Monday, May 31, 2010

Bits And Pieces . . .

After a cup of contemplative green tea I had a breakfast of a large California navel orange and a Costa Rican banana.

Refreshing, delicious, and hopefully nutritious.

A few minutes ago, as I indulged in my routine morning read of Rensselaer Adventures (Rensselaer, Indiana being my original hometown) I stopped at the writer's phrase, "...on the cement floor..." and thought, now he probably meant to say "the 'concrete' floor' instead of 'cement' floor.

A Google definition search revealed the difference between the word 'concrete' (a strong hard building material composed of sand and gravel and cement and water) and 'cement' (a building material that is a powder made of a mixture of calcined limestone and clay; used with water and sand or gravel to make concrete and mortar) -- those two terms are used interchangeably (although grammatically incorrect) in informal American English.

For some reason my new computer with Windows 7 when using Internet Explorer renders all my web pages as being set to the right side of the new wide-screen monitor instead of the center. Of course it does not do so using Firefox. But being the accommodating fellow that I am, I set about righting that particular wrong, and spent a goodly part of yesterday re-doing the affected web pages.

I believe that they all are perfected now.

But, who knows . . .?

Can A Person Think TOO Much?

Today is the last day of May in 2010 CE, the final day of the long Memorial Day Weekend, a day traditionally set aside for family gatherings with picnics, barbecues, and jovial interaction -- in America, that is. I'm not sure if this is true in other countries.

It's still early morning here in Tucson, Arizona and I am sitting here sipping from a cup of steaming green tea and looking out the window, just watching the cactus grow and allowing the tenuous tendrils of troublesome thoughts to trail off to wheresoever such nettles of nothingness eventually stray and perhaps finally come to rest.

One of those wispy thoughts was related to the many types of lies so prevalent in today's American society; that thought being whether lying (overtly or covertly) is more often productive or counter-productive to the liar that is doing the lying.

The thought will probably return later, demanding more detailed analysis.

If not, well... small loss. Sometimes I believe that I think way too much, and way too often.

More than most people would want to know about Lies and Confabulations can be found at:

More later . . .

Sunday, May 30, 2010

College or University Attendance

The National Association of Scholars asks:
"Should everyone go to College?"

Here are at least 10 reasons why some people should not attend college or university.

I could probably come up with a few other reasons, but I won't... not right this minute, anyway.

Now for something completely different...

It is recorded that Robert Heinlein once said (or wrote) --

"A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects."

Why, I wonder, would a person say (or write) such a ridiculous statement? I have neither a wish to change a diaper, nor any intention of planning an invasion -- and dying gallantly (Argh!) is way, way down on my "to do" list.

More later today... maybe.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Addicted To... (Love?)

Another creeping addiction has sunk its talons into my capacious well-of-desires and its name is Peach-Flavored Dannon Light and Fit.

Just can't seem to get enough of it, although I'm doing my best to limit my intake to a single cup per day. God! That stuff is terribly goooooood!

I like it even more than Heidi Klum.

(Interpret that sentence any way you want)

Friday, May 28, 2010

Through A Glass Murkily

Today I walked again my new routine of 3.4 miles, from home to the Circle K on Tanque Verde (which in Spanish means Green Tank {or 'reservoir') and back.

Along the way I entertained myself by both observing the abundant desert wild-life, especially the birds, lizards, and tiny desert rats... and also by counting cadence as I remembered the unforgettable sing-song voice of a specific Drill (Training?) Instructor from Lackland Air Force Base near San Antonio, Texas -- circa 1957.

Lelft-Right, Lelft-Right, Lelft-Right...
Lelft-Right... Yo' Lelft. ..
Yo' Lelft... Yo' Lelft...
Yo' Lelft-Right Lelft-Right...

It kept me steppin' lively. Yes it did.

I really have little to say at this time but I've been neglecting the ol' blog lately so I figured that I should put 'something' in it today.

But what?

Well... here are some bits from my *newnotes* file:

Confabulation is the formation of false memories, perceptions, or beliefs about the self or the environment as a result of neurological or psychological dysfunction.

Comments made during the early years of Saturday Night Live --

BILL MURRAY, Cast Member:

"When you become famous, you've got like a year or two where you act like a real asshole. You can't help yourself. It happens to everybody. You've got like two years to pull it together - or it's permanent."


"When you're young, you have way fewer taboo topics, and then as you go through life and you have experiences with people getting cancer and dying and all the things you would have made fun of, then you can't make fun of them anymore. So rebelliousness really is the province of young people - that kind of iconoclasm."

DAN AYKROYD, cast member:

"It's too stressful, because you worry about quality, you want things to be so right, and that really weighs heavily - plus the adrenaline pump, it's like being in combat or a cop or something. You can't take that week after week. It's a young man's game, there's no doubt about it. It is satisfying when you pull something off, and it is tremendously debilitating and anxiety-producing when you don't."

Aside from the above notes, my mind is offering up nothing.


It is the unexpected that stuns us.

Monday, May 24, 2010

The Day After The Day

Regarding a recent comment from my good friend (and faithful blog 'follower') AVT, the camera I have been using is a 3.2 Megapixel Canon Power Shot A510. This tiny camera was given to me two (or three?) years ago as a birthday gift from my son, Mike.

Here's a recent shot of a Saguaro displaying its floral tiara.

I had no blog entry yesterday because it was Mike's birthday and the entire day was spent in celebratory endeavors, such as reminiscing, DVD movie watching, shooting pool, and ultimately eating a fantastically delicious Chicken Parmesan dinner expertly prepared by JoAnn. Mike seemed to enjoy his day of fame, as did the rest of the family members in attendance.

And his son, Tim (my grandson) announced that he had been offered and has accepted a position as a High School physics and math teacher at the highly rated Basis Charter School of Tucson.

Here is a link to a Youtube video describing the school.

While teaching, Tim will still be working toward his PhD at the University of Arizona.

Whadda guy!

I have to cut this short because Eva is summoning me to take her outside. Duty calls.

Sorry 'bout that.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Simple And Direct Reportage

Yesterday I extended the length of my walk to a little more than three miles, from home to the Circle K convenience store on Tanque Verde and back. Along the way I noticed a large patch of flowering shrubbery and snapped a quick photo of it.

To get a better appreciation of the vivid colors I followed up with a zoomed close-up of the flowers.

Also along the way an old Plymouth was being restored and it brought back memories of earlier days.

At the end of Conestoga Avenue and just before my turn onto Tanque Verde I snapped this Entrance Sign:

At the Circle K I bought five Power Ball lotto tickets, a bottle of Cherry Crush (99 cents), and a fascinating new discovery... a small package off Bugles, but not the old-fashioned merely salty and crunchy snack food; it's an innovative product called "Caramel Bugles" -- I'll report on them later, after I open the package and sample one.

I ran across a new word today: BIOME. Had to look it up at and found:
a complex biotic community characterized by distinctive plant and animal species and maintained under the climatic conditions of the region, esp.such a community that has developed to climax.

I wonder how long I will remember the definition.

Friday, May 21, 2010


I have( too) often heard it sad, "Oh, how handsome you look in that tuxedo" -- but to me dressing up in formal clothing is ridiculous. I just can't see the point of it.

John Grisham said: "Writers can wear anything. I could go to a black-tie dinner in New York City with blue jeans on and boots and a cowboy hat and a bow tie, and people would just say, 'Oh, he's a writer.'

Thank goodness that I call myself a writer.

Even the plant world, it seems, seeks to enhance its appearance.

Here is a trio of Saguaro (pronounced Suh-WHARR-oh, I think) Cactus in Mike's backyard pool area. They are, at this time of year, sporting floral crowns.

Here's a closeup of one of the flowers

Of course, the ornate tiara helps the viewer to ignore the painful ugliness of the thorny hide that supports it.

I've been told that the crown of flowers usually open up during the nighttime when the (fruit?) bats are flitting about. Pollination, and such.

I have also been told that the Saguaro does not develop its signature 'arms' until it reaches the age of 100 years.

One can read all the facts about the Saguaro at Wikipedia

While sitting in a medical waiting room I was treated to the sight of an extremely obese young lady who displayed a pearl stud within her nose-piercing, a crimson rose tattoo on the back of her neck, and a (diamond?) jeweled bracelet biting into the ample flesh of her artlessly exposed ankle.

I did feel that she was not as attractive as are those startlingly-white desert flowers adorning the head of a Saguaro.

But, as always... what do I know?

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Words Of The Wise

I recently read the following:

"If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind."
--John Stuart Mill

After thinking about this for a time, I found myself in mild disagreement, wondering if perhaps all mankind might have once been justified in silencing Adolph Hitler.

But, what do I know?

Wikipedia states: "Totalitarianism (or totalitarian rule) is a political system where the state, usually under the control of a single political person, faction, or class, recognizes no limits to its authority and strives to regulate every aspect of public and private life wherever feasible."

Therefore, I propose that a perfected form of cyber-totalitarianism ("Gort... Klatu borada nikto!) could be not only an effective law-enforcement tool but might also be the ideal ruling government.

Or is that merely foolish blather from the failing mind of an old man?

After all . . .

Which of the following two pictures best represents a hope for the future?


As I said . . .

I'm 71 years old; what do I know?

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

From Mike and JoAnn, for a 71st Birthday gift I received a really comfortable office chair to sit in while operating my computer. And you'd better believe that I LOVE it!

I assembled it this morning and am sitting in it right now, as I type this.

Then, this evening we are going out for Frost GELATO, my very most favorite dessert of all time.

Who could ask for anything more?

A Birthday By Any Other Name

So . . .

Today I can say that I have lived upon this Earth for 71 years,

This is not, of course, a laudatory accomplishment but merely a statement of fact.

And that's quite enough about that.

I have lately been reading some of George Orwell's writings. In one of his essays titled Why I Write he stated:

"Every line of serious work that I have written since 1936 has been written, directly or indirectly, against totalitarianism and for democratic socialism, as I understand it."

How can I reconcile that statement with my own admittedly radical beliefs? I cannot.

So I won't.

Mr. Orwell, in another piece, also wrote:

A scrupulous writer, in every sentence that he writes, will ask himself at least four questions, thus:

1. What am I trying to say?

2. What words will express it?

3. What image or idiom will make it clearer?

4. Is this image fresh enough to have an effect?

And in yet another essay he wrote:

All writers are vain, selfish, and lazy, and at the very bottom of their motives there lies a mystery.

And, once again, that's quite enough about that.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Emotions Are Felt, Not Described

A cherished friend sent me (via snail mail) an unexpected but certainly much appreciated birthday card. Its face was a print of POINT SUR LIGHTHOUSE by Philip Jon Haysmer. I was touched (yes, emotionally) and I (having been programmed in the late 1940s and early '50s) would have wept if it were in my nature to resort to such 'unmanly' behavior.

In truth, I intend to keep and treasure this card for all my remaining years on this Earth.

I have started rereading an old novel, Ray Bradbury's THE MARTIAN CHRONICLES. Although I have read the book many times, I have a feeling that I might be able to appreciate it more now, after a number of years of living life. And following that one, I will be rereading my old and faded soft-cover copy of I SING THE BODY ELECTRIC! For better of worse.

There are many opening lines of stories and novels that I admire. One of them was penned by Ernest Hemingway.

The Old Man and the Sea begins:

"He was an old man who fished alone in a skiff in the Gulf Stream and he had gone eighty-four days now without taking a fish."

Don't ask me why that line struck me as it did, because I don't know the answer.

But it did. And it does.

The only way human beings can win a war is to prevent it.
--George Marshall,
US Army Chief, Secretary of State, Secretary of Defense, Nobel laureate (1880-1959)

Friday, May 14, 2010

Eva Attacks!

In the early afternoon while I relaxed (dozed) on the pool deck in a folding beach chair Eva maintained a vigilant guard over the flowers that Dodie (JoAnn's mom) had planted in a large pot earlier in the year.

The temperature was in the high 90s (F.) there in the desert sun, much more comfortable than the summer heat of my former Florida digs...


An ear-numbing explosive barking and a mad dash by Eva over the rocky ground toward the purple-tinged cactus plant near the pool gate jerked my consciousness to attention. Before I could voice an objection (warning) Eva had plunged directly into the center of the cactus, diving head first into plant's barbed heart and digging (scrabbling) with her front paws and claws to unearth some elusive quarry of which I had not been even faintly aware.

I jumped up and hurried (ambled? tottered?) over and pulled her our of the nefarious purple plant's clutches, she all the time struggling to get back to the attack on the fearsome creature (tiny lizard?) self-buried below the cactus.

Well, I finally calmed her down enough to start pulling out the many protruding barbs and spines. It is heart-rending to hear a young dog whimper like that.

But... we all must 'live and learn'.

Goodness Gracious Golly Gee...

What an adventure we had, the two of us.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Signs Of The Times

Below are some of the signs posted alongside of Fort Lowell Road between Calle Del Valle and Melpomene Way.

As one approaches the Agua Caliente Wash (seen below...)

the driver or biker or pedestrian will see this information sign...

And just before will have seen the following cautionary warning...

and will have previously seen...

(Strange command when the temperature is in the 90s F. and the humidity is 16 percent)

Farther on down the road one is asked to share the road with bicycles.

Those are some of the roadside signs I saw today.

By the way, here is a head-shot type photo taken of me today, May 12, 2010

I appear to be an uncommonly happy old fart, don't I?

That's all folks . . .

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

This Afternoon's Jaunt

This afternoon at 2:30 Arizona Time I walked another two miles, along Fort Lowell Road past the Agua Caliente Wash (see pic) and then up Malpamene (sp?) Road for a ways.

Along the way I saw several likely photo shots, but for some reason they were again wiped from the memory card of the camera before I could download them to my computer. Guess I'd better look into this curious phenomenon. Perhaps the card contacts have become corroded again, like they did last year. A few rubs with a q-tip soaked with Electrical Contact Cleaner cured it back then.

Here is one nice little picture of a yellow and red cactus flower, though.

More another day . . .

A Pleasant Evening Dog-Walk

While out for our walk with Eva yesterday evening JoAnn and I came upon a good-natured fellow leading a white horse

and we were told that the horse's name is Nickolai (Nick for short) and that he loves dogs. Eva, who is extremely 'alpha' (dominant) by nature and barks explosively at most other dogs (and rabbits and coyotes and road-runners) and at some of the cars and bikes we encounter remained surprisingly quite calm. She and Nick even gently nuzzled noses without a sound.

It was pleasant indeed to walk the two and a half miles with such amiable companions.

All in all, I'd be safe to say that I am enjoying my stay here in Mike and JoAnn's Tucson home.

Enjoying it immensely.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Birthday For JoAnn

We celebrated JoAnn's birthday yesterday by having dinner at the Acacia in Tucson, a somewhat-gourmet restaurant and the food was delicious. I had the smoked breast of petaluma duckling, huckleberry sweet-soy glaze, purple potato won-ton tower and garden vegetables. And then the Strawberry-Lime Crumble for dessert... mmmmm-gooood!

In about 10 days I will also be having one of those birthdays, too. On the 19th I will become 71 years old. Never thought I'd see that day.

Then four days later Mike will have one, too. Lots of birthdays in May in our family.

I looked at some small apartments located on Tucson's East Side that were only about seven miles from here and found two that were adequate to my needs. Both were reasonably priced as to rent, within walking distance of grocery and necessities stores, and on the city bus route. Mike and JoAnn insisted though, that they would like for me to stay here with them instead of moving into my own place, and I can tell that they are sincere in this. So I probably will not be moving into a place of my own for awhile yet.

Time will tell...

While reading the Spilled Beans blog of Anthony V. Toscano I was struck by the similarity of his pictured computer and so I took a quick snapshot of my own temporary setup.

A bit of Deja vu there.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Well . . .

We had some interesting visitors to the pool deck yesterday.

An Arizona toad . . .

And this somewhat fierce looking creature . . .

The above, in case you don't recognize it, is a genuine live rattlesnake.

But that's another story.

For later . . .

Friday, May 7, 2010

Early May In Tucson

Day before yesterday I walked (for exercise, exploration, and recreation) from the house all the way down Calle Del Valle then veered onto Coronado and then to Soldier trail where I proceeded to tread the rocks of a desert path to Calle Del Rincon then to home again.

This second picture is a close-up of the desert path's uneven, rocky surface.

While walking along on the paved roadway of Calle Del Rincon I noticed a beautifully landscaped Arizona lawn (rocks and cactus, no grass) and took a few pictures of it. Here they are:

Then last evening while we were out walking Eva, a coyote appeared on the street ahead of us. I managed to take a couple of quick shots but it was too far away and the sun was waning so the photo clarity was less than desired.

Here it is in the road in the center of the photo. Look closely . . . and try to ignore our intrusive shadows.

Here it is leaving the road to enter a yard full of hysterically barking dogs.

It can be seen a little better in this shot.

I think that I would do better if my camera had a stronger zoom. Maybe next time I see Mister Wile E. Coyote I will be able to get a bit closer to him.

We shall see . . .

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Blogspot Is Fouled Up

I have been working on a blog entry for almost two hours and the freakin' blogspot keeps screwing up my layout and text, producing all kinds of ridiculous foul-ups. I'm going to quit for now and maybe come back later to try again. Right now I'm too "FREAKING" angry.

Monday, May 3, 2010

I have not been blogging much lately, and not posting to my journal, at, nor doing much writing of any kind. At this time of my wearisome life and in my present 'on hold' situation, I find that nothing of interest occurs to me when I sit down with my fingers poised over the keyboard.

It's almost a maxim, though, that if a writer cannot think of anything to write, he (or SHE, dammit) can always write down existing thoughts on why the writer is being kept from writing.

That being a possibility, my thoughts at this instant ask "Why does it matter if I have anything to write about?" And the answer flashes back: "Because not writing creates a vague sense of unease, a vacuum of sorts, a perception of careless neglect, an indefinable restlessness and a pressing need to DO something. To write something.

But writing about not being able to write is not a solution to the problem. It is merely a sort of stopgap, a literary equivalent of the illiterate term "" and the annoying " know..." so favored by the revered celebrity sports figures.

Writer's block... "Phooey!"

I am going to start right now, within the next minute or two, to write about current events, personal happenings, no matter if they seem to be interesting or not. And that will be the content of tomorrow's blogging.

Sunday, May 2, 2010


Thinking means concentrating on one thing long enough to develop an idea about it.
--William Deresiewicz