Friday, January 31, 2014



Lais Souza, a 25 year old Brazilian gymnast who was scheduled to compete in the Sochi Olympics as a freestyle skier, won’t be making the trip.

Earlier this week, she took time off from training at Park City, Utah, to do some recreational skiing.  She hit a tree on a downhill run, and is currently on life support.  Nerve damage caused by a dislocated neck has left her with no feeling from the neck down, but doctors are not yet ready to declare her paralyzed, saying that some or all function might still return once the swelling goes down.

Souza competed for Brazil in the 2004 and 2008 Olympics as a gymnast.  She was unable to compete in 2012 due to a hand injury. 

Even before this week’s mishap, she had little or no chance for a medal in Russia.  She’s only been skiing for about six months.

Thursday, January 30, 2014


popular on facebook

Facebook turns 10 years old next week on February 4th. I was a little late to the game, logging on for the first time on July 9, 2009.

The Time Tech website  says the 1.1 billion Facebook subscribers spend  an average of 17 minutes per day on the site, and they have an app HERE that will calculate how much time you’ve wasted on Facebook.

I’m not going to share how many hours (days) I’ve spent on Facebook, but it’s scary – and more than a little embarrassing.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Run or Dye

run or dye

That’s a picture of a participant in a race in McAllen, Texas, last week – taken just as he was bombarded with blue powder.  He was running in a charity event called Run or Dye.

If you want to feel blue - or pink, or yellow or a rainbow combination of colors – this is the event for you.  Based roughly on the Indian celebration of Holi, the festival of colors, Run or Dye is catching on in multiple locations around the country.

If you missed the one in McAllen, there is another scheduled for March in San Antonio.

 You can find more about Run or Dye HERE.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014



I was surprised and disturbed to learn this morning that the US Supreme Court decision in Korematsu vs. the United States has never been overturned.  That is 1944 case in which the Justices ruled that it was OK to round up and incarcerate American citizens simply because they were of Japanese descent.

I had classmates – third generation Americans – who spent time in camps as infants simply because their grandfather was born in Tokyo.  That is just wrong, and it’s not enough to say it could never happen again.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Muskrat Divorce


Husband and wife team Daryl Dragon and Toni Tenille from happier times.  This picture is from the 70s, when the Captain and Tenille were among the hottest musical acts on records and TV.

At 5’ 11”, Cathryn Antoinette Tennille was a whole lot of good looking woman.  Google her name, and you’ll get multiple references to Toni Tenille’s legs, and at least one link to a picture of her feet!  When they had their TV show, my wife always said that Toni Tenille had the most attractive shoulders that she had ever seen.

And she could sing!  Her rich contralto voice made huge hits of songs like Muskrat Love and Love will Keep Us Together.

Apparently, Love won’t – last week, after 39 years of marriage, Toni Tenille filed for divorce.  Dragon says he had no idea their marriage was in trouble until he was served with the divorce papers.

Maybe 39  is equal to forever in Muskrat Years.


Sunday, January 26, 2014

Flag Day

texas flag

Yesterday was the 175th anniversary of the Texas flag.  Montgomery County celebrated with the unveiling of a statue of Dr. Charles Stewart, the man who designed it.  Stewart was a Montgomery County resident, and Texas’ first Secretary of State.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

The Numbers Game

I’ve been hosting this blog for almost four years now, and I’ll be honest, when I started this in March of 2010, it was a lot more about me than about you, dear reader.  A daily blog post was a way to keep my mind in gear -  to keep the synapses sparking for a few more years.

Still, I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t expect/hope for a few more readers. 

As I write this, my blog has had almost 215 thousand page views,  which doesn’t sound so bad, and apparently, I’ve picked up a following in Malaysia – Malaysian readers have passed Russia and the UK  and are now firmly in the number two position behind the US.

They say that figures lie and liars figure, but I was satisfied with (if not exactly thrilled by) the number of hits I’ve received. Then today, quite by accident, I came across something called URL Metrics.  Their site ranks web addresses by their popularity.  According to them Boggy Thicket ranks number 9,768,230 in popularity in the US and number 15,027,905 Worldwide. 

That almost feels like getting picked last for kickball at recess.  I think I need a hug.

Friday, January 24, 2014

The Great Non-Event


For the last several days the local news outlets have been spending the majority of their newscasts talking about the storm forecast for last night and today.  The US Weather Service has been warning of a major winter event.

Urgent - Winter Weather Message
National Weather Service Houston/Galveston TX
413 AM CST Fri Jan 24 2014
, Winter Storm Warning In Effect For Southeast Texas,
A Cold Air Mass Coupled With A Weak Upper Level Disturbance Has
Produced Periods Of Snow North Of A Brenham To Livingston Line.
South Of This Line Periods Of Rain, Freezing Rain And Sleet Were
The Dominant Precipitation Type. The Disturbance Will Exit The
Region This Morning And Precipitation Will Come To An End Between 7 Am And 10 AM. The Winter Storm Warning Could Be Replaced With
A Winter Weather Advisory Later This Morning.

Local TV stations started their morning newscasts an hour early with “Storm Team” reporters out in the predawn darkness desperately trying to find something to talk about.  Reporters drove 70 miles north to Huntsville to be able to actually show wind-blown snow flying through the air.

Most local schools are closed today, people are being urged to stay home and enjoy a three-day weekend, and a few high overpasses on freeway interchanges did have to be closed due to icing. 

Here at the Boggy Thicket, we have almost an eighth of an inch of ice on the barbeque grill.

Winter storms down here are dangerous.  Anyone north of Dallas who saw the local coverage here could hurt themselves laughing.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Adios Edgar


There is an old Texas saying,  Some men just need killing, or maybe that’s an invention of Hollywood – it’s been used in several movies over the years.  Whether is was first said by an old gunslinger wearing the Cinco Peso badge of a Texas Ranger, or dreamed up by a screen writer whose idea of the wild west was a wrap party in Beverly Hills, I’d have to say that the statement contains an element of truth.

Last night, in the first execution of 2014, and over the objections of the Government of Mexico and the US Department of State, Texas  gave the needle to Edgar Tamayo, a cop killing illegal alien.

Tamayo was convicted of murdering a young Houston police officer, Guy Gaddis, ten years ago in January 1994.  Gaddis, who had been on the force for two years, was driving Tamayo and another man from a robbery scene when evidence showed the officer was shot three times in the head and neck with a pistol Tamayo had concealed in his pants. The car crashed, and Tamayo fled on foot but was captured a few blocks away, still in handcuffs, carrying the robbery victim's watch and wearing the victim's necklace.

The facts of the case were undeniable, and nobody was claiming that Tamayo wasn’t a sorry SOB.  Mexico, and John Kerry were upset because they felt his conviction was in violation of the 1963 Vienna Convention on Consular Relations. 

That agreement provides for consular assistance to people arrested in foreign countries, and they claim Tamayo was not informed of that right.

The State of Texas didn’t seem to think he deserved any special privileges just because he was here illegally.  That makes sense to me.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Vegetarian Chicken Ham

This product has stretched my imagination to the breaking point, and literally left me speechless.  The idea of  Vegetarian Ham would be bizarre enough  on its own, but Vegetarian Ham in Chicken flavor?

It is a real product.  Their  Website says:

The team at Lamyong Vegetarian Health Food is a group of passionate people who actively promote vegetarianism and compassion throughout Australia.

We have grown with our customers over the years and we continue to build a strong bond as we progress.

With over ten years in promoting vegetarianism, we have carefully selected and
created a range of products that suits multicultural Australia.


Vegetarian Chicken Ham

Lamyong Vegetarian Ham is a tasty and convenient vegetarian food ingredient loved by all in the family! Comes in 3 different flavours, Original, “Chicken” and “Bacon”.


Water, vegetable oil, textured Soy Protein (27%), whey protein, wheat flour, salt, soy sauce, vegetarian seasonings

Contains soybeans, gluten and dairy. May contain traces of nuts and seeds.


Keep Frozen -18°c

They even offer suggested recipes, but I didn’t read them.  By that point,  I had determined that I would never be able to wrap my head around the concept, so why bother?

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Hobbit Quake

nz eagle

Between 2010 and 2012, I wrote numerous articles on this site about earthquakes.  So many, in fact, that my wife warned me that I was turning into the Boy who cried Wolf. I took her advice to heart, and haven’t had anything to say about the subject for months. 


The wolf is still out there. 

Last week, CBS Nightly News did not quite predict that California will slide into the Pacific, but they did say that a major California quake is inevitable – possibly overdue – not a matter of if  but when.

Not even Hobbits are safe.  Last month, two giant bronze eagles were installed at the Wellington, New Zealand, airport.  A magnitude 6.2 quake there yesterday caused one of the one ton birds to fall to the floor.

The good news for Tolkien fans is that the bird that fell is not the one that carries Gandalf.  The wizard is still aboard the other eagle soaring above the terminal.

What has that got to do with earthquakes in California?  Not much, maybe, but they are related.  New Zealand sits at the southwestern edge of the Pacific "ring of fire," an area of high seismic and volcanic activity that stretches up through Japan, across to Alaska and down the west coasts of North and South America.

Monday, January 20, 2014



If you’ve been following NFL football this year – seen the Denver Broncos play at all – you’ve probably heard Peyton Manning yelling OMAHA during the snap count.  You may have decided that it was a signal that he was changing the play, or that the snap should come next, or…..

At an interview last week, Manning explained it this way:

“I’ve had a lot of people ask what Omaha means. Well, Omaha, it’s a run play,” Manning said Wednesday during his AFC Championship game week press conference.

Manning’s dead-pan delivery made it seem like he was actually trying to give a lesson in football. But we should all know by now that Manning wouldn’t dare give away any secrets to his pre-snap theatrics.

So Manning continued to elaborate on the Omaha call.

“But it could be a pass play, or a play-action pass, depending on a couple of things: the wind, which way we’re going, the quarter, and the jerseys that we’re wearing,” Manning said. “It really varies, really, from play-to-play. So there’s your answer to that.”

After yesterday’s AFC Championship, we do know one thing about Omaha – it is a serious money-maker.  A group of Omaha-based businesses - folks like Mutual of Omaha, ConAgra, CenturyLink, Cox Communication, First National Bank of Omaha, and of course, Omaha Steaks – banded together and pledged money, $800 for every time Manning mentioned their home town during the game.

Manning yelled OMAHA 31 times in Denver’s win over the Patriots.   That means $24,800 will be donated to the  ''Peyback Foundation,'' Manning's charity for at-risk youth.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

The Trouble With Facts


 Facts are good things.  The knowledge of at least a few basic facts is necessary to our daily lives.

The trouble with facts is that (in fact) what we often call facts are statements that are clearly and demonstrably untrue.  These are the things that “Everybody knows” – maxims that have worked to some extent for ages - so we are unwilling to let them go.

For example, take this sentence -  The Sun and the Moon rise in the East and set in the West. 

People have known that since the beginning of time. Phoenicians explored the oceans with little more information than that.  But - it just isn’t true and we know it!  Still we continue to say it despite the fact that, based upon knowledge that clearly contradicts this adage, we sent astronauts to the Moon 45 years – over two generations – ago.

The sentence might be valid enough if we inserted appear to before rise, but the truth is that we orbit the Sun and the Moon orbits us.  The Earth is not flat and the statement is simply not valid.  It misses being true by over 93 million miles!

Even the whole East/West thing is misleading.  Looking out my back door at this time of year, the Moon rises almost 30 degrees North of where the rising Sun clears the horizon.  Using either the Sun or the Moon as my point of reference and heading West, I might be able to find the Pacific Ocean, but closer to home, a day’s walk heading West based on the Sun would take me to New Caney, while using the Moon would find me several miles  to the South at Porter or possibly Kingwood.

Questioning everything could lead to a cynical and unhappy existence, but maybe it’s necessary.  Facts that we accept without evaluation have the potential to lead us astray.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

MLK Camping

wolf yellowstone country

Not sure if Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. ever went camping a day in his life, but if you are one of those who is off work for the federal holiday on Monday, you are invited to camp free in his memory.  All National Forest Service campgrounds are waiving their fees for the day, and all 401 National Park Service facilities are offering free admission.

In a prepared statement,National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis said, “Historic sites, battlefields and memorials across the country preserve the places and tell the stories of our national struggles and accomplishments. I encourage everyone to take time to visit a national park on Monday, especially one of the many dedicated to Dr. King and the Civil Rights Movement.”

Seeing black families at National Parks or RV campgrounds is still rare enough to be noticeable, but we see a few on every trip. There are a few more each year, and I take that as a good sign.

Speaking of signs – this one would seem to indicate that at least some black campers have been around for a while.  It is from the Shenandoah National Park during the 1930s.lewis_mtn_sign_285b

Friday, January 17, 2014

Valentine Insurance


In case you can’t read Japanese – or the (English?)translation – this picture is from the home page of a company offering Valentine’s Day Insurance.  Since the big day is less than a month away, I thought I would pass it along. 

For a fee of less than $10 – payable via PayPal – the company offers to protect you from the embarrassment of being the only guy at your office who doesn’t get a Valentine.  They guarantee you will receive a box of chocolates and a personal card from a beautiful woman named Reiko.

FYI – in Japan, it is traditional for men to receive candy from women on V-day, instead of the other way around, and they get a lot of it.  Japanese companies report that up to half of their annual chocolate sales are for Valentines Day.


For the severely unpopular and truly desperate, there are numerous services on line where you can buy Facebook friends - including one in Brazil that guarantees to enhance your reputation by providing you with an extremely attractive girlfriend. 

Their service may be effective, but it isn’t cheap – they will rent you a girlfriend who will appear on your homepage for $39 a week.  For the equally desperate, but somewhat more frugal, you can enhance your reputation by renting a hot Ex-girlfriend for $19.


Thursday, January 16, 2014


Grand Texas

There have been several articles recently saying that Grand Texas Adventures, the huge amusement park complex planned for this area, will open sometime in 2015. 

The park, which will be located just north of here near the intersection of US 59 (Interstate 69) and Texas Hwy 242, will contain multiple venues, including a sports complex.  According to developers, it is Not just another Astroworld!  One of the best stories about the plan can be found HERE.

I certainly wish them all the best, but I do have one concern – their Big Rivers Water Park is described as ecologically friendly, designed to blend in with the local environment.

Even the perpetual money machine known as Disney World has found that when you blend water parks and ecology, the environment wins.  River Country, the first water park at Disney World was closed – and abandoned – in 2005.  The infrastructure was not demolished – those fiberglass slides may last forever – but the park is once again becoming Florida swamp.


Wednesday, January 15, 2014


I saw a reference to this on Facebook this morning and had to check it out for myself.  Yes, it’s true – the product and the review actually appear on


In their ad for the 5 lb. bag of sugar-free Haribo Gummy Bears, Amazon includes the following warning:

Safety Warning
Consumption of some sugar-free candies may cause stomach discomfort and/or a laxative effect.  Individual tolerance will vary.  If this is the first time you’ve tried these candies, we recommend beginning with one-fourth of a serving size or less. Made with Lycasin, a sugar alcohol. As with other sugar alcohols, people sensitive to this substance may experience upset stomachs.

Apparently, this is something to take seriously.  Just check out this customer review:

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23,091 of 23,423 people found the following review helpful

Just don't. Unless it's a gift for someone you hate.

By C. Torok on October 3, 2012

Amazon Verified Purchase

Oh man...words cannot express what happened to me after eating these. The Gummi Bear "Cleanse". If you are someone that can tolerate the sugar substitute, enjoy. If you are like the dozens of people that tried my order, RUN!
First of all, for taste I would rate these a 5. So good. Soft, true-to-taste fruit flavors like the sugar variety...I was a happy camper.
BUT (or should I say BUTT), not long after eating about 20 of these all hell broke loose. I had a gastrointestinal experience like nothing I've ever imagined. Cramps, sweating, bloating beyond my worst nightmare. I've had food poisoning from some bad shellfish and that was almost like a skip in the park compared to what was going on inside me.
Then came the, uh, flatulence. Heavens to Murgatroyd, the sounds, like trumpets calling the demons back to Hell...the stench, like 1,000 rotten corpses vomited. I couldn't stand to stay in one room for fear of succumbing to my own odors.
But wait; there's more. What came out of me felt like someone tried to funnel Niagara Falls through a coffee straw. I swear my sphincters were screaming. It felt like my delicate starfish was a gaping maw projectile vomiting a torrential flood of toxic waste. 100% liquid. Flammable liquid. NAPALM. It was actually a bit humorous (for a nanosecond)as it was just beyond anything I could imagine possible.
I felt violated when it was over, which I think might have been sometime in the early morning of the next day. There was stuff coming out of me that I ate at my wedding in 2005.
I had FIVE POUNDS of these innocent-looking delicious-tasting HELLBEARS so I told a friend about what happened to me, thinking it HAD to be some type of sensitivity I had to the sugar substitute, and in spite of my warnings and graphic descriptions, she decided to take her chances and take them off my hands.
Silly woman. All of the same for her, and a phone call from her while on the toilet (because you kinda end up living in the bathroom for a spell) telling me she really wished she would have listened. I think she was crying.
Her sister was skeptical and suspected that we were exaggerating. She took them to work, since there was still 99% of a 5 pound bag left. She works for a construction company, where there are builders, roofers, house painters, landscapers, etc. Lots of people who generally have limited access to toilets on a given day. I can't imagine where all of those poor men (and women) pooped that day. I keep envisioning men on roofs, crossing their legs and trying to decide if they can make it down the ladder, or if they should just jump.
If you order these, best of luck to you. And please, don't post a video review during the aftershocks.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The Fall of Paul Bunyan


Despite the best efforts of Hackensack, Minnesota, rumors continue to abound that Paul Bunyan, the fabled North Woods lumberjack was gay – that the bulging muscles and rustic outfits were a classic case of overcompensation.  There are those who smugly claim that Lucette was not the love of his life, but a clever and cynical public relations stunt.

After a century of fame, poor old Paul has come under attack from all sides, with historians and activists of multiple political persuasions determined to prove that Bunyan had feet of clay.  { It is sorely tempting, but I am not going to succumb to adding a play-on-words involving Bunyans and Feet! }

The movie stars who pose naked for PETA could care less about Bunyan’s sexual orientation.   After all, when they do wear clothes, their designers-of-choice are all light in the loafers. But, they do hate Paul Bunyan!  They see him not as an iconic hero, but as a cruel ogre, responsible for the destruction of thousands of acres of woodland habitat – home to songbirds, bunnies and fawns.

In 2013, there was even a movie depicting Bunyan as a demented axe-murderer.  I’m not kidding; you can look it up on IMDB

Today, the latest attack comes from historians who claim that Bunyan got his prodigious strength and size from consuming substances that would have got him banned from Baseball for Life! 

They claim that Paul would visit Native-American shamans and snake-oil salesmen and would buy any performance-enhancing tincture or potion they offered.  He wouldn't just take them - he would try them on his big blue ox first, but if Babe survived, Bunyan took it next.

Monday, January 13, 2014



I normally write my blog posts at least a day in advance, but I didn’t have anything ready for this morning.  Nothing in today’s news grabbed my attention, so finally, in desperation, I took a look at my horoscope (Leo) on my MSN homepage. 

Reflections on your recent success and good fortune with regard to career matters [I’ve been retired for five years] are likely to have you feeling strong, optimistic, and enthusiastic for the future. 

Creative projects are going very well [So why couldn’t I write a blog post for this morning?] as are relationships with the opposite sex. [Honey slept in this morning for the first time in years. 7:30 and I still haven’t seen her.] This should be a very gratifying day for you, full of warm and loving contact with those closest to you, and signs of continued progress.

Enjoy your day, [Foggy with a 30% chance of thundershowers] and treat yourself to an evening out.

It sure is nice to start a new week with such an optimistic forecast!

Sunday, January 12, 2014


pantech renue

This past week, Honey and I were dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st century. 

It all started innocently enough. 

The batteries on our cell phones were getting old and were beginning to need recharging way too often.  I had already planned to buy replacement batteries when we received a notice from ATT – our contract was up, and we were eligible for new phones and a cheaper plan that included unlimited voice and text and a small (300MB) amount of data per month. 

Our old phones had texting capability – at an extra charge – but we never used it.  In fact, I had it turned off so that we would not accidentally incur charges.  I’ll admit I never wanted texting – I’m old fashioned enough to think telephones are for talking.

Getting used to the new phones is presenting a huge learning curve.  The touch-screen (non-adjustable as far as I can determine) varies from much too sensitive to not sensitive enough.  The tiny keyboard was designed for use by Lilliputians.  I received my first call while at the grocery store, and almost lost it while I was figuring out how to just answer the darn phone.

The salesgirl – not so PC shorthand for a customer service technical mentor of the feminine gender somewhere in her early 20s – made a mess of setting up our new equipment. 

I noticed in the store that she had installed Honey’s contacts on both phones, so she took them back and did them all over again.  We were back home before we realized that she had messed that up, too.  When Honey tried to call me from her new phone and instead got access to retrieve my voice mail, we knew something was wrong – it turned out that her info was installed on the phone with my phone number and vice-versa.

At least that was easily fixed.   I went back to the ATT store and explained the problem.  The guy behind the counter just swapped SIM cards in the two phones and, Voila!, problem solved. 

I may not be able to operate my new phone yet, but I’m not exactly a cell phone novice.  In the late 80s, I was part owner of a company that sold cell phones.  Those were analog phones, and we offered two options – a phone permanently installed in your car, or a Motorola “portable”  like this:

Bag Phone 2

Known as a Bag Phone, this baby weighed nearly four pounds (almost all battery) and let you talk for about 20 minutes before it had to be recharged. There were so few cell towers back then that the phone was totally useless outside of (and in multiple dead spots within) the city limits.  It cost just over $1500, and the minimum monthly service charge was around $300.

Speaking of battery life, remember that I said we were having to recharge our old phones too often?  Every couple of days instead of every four or five?  The salesgirl warned us that, because of all the enhancements on our new phones, they will have to visit the charger practically every night.  So far, it seems that at least she got that part right.

I guess that’s progress.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Bad Hair Day

wildroot charlie 3 

I took a shower late Thursday night and went to bed with my hair still damp.  It should come as no surprise that I awoke with a serious case of bed head Friday morning – hair going every which way.

That got me thinking about all the stuff I’ve used to control my hair over the years.  Without thinking too hard, I can come up with:

  • Brylcreem
  • Baby Oil
  • Butch Hair Wax
  • Various brands of Mousse and/or Gel
  • Lucky Tiger Brand’s  3 Roses Tonic
  • Aqua Net hair spray
  • Vitalis
  • Wildroot Cream-Oil
  • Water
  • Whatever else was around

Sometimes I wear my hair shorter or longer, but with only a couple of exceptions, I have always worn my hair in the same way my mother combed it when I was a toddler.  It was over my ears in the 80s, and almost nonexistent when I was in the Army, but I have always parted it on the left and combed around the cowlick on the right side at the back of my head.  The only serious deviation was a short-lived attempt to wear a flat top when I was in junior high school, and that was a total failure – my hair was too limp to stand up even with a ton of wax.

I never actually bought 3 Roses hair tonic, but my barber loved the stuff.  About the only positive was that it was so cloyingly sweet that it guaranteed that I would wash my hair as soon as I could get home from the barber shop. 

My mousse/gel phase corresponded to the years that I was driving around in an open-top MG Midget roadster.  Not only did my hair stay combed, that stuff was better than a hard hat.  You could have dropped an I-beam on me and my hair would have stopped it before it reached my skull.

For the last twenty years or so, I have only used a little water or nothing at all.  I’ve finally reached the point where I have my hair trained – or it has trained me.




Friday, January 10, 2014


bird 1

A couple of years ago, our daughter, Cheryl, gave Honey the bird feeder in the picture above.  It works remarkably well – the plate on top keeps the seeds in the bowl dry, even in the worst weather.

It took a while to catch on. 

This fall, the only customers were a pair of Cardinals that considered it their personal kitchen, but lately, they have been joined by a wide variety of birds.  In fact, for the last week or so – even before the hard freeze – the feeder has been busier than Black Friday at Wal-Mart.  I use a 16 ounce iced-tea glass to fill the bowl, and lately, I have been refilling it at least once a day.

We have fed finches, thrushes, titmice, some even smaller birds I can’t identify, and even one blue jay.  That jay – the biggest bird to use the feeder by far, and normally a pretty aggressive bird – is almost timid when he eats.  If any other bird flies in, he flies away.  When he does, the feeder reacts like a park swing when a big kid jumps off.

English sparrows are as common in Houston as mosquitoes, but we had never seen any here at the Boggy Thicket until last week.  Now it is common to see up to a dozen of them on the ground, grabbing up what the birds in the feeder have spilled.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Progress Report

Well, I have been writing this blog for almost four years now, since March of 2010.  I try to post something new every day, and I’ve come pretty close, with 1348 posts and over 213,000 views so far.

Yesterday, I was notified by the network that one of my posts had been deleted.  It was a post that I called Stocking Stuffers from December 23, 2010.  It was a collection of Christmas cartoons and videos, and apparently one of them was included without the proper authorization or attribution or something.  I’ll admit that I’ve never worried too much about things like that, so I guess one post in four years isn’t too bad.

Writing something new every day is fun, but it is a challenge.  I found a great quote on line that fits the situation quite well -

“Writing a daily column (or blog post) is like being married to a nymphomaniac,  just when you think you’re finished, you have to start all over.”

That was written by Ellen Goodman, the Pulitzer Prize winning author from the Boston Globe and Washington Post.  Since she is a grandmother (and married to a man) I have to wonder if the quote was her own idea or if it was plagiarized.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

I Remember the Smell

odor memory

In yesterday’s post about smells, I mentioned some of my favorites - Gardenias, fresh-cut Pine, Coffee and Leather.  My buddy, Dave Szostek, added Bacon and Gunpowder to the list, and Kirk Dabney pointed out the strong influence odors have on memory.

That brought to mind the memory of several times and locations that are irrevocably tied to smells:

  1. Navigation Boulevard in Houston when the Maxwell House plant was roasting coffee.
  2. The railroad underpass where Washington Avenue becomes the Hempstead Highway, back in the day when the Speas Company still made Vinegar there.
  3. Ocean Drive in Corpus Christi on a foggy morning with the wind from the South -  the primordial smell of the sea.

You probably have some interesting odors in your own memory bank, and I’d love to know what they are.


Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Something Smells


Not making any judgments here – Heck, I’m having trouble just absorbing this – but according to MENTALFLOSS.COM, a recent study by the Smell and Taste Research Foundation determined that the scent that women find most arousing was a combination of Good & Plenty Candy (licorice) and Cucumber.

Men, on the other hand respond to different odors.  Never mind pheromones, on THEIR WEBSITE, the Smell and Taste folks say that guys react most strongly (measured by penile blood flow) to  a combination of Lavender and Pumpkin Pie.

Their report doesn’t saw how they chose the odors  they tested, but they obviously couldn’t try everything.  I can’t help believing that their results were skewed in favor of odors that appealed to the researchers. 

I don’t know about arousal, but there are plenty of smells I find much more pleasant – Gardenias, fresh-cut Pine, Coffee and Leather just to name a few.

Personally, I despise Pumpkin Pie and avoid anything with pumpkin in it.  I don’t dislike pumpkin as much as pineapple, but almost – so I can’t imagine that I would find it stimulating.  I associate the smell of Lavender with my grandmother’s bath soap, so the thought of that being sexually stimulating is just creepy.


Monday, January 6, 2014




As the lady in the picture (and her goat) would testify, the weather ain’t fit for man nor beast.

A “Polar Vortex” has brought sub-freezing temperatures to all of the 48 contiguous states this morning.  Only small portions of California, Arizona and Florida are above freezing with sub-zero temps from the Dakotas to the Great Lakes. The weather service is predicting wind chill in the negative 30s as far southeast as the Piedmont of Virginia.

Here at the Boggy Thicket, we woke this morning to 27° and a wind chill of 14° Fahrenheit.  Our record low for the day was 25° back in 1970, but today’s wind chill number may be one for the books.

The weathercasters use wind chill factor a lot, and I suppose it is important since it tells you what the weather “feels” like.  You can figure it out for yourself using NOAA’s  WIND CHILL CALCULATOR.

Sunday, January 5, 2014



Fifty-two people, a mix of tourists and scientists who went to the Antarctic to study the effects of Global Warming, had to be rescued by helicopter when their ship got stuck in the ice.  The first two Ice Breaker vessels sent down to help also got stuck, and now there is a US ice breaker on the way to try and help them get free.

Meanwhile, here in the US, forecasts are calling for record-breaking lows over much of the country over the next few days.  At the Boggy Thicket this morning’s low was 62° at 7:00 a.m., but that may also be the high temperature for the day.  Winds are expected to shift to the north later this morning, and the forecast low for tomorrow is 20°.

That whole Global Warming thing is complicated, isn’t it?

Saturday, January 4, 2014

A Cup of Coffee

One of the nicest things about our Keurig  coffee maker is that it can pour a perfectly full cup of coffee without spilling it all over the counter – even in the dark. 

I can’t do that - not consistently, anyway - so I am amazed at the baristas who can create little works of art in a cup of latte.

Probably the best coffee artist in the world is a guy in Tokyo named Kazuki Yamamoto.  He doesn’t just draw happy faces in the foam, he creates remarkable sculpture like this:


If you’d like to see more of his stuff, check him out on TWITTER.

Friday, January 3, 2014

A Jar of What???


If you’re seeing this for the first time, you’re too late to get in on the bidding, but a guy in England offered (and sold) on EBay a Jar of Mole Asses.

Nigel Davies, of North Cornwall Mole Control, auctioned off a Mason jar containing four rear halves of moles he’d captured.  He described them as by-products of the taxidermied mole heads that he regularly offers for sale.

They went for £9.99 (roughly $16 US dollars) with £12.00 shipping - a real bargain compared to the mole-head paperweights he sells for £41.

The item has been sold and relisted on EBay several times, but if you just can’t wait for it to come up again, you can contact  Davies at

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Wal-Mart Start


Made my first trip of 2014 to my local Wal-Mart yesterday morning, and like the items in my basket, the visit  was definitely a mixed bag.

First, the parking lot at ten a.m. was about as empty as you’d usually find it four in the morning.  I was able to park on the front row, midway between the door I was going in and the one I would be coming out.

The lack of a crowd – and very few little kids – made it easy to cruise the aisles, and I found some things I wasn’t actually looking for.  For example, I got Honey a package of crew socks that weren’t on the list, but which she had mentioned that she needed.

It would have been an ideal experience except that the folks that Wal-Mart had scheduled to work New Year’s morning were the employees at the bottom of the corporate pecking order – the slowest, dumbest and least cooperative people on their staff.  I almost said that they were operating with a skeleton crew, but I didn’t see anyone working that wasn’t seriously overweight. 

Granted, they might have resented having to work that early on New Year’s Day (or they may have just been hung over) but these people were a fine example of why Wal-Mart is justified in paying what the activists condemn as a sub-standard wage.

I (and three other shoppers just while I was standing there) discovered that they were completely sold out of dry black-eyed peas, a mandatory staple for New Year’s Day.  We already had a pot going at home, so I was not nearly as distressed as a couple of the women I saw.

On the other hand, they may have been out of peas, but they had a whole end-of-aisle display with hundreds of packages of 60 watt incandescent bulbs.  I stocked up on those.

This last may say more about me than it says about the store, but I’ve seen this before and it annoys the Hell out of me. 

There are two rows of  check-out stands at Wal-Mart.  The first row (the one they used to use most often) is designed for right-handed shoppers - as your bags come around on the lazy Susan, it is easy to retrieve them and put them in your cart.  The second row (which they used to use only for overflow) faces the opposite direction, which makes loading your stuff awkward and inefficient.

Yesterday, every check-out stand that was open was left-handed.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year


We didn’t shoot off fireworks here at the Boggy Thicket, and neither did our next-door neighbors, or the neighbors across the road. 

But – their neighbors did, and their neighbors, and theirs.  It sounded at times like the confluence of Harris, Montgomery and Liberty Counties was being carpet-bombed. 

As a percentage of their annual incomes, many of the folks out here in the woods must have spent much more on fireworks than the Sultan of Dubai.

I am inferring from this that they expect 2014 to be a Hell of a Year

Here’s hoping that they are right, and wishing you and yours the best year ever.