Wednesday, August 19, 2015


My friend, the Rufous Towhee, was back at the bird bath catching a drink recently.

My California Hoosier pal, Tom C., noted with a name like Rufous Towhee, he sounds like a blues man from Memphis.

He certainly drinks like one.

And his distinctive call sounds like one, too.

This morning I got a couple of better pictures of him.

When he knows (somehow) that I'm photographing him he doesn't stick around long.

Here he's about to depart.

Up at the hummingbird feeder, I caught one yesterday but his wings were moving so fast he's pretty much a blur.

Back at the birdbath it's a constant parade in the mornings and evenings.

The goldfinches, who nearly always come in pairs.

A damned dumb dove.

And an interloper of a different species.

Oops, just spotted this fellow on the flagstone beneath the birdbath.

Waiting for spillage, no doubt.

Never a dull moment in Catalyst's back yard.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015


Yup. Those are the Alps.

Innsbruck, Austria. April '85.

The beer elevation may have contributed to my gaiety.

Monday, August 17, 2015


This is kind of like forcing you to sit through our vacation pictures.


How often do I get to show off a photo of my great-granddaughter?

Confronted with a cake on her first birthday, Alexis did what anyone would do. 

She piled right in.

And if you're wondering where she got that bright red hair, take your pick.

Here she is with her mother, Kayla, and dad, Russell.

I think you can see why I couldn't resist nicknaming him Rusty when he was about the age of his daughter.

Sunday, August 16, 2015


A quiet and restful day.

Alternating between the Diamondbacks game and the PGA Golf Championship on the t.v.

S-l-o-w-l-y reading the New York Times.

Probably a nap somewhere in the afternoon.

Watching the clouds and hoping for rain. Fruitlessly, probably.

Day dreaming.

It's what a Sunday should be.

Saturday, August 15, 2015


Since I've moved my desk over a couple of feet, I now have an unimpaired view of our bird bath. It gets a variety of visitors: goldfinches (nearly always in pairs), house finches, a rufous towhee (who likes to bathe as well as drink), the damnable doves, a rare robin, and this guy - a mountain jay.

He seems to be very nervous, jumping around, chirping, and not staying long.

To date, this is the only picture I've been able to get of him. He likes to jump from twig to twig in the tree just above the bird bath and then he moves down the trunk.

He seems to defy gravity, sometimes perching on the side of the tree with his head down, then quickly moving to another position. I mentioned my amazement at his tree-gripping ability to SWMBO the other day.

She said "He doesn't clip his toenails."

Hmmm. Why didn't I think of that?

Friday, August 14, 2015


In this space I normally have the Friday Funnies, a collection of cartoons I've picked up (stolen) or had donated from various friends. But this week, I've got something different. You may have seen it on CBS News or on Facebook but whether you have or not I think you'll appreciate a story about a boy who just wants people to smile.

The regular Friday Funnies will be back next week but in the meantime, just keep a smile on your face. 

It's addictive.

Thursday, August 13, 2015


Back we go, into the time machine once more. 

Back to the 1970's. 

The scene is a room in the supposedly-haunted old Connor Hotel, above the Spirit Room, in Jerome, Arizona.

Before the hotel was boutiqued.

In an unbearded moment.

Back when people still smoked cigarettes.

Back when men wore love beads.

And long hair.

And sideburns.

Pretty battered look, isn't it?

Here's a much more attractive one from roughly the same era.

The young and lovely She Who Must Be Obeyed, enjoying a glass of wine at a cabin at Kohl's Ranch.

High atop the dread Mogollon Rim.

Ain't she a looker?

Ah, the 70's.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015


As often as I visit the local library, you would have thought that I would have noticed this earlier.

But I only noticed it recently as I was driving away. I came back a few days later and snapped these pictures.

It's quite a nice sculpture and it couldn't be more appropriate as a welcome to a public library.

There's a plaque identifying the sculptor and the donor in front of the stack of books.

Rock solid charity.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015


Today marks the last picture of the Shorts Tour from Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico, to Boissevain, Manitoba, Canada in the summer of 1988. Unlike the others, this photo was not taken at a state border.

No, Gentle Readers, this was one unscheduled stop when I spotted this sign at an intersection in South Dakota. 

As you will soon realize, I just had to stop.

White, South Dakota, is a city (?), population 485 in the 2010 census, named for an early settler, W.H. White. Thirteen-and-a-half miles away is Bruce, South Dakota, a city (?) with a population of 204 in the 2010 census. It was originally called Lee but was renamed in 1883.

Now most people probably wouldn't find that interesting but for a white boy named Bruce that intersection was nigh unto irresistable for yet another photo opportunity.

(Special thanks to the photographer for this series, the incomparable Judy, a.k.a. She Who Must Be Obeyed.)

Monday, August 10, 2015


Here's a street name in my town that may be due for a change one of these days.

The street is named for the Arizona Sundogs, a hockey team that played out of Prescott Valley. It captured the championship in only their second season in the Central Hockey League in 2007. 

But days turned dark last season as team officials announced they were suspending their 2014-2015 season for a variety of reasons including slower than expected off-season revenue.

There was talk of a team being formed to join a different league but so far nothing has come to pass.

Incidentally, the team played their home games in Tim's Toyota Center. The arena and building has lost its sponsorship and is now known as simply the Prescott Valley Event Center. It's been hosting events such as a gun show, a dog show and a bridal show.

But Mannheim Steamroller is bringing their annual Christmas show to the Center next December. Maybe the street name can be changed to Mannheim Drive!

Sunday, August 9, 2015


Prescott, Arizona, is a magnet on hot summer weekends. This one is no exception as a big arts and crafts fair has set up for business on the Courthouse Square and thousands of visitors and probably even some locals have clustered there.

Residents of the baking hot desert cities to our south probably make up most of the visitors, enjoying somewhat cooler temperatures under the huge leafy trees on the plaza.

Local buskers show off their musical talents as they try to fill up an instrument case with donations.

Adding to the "state fair" atmosphere are the food booths, filling the air with savory aromas.

But it's not all burgers, barbecue and tamales. This year some newcomers have sprouted up to satisfy different tastes.

In the crowd of ballcaps and sun hats and sandals, some people are maintaining their individualism.

It's a fun day but all this walkin' and gawkin' makes a fellow tired.

I think I'll head for home and a nap.

Good idea?

Saturday, August 8, 2015


We had a couple of visitors to the yard this week. We had seen either them or others like them for weeks in the neighborhood but I put a little water in a dish and these two quickly discovered it.

We watched them for a long time and were amazed at how patient they are. While they did play a little, hopping around after each other, they often sat absolutely frozen for minute after minute, gauging their surroundings and listening for any possible danger.

The one in front seemed to be dominant and he eventually hopped around to the other side of the dish and positioned himself for a sip.

And finally, after endless minutes of his watchful state, he bent down and drank.

It must have pleased him as, when he finished, he scampered about, playing with his companion for awhile before I came outside to fill the dish and they both ran through the gate and away.

I suspect they'll be back.

Friday, August 7, 2015


Here we go again. Pickin' on us older folks.

All right, folks, that's it. Have a fantastic and funny weekend and always keep laughing!