Tuesday, April 10, 2018


We're in the perfect months of Spring right now in Arizona but summer is on the way.

The climate has changed a bit where we live.

It's just about a mile high in elevation.

Like Denver.

But being closer to the equator, i.e. further south, it gets warmer.

It used to get to 100 degrees Fahrenheit maybe one or two days in the summer.

But recently we've had stretches of that kind of heat that lasted weeks.

We used to live in Phoenix, back in the 70's and 80's.

Once the mercury climbed to 122 degrees.

That was in June of 1990 and we fortunately were living in Guadalajara, Mexico then.

Guadalajara is known as the place with eternal springtime.

But if you want true heat you have to travel about 360 miles west-northwest from here.

To Furnace Creek, in the heart of Death Valley.

It got to 134 degrees there once upon a time.

I got to wondering what I might look like if I had spent my life as a roving, gold-hunting prospecter in Death Valley.

Maybe like this.

I guess I'll stick to my sedentary ways, out of the direct sunlight.

And the heat.

Monday, April 9, 2018


I TOLD you the birds were going to be happy about that tree leafing out, didn't I?

Oh, I know.  

When you saw the title on this post you were expecting something about the Donnie in D.C., weren't you?


No politics.

Just bird talk.

Sunday, April 8, 2018


The tree outside my window, which has been a barren forest of branches all winter, is finally heavily abounding in buds.

It's not a flowering tree but it will soon be filled with green leaves, judging from the looks of things.

The birds can barely wait.

Saturday, April 7, 2018


I have heard that some bread bakers insist that all of that kneading is good therapy.


I let the machine do it.

I love my bread machine.

It takes all of the work out of bread production and turns out perfect loaves.

That's a loaf of whole wheat studded with craisins that I (the machine, actually) turned out yesterday.

Can you smell it?

SWMBO could and came in from the other room to slice the top off and tell me it tasted great, as usual.

As a special treat for my wife of 47 years, as of today, I have a loaf of rye with caraway rising in the machine now, soon to bake and send forth those enticing aromas.

Friday, April 6, 2018


Another week of lunacy in Washington has left me scratching my head and wondering "Can I even match the Trumpster for humor?  Huh?  Can I?"

Frankly, I don't know but I'm gonna try, Gentle Readers.

So let's kick off the weekend with some toast.

Oh, I mean "A" toast.

Honestly, it's enough to drive one to drink.

Okay, pals, let us get out there and make every effort to have a Masters-ful weekend (heh-heh) and always remember to keep laughing.

Here, kitty-kitty . . .

(Oh, man)

Thursday, April 5, 2018


Going way, way back to the year I was born . . . here's what was on the hit parade.

Asleep at the Wheel has done a much more recent version of that song.

And then there's "Maybe".

For someone who can't come to grips with Rap or Hip-Hope, whatever the difference is between them, sometimes the old tunes are the good tunes.

Or maybe I'm sinking into the senescence of my years.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Tuesday, April 3, 2018


There is a slight but burning disagreement going back many years about the ownership of the Grand Canyon.

Since it crosses my state's northern border, Utah tries from time to time to claim it.

But Utah has Arches National Park.  And Bryce Canyon and Canyonlands and Capitol Reef and Zion.

So down here in Arizona, aka Heaven on Earth, you Utahns just leave our Grand Canyon alone.

One car's vanity plate says it best.

Incidentally, those are Saguaro cacti.

(It's pronounced suh-GWAHR -oh, for you aliens.)

It's bloom, which comes out of the top of it, is the Official State Flower of Arizona.

And that critter in the middle is a Roadrunner.

But while Roadrunners are prevalent in this blessed state, the official state bird is the Cactus Wren.

Class dismissed, Gentle Readers.

Monday, April 2, 2018


"Coo, Coo, Kachoo, Mrs. Robinson, Jesus loves you more than you will know, Whoa Whoa Whoa"

Who really knows what that lyric from the movie "The Graduate" means?

I just thought of it when I was looking at this photo of one of our multitude of doves that inhabit the neighborhood and occasionally hog the bird bath.

They strut around the yard, posing as if they are thinking they are as pretty as peacocks.

They are somewhat sleek and the lack of a crested head removes any ferocity from their appearance.

So I'll put up with them.

And bliss out on Simon and Garfunkel's music.

Here comes your ear worm.

Sunday, April 1, 2018


Maybe evidence of an "April fool" which took place a day early.

The couple out for a spin in their fancy red hot rod apparently found themselves stalled at the side of the road.

The fellow in the cowboy hat had stopped and walked over to see if he could help.

Sometimes, looks aren't everything.

(A short time later the car was gone so maybe all ended well.)

Saturday, March 31, 2018


Cat on the prowl

Friday, March 30, 2018



Who let that dog in here?

Oh, well, I guess he's not leaving for awhile.

And I can't bring myself to . . . fire him!!!????

So, Gentle Readers, let us proceed into the rapture of near-end-of-the-week hilarity.

And Happy Passover and Happy Easter.

This week's pie chart is actually a throwback, back to when someone first came up with it, just penciled on a bar napkin.

Okay, on that surly note, let us move on into the weekend.

A fahn-tahs-tic weekend, Gentle Readers, as the weather most everywhere has finally broken into the reverie we here at Oddball HQ know as Spring.

Enjoy it.

Oh, and don't forget our watchwords:  Always Keep Laughing!

Here, kitty-kitty . . .

(Oh, I don't think that's a very good idea . . .)

Thursday, March 29, 2018


I have two different pronunciations of a familiar (and familial) term.

It's the word "aunt".

For some reason when I'm not talking about one of my family members, I pronounce it "Ahnt".

But curiously, for those in my family the word is pronounced "Ant".

My mother's sister, for instance, was always known as Anty Ann.

Her name was actually Anna but modernity shortened it to Ann.

This is a long way around introducing you to my Aunt Lil, short for Lillian.

She lives in Billings, Montana, with her daughter, my musical cousin Bonnie.

And recently she received a couple of honors, being declared Birthday Queen at the Southside Senior Center and then Queen at the 4th Avenue Senior Community Center.

Gentle Readers, my Aunt Lil is a nonagenarian, which I'm sure you all know is a person in their 90's.

Ladies and Gentlemen, this is what 96 looks like!

Pretty damned good, if you ask me.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018


And now, Gentle Readers, for those of you who are getting sick of my cat pictures . . . a return to the bird bath!

This puffed up creature with a hint of red on his chest and brow is one of the many House Finches that reside in this part of Arizona.

They are the most frequent visitors we have, along with the damnable doves.

But of recent days, we have had repeat visits from this guy.

"I'm ready for my close-up, Mr. Demille."

The Ladder-Backed Woodpecker NOT showing off his flashy coat but as Judy said from the other room, "His bright red topknot makes him easy to spot."

(And I really must wash this window.)

Tuesday, March 27, 2018


There may be some of you Gentle Readers who say from time to time, "Why are there so frequently pictures of Blackwell on this blog?"

And you would be correct, I suppose.

So on this Terrific Tuesday, I give you his companion.

Her name is Muggles, which has nothing to do with creatures from those Harry Potter novels.

I came up with that name randomly after seeing the distinctive M on her forehead.

I have since learned that all tabbies have that characteristic.

Whereas Blackwell has intuited that he is my cat (or more correctly that I am his human), Muggles clings to my wife, spending many hours on her bed sleeping the day away.

She has a strange habit when she goes for a drink of water of reaching out and moving the heavy dish, making a creaking noise on the tile floor.

She is also very nervous and will flee to the bedroom if either of us approaches her while she is eating or drinking.

Blackwell stalks her on some of her trips and then chases her.

SWMBO scolds him but I tell her that he just wants to play.

Whichever it is, Muggles is soon back on the bed and snoozing off.

So ends today's entry in the Catalyst's Cat Diaries.

Monday, March 26, 2018


Ah, Gentle Readers, what am I going to do with you?

I meant, of course, the woodpecker at the bird bath.

I finally was able to upload a couple of photos from my camera that are better than the ones from my "smart" phone.

So here, in all his glory, is the Ladder-backed Woodpecker, stopping off for a wee sip on his way around the neighborhood.

The glare from the rising sun spoils the photo a bit but at least this is better than the previous picture.

With his head in that posture I can only surmise that he is very proud of his flashy coat.

Sunday, March 25, 2018


I joined in yesterday when millions of people across the United States marched to express their agony over the murder of innocent schoolchildren, their disfavor with automatic weapons (some with any guns), the National Rifle Association, and the twisting of the meaning of the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

In Prescott, a relatively small town located in a very conservative county in a fairly conservative state, the local newspaper said 15 hundred protesters lined the Courthouse Square.

I shot many photos but, in some crazed computer foul-up, the one above and the one below are the only two that survived.

As I entered the grounds I stopped to take a photo and a man who had come to join the march said to me, "I thought this was a children's march but it looks more like an AARP convention."

Indeed he was right.

Most of the marchers were probably mothers and fathers and grandparents of kids who risk their lives every day just to get an education.

There were a small handful of counter-protesters shouting rude insults.

The FIRST amendment gives them the right of free speech but as one of the marchers commented, and I paraphrase, the less said about them the better.

Friday, March 23, 2018


Here we are again.

Gentle Readers, I hope you've got . . .

In spite of the depressing news coming out of Washington one has to take a moment to laugh.

So let's all turn off the t.v., discard the newspaper, stop the lunatic voices coming from your all-talk radio station and pay attention to Your Leader, the Sweet Catalyst.

Here goes.

O.K.  are you feeling better now?

A little better.

Well, I tried.

C'mon now, let's all try a little harder to enjoy the first week of Spring (yeah, I know), eat hearty, drink well (and safely), appreciate your friends, have a great weekend and always (Ah say ALWAYS) remember to keep laughing.

Here kitty-kitty . . .