Sunday, March 16, 2014



This morning I opened the Sunday paper and began laying out the various sections in the order I intend to read them.  I read the Business Section, and the Comics, and the Entertainment Sections, first.  Then I quickly zip through the little news magazine that is always 80 percent ads, and then move on to the more serious stuff in national and local news....saving the Sports section for last because I like studying the baseball standings and stats more closely.  

I always set aside the ads and coupon circulars and usually quickly dispense with them.  But this morning's newspaper had multiple copies of the same ads.  That always bothers me; the idea that someone is missing their Target ad because they gave me too many is somehow unfair.  I can just see a an old lady, sitting down to her Sunday paper, anxious to see if Target has got her Depends, or her Metamucil on sale...and she's left out in the cold, while I, happily (for now), have no need for either.

That's really sad.  Or suppose some Irish fella has been holding out for a sale on cabbage and beef brisket doesn't get the word that Albertson's is selling both at rock bottom prices!  Oh sure, I know the Russians are invading the Crimea...and there are 239 people missing somewhere in the Indian Ocean..but missing out on your Sunday morning ads is pretty damn serious too!

Sometimes I'm on the losing end as well.  And when I am I tend to take it a bit too hard.  I blame it on the paperboy!  Just because I didn't slip a ten dollar bill in that little gift envelope he slips into my paper at Christmas!...what a petty thing to do!...withholding my Target and Walgreens ad to punish me!

And this problem seems to be quite widespread!  I've seen numerous listing on Craig's List, under the "free" column, where folks are offering up their Sunday ads and coupons to anyone willing to drive the ten miles to come get them!  I've often wondered how many people have responded to those ads, and if they did, they later calculated the cost of the gas and realized they could have bought a spanking new paper at the corner grocery for less than it took to drive for the freebie.

Well, never let it be said that I'm not philanthropic.  I've set aside the six copies of the Target ads I got this morning and I'm going to canvas the neighborhood to see if my neighbors are missing their copy. It's the least I can do...and who knows...maybe the lady down the street will reciprocate on some morning when I'm missing out on the sale at Walgreens!


Thursday, March 13, 2014

Sedona Sunrise


I've only been to Sedona, Arizona three or four times, but I'm going to have to go again soon.  They say the power of suggestion is a powerful thing, and I had read much about the spiritual aspects of Sedona, the soul cleansing and healing process enjoyed by a multi-varied basket of people who have visited Sedona just for that purpose.  So twice in the past few years I found myself passing through Sedona just at dawn.  The relatively sparsely populated little town of ten thousand or so have seen the sun rise hundreds of times, maybe with such frequency that it loses its magic.  But for me,  those two early morning sunrises still sit gently in my heart even now.  

I remember the first time I met Sedona's sun I was returning from an east coast trip in my little RV, a return after a visit with my east coast kids.  It was still dark when I exited I-40 and turned south on I-17, toward Phoenix.  By the time I reached Sedona the sun was beginning to rise over the horizon and an eery orange glow shown through the peaks of Cathedral Rock.  As the sun rose, its golden rays passed through the narrowness of the two highest peaks and, with laser strength, bathed me in a circle of fire.  I looked down at my hands on the steering wheel and my hands and arms seemed to be illuminated by rings of fire.  

At the first exit I could find, I pulled off the road and just sat there, sipping coffee from a commuter mug and marveling at my creator's grand light show, presented just for me.  I don't know how long I sat there, but long enough for Cathedral Rock to shed its golden hues and transform itself to apple red.  As if shaking myself from a dream, I started up the vehicle and meandered down a road where i came to a place, a rest area of sorts,  to let the dogs out and relieve themselves from their night cage.  Since no one was around I let the dogs run freely and walked over to a glass box that held brochures telling of the wonders of Sedona.

I learned that Sedona has played host to over a hundred Hollywood productions, including the classic "Stagecoach", the vehicle that brought John Wayne to stardom.  Hollywood shows up less frequently these days, the need to turn out a weekly western no longer in cinematic vogue.  Instead, Sedona has become a haven for those who have heard of her magic and descend on the place to soak up the heightened sense of spirituality legend says one absorbs when basking in the warm rays of Sedona red.  Luxury resorts now cater to that soulful yearning and for a few hundred bucks a night you can sit out on a native rock patio in the early morning and enjoy a sunrise over a latte and eggs Benedict.


Archaeologists have found Clovis artifacts that prove native Americans of the Paleo tribes lives in Sedona more than 12,000 years before Christ was born.  And history proves they lived in the area longer than any other  tribe in the Southwest, so I imagine too these early Americans felt strongly the draw of the place.

I imagine those early natives would have been confounded by today's luxury minded caravaners who show up to recapture their relationship with nature, nature being so hard to find on first class trips to Paris or shopping trips to Neiman Marcus.  


I had no need for such luxury fluff to enjoy Sedona's magical sunrise.  After a long tiring road trip I felt refreshed, thankful for the bounty in nature that makes those kind of experiences possible.  The next time I returned from a cross country trip I timed my schedule so that I might again be amazed by 
Sedona's spectacular sunrise...and it was every bit as spectacular as the first.  I filed it away in my mind for later's up there in my memory closet...on the top shelf, in a box reserved for very special things.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Phoenix; Cultural Richness


Phoenix, Arizona is like a wonderful box of chocolates; you never know what you're gonna get...but there's always a lot of it.

We play host to 15 major league teams during spring training and we have our own home-grown Diamondbacks.  We have NFL football with the Cardinals, hockey with the Phoenix Coyotes, NBA with the Phoenix Suns, Arena Football, international soccer matches, hosts the Fiesta Bowl, and own a big hunk of NASCAR business.

If sports is not your thing you can catch a play at not less than 20 venues around town, or you can see every major music star in concert week in and week out.  We have Renaissance festivals, antique car shows, a popular state fair, innumerable rodeos, and play a big role in Broadway road shows of the most popular shows.

We have Chihuahua races during Cinco de Mayo, we have a plethora of farmers markets, hayrides out on commercial farms.  We have restaurants that will offer you North African food, Indian food, Pakistani fare, Egyptian, Greek, Russian food and English pubs that will serve you warm beer and kidney pie.  We can offer you hundreds of Mexican restaurants that can offer you Sonoran style or Tex Mex and we can serve you soul food with chitlins and collard greens.  We've got Mardi Gras and gumbo or we can offer you fresh seafood caught in the Pacific on this very day.  

If you like to gamble we can offer you five Indian Casinos and our Indian tribes can achieve "payback" by taking your gringo money and wine and dine you in fine style while doing so.  

This week we've got rodeo...and Drew Carey and other notables are doing shows...or you can drive down to Tucson and gaze at spectacular fields of desert flowers in bloom in southern Arizona.  

And we've got the Ostrich Festival this week!  For $7 bucks you can watch hours of entertainment with motorcycle riders performing stunts in wire cages and twice in one day you can watch ostriched-powered chariot races while the kids are enjoying the many rides!

I have lived in many places but I don't think I've ever seen such rich diversity of human activity that Phoenix is truly a wonderful box of chocolates with something for everyone.  ;)