We now have two candidates for President of the United States as the campaign season begins to heat up. It's 9 months until the first primary election and 19 months until the general election but I guess it's never too early to begin boring the electorate with speeches and campaign commercials.

It took me back, on this Throwback Thursday, to 1968. President Lyndon Johnson had announced that he would not run for another term. His Vice President, Hubert Humphrey of Minnesota, then announced that he would seek the Democratic nomination. He did visit Bismarck, North Dakota, where I was news director of a radio and television combine but the picture I have of interviewing him is so faded that I can't reproduce it here.

But I did find a photo of me interviewing Humphrey's son Hubert Horatio Humphrey III,who went by the nickname of Skip. (In Googling him I learned that he gave one of his children the family monicker, making him HHH the Fourth. He went by the nickname of Buck!)

Anyway, Skip and his attractive wife came to Bismarck campaigning for his father and I interviewed him in the North Dakota Governor's mansion.

The older Humphrey did win the Democratic nomination for President that year but, unfortunately, was defeated in the general election by Richard Nixon.

Skip went on to a fairly illustrious career in Minnesota politics, serving as the state's Attorney General for many years but lost his bid for governor to an independent candidate, the former professional wrestler Jesse Ventura.

I went on to other adventures.

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.