Saturday, August 30, 2014



The University of Houston Cougars played their first football game in their brand new stadium last night.  

TDECU Stadium – the Texas Dow Employee’s Credit Union bought the naming rights – replaces the old Robertson Stadium where I marched as a member of the Hamilton Junior High Band back in the 50s.  Robertson was okay for junior high games, but was not much of a college stadium even then.  It was an embarrassment compared to Rice Stadium a few miles west.

It would be nice to report that the Coogs christened their new digs with a win.  Unfortunately, the UTSA Roadrunners, who have only had a football team since 2011, beat the home town team 27-7.  Total yardage was almost even, but the Roadrunners intercepted four passes and recovered two Cougar fumbles.

UH finished with minus-26 yards rushing on 23 attempts.  Most of the fans had already left when Ryan Jackson avoided a total shutout with a 2-yard scoring run with only 1:04 left on the clock.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Yes Means

My niece just got back to Houston after driving her first-born son to California for his freshman year of college. 

It may well be just a coincidence, but on the day she returned, the California legislature  sent the governor a bill requiring all colleges receiving state funds to redefine acceptable sexual behavior of their students.

In cases of sexual assault, Senate Bill 967 goes beyond the old “No means No” standard, and attempts to define when “Yes means Yes.”  In the words of the bill, “Affirmative consent means affirmative, conscious, and voluntary agreement to engage in sexual activity. ... Lack of protest or resistance does not mean consent, nor does silence mean consent. ...(consent) can be revoked at any time."

Twenty years ago, the idea of gaining explicit consent before engaging in sexual activities was considered so extreme it was -- literally -- laughable. Saturday Night Live in 1993 lampooned the consent policy adopted by Ohio's Antioch College with a game show titled "Is It Date Rape?"

"May I elevate the level of sexual intimacy by feeling your buttocks?" the male asks.

"Yes. You have my permission," the woman replies.

The bill's proponents say that those who think seeking consent is awkward, unrealistic or mood-killing miss the point. I’m not sure I agree, but I am sure that healthy college students can and will overcome any obstacles placed in the way of their having sex.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Can’t Trust Pandas

panda suit

For some time now, workers in China’s panda breeding program have been wearing panda costumes when dealing with orphaned cubs.  The theory was that it helps the youngsters feel more at home with real pandas when returned to the wild.  Ridiculous as it may sound, they think it works.

Now, in a classic case of turnabout is fair play, keepers in Sichuan province say that Ai Hin, a six-year-old female panda has been faking pregnancy.

Ai Hin 

She had been scheduled to be the star of the widely-promoted first-ever live broadcast of  the birth of a panda cub, but the Chengdu Giant Panda Breeding Research Centre announced yesterday that they were calling it off.  Ai Hin is not, and never was, pregnant.

They think she faked the pregnancy because, according to panda expert Wu Kongju,

“After showing prenatal signs, the 'mothers-to-be' are moved into single rooms with air conditioning and around-the-clock care. They also receive more buns, fruits and bamboo, so some clever pandas have used this to their advantage to improve their quality of life.”

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Curses - Foiled


I could have started this blog post from two totally different directions, so if the next couple of paragraphs seem to jump from one unrelated subject to another, just consider this a sort of prologue to set the stage. 

We have – hold on while I actually count them – a total of six cookie sheets in the drawer under our oven.  The oven would only accommodate two at a time, and there are only two that we ever actually use.  One is a huge aluminum thing that I picked up at a restaurant supply years ago, and the other is smaller; it’s an old steel cookie sheet that we’ve had forever.  That old tray gets used several times a week and washed about once a month.  That’s all the washing it needs because we always line it with aluminum foil.

The tips of our fingers are among the most sensitive areas of the human body.  They have about a gazillion nerve endings, each with a direct expressway to the brain. That’s why blind people read Braille with their fingers and not some other portion of their anatomy, and why nurses and phlebotomists take such malicious glee in poking fingertips for blood samples.

I had always thought that paper cuts were among the most painful injuries a person could sustain – pain far out of proportion to the seriousness of the actual injury – but you have never known real pain until you get a paper cut from the edge of a sheet of aluminum foil! 

I was lining the cookie sheet prior to throwing some biscuits in the oven the other day when I learned this for myself. 

I screamed! 

I made noises and said things never before heard in our house! 

I called that foil things that were physically impossible, even for recycled aluminum!

All I can say is, if you haven’t experienced this for yourself, count yourself lucky, and Don’t Try This At Home!


Tuesday, August 26, 2014


Kelvin tue nguyen

My circle got smaller with the passing of two good men this past week.

Tue Nguyen was one of several Vietnamese refugees hired by Global Services and trained as copier technicians.  He worked for me at Ikon Office Solutions when I headed the color copier group. 

One of the most impressive (and often most frustrating) things about Tue was that he absolutely refused to leave a machine until he was satisfied that it was fixed.  That sometimes led to one-hour service calls that stretched to two or three days, but if I had a machine no one else could fix, Tue was my go-to guy. 

Kelvin Ischy was one of the “instant grandkids” we acquired when our daughter Cheryl married Gene Ischy, Kelvin’s dad.  He was handsome, popular, and left us much too young.  He had just turned 21 this past July. 

We only saw Kelvin at family gatherings each Thanksgiving and Christmas, and I wish I’d had the chance to know him better.

Monday, August 25, 2014



The Little League World Series is over for another year.  Our local favorites, the Pearland East team was declared the number four team in the country after losing to Philadelphia and to the Jackie Robinson All Stars from Chicago.

The kids from Chicago, who also eliminated Philly in the double-elimination format last Thursday, played international champs South Korea yesterday for all the marbles. 

The Korean team won 8-4.  That makes them the third international team in a row to win the series.

I guess it’s just human nature, but the local news gave more time to the Pearland team arriving back at the airport than they did to the championship game.

Sunday, August 24, 2014


It’s been a long time since I’ve written about earthquakes - I got a little tired of being the “boy who cried wolf,”  but there have been three significant quakes already today and the sun isn’t even up yet here at the Boggy Thicket.

There have been two tremors above 5.0 at the site of the Bardarbunga Volcano in Iceland.  That volcano seems to be about to blow and authorities have issued a Red Alert for aviation, warning that an eruption is imminent.  There has already been one eruption, but it occurred under a glacier and couldn’t be seen except for a little steam.

Meanwhile, a 6.4 quake hit the coastal area near Valparaiso, Chile yesterday evening, and early this morning, a 6.0 quake hit the Napa, California area.

The USGS expects anywhere from 30 to 70 aftershocks from the Napa quake.

No major damage is reported from any of these events, but in the words of that famous philosopher Jerry Lee Lewis, there’s “a whole lot of shakin’ goin’ on.”