Tuesday, July 16, 2019

I Feel Lucky

Honey had her semiannual checkup at the Dermatologist yesterday.  Her doctor is one of the most delightful people I've ever met, we had a most enjoyable visit, and the checkup went without a hitch. 
Once we got home, Honey said "We're up and dressed with nothing to do.  Want to go to the casino?"
Well, you don't have to tell me twice, so just before  noon we were on our way to Livingston.
Twelve hours later, we were back home with the same amount of money we left with.  That qualifies as a very successful trip.
We were lucky, but the casino not so much.  
They were installing a whole bunch of new slot machines, and somehow took down the network that controls stuff.  Some slots would not issue pay stubs, and for about half the casino, the stubs that were issued could not be read in the machines that convert them to cash.
That led to a mob of about a hundred people at the pay window waiting (in some cases, two hours or more) for their cash.
They eventually got the problem fixed, but not before having to delay three buses waiting to return folks to Houston.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Orchid

One of the orchids in our kitchen window box is blooming, but it's kind of sad.  It only has three blossoms, and instead of having a tall straight shaft it is a sort of a raggedy spiral.
I've named it Quasimodo.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

That One Bird

They call them Cattle Egrets for a reason.  They are attracted to cattle, and the cows (or in this case, bulls) tolerate them because they pick bugs off their backs.
You could probably just as easily call them Mower Egrets because it is almost impossible in this part of the world to see a tractor mowing a field without a flock of Egrets in its wake.  
Today, while mowing my yard here at the Boggy Thicket, I attracted a couple dozen.  They cover the newly  mown area grabbing up the bounty (bugs, frogs, snakes, etc.) uncovered by the mower.  It's a great example of symbiosis between man and bird.
There is that one bird, though - not the sharpest blade in the drawer - that consistently lands in the unmown grass about 30 feet in front of the mower.  He has just enough time to land, react to the mower moving toward him and take off again.  Then, on the next pass, he does it again.  I can't decide if he is playing a game or just that dumb.

Monday, July 8, 2019

Ouch

 In yesterday's game between the Astros and Angels, there was a collision at home between Jake Marisnick and Angels catcher Jonothan Lucroy.  
Astros fans celebrated a go-ahead run, convinced that Jake was safe - Lucroy obviously leaned into Jakes path, and never had possession of the ball - but Jake was ruled out based on a no collision rule adopted by baseball in 2014.
Lucroy was taken to the hospital, and his manager (former Astros catcher, Brad Ausmus) is calling for an investigation and possible suspension. 
Here's a link to the whole thing - Collision

Friday, July 5, 2019

It Is Our Fault

A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the majority discovers it can vote itself largess out of the public treasury. After that, the majority always votes for the candidate promising the most benefits with the result the democracy collapses because of the loose fiscal policy.  
This was originally said  in the early 1800s, and the quote has been attributed both to Alexander Tytler, a Scottish Lord, and to Alexis de Toqueville, the French historian. Whoever said it first, it is undeniably correct, and comes dangerously close to the condition America finds itself in today.
Something for nothing is never a good idea.  Only later do we learn that anything "free" comes with a terrible cost. One look at modern society with all its ills, and if we are honest, we have to admit we brought it on ourselves.
Our parents, and even more so, our own generation and those that have followed, created this situation.  Each wanted their kids to have it better than they did, and each gave their kids everything they could.  
In a sad example of the law of unintended consequences, we created a Participation Trophy Society that doesn't appreciate what they have been given - it is basic human nature to equate free with worthless.  Those things we got without ay effort are never held in high esteem. Even so, today's generation takes what we have given as a God-given right and only clamors for more.
What is true for individual families is even more starkly true on a national level. 
We first proved it was true when we rounded up the Indians and stuck them on reservations.  It only took a generation for once proud nations to degenerate into despondency, alcoholism and disease.  
Not learning our lesson there, we tried the New Deal and the Great Society, and they gave us inner city Hell holes like Detroit, Chicago and Baltimore.
Today's political candidates are in a contest to see who can offer the most "free" stuff - health care, tuition, etc. I can't decide if they just don't understand or if they are willing to sacrifice the country for personal gain.
I'm not sure if there is a formula out there that would stop this downward spiral toward oblivion, but I do know that it will require hard work. 



Thursday, July 4, 2019

Ax Scent


Yesterday, a Canadian friend tagged me on Facebook in a post.  He was writing about a friend of his who commented that someone had a strong “American accent.”  He went on to discuss the fact that the various regional accents around the US disproved the idea that an American accent could even exist.
I strongly agree, and would point out that there are at least a half dozen different accents specific to regions of Texas – in fact, there may be at least that many specific to areas of Houston.  There are still pockets of white, East Texas speakers in the Channelview area, Spanish speakers in Denver Harbor, Blacks with a hint of South Louisiana in Fifth Ward, Vietnamese accents in Southwest Houston, etc.  Add to that the influx of refugees from places like California and the Rust Belt, and the more affluent sections of the North and West sides have blended their accents into something that is homogenized – almost generic.
I am reminded of Richard I Fu Ho, my college roommate.  He already had an engineering degree from Tung Hai University on Taiwan, and had come to Austin College to work on his English before entering grad school.  He had an older sister who was a professor at M.I.T.  When he called her on the phone, they would try to converse in English, but she spoke Boston (with a Chinese accent) and he was leaning East Texas (with a Chinese accent) and it soon became clear that they could not communicate without switching to Mandarin.

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Farewell Dusty

Dusty, our miniature dachshund, died yesterday.  She was one month short of her fifteenth birthday. 
When her constant companion, Tinker, passed seven months ago, I knew she wouldn't last another year, but she had been doing surprisingly well until yesterday when she suffered a series of seizures, or stokes.  The vet suspects they were the result of a brain tumor.
People always talk about dogs giving unconditional love  - Dusty didn't necessarily give it, but she demanded it.  She always considered herself the Alpha, and we were just members of her pack.  
God, we will miss her.