31 July 2006

Request ...please

I write this BLOG just for me, but I often wonder who reads it, if anyone. Please leave a comment if you are here (even once) ..... I'd just like to know. I sit here in my little apartment and live through my keyboard. I sincerly hope I am not alone. Thanks to Anonymous from B'More, MN lady and lil'lady (whoever you are).

Love from the (WET) Desert
Antonio ... the Desert Dude

The rain

The rivers (basically the Rillito and Santa Cruz) are flooding, but our sunsets are still NUMBER ONE!!

30 July 2006

Sunday evening

Some water just under Broadway Blvd 7-29-06 in a (usually) dry wash. Broadway is to your right. Ain't rain great!

The Channel 9 News at 5 just showed a really great graphic. We have received, on my end of town, over 3.2 inches of rain in three days. This does not count any rain that we have received since last evening (which has been a lot). Mt.Lemmon has received over 7.5 inches of rain over the same period. That wetness is flowing (quickly) down the mountains and filling our dry washes bank to bank. Lots of water.

Hilda resting up in her recliner at her house. I am going to do some resting myself, have a great week ... and hug someone, you'll both feel better.

Sunday AM

I know that you people get tired of weather reports from the southwest, but I am so happy that we are finally get mosoonal rains that deserve the name. It rained almost all of Friday night and most of Saturday morning. Last evening it started raining about 1900 (7 PM) and was still raining this AM. It finally stopped about 0730. My Sunday walk (in the rain) was magnificent. It had slowed to a steady drizzle and it soaked me through. I carried an umbrella, furled, in case it turned into a heavy downpour as it sometimes does. Heavy downpours beat you up and are not relaxing. I took a couple of pictures yesterday of a normally dry wash that runs under Broadway Boulevard by my house and will post them today. It was running 12 feet deep bank to bank ... probably 100 yards across. Lots of locals lined the banks to take pictures and watch the water. When we get water here in the desert, it changes everything. Even people are more polite to each other ... except to folks from out of state who say things like ..."I'll sure be glad when this rain quits", or "If I wanted rain, I'd have stayed in Michigan (or Illinois, etc)". We wish that they were still there, if the truth be known.

The odd thing, still, about our recent rains is the amount in different parts of town. The airport got 1.57 inches yesterday, but .. according to this morning's newspaper ... we here on the eastside got over 2.6 inches and out by Sabino Canyon, they were deluged with even more. I imagine last night's rain was the same.

Hilda got the film "Star Wars II, Attack of the Clones" last evening and we watched it. We cooked some garlic-parmesan hot wings and home made fried potatoes. I had a few Shiner Bocks and we would pause the movie at times to watch and listen to the uproar of the storm and the downpouring of the water. The movie was pretty good, and not too long, but their were about 4 hours of additional stuff on the CD. We will finish watching all that stuff today.

I am washing clothes and dishes and having some onion/cheese kaiser rolls with cream cheese.

I will post some pictures this evening. Have a great day.

29 July 2006

Saturday morning

It has been raining almost all night and is currently pouring ... it is wonderful. I am at work and had to navigate through flooded streets to get here. I did want my helper to put new rear brake pads on my Buick today, but .. the rain is really nice. We have been blessed with rain the last few days, but this morning I saw the BEST monsoon rains that I have seen in years. Visibility was nil in the pre-dawn darkness as I was driving here. (it is now about 0545).

I have been reading the Tucson Daily Star, our morning paper, and the front page story. It is about a 41 year old woman here in town, Laurie-Ann Fuca, who is leaving for boot camp next week. She is the oldest woman in Arizona to enter the Army and she has a 19 year old son presently in Iraq. She is planning to be the Army equivalent of a hospital paramedic. Her husband Vinnie is a former Tucson Police officer.

There is a 41 year old woman in Texas who is due to leave for boot camp the same week as her daughter (although in different states), and a grandmother in Alabama recently enlisted and is in training as an explosives expert after her soldier daughter was injured by a homemade bomb in Iraq. Kick some butt ladies !!

Have a great weekend .... and I will sit here at work and enjoy the rain. It is now almost 0800 and still raining.


27 July 2006

Thursday afternoon

It is Thursday afternoon about 1500 (3 PM) and I am awaiting the COX Cable guy. My Internet connection has been very iffy at times of late. I will be online and the modem starts flashing on 'send' or 'receive' and I am not online any longer. It has to be in their cable coming to the apartment.

We have been blessed by the rain God since last evening. It rained most of the night and continued a steady drizzle all morning until right after lunch today. It was a most beautiful day ... all rainy and overcast. When you live in the desert, you learn to love the rain. At work, we occasionally went outside the warehouse and stood in the drizzle. It felt so wonderful ... especially when the breeze blew upon us.

The COX guy came by ... they need to replace the cable from the apartments termination area on the end of my building to my apartment. They'll start on the 7th. Meanwhile ... I shall suffer the slings and arrows, etc. ad infinitum. I have a free weekend on the 4-7 of August ... will be gone to northern AZ. So, I shall overcome.

I have been watching the news about Israel and the Hezbollah and am utterly amazed by the major networks / newspapers reports that talk about ISRAEL bombing INNOCENT Lebanese and yet HAVE NOT condemned the Hezbollah rocket attacks against Israel which targets/targeted non combatants / civilians. After all ... this is what started the whole mess. Hezbollah's desire and stated aim ... TO WIPE ISRAEL FROM THE MAP. I fear that mainstream American news sources are for the bad guys and against American friends and American interests and America. Anything that they can do to undermine America, it's allies and it's interests is THE WAY TO GO. As a former military man and a veteran of a foreign war and a supporter of our military, I am disappointed by the way that military people and goals are looked downed upon and disparaged by SOME Americans. I AM NOT ... "For War". Almost no military people are for war. They stand to lose the most. But ... military people are prepared for conflict and ready to give their lives, if needed, to protect our way of life. They do not just give their lives for people who support them ... but for all of us. Even the draft dodging / protesting / anti-military / anti-American elements among our citizens have the rights they have and the freedom they have because SOME American men and women were prepared to lay their future and their lives on the line to preserve those rights. As the bumper sticker says .."If you can read this, thank a teacher. If you are reading it in English, thank a soldier". We need more George Pattons, Robert E. Lees, etc. ... men who are willing to fight and die for their belief in a cause. Thank you God for FOX News and conservative talk radio. I am starting to feel like a German Jew in 30's - 40's Germany. I cannot make anyone hear what I hear or see what I see, but ... after I am gone (and those like me are gone) some might say ... "we didn't know THIS was what was coming". One of my favorite movies of all time was and is "RED DAWN" with Patrick Swayze. We are getting there quickly, and with the "leftists" [sorry for bringing that word in, as it sets a couple of people I know into Hissy Fits] running things, we may not have any "Wolverines". You won't understand that if you've never seen the movie.

Too much soapbox ... sorry.


24 July 2006

Tuesday thoughts

Our temperatures here should be dropping into double digits this week, and maybe some rain.

A few more haiku in their unpolished state. take them for what you will. When you read them, you'll realize that I have been spending some TV time on TCM (Turner Classic Movies), ... so, sue me.


black and white movies
heroes that we believed in
dark villains, no gray


Bogart and Bacall
real legends of film noir
true love in real time


dark beer, dark movies
flickering screen images
scenes of times long past


movies with no soul
simply modern eye candy
old movies are best


John Wayne as hero
became John Wayne as legend
because we believed


haiku is boring
word games that poor poets play
reasons for living



Had several comments on the blog in July, thanks for the interest. I REALLY didn't believe that anyone read it. I was hoping "lillady" would e-mail me again. But ... not so far. However, I shall remain vigilant.

Things here in the desert southwest are fairly normal for the time of year. It was about 107 today and I spent much of the time on our loading dock in the sun, as my helper was home ill. No shade, and it was sort of hot. When I came home, I spent some jacuzzi time and had a lap or two in the pool. I feel much better now, a few Sam Adams Brown Lagers and an old Basil Rathbone 'Sherlock Holmes' movie on the telly. Will watch Orson Welles in "The Third Man" afterwards. I had made some calabasitas last evening and I reheated some with some BBQ Pollo (chicken) on the side .. that I had in the fridge. Quite a nice repast if you ask me. The Brown Ale went nice with the BBQ Chicken and calabacitas. I sliced an avacado and sauteed some shitakis. I am quite full, thank you.

I have another week until my "3 whole days" off. It will be my first mini-vacation (or any other type of vacation) in quite a while. I have been watching the temps in northern AZ and I shall have to pack a sweater or two ... cuz Dean will guffaw at this ... as it will get down to the high 50's at night and only up to the low 80's during the day. Sort of chilly for me at this time of year. We'll leave Tucson and it's 100+ temps and exchange them for Flagstaff's 70's and 80's. Cousin Dean wears shorts and sandals until the temps are below freezing.

I am attempting to straighten and organize my apartment this week, as I have been extremely lax in it's upkeep of late. I am putting more wall shelves in the bedroom and getting rid of lots of useless clutter that has accumulated over time. The only clutter that I cannot part with are photographs. One of these days I will attempt to scan ALL of my photographs and put them on CDs. But ... that will take a bunch of time and CDs. I have probably 10,000 + photos in my tiny apartment. I am also going through my polo shirts, dress shirts, and slacks and giving the Goodwill some of the older ones.

I have noticed something about myself of late. I have always been organized (to a fault, some have said) and given to an abhorance about clutter and unorganized areas. But ... in the last 6-8 months, I have allowed myself to get UN-ORGANIZED ! ... and it has started to bother me somewhat (O.K. ... a lot). I need to recover my organizational skills and my desire for same. The reasons are old age and living alone I guess. Hermits are unkempt because they think that no one notices ... or cares.

23 July 2006

Another Sunday

Our temperatures have set records for the date the last two days. 110 on Friday and 108 yesterday. Should cool to 103 or so today. Hasn't been bad though, the humidity hasn't been high at all.

I have been up since 0445, watching the British Open since 0600 local time. I have washed clothes, answered my e-mails, washed dishes and had a bagel and some cream cheese. I will attempt to get through my favorite parts of the Sunday newspaper while I watch the Open.

Today is my "shopping" afternoon. Have to get sandwich bags, EVOO, some mushrooms, meat, etc. And, I have to figure out my menus for the week, ... lunches and dinners.

My Sunday walk ... about 0515 ... was short this AM. My knee (arthritis you know) has been bothering me a bit more of late. But the weather was nice, although we didn't have the coolness that I like in my morning jaunts. I spied a hummingbird of a color that I do not recall seeing before. It was a purple one, but the color was odd. Sort of a cross between lilac and blue.

I sent out Fred Reed's newest column via e-mail. It was about abolishing universities ... and although it is written slightly tongue-in-cheek (or maybe not, knowing Fred) it possesses an absolute reality that I agree with whole heartedly. I am meeting too many persons with degrees who are not educated and the smartest, most inquisitive, most knowledgable people that I am around, in large part, are persons with a smattering of college or no college at all.

It is now 1700 hours.
We watched "Mission Impossible 2" last night and we watched "The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada" today. I am always impressed with Tommy Lee Jones work. I was underwhelmed with MI-2, but H likes action movies and Tom Cruise.

I took H home and I am watching 'Kilimanjaro' on PBS. I have always had a fascination with that mountain since I first read of it. The largest free standing mountain in the world, the largest volcano in the world ... the snow roof of Africa, with a summit almost 20,000 ft above sea level. If I won the lottery ... I'd be on my way to Kilimanjaro and to Machu Pichu in the Andes.

18 July 2006

Haiku .. again

We (here on the east side of Tucson) have gotten some rain, but other parts of the city have not been so fortunate. It rained a couple of hours last evening and we had lots of "noise" in the storm department. It cooled down somewhat today, it's 102 right now and doesn't feel bad at all. Pretty comfortable at work ... around 100-101. It is almost 1500 (3 PM) and I am home from work. Things have slowed somewhat and I am only doing about 9 hours a day ... feels like half-days really. I get to work about 0415-0430 and am hoping to continue getting off about 1400 (2 PM).

I am really looking forward to the first weekend in August ... although being off that Friday and that Saturday half-day will cost me over $350, that hurts a poor guy. But it'll be nice to get three days in a row off. And northern AZ will be nice and cool in August, it is 73 in Flagstaff as we speak ... or actually, AS I WRITE. Some common (to me) phrases are getting outdated I guess. One of them is ".. like a broken record.." as most people don't know what a record is, much less what a broken one sounds like. Is there any vernacular in CD / MP3 "speak' that equates? ....... Let me know Dean, you're up on all the new stuff.

A few haiku, not great ones, but they came out ... so I send them.

Grunts in my garden
nearsighted javelinas
gather their dinner


words come from my mind
sometimes silly, sometimes wise
I have no control


I started the BLOG
but now, it controls my life
or, the life I had


Holy Trinity
the triangle of my faith
brings me great comfort


Lord is my shepard
brings me strength when I am weak
oh, rock of my faith


all men have the books
Qur'an, Torah and Bible
but, we must obey


Oh, Prince Siddhartha
help me reach enlightenment
bring peace to my heart

17 July 2006

Confessions of a (former Presbyterian) Catholic

I am in a serious mood, and don't know why. I feel as if I should start this diatribe by saying .. "Bless me Father, for I have sinned. It has been more than three months since my last confession". Non-Catholics won't understand that, .... but I do.

I know that I have been very talkative of late. That's how it is with me. When I am not tired out from work, I tend to get on the blog and talk incessantly ... basically to myself. But, that's why there are blogs. People who want to talk, or write, and have no one to talk to or write to. People on blogs write because they need to talk and have no other outlet except for their BLOG. They do not write for you, or me, they write for them. It is the same with me. I am writing because I have to and basically I am talking to myself ... or an imaginary playmate. If anyone else in the world reads it or likes it or has any feelings .. good or bad .. about it, that is an extra. But I will continue to write as long as I feel the need to write. If I am the only one who reads it ... so be it. This is MY blog ... that means that it is news of my life and these are my feelings of the moment. I live alone and have time on my hands. I have thoughts and feelings running through my being and need to talk about the most inane things.

I sometimes wonder about something. If my father had been computer literate and had a blog, would he have killed himself? (He did so almost 24 years ago ... September of 1982.) He had come to a point in his life where he thought that he was useless. He had no future and no one cared for him, as far as he knew. But it was his fault and I think at the last he realized that. My father never loved me, or my brothers, or my mom. But I am not bitter, although I think both of my brothers would have benefited from some adult male supervision/bonding/guidance at home. But my mother, bless her heart, gave to us boys the best and the most that she could. We have always had the love of a great woman. I do not think that my poor father ever loved anyone, probably not even himself. He married twice and never loved either wife. He depended on his mother, but probably didn't love her as he should have. He once told me ... when he was drunk, as he usually (always) was when ever he talked to me, that he loved his brother L.P. but was very envious of him and his lifestyle. I am certain that he had affection for his sisters and Aunt Emma Hardy, et al. But, he spent his entire life trying to impress others. He never, as far as I know, tried anything or did anything because he wanted to or thought that he would enjoy it. He only did the things he did and belonged to the clubs he belonged to because he wanted so badly to fit in. I, on the other hand, have swung too far in the opposite direction in my six decades. I have loved hundreds of people, seriously, and probably still love a lot of them ... even the ones who "did me wrong". I have extremely fond memories of most of the women that I have ever known. I tried everything that I wanted to try , and attempted to do all the things I wanted. I wronged some people and hurt some people and possibly made some people happy. But, was I/am I any better off or smarter than he was? Probably not. I feel as if I have wasted much of my adult existence in minor trivial matters. But, as they say, it was hell of a ride. I got to meet many musicians, poets, freethinkers, cowboys, and my favorite adopted brother ... I have several ... Dr Stanley 'Valdez' McGowen. I have had the love (temporarily) of many nice ladies and fostered some friendships (however transient). I have tried to be a good friend, a good lover, a good husband, a good father and a good grandfather. I now have the love of a decent (I don't take that word lightly) woman and am grateful for the love of my mother and my nietos. I hope that no one has read this far, as it is depressing ... even to me.

I am feeling somewhat better, I have just watched a movie with Tommy Lee Jones on USA Network called "The Hunted" .... good flick, sad at the end ... Hilda would have cried.

But, as after my religious confessions, I feel a little relieved. And a little embarrassed.


Haiku .. again

gold desert sunrise
saguaros with upraised arms
welcoming the day
old movies and beer
Black and Tan and black and white
my relaxation
Forrest Whittaker
Robert Duval, Tom Selleck
and Tommy Lee Jones

These are my actors
you believe the things they do
because they are real

pretty boys? no way
but they really know their craft
they love what they do

DeNiro, et al
cannot hold their script pages
but they're not big names

guys who love acting
see the beauty of their art
and admire their skill

more later !

Summer Heat

The newspapers are awash with stories of how it is 94 in New York and with the humidity it feels like 99 ... golly gee !!! People are falling out on the sidewalks and huddled in every smidgin of shade extant. I have been in Phoenix at 2 AM when it didn't cool down to 94 ... or even 99. It was a balmy 100 here today, really felt good after our 106-109 temps last week. Mickey told me that it was 112 in Vegas the other day. Yuma has had a group of 109+ days.

FROM THE NEWS: In New York City, the record for the date was set in 1953, when Central Park recorded 100 degrees. On Monday, the mercury had reached 90 before noon.

I am truly sorry for all the people who are suffering back east, however ... we put thermometers in various parts of the warehouse today. The lowest one, at 2 PM, was 102 and the highest was 112. It was a normal day ... 10 1/2 hours of work and the warehouse was normal ... sweltering, with no air moving.

I will, however, REALLY feel sorry for them this winter when their temperatures drop below 30 and it snows axle deep to a tall ferris wheel. They will probably be ecstatic, and I will be sitting beside the pool in shorts... bitching because it only got to 80 that day. Different strokes for .... well, you know the lines.

I love the desert southwest, but .. yes, it does get too hot here at times. Especially when our humidity is high. However ... PLEASE keep me away from snow, ice and below freezing temps. We can go up the mountain in the winter, play in the snow .. with temps about 65 and then come back down to the desert floor and put on our shorts.

Sorry about the heat New York ... but really, outside temperatures are not hot until they are in triple digits.

Love From The Desert

16 July 2006

Sunday evening

I have been reading the Sunday paper this afternoon, sort of catching up on where all the wars, fires and bad guys are at and what condition they are in.

One article that caught my eye was about Tucson's growth. A map shows Tucson's metropolitan area in 1930, 1950, 1970 and 1990. It was quite amazing. In the 1930, 1950 versions we were a small town, and in the 1970 version we were a small city. Here in 2006, the Tucson metropolitan area covers 400 square miles.

A few Haiku, a few words

I had not written much poetry or haiku of late, but some spewed out yesterday early. I thought that I would put it down for your perusal.

In the daily grind
our morning coffee must be
areally good grind

fast food for breakfast
a super sized Big Mac lunch
the fast lane to fat

skinny bike riders
poured into neon spandex
do they have a job?

commuter traffic
cell phones and mugs of coffee
driving must come last

I-pod in one ear
cell phone stuck to the other
silence has no place

sitting in silence
just being and relaxing
a forgotten art

real conversation
home made, pre-Starbucks, coffee
relics of the past

dining room tables
unused and covered with junk
where did we go wrong?

Families don't talk
they e-mail or text message
conversation's dead

Well, they're almost rantings from atop a soapbox, or so they seem as I re-read them. But ... it's my BLOG and so I guess you're stuck with them. They are based on my daily observations of my fellow Sapiens, and filtered through my own set of predjudices.

13 July 2006

Family Success

My cousin Jerry Rigney, son of my dad's brother Levi Preston (L.P.) Rigney Jr. and his wife Doris, has two sons that are part of a band that seems to be taking Nashville (and other parts of the U.S.) by storm. Brad and Jason Rigney are two of the four founding members of "LABELING DELORIS", an Alt-Rock/Blues band that has released their CD ... born with a bullet ... "For The Sake Of Deloris". I knew that other members of my family had talents .. LOL .. and is nice to see them getting their due. Check out their web site ... www.labelingdeloris.com and hear a snippet of their new CD and single. Then ... rush out and buy one (or more) as the RIGNEY name is soon to be famous, .... or "even more famous", after all I am a Rigney.

11 July 2006

A few jokes

A few jokes that I have received lately: thought that I would post them.

The Israeli Ambassador at the U.N. began, "Ladies and gentlemen before I commence with my speech, I want to relay an old Passover story to all of you ...

"When Moses was leading the Jews out of Egypt toward the Promised Land, he had to go through the nearly endless Sinai desert. The people became thirsty and needed water. So Moses struck the side of a mountain with his staff and a pond appeared with crystal clean, cool water. The people rejoiced and drank to their hearts' content. Moses wished to cleanse his whole body, so he went over to the other side of the pond, took all of his clothes off and dove into the cool waters. Only when Moses came out of the water, he discovered that all his clothes had been stolen. 'And,' he said, 'I have reasons to believe that the Palestinians stole my clothes.'"

The Palestinian delegate, hearing this accusation, jumps from his seat and screams out, "This is a travesty. It is widely known that there were no Palestinians there at that time!"

"And with that very important FACT in mind," said the Israeli Ambassador, "let me now begin my speech."


There is a factory in Northern Minnesota that makes the Tickle Me Elmo toys. The toy laughs when you tickle it under the arm. Here is the story:
Lena was hired at the factory and she reported for her 1st day promptly at 8:00 a.m. The following day, at 8:45, there was a knock at the personnel manager's door. The foreman from the assembly line threw open the door and began to rant about his new employee, Lena. He complained that she was incredibly slow and that the entire production line was behind schedule and backing up! The personnel manager decided he should see this for himself, so the two men marched down to the factory floor. When they got there, the line was so backed up, there were Tickle Me Elmos all over the factory floor and they were really beginning to pile up at the end of the line stood Lena, surrounded by mountains of Tickle Me Elmos.

She had a roll of plush red fabric and a huge bag of small marbles. The two men watched in amazement as she cut a little piece of fabric, wrapped it around two marbles and began carefully to sew the little package between Elmo's legs.

The personnel manager stared for a few seconds, saw what was happening, and burst into laughter. After several minutes of hysterics, he pulled himself together and approached Lena. "I'm sorry," he said to her. Barely able to keep a straight face, he said, "I think you misunderstood the instructions given you yesterday. Your job is to give each Elmo TWO TEST TICKLES ..."


The meaning of "SECURE A BUILDING" in different branches of the military:

If you told Navy personnel to "secure a building," they would turn off the lights and lock the doors.

Army personnel would occupy the building so no one could enter.

Marines would assault the building, capture it, and defend it with suppressive fire and close combat.

Air Force personnel would take out a three-year lease with an option to buy.

09 July 2006

Thinking (totally new concept)

Hilda and I had a decent weekend. I went to her house after work on Saturday (about noon) and repaired the drywall in her mom's bedroom and the kitchen. We went to Little Anthony's Diner for a late lunch, spent some time at the house and went to the Gaslight Theater for the late performance of "GNAT MAN". It was a riot. It was a musical comedy version of the old Batman TV series. We hissed the villains, cheered Gnat-Man and Gnat-Girl and had a fine old time. Sunday, we watched an old Robert Wagner movie (pretty bad one) that was filmed in Tucson in 1955-1956. It was really neat seeing some of the buildings and landmarks as they looked 50 years ago when Tucson was a small town.

O.K. now. I have been in a few conversations of late with Beau Chantz, Reinhardt Yu and Marla Chantz that got me to thinking about why (and how) I am different from the rest of middle America. I mean ... seriously folks ... we all know that I am weird. The question is HOW weird?

By-the-bye ... did you realize that WEIRD is one of the words that disprove the ancient adage of 7th Grade English "I before E, except after C"? And ancient is another. But, back to my subject, ... I do have one I think.

Firstly: .... that's always a good place to start ... secondly should follow ... please forgive my rambling, it is late and I am in a great mood.

Anyhow ...... let's take words. I am irritated to the max about "you're vs. your" ... gives me conniptions at times. Also, I am aghast at EBONICS ... either you talk English or you do not. My English is not what I would prefer it to be and I lapse into southern speak/cowboy-ese/local vernacular/ et cetera at the most inopportune times of late. My only defense is the onset of old age and possible Altzheimers or just regression into childhood bad habits. If you want to be a citizen of this great country of mine [... ours?] ... learn the language. We should not publish driving regulations, voting information, welfare information, et al in ANY OTHER language. No other countries do this ... why should we?

Secondly ... we got there finally didn't we, .. LOL (I tell you, I am in a funny mood). But ... let's take television. As Charles Dickens wrote "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times". Is there anything on ABC, NBC, CBS, WB, or FOX (outside of sports) that I find interesting or enjoyable? NO ! As far as I can remember (Altzheimers ... remember my last paragraph). Then WHY DO I HAVE 2 ???? Well, in my defense, there are: The History Channel, The Food Channel, Spike, Bravo, A & E, Discovery, The Learning Channel, The Travel Channel, Outdoor Life, FOX News, ESPN's 1, 2 ad infinitum, and American Movie Classics.

Thirdly .. or, so on and so forth ..... I am UNDER whelmed by what passes in this country and this day and age as BEAUTY. I see beauty in almost everyone. It is easier to see .. if the person you are looking at has any semblance of pride in their appearance. It is harder (but not impossible) to see, if the person is sloppy or unkempt or has no idea how to dress ... I see that a lot. I look back at pictures of people that I thought were attractive (or not attractive) in the days of my youth and I am amazed at my naiveté, conceit, and my lack of recognition of the the items that constitute, or any understanding of the true prerequisites of, beauty. I find almost no actresses extant "beautiful", although Jorja Fox of CSI is certainly one of the most interesting. Indeed, to my way of thinking, Rachel Ray of the Food Channel's "30 Minute Meals" is Jorja's equal in the interesting department. I have (what my friends have named) the Rigney Beauty Scale. There is:

10) Beautiful (can't think of anyone right off who is in this category)
9) Stunning
8) Impressive
7) Interesting
6) Pretty
5) Attractive
4) Fresh
3) Cute
2) Sweet
1) Needs assistance, bless her heart ... (this category includes most actresses, models, TV Anchors and assorted trailer trash)
There is nothing lower than 1, except for cheap hookers, druggies and certain celebrities such as Hillary, Madeline Albright, Anna Nicole Smith, Oprah and a few others.

I know that there are many other differences between me and the rest of today's society, but that's enough for now.

Fred Reed

There is a man who was raised in Virginia, like me, went to Hampden-Sydney College and was raised a Presbyterian. That alone makes me like him. He has been a war correspondent, magazine and newspaper writer and other things. He now lives north of Lago Chapala in Guadalajara, MEX. He writes a column on the Internet ... which I link on my page, and this is his column for 9 July. I enjoy Fred, like a lot of what he writes, agree with him MOST of the time, and I bow to his thoughts at times.

July 9, 2006

One hears often now that boys flounder in school, drop out, generally perform less well academically than girls, and don’t go to college. A certain amount of this commentary comes from women who seem quietly to enjoy the spectacle. Given that women control the schools, this might suggest that, if they are not actually causing the problem, neither are they in a hurry to do anything about it. Other people worry that the comparative superabundance of female college graduates will have no one to marry: While men will marry down, women won’t. Regarding all of which:

The cause is not that boys are stupid. Boys have higher average scores than do girls on standardized tests, for example, and at the high end are far ahead of the girls. Putting it straightforwardly, the very smart are predominantly male, particularly in mathematics, and the exceedingly smart, almost entirely so. You don’t have to like it. You don’t have to think it fair. But it is a fact, and everybody in the field knows it.

Consider. The maximum score on each half of the SATs, both verbal and mathematical, is 800. You have to be, or had to be until the tests were recently dumbed down (“recentered,” I meant to say,“recentered.”), quite bright to score an 800. In 1999, when I checked because I was writing a column, 1611 girls in the country scored 800 on the math section; 4815 boys did. Verbal? Girls, 2828; boys, 3087. The male average on the math SATs was 531. The female was 495. That's not a trivial difference. Verbal scores? Males 509, females 502. The latter difference is slight and probably attributable the larger numbers of girls taking the test. The difference in math scores isn’t..

This embarrassing disparity has been widely known at least since the publication of Camilla Benbow’s paper in 1980 from Johns Hopkins. It remains despite alteration of tests (for example, National Merit) specifically to improve the scores of females, despite “recentering” of the SATs to make women and minorities look better at the high end. So what is the problem?

Whatever it is, it is new. I graduated in 1964 from a mediocre high school in rural Virginia. Demographically it was a bit of a curiosity. Many of the students were children of scientists and navy officers from Dahlgren Naval Weapons Laboratory, and the rest rough country kids. There was no discrimination by sex in the curriculum, incidentally: All in the college track took two years of algebra, a year of plane geometry, and a year of solid and trig, for example. If your parents had gone to college, you went to college, regardless of sex. All the kids of educated parents graduated, and almost all of the others. The exceptions were a few truly witless boys (boys predominate at the low end of intelligence too).

There was no “boy crisis.” The girls made better grades, the boys better scores on standardized tests. There was no yawning gap.

In short, girls haven’t come up. They have always done well in school. Boys have gone down. Why?

I can guess. Boys are churning wads of energy. They are physical and competitive. They want to climb things, test themselves, jump off of things, explore, drive fast, fight, behave like damn fools, and sack cities. In later years this energy may serve them well, but not yet. School is hellish for them, with its year after year of sitting, bored out of their skulls, while some drone babbles. It is worse for the bright, verging on child abuse. They hate it. I did.

Girls are more orderly, patient, accept rules with less resistance, and do their homework. They have better handwriting and cut pictures from magazines to paste into projects. They finish assignments on time. In general girls are easier to deal with, certainly for the female teachers who now are almost the only teachers.

Now, 1964 was very different from today. Families were intact. I do not remember a single kid whose parents had been divorced. There was therefore a man in the house. Adolescent boys are wild men. A man can control them. A divorced woman often has a hard time controlling daughters.

There were men in the schools. We had a hard-eyed male principal, Larry Roller or, as we called him, Chrome Dome. You did not screw with Roller. He could, and would, expel on the spot any boy who seriously transgressed. (Girls just didn’t commit expellable offenses.) This of course meant that he almost never expelled anyone: We were teenagers, not suicides.

Discipline was not harsh. The boys clowned in class and engaged in pranks (I may know somewhat of this), but we knew where the limits were. There were a goodly number of male teachers, which helped us know the limits.

Further, parents would back up the teachers without question. If I had said, “Fuck you” to a teacher, the French Foreign Legion would have been my only choice. Facing my father would have been—how shall I put it?—unproductive.

Boys need someone who can control them until, in a few years, the internal controls are in place. Women can’t do it. Therefore we have police in the schools, and we drug boys into somnolence with amphetamines. Parents, instead of even trying to control their kids, will litigate.

Boys cease to be students and become problems, so teachers don’t like them.

Further, in the schools today we have feminization, feminization, feminization. Instead of treating girls like girls, and boys like boys, all are expected to be girls. It doesn’t work. Boys by their very nature like to roughhouse. They like contact sports. You don’t have to force them to play football. They are competitive. Women don’t understand this, and what they don’t understand, they outlaw. Today estrogenated school after estrogenated school bans dodge ball as too dangerous, outlaws tag (“They get too rough,” meaning too rough for Mrs. Teacher), and insists on “groups games led by a caring adult.”

It is hideous for boys. Everything they are, it isn’t. “Ohhhhh, let’s have a caring non-competitive game….” If he is really bright, with an IQ north of 150, he will decide that his teachers are idiots, which most of them are, and withdraw. There will be a price for this one day.

You want to end the “boy crisis”? Easy. Give boys male teachers who understand boys and care about them. Women do neither. Let them compete. It’s how they are. Encourage them to burn off energy in the gym. Reward achievement, not pretty projects. Turn them into men, not transvestites.

Nahhh, never happen.

Fred Reed

Reply to my lovely aunt

On Jul 8, 2006, Elsie Eanes, my late Father's sister and a sweet lady .... wrote me:


My answer follows:
No, none of my children are biologically mine. I adopted them a quarter of a century ago, 1980 I think. They are all Rigneys though. Mary Jane (M.J.) and Estaben (Steve) are Mexican and Indian. Joseph is Mexican and white. Alberto (Albert or Bert) is Mexican and Puerto Rican. My nietos Jasmine Monique, Stevie, Diego, Antonio Levi, and Angel are Mexican and Indian. Abel Anthony and Devin are Mexican, Indian and white. But ... as is probably the case with ALL adopted children, they are MINE. I was married to a Mexican lady for 23 years, and yes ... we lived together for 3 years before we were married. I have never thought of my kids as anything but ... my kids. Some are great and one is nothing but trouble, but they are mine.

The lady that I am going with now, my novia (fiance), is 3/4 Mexican and 1/4 French. Her name is Hilda Jean Riesgo Reiser. Reiser was her married name. Her maiden name is pronounced Ree-es-go. Her French tata (grandfather), Enrique LaRouque lived in Mexico most of his life. In fact, he was on the Mexican version of the Border Patrol. Her mother's maiden name was Esperanza (Hope) LaRoque, but Hope is Mexican in all manner of her raising even though her father was French. Hilda has a 21 year old daughter, Amanda Hope Reiser, who is Mexican and white and is going with a white guy at present, although she has dated Mexicans, blacks and Indians previously.

People's "nationalities" or races does not seem that important, nor come into conversation so much here in our area. There are black/white, black/Mexican, white/Mexican, Oriental/Mexican, Oriental/white, etc. ad infitum. couples and kids all over Tucson. I work with a United Nations of people in my position. William Payne (called Payne), a 20 something year old white boy from Alabama has a black wife. Arnoldo, a Mexican from the other side, has a black girl friend. Carmen, a Mexican, has a Samoan boyfriend, while some Mexicans have white wives and some whites have Mexican spouses. A friend of mine, Robert, who is black, has a Mexican girlfriend while his brother has an oriental girlfriend. Another friend, a Vietnamese, has a white wife while his sister is dating a Tohono O'Ohdom guy. Most people who have been here a while are, at least partially, bi-lingual. Some of Tucson's LARGE oriental population is tri-ligual, speaking either Chinese or Japanese (usually the former) and English and Spanish. We have a large population of Mexicans, Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, Greek, Polish, Italian, Indian (from India) and of course Native American Indian (two reservations here in the area). There is the Pascua Yaqui and Tohono O'Odom (used to be called Papago) presence here in town along with the Navajo, Hopi, Apache, etc. populations. I have friends who are of all nationalities and races and with some it is hard to tell what the dominant one is. I do know thatvery few of my close friends are white. But that has more to do with my former marriage and my current girlfriend than with any conscious desire to be with one group or another. I judge people by what they are. I am an equal opportunity hater. I hate some Mexicans and some blacks and some whites and even one or two orientals.

There is, however, a distinct difference in attitude among the population ... even the Mexican population ... about the illegal Mexican population. Most people here, except the young black and illegal population and some flaming Liberals, think that we should get rid of La Otras (the others) ... the illegal population.

Hope that this clarifies things for you folks back in Virginia.

Your loving nephew Antonio (Tony) Rigney
much Love From The Desert

07 July 2006

Desert Rain

It rained on our summer solstice this year.

We, here in the desert southwest, are in no position to look that particular gift horse in the mouth. The creosote was brown and near-dead prickly pear dangled along the streets in the Old Pueblo. I've never witnessed that before.

The classic, perfect and traditional starting date for our monsoon season is San Juan's Day (my ex's birthday) June 24th. According to legend, if the monsoon season starts on San Juan's Day ... it'll be plentiful. But if it starts before the 24th, some sort of disaster may be in our future. If it starts after the 24th, it'll be a "dry" monsoon season. Some sort of disaster may be in our future ... but we're used to that. The developers keep developing and the builders keep building and the real estate salesmen keep selling. The bankers and politicians keep telling us everything is O.K. and we keep believing them. But, by the time we here in the desert start drinking sewage ... they'll all be living in luxury in southern California anyway. But ... that's in the far off future. Maybe global warming will work for us, and we won't have to start living like the characters in DUNE after all. A savior may show up ... or maybe just giant Sand Worms.

But, for now, we have water. Not a lot yet, but more June rains than we are used to. And in July, it has been raining daily at my humble abode. However, the poor airport isn't doing as well as we eastsiders are and the official precipitation numbers aren't as good as ours. Today, we had our first REAL monsoon. Buckets full for over an hour. What a great afternoon! Too bad that I was working. I have to work tomorrow, but only until mid-day. So, hopefully, I'll get to walk in the rain in the afternoon. I certainly hope that you-all (you guys) are enjoying your weather as much as I am enjoying mine.


Love from the desert

05 July 2006


An Indian Dancer (teenager) at one of our local celebrations.

Driving north along Houghton Road toward the Catalinas

Vince Redhouse, the flute player (and jazz saxophonist) playing his Red Hawk flute at the Sahuaro National Monument (east).

Looking north toward the Catalinas from Old Spanish Trail

04 July 2006

Again July 4th

I took some pics around town and of my closest family members, and thought that I would let you see some.
Abel and Devin at Mt Lemmon

Devin, Hilda and Abel at Ski Valley

Abel and me where I live.

Devin and me


Well, it is Independance Day 2006. I am preparing to go to Hilda's house for a while. I took my nieto Devin (the 10 year old) home to Benson yesterday. My 15 year old, Abel is still here but going to his Dad's again tomorrow. Then I shall return to my solitary existence ... that'll be nice.

I hope everyone is enjoying (did enjoy) the 4TH. I am back to work at 0430 maňana. We went to Mt Lemmon Sunday and it was nice. Very cool (about 20 degrees cooler than the desert floor) and it rained afew times. It smelled really nice and there were cool breezes through the evergreens. We went into Summerhaven ... that's the town at the top of the Catalinas. They are still in the process of building / rebuilding Summerhaven after it was destroyed in the fires that you guys saw all over the news the other year. It will take years for the forests to return to their magnificence. Below are some picturesof the rebuilding and some of the forests that are still skeletons in areas.

02 July 2006

July 2

Mary Clancy goes up to Father O'Grady after his Sunday morning service, and she's in tears.
He says, "So what's bothering you, dear?"
Mary says, "Oh, Father, I've got terrible news. My husband passed away last night."
The priest says, "Oh, Mary, that's terrible. Tell me, Mary, did he have any last requests?"
She says, "That he did, Father..."
The priest says, "What did he ask, Mary?"
She says, "He said, 'Please, Mary, put down that damned gun!'"

A-h-h-h, Sunday morning pre-dawn walks are my favorites. It was so cool and damp and the birds were making a ridiculous amount of noise in the trees. It rained again last evening ... caught Hilda and Devin and I in the jacuzzi. The lightning was far away and the thunder was quiet, so we got in the jacuzzi and were enjoying it when .... cold rain drops started dropping on us through the palm trees. We came back in the apartment and watched "A Day Without Mexicans" on the TV. Abel (Devin's brother) came by with his dad, and he decided to spend the night. We didn't go to Mt Lemmon yesterday, we are going this morning. Hilda had to take us to a 3rd birthday party for the nieto of a lady she works with. Her whole life, at times, centers around the kids and ladies at Mini Skool. But we didn't have to stay there for long. I bought Devin some new jeans and had the inseam taken up 4 inches. He is really short for his chubby build. But his brother Abel was also, but grew 4-8 inches after he became 13 or so.

Our "official" monsoon season started last Wednesday. When the dew point reaches 54 on three consecutive days, then the first of those three days is the official start of the monsoons. We have had rain at least 5 out of the last 7 days at my place. Some days, when we got loads of precip on the east side of town, the airport (official rain gauge) gets none, or 'a trace'. Go figure. We seem to be, in my mind, getting more EARLY monsoonal moisture than has been the case in the last few (drought type) years. Maybe we'll actually have a NORMAL monsoon for a change. It has been a few years since we had a decent season.

Today is the birthday of Dan Rowan (Rowan and Martin, Laugh-In), Cheryl Ladd, Dave Thomas (founder of Wendy's) and Richard Petty ... but in my list of favorites, it is also the birthday of KEN CURTIS. Most folks just remember Curtis as "Fetsus" on Gunsmoke. But, he was also a big band singer with Tommy Dorsey, sang with The Sons of The Pioneers, was a B western star, a leading man, had his own TV series (Ripcord) in the 50's, and he was a member of the 'John Ford Stock Company' (at the time he was married to Ford's daughter Barbara). He worked in about a dozen of the Ford-directed films, many of which starred John Wayne. He was in RIO GRANDE (1950), THE QUIET MAN (1952), THE LONG GRAY LINE (1955), MISTER ROBERTS (1955), THE SEARCHERS (1956), THE WINGS OF EAGLES (1957), THE LAST HURRAH (1958), THE HORSE SOLDIERS (1959), TWO RODE TOGETHER (1961), HOW THE WEST WAS WON (1962), and CHEYENNE AUTUMN (1964) among other movies and TV shows. He also had a role in John Wayne's THE ALAMO (1960). And he composed many songs, at least two dozen. I have always admired his work, and his voice. He was the one who introduced "Tumbling Tumbleweed" to movie audiences.

Curtis with his horse Zane and a buddy, Shug Fisher.

Well, I must shower and start fixing breakfast for everyone. I have the clothes in the dryer and last night's dishes in the dishwasher. Going to be a great day. I have to work tomorrow, off the 4th and back in to work on Wednesday at 0400. That means no fireworks viewing for me again this year. I have to work every year on the 5th it seems, and never can stay up late enough for the festivities. The largest display in Tucson (there are several) is on 'A' Mountain (Sentinel Peak). Hilda's backyard is two blocks from there, facing 'A' Mountain, and the fireworks literally explode over your head. Excellent viewing area. Maybe when the 4th falls on a Friday or a Saturday I'll be able to stay up that late.

Everyone have a safe and sane Fourth. Love from the desert.