Wednesday, September 2, 2015


charcoal2I’ve mentioned several times over the last year or so that we have a Cardinal that almost looks like a charcoal sketch of one.  It has been a source of frustration that I never seemed to have my camera available when our “Charcoal Cardinal” was around. 

Now, I finally have a picture – not a great picture, but perhaps good enough for you to see what I meant. The bird is one of this summer’s hatchlings, and the red in its tail and wing tips has just shown up over the past week or two. 

It’s not the only one.  We see at least two and probably three birds in varying shades of gray. 

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Some Men Just Deserve It


A Facebook friend whose opinions I usually agree with (and always respect) posted yesterday that he no longer believes in the death penalty, but that the murder of Harris County Deputy Darren Goforth as he pumped gas into his patrol car made him question his decision.

Sometimes, no other response is appropriate.  This is clearly one of those times.

Monday, August 31, 2015

They’re Baaaaack


It’s been a long hot summer, but Blue Bell ice cream is back in Houston area stores today. 

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Super Moon

blood moon

Tonight’s full moon will be what is called a Super Moon – so called because the moon is at its closest to the earth and appears larger and brighter than usual. 

But – last night’s moonrise was pretty spectacular! 

Until it was about 20 degrees above the horizon, the moon was a brilliant red, and the sky looked more like a sunset than a moonrise.  It wasn’t the Blood Moon described in scripture – that’s a month away at the end of September, but it was the reddest moon I’ve ever seen.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Dew Point

Over the past few years, TV weathermen/women/persons have followed a trend to quote the Dew Point rather than the Relative Humidity.  I think that, much like choosing a gender-neutral description for weathercasters, this is an attempt to find a gentler, less threatening, term to describe the weather, since Humidity has somehow become synonymous with excess Humidity and discomfort.

The Dew Point, put simply, is the temperature at which the Relative Humidity reaches 100%.  It is the point at which water in the atmosphere condenses as fast as it evaporates.  It’s just another way to view/express the same atmospheric condition, but apparently the PC police took time out to determine that it sounds nicer.

I found a chart to post showing the relationship between Dew Point, Humidity and Human Comfort, but comfort is subjective, and I think the chart was designed by someone from Colorado – Or, since it uses temps in Celsius, someone from Canada.  The comfort ranges were definitely not designed by anyone who grew up on the Gulf Coast.


Friday, August 28, 2015


The very first scientific instrument I ever used was a psychrometer.

That may sound like a gizmo to measure mental health, but (also known as a wet/dry bulb hygrometer) it is a tool used to measure relative humidity. 

It looked something like this:

wet-dry bulb hygrometer main

One thermometer had a sock over the bulb, and to take measurements, you would wet the sock, then swing it around by a string attached to the top.  I was probably about eight years old, and “helping” my dad in his air-conditioning business, when he let me use it for the first time.

The back of the device was a specialized slide rule used to do the actual humidity calculation.

psychrometric slide

This type of hygrometer was invented by a German scientist named Richard Assmann.  Swinging it around was fun, but a big part of the attraction for an eight-year-old boy was being able to give the humidity reading according to the Assmann scale.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Eye of the Beholder

I was reading through the posts on, and came across this photo.  The writer was doing a trip report on Capitol Reef National Park, and along with the usual photos of gorgeous scenery he posted this:

old truckI really can’t explain the appeal, but I thought it was one of the most striking pictures I’d seen in a long time. 

The photographer framed it perfectly, bringing out the beauty in something that has probably been ignored by thousands of visitors over the years.  The truck, an old International that once served as a water drilling rig, sits abandoned and falling apart, and if you saw the whole truck, you would probably consider it ugly and a little sad.