Wednesday, March 1, 2017


When we lived in Phoenix a few years ago I went one day to a place I had heard about called The French Grocery.

It was a provider of French foodstuffs, a bakery, a wine shop, a bar and a restaurant, all under one roof.

I went because I had heard they sold macarons.

***A slight interruption here to explain something to the culinarily-deprived citizens of the U.S.  These are macarons, pronounced mac-uh-rohns.  They are distinctly different from the American cookie known as macaroons, pronounced mac-uh-roons.  I only explain this because I have heard the French sandwich cookies mispronounced so often and because I am a self-righteous prig.***

So I bought a dozen assorted macarons and brought them home.

Judy loved them as did I.

But when she learned what I had paid for them she said "I can make those for a lot less money!"

And she did.

For those of you among my Gentle Readers who have never enjoyed a macaron I have only pity.

They are wonderful!

O.K. so maybe they aren't quite as "neat" as those from the French Grocery but as I heard a pastry chef say this week as he smoothed the edges of a frozen souffle "we pastry chefs are perfectionists, you know."

Actually I thought her second batch came pretty darned close to that "perfection".

And, what the hell, the taste was spot on.

Well, all of this came up because I was going through the many food pictures I have accumulated over the years of this blog . . . editing some, dumping others and ran across these pictures . . and memories.

Which brings me to another story.

In spite of my friend Baseball Steve, who called me this week to inquire if I was up to 300 pounds yet because he had been seeing pictures on my blog of all the wonderful food Judy makes for me, I don't eat massively anymore.

I was out this morning and got a teensy breakfast sandwich at a fast food place.

Then early this afternoon, I made a sandwich at home for my lunch.

And I was through.

I told Judy that I didn't really think I wanted any dinner and would take care of myself (So far that's only been a vodka-and-water or two.  Or more.)

She, on the other hand, has been dining on some fine microwave popcorn and sending fumes through the house.

But, pure as my intentions were, as I went through the photos in my Food file I began to develop a burgeoning appetite.

However, I am the soul of goodness.

Besides we don't have any macarons in the house.

I think I'll go see if Judy has any popcorn left over.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017


If you look closely . . . very, very closely . . . you can see the tops of the Black Hills just outside of Prescott Valley have some traces of the storm that moved quickly through last night.

It's not like that banner picture at the top of the page.  

That was taken weeks ago when we really got some snow.

This time it was just cold enough during the early morning hours to put a light bit of frosting on the mountain tops.

But it's 50 degrees now and it should be close to or around 70 by Saturday.

So is this winter's last attempt to cow us?

Don't bet on it.

We had a pretty good storm during the night before I opened our book store back in 1996.

And that came in early March.

It's been known to snow later than that.

Still not enough to outdo the blizzard that hit my home state of North Dakota one year on my mother's birthday.

That date was June 6th.

Monday, February 27, 2017


I have my friend and former colleague Robert van Klootwyk aka Bob Christie to thank for alerting me to the amazing saga of one Webb Chiles, who has spent large periods of his life sailing small boats around the world alone.

He is at it again, at the age of 75.

When I discovered him in Durban, South Africa, waiting for the winds to rise, I began to follow his journey.

He has a device called a Yellowbrick on his boat which allows anyone with access to a computer to track his progress every six hours.

After sailing from Opua, New Zealand to Durban in 2016, he laid up for awhile before heading for the open sea once more on February 10th.

After successfully rounding the southern tip of Africa he followed the coastline north for awhile before turning into the South Atlantic enroute to St. Helena Island, where Napoleon spent his final days.

I love adventurous stories and Chiles' tales of his travels fit the bill.

He has had six wives, loves a drink of Scotch and the open sea in a small boat.

If, like me, you're interested in following along, you can find his tracking map here and a blog which is updated infrequently here.

He should arrive in St. Helena, weather permitting, in another 5 to 7 days.

Keep in mind, he is 75 years old.

But as he described himself on New Year's Day, "a strong and tough old man."

Friday, February 24, 2017


Bet you thought I'd never get here.

To tell you the truth, I'd forgotten it was Friday and all you Gentle Readers were salivating for the Friday Funnies.

So, with apologies for my tardiness, here we go.


I have done my mirthful duty and left you all with aching sides and other people staring at you.

Puh-leeze, all of you have yourselves a merry little weekend and . . . c'mon, you know the drill . . . always keep laughing!

Now where did that cat go?

Here, kitty-kitty . . .

Thursday, February 23, 2017


Does anybody remember these?

My fading memory remembers these as "Dots" but I guess I was wrong.

The Almighty All-Powerful All Knowing Google doesn't remember anything called "Dots".

But to get back to these Black Crows, when I used to go to "the show"* as a youngster I would get some hot buttered popcorn and some Black Crows and after a few bites of popcorn I'd invert the box of black licorice flavored candy into the popcorn and shake it up.

I loved sweet black licorice and the combination of these and the popcorn made my day.

Any of you Gentle Readers have a memory of something you liked to eat as a kid?

* "the show" was what we called the movies at the one theatre in my small town.  I remember paying 13 cents for admission.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017


Last night Judy made herself a sandwich and I asked her what it was.

She said "peanut butter, dill pickle, lettuce and mayonnaise on whole grain bread."

I responded as I always do "Ewwwwwwwww."

This time she had had enough.

She handed over half of it and ordered me to take a bite, a big bite.

Against my better judgement I did.

Today I made myself a sandwich.

Peanut butter, dill pickle, lettuce and mayonnaise on whole grain bread.

It was wonderful.

I am nearly 77 years old.

It is never too late for an old dog to learn a new trick.

And acting on SWMBO's advice after Val's comment yesterday about never having eaten asparagus and never planning to, "Val, try it.  Don't boil it.  Just saute it lightly in a tad of butter or oil, douse it with lemon juice and dig in."

As for Natalie's comment about ones bodily fluids after consuming some of the delicious green spears, SWMBO agrees but I insist that I know nothing about it.

Monday, February 20, 2017


A couple of side dishes Chef Judy created for dinners recently.

Asparagus spears with lemon

Baby spinach, red onion and tangerine salad

Saturday, February 18, 2017


That storm that's been hammering the West Coast of the United States has moved east into Arizona and environs.

It arrived sometime in the early morning hours.

SWMBO said the wind was blowing like crazy last night.

This morning the wind has died down, at least for the moment, but it's very wet out there.

I don't mind a rainy day now and then and the morning newspaper says the lakes around Prescott are full to capacity for the first time in a few years so that's good.

There is some danger from flooding out in the rural areas but the public has been well warned.

In the meantime, it's just a little blurry out the window of my den.

Inside it's warm and I have the Metropolitan Opera playing.

Hope your Saturday is pleasant as well.

Friday, February 17, 2017


As we try to make sense of yesterday's presidential news conference, aka "whining and boasting session", it's difficult to think of anything funnier.

But, Gentle Readers, the old Catalyst is going to try.

So let's get on with the struggle.

This next one is my favorite this week.

And with that we'll bring our little tête-à-tête to a close for another week.

All of you have a scrumptious weekend, dine and drink well, smile a lot and always remember to keep laughing.

Here, kitty-kitty . . .

Wednesday, February 15, 2017


My valentine made this Chocolate Fudge Brownie Pie to top off our oriental dinner last night.


Zhoen alerted me that last night was Half-Off Chocolate Day Eve which may make the trip to several grocery stores today a little more expensive.

I braced myself with a hearty breakfast.

One can never have too much chocolate.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017


Spoil yourself - Drink wine - Eat chocolate - Repeat

Monday, February 13, 2017


I am somewhat surprised to learn that this is my two-thousand-six-hundred-fiftieth post on this blog.

That's 2,650.

When one begins something like this, I seriously doubt that one thinks he or she will ever reach that large a number.

The wonders of the Internets apparently have no good way to tell me how many words have been written here.

Or how many pictures have been shown.

Or how many cartoons have appeared.

But the statistics page does tell me that I have written 2,650 posts, as of this one.

And, come to look at it a bit further, it tells me that I have had 374,564 page views to date.

But that's in nearly 9 years, which means it works out to only about 42,000 a year or around 3,400 a month.

And I'm not really sure what a page view is anyway.

It could be someone who actually reads the post.

Or it could be someone who just looks at the title and moves on.

Or it could be someone who got here by accident and moved on without even glancing except to realize it's only a mistake.

So I'm not getting my ego blown up out of shape here.

All I can do is wonder about all of this.

Kind of like . . .

(Thanks to the BRD for sending that to me.)

So, what wisdom do I have for you Gentle Readers on this, the day before Valentine's Day?

Since the day is about love perhaps this quote from the legendary Irishman George Bernard Shaw.

"There is no more sincere love than the love of food."

And that includes chocolate!

Saturday, February 11, 2017


The BRD and a friend drove to Arizona's nearest "sea coast" earlier this week to visit another friend who lives there.

The destination was Puerto Peñasco in Sonora, Mexico.

The gringos call it Rocky Point and it is located on the Sea of Cortez, which is also known as the Gulf of California.

There.  I think I've probably totally confused you now.

It's about 300 miles from where the BRD lives and only 63 miles south of the international border.

I've always thought it was kind of funny that even though we lived in Phoenix for many years, only a bit over 200 miles from Puerto Peñasco, and also lived in Mexico for over 4 years, we somehow never got to Rocky Point.

But the BRD did and her pictures show it has grown considerably in the last few decades.

From what we've heard so far, the "girly time" went great, including a visit from a persistent and curious local.

He seemed to be trying to tell them "Hey, the shrimp boat is coming in!"

The BRD has spent the past several weeks moving from one house to another, struggling to get the new place in order and generally wearing herself out.

Nice to get away and enjoy a sunset by the sea.

Friday, February 10, 2017


Ah Gentle Readers it's time for some yuks.

And, no, that's not some kind of Siberian culinary phantasmagoria concocted in the Kitchens of Catalyst.

But you still may want to loosen your belts in order to avoid serious injury.

That ought to be enough to put a smirk on your faces.

Hey, the Super Bowl is over, Valentine's Day is still four days away and Major League Baseball is about to begin Spring Training.

What more could you want?

Oh, yeah, my wishes that you'll have an incredibly relaxed and pleasant weekend.

And always remember to keep laughing!

Here, kitty-kitty . . .

(oh, my)

Thursday, February 9, 2017


March 2, 2008

I'm back!

Due to a vast number of (well, okay, a few) requests, I am bringing back Oddball Observations for another run at blogging. This will be the third time and I can only hope it's a charm. The next time I get bored with blogging, I will try my best not to delete my blog. I'll just put up a notice saying I'm "On Hold" until the juices start flowing again.

I don't have much to say today so this will just be an announcement of my return.

Maybe tomorrow I'll be more "talkative."

In the meantime, thanks to all of my former readers who urged me to bring it back.


C'mon you guys, the above was written nearly nine years ago, just as I was beginning this blog once again.

Today the temperature has climbed to the mid 70's and it's a fabulous day for lazing behind a fishing line in the sun at Fain Park.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Monday, February 6, 2017


Leftover pizza?

Or the Atlanta Falcons after their second half 31-point beat-down yesterday.