Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Wings Over America

Photo by Samuel Sadorf
It's been a while since we've had a food post. Sam felt this was a deserving shot. It was either this or a plate of Granny's sushi. Maybe the sushi tomorrow.


Echo Canyon trail loop, Chiricahua National Monument.

Road to Massai Point

No camera can do it justice, but click on the image anyway. This was taken from the main road inside the Chiricahua National Monument. It is one of the most breathtaking mountain drives I have ever taken!

Privvy Tipper ... we're taking you there next time you're in town.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Some Guys

Photo by Leo
It's funny, you know, what some people take pictures of. Funny too, what people will watch. Funnier still, when some mug makes a photo of all the silliness. All I can figure is that I preserved a weird piece of posterity while someone else watched a chump taking a shot of someone else's posterior.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Where God Got Silly

This is the Chiricahua National Monument, a "sky island" consisting of about 13,000 acres of federally protected mountain land rising above a surrounding grassland "sea." The monument is surrounded by the immense (80,000-plus acres) Chiricahua Mountains and Wilderness/Coronado National Forest.

In a Dr. Seuss sort of way, God got silly here. These wonderful rock formations are a sight to behold. Plus, there are all sorts of trees -- sycamore, juniper, oak, cypress, pine, fir. The great Sonoran and Chihuahuan deserts meet here and the combined wilderness contains all sorts of animal life: myriad bird species, black bear, rattlesnakes, peccaries (wild pig or javelina), cougar, deer, foxes, coatli (raccoon-type of critter), skunks, and as recently as 1996 a jaguar was shot by a Willcox rancher. There have been quite a few jaguar sightings in the region over the years, as evidenced in an interesting book at the park's excellent Visitors Center.

The Apache hid here. The effectiveness of their redoubt is proven in the fact that the United States Army could not defeat the fierce Apache during three decades in the late 1800s.

How I Spent Thanksgiving

Camping in the Chiricahua Wilderness, Coronado National Forest, Southeast Arizona.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Howdy, everybody

I just wanted to take this opportunity to remind everyone, Chronicler, Flower of the Desert, Mr. Malaise, that there are 24 shopping days until The Savior's birthday. He'll be 2006 this year, so I think we oughta all chip in get Him something real nice. Think the abolitionist from Kansas will get riled up over this?

Photo of Chester Arthur Burnett copyright 2005 by The Privvy Tipper. All Rights Reserved

That was me!

Photo by Ron Jeremy
No, I was never on Golden Girls. I think you got me diffused with Allen Ludden's old lady. What was her name? Used to pose for girly pictures back after the war. No, I think you remember me from the Ivory Soap box. Yeah, that was me. Hey! I gave you my autograph back before they tore down the Princess, remember? Yeah, this gig pays a lot better. I ain't been in no loops since Holmes died. You gotta remember me. Chambers. The other Marilyn.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Too Much Jack

"Uh, Leo. What did I do? The bartender, she poured me what she called a shot but it was like 4 shots. Then I had another one and it was like 4 more. I'm not so tough, like I used to be. I shoulda stopped after the first one. Ah, er, was that four? I can't count that high without using my toes for the carrying part and I got my shoes on."

Photo by Leo

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Nyuck, nyuck...

Photo by Leo
I posted this on my other blog Away With Words and got a response from a guy in Iran. He liked it, but corrected my international social ettiquette.
Here's what Saleh said...
"Cool. Good luck for him , but in Iran that kind of sign have some bad meaning like f**k you or ;)i proudly linked your photo blog Leo."
I like that. "I proudly linked your photoblog Leo". A most worthy image making friend.
Check him out. Some good shots. Words Are Never Enough

Tuesday, November 22, 2005


Photo by Leo
I've been moody of late and a wee bit introspective. Lawrence noted that I seemed quiet these past few days and I guess I have been. No particular reason and everything in general. My malaise centers on absurdity and the seeming futility of life. Theo asked if I was ready to strap on the old 6-string axe and take up the life of the preacher again. No, that probably won't happen. Not an avoidance, like Jonah. More like anxiety of Jeremiah. Better if I had not left my mother's womb.

Monday, November 21, 2005

This guy's wife liked the work I did so much, she called me again and had me do him again.
Photo by Chester Arthur Burnett


Hi. Thought I'd take this opportunity to introduce myself. My name is the Privvy Tipper, and until recently, I was in a contra-dance band. OK, that's like square dancing, in case you didn't know. Anyways, the rest of the band threw me out because they said I had an anger management problem. Still at a loss as to what that's all about. I mean, when the mandolin player said it, I guess I did a little Jack Smack on the side of his head with a bottle of Bud, but hey, six months and the scar'll never show. So like I said a minute ago, I'm in this band and then I'm out of the band. Boom. Funny how your life can just turn on a dime, hey? So, I figure I gotta get some means of visible support or I'll have the local lawdogs climbing up the ol' poopschute before I know it. And the mandolin player'd be the one to call 'em on me too, 'cause he thinks I was boofin' his gal. Don't know as he'd be too far off the mark on that one. But, back to the job. Hey, I got bills like everyone else. Cable runs mebbe two bills a month, what with all the after-hours pay-per-view stuff, and then there's usually that much in booze and cigs. That don't even take into account rent, car payment, and whatever I dish out to the escort service. Confucious or somebody once said, "Do what you love, and the money will follow." Now, that's some of the best advice I ever heard. I made a list of the stuff I love. Now, right off the bat, I can tell you I won't get paid for even half of it, so I'm starting to question this fortune cookie bullshit. But then it comes to me. I love choking the crap outta people. Anyone. And the thing is, I'm good at it. So I take out an ad in the paper: "HIGH QUALITY CHOKER, AVAILABLE NIGHTS AND WEEKENDS. Will choke the shit out of anyone, $50 and up. References." Well, right away I get a call from this guy's wife who wants me to choke her husband. Business is getting so good, I may have to put a few guys on.

Photo by Chester Arthur Burnett

Willie and me

This is my friend Willie. He runs the men's room concession at a gin joint called Lucille's. I met Willie the other night, when I was in there divesting myself of a half-dozen Stoli-and Red Bulls. Willie comes up behind me when I wasn't looking and sprays me with some Axe deodorant. I'm like, "Fuck was that?" The Bulls have got me a little jumpier than usual, so when I whip around to see, I splashed Willie a bit. Willie's all freaked out and says, "Man, I was jes' tryin' to make you smell good." So, I calmed down and we got to talking, and then this damn drunk started gettin' in his face, asking to be sprayed with some lilac water or something. So me an' Willie kick-fucked the shit outta him and then made him take our picture as his penance. Not bad for a Thursday night.

Photo orchestrated by the Privvy Tipper

Sunday, November 20, 2005

VHS purchase

Here, I am stocking up on blank videotapes so I can record Turner Classic Movies, and not just provide succinct e-mail commentaries about them for Leo and Chester (aka Privvy Tipper, aka Larry).

My first rattlesnake sighting ...

... albeit a dead one, probably killed by a car passing near the old Gleeson train depot site. Took this when Chester was in town for Helldorado Days.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Mon Dieu!

Photo by Leo
What was I thinking? I know I'm gonna regret this in the morning. I come out here every year and expect things to be different. Midwestern tourists that think they're annonymous and then throw their business cards aroud town like snowflakes. I have to remember to not start drinking before 5. It's always the same. I'm gonna have more than a headache tomorrow, that's for sure.

Friday, November 18, 2005

The Un-Dead

Photo by Leo
"In the land of darkness the chariot of the sun is pulled by the gratetful dead".
-Egyptian Book of the Dead

My friends

Some people go bird watching along the San Pedro River.

I hang out behind Arby's.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

The Great Southwest

Teenage Wasteland

Photo by Leo
Sally, take my hand
We'll travel south crossland.
Put out the fire
Don't look past my shoulder.
The exodus is here
The happy ones are near
So let's get together
Before we get much older.


Images by Leo

I have always felt it necessary for my children to prepare themselves for any inevitability no matter how remote. To those ends, they pursue every opportunity presented to them.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Morning in the Catalinas

A couple of gents savor the fresh mountain air as contra dancers assembled for breakfast at 8 a.m. Sunday at the YMCA camp lodge in the Santa Catalina Mountains. In the far background, we see the Galiuro Mountains to the east.

At 9 a.m., we danced in a building in the near background, obscured by the railing.


I have a hat made from the fibers of these magnificent cacti. Hard bargaining won it in Nogales, Sonora, on 26 March 2005. Financing provided by Leo.

This is the Lower San Pedro River Valley, between the Galiuro and Santa Catalina mountain ranges, east of Tucson.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Lower San Pedro River Valley

Here, I am facing west toward the Galiuro Mountains. The Santa Catalina Mountains are behind me.

At this time of the year, there is no water in the river's surface. However, there are signs everywhere warning of flood danger. It's kind of a scary place. I will never drive there during the monsoon.

Two and a half hours on dusty road, and I finally arrived in Benson.

After Lunch

Photo by Leo
What is there to say? Speaks for itself, mes non?

Gypsy and melt into a swing

It’s the second set, an Irish jig, and the mandolin player is on fire with sparks spraying all over us, skirts and shirts aflame. My head is spinning -- or is it the room? Nothing in sight but my partner’s eyes on mine, lights circling behind his head in a halo and our centrifugal force pulsing as the frenetic mandolin lures our bodies ever faster. From the other side of the room Carol yelps in utter delight, "Ye -haw!"

"Ladies chain," the caller says, and I take the hand of the woman opposite me. Her Cheshire smile pulls by and my feet are nothing but twinkletoes behind my partner --Hey! Watch the rotator cuff!

Face down the set and here’s a new partner. Aaah, here is a dancer. His touch is light, he is never forceful but leads with a gentle touch of his fingers, signals "I’m going to turn you," oh yes, spin me now. On the dance floor in the arms of an experienced dancer, I will follow anywhere, unthinking, without question. (It is the only place this has ever happened: Ask my ex-husband.)

"Gypsy and melt into a swing," coos the caller. It’s a daring move, and I couldn’t do it at first: Each partner circles the other, eyes locked but no touching, like a pair of wildcats, and if you find your partner the least bit interesting, it’s a thrill. Closing the gypsy into a swing, I continue circling until the last moment, feel the tension, let him make the first move.

My new partner moves like bridesmaid satin. His eyes lock mine, his hands are firm and gentle, and this rhythm we thoughts begin to stray.... Stop! This is your conscience, remember me? Hell-oooooo! Just because a guy can dance doesn’t mean he is a great lover.... Okay, maybe they are connected. But keep your mind on the dance. Honestly!

We dance on hardwood floors across the country. There are Volvos, Toyotas, Dodge Caravans and a few old Pontiacs in the parking lot, sporting bumper stickers that read, "Enjoy Life. This is Not a Dress Rehearsal" and "Love Your Mother Earth." We are real estate brokers, computer tekkies, office workers, teachers, insurance executives and carpenters. A few are Lindbaugh-listeners, and probably a quarter of us have never seen the inside of a voting booth.

Politics aside, we're here for the dance. Where else can a woman freely and fiercely engage in the arms of 30 different men in the course of an evening--and go home, completely satisfied, to sleep with the cat? As Nancy put it, "You can dance with your partner and think, ‘This is just the loveliest person!' And then move on to the next partner."

Notorious George in his trademark yellow suspenders dips me so deeply my head touches the floor and both feet go into the air. In his arms, a contra dance becomes a tango; the driving look in his eyes and the sensuous way he moves me, as if I were the last female on earth. In the next dance, he treats the next woman exactly the same way.

In the final waltz Don turns me, leads me arm-in-arm across the floor in a graceful roll-away. The soulful violin laments the end of this glorious night.

See you next week.

by Carol Thompson
Stokin' the Contra Fires

Contra band

These are the Privy Tippers. Normally a wholesome event that in no way resembles the meat markets of bars, contra dances nonethless have plenty of subtle ribald humor and flirtatious witticisms. Oftentimes dances that are many generations old have names like "Skinny Dipping" or "A Roll in the Hay." The musicians that you will encounter at the best contra dances are virtuosic, as good as you will find in a concert symphony orchestra.

People from 8 to 80 years old love contra. In some ways, it is like going back to kindergarten, when we all held hands and walked in a circle, feeling the tension of the group. That's the key to contra: You've got to HOLD ON to each other.

The loss of innocence

Remember the first time you learned to make farting noises with your armpit? One of the classic skills of being a kid. It seems like only yesterday I was doing that. (Actually, come to think of it, that WAS yesterday.) Well, no matter. It's the loss of innocence I'm trying to document.

Photo by Chester Arthur Burnett

Sunday, November 13, 2005

A good description

Contra Dancing and Matrices

Bernie Scanlon, a mathematics instructor at Bakersfield College in California, has been dancing nearly every weekend since 1990, even traveling to distant parts of the country to join in the fun. His passion is contra dancing -- a dance form unknown to most people yet practiced with great devotion and abandon throughout the United States, from New England to California.

The origins of contra dancing go back to colonial days, and its roots can be traced to English country dance. It’s really a group rather than a couples effort, and it has elements that might remind you of traditional square dancing. Rhythm and pattern are the keys.

What’s striking, says Scanlon, is that a remarkably high percentage of its practitioners are highly educated, often involved in mathematics, computers, or engineering. "The appeal seems to lie in its being a kind of ‘set dancing,’ where one’s position relative to others while tracing patterns on the dance floor is paramount," he says. "Timing is also crucial, as is the ability to rapidly carry out called instructions and do fraction math on the fly."

The music for contra dancing is highly structured. Everything occurs in units of four. The band plays a tune for 16 beats, repeats the tune, then plays a new tune for 16 beats and repeats that. An eight-beat section is known as a call, during which each block of four dancers executes a called-out instruction. An entire dance is precisely 64 beats long.

When the dancers line up in their groups of four to produce a long column down the floor extending away from the band, each square block consisting of two couples can be thought of as a matrix. Each dancer (element of the matrix) is in a specific position within the block. The called instructions correspond to rearrangements of the elements of the matrix. After 64 beats, however, the first and second rows of the matrix must be interchanged. Of course, that can be done in one step, but the fun comes in all the different ways in which groups of four can get to that inevitable end result.

Matrix representing initial configuration
of two couples in a contra dance (so-called improper formation).
There are all sorts of called instructions, which range from simply circling once around to the left or right within each group of four (the matrix doesn’t change after this operation) to sequences of moves that exchange partners or involve stepping one-quarter, one-half, or three-quarters of the way around the ring. With each call, the matrix representing four dancers changes, though it can end up the way it started.

So the emphasis is not so much on the specific footwork needed to get somewhere as on being in the right place at the right time. The physical movements can get quite complicated, and you always need to keep in mind where you started and where you ought to be. And it all happens at a lively, breathtaking, whirling pace.

"The secret is the fractions and the patterns," Scanlon says. In effect, "you’re dancing like a fool, but it’s totally controlled!"

Article from:

Contra Dancing

It is incredibly fun. I just spent a weekend at a contra "dance camp" -- up in the Santa Catalina Mountains. There were dancers there from California, Nevada, Illinois, Michigan, and of course, all parts of Arizona.

The band -- Flapjack -- is from Canada. OUTSTANDING MUSICIANS! The dance hall was pulsating with human movement and simultaneous harmonic rhythm from the stage.

San Pedro Highway

This is near the Lower San Pedro River, north of I-10, somewhere west of Tucson. Do not take the scenic Cascabel Road unless you have hours to kill and don't mind gravel washboard roads.

If old hippies wanted a remote place to hang, they could not have found a better location.

Saturday, November 12, 2005


Image by Leo
Some people like to go out dancing
Other people, they got to work...

Anybody who knows me knows I love to visit cemeteries. I been to some of the best. Hell, me and Teddy had us a great time saying howdy to F. Scott Fitzgerald back in '81. So, I gotta tell you, Boot Hill in Tombstone was a little bit of a letdown. A cemetery that's 125-some years old shouldn't look so neat and clean. It's way too tidy for me to believe all the gunfighters are really interred there. Leo says they're buried a blcok or so away in an unmarked field. I'm tempted to think he's right. What self-respecting outlaw would let himself be buried right next to a goddamn souvenir stand?
Photo by Chester Arthur Burnett

Guys like Jim Mustard don't take any crap. They live by their own rules out here in the perimeter, maybe our last line of defense against reckless liberal thinking. Jim says he'll shoot a trespasser "fucking dead" and then sort it out afterwards. I wonder how he get along with guys like Chuck Schumer and Ted Kennedy.
Photo by Chester Arthur Burnett

Friday, November 11, 2005

Longhorn Saturday Night

Photo by Leo
Amazing how young guys can put it away.


Poto By Leo
Way too tired to move.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

My Son Ben

Photo taken June 2003


The following was posted today by my 15-year-old son, Benjamin, on his blog ( ):

Alphabet soup has been a staple of the diet of Mankind for centuries untold. Ever since the dawn of time, the letters of the alphabet have formed words within the soup; some best left unmentioned. Unknown to many, however, there exists a dark secret long hidden by the evil Soup Moguls - a secret that must be shared with the masses for the sake of their own well-being.

The Soup Moguls are a small council of industrialists from well-known soup and juice corporations such as Campbell’s and Juicy Juice. They keep their identities secret using bribery, blackmail, and even murder. Several undercover reporters gave their lives while divulging even this little information, and readers and reporters alike are in danger because of the mere existence of this article. The Soup Moguls are behind several conspiracies, including the infamous Area 51, which is reportedly their secret base of operations. The details of Soup Mogul involvement in the Kennedy assassination are unclear, and irrelevant at this time, dwarfed by the far more vast and far deadlier Alphabet Soup Phenomenon.

While many people spend their life oblivious to the truth, the fact remains that the words formed by alphabet soup are actually used to convey subliminal messages to the minds of people around the word. One of the first people to notice the oddity about the alphabet soup messages was Al Fabit. We contacted him about his experience, and had this to say:
“I first started noticing things a few months ago. It started off as small things, like writing the alphabet backwards all over the walls of my house. It got progressively worse after that - I even ended up hiring 26 contortionists to form the letters of the alphabet.”

Another witness, Tom A. Towe, had a slightly different experience: "I was sitting at home, eating my alphabet soup. I love a good bowl of alphabet soup. Anyway, I looked into the bowl and saw a word that chilled my spine: Toyota."

Obviously, the aliens who are sending out these messages are Toyota-contortionist fanatics. THE NEXT THING YOU KNOW, EVERYONE WILL BE FORCED TO DRIVE TOYOTAS AND TO LEARN TO FOLD THEIR BODIES INTO PRETZELS!

Another store window in Nogales
Photo by Chester Arthur Burnett

Store window in Nogales
Photo by Chester Arthur Burnett

There was a time when Americans could stroll the Avenida Obregon in relative safety. Merchants respectfully plied their wares, and quietly invited passerby into their sidewalk shops. Today, even this veneer of courtesy has disappeared. Nogales has become the contra-commerce center of the Southwest. Americans go to the Mexican side to shop, while the Mexicans go to the American side to shop. The Wal-Mart in Nogales, Arizona is one of the highest grossing stores in the chain. The whole world is topsy-turvy. I long for the days when "Hazel" dominated the airwaves.
Photo by Chester Arthur Burnett

Samuel at the trough

Thoroughly unappetizing photo by Chester Arthur Burnett

Hurled into eternity...

...on the streets of Tombstone

Tintype by Chester Arthur Burnett

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