Saturday, February 21, 2015


I always think the wild plum trees are rushing the season but here they are . . .

It's February but it looks like April.  SWMBO and I were talking about them yesterday and noting that the blossoms seem to come out all at once just overnight.  We agreed that they just seem to POP into life and color.

The branches fill with clusters of the beautiful flowers and all of the trees seem to bloom at once, as if on some secret signal.  There are flowering cherry trees full of snow white blossoms, too, but these with their radiant red and pink glory are my favorites.

We've been enjoying teasingly Spring weather while most of the rest of the country is still dealing with winter.  But we stand warned by experience.  Brief snow storms in late March are not unknown here.

But for now we'll enjoy sunny days and the clouds of plum blossoms.

Friday, February 20, 2015


This is a special edition of the Friday Funnies, dedicated to you folks in the 90 percent of the U.S. and elsewhere around the globe who have been experiencing way too much snow and cold weather this winter.  Here in Arizona it was 71 yesterday and that's in the mile-high-lands. Which may explain this teensy bit of gloating.

O.K.  Gloating over.  Now let me pay tribute to the amazing sculptural talent of those of you in "snow country".

That one is fantastic but I think this next one is my favorite.

And, of course, the Catalyst would be remiss if he didn't include a cat!

I commend all of the snow sculptors for showing a sense of humor in the midst of a terribly snowy winter season.  Special thanks to my East Coast correspondent for sending me the pictures.  And to the rest of you - - let these folks be your inspiration and, like them, keep on laughing!

Thursday, February 19, 2015


Hey fans!  It's BASEBALL SEASON!

Pitchers and catchers report today for the first day of Spring Training!  C'mon D-backs!

And speaking of baseball and the beloved Arizona Diamondbacks, here's a Throwback Thursday picture from only a few years ago of my good buddy, Baseball Steve, and I at the ball park in Phoenix, getting ready to run (walk) the bases.

In spite of our advanced years, we did make it all the way around.

(No contracts were offered.)

Wednesday, February 18, 2015


I made the drive down to Mesa yesterday to attend the annual Stanley picnic.  It's a reunion of people who grew up in Stanley, North Dakota.  You wouldn't think there would be that many people from a town nobody's ever heard of to hold a picnic but it is a pretty good sized gathering.  I'd guess somewhere between 50 and a hundred folk were there. I linked up with my old buddy from kid-hood, Jim Burbidge.  

Jim is a retired (I assume) dentist who celebrated his 75th birthday a short time back and I have mine in sight.  As I told several people yesterday, every time I write that I can't believe it.  What happened to the years?

I also met one of my classmates that I haven't seen since we both graduated from high school way back in 1958.  And a number of other people I hadn't seen in years, no, decades.  When I called my brother up in North Dakota last night to tell him about all of HIS classmates I had met up with yesterday . . I said these gatherings are a good thing because people are dropping off this mortal coil at an increasingly alarming rate so it's good to see them while they're still alive and kicking.  And he told me about yet another funeral he had attended recently for one of our contemporaries.

By the way, I should thank Jim.  He's become a big fan of Oddball and was promoting it to some of our fellows yesterday.  At my age I can use all the fans I can get.

So, down and back and today it's off to visit a new doctor for a first visit.  No problems, just getting established.  After all, it's a good time of year to take stock.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015


Today, some photos to mark a few things.

First, the Westminster Dog Show.

Oh, yeah, and all that snow back in the East.

There are some creative folks sculpting their own versions of "snow men".

But for real creativity . . in the costume department . . one has to head down South, to N'awlins, where today is Fat Tuesday.  Happy Mardi Gras, everyone.

It won't be sober but at least have a safe day, revelers.

Monday, February 16, 2015


Happy Presidents' Day!

Sunday, February 15, 2015


Some views from my trip to Jerome on Friday.  It's only about 20 miles away but worlds of difference.

Through a forest, up and over a mountain.

The narrow winding road then brings us to a legendary town perched on the other side of the mountain.

Some buildings have fared better than others.

In the restored Grand Hotel, sparkling wine glasses await new customers . . .

. . . amid stories of the past.

Outside a one-time bordello, later a reknowned restaurant and now a quirky gift shop, the House of Joy, mysteries linger.

In the post office, brass mailboxes line up on duty.

Outside a perky indication of modernity in the street.

And a stylish hat awaits its owner.

The views over the Verde Valley to the cliffs of the Red Rocks are amazing.

And heading for home, the rocky cliffs bear silent witness to all that has gone before.

Saturday, February 14, 2015


Happy Valentine's Day!

Yes, we know all about that. But it is a very special day here in Arizona.  It's our birthday!

No.  Not mine.  The state of Arizona's.  The Grand Canyon State is 103 years old today.

And, yes, anyone reaching that age has a few lines in it's face.

But since it was the 48th state admitted to the Union, you can say it is still on the road to the future.

The most recent estimated population of Arizona is around 6.7 million. But roughly 4 million of those are located in the Greater Phoenix area.  So there's still plenty of room.

Happy Birthday, Arizona!

(All pictures were taken yesterday on a typically beautiful day in my state)