Monday, December 4, 2017


So there it was, coming up from behind Mingus Mountain.

There were some wispy clouds in the sky which added to the effect.

I wonder if anyone else got this shot, with another planet showing.

Actually that's either a nearby light or a reflection or some other coincidental trickery of my simple camera.

A little later, from a different location, the misty clouds give it a Sherlock-and-Watson-at-night-on-the-Moors sort of look.

As I said, my camera is a simple point-and-shoot so my moon pictures are far from super.

I'm sure others with better equipment will get much better pictures and I can't wait to see them.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Saturday, December 2, 2017


On this sunny Saturday as the world prepares for tonight's viewing of the Supermoon, a look at some critters who dropped by our yard.

Old Yellow sat next to my chair and contemplated a turtle that never moved.

Then after a couple of pats and a scratch behind the ears, he rolled over to show his white belly.

That is one domesticated cat!

Less domestic but just as handsome is the Mountain Jay at the birdbath.

That's quite a beard he is so proud of.

Maybe he's getting ready to play Santa Claus.

Preparing for Supermoon, I snapped this photo last night.

It was almost full as it shone through the tree branches.

And finally, a colorful sunset shot I took recently.

It's kind of amazing what you can find right around home.

Friday, December 1, 2017


Ah, Gentle Readers, the time has come once again.

Friday AND the first day of December, all together, all at once.

And you know what that means.

Well, we all have our problems, don't we?

Maybe this weekend I'll just lie on the couch and watch Tiger Woods play golf once again.

But for you, Gentle Readers, I expect a grand weekend full of tree lighting, holiday parades and, above all, shopping.

Lots and lots of shopping.

Oh, and always remember to keep laughing!

Here, kitty-kitty . . .

(Uh-oh, maybe I won't lie on the couch watching tv this weekend.)

Thursday, November 30, 2017


A visiting jay this morning

SWMBO's latest creation

Sugarplum Gingerbread Cake

(with sprinkles!)

Wednesday, November 29, 2017


Actually it's not much to write home about, as the old expression goes.

I was an extra in a couple of movies when I lived in Austin, Texas back in the early 1990's.

But it was in pretty high company.

The first (or second, I don't remember) was a film called "A Perfect World", which starred Kevin Costner, Clint Eastwood and Laura Dern.

My big/two-second appearance on the screen was
playing an aide to "the governor".

He was played by the late Dennis Letts.

There we are together.

In typical extra fashion, I'm the one with my mouth tightly shut.

Two other extras and I were playing aides who were just supposed to stand in the background as "the governor" walked across in front of us.

(In living rooms of families, people said . . . "here it comes, oops, there it was.")

In screen grabs from the BRD's television the other day the caption on the screen summed up my movie career.

For that second or two on screen I got a handshake from Eastwood, who was also directing the movie, a steak lunch, and $75.

Oh, and sitting across a picnic table from Eastwood I watched him snap Dern's garter when she put her leg up on a bench he was sitting on and hiked her skirt up.

Nowadays he'd probably be charged with sexual harassment for that bit of horseplay.

My other film experience was with Johnny Depp and Leonardo DiCaprio in "What's Eating Gilbert Grape".

I had a couple of close-up scenes with both actors but unfortunately they both ended up on the cutting room floor.

I can be seen, briefly, very briefly, far in the background in a supermarket scene.

DiCaprio, incidentally, got his first Academy Award nomination for playing the mentally handicapped younger brother in this strange film.

Once again I got a nice lunch and a small check.

I'm still waiting for that big call from Hollywood.

But it was fun and I recommend the experience to one and all.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017


A cherry picker was evident in a parking lot near the municipal buildings in our town yesterday.

There was some type of cord hanging from the bucket down to a couple of other workers on the ground.

Aha!  Christmas lights being strung in the tree.

I wouldn't have wanted to be the poor fellow in the bucket though as a low front had brought cooler temperatures and a tempestuous day of wind that had his long hair whipping around his head.

The plaza around the buildings will be ablaze with Christmas light once the official ceremony takes place.

Meanwhile back at the homestead, SWMBO set up her Christmas display of miniatures recently.

This year it's on the bar separating the kitchen and living rooms.

I don't think the cats have discovered it yet.

Yes, it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

Monday, November 27, 2017


I snapped this selfie yesterday on a trip to the grocery store.

The date was November 26, 2017 and even with a breeze it was a balmy t-shirt day here in the Arizona central highlands, elevation about 5,200 feet.

I grew up in Stanley, North Dakota, where the high temperature yesterday was 34 degrees.

'Nuff said.

Sunday, November 26, 2017


You've all seen the visiting cat that I call "Old Yellow".

As far as I know she's the only feline that comes to drink out of our bird bath.

I am constantly amazed by how she "rises to the occasion" and I can't stop photographing her.

The first time I saw her she was gingerly putting one paw on the edge of the bird bath to support herself while she drank.

But since then she has learned that she can sit on the plaster Blue Cat with her front paws on his head and reach the water.

SWMBO spread some red mulch around the bath and the Blue Cat last week to slightly improve the appearance of the area.

The birds seemed to be avoiding the area for a day or two, perhaps sensing some kind of danger from the new look, but they have since returned as before.

And Old Yellow doesn't seem bothered by it at all.

Saturday, November 25, 2017


Once again, the holiday season is upon us.

Oh, pardon me, I mean the Christmas season.

There have been some Yule shouters around these parts in recent years angry that the town fathers put up decorations and words saying "Happy Holidays!"

"It's Christmas, for cryin' out loud," these malcontents howled, "not 'the holidays'."

I'm not going to get into the midst of that argument, at least not today.

No, what I want to talk about is the Christmas tree, specifically the FLOCKED Christmas tree.

You remember them.

They looked like something from either Currier and Ives or a disco bar.


Apparently they were supposed to look like they were covered in snow.

I saw a headline in a newspaper the other day that said flocked Christmas trees are back.

Which reminded me of a late friend of mine, the irreverent Chuck Riley.

When I worked, ate and drank with him, Chuck was a disc jockey at WIBC radio in Indianapolis, Indiana.

He was a short, rotund, irascible guy with a terrific voice and a marvelous laugh.

He later moved to Los Angeles and had a great career as a voice actor whom anybody who lived in the United States has probably heard.

His voice told us about hundreds of movies, in their promotional trailers . . such as those for "Titanic" and "The Godfather".

But back to Indianapolis and Christmas one year.

A year of flocked trees.

Chuck told his fellow radio workers one day that he had a Christmas tree up at his house, which surprised us a bit as Chuck wasn't known for being a sentimental, holiday-celebrating kind of guy.

"Yeah," said Chuck, "it's one of those flocked ones."

"We put it up yesterday.  We're not going to decorate it or anything."

"It's a little short.  And it's black!"

"What?" we all exclaimed.

Chuck went on, "Yeah, it's just over in the corner.  It looks like it's crouching."

Then came his roaring laughter.

Chuck died a little over 10 years ago at the age of 66.

But he left behind a ton of memories, including his black, flocked, crouching Christmas tree.

Friday, November 24, 2017


Gentle Readers, I hope you noticed the two grinning emojis I added to the title today.

Here at Oddball we are nothing if not technologically correct.

I hope your T-day was as good as mine.

The BRD lived up to her family reputation and provided us with a great meal.

But now let's get on to the serious(?) business of the day.

Let's take a little journey on Noah's Ark today.

Two at a time, please.

And since we're in a Biblical mood . . .

Those wintertime colds can be a real bear.

Now, if you're really insistent on hitting the stores this weekend, do it with a smile on your face and patience in your heart.

Or shop online.

Whatever, always remember to keep laughing!

Here, kitty-kitty . . .

Thursday, November 23, 2017


Don't be a cold fish . . . get yourself some Hot Tuna!

Thanksgiving Day

Wednesday, November 22, 2017


Judy and I have been invited to the BRD's and Beau Jack's home for a "non-traditional" Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow.

After teasing me for several days Gayle has finally released the menu.

Phyllo Brie & Cranberry bites & Shrimp

Caesar Salad
Slow Cooked Braised Short Ribs
Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Chocolate and Plain Cream Puff Pastries

Yes, there is no roast turkey and stuffing but doesn't that menu sound delicious?

I can't wait.

(Doesn't really look like I need it, does it?)

Tuesday, November 21, 2017


The bird bath just outside my window gets a wide variety of visitors.

The other day SWMBO said she watched a woodpecker cling to the tree next to it and lean over to drink.

But more often it's house finches and the likes of these.

This one was perched on the edge while his or her mate patrolled the grounds below for edible bugs.

My apologies for the quality of the photos above.

Part of it is spots and smears left on the glass by Blackwell's explorations.

Speaking of which, take a look at this beauty.

That's a big fluffy visitor I call Old Yellow.

She stands on the blue cat's back to reach the water and sometimes drinks long and longer

When she gets down, if I tap on the window, she turns and stares at me.

The other day I decided to see if she'd run if I stepped outside.

In fact she stayed, let me pet her and rolled and rolled, exposing her furry white belly for a tentative scratch.

She is definitely a domesticated cat.

If I get another chance I'll have to take my camera with me.

Monday, November 20, 2017


SWMBO got creative in the kitchen yesterday.

Never mind that Thanksgiving is only a few days away.

She had scored some Meyer lemons and decided to invent a new way to bake sweet potatoes.

So she diced up a couple of the potatoes and an equal amount of fresh pineapple and sliced several of the lemons and some tangerines and studded the slices with whole cloves.

She made a sauce of brown sugar, cinnamon, butter, the juice of a couple of the lemons and a dash of water.

This she cooked until it caramelized and then combined it with the sweet potatoes and pineapple, spread them out in a baking dish and topped them with the clove-studded fruits.

It looked like this before going into the oven to be baked for a couple of hours.

When it was done she served it with some of our favorite Mandarin Orange Chicken from Trader Joe's.

There was a mix of quinoa and brown rice to balance the sweetness.

When I tasted this dinner I was One Happy Camper!