Wednesday, July 13, 2016


In my constant effort to identify the trees and flowering shrubs that surround us I have made a new discovery about this rascal.

This is actually on the property of my neighbors but we have one growing in our front yard, as well.

Two, actually.

On the recommendation of another neighbor who said it was a Mexicana plant, we pruned ours to within a propinquity (heh-heh) of death this spring.

But it has sprung back.

(Again, this is not it but one close by)

(As is this.)

That plant quite obviously has not been pruned back to the ground.

Consequently it is much larger than ours.

(At last. This one is ours.)

When the Google images showed a Mexicana plant to have bright yellow flowers, I searched further.

I noted the leaves with their near-Marijuana leaf shape and wondered hmmmmmmm . . .

And the flowers, as you can see, are bright purple.

And then the great gods of Google revealed the truth.

This plant is a Texas Purple Sage!

So what is it doing in Arizona?

It turns out that this is its natural habitat and that it thrives during the monsoon.

Which is now, even though we have had very little rain this season.

So we have TWO kinds of sage.

You remember the Rocketman Russian Sage, which is blooming its fool head off in the back yard.

Incidentally, all that purple foliage turns out to be a natural draw for what appear to be hundreds, if not thousands, of bees.

They move quickly but I got this fuzzy picture of one of them gorging himself.

The first time I saw the bee swarm I was nervous and backed away.

But later, armed with my trusty camera, I found that the bees are so interested in the flower pollen they have no time or inclination to attack a human.

Another fact is that the bees often share the plant with finches of more than one variety.

The goldfinches seem particularly fascinated.

So there you are, Gentle Readers.

I hope you enjoyed your horticulture lesson for the day, (I concluded, sagely.)


Monday, July 11, 2016


Sometimes the only thing that makes sense in this increasingly insane world is dulling the senses with vodka.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

LIFE . . .

. . . is just a bowl of cherries.

(Idea and food styling by SWMBO!)

Saturday, July 9, 2016


Friday night is pizza night at my casa.

SWMBO gets the night off as I "fix dinner".

Warning to the purists: I do not make my own dough.

I buy a DiGiorno's thin crust pepperoni pizza and doctor it at home.

Last night's version featured extra pepperoni, globs of mozzarella, mixed sweet peppers and some grape tomatoes.

Topped off with freshly grated Parmesan fresh out of the oven.

Catalyst's "doctored DiGiornio's".

So it isn't P.C. (Puristically Correct)

It's still darned good.

And I've got leftovers for today!

Friday, July 8, 2016


This Friday nothing seems funny.

Thursday, July 7, 2016


Today is a day to remember for Arizona and U.S. historians.

July 7th, 1981, a mere 35 years ago, was the day President Ronald Reagan nominated a judge from Arizona, Sandra Day O'Connor, to become the first female justice on the U.S. Supreme Court.

When her confirmation hearings began in the U.S. Senate the television station I was working for at the time in Phoenix sent a crew to Washington to document the momentous occasion.

Ron Talley (on the left) was the reporter and I was the field producer.

Wally Athey, who probably took this picture, was the photographer.

O'Connor was confirmed by the Senate and served 25 years on the high court, marking her spot in the history books.

Today there are three women on the court.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016


The Fourth of July is a day famous for grilling and fireworks and flag waving and celebrating the birth of our nation.

I hung our flag for the day.

And SWMBO grilled a typical American dinner for us.

Spicy Swai, a fish similar to catfish.

This particular Swai was farm-raised in Vietnam and the Google tells me it is a product of the Mekong Delta.

How's that for a red, white and true blue American meal?

(It was delicious.)

Tuesday, July 5, 2016


The Catalyst in a familiar location in an unfamiliar setting somewhere in Mexico.

Strangely enough, I can't remember where it was but I found the bar.

Thanks goodness there's no clock evident but as is often said or sung: "It's always five o-clock somewhere!"

Monday, July 4, 2016

Sunday, July 3, 2016


Beautiful big clouds in the sky yesterday evening.

It's interesting to watch them change color as the sun sinks toward the westward horizon.

We had a visit from one of my good friends.

Reggie has Lori Down the Street on the other end of that leash.

The first time I encountered him, he came running toward me barking fiercely.

But Lori called him back and then I learned his name and petted him and told him what a good dog he was.

Now, whenever he spots me on his daily walks he comes up to me, whining for a rubdown.

He's a good dog.

This morning there was a lot of activity at the bird bath, capped off by this visitor that the Blue Cat seemed to be viewing with resentment.

I've given up trying to scare the mourning doves away.

They seem to be too dumb to get frightened and with the hot weather here I figured they need water too.

Call it peaceful coexistence.

Or just call me an old softie.

Saturday, July 2, 2016


It's Saturday.

I'm listening to NPR.

I'm not inspired.

So here are some photos of this morning's visitor at the bird bath, a very nervous Scrub Jay.

I said he was nervous.

In between each of these four pictures, he was up in the tree over his swimming pool.

I hope you're enjoying your swimming pool this weekend.

Friday, July 1, 2016


I begin this week's travel down the humor road with some facts about Sriracha Sauce, the new condiment sweeping American palates.

Widely considered to be of Thai origin, it is in fact "an American product that reinterprets a traditionally Thai sauce and was created by an ethnically Chinese man born and raised in Vietnam."

The originator, one David Tran "was urged to make his sauce less spicy in (its) early days. Change it to a tomato base, people told him, so that the sauce would reach a wider audience. “Hot sauce must be hot. If you don’t like it hot, use less,” Tran said. “We don’t make mayonnaise here.”

You can read the entire story here if you're so inclined.

But now . . . let's get on with the cartoonish reason for me even being here, hot as I may be. (See yesterday's post)

Oops, how did that one slip in here.

Okay, boys and girls, that's it for this week.

Have a very pleasant weekend and, for you Americans, a happy and safe Fourth of July celebrating your exit from the United Kingdom. (heh-heh)

Thanks, as always, to all of my contributors and theft victims who make this weekly excursion into madness possible.

And remember . . . always keep laughing.

Here, kitty-kitty.

(oh dear)

Thursday, June 30, 2016


Long hair, mutton chops, Marlboros, love beads, pink shirts, and attitude.

How on earth did I survive the '70's?

Tuesday, June 28, 2016


Pumpernickel Rye Bread.  Hearty!

Monday, June 27, 2016


I was going to give the elves behind Oddball Observations a vacation but then . . .

. . . the monsoon arrived.

I have turned off the air conditioning and opened the house wide to the wonderful smell of ozone in the air.

This makes all those hot days worth it.

Saturday, June 25, 2016


To any of you who may have been offended by the intrusion of politics onto the normally-non-political Oddball yesterday, I apologize.

The mistake was mine in not explaining that I had intended the exchange to be by private email, rather than on the blog.

Be that as it may, today is another day.

The fever blaster says the temperature is 83 degrees outside at 9 o'clock yet I have the window open and a cool breeze is occasionally penetrating the upsurge in heat.

There is a Bluegrass Festival occurring in Prescott today and I had sort of planned to make an excursion there.

But, as frequently happens in my senior years, the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.

So we'll see.

Speaking of senior years, one of my friends and former colleagues in the tee-vee-news-biz is marking his 80th birthday today.

I now have three friends and/or loved ones in the 80's.

As I emailed the newest of the bunch this morning, hitting 80 is a milestone.  Except in golf. (He is a golfer.)

I'm less than a handful of years from reaching that level myself.

I find that reaching this age means one's life is much less full.

(Well, there is that friend who is the oldest of us who is going on a cruise to Cuba in a month or so.)

When I am not, as SWMBO is wont to say, "wasting my time at the computer" I spend my time scheduling doctor appointments, monitoring my intake of pharmaceuticals and napping.

Oh, I do spend an inordinate amount of time watching the birds.

And on my (very) short evening jaunt I have made the aquaintance of a bunny who freezes as I get to nearly 10 feet of him and seems to listen intently as I speak to him.

And there is reading.

I am about halfway through M.F.K. Fisher's "The Art of Eating", which I have been enjoying greatly.

And kitchen-stuff, such as the loaf of rye bread I made yesterday and which SWMBO and I agreed probably needs more rye flour in the recipe to "kick it up a notch."

And there's always something on television.

I don't know how many channels we have but I can always find something interesting to watch.

Last night it was a program showing the Mark Twain prize for humor being awarded to Jay Leno.

He's older, too.

Which brings me to my new favorite adage: Today I am older than I've ever been but younger than I'll be tomorrow.

Life is good.

Friday, June 24, 2016


Great Britain has decided to go it alone!

Good grief!

What does this spell for the November election in the U.S.A.?

If we ever needed humor, today is the day.

And here it is.

Okay, Gentle Readers, that's (about) it for this week.

Go ye out into the world and make the best of it this weekend and please, please remember: always keep laughing.

Here, kitty-kitty.  (uh-oh)

Thursday, June 23, 2016


Either the late 1980's or very early 1990's in Guadalajara, Mexico.

The then brown-haired, brownish-red bearded Catalyst and a new member of the family, the late and lamented new kitten Chulapay (Spanglish for Cutie Pie).

The picture was taken on our enclosed but open to the sky patio.

Chulapay used to climb up the wrought-iron window frames to the roof.

Once she disappeared for several days.

We posted pictures of her on utility poles and went around the neighborhood calling for her and asking people if they had seen her, to no avail.

Suddenly she appeared once again on our patio.

We assume she wandered over the adjoining roofs and got into someone's storage shed or closet without them knowing it and became shut in.

She refused to tell us where she had been.

This was a little later as she warmed herself under my desk lamp while supervising whatever I was doing.

She came back to El Norte with us in 1991 and survived Austin, Texas during which our apartment was flooded.

Then we brought her with us back to Arizona and she survived three more moves before she had to be put down.

We still remember her and I sometimes absent-mindedly call one of our two present cats by her name.

They just think I'm old and demented.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016


Along with the heat we've been experiencing there is still the drought in Arizona.

As the t.v. guys keep saying "Much of the Southwest is a tinder box."

Here are some pictures I shot recently in my area which illustrate the dry conditions.