Tuesday, September 13, 2016


Yesterday, at SWMBO's suggestion, we went on a mini Road Trip.

It had been awhile.

I picked the route and we headed over to I-17 and down the hill to the Verde Valley.

"Verde" means green in Spanish and it definitely was after a summer of quite a bit of rain.

That's Mingus Mountain in the distance capping off Arizona's version of the Black Hills.

Prickly Pear cactus, like the one in the foreground of this photo, were growing in abandon alongside the road as we headed from Camp Verde up to the higher elevations to the east.

We were following the General Crook Trail, which as this plaque tells, was first blazed west in 1871; later improved for wagons in 1874 and became the main route between Camp Verde and Fort Apache in the White Mountains.

Our destination was the cool country of the mighty Ponderosa pines.

This photo was taken near the top as we began our descent.

That light spot in the center of all that green is the highway far below us.

Huge canyons dot the area with even more mountains visible in the distance.

We were headed for the small unincorporated community of Strawberry, which is comprised of many vacation cabins for "the rich folks" down in Greater Phoenix.

But regardless of their income, they all have to get their mail in the same place.

The mail service is shared with the town of Pine, just three miles further down the mountain.

Some people mark their property lines with gates and security cameras and guard dogs.

Others have a different idea.

We found one man working on his decor, perhaps a bit more welcoming.

The log-built Strawberry schoolhouse claims to be the oldest such one-room structure still standing in Arizona.

It's a museum now, available for scheduled tours.

After touring Strawberry and Pine we headed back the way we had come.

We had scene an odd formation on the way up and stopped on our return for a couple of photos.

Our imaginations ran a little wild as we thought of the early days and perhaps Indians atop this fortress watching as the United States troops invaded their native lands.

I thought of the history of Israel and nicknamed it Masada.

A further descent through the tiny community of Clear Creek, a picnic at the historical Camp Verde grounds and then a return through Cottonwood and Jerome and these two tired travelers were home by late afternoon.

It was a good day.

Friday, September 9, 2016


Happy Friday, Gentle Readers.

Today marks the Dog Days of the Friday Funnies.

Oh, no, they're not going anywhere.

It's just that . . .

Well, take a look.

But wait!

Oh dear, who to believe?

While I muse on that, Gentle Readers, go ye out and have yourself an incredibly soul-satisfying weekend and remember: always keep laughing.

Here, kitty-kitty . . .

(oh, man . . .)

Thursday, September 8, 2016


You may have to be of a certain age but . . .

Ah the Good Old Days!

Tuesday, September 6, 2016


Interesting guesses to yesterday's photo.

Here's a better view.


It's my mouse wheel.

Monday, September 5, 2016


Looks like maybe I need a new set of tires.

What do you think?

Sunday, September 4, 2016


Yesterday evening our visit continued with SWMBO's second purchase for the event: balloons!

Both of us had tried earlier in the day to blow up a couple of the balloons and though we stretched them and blew until we were in danger of a coronary attack we could not get them to expand.

We told the visitors that they probably needed a bicycle tire pump or some such device to get enough air into the dratted contraptions to make true balloons out of them.

Then James, the father of the two boys, took matters in hand.

And amazement once again!

As his face grew red from the exertion, the balloon slowly began to form, inch by slow inch.

After long minutes and perhaps a bit of wheezing he was able to lean back with the smile of a conqueror as he and the boys contemplated the result.

Great work, James, you showed us all how it's done.

The boys promptly left for the back yard where they indulged in wild and carefree (balloon) sword fights.

Saturday, September 3, 2016


We had company last night which included two handsome young boys . . . Brandon, age 9, and Liam, age 7.

At those ages, they could be our great-grandchildren, were they in fact related to us.

Prior to their arrival, SWMBO purchased two bottles of bubble blowing liquid.

When she brought them home, I scoffed that even at their youthful ages the pair would not, could not find this of any interest.

After all, these boys have been born into the computer age and undoubtedly each have their own digital pads with which they would be engrossed.

And they were.

Until the bubble solution came out.

What to my wondering eyes should appear but two young lads happily blowing bubbles and scampering around the yard, giggling merrily.

Once again, the old Catalyst was proved wrong in the light of his mate's wiser logic.

When they return this evening we'll see how the balloons go over.

Friday, September 2, 2016


Does it seem like every week I moan about how fast the days are going by?

Well, there is a flip side to that.

So with that bit of philosophy out of the way let us move right along.

Lots of contributions thefts recently.

All right, all right, all right, (thanks, Matthew McConaughey) I'll quit now, much as I know you'd like me to go on.

But first, thanks contributors theft victims; all of you Gentle Readers have a mah-vel-ous weekend;  and always remember to keep laughing.

Here, kitty-kitty . . .


Thursday, September 1, 2016


Looking back to the good(?) old days.

Who remembers . . .


telephones with a cord attached,

typewriters (and for that matter long hair and mutton chops sideburns),

BIG microphones and headphones for newscasters,

huge ham radio equipment,

looking at photos printed on paper and mounted in an album?

And who among you Gentle Readers remembers cursive writing?

And can still do it, legibly?

So many things from our past have been miniaturized, digitized, computerized or just lost altogether.

Can you remember?

Wednesday, August 31, 2016


I have spoken written here frequently about our monsoon in Arizona, that time of year when we get most of our rainfall.

This year, after a spotty start, it has been abundant.

And that produces this.

A beautiful greening of the landscape as far as the eye can see.

Normally this is dry brown brush but right now, for a little while, it makes one think of Ireland.

This (above) is the view of our savannah, so-named by SWMBO because of the golden pasture most of the year.

But right now it's all greened up, giving the rabbits and whatever else lurks there, a different sort of paradise.

Even the slopes of our (hopefully extinct) volcano(?) are swathed in green.

It is a beautiful period of the year and one can nearly forget that we live in the high desert for awhile.