Saturday, January 31, 2015

Let’s Meet Somewhere Else

Common-Housecleaning-MistakesYou’d have to admit that we keep a clean house. 

Sometimes, like LAST WEEK, we even go a little overboard. Honey not only wants everything pristine, she has to have it organized. Personally, I am a bit of a slob, perfectly comfortable with a lot of clutter, but even I like for things to be clean.

That being said, why is it that the possibility that someone might be coming over demands that we go on a house cleaning tear? 

An old friend mentioned yesterday that they might stop by today, so now I have to post this, get off the computer, and get to work.

Things would be so much simpler if I had suggested that we meet at a restaurant somewhere.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Need for Speed

We finally got rid of Honey’s old computer!

Well, we actually didn’t.  I’ve left it on our home network strictly as a print server (and maybe someplace to back up files) but Honey now has a shiny new HP laptop.  Her old computer, a Dell PC, didn’t actually have genuine ivory keys, but it was almost that old, and it was so slow that it couldn’t run several of the games she likes to play.

The new computer has a touch screen, and came pre-loaded with a gazillion options, things like Kindle and Skype and dozens of others we will probably never use.  When you click on something it opens immediately – no waiting at all – and she loves that. 

What isn’t going so fast is the learning curve, transitioning from XP

xp_n_03to Windows 8.1

windows-8-1-skypeAccording to the news reports, later this year– about the time we figure this one out - Microsoft  is going to offer free upgrades to Windows 10. They say that is a good thing – I guess we have to wait and see.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Dog Gone

Last year, Budweiser won the Super Bowl commercial sweepstakes with a heartwarming ad that featured a cute little puppy and the Budweiser Clydesdales.  It was so popular that they have a sequel scheduled to air on Sunday.

GoDaddy also had a spot featuring a lost puppy scheduled for this year’s Super Bowl broadcast - one that poked fun at the Budweiser ad - but they have caught such grief from animal rights groups that they have pulled the ad before it ever aired.

If you'd like to see what all the fuss was about, here it is:


Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Goin’ to the Chapel

elebyThe bride is Yasmin Eleby of Houston, and the groom is, well, Yasmin Eleby. 

She always said that if she didn’t find anyone who loved her as much as she loved herself by the time she turned forty, she would marry herself.  She didn’t – so she did.

In an elaborate ceremony at the Houston Museum of African American Culture, Eleby was married earlier this month.  Honeymoon stops are said to include Laos, Cambodia and a jazz festival in Dubai.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

How to Unboil an Egg


soft boiled

Scientists at UC Irvine have announced that, working with colleagues from South Australia’s Flinders University, they have developed a way to unboil an egg.

Your first reaction might be “Why?” or even “Who cares” but they say the process has applications that could save thousands of dollars in pharmaceutical production and research.

"Yes, we have invented a way to unboil a hen egg," said Gregory Weiss, UCI professor of chemistry and molecular biology & biochemistry. "In our paper, we describe a device for pulling apart tangled proteins and allowing them to refold. It's not so much that we're interested in processing the eggs; that's just demonstrating how powerful this process is," Weiss said. "The real problem is there are lots of cases of gummy proteins that you spend way too much time scraping off your test tubes, and you want some means of recovering that material."

"This method ... could transform industrial and research production of proteins," the researchers write in ChemBioChem.

For example, pharmaceutical companies currently create cancer antibodies in expensive hamster ovary cells that do not often misfold proteins. The ability to quickly and cheaply re-form common proteins from yeast or E. coli bacteria could potentially streamline protein manufacturing and make cancer treatments more affordable.

Industrial cheese makers, farmers and others who use recombinant proteins could also achieve more bang for their buck.

UCI has filed for a patent on the work, and its Office of Technology Alliances is working with interested commercial partners.

Monday, January 26, 2015


jj mvp

One more well deserved honor for our hometown hero, but I wonder if it might cause a problem. 

The ESPN crew mentioned during the game that the winner would receive a tricked-out GMC vehicle, and J. J. is seen regularly on TV as a spokesman for Ford pickups.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Addicted to Limericks

I have always loved Limericks, and a few years ago (can it really be 2011) I founded a group on Facebook called Addicted to Limericks. At the request of some of our members, we made it a closed group – and while I understand their reasons why (they don’t want their employers to know they are writing poetry while they are on the clock) I feel it has severely limited our growth.

For those who might wonder, here are a few samples of what you are missing:

Got a piece of raw fish on my Plate
It's the one thing that I haven't Ate
I think if you hook It
Then you oughta cook It
Fish that is raw is called "Bait" !!


Said a middle-aged fellow from Dorset
As he tightened the strings on his corset
It holds in my gut
And it accents my butt
And I can look good if I force it

Often our rhymes are topical.  A headline about a lady who had won a free cremation from a local funeral home generated

Lookit me! I won a prize!
Wanna try it on for size
But, to my chagrin
To collect my win
Would require my own demise!....

Or, the first day back after my computer crashed, I wrote

My computer was down for over a week
It left me blind, could not even peek
At any limericks posted here
It left me feeling sad and drear
And mumbling words I should never speak

We have lots of fun – nothing too naughty, but a lot of puns and double entendres – and one poem often leads to another. If you think you might want to join in, let me know.  We are always ready to welcome new members who will actually participate.

Saturday, January 24, 2015


sultan Closing out this current run of posts about cops and animals is a story I’m sad to report.

This is Sultan, a Belgian Malinois- German Shepherd mix who served with the San Jacinto, California, police department.

Sultan died in the line of duty Wednesday.  He had gone into a house where a suspect was barricaded and he was fatally injured.  He did make it back out of the house, but died at the scene.

The wanted felon who killed Sultan was shot dead at the scene when he came out of the house brandishing a pistol.

Friday, January 23, 2015

For the Birds

After two days of posts about Cops and Animals, the best I could come up with today is this picture of a couple of English policemen trying to corral an errant swan.

swanCloser to home -

As I mentioned last  November, all of our Cardinals left before the first freeze.  I’m not sure why, since Cardinals are not supposed to be migratory birds. Now, even though we’re entering the coldest weeks of the year, they are back.  We have at least one, and probably two pairs of Cardinals in the yard.

One other bird note – the Finch Sock bird feeder we bought and hung up this year has been a total bust.  It’s been hanging for almost two months, and I’ve only seen a bird on it once.  He stayed and ate for quite a while, several minutes, then he took off and hasn’t been back.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

In What?


I’m afraid that I can see the beginnings of a possible trend here.  Yesterday’s post was about a cop and a kitty, and today’s is about law enforcement and…


On the floor of the Pinellas County (Florida) Sheriff’s office, just inside the entrance, is a custom made carpet with the Sheriff’s Department seal.  The carpet had been there since November, but last week one of the deputies noticed a misprint.  Instead of saying “In God We Trust” like the department seal, the carpet says “In Dog We Trust.”

The rug has been rolled up, and the manufacturer has agreed to replace it. 

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Cop & Kitty

This happened in Texas back in November, and it has been all over the internet.  If you have seen it, it’s worth revisiting, and if you haven’t, you’ve got a treat in store.

Officer Keith Urban (not the country super-star, but yes, that is his real name) was making a traffic stop when this was caught on his patrol car dash camera ----

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Grapefruit Temptation

grapefruit2Honey came back from her walk yesterday telling me to grab the truck keys.  She had a fresh-picked grapefruit in her hand, and the juice from another one on her jacket.  One of our neighbors had a large box of home grown grapefruit at the end of their driveway with a sign saying "Free – Help Yourself,” and she wanted to go get more before they were gone.

I love grapefruit – always have – but I take a couple of medications that advise against taking with grapefruit or grapefruit juice.  Many drugs are broken down (metabolized) with the help of a vital enzyme called CYP3A4 in the small intestine. Certain substances in grapefruit juice affect the action of CYP3A4.  In some cases, such as Allegra, it reduces the effectiveness of the medication, but with other drugs, like Lipitor, more of the drug enters the bloodstream and stays in the body longer, causing the medication to work too well.

I took Lipitor, and regularly drank grapefruit juice – with or without a shot of tequila - for years before the study came out advising against it, and never had any adverse effects.  I have avoided grapefruit for the past few years, but this time I may have to make an exception.

As anyone who has grown their own fruits and vegetables can tell you, the difference in taste between store-bought and fresh-picked is amazing – maybe too good to resist.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Why Can’t We All Just Get Along

Miss-Universe.jl.011815Four pretty girls, Miss Universe contestants, in Miami. 

Not a particularly good or flattering picture - just a fairly typical “selfie”but it is creating a storm of controversy this morning.

Saly Griege, Miss Lebanon, is catching Hell back home for posing (and smiling) alongside Doron Matalon, Miss Israel.  Lebanese television station Al Jadeed said in a sarcastic report that since one of Miss Lebanon's hobbies is reading, she should have read that her country and Israel are enemies.

Griege herself is claiming that she was photobombed - “I was having a photo with Miss Japan, Miss Slovenia, suddenly Miss Israel jumped in and took a selfie, and uploaded it on her social media."  The same picture appears on Miss Lebanon’s Instagram page, with Miss Israel cropped out.

My thoughts on the situation:

  • the Miss Universe pageant could probably use the publicity
  • the Media can turn anything into a huge controversy
  • Miss Lebanon is the cutest girl in the picture
  • Who really cares, anyway?

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Finding A Stopping Spot


Nine days ago, I reported on the new SHARK steam mop that Honey got for Christmas.  Yesterday was the day when we were going to do the rest of the tile – the utility room, kitchen and dining area – that I did not do the first day.  I can’t say I was looking forward to it, but I didn’t think it was going to be a major event. It wouldn’t have been, except - -

Overall, the floor looked pretty good before I started, but there were a few stained tiles that needed some special attention.  I had a gallon jug of Purple Power brand degreaser out in the garage, so I put some in a spray bottle and cleaned a couple of the tiles by hand.

Those tiles looked so much better, so much cleaner, that we ended up cleaning the entire Kitchen and utility room on our hands and knees, scrubbing each tile and the surrounding grout with Purple Power and a Scotch-Brite sponge. 

If you’re looking for a highly effective cardio exercise, this is it. Actually, it is something that someone of my age and physical condition probably shouldn’t even consider, but the contrast between clean and really clean tiles was just too much.  If Honey hadn’t spelled me – she did half the work - we would never have made it as far as we did.

We still have the dining area to do today – another 100 or so tiles to scrub – and we are both already so stiff this morning that we can hardly move.  That’s what happens when good enough isn’t good enough.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Friday, January 16, 2015



News reports last week quoted scientists from the Global Warming crowd as saying the temperature of the Earth rose last year by 1.5° Fahrenheit. I’m not sure where they stuck their thermometer, but you can bet your ass it wasn’t anywhere near Houston, Texas.

The average annual mean temperature in Houston, recorded by the weather station at George Bush Intercontinental Airport, is 69.5°F, with an average daily high of 80° and a low of 60°.

Last year’s mean temperature here was about two degrees lower than 2013. And, for the first time in recent memory, we had no days – zero, zilch – when the official high temperature got as high as 100° 

So far, 2015 is helping Houston keep its cool.  The sun came out yesterday, breaking a 17 day streak of overcast days, and ending a 10 day run of temperatures below 50°.

My pro-warming-theory friends will be quick to point out that anecdotal evidence from a single location does not disprove Global warming; that it takes hundreds of readings from around the world to arrive at their average temperatures. 

They would be absolutely right!  It is a basic tenet of statistics that the greater the sample, the more accurate the result, but, like clipping the corners of a polyhedron to approach a circle, the best result is still only an approximation.  And, the result can be – it’s been alleged that it has been – greatly affected by the choice of which samples to record.

I’ll agree that local weather statistics don’t disprove Global Warming, but they do make it a lot harder to believe.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Great Basin Find

Great-Basin-National-Park-ImagesThe Great Basin National Park is the least-visited of all the parks in the U. S. National Park system.  Located in the desert in the middle of nowhere – actually eastern Nevada – it is not even on a primary route between other major tourist destinations.  We stopped there back in 2010, and found it has a lot to see.  It is the home of 13,063 foot Wheeler Peak, and the Lehman Caves.  It is also where you’ll find the oldest trees in North America, 3,000-plus year old Bristlecone Pines.

Now the park has a new claim to fame, a Winchester Model 1873 rifle found leaning against a juniper tree – a gun that may have been left there over a hundred year ago.


Here’s the story from the park’s website:

Many of us harbor pipe dreams of running across an original Winchester Model 1873 rifle in the rafters of a dusty attic or tucked in the dark corner of old barn.

Recently employees of the National Park Service found an original Winchester Model 1873 rifle leaning against a gnarled juniper tree in a remote part of the sprawling Great Basin National Park in Nevada.

According to Nichole Andler, Chief of Interpretation at Great Basin National Park, “The rifle, exposed for all those years to sun, wind, snow and rain, was found leaning against a tree in the park. The cracked wood stock, weathered to grey, and the brown rusted barrel blended into the colors of the old juniper tree in a remote rocky outcrop, keeping the rifle hidden for many years.”

“Engraved on the rifle is “Model 1873,” identifying it distinctly as a Winchester Model 1873 repeating rifle,” continued Andler. “The serial number on the lower tang corresponds in Winchester records held at the Center for the West at the Cody Firearms Museum in Cody, Wyoming, with a manufacture and shipping date of 1882. But the detailed history of this rifle is as yet unknown.”

While the specific history of the aged Winchester rifle is as yet unknown, the opportunities for speculation are rich. Perhaps it belonged to a lone cowboy riding the high range. Perhaps it was set aside by a sourdough prospector in his search for a vein of rich ore. Whatever the actual story, it has the makings of a great campfire tale.

After museum conservation to prevent further deterioration, the rifle will be returned to the park and displayed as part of the park’s 30th birthday and the NPS centennial celebration.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Stop, Thief

frigate pelicanThis photo was taken off the Galapagos last October by wildlife photographer Michael Poliza. 

He explains that local fishermen were cleaning their catch and the stuff they were throwing overboard was attracting a lot of birds.  The pelican had caught, and was in the process of swallowing, a chunk of fish when the frigate bird swooped in and snatched it right out of his beak.

The Hawaiian name for the frigate bird is iwa, which means thief.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015


A Facebook friend who recently returned from a vacation in India posted a link to English words that are only heard in India.  One of the words listed was prepone.

We are all familiar with postpone, but what if, instead of moving something to a later date, you want to reschedule something sooner?

I got busy and never posted anything yesterday.  You would think that after (almost) five years of (almost) daily posts, there would be no way I could forget.  You would (almost) be right.

I would prepone this post if I could.  In fact, there is a button on Windows Live Writer that is supposed to allow you to set the publish date of a post.  I know that it doesn’t seem to work for posting to a later date, but I haven’t tried it for posting earlier. 

I’m going to try it. 

Monday, January 12, 2015


Stick-to-it-ivity is a term coined by Mel Torme in his song of the same name written for the 1948 Walt Disney movie So Dear to My Heart.  The show is an inspirational tale about a boy who raises a black lamb and enters it in the competition at the fair.  The show also featured Lavender Blue and another inspirational ditty, It’s Whatcha Do With Whatcha Got.

so dear

I don’t remember much about the movie – I was only six years old when it came out – but that term has stuck with me over the years.  It speaks to the importance of perseverance  against all odds – says that you can never lose if you never quit.

If there ever was an example of stick-to-it-ivity, this is it:

deadWhen we had an ice storm in early March of last year, our Saucer Magnolia already had several blooms open.  Those blossoms froze and turned black, but they never fell off.  The buds that were not yet open at the time of the freeze opened normally and eventually dropped, leaves opened and fell in their proper seasons, but almost a year after they froze, those dead blossoms continue to cling to the tree.

I’m not sure why they’re still hanging in there.  If they’re making a point, that point escapes me.  Still, I have to admire their stick-to-it-ivity.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Charlie Hebdo


This morning in Paris, thousands turned out for a rally in support of Charlie Hebdo, the satirical French paper where 12 were killed during an attack last week, and in support of freedom of the press in general. 

While the paper was targeted because radical Muslims objected to their cartoons  lampooning of the Prophet Mohammed, Charlie  has always been an equal-opportunity insulter.  Their irreverent cartoons have attacked Muslims, Jews and Christians – sometimes, all three at once as in this demand that Charlie be veiled.

charlieSatirical publications serve a valuable – even necessary – role in society.  They force us to reexamine our values and priorities – they stretch the envelope.  If they don’t publish something that you personally find offensive, they are not doing their job. 

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Green Comet


That’s a picture of the Comet Lovejoy which is supposed to be visible in the southern sky for the next several nights. 

Supposed to be visible, but like I mentioned last October, we have terrible timing here at the Boggy Thicket when it comes to celestial events. It has been overcast for the last several days, and the current seven-day forecast calls for mostly cloudy skies most of the time for the entire week.

Comet Lovejoy, formally designated C/2014 Q2 (Lovejoy), is providing a great opportunity for sky-watchers elsewhere. For next 10 days, the comet will be visible to the naked eye under good conditions.  The head of the comet has a bright green color because of carbon molecules fluorescing in the ultraviolet light of the sun.

Unfortunately, it looks like my only chance of seeing a green comet is if I look under the kitchen sink.


Friday, January 9, 2015



This past Christmas, our daughter Cheryl gave Honey a Shark steam mop.  It hardly seems fair, but I was the first one to get to play with it.

The weather today is too unpleasant to want to do anything outside, so we decided to give the Shark a spin.

Preliminary results are pretty good.  It does at least as good a job as a  string mop, it doesn’t require rinsing afterward, and the floor dries a lot faster.  It still feels like work, but it is much easier than schlepping around a big heavy mop and bucket.

I guess now I’ll have to offer to let Honey play with my new cordless drill.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Canon Rebel(lion)


As a photographer, I’m definitely an amateur, although I could make a claim to being a professional.

Back in the early 60s, Jay Oliver of KNUZ radio had a very lucrative side business shooting photos of auto accidents which he then sold to attorneys for use in lawsuits.  He set me up with a police scanner for my car, a strobe and battery pack that was almost too big to carry, and a Yashica D camera.  I shot several wrecks for him over a period of a few months.


I wasn’t very good at it. 

To make matters worse, almost all of the police knew and liked Jay, but they didn’t know me, so they often refused to let me get the shots I needed.  I soon decided the whole thing was more trouble than it was worth.

That was the end of my professional career.

For the past seven years or so, I have been shooting pictures for my own enjoyment with a Canon Rebel camera I got right after we retired.  It has been a great camera, but for the past few months the pictures I’ve taken have come out slightly to severely out of focus. I finally took it to the camera store for repairs.

The camera is ready to pick up, and the technician had both good and bad news.  The good news (and the bad) is that he found nothing mechanically wrong.  Either it just needed a good cleaning, or I’m a worse photographer than I thought.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015


Blow-out tool

We have the first hard freeze of 2015 forecast for tonight/tomorrow morning, so I will be spending several hours today getting ready, protecting stuff we normally don’t have to worry about.

One of the main projects is winterizing the 5th wheel, which involves protecting the water lines from freezing.  There are two schools of thought on that – adding antifreeze to the fresh water system, or blowing the water out of the system with compressed air, using  an adapter like the one pictured above.  I use the air compressor, although I’ve only had to do it once before in the six-plus years we’ve owned the trailer.

Just an FYI for those who don’t own an RV – the antifreeze you use is not what you’d put in your car’s radiator.  That stuff could kill you.  The RV antifreeze is pink and only intended for water systems.  You still have to flush it out before drinking the water, but a little residual is supposed to be safe.   Compressed air is just as easy, and a little residual air can’t hurt anything.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Waiting to Hear

Two of Houston’s all time favorite sports figures are waiting this morning. 

One of them, Craig Biggio, will know today whether he has been voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.  The other, J. J. Watt, will have to wait until the end of the month before he knows if he will be named the MVP of the National Football League.

Biggio should make it today.  He had a stellar career from 1988 to 2007, and amassed 3060 career hits.  There have been only 20 players in history with more.  There are those who are on a position to know that say the only reason he didn’t make it in his first year of eligibility is that there are a few old sports writers who refuse to vote for anybody their first time around.

It seems that everyone is assuming that Watt will be named Defensive Player of the Year for the second time in his short career, but MVP is still a question mark.  The award almost always goes to a quarterback, and no defensive player has been named MVP since Lawrence Taylor won it back in 1987.

However the voting goes, these two gentlemen will always be tops in my book.  Their actions, both on and off the field of play, exemplify the best their respective sports have to offer.

Monday, January 5, 2015


There are several versions of “Words to Live By” on line that are attributed to American Indians.  Some of them are quite inspirational, but – like Lincoln’s comments on social media – are of questionable origin.   This one originally appeared in the "Inter-Tribal Times" in October, 1994.

Native American Code of Ethics
1. Rise with the sun to pray. Pray alone. Pray often. The Great Spirit will listen, if you only speak.
2. Be tolerant of those who are lost on their path. Ignorance, conceit, anger, jealousy and greed stem from a lost soul. Pray that they will find guidance.
3. Search for yourself, by yourself. Do not allow others to make your path for you. It is your road, and yours alone. Others may walk it with you, but no one can walk it for you.
4. Treat the guests in your home with much consideration. Serve them the best food, give them the best bed and treat them with respect and honor.
5. Do not take what is not yours whether from a person, a community, the wilderness or from a culture. It was not earned nor given. It is not yours.
6. Respect all things that are placed upon this earth - whether it be people or plant.
7. Honor other people's thoughts, wishes and words. Never interrupt another or mock or rudely mimic them. Allow each person the right to personal expression.
8. Never speak of others in a bad way. The negative energy that you put out into the universe will multiply when it returns to you.
9. All persons make mistakes. And all mistakes can be forgiven.
10. Bad thoughts cause illness of the mind, body and spirit. Practice optimism.
11. Nature is not FOR us, it is a PART of us. They are part of your worldly family.
12. Children are the seeds of our future. Plant love in their hearts and water them with wisdom and life's lessons. When they are grown, give them space to grow.
13. Avoid hurting the hearts of others. The poison of your pain will return to you.
14. Be truthful at all times. Honesty is the test of ones will within this universe.
15. Keep yourself balanced. Your Mental self, Spiritual self, Emotional self, and Physical self - all need to be strong, pure and healthy. Work out the body to strengthen the mind. Grow rich in spirit to cure emotional ails.
16. Make conscious decisions as to who you will be and how you will react. Be responsible for your own actions.
17. Respect the privacy and personal space of others. Do not touch the personal property of others - especially sacred and religious objects. This is forbidden.
18. Be true to yourself first. You cannot nurture and help others if you cannot nurture and help yourself first.
19. Respect others religious beliefs. Do not force your belief on others.
20. Share your good fortune with others. Participate in charity.

InspirationNative Village Home Page

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Emails Are Forever



When I booted up my computer this morning, I got a “read receipt” in my email.  It was for a joke about golf and the federal government that I sent to a friend of mine on December 28th, and that he had opened today. 

I don’t remember the joke, and I didn’t remember sending it, but a closer look revealed that I sent it on December 28th of 2011.

Saturday, January 3, 2015



“The enemy is Fear.  We think it is Hate; but, it is Fear.” – Gandhi

I posted that quote just the way I found it on line. 
The punctuation looks odd to me – awkward, and probably incorrect – but the statement itself rings true.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Blooming Good Start


So far, 2015 has been overcast, with temperatures in the 40s and drizzle.  Not my favorite kind of weather, but we do have Camelias blooming.

Thursday, January 1, 2015


New year 2015 is coming on the beachThe sands of time have swallowed up 2014, and another new year begins today.

In spite of any complaining I may have done, 2014 ended up being a pretty good year, and I have every reason to hope 2015 will be even better.

Best wishes for a great new year to you and yours.