Thursday, June 30, 2011

No Comment

cowboy and computer

Got an email from my old pal Bob Lieder, and it left me a little confused and a bit concerned.  It was addressed to the Boggy Thicket Help Desk, and it read:

Hey geeks,

I have tried several times to post a comment on your blog

and I have never been successful.  I have an excellent

computer that works well in every way.

But when I try to post a comment on Boggy Thicket I just

can't make it work no matter what I choose for a "profile".

Even "Anonymous" doesn't work.

I regularly post comments on other blogs and all I need

to use is my name and/or mail address.

I suspect I'm not the only one having this problem because

I don't see many ( any? ) comments and I really believe there

would be lots of comments if it were possible to leave one.

Please let me know the easy way.... or lose that "profile" so

all the people who enjoy this blog can share their thoughts.

I expect some action here geeks. If I don't see a satisfactory

result soon, I will have to go over your heads and contact

Bob Couch. Yeah that's right, you heard me, I know him and

I will tell him what's going on !! So get busy. I suggest trying

to leave a comment from a computer not connected to your

blog. Then you will see what the bourgeoisie puts up with.

Sincerely,  B. Lieder

P.S .... I love Boggy Thicket !!

First -  Thanks Bob, and don’t give up.

Second – I have checked the Comments function setup and don’t see any way to make it any easier.  scratchead

Google’s help desk did publish the following back on

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

We're investigating an issue which is preventing login and comment posting for some users, and hope to have a fix released shortly.
Thanks for your patience in the meantime.

If you wish to comment on a post, and the comments function won’t work for you, I invite you to email the comment to me at or at and I’ll post it for you.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011


woodpeckers 2

We have several different species of woodpecker at the Boggy Thicket.  Near as I can tell, there are at least three – the Pileated Woodpeckers seen above, Red-headed Woodpeckers that are mid-sized woodpeckers about the size of a blue jay, and a small woodpecker I have yet to identify.

If you look carefully, you’ll see a pair of Pileated Woodpeckers sitting on a limb in the picture below.


The Pileated Woodpeckers are huge – the largest woodpecker in North America – and their call is a laughing sound.  Not exactly like Woody of the cartoons, but his may have been patterned after theirs:

If you ever wondered what Pileated means, the pileum, is the area of a bird’s head from the top of the bill over the head and to the nape of its neck. A bird is said to be pileated if it has a crest on the pileum area. The pileated woodpecker is no exception. Both male and female pileated woodpeckers have a very prominent bright red crests that come to a point in the back of their heads.

The small unidentified woodpeckers are the only birds other than hummingbirds that will perch and drink from the hummingbird feeders.

Several years ago, I was sure I saw an Ivory-Billed Woodpecker in our woods, but maybe not – They look a lot like their Pileated cousins, and although there have been searches for them recently in the Big Thicket area of Southeast Texas, and some reported sightings in Louisiana this year, they are said to have been extinct for 100 years.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Prison Memories


Once a year or so, usually during sweeps week, one local TV station or another will run a story with the headline CONVICTED FELONS HAVE ACCESS TO YOUR PERSONAL INFORMATION!!!!

Well, it’s true enough, but it ain’t exactly news. 

Over 35 years ago, when I was a service engineer for 3M, one of my customers was the section of Ellis Unit, northeast of Huntsville, where prisoners transferred all sorts of state documents to microfilm.  I was responsible for repair and maintenance of a bank of microfilm cameras, and a bunch of microfilm reader/printers they used.

There was a department of corrections civilian employee who was theoretically in charge of the operation, but all of the actual supervision was done by an inmate I’ll call Jerry.

I considered Jerry to be one of my very best customers.  He kept all the equipment spotless, did most minor repairs, and only called me when there was something seriously wrong.  If all my customers had been as conscientious as Jerry, my life would have been a dream.

I had been dealing with Jerry for a couple years when I arrived one day to find that he wasn’t around.  I asked Fred, the TDC employee, and he said Jerry was at a parole hearing.

He added “I hope he gets out, but I’m really going to hate to see him go.  I may actually have to start working for a living.”

I told him how much I had enjoyed working with Jerry as well, and then I asked “What was he in for, anyway?”



Look,” he said, “I’d a thousand to one rather have a murderer working for me than a thief.  Most times, murder is a once-in-a-lifetime thing and they’re sorry as soon as they do it, but a thief, you never can trust the son of a bitch.”

Monday, June 27, 2011

Lists and Controversy

A while back, a Belgian lady named Hilleke published a collection of superb photos that she titled the 50 most important landmarks in the world

As great as they were, she was immediately overwhelmed with complaints from folks who thought their favorite landmark – usually in their country of origin – was much more important than one or all of the 50 listed.

She tried hiding behind a tree,

but when that didn’t work, she published a sequel containing another 50 photos which included most of the suggestions from the complainers: 50 more important landmarks

As you might have guessed, comments on this one were mostly “why didn’t you include…” with many of the suggestions being subjects from the original series.

I don’t know if she is planning a third list – by now, she should know that she’ll never please everyone – but the two she’s done are excellent.  Just click the links above and enjoy.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Eye of the Beholder



Yoda's short tufts of hair, protruding tongue, and long, almost hairless legs were enough to earn her the title of World's Ugliest Dog  at a Northern California fair.

The 14-year-old Chinese crested and Chihuahua mix won the honor Friday night at the 23rd annual contest at the Sonoma Marin Fair.

Owner Terry Schumacher of Hanford, California, said the 2-pound dog had come a long way since she was found abandoned behind an apartment building.

Schumacher said she first thought the pooch was a rat.

Friday, June 24, 2011

I guess I Believe It

Pretty quiet around here so I scanned the news for something to comment on today.  Two stories caught my attention:

First is a Newsweek feature on the best public high schools in the nation.  They list five Texas schools in the top 25, and the top two schools in the nation are in Dallas!

The other is a KHOU-TV story about a Houston man who is seeing his income garnished for child support even though DNA testing has proved he could not possibly be the father. 

There’s the list – you can read the articles by clicking on the links above -Now the comment:

I suppose I believe both stories to be true; I’m just having a really hard time accepting them.

Thursday, June 23, 2011


sunset 6-22-11


We had the first measurable rainfall in six months yesterday – something like an inch and a half of desperately needed rain – followed by a fantastically colorful sunset.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011



 Texas Rangers fans set a new Guinness World Record back on June 14th – Not for anything to do with baseball, it’s for the most people wearing sunglasses in the dark.

While most of the 33,533 people donned shades during the game with the Detroit Tigers at Rangers Ballpark, the mark to beat was 423 so Guinness officials only bothered to count two sections of the crowd. That group included former President (and former Rangers owner) George W. Bush, who often goes to Rangers games, and current owner and club President Nolan Ryan.  They were both seen on the big screen when the public address announcer told the crowd the record attempt was set to begin after the sixth inning.

"I'm pleased to say that 424 people participated in this attempt," said Danny Girton, Jr., the senior corporate communications manager for Guinness.

The shades were provided to the fans by Reliant Energy as they entered the stadium.

"There were a further unconfirmed 30,000 who helped Reliant Energy in this attempt," Girton  added.


Monday, June 20, 2011


Wrote yesterday about our trip to Kerrville with the grandsons, but only the good stuff.  We did have a good time, but the trip was plagued with problems.

When we first opened the trailer at Cheryl’s, the ceiling fan had fallen out of the ceiling.  Had to take the whole thing apart to get it mounted again.  Then when we closed the trailer back up one of the slides caught a fan blade and broke it off.

Several other issues – just minor aggravations, really – until we were almost home.

On Beltway 8, just over a half hour away from home and thinking our troubles were over when we had a blowout on the trailer.  Called road service and was informed that would be at least an hour and a half before anyone could get there.  Try sitting beside a freeway in 100 degree heat for a couple hours.

When the tire guy did arrive, we discovered that the spare tire carrier under the trailer was damaged and the tire would not come down.  He had to climb under the trailer at cut the tire loose, and now a new carrier has to be ordered.  The chances of it showing up before our next long trip are somewhere between slim and none, but we’re hoping.

Heading out in a few minutes to get new tires on the truck (planned) and on the trailer (unplanned) and hopefully I’ll get the trailer to the dealer before they close for the day.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

How We Spent Last Week

No posts since last Monday.  I’ll claim I was too busy – and that is mostly true.

Loaded up the 5th wheel last Monday and headed for Bertram where we spent the night in my daughter’s back yard.  Picked up the grandsons on Tuesday and headed to Kerrville for the week.  It was hot as Hell, but we managed to have a great time.


The boys swam, rode their bikes, and they ran through two cartons of worms catching perch.  There may have been one of the couple dozen fish they caught that was actually big enough for the skillet, so it was strictly catch-and-release.  Directly below where Nash is standing, they also saw a turtle which they almost caught, and a snake which, thankfully, they did not.

db snake

A check on-line identified the viper as a diamond-backed water snake, and yes, it’s poisonous.

The dogs went crazy chasing squirrels at the RV park.  Did you know that a 10 lb. miniature dachshund can jerk your arm clear out of socket?  Trust me, they can.  Nash, not being on a leash, almost caught one – he actually touched it as it ran up a tree.


We also managed to slip in a little bit of culture, with a visit to the Museum of Western Art, and a play at the Point Theater. 

Monday, June 13, 2011

Forest Fire


OK, I’ll admit that it was nothing like the fire that has burned thousands of acres of Arizona and is now moving into New Mexico, but size is relative to proximity, and this was a little too close to home.  Stars don’t look all that big from my back yard either, and no one I know ever suffered from star burn.

Fifteen area Fire Departments were involved yesterday, fighting a forest fire off FM 1010 about two miles south of Plum Grove (and about two miles north of the Boggy Thicket). The blaze was first reported around 2:20 p.m.

Authorities said four or five homes were evacuated as a precaution, but no structures were in immediate danger.

The fire burned about 140 acres before it was contained Sunday evening.

No injuries were reported.


Sunday, June 12, 2011

It’s Not the Heat, It’s the (lack of) Humidity


Drought and heat continue in Southeast Texas.  Temperatures at or near the century mark every day, and June, typically our wettest month, has brought only a tease – a few widely-scattered showers that managed to avoid the Boggy Thicket entirely.

Lake Houston is at its lowest level in years, with “new” islands popping up all over. 

I have a pile of dead limbs in the back yard that I haven’t been able to burn for months because of the drought-related burning ban.  At this rate, they will rot – or more likely, petrify – before I can set a match to them.

It’s been so dry that

  • Baptists are starting to baptize by sprinkling,
  • the Methodists are giving out wet-wipes,
  • the Presbyterians are giving out rain checks,
  • and the Catholics are praying for the wine to turn back into water!


Saturday, June 11, 2011

A Political Rant



I do not believe it’s sedition

To consider our Country’s condition

Because, or in spite

Of the Left, or the Right

We are well on the way to perdition


In every recent election

We’ve been offered a meager selection

Those who run are all fools

Or they’re knaves, or just tools

And the each of them merits rejection


The future’s bright promise grows dim

The outlook’s decidedly grim

Politicians who ought

Once they’re bribed, to stay bought

Are changing their votes on a whim


In America, land of the free

Free used to mean liberty

Now, it’s health-care or lunches

Or home loans and bunches

Of the bills for it all fall on me


Though I’m nearing the end of my rope

I will not just sit down and mope

Our country’s still best

When compared to the rest

I refuse to abandon all hope

Friday, June 10, 2011

Pick Your Poison - Either Way You Lose


Although I started smoking at a very early age, I wasn’t smoking yet when this ad was in the magazines – but it demonstrates the point that the link between smoking and weight has been known since the 1950’s.

Today, it looks like science has finally identified the mechanism:

It's an unfortunate fact that when smokers kick the habit, they often gain weight — a side effect that many smokers use as a reason for not quitting.
Now scientists think they've pinpointed the pathway in the brain through which nicotine helps suppress appetite, suggesting that it's possible to get the same effect without the cigarettes.
Nicotine works on many different receptors in the brain, including those in reward regions that contribute to addiction. But working with mice, a team led by Yale University School of Medicine psychiatrist Marina Picciotto found that the drug also binds to receptors on appetite-regulating neurons, which aren't involved in addiction. These neurons, located in the hypothalamus, send the "I'm full" message after a meal, helping to regulate how much you eat.
It helps explain why smokers aren't as hungry when they smoke, and why they tend to stay thinner on the habit. When they quit, however, many smokers tend to eat more, typically gaining on average about five pounds after quitting.
Picciotto believes that nicotine hijacks various neural circuits in the brain — those involved in reward, and now in appetite — and that understanding how the tobacco compound works on brain cells could lead to better cessation strategies.
Understanding the link between nicotine and satiety, for example, could lead to new drugs that target the nicotine receptors on appetite-controlling cells, giving smokers a way to quit without the weight gain. Already, says Picciotto, there are plant-based quit-smoking drugs available in Eastern Europe that may work in this way, but further research needs to be done to determine whether they'd actually help quitters gain less weight.
"If we had a medicine targeted at these receptors, then people who are not quitting smoking because they are afraid of gaining weight now might make the attempt," Picciotto says. "That's a really exciting area of drug development."
Even if such medicines were to prove effective, however, they may come with side effects. The nicotine receptors that regulate fullness and appetite are also closely linked to the body's fight-or-flight stress response, in which the body revs itself up in the face of a threat. Activating these receptors could lead to increased blood pressure and heart rate, which may not be a good thing for anyone.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

What I Don’t Want (for Father’s day)


Like the shirt, could even go with that color, but:

  • don’t have an eye patch
  • or a parrot
  • or a peg leg
  • or a ship
  • or even a boat

And $25.00 for a cotton T-shirt is outrageous – no matter what it (or anyone else) says.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Hoopla in Hardin


The population of nearby Hardin, Texas, probably doubled yesterday afternoon.  It was easily the most excitement in Hardin since Hurricane Ike.

Acting on a tip, literally dozens of officers from every law-enforcement agency imaginable descended on a small farmhouse in search of a mass grave full of dismembered bodies.  They were probably outnumbered by representatives of every news agency that could find Hardin on a map. 

Rumors had over 30 bodies, including children, found on the property.  The story was picked up by local network affiliates and the AP.  It became the lead story all over the world on all the US outlets,  the BBC and Sky News. For all I know, it could have been the lead on Xinhua and Al Jazeera, too.

They all stood around for a couple of hours while a search warrant was obtained, swapping the latest rumors and interviewing each other.  Finally, once the paperwork was in order, authorities went in to discover that there was nothing there.  The whole thing was a hoax.

Liberty county sheriff's captain Rex Evans said the tipster's knowledge of the premises and a precise description of the home led authorities to give her more credibility than they otherwise would have. Authorities took the tip from a self-proclaimed psychic seriously because the caller had details about the inside of the house that only someone who had seen it could have known.

Satisfied there was nothing to the caller's tip, authorities were turning their attention to the caller, a woman who telephoned Monday night and again Tuesday. Officials have a name and a phone number, Evans said, but it was not immediately known whether either was valid. One law enforcement source said the so-called psychic lives in the Texas Panhandle and was using an Austin telephone number.

"We are going to continue our investigation and find out how this individual had this information in the first place," Evans said, adding that the caller may face criminal proceedings.

The owner of the property, truck driver Joe Bankson, told Houston's KHOU-TV that his daughter lived at the house and there was blood on the porch from when her boyfriend cut himself after getting drunk. "It took me all day to clean the inside of the house. I'm not sure I got it  all."

Bankson said he was clueless as to why anyone may have called the police to his house. "I haven't killed anybody," he told the Houston Chronicle in a separate interview. "And I have a lot of friends, but I haven't helped anybody bury any bodies."


Tuesday, June 7, 2011



Boggy Thicket has acquired its very own feral cat.

We seldom see her, and when we do, it is usually around dusk and she is moving pretty fast.

She has three kittens out in the barn, and we saw them for the first time when she took them out for a walk this morning.  We were pretty sure they were out there - I thought I saw one duck under the bush hog when I was out in the barn a week or two ago.


Yesterday, the mama cat managed to get herself locked in the garage.  Honey closed the garage door about 2:00 pm, and thought she heard meows about 7:00 this morning.  We opened the door and the cat departed in a hurry.

She had raided the garbage can for food, but she must have gotten awfully thirsty.  About a half hour after her escape, and in spite of the dogs, she jumped the fence to drink out of the birdbath.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Nash Robinson


After learning that his older brother shares the name of an up-and-coming young actor, (Friday's Post) I decided to Google Nash Robinson and see what I could find.  I wasn’t surprised to find that, like the young man himself, the name is pretty unique.

The search yielded several ladies named Nash who had married men named Robinson, but no references to currently living males with the last name of Robinson and the first name of Nash.  Almost all the references I found were to Nash (hyphen, comma, or backslash) Robinson.

I did find a link - How to calculate Nash/Robinson weight , but even the definition causes my head to swim:

the Nash/Robinson weight is like an indicator how much prime n's for a special k there could be found.
it's the number of remaining n-values of a sieve for this k for n=100001-110000 and prime factors (sieve depth) upto p=512.
so the higher the Nash weight the more candidates left and the more prime n you could expect.
i always display this value on my RieselPrimeDatabase:
- a low weight is smaller then 1000
- a high weight is about 4000 and more

There is a Nash-Robinson Co. LLC, which is a floor covering company in Waco, and a century ago, there was a Nash, Robinson & Co. in nearby Marlin, Texas.

From a classified ad in the September,11 1902 edition of the Marlin Democrat


      Nash, Robinson & Company are making a special offer for the month of September of a Standard 3 in. wagon with sheet and bows and farmer's umbrella for $62.50, also a fully warranted Top buggy with whip and lap rug for $55.00.  Call on them and examine these bargains.  Also remember that this offer is good for September only.
                                    Nash, Robinson & Co.
                                                    Marlin, Texas.

I did discover a bit of information about a man named Elijah Nash Robinson, who was born in Virginia in 1779, and died in Indiana in 1845.

The oldest brother of Elijah Nash Robinson was a fellow named Nathaniel Robinson.  Nathaniel was married to Mary Nash, the sister of Elijah Nash, who was killed  in the revolutionary war in 1777. So it seems likely that Elijah Nash Robinson may have been named after his deceased brother in law.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

A Matter of Degree(s)


Are you sure?

Still no rain and another day of record-setting high temperatures yesterday.

The owl was back in the birdbath yesterday afternoon, and I finally got a picture.  Kind of blurry – right lens/ wrong position, and I was in too big a hurry, buck fever (owl fever?)  - but I guess I’ll post it anyway:


Saturday, June 4, 2011


Here we are on the 4th day of June and in the middle of the worst drought Texas has seen since the Dust Bowl days of the 30’s.  Rainfall totals for the first half of the year are over a foot below normal.

That almost – but not quite – adds a bit of fondness to my memories of Tropical Storm Allison, the storm that hit Houston ten years ago this week.

allison Downtown Houston from the northeast side 10 years ago.

The tropical storm inundated southeast Texas, having made landfall in Galveston on June 5. Before it was over, Allison had dropped more than 35 inches of rain in parts of Harris County. The Harris County Flood Control District estimated 28 inches fell in one 10-hour period.
At Hermann Hospital and the UT Medical School, an estimated 10 million gallons of water accounted for more than $87 million in property damage. The school was closed for a month with millions of dollars of sponsored research affected.
After its initial two-day deluge, the storm returned to the Gulf of Mexico, but came back inland again June 8 to leave behind even more rain. When it was over, 22 people were dead and $5 billion in damages had taken place.
In addition to offices and businesses in the downtown area and elsewhere being devastated by the deluge from Allison, the Texas Medical Center sustained heavy damages.
The rains left more than 30,000 people at least temporarily homeless in the Houston area with an estimated 70,000 houses receiving substantial

Friday, June 3, 2011

Who is Bryce Robinson?

Know how TV dramas often display the names of stars, guest stars, directors and producers  over the action at the start of the show?  Well, I was minding my own business last night, only half watching the beginning of a re-run of CSI from last year when there on the screen it said Bryce Robinson


Wait a minute.

Rewind the DVR and play that again.

Sure enough, that’s what it said, Bryce Robinson, bigger than Dallas.

For those who don’t know, Bryce Walker Robinson is the name of my first grandson.

bryce at museum

The kid on CSI is a couple years younger, almost as handsome and wears more makeup.


I had to Google the name to find out which character he played – it was the kid in the wheel chair – but, once I did, I’m surprised I’d never heard of him before.  He has been in several movies, including Marley and Me and Valentines Day, and several of our favorite TV shows – Dexter , the Unit, and Criminal Minds.

I doubt if his middle name is Walker, but I can’t be sure.  If he has a middle name at all it isn’t listed in his on-line biography.


Thursday, June 2, 2011


If this actually posts, it will qualify as a minor miracle.

Centurylink, our DSL provider, has been dropping out intermittently for the last 24 hours or so, and I have been unable to access the internet for more than 5 minutes at a time.

They have a recording on their help line saying that they are working on the problem and should have it resolved by 2:00 pm, but the last time this happened, we were down for a week.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011



The 2011 Atlantic Hurricane season officially begins today, and continues through the end of November.

The Atlantic basin is expected to see an above-normal hurricane season this year, according to the seasonal outlook issued by NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center – a division of the National Weather Service.

Across the entire Atlantic Basin for the six-month season, which begins June 1, NOAA is predicting the following ranges this year:

  • 12 to 18 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher), of which:
  • 6 to 10 could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including:
  • 3 to 6 major hurricanes (Category 3, 4 or 5; winds of 111 mph or higher)

Each of these ranges has a 70 percent likelihood, and indicate that activity will exceed the seasonal average of 11 named storms, six hurricanes and two major hurricanes.

“The United States was fortunate last year. Winds steered most of the season’s tropical storms and all hurricanes away from our coastlines,” said Jane Lubchenco, Ph.D., under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator. “However we can’t count on luck to get us through this season. We need to be prepared, especially with this above-normal outlook.”

Climate factors considered for this outlook are:

  • The continuing high activity era. Since 1995, the tropical multi-decadal signal has brought ocean and atmospheric conditions conducive for development in sync, leading to more active Atlantic hurricane seasons.
  • Warm Atlantic Ocean water. Sea surface temperatures where storms often develop and move across the Atlantic are up to two degrees Fahrenheit warmer-than-average.
  • La NiƱa, which continues to weaken in the equatorial Pacific Ocean, is expected to dissipate later this month  but its impacts such as reduced wind shear are expected to continue into the hurricane season.

“In addition to multiple climate factors, seasonal climate models also indicate an above-normal season is likely, and even suggest we could see activity comparable to some of the active seasons since 1995,” said Gerry Bell, Ph.D., lead seasonal hurricane forecaster at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center.

NOAA’s seasonal hurricane outlook does not predict where and when any of these storms may hit. Landfall is dictated by weather patterns in place at the time the storm approaches. For each storm, NOAA’s National Hurricane Center forecasts how these weather patterns affect the storm track, intensity and landfall potential.

“The tornadoes that devastated the South and the large amount of flooding we’ve seen this spring should serve as a reminder that disasters can happen anytime and anywhere. As we move into this hurricane season it’s important to remember that FEMA is just part of an emergency management team that includes the entire federal family, state, local and tribal governments, the private sector and most importantly the public,” said FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate.

Storm names for 2011 are:


In 1953, the National Weather Service picked up on the habit of Naval meteorologists of naming the storms after women. Ships were always referred to as female, and were often given women's names. The storms' temperament certainly seemed female enough, shifting directions at a whim, “Hell hath no fury",” etc. In 1979, male names were inserted to alternate with the female names,to the delight of women's-libbers everywhere.

There are actually six lists of names in use for storms in the Atlantic. These lists rotate, one each year; the list of this year's names will not be reused for six years. The names get recycled each time the list comes up, with one exception: storms so devastating that reusing the name is inappropriate. In this case, the name is taken off the list and another name is used to replace it; there will not be another Hurricane Andrew, because Andrew has been replace by Alex on the list.

The 2011 hurricane name list is the same as the 2005 hurricane name list although four hurricane names were retired after the devastating 2005 hurricane season so on the 2011 list Dennis was replaced by Don, Katrina was replaced by Katia, Rita was replaced by Rina, Stan was replaced Sean, and Wilma was replaced by Whitney.