Tuesday, February 23, 2016


I don't know about you but all of this Tuesday Traveling in my virtual world has worn me out.

Oh, all right.

I can hear the cries of dismay from the (my) electorate.

So here I am visiting the Grand Canyon of my adopted home state, the state I have lived in more than any other including my birth state.*

At first glance you may have thought I was holding the Royal Scepter.

Or perhaps a telescope.

I think it was a rolled poster, the subject of which I have no memory whatsoever.

That's what all this incessant traveling has done to me.

* - North Dakota: 28 years; South Dakota: 1 year; Indiana: 3 years; Texas: 2 years; Jalisco, Mexico: 4 years; Arizona: 38 years (and counting!)

This is intended for a cousin of mine in North Dakota, who whenever I speak to her asks "when are you coming home?"

My response has always been "I am home."

Monday, February 22, 2016


While brother Tom of Light Breezes was enjoying a gourmet meal, SWMBO and I were indulging in the kitchen and at the table as well.

Saturday, I made a Nigella Lawson recipe for Involtini which combines Greek and Italian flavors - thin eggplant slices rolled around a feta cheese and herbed stuffing, topped with tomatoes and mozzarella and baked.

Unfortunately, my camera stayed idle but here's a photo of Ms. Lawson's dish.

I fear her dish looks and probably tastes better than mine but then she's been cooking longer than I have.

Sunday's meal, prepared by SWMBO, was much better.

A chicken salad enlivened with candied ginger, apples, grapes, celery, green onions, celery dressed with a mayonaise-yogurt-apricot preserve sauce and accompanied by fresh-baked apple-oat muffins.

With the exception of the muffins, the master just threw that together out of her head.

And 60+ years of kitchen slavery.

I'm a rank amateur compared with those two ladies.

Saturday, February 20, 2016


On a day when political junkies are watching South Carolina and Nevada, a new issue has arisen in Great Britain.

The croissant!

What better way to start one's day than with the classic French pastry?

One British baker thinks he has the answer to straighten out his customers.

For his wimpy clientele he is making his croissants without the curve!

Read the story from today's New York Times.

Blasphemy, says I!

To hell with South Carolina!

To hell with Nevada!

With a sense of righteous indignation I say "Leave the croissant alone!"

Is nothing sacred?

Friday, February 19, 2016


The BRD watches the Comedy Channel on t.v.

At least she used to when Jon Stewart was hosting the Daily Show.

I just turn on one of the cable news channels.

Without further comment, it's yuk-yuk time again.

That's it, folks.

Once again, thank you to my contributors and theft victims.

Have a spectacularly humorous weekend, Gentle Readers, and always keep laughing.

Here, kitty-kitty.

Thursday, February 18, 2016


How did this 1958 high school graduate . . .

. . . become this old pirate?

(Hint: Yo-ho-ho and a bottle of rum!)

Wednesday, February 17, 2016


And yes we are old now.

The Three Amigos I showed you in my blog post yesterday at a very early age got together for the first time in many decades yesterday at the annual Stanley (North Dakota) picnic in Mesa.

Two of them are now 76 and one (me) is fast approaching that age.

We've changed a bit.

All of us now wear glasses.

All of us now sport facial hair.

All of us are, how should I say, stockier.

But the expressions on our faces are much the same as they were 70 or more years ago.

You might wonder why a picnic for former residents of a small town in far north North Dakota is held every year in Arizona, more than a thousand miles away.

It's the snowbird factor.

Long ago, retirees from those cold, snowy climes discovered that the sun nearly always shines and it's nearly always warm down here as opposed to cold and snowy in their home environs.

So they began spending their winters here and migrating back north for the summers.

Such people are known as Snowbirds.

A number of them (like me) found Arizona so pleasant they moved here permanently and only go back to North Dakota for a visit or for a few weeks in the summer.

Hence, there is a large population of people here in February from that town in the center of the Bakken oil boom and an annual picnic was begun many years ago and it continues today.

Turnout is usually good and everyone has a great time.

As one grows old(er) it becomes more and more of a pleasure to see our former classmates and friends and catch up on their lives.

Even if, at first glance, we may not recognize them!

Tuesday, February 16, 2016


I'm traveling today for the first time in a long time.

Heading down to the Valley of the Sun for the annual Stanley picnic.

That's a once a year reunion of residents from my home town - Stanley, North Dakota.

This year will be a special once since a childhood friend whom I haven't seen for 48 years will be attending.

Jerome Larson will join Jim Burbidge and I as these three amigos get together once again.

Just to prove that I haven't always been a "cat man", that's my dog, Honey, getting the adoration of (l to r) Jim, Me and Jerome.

Hopefully tomorrow I'll have a fresh photo of the triad, minus the dog.

Monday, February 15, 2016


"Are you lookin' at me?"

"Well, are ya?"

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Saturday, February 13, 2016


The mercury has been climbing here in the Central Highlands of Arizona.

It got to 75 yesterday and, while early, it is promoting changes in the bird life.

For instance I saw what I think was a goldfinch at the bird bath this morning.

We've had them with their pale yellow breasts all winter.

But this one was brightly colored with a blazing yellow breast and nearly black back feathers.

Unfortunately I didn't get a photo.

But I did catch this red-breasted finch a bit later.

 After several drinks he seemed to be contemplating a bit of a dip.

He wasn't sure how cold that water would be but after a period of thought (do birds think, I wonder) he took the plunge.

He seemed to enjoy his time in the "swimming hole" but was quick to shake off his feathers when he got out.

Ah, spring time.

Friday, February 12, 2016


Friday has become my favoritest day of the week.

Why? you ask.

Why because it's time for the Friday Funnies.

Play on!

Now why, you might wonder, would this guy do such a dumb thing.

Maybe, just maybe, he's practicing to be a pirate!

Have I ever mentioned that I love puns?

And also malapropisms, like this one.

But, to get to the meat of the matter . . .

"Fido steaks his claim!"

Okay, that's enough.

It's a beautiful day here in Arizona.

I hope it's equally pleasant where you live or, if not, that you have a warm fire to snuggle up to.

What's that? You don't have a fireplace?

Hmmm, can't help you there except to say have a felicitous weekend, full of fun and frolic, Gentle Readers, and keep on smiling.

Here, kitty-kitty.

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.