Thursday, February 11, 2016


Summer of 1980.

I had just finished a week or so of work in New York City, where our t.v. crew from Phoenix had been covering the Democratic National Convention.

While the rest of our team went on their way I took the train down to Washington.

My sons were living in Gaithersburg, Maryland, just outside of D.C. and I had not seen them for awhile.

We had dinner in Georgetown and my older son, Troy, went on to a previously planned trip to the beach with his friends.

The younger son, Scott, and I stayed over in Washington and did some of the sights.

Like the U.S. Capitol.

Now, 36 years later, Scott is 53 years old and lives in Florida.

Today is his birthday.

Happy Birthday, son.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016


Last night SWMBO and I settled down in front of the television, ready to watch the results of the New Hampshire Primary Election trickle in.

So what happened?

FIVE SECONDS after the polls (allegedly) closed, the two cable news networks we watch (CNN and MSNBC) announced that Donald Trump had won the Republican contest and Bernie Sanders had won on the Democratic side!

In case you missed it, let me repeat: FIVE. SECONDS.

Now I don't want to rant here about the lack of wisdom of the voters of New Hampshire, many of whom were still in line or in their cars trying to get into the polling places.

If they want to select as winners a businessman who talks like a Mafia don and an aging Senator who says he's a Socialist . . well, that's their choice.

But come on.

I had barely taken a sip of my first drink when the election was, for all intents and purposes, over.

Now some of you or all of you may know that I was a card-carrying member of the Media for 30 years or so.

And back in the day, I certainly wouldn't have suggested this.

But let's ban these darned exit polls that ruin the evening for us.

I remember the days of brokered conventions and smoke-filled rooms and nomination battles that could go on for hours and hours.

I remember Adlai Stevenson and Robert Taft, for crying out loud.

I remember the election of 1960 when John F. Kennedy finally eked out a victory over Richard Nixon after even JFK had gone to sleep.

Heck, some of you may even remember Bush v. Gore in 2000, a contest that lasted for weeks.

Those were "the good old days" for political junkies.

But now we don't even get a chance to swallow a cheese puff or two before we're told who won the election.

So (apologies to my friends who may still be in the media) let's get rid of exit polls and just count the votes.


Tuesday, February 9, 2016


Once upon a time my family came into possession of a copy of a genealogy of a branch of the Taylor family that connected with ours.

It was done by a distant relative who lived in Massachusetts.

Now when people get into doing genealogies they always look for someone famous that they are related to, no matter how distantly.

This man was no different and among the famous people he (allegedly) uncovered as being relatives of ours was one Winston Churchill.

As I remember it he was something like a 15th cousin.

Pretty remote if he was connected at all.

But at a young and impressionable age I seized on this shred of "history" and ever after have referred to him as my cousin Winston.

All of this is to explain why when SWMBO and I visited London back in 1985 I had to have my photo taken with a statue of "my cousin".

I was reading this morning about a head-on train crash in Germany and realized that I had been on those identical tracks on this same European tour.

The crash occurred just west of Rosenheim, about midway between Munich and Salzburg.

We departed a train at Rosenheim and spent the night there.

I remember it as a rainy evening in a somewhat dreary town.

Later I learned that one of Hitler's top generals had hidden out there for a period of time after World War Two.

And finally, for those of you who were disappointed that I didn't show a photograph of those pork ribs we baked the other night . . here you go.

We reheated what we didn't eat Sunday and finished them off Monday.

Monday, February 8, 2016


For you Gentle Readers who are not a fan of the brutal American sport known as football, you may wish to scroll down to the food section of today's post.

For the rest of you, harken to a tale straight out of a book of fairy stories.

The mighty but aging knight, Sir Peyton Manning, and his remarkable defensive forces yesterday took down the Knight Errant, Cam Newton, and his streak of panthers.

(Yes, a group of panthers is known as a "streak", even though they don't travel in groups.)

It was an epic adventure of romantic fiction.

Not even the biggest Bronco fan I know, Timmer, thought Denver would win.

The scribes in the sports media were certain, dead certain, that young, sturdy, handsome Cam would take the day.

Everyone thought that Manning had lost too much over the past few years to rouse his team to victory.

Well, not quite everyone.

The man known as Cranky in the blogworld made this stunning prediction days in advance of The Big Game.

Congratulations to him!

And may all praise be heaped on the brow of Sir Manning, who by all rights should now announce his retirement and the end of a legendary career.

As for his postgame interviews all he would say was that he was going to drink a lot of beer last night!


Okay, you fans of another subject - what treats we find in the Catalyst's kitchen - it is your time.

We did have oven baked baby back ribs slathered in Sweet Baby Ray's sweet and smoky barbecue sauce yesterday.

And asparagus and warmed-up macaroni and cheese and a salad and wine.

None of which I photographed, sorry me.

But I did get a couple of pics of  something I had baked up earlier in the day.

Home made baguettes.

They're sort of crude in appearance in part because the knife I used to slash the tops before baking was not nearly sharp enough to do the job.

But they were tasty accompaniments to SWMBO's wonderful dinner.

Nothin' like home-made bread.

Saturday, February 6, 2016


Salmagundi = a miscellaneous collection.

The mercury climbed to 50 degrees here yesterday and the Weather Gods say it will be much warmer today.

A high temperature of 59 F/15 C is forecast.

And the warming trend will continue.

To 71F/22 C by Tuesday.

Our friend, DK in Sun City, was saying it is supposed to be 79 there by Tuesday and she can't wait.

Neither can I.

Though as I've said before, up here we can still get a brief snowstorm anytime in the next 6 weeks or so.

To give you an idea of how changeable our weather is, here's a photo the Town of Prescott Valley posted on Facebook a few days ago.

In other words, what a difference a day (or 2 or three) makes.

In case you hadn't heard, this is Super Bowl weekend.

My pal, Timmer from Denver, is in Santa Clara helping prepare for his television station's coverage of the big game.

In an email this morning he said this is his sixth Super Bowl and, perhaps for the first time, this year he's kind of pulled back and looked at all the hooha of fans and police and sponsors and media hype happening around the game.

He commented "all this for O N E game . . . well it's just kind of amazing. And I guess a testament to the fact that I'm getting older every day."

Oh, my.

I still think of Timmer as the young, long-haired camera schlepper (photographer) I worked with back in the 70's.

Meanwhile, over in Southern California, another one of my old buddies from radio days in Bismarck and Indianapolis, Bobby is getting ready to watch the big game on television.

Here he is (on the left) with his friend Geo liquoring up for the weekend.

Another old (how did we all get so old?!) pal from Indianapolis, now retired in California, is on the other coast, actually the Gulf Coast, this week.

Tom, known on the Internet as the proprietor of the blog Light Breezes, is in Florida where - miracle of miracles - he has become a grandfather for the first time.

He looks radiant in this photo of he, his beautiful wife Lana, and the newcomer - Addie Rose.

When you become a grandparent for the first time, you just can't stop smiling.

And, as I have said on many Fridays on this blog, that's a good thing.

Recently, back here at our homestead, SWMBO and I had a discussion one evening in which she said I'd make us some macaroni and cheese for dinner but we don't have any.

She was thinking of the stuff that comes in a box from the grocery store.

But I said, we've got a chunk of white cheddar cheese in the fridge (refrigerator) and we've got plenty of pasta in the pantry.

So she made a cheese sauce by melting what turned out to be hickory smoked white cheddar with a little sauteed onion, a tiny amount of slivered ham, some half-and-half, and some seasonings and combined it with the cooked pasta.

Then into the oven to bake and topped it with some smoked paprika.

Much better than that stuff from the box with its radioactive yellow sauce.

To close off this salmagundi, take a look at my beautiful poet friend Tess.

In the past year she has moved from Willow Manor in Ohio to Manchester, England, to take up a new life with her Ronaldo.

In spite of this abrupt transformation, apparently her sense of humor and disguise has not been interrupted.

So it goes.

Friday, February 5, 2016


It's Super Bowl Friday!

(whatever that means)

Oh, I know.

The grocery and liquor stores will be jammed with shoppers stocking up for The Big Day.

So let's try to put them (you) in a good mood.

All right, Gentle Readers, you've been prepared for the kickoff.

Or for going shopping if you're not into football.

Either way, have a phantabulous weekend and always remember: SMILE!

Here, kitty-kitty.

Thursday, February 4, 2016


If I had realized today is Alice Cooper's birthday I would have used this picture for today's post.

So I will.

I was interviewing him at the pool of Del Webb's Townhouse back in the 70's, prior to his performance that night.

Without his stage make-up he's just Vincent Furnier, a native of Scottsdale.

He is 68 today.

Happy birthday, Alice.


After I returned from Rock Springs yesterday, SWMBO went to the grocery store.

I commend her for this because it was the first Wednesday of the month, which is known as Old Farts Wednesday at our local Fry's market.

Seniors get 10 percent off their bill and they swarm the store every month.

It can be a struggle to maneuver your cart through the aisles as the oldsters stop in the middle of one to compare prices, for instance, on the different pasta sauces.

Even with that 10 percent kickback they want the absolute lowest price possible.

SWMBO usually hates going to the store on those days but the larder was nearly bare and she had some things on her list that she didn't trust me to buy properly.

So she set out, after 4 p.m. so she figured the crowds would have diminished.

And she surprised me by bringing home a rack of baby back ribs.

One of my favorites and we hadn't had them for a long time.

She said since Super Bowl Sunday was looming she decided on ribs and frozen sweet potato fries and two kinds of ice cream and . . .

Sounds like a good day to me.

I usually oven bake the ribs. 

I know.

They're supposed to be grilled.

But after the BRD taught me her simple recipe many years ago I never vary from it.

Here's a result from some years back.

(As Montana Mike pointed out when I sent him an almost identical picture of me with a dish of lasagna recently . . except for the chin my beard was still reddish brown in those days so it must be quite a while back!)

My mouth is already watering.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016


I had lunch today with a former colleague of mine, the unforgettably unique and legendary Lew Ruggiero.

Lew was the assignment editor and a first class news reporter in the years that I worked as a producer at Channel 12 in Phoenix.

He has a brilliant mind that covers every subject from politics to television and radio.

We always have great conversations.

And because we're both long-out of the business, Lew for 10 years, me for a wee bit longer than that, we can talk with reckless abandon.

But those conversations are kept confidential between Lew and myself.

Our chosen lunch spot is conveniently located just about halfway between where we each live.

And they have great pie!

Tuesday, February 2, 2016


In 1991, SWMBO and I decided to move from Mexico back to the United States.

We picked Austin, Texas for a variety of reasons but I always said it was because it was the first city where I discovered I could buy the Sunday New York Times from a newspaper box on the sidewalk!

Austin was a great town.

For its main campus of the University of Texas with the multi-story library open to the public.

For the Harry Ransom Center, which holds millions of rare books, manuscripts, photographs and art for scholars and in rotating exhibits.

I saw a Gutenberg bible on display there once and rooms full of art that had belonged to James Michener.

We went to a lecture at the University one night by Kurt Vonnegut.

Austin also had a great music community with many, many bars and nightclubs hosting live performances every night of the week.

I stood at the edge of the dance floor in one club one night right next to the piano that the pianist and blues singer Marcia Ball was playing.

And the restaurants!

Barbecue and Tex-Mex food dominated but you could find anything in Austin's culinary scene.

It's the state capitol of Texas and politics is a sport unlike any other.

Speaking of sport, we drove over to Houston (165 miles away) once to see my then beloved Los Angeles Dodgers play baseball against the Astros. Dem Bums lost.

Austin lies on the edge of the Texas Hill Country, famous for its bluebonnets and Mexican paintbrushes, flowers which Lady Bird Johnson had planted along highways in her beautification campaign.

The LBJ ranch is in the Hill Country.

President Johnson's library is in Austin and I visited it many times and took visitors there.

So Austin is a great town.  Why did we leave?

It's only about 175 miles from the Gulf of Mexico but it's less than 500 feet higher.

All the moisture from the Gulf seems to flow right on up to Austin.

Result? In the summer it's hot and humid. In the winter it's cold and humid.

We had grown accustomed to dry climates and we just couldn't handle the wetness.

So, less than two years after we arrived in Austin we left, headed once again for Arizona.

Here my Sunday New York Times is delivered to my door.

Monday, February 1, 2016


This time the Weather Gods didn't lie.

This is what the back yard looked like when I rose from the Arms of Morpheus at about 7:30 this morning.

And you can't see it real well in my pictures but it was still snowing.

For awhile it was a white-out beyond the wall.

The snow cat was nearly submerged and the bird bath was not looking inviting to our neighborhood flock.

The BRD lives in Prescott, a couple of hundred feet higher than where we live.

She gets a little more snow than we do and sent a picture taken from just outside her front door this morning.

I had a late morning doctor appointment and found the streets and the highway nearly clear of snow.

But some earlier rises hadn't had that luck. I counted three vehicles off the road and apparently stuck in the snow.

Meanwhile the StoneRidge Community resources were on full alert and when you live in a hilly, golf course community I guess these signs are necessary.

But this is Arizona and by 1 p.m. the sun had come out for awhile and my back yard was getting back to its normal appearance.

As the late great Harry Chapin used to sing "All my life's a circle, sunrise and sundown."

Sunday, January 31, 2016


At the invitation of the BRD, we went out for a Sunday brunch meal today.

We chose one of our favorite restaurants, the Plaza Bonita in Prescott.

The name translates to Pretty Square.

And it is a pretty place, indeed.

It's a Mexican restaurant with a huge menu, shown here..

(Note to those of a political bent: that's huge, not YUUUGE!!!)

We like the restaurant for it's gaily carved and painted furniture, shown here in a fuzzy picture (sorry).

Tabletops are also a thing of beauty.

If they weren't laquered, you might think that's too pretty to eat off of, wouldn't you?

Nevertheless we paid tribute to Mexico's cuisine, including its beer and margaritas.

Now, maybe, for that nap as a storm of rain and snow begins to move in.

Saturday, January 30, 2016


SWMBO and I joined a crowd of people at the Prescott Valley Library Auditorium this afternoon for an hour-long classical guitar concert.

The performer was Terrence Shrader, who is the Music Director at the Orme School of Arizona in nearby Mayer.

The Gary, Indiana native and graduate of Indiana University played selections from Bach, and Cuban and Argentine composers among others.

As you can see in the foreground of this picture there was a lot of grey hair in the audience, including ours.

Nevertheless the listeners were attentive and responsive.

Shrader did hit a few clinkers and joked at the end of the concert "maybe I'll come back sometime and play some of the notes I missed today."

But his performance was appreciated by the crowd.

Nice afternoon.

Friday, January 29, 2016


I was just checking with the Weather Gods and saw that our high temperature today will be close to 70 degrees.

Then on Monday it's forecast to be 38 with occasional snow showers.

What the heck is that?

Oh well let us move right along to the humor corridor and check on the presidential contest with our favorite bozo candidate.

With Trump petulantly down the street last night the other candidates at the debate had to fight amongst themselves.

At least our neighbors to the North have an answer.

For any of you Gentle Readers who may disagree with my political views, I offer this.

And this . . .

All right. Enough.

My sense of humor this week seems to have a bitter edge to it.

Have a simply FAB-ulous weekend, Gentle Readers, and keep a big silly smile on your faces.

Here, kitty-kitty.

Thursday, January 28, 2016


Back in 1974 (Gadfrey, was that really more than 40 years ago???) I was a 30-something television news reporter in Phoenix.

One day a prison guard . . well nowadays we call them detention officers . . was overpowered by inmates at the Federal Detention Center in Florence, Arizona, and taken prisoner.

I have no memory what their complaint was at the time but after holding the officer for some time, he was released.

I had drawn the short straw and was at the scene trying to cover the story.

When the guard was freed, I was given the opportunity to interview him.

He looked about as happy to meet me as he had been to be captured by the inmates.

And it was a look I saw time after time over the years, frequently from lawmen.

Of course in modern times they are more than happy to hold a news conference for dozens of reporters and television cameras.

You might also note the 1970's-ish equipment I was working with - a microphone with a long cord that went to the photographer's equipment and a boxy tape recorder for my editing purposes later.

Like the comparisons between wall telephones, huge computers and box cameras with today's smart phones, we've come a long way.

The long hair and mutton chops on your heroic newsman are long gone too.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016


I posted yesterday a photo of days gone by when I used to climb around on rocks.

SWMBO can tell you, and we have the pictures to prove it, that I was known for going to the edge of precipices, clambering around on boulders in streams, taking chances on my footing.

But those days are gone as I approach the end of my 75th year on the planet.

My knees aren't as flexible as they once were.

My balance isn't near what it once was.

So after a couple of slightly scary incidents in recent years, I've taken to doing whatever outdoor activity is on my agenda with a hiking stick.

I stick to the trail system in our development.

They call them "trails".

For the most part I call them "sidewalks".

Occasionally I walk down to this small park a short distance from where I live.

It's not much.

Just a circle of grass and on this particular day it was looking gloomy under cloudy skies.

But it does have an advantage I never would have thought of in my more physical days: several park benches to rest on.

Several of my Gentle Readers commented yesterday on their own difficulties with age.

Tom, in California, says he sticks to trails nowadays as his knees and ankles seem more tenuous.

Steve, in Germany, said heights never bothered him when he was younger but now they do.

It seems that we're all growing not just older but actually "old".

I was thinking about this after I woke this morning but was still clinging to the warmth of bed and the futile hope that I might go back to sleep.

Oh well. I still have my window next to my desk and I can still watch my birds as they come to the bird bath and the tree above it.

This little goldfinch, if that's what it is, seemed to be warming himself in the sun of a brighter day recently.

Newcomers here think winter is over as the temperature rises into the 60's.

But those of us who have lived here for awhile know that Old Man Winter can surprise us over the next couple of months.

The day SWMBO and I opened our bookstore, back in 1996 after a very mild winter, a snowstorm dumped several inches on us.

That was in the first week of March.

I had envisioned a nice day snuggled down amidst my books welcoming eager customers.

Instead I spent much of the day shoveling the sidewalk in front of the store and we took in less than 30 dollars.

Nowadays, I'd hire some kids to do the shoveling and it would probably cost me $30.

So it goes.

Monday, January 25, 2016


Does this fuzzy picture of your hero appear to show him somewhat perturbed?

Could be.

Why you ask?

Because while climbing around in the Granite Dells of Prescott, Arizona, he got himself stranded in the rocks.

Not really.

I did get down okay but I don't do that anymore.


Carolina Panthers 49
Arizona Cardinals 15

Sunday, January 24, 2016


Ah dear Gentle Readers, you are a spectacular Sherlockian crew.

I had many great suggestions for what was pictured in my puzzle photo yesterday.

Some of you were so close as to almost name a winner.

But not quite.

The answer to the puzzle picture was something more mundane.

It was the pattern on a box of facial tissues.

I might say it was as plain as the nose on your face.

But I wouldn't.

So, here it is.

Here's a box of a different color.

All done to make your bathroom vanity or bedside table look more appealing.