Thursday, December 22, 2016


The big day is drawing nigh, which takes me back to a miserable Christmas I spent in the year 1952.

I was 12 years old and recovering from an emergency
surgery after my appendix ruptured.

I had spent a week in the hospital (things were done differently in those days) and was now at home but still an invalid.

My bedroom was upstairs in our house and I had to be carried downstairs and settled in on the couch for Christmas morning.

Surrounding me in this picture were my uncle Zenas from San Francisco, my mother, my grandfather and my dad.

Mom wrote on the back of the picture "Doesn't Bruce look pale?"

As you can see the house had been gaily decorated to cheer me up.

I don't look very cheerful though, do I?

Wednesday, December 21, 2016


While driving in to town yesterday, I noticed what appeared to be a new paint job on one of the local banks.

It was so stunning to me that I had to stop and photograph it.

You can see one of the presumed painters just above the entrance.  

It appears the entire building will get the new color.

And just in time for Christmas.

As I commented to a man in the parking lot . . . "well, it's distinctive."

"We like it," he answered.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016


The robins were back again yesterday.

First this big fella, who kind of seemed like The Leader of the Pack.

Then this slightly smaller one, perhaps a female.

And, perhaps, her mate?

One drinks while the other watches for marauders.

Then the other takes his turn.

Then apparently satisfied that no peril is near they both drink as much as they can hold.

One has flown away but the other apparently has something else in mind.

Ah, nothing like a nice cool bath even though the air temperature was right around 30 degrees.

I noticed this time a curious trait.

The bird would sit in the water and flick the water up and around with his tail.

And he seemed to be saying "Are you lookin' at me? Well, are ya?"

Of course that could just be my poetic imagination.

I was so disgusted with the smears on the window inside and out that once the robins left I went out and washed the outside and wiped off the inside.

The spots on the inside, SWMBO helpfully pointed out, were probably "kitty snot".

Thanks, I needed that.

Sunday, December 18, 2016


Caribbean chicken, glazed carrots, mix of Arborio rice and Quinoa.

My wife is a damned fine cook.

Friday, December 16, 2016


Wow!  I've had an early Christmas this year.

You Gentle Readers have been sending me a plethora of material for my weekly humorfest.

(Plethora means "a lot".)

It's hard to know where to begin so I think I'll just close my eyes and reach into the basket.

Here goes.

All right, GR's, I'll give you a rest now from all that laughing.

The neighbors are starting to wonder about you.

I want you to promise me now that you'll all have a fantasy-filled wonderful weekend.

Don't forget to watch "A Christmas Story" and see if Ralphie really gets that official Red Ryder Carbine Action 200-Shot Range Model air rifle that he's been craving.

It's bound to be playing on television somewhere near you.

And a heartfelt thanks to my generous friends who continue to supply me with so many of The Friday Funnies.

Now, here kitty-kitty . . .

Thursday, December 15, 2016


I was communicating with an acquaintance yesterday and suddenly realized that she and I were both in our upper 70's.

I have known her for over 50 years.

And I thought "how can that be?"

Time slips through one's fingers, seemingly faster and faster as one grows older and older.

So what better time to turn back the clock, eh Gentle Readers?

The older man is who I saw staring back at me from the mirror just after I had shaved my beard off back in 1991.

I was so startled that I immediately began growing the beard back.

Oh, yeah, that man is my father.

And the cute little rascal he's holding up, already wearing the first of many hats he collected through his life, is me.

On my first birthday.

I can't say much for the rest of the outfit but I will mention as an aside to Val that the short pants weren't a precursor to the Real Short Shorts I wore in a series of travel photos from the 1980's.

Ah, Time, where have you gone?

Wednesday, December 14, 2016


SWMBO has been on a tear lately.

First she made Spiced Pecans.

Then Spicy Red Pepper Jelly.

Some great Bacon Ginger Cookies.

Yesterday Apricot Pecan Cake.

When I was a wee lad in North Dakota my mother frequently used to bake.

Cookies, bread, sweet bread, cakes and pies.

Strangely, my memory of those times is her slapping my hand when I went for a taste and saying "That's for the Ladies' Aid."

I have related that story to SWMBO many times over the years and she has finally learned.

When she makes something for a gift to someone she always makes enough extra so I get my share.

Just to show her what an appreciative husband I am, while she's at the doctor and the grocery store I am whipping up a loaf of Pumpernickel Rye Bread.

Lori Down the Street frequently comments that we eat well.  

(So do she and her Handyman Husband, by the way.)

But I relish this time of year when the limits on treats for the sweet tooth seem to be lifted and the kitchen hums with activity.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016


Christmas came to the Catalyst's house yesterday, Gentle Readers.

SWMBO put up her holiday display.

The tricycle and the wagon and the toys and the trees and the snow are all in place.

'Course when you have an inquisitive cat around the house you have to go miniature size and forego the big tree with all those tempting lights and ornaments.

Santa, or as I prefer to call him Saint Nicholas, dominates the scene.

A bit later I grew ambitious and set up the Las Vegas-style Christmas lighting extravaganza out on and around the front porch.

Brace yourselves and protect your eyes, Gentle Readers, as I unveil my handiwork.

It's only a string of clear lights connected to a string of multi-colored lights, connected to a stray string of chili lights.

But, hey!

It's all about the Christmas spirit, isn't it?

Speaking of which, one time many years ago we visited SWMBO's parents at their retirement home in Florida.

On Christmas morning, her father quietly said "Come outside with me."

I followed him out and met his neighbor from across the street who slyly asked "How about a little Christmas?" as he led us to his garage.

There, at probably 9 o'clock in the morning, he produced a bottle of whiskey and some glasses and poured us all a toast to the new day.

He had lots of neighbors and he was a gregarious guy.

I think he toasted Christmas quite a bit that day.

Monday, December 12, 2016


I'm not a religious person but if you live in Mexico, as I did for four years in the 1980's/1990's, you can't escape the Virgin of Guadalupe.

Also known as Our Lady of Guadalupe, she is a representation of the Virgin Mary.

She is enshrined in a Mexico City basilica and Wikipedia tells me it is the most visited Roman Catholic pilgrimage site in the world.

The story of her discovery by an Indian peasant in 1531 is too long to relate here but you can find it at this site, if you're so inclined.

Today, December 12th, is her official feast day.

Once when I was living in Mexico I noted that December 12th was also the wedding anniversary of some friends of ours and not only that, it was Frank Sinatra's birthday!

It's also the first day SWMBO puts up a small display of Christmas ornaments.

So it's a good day to celebrate whatever you believe in.

Sunday, December 11, 2016


The robins I was surprised to find in my birth bath about a week ago are still hanging around, it seems.

As I noted then I was a bit surprised to see them at this time of year.

But here's proof, in a couple of photos I shot just this morning.

As you can see he loves the water.

A bit later, this forlorn looking creature was perched on the side of the bath for a very long time.

The puffy bird would occasionally take a sip of the water but didn't get in for a bath like the other one did.

And I couldn't tell if it was a female or immature robin or some other type of bird.

It doesn't have the streamlined but stocky image of the robin though so I'm stumped.

If there are any budding ornithologists among you Gentle Readers with more wisdom than I, let me know what you think.

Saturday, December 10, 2016


I used to think it was too early to get up before daylight.

But the beautiful sunrise yesterday has changed my mind.

It's amazing to me how much color can be created in the sky with a rising sun and some clouds.

Friday, December 9, 2016


Just in time for the Christmas holidays, I have had a variety of aches and pains this week that just irritates the Dickens out of me.


But one part of my aging body has not been affected.

My funny bone.

So let us proceed, Gentle Readers.

There seems to be a dark mood prevailing here so let's get with the joy of the season and try to brighten things up.

Well I tried.

How about . . .

Okay, maybe my funny bone has been affected.

All I can wish for, Gentle Readers, is that you all have a very merry weekend filled with laughter.

Always remember the laughter, willya?

Oh, and remember in the spirit of the season to share.

Here, kitty-kitty . . .

Thursday, December 8, 2016


I wonder . . . was this the impetus for my career in broadcasting?

My mother, my older brother and I sitting and listening to a program on the big Philco radio.

Thinking back to those days it might have been The Green Hornet, The Lone Ranger, The Shadow, Fibber McGee and Molly, The Great Gildersleeve, Sky King, One Man's Family, Ma Perkins or maybe it was a news broadcast telling of the wars in Europe and the Pacific, or perhaps one of those wonderful baseball games from far away.

(I became a Brooklyn Dodgers fan, the rest of the family preferred the Cleveland Indians.)

Whatever it was, it captivated us, led us into worlds of fantasy.

Later on I got interested in short wave radio, which led me to become a "ham" radio operator and finally, in college, to a part time job announcing in a small radio station.

From there I graduated to bigger radio stations and on into television.

The road led me to Minot and Bismarck in North Dakota, Aberdeen in South Dakota, then Indianapolis and on to Phoenix.

Many happy days, great adventures and some marvelous trips.

Perhaps, just perhaps, it all dates back to those days in the 1940's in a small town in North Dakota and the Philco in the corner of the living room that opened up the world.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016


75 years ago today the Japanese Navy mounted a surprise attack against the United States at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

More than 2,400 Americans were killed in the attacks and all eight U.S. battleships were damaged with four of them sunk.

Three of the four were later raised.

Only the USS Arizona remained at the bottom of the sea where a memorial has been built over it.

Many tourists from around the world have visited the memorial over the years.

Later this month the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will join President Barack Obama in visiting Pearl Harbor.

He will be the first Japanese leader to come to the scene of this disaster.

He may see this.

I think one of the many insanities of war is that the burial place of nearly twelve hundred men has become a tourist attraction.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Monday, December 5, 2016


We live with two cats.

That is, our two cats allow us to live with them.

Blackwell is the younger of the two.

Muggles is his older and smaller sister.

She sleeps most of every day and SWMBO has created a velour cat bad for her on one corner of the bed.

She spends most of her time curled up in it.

(Side note: we humans have a habit when we get too warm under the covers of sticking a foot out into the open air to cool us down.

Apparently, Muggles does the same.

Or she was just stretching.)

At any rate, SWMBO had an old afghan throw that she decided to convert into a new bed for Muggles.

Yesterday she began forming and sewing it.

Blackwell came up on the bed and carefully watched every movement that SWMBO made and when the new nest was done, he promptly claimed it as his own.

The brother and sister eyed each other for a bit from their respective spots only a foot or two apart.

But then Muggles turned her back on Blackwell, they both settled down and soon nodded off.

Peaceful co-existence?

Could be, now that each of them has their own nest.

Blackwell certainly seems to be pleased.

SWMBO will now have to do some work on that velour home to make it more comfortable for Muggles.

And move one of them off the bed so the Creator has a place to sleep!