Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Albert Snyder Deserves Our Support - Outrage After Marine's Father Ordered to Pay Funeral Protester's Fees

The second sentence of the Fox News story describes these fiends as anti-gay. They probably are, along with being anti-just-about-everything-else; they are certainly anti-decency, as their actions demonstrate.
The courts may ultimately rule that the Baptists' 1st amendment right to free speech outweighs the grieving family's right to lay their son to rest with dignity and honor. If so, it will be a damn shame.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Earth Hour

Today is the day everyone is supposed to turn off all their lights for an hour .  Some kind of feel-good symbolic act to counteract Global Warming -  made me wish I still had my Christmas lights up. 

Earth Hour

I finally succumbed to the hype and got a head start!  I left all my lights off for over an hour, from 2:00 a.m. to 5:30 this morning.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

For those Who Wonder, This Is WHY

Wally Hermes Yachts, a joint venture between Wally Yachts and fashion house Hermes created a prototype of the ultimate in seagoing luxury. The real thing will probably never exist; Hermes pulled out of the partnership this month.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Nobody Ever Calls? Blame the Pooch

A supposedly true story:

A Kansas farm wife called the local phone company to report her telephone
failed to ring when her friends called. And that on the few occasions when
it did ring, her dog always moaned right before the phone rang.

The telephone repairman proceeded to the scene, curious to see this psychic
dog or senile lady. He climbed a telephone pole, hooked in his test set,
and dialed the subscriber's house.

The phone didn't ring right away, but then the dog moaned and the telephone
began to ring.

Climbing down from the pole, the telephone repairman found:

1 . The dog was tied to the telephone system's ground wire with a steel
chain and collar.

2. The wire connection to the ground rod was loose.

3. The dog was receiving 90 volts of signaling current when the number was

4. After a couple of jolts, the dog would start moaning and then urinate.

5. The wet ground would complete the circuit, thus causing the phone to

The moral of this story is that  some problems CAN be fixed by pissing and moaning.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Space – the Old and the New


Two significant space-related events occurred yesterday.  First, Virgin Galactic’s VSS Enterprise made its first “captive carry” flight.  It was considered a huge success.


Not quite so impressive – Buzz Aldrin danced


(poorly) on the premiere of this season’s Dancing With the Stars.

Monday, March 22, 2010

10 things you won’t learn in school | VentureBeat

Surfing the internet is a lot like panning for gold in a feed lot.
You wade through a lot of crap, but occasionally find a nugget.
One example is this well thought out and well written article from a site I hit accidentally and may never visit again:

10 things you won’t learn in school | VentureBeat

Saturday, March 20, 2010


Joined Facebook a couple months ago, mostly to have a handy way to keep up with some family events.   Over all, it has been a positive experience –  but there are some things I find disturbing:

  • Some folks post way too much information, way too often.  I have learned much more than I needed to know about some of my family members and friends.
  • At the urging of some common acquaintances, I “friended” another guy I knew, but didn’t particularly like, in high school.  I have discovered that we are so much alike it’s scary.  We mirror each other on everything from politics to religion to taste in movies and music.  We even have similar physical shapes – short and fat.  I wonder if that’s why we didn’t care for each other back then?
  • Facebook is forever!  Shortly after joining, I reconnected with a high-school classmate I hadn’t seen in half a century.  Two weeks later he died, but Facebook still has him going strong.  He appears on my list of friends and as a mutual friend of several folks on my suggested friends list.  I’m not sure I would delete him even if I could figure out how, somehow that just seems wrong, but having his name continually coming up is kind of creepy.
  • Facebook can be addictive.  I check in at least once a day and always seem to find something interesting.

Friday, March 19, 2010


Spring begins (Vernal Equinox) about midnight tonight, which means that today is the last day of winter. Can't say I'm sorry to see it go.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

San Jacinto – Battleship Texas

The grandsons are in town on spring break.  We picked them up yesterday and headed for the San Jacinto Battleground State Historical Site where we toured the Monument and the Battleship Texas.

monumentThe monument shaft is 570 feet tall, and the 34 foot high star on top makes it the tallest stone column memorial in the world – 15 feet taller than the Washington Monument. 

base of monumentOur guys at the base of the monument. 


absorbing historyAbsorbing some history in the museum in the monument base.


boys in museumOf course, they couldn’t stay serious for long.  Next stop was the top of the monument.


ship channelThe Houston ship channel from the top of the monument.


battleship from monument 

The Battleship Texas from the top of the San Jacinto Monument.



    Headed for the Battleship.


manning the gun

Manning the gun.


Battleship Texas

Stopped on the way home at the Monument Inn for some great seafood.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


The following is an account from a blog I read regularly. I have no doubt it is true:

A couple of days ago, I went to the town near our home to get my hair cut. It’s a small town of five thousand surrounded by farms. The best place to find out what's going on in town is at the barber shop or hair salon.

As I sat in the chair Sally, the woman cutting my hair, asked if I’d heard about the mosque coming to town. I hadn’t, and I wondered out loud if there were enough Muslims in the area to support a mosque. Sally told me that the townspeople were expecting more to move into town once the mosque was established. Apparently many were irate and trying to figure out a way to stop the mosque from being built.

“Really?” I said naively.

“Oh,” she replied, “it’s all anyone can talk about. People are so upset.”

“That’s crazy,” I said, trying to mentally sort out if this was basic racism, or religious fundamentalism fuelled by the twelve churches in the area, or somehow related to the wars in Afghanistan or Iraq.

“Well, you know what I tell the people who are upset?” she asked

I looked at her in the mirror expectantly. I didn’t know Sally well, but I was hopeful. She seemed like a reasonable and generous woman.

“I tell them, ‘It’s better than a crack house!’”

I can honestly say I was speechless. For a minute I thought she might be joking. But she wasn’t. Having a Muslim house of worship in the community was, in her mind, clearly only marginally better than having a drug dealer set up shop.

I'm sure Sally considered herself the most enlightened, most open-minded person in town.
God help us, she might have been right.

Monday, March 15, 2010


You probably think I'll talk about the ides of March today; after all, I talked about 3.14 yesterday.
I'm afraid that if I did, it would set a precedent and I'd have to say something nice about 3:16.
Sorry, John, you've had enough publicity already - I'm just not going there.
So, let's talk about Guy Fieri's new show. Minute to Win It debuted on NBC last night. I thought it was a clever idea for a game show that didn't quite hit the target but still might on future episodes. The format does not give Fieri the range of motion he needs to really shine, but he came across as likable and supportive - Okay, but nothing near the rambunctious Superstar we've come to love on all of his Food Network shows.
Speaking of rambunctious, have you seen this ?

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Pi Day

Today (3-14) is Pi day, celebrating the relationship between the diameter and the circumference of a circle. The fourteenth of March was obviously picked because pi is approximately 3.14
I haven't checked this for accuracy, but purports to be pi to the 10,000th digit.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

For the Birds


It occurred to me that I’ve taken a lot of photographs of birds over the past two years, and I thought I would share some of them with you today. 

The first is one of a pair of owls that nest on our property.  It was early morning when I shot this and he was in a white-oak tree outside our kitchen window.


Our Owl


Not all the birds I photographed were real.  This is a chainsaw sculpture from Highway 90 in Biloxi.




I did photograph some live pelicans in Key West.


Pelican 1 Pelican 2


And some seagulls near St. Petersburg.


IMG_2135 Will Pose for Food 1


There were peacocks at the Fountain of Youth Park

in St Augustine.


Peacocks at Fountain of Youth Park


And speaking of white birds, there was the albino buzzard at a State Park in Alabama.




Other “park birds” included the Ospreys in Yellowstone


Osprey Nest- dad brought lunch


and the Raven at Bryce Canyon


Raven at Ponderosa - Bryce NP


I also photographed hummingbirds in a campground in Chama, New Mexico 




And a mother hawk on her nest in my own back yard


mom on nest

Friday, March 12, 2010

Boggy Thicket - Where Did You Get That Name?

For the last 30+ years, we have lived on six acres in northeast Harris County, Texas. That's the county that contains (most, but not all of) Houston, but we do not live in the city. Arguably, we live close enough to Houston to commute - we did for years.
Northeast Harris County marks the southwest corner of the Big Thicket, which stretches east to the Louisiana border.
Our little piece of it lies between Luce's Bayou and the east fork of the San Jacinto River. According to Google Earth, we are 97 feet above sea level, but the water table, even in dry years in just below the surface.
We learned when clearing the property years ago that just driving the tractor over the same track several times in a row would bring water to the surface, and could get you stuck! Just as important as axes and chainsaws was a come-along capable of pulling an 8-N Ford tractor out of mud up to the axles.

I try to keep about two acres looking like yard and the other four are totally wild - haven't touched them in years. Right now the woods look pretty ragged; still bare from winter and quite a few trees down from Hurricane Ike. It will take another few years for the blow-down to break up and rot, but another few weeks and the green of spring will cover all the the blemishes like Estee Lauder.

After a particularly cold and wet winter, the ground is totally saturated right now, so when I started this blog the other day, the name just seemed to fit.

I always thought that naming a farm or ranch smaller than a half-section was embarrassingly ostentatious, and I would have never have considered naming our little spot. Do you think I just did?

Wilson Grabs A Calf

My next-door neighbor kid, Wilson Graff, caught himself a calf at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo last night.
The calf scramble is simple; 20 calves chased by 24 boys and girls (numbers may vary, but always more kids than calves) catch a calf, get a halter on it and drag it over the line - YOU WIN!
When I was a kid, they let you keep the calf you caught. Now, they give you money to purchase a calf to raise for next yea'r show.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

the Energizer Orchid



Cheryl bought Honey this orchid for Mother’s Day about fifteen years ago, and it has become the gift that keeps on giving.  There are actually two plants in the pot, and one or the other has bloomed every year since she got it.  There are a total of six blooms on the stem, and the ones that weren’t open in this photo are open this morning.

Well, I'm just setting up my blog - something I've been meaning to do since I retired.
My God, can it really be two years this month?
Anyway, I plan to post photo's, commentary on whatever catches my attention, random thoughts and probably some jokes, limericks and similar stuff of questionable nature.
No promises, but I'll try to keep it PG, if not PC.
Now that I think about it, that isn't much of a promise; kids shows on TV use words that would've got me fired from radio in the 60's.
So welcome, and please check back occasionally. I may actually do/say something worthwhile.