Thursday, January 14, 2016


I have related in this blog some of the adventures and misadventures of my career in radio and television through the years.

But you should know, it wasn't always serious business.

This is a lighter moment at the Republican National Convention in Dallas, Texas in 1984.

Catalyst, then Senior Producer for KPNX-TV, Phoenix; now retired.

Jim Benneman, then a Washington correspondent for the Gannet News Bureau; now television anchorman, KCNC-TV, Denver.

Al Macias, then a producer/assignment editor for KPNX-TV, Phoenix; now News Director, KJZZ-FM, Phoenix.

Tracey Lyons, then a Washington correspondent and producer for the Gannet News Bureau; last I heard, Senior Producer, NBC Nightly News.

All of that talent but still a bunch of wild and crazy people.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016


Recently, the tree above the bird bath was coated in snow.

But, as I've often said, snow doesn't last long here in the High Desert of Arizona.

And it wasn't long before the sun began to do its work.

The moisture formed by melting snow began dripping and I watched the drops hit the bird's basin.

The snow cat in the background also was watching.

Drop by drop the white stuff began to disappear.

I know what you're thinking.

"Catalyst has too much time on his hands."

Or maybe, "Watching snow melt is like watching paint dry."

Both expressions may be true.

So be it.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016


The Hofbrauhaus in Munich, Germany

Great city, great beer, great barmaids carrying three or four of those big ones in each hand.


Monday, January 11, 2016



We have a visitor this week from Indiana.

When we asked him yesterday what he calls himself, professionally, he responded "I'm a carpenter. A wood butcher."

He is much, much more than that.

He runs his own contracting company in the Indianapolis area and does jobs on restaurants, offices and private homes throughout the state.

He loves his work and he sometimes has to stand to explain a technique.

He has followed in the footsteps of his grandfather and become a very well-known and respected success.

Oh, yes, and he's Judy's oldest offspring.

There's amusement there but also pride in that mother's eyes for her son, Scott Bolton.

Sunday, January 10, 2016


Just a few miles northeast of where I sit are the Black Hills of Arizona.

No, really.

Everyone knows about the Black Hills of South Dakota, home of Mount Rushmore.

But fewer know that Arizona has its' own Black Hills.

Most locals just refer to it as Mingus Mountain, which is just one of the peaks in the hills.

And it's not even the highest.

That title goes to Woodchute Mountain, four miles away, at 7,840 feet.

Mingus is 22 feet lower, at 7,818 feet.

It's better known, probably because the peak can be reached by a road, there is a hang-glider launching pad, as well as a number of campgrounds and summer camps up there.

All of this leads up to an anomaly this week.

The Black Hills have turned white!

There wasn't a lot of snow but enough to alter the view of the hills.*

SWMBO said yesterday "Sitting at my desk and looking out the window it's as if I'm living near the Alps!"

That may be an overstatement but I can understand the feeling.

Somehow when the hills are covered in white snow they seem to come into view and appear to be much closer and more rugged than they normally do.

By the way the photos are better if you click on them to expand them.

*I've said this before but my friend Tim, who lives in Colorado, once told me "Those aren't mountains . . they're just hills!"

Saturday, January 9, 2016


Amid dire predictions of a terrible winter storm with up to a foot of snow coming out way, here's what we got.

The pictures are from Friday morning.

There's your foot of snow. 

Looks more like maybe half an inch, at most, to me.

The only one who might have been bothered by the snowfall was this quiet Buddha.

But then he's trained to accept whatever comes along, isn't he?

Friday, January 8, 2016


The Weather Gods sought to amuse me this morning with a light coating of white.

As Queen Vickie is reputed to have said: "We are not amused."

Let me see if I can amuse you.

A short list today but thanks to my contributors (theft victims), have a fabulous weekend and keep laughing.

Here, kitty-kitty.

Thursday, January 7, 2016


The Weather Gods have proven themselves to have feet of clay.

Rising from the Arms of Morpheus this morning I opened the blinds expecting to see a blinding white snowscape.

But what did I see?




Just a wet ground from rain during the night and a light - - very light - - dust of white on rooftops and a few places on the ground.

We had been promised 5 to 9 inches of snow!

For this disappointing Throwback Thursday, here's a photo of a place where it really snowed.

That is my mother and I in front of our house in Stanley, North Dakota, sometime probably in the 1940's.

That is snow covering the ground.

And who left the door open??!!!

Well, the insulted Weather Gods are still saying we may get snow today but I think they've pulled back to 1 to 3 inches.

Or less.

Probably less, I'll bet.

And just to warm you back up, here's a photo from the 1980's either just before or just after SWMBO and I had moved to Mexico.

Those two wild men are Big Brent Bogdanski and Terrible Terry Taylor.

And you can bet neither of them was drinking straight Pepsi.

Terry lived on his sailboat and was thus known as a "yachtie". 

(By the way he is not related to me, in spite of his last name.)

Brent lived on dry land in Guaymas, Sonora, Mexico, and ran an amateur radio net.

He, thus, called himself a "terrestrial".

Good guys but hard partiers, as were most of the ex-pats we met in Mexico.

But it beat shoveling snow.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016


The first of a lineup of storms has moved through California, dumping much needed rain and snow, and more is on the way.

It's been misting or raining for a couple of days here in Arizona.

Yesterday's early morning view of the fog was foreboding.

One expects to see Poe.

Or worse yet, Moriarty.

Or Sherlock and Watson striding through the streets.

"Come, Watson, the game is afoot!"

When I turned on my television set this morning a message on the screen told me service was interrupted.

Probably that means there is snow on the dish.

Sure enough, this was the view out my den window.

But the temperature is now at 34 and climbing so the snow has already begun to melt.

I see drops falling and splashing in the bird bath.

(Judy's invention is still working, by the way. Not a tad of ice in the basin.)

I've been busy in the kitchen the past couple of days, baking bread.

Actually all I do is put the ingredients in our bread machine.

It does all the work.

Nevertheless, the results are nice.

That's our standby - whole wheat studded with Craisins (cranberry & raisin).

But yesterday I tried a new one - a Parmesan pepper bread.  Tasty.

For tonight's dinner I'll prepare another Smitten Kitchen recipe - Mushroom Marsala Pasta Bake.

We'll see how that turns out.

Being retired means one can just stay inside a warm house and wait these storms out.

Having grown up in North Dakota means I can say "Oh, pshaw, you don't know what a snow storm is!"

As I told my friend, Tom, in an email this morning, my biggest irritation will be having to climb up on a ladder to sweep snow off the satellite dish so we can watch television and see how folks in truly beleagured parts of the world are doing with their ice and snow and cold and floods.

Fortunately all I have to deal with is snowfall that comes infrequently and goes just as fast.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016


Wow! I am so thirsty.

Can't figure out why.

Somewhere in Colorado.

Back in the day.

When my beard was still reddish-brown.

Monday, January 4, 2016


It's a Mexican hairless dog which we encountered on the beach in a village called La Manzanilla.

He was essentially hairless except for a few tufts here and there.

He seemed not to belong to anybody as he roamed and scavenged for food.

I learn upon checking The Great Google that these types of dogs are known by the rather regal name Xoloitzcuintle.

Contrary to his appearance the Mexican Hairless or Xolo, as it is more commonly known, is one of the oldest breeds in the world, dating back over 3,000 years.

And there's more:

Ancestors of the Aztec Indians brought hairless dogs called "Biche" (meaning naked) with them when they arrived in Mexico from Asia. The Aztecs enjoyed the hairless dogs as pets, but also found them useful as bed warmers, food and sacrificial offerings. The toasty warm body heat of the toy hairless dogs made them in demand as ancient hot-water bottles, relieving stomach pains and rheumatic joints, or simply for warming beds during cold nights. Extreme cold made for a "Three Dog Night." The breed's palliative qualities magnified until its "healing powers" became a cure-all. Clay figures and remains of these dogs, dating from 300 to 900 AD, have been found in burial sites, where dogs guided the souls to a happy afterlife and furnished nourishment until it was reached. The Xolo is native to Mexico and is widespread throughout South America. It is named after the ancient dog Xoloti. At the end of the nineteenth century, it became completely a companion dog. The warmth from these dogs is still enjoyed today, particularly by the elderly. The Xolo is no longer in danger of extinction and is not in danger due to lack of interest. The Xolo today is being acknowledged with increased interest for its companionship, loyalty, cleanliness and flexibility to do it all! They make great companions, show, agility, obedience, therapy and service dogs.

Here's what one looks like when it's well-cared for.

Quite a difference from that one on the beach, eh?

When we would go to the beach in the latter part of our days in Mexico, we would pass through the city of Colima.

We once went to a museum there and learned about what we called "the Colima dogs."

They were the toys of this breed and we learned that they were frequently raised as food by the indigenous tribes centuries back.

As for the clay figurines, they have been copied by modern generations and are sold widely to tourists.

As tourists, we acquired several.

Their fat little bodies make them cute (until they reach the barbecue pit!)

Some of them even dance to entertain.

The Colima Dogs adorn our bookcases today, conjuring memories of our happy days in Mexico.

Sunday, January 3, 2016


Gentle Readers, it's earworm time, courtesy of Miss Nina Simone, to mark the beginning of a new year.

You're welcome.

Saturday, January 2, 2016


The other night I didn't top off the bird bath/drinking fountain before I went to bed.

The next morning there was a fringe of very light icing on which an early morning visitor could perch to get his drink.

After I added water and the sun came up, I think he was happier.

I thought at first he was a Goldfinch, though he looks stockier than those I identified during the summer months and he doesn't appear to have as much yellow as the ones in my bird books.

This guy I spotted this morning most resembles a White-Crowned Sparrow, notable for the vertical black and white stripes atop his head, not very visible in my photo.

He's got big feet for the size of him, useful for perching.

As for the new banner photo, it seems like a good way to begin (seriously, now) a new collection of days, weeks and months.

It could be a view in a Mexican restaurant but it's actually another photo from Pappadeaux in Phoenix, a Cajun restaurant chain's house.

The last time I was there a guy in the next booth was sampling alligator for the first time. 

He enthusiastically told me it was delicious.

I may try it some time.

Friday, January 1, 2016


OMG! It's 2016. And only 312 more days of fretting over who our next President will be!

Can you believe people are actually beginning to say it could be Donald Trump?

But there are other more serious things to consider on this first day of the new year.

And there's that threat to our national security. (Don't try to deal with it if you've been drinking.)

Some people say our protection is not what it used to be.

Of course we still have our K-9 cops.

And our technology-challenged senior citizens.

If you begin to feel over-stressed in the new year there is one other solution.

But enough worrying about the new year.

Here, kitty-kitty.

I hope the year ahead is wonderful for you . . healthy, prosperous, and above all - - - full of laughs!

Thursday, December 31, 2015


After reading my post about the ice in the birdbath the other day, SWMBO said "I think I can fix that."

She said her dad had rigged up a small light bulb underneath the basin in his wife's birdbath which kept the water warm enough that it didn't freeze.

So she found a small bulb and jammed it up inside the pedestal under the water dish with some aluminum* foil.

She added some duct tape to keep everything in place, ran the wire out the bottom of the pedestal, connected it to an extension cord which was connected to another extension cord which was plugged into an outdoor socket.

The Weather Gods tell me it got down to 15.8 degrees F. (-9 C.) here last night.

So I was mightily curious when I rose early this morning.

I couldn't tell from my window spy position until a bird finally showed up and took the first sip.

Not a bit of ice!

For the first time in days!

My early morning ice-chipping days are over!

SWMBO (and her dad) are brilliant and she is reigning triumphant today.

The birds seem as grateful as I am.

They've been swarming it for a couple of hours, having their morning drinks.

*Have you noticed some of the cooks on the Food Network saying they used some "tin" foil in a recipe. I think it's all aluminum these days.


How we used to ring in the New Year.

How I ring in the New Year in more recent times.

Whichever it is for you, my Loyal Gentle Readers, may your New Year's Eve be a safe and happy one.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015


It was only about 17 degrees F (-8 C) this morning as I tried to break up the ice in the bird bath/drinking fountain.

Obviously I didn't do too good of a job.

Still, the finches and their friends found dribs and drabs here and there as they arrived for their morning drinks.

Yesterday must have been warmer or at least I did a better job as the water was ice-free, much to the birdies satisfaction.

Sometimes I wish I'd never started this but having been praised for my efforts, now I figure I can't stop.

You may call me Bird Brain.