Saturday, December 5, 2015


So my blogging day started off with confusion.

To explain:

I noticed a new bird at the bird bath this morning and originally thought it was a Gila Woodpecker.

Later, after consulting a bird book, I think it may have been a Flicker but I'm not sure.

I couldn't get a photo because of his nervousness.

But I set my camera up on a tripod, actually washed the window inside and out and filmed a video of various finches taking drinks.

But when I wrote and posted the blog and went to check on it I found that I had posted the wrong video.

So I dumped it and went back and tried loading the correct one.

But Blogger informed me that it was too large a file and it wouldn't accept it.

So I dumped the whole post.

Then I decided to drive into Prescott to take photos of the annual Christmas parade.

I noticed as I drove the 8 miles or so between my town and Prescott that the traffic was very heavy.

When I got to Prescott I found that there were no parking places anywhere near the center of town where the parade was scheduled.

Not only that but hundreds of other cars were circling the downtown area unsuccessfully searching for a space.

So after half an hour or so of that futile search I headed for home again.

I should have begun with this: the BRD's vacation in New Orleans.

She went there this past week for a getaway in one of her favorite cities.

Her room in her time-share looked beautiful even if there were a lot of mirrors.

Now, like her mother and step-father, the BRD has a vigorous interest in food and New Orleans is a great town for it.

Grilled oysters at The Corner Oyster House.

Oysters and crab claws at the Oyster House.

Barbecued oysters with blue cheese dressing and a splash of Tabasco.

(Are you getting the idea that she's fond of oysters?)

Andouille sausage, grilled shrimp and cheese grits.

She also enjoyed "Death by Gumbo", in which a quail is boned and served with gumbo in and around it.

But it wasn't all food and drink. (Though it seemed like it to me!)

There was music, too.

In case you didn't know, New Orleans (or more familiarly N'awlins) is famous for music.

She said there are street bands playing on every corner in the city.

And groups playing in a myriad of clubs, like this combo at the Funky Pirate.

She said she walked and walked and took a streetcar tour and a river cruise and . . . she even visited a church!

Well, she took a picture of the Catholic church on Jackson Square.

She didn't say she went inside.

It sounds like she had a great week in the Big Easy.

One she well deserved.

When she got home she found a container of home-made ham-and-beans and some Rice Krispie bars waiting for her, courtesy of her mother, the legendary SWMBO.

Not bad.

Not bad at all.

Friday, December 4, 2015


It's been another rough week but let's put the days past aside for a brief moment and try to get our smiles back.

At least for awhile.

Signs of the times . . .

I think the people who posted those signs may reside here.

With that we turn our attention, very briefly, to the holiday season and an apparent relative of the Grumpy Cat.

Try to have a good weekend, Gentle Readers, and be of good cheer.

Thursday, December 3, 2015


"Let's go to the rodeo!"

Bronco Brucie and Old Paint
Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Some time back in the 1940's

Wednesday, December 2, 2015


Today I'll show you several pictures I took of strange things in the sky over the Central Highlands of Arizona.

The first couple may not be "in focus".

Blame it on the Catalyst.

This first one is a fuzzy pink cloud blob as sunset was nearing one recent day.

I think it kind of looks like a cotton ball.

If cotton balls were pink.

Or orange.

Oh well, onward.

These are the Black Hills of Arizona, underneath a colorful but stormy looking sky.

And, yes, they really are called the Black Hills, just like the much more famous ones in South Dakota, though I don't think most people around here actually call them that.

More likely Mingus Mountain, which is really kind of a misnomer because that's only one peak in the range, which also includes Windchute Mountain.

And maybe others.

(See what I learned from reading maps?)

At any rate, Mingus is the highest point at a little over 7,800 feet.

My friend, Tim (Timmer), who lives in Colorado, would call that a hill.

But there's a great view of the Verde Valley from the top.

And there's a take-off ramp for daredevils who fly hang gliders down to the valley below.

But back to the pictures.

This next one is even in focus.

Well, it's sort of in focus.

I love this type of sky.

Do you know what it's called?

Everybody from Bing Crosby to Willy Nelson has recorded this song but I've always been partial to the guy who wrote it (with Jack Brooks).

Have a nice day.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015


Two solemn young men at the headwaters of the Mississippi River.

I can nearly hear it now.

"Go stand on that wet rock in the middle of that creek. 
And don't fall in!"

Ah, yes, got to get that picture for posterity.

Dad was beaming.

Mom was nervous to the point of panic.

The scene is Lake Itasca, in northern Minnesota, generally believed to be the origin of the Mississippi River.

From here it grows and flows 2,340 miles (3,770 kilometers) to the Gulf of Mexico.

Wikipedia states: The channel of the Mississippi as it emerges from the lake was bulldozed in the 1930's by the Civilian Conservation Corps to create a more "pleasant experience" for visitors. The project included the draining of the surrounding swamp, the digging of a new channel, and the installation of a man-made rock rapids. Wading across the rapids in bare feet is a popular recreational activity for summer tourists.

So there were my brother and I enjoying our "pleasant experience".

Monday, November 30, 2015


I finally got a tiny video of a blue jay visiting our bird bath today.

Actually, I think he's called a Mountain Jay.

They're real skittish and they don't hang around long.

And, yes, I know I have to wash my window.

Sunday, November 29, 2015


Didn't we just clean up our front yard?

Apparently the Ash tree couldn't stand a clean yard.

Nor could the Sycamore tree.

At least they made a nice tableau in the sunshine.

Now where is that big wind Prescott Valley is famous for when we really need it?

Saturday, November 28, 2015


I haven't said much about our Thanksgiving Day this year but it was wonderful.

Very quiet day of feasting with the BRD as our only guest.

We started with those goldfish crackers, in tribute to Julia Child.

(If you missed that reference, go back and read Wednesday's post.)

Some fine wines, courtesy of the BRD.

The main entree was a bacon-wrapped, stuffed pork tenderloin.

Actually two tenderloins wrapped around the sausage and cornbread and other breads stuffing.


Lots of good conversation, dining and family conviviality.

I heard from my friend, Baseball Steve, early in the day that he and his lovely wife, Debbie, were preparing to feed and entertain somewhere between 32 and 36 family and friends!

I couldn't imagine tackling that but he said the next day that it all went well and there weren't even any arguments or fights all day.


I was interested in hearing from a number of friends of the variety of dinner choices people had made.

From our pork tenderloin to grilled lobsters to grilled steaks to chicken to slow cooker turkey breast to deep fried turkey.

Quite a variety and I'm sure everything was tasty.

Surprisingly I got no decent pictures of our food from that day.

But I did sneak what I consider one of my best pictures ever of our guest.

Her hair has turned white over the years but I think it makes her more beautiful than ever.

And that's why I call her the BRD - the Beautiful Rich Daughter.

Friday, November 27, 2015


Ah, yes, Black Friday.

Well surprise, gentle readers, your host is NOT in the stores.

He's still contemplating the joys of Thanksgiving (unless you're a Green Bay Packers fan).

I hope your holiday feast was memorable.

Well that's about it. Back now to watching television and the 2016 presidential campaign.

I like it when I turn the tv off and quiet descends on the house once again.

O.K. That's really it.

Except for the obligatory kitty, of course.

Stay warm, gentle readers, have a great weekend and remember to always keep a smile on your face.

People may suspect you're a moron but at least YOU'LL enjoy it.

Thursday, November 26, 2015


Regular readers here may, and I say "may" because I don't preach much, know that I am sort of anti-gun.

That is to say that I don't see the reason for anyone in this country to own a Russian assault rifle or anything of that type.

But hunting guns, real hunting guns, like single-action shotguns and such are permitted in my world.

Not much else.

Sorry, gun aficionados.

Which brings me to my youth.

My very young youth.

September 23rd, 1944, to be exact.

I am four years old and kneeling on the left, apparently holding onto a pheasant.

My 11 year old brother is to the right and our wonderful dog, Honey, is to the right of him.

My grandfather, B.W. Taylor, is standing on the left and my father, F.B. Taylor, is second from the right.

We have all been on a pheasant hunting expedition with what appear to be good results.

Years later, I went hunting for prairie chickens once with my dad and we discovered that I was a natural, crack shot. 

But I didn't pursue it.

Incidentally, today would be my father's 112th birthday.

And, yes, it is Thanksgiving.

But seriously I am thankful for the relatively good health SWMBO and I enjoy and for the many friends and family enjoying this festive day whereever they are.

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015


As I begin to write this the temperature outside is at 50 degrees F and the Weather Gods say it won't go much higher today.

Or for the rest of the week.

Typical winter "cold snap" with high temperatures in the 50's, here in the Central Highlands of Arizona.

That beautiful red maple in the front yard has lost nearly all of its leaves now and what remains are curled and dried up and ready to fall.

SWMBO and I spent a couple of hours a few days ago raking and gathering up the leaves that were littering the yard.

We love our trees in the spring and summer and early fall when they fill the yard with shade and color.

We hate them in the late fall when we have to rake up leaves.

And at our ages we gaze longingly at our various neighbors that have yard services that bring crews of men with those damnably noisy blowers and their rakes and quickly clean up their properties.

Ah well. That's a convenience of the present day I guess. Our parents never had such services.

But we didn't have rules that prevented us from raking the leaves into a big pile in the street and then burning them either.

I can still conjure up the pleasant smell of burning leaves.

But I guess we don't have that smoke as a health hazard any more.

So it goes.

And tomorrow is the big day: Thanksgiving.

SWMBO still clings to tradition and insists on fixing a huge feast for the day.

Although I heard her tell her sister on the telephone yesterday that this may be the last one she does.

She's been cooking and baking and preparing for a couple of days already.

A freshly baked apple pie sits temptingly on the kitchen counter.

I will whip out a pumpkin pie today to stay with tradition.

But tradition be damned - no turkey this Thanksgiving.

I like turkey (and enjoy telling and re-telling her how when I was a kid we had a turkey on Thanksgiving, another one on Christmas and yet a third on New Year's Day!) but she is not fond of it and I don't really care any more.

So we will dine on one of her specialties and a meal I love - stuffed pork tenderloin.

The "other white meat."

It will be accompanied by all kinds of other dishes and one VERY non-traditional appetizer.

We had read an article about the French chef Julia Child recently and her Thanksgiving dinners.

The article said Ms. Child didn't cook "fancy" food at home very often, even when she had guests. Just plain simple food.

Good, but simple.

For example she wouldn't prepare a fancy appetizer to be consumed with pre-prandial drinks.

She'd just put out several dishes filled with goldfish crackers!

That appealed to SWMBO so she had me pick up a small package of the bar-food specialty at the grocery store yesterday. And that will be her appetizer as a tribute to Julia.

And really, it's the meal that counts, right?

Oh, one more thought.

I got an email this morning from a minimalist web site that I read from time to time.

He was talking about reclaiming Thanksgiving from the merchants who open their stores for the Christmas shopping rush as early as midnight on Thanksgiving Day.

He said "Only in America do we wait in line and trample each other for sale items one day after giving thanks for what we already have."

Actually he noted that stores are now opening all day on Thanksgiving and one merchant is even calling the day before as Thanks-getting Day!

As I said before, times have changed since I was a kid.

And not always for the better.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015


"All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth . . ."

Catalyst and his boys, Troy and Scott, in North Dakota around 1970.

Poor Scottie had lost a tooth or two.

Check out those trousers I'm wearing.

No, they are not pajamas.

I don't remember them but they must have been something from the hippie shop.

And before beard but showing off some mutton chops.

Man, the styles we all went through.

Saturday, November 21, 2015


Blackwell was feeling a wee bit chilly the other day but he found a perfect spot to warm up and be comfortable.

Lying on the base of the cat tower with his head and front paws in the warmth of the sunshine coming through the patio window.

Yes, I am a smart kitty.

And the Lord of the Manor.

Friday, November 20, 2015


Man, these weeks are flying by faster and faster, it seems.

Oh, well, let's look for some humor.

I guess you know what that means.

When you see the cat, the edition of the Friday Funnies is over.

Have a great weekend, peoples, and always remember to laugh.