Sunday, January 31, 2016

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Today is our daughter Cheryl's birthday, and she is off celebrating somewhere on a beach in Florida.
 Happy birthday, Sweetie - have a great one!

Friday, January 29, 2016

Why Megyn?

Watched last night's GOP debate.  
Nothing new except the fact that Donald Trump refused to appear due to his ongoing feud with Megyn Kelly.  
Or was that the real reason he wasn't there...
The Donald has always liked to surround himself with attractive women.  
At the first debate Fox hosted, Kelly looked like this:
Last night, she was sporting a new hair-do that was a total disaster:
 Maybe she thinks she is getting too old to look like a centerfold, but her new look is just sad.

Thursday, January 28, 2016


Yesterday was the anniversary of the Apollo One fire - the training accident that killed astronauts Gus Grissom, Ed White and Roger Chaffee on the launch pad at Cape Kennedy in 1967.
And today is the 30th anniversary of the Challenger Disaster.  The space shuttle blew up 72 seconds after lift off, taking the lives of  seven people: commander Francis "Dick" Scobee; pilot Mike Smith; mission specialists Judith Resnik, Ron McNair and Ellison Onizuka; and payload specialists Christi McAuliffe and Greg Jarvis.
I might be willing to go into space, but I think I would avoid the last week of January. 
The Challenger disaster claimed the lives of seven people: commander Francis "Dick" Scobee; pilot Mike Smith; mission specialists Judith Resnik, Ron McNair and Ellison Onizuka; and payload specialists McAuliffe and Greg Jarvis. - See more at:
The Challenger disaster claimed the lives of seven people: commander Francis "Dick" Scobee; pilot Mike Smith; mission specialists Judith Resnik, Ron McNair and Ellison Onizuka; and payload specialists McAuliffe and Greg Jarvis. - See more at:
The Challenger disaster claimed the lives of seven people: commander Francis "Dick" Scobee; pilot Mike Smith; mission specialists Judith Resnik, Ron McNair and Ellison Onizuka; and payload specialists McAuliffe and Greg Jarvis. - See more at:
The Challenger disaster claimed the lives of seven people: commander Francis "Dick" Scobee; pilot Mike Smith; mission specialists Judith Resnik, Ron McNair and Ellison Onizuka; and payload specialists McAuliffe and Greg Jarvis. - See more at:
The Challenger disaster claimed the lives of seven people: commander Francis "Dick" Scobee; pilot Mike Smith; mission specialists Judith Resnik, Ron McNair and Ellison Onizuka; and payload specialists McAuliffe and Greg Jarvis. - See more at:

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Chicken Wire

Nothing much to report today, but I saw this on the web and thought it was fascinating.  It is a machine making chicken wire:


Tuesday, January 26, 2016

First Four

As I mentioned last SPRING, we have a small patch of clover near our gas grill that produces a lot of 4 leaf clovers - and at least one 5 leaf clover - last year.  Like polydactyly in humans, the tendency to produce extra lobes is genetic, and this plant definitely got the gene.
In a normal year, we wouldn't be seeing clover at all until about the first of March, but yesterday, I picked the first 4 leaf clover of 2016.

Monday, January 25, 2016

One More Time

I may be (okay, I probably am) overdoing it. 
I first published this post under the title Digital Stupidity in October of 2010, then re-posted it two years later under the title Best of Bob.  I still think it is one of my best:
(Author's note:  Many of my younger readers will not recognize the term PDA - In the language of today, it stands for Public Display of Affection, but when I wrote this five years ago, it stood for Personal Digital Assistant. A PDA was a primitive electronic device, a sort of ancestor of today's smart phones and tablets.)
Mobile Phone
Back in the late ‘90s, I got my first pocket-sized Electronic Organizer, an early ancestor of today’s PDA.  It had a small back-up battery to retain the data in its miniscule memory so the triple A batteries that ran the thing could be replaced when they wore out. I would eventually learn how devastating the loss of that back-up battery could be.
I was delighted with the device to begin with.  It worked as advertized, and it did increase my efficiency, bringing a multitude of information – phone numbers, part numbers, names and addresses – literally to my fingertips. 
Within just a couple of weeks, though, the infernal  device had robbed me of all ability to remember phone numbers on my own.  Oh, I could tell you the number of the phone our family had when I was five – the one that began with MU-lberry and later became OX-ford – but I couldn’t give you the number of the cell phone that shared an overloaded  pocket with the damned Organizer.  I also discovered that I was rapidly losing the ability to do simple math in my head.
It was then that I decided that electronic devices, like prescription medicines, should be required to list possible side effects.  If the acne medicine says it minimizes Blackheads, but can also cause Migraine Headaches, Impotence and Death, even the most insecure adolescent might think twice about using it.  But nobody warned us up front that things like calculators, computers, the internet, etc. - while they looked like boons to mankind - were actually deadly plagues waiting to destroy our mental abilities and turn us all into intellectual cripples.
In retrospect, it seems so simple. Any muscle that is never exercised will atrophy over time – “Use It Or Lose It” is a mantra that is absolutely true.  We should have been able to see that without a Surgeon General’s Warning:
This Device Can Make You Stupid

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Perfect Formula

As you probably know by now, I am a big fan of Limericks.  I am the founder of - and frequent contributor to - a group known as Addicted to Limericks on Facebook.  
One of our members posted this yesterday.  It was not original, and there was no attribution, but I would love to shake the author's hand.

In case you're wondering, the math actually works.  Each side of the equation is equal to 81.

Friday, January 22, 2016

What A Deal

The sign above reminded me of something. 
It's a story that I may have shared before, but it is a true story, and it's worth repeating.
For several years before I retired, I got my hair cut at a Vietnamese barber/beauty shop near the office.  The owner and all of the employees were middle-aged Vietnamese refugees with limited English skills, but they gave a very good man's haircut for only $3.98.  They raised their price to $4.98 just before I retired, but it was still one of the best deals in town. 
The ladies chattered constantly in their native language, and would often break out in gales of laughter.  If you could control the paranoia that said they were joking about you, it was actually a very pleasant atmosphere.
One day I showed up around lunch time, and the usually busy shop was almost empty.  The only people around were me and the owner. She told me that for an extra two dollars she would give me a shampoo and a blow job.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Planet 9

Scientists at Cal Tech have announced the discovery of a ninth planet in our solar system.  They describe it has being about ten times as big as Earth and about twenty times further from the Sun.
They haven't actually seen it - nobody has - but they say the movement if several objects in the Kuiper Belt shows that they are orbiting something, and the math gives them the size and mass of what they are calling Planet 9.
I guess that makes sense, but those blobs of ice they can see are much smaller than the "Planet" that they can't.  This evidence of things unseen sounds a lot more like religion than science.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Hangin' In There

With as many trees as we have here at the Boggy Thicket, leaves, twigs and limbs fall all the time, but the one in the picture above has captured my imagination.  
It is small - about 1/2 inch in diameter and about 15 inches long.  It fell from somewhere above and came to rest on a small branch about 7 feet above the ground.  What is so fascinating is that it has stayed there.
I'm not sure how long it has been there, but I first noticed it around Christmas.  Since then El Niño has brought a series of thunderstorms with winds in excess of 40 miles per hour, but the little stick is still sitting right where it fell a month ago and shows no sign of leaving any time soon.
It is certainly not the only limb to fall this winter - I didn't notice until I took this picture, but there is a much larger limb caught in the branches of a tree in the lower right center if this shot.  That one is about 5 feet long and about 40 feet up.  Somehow, it is just not as interesting.
I consider this limb to be a bit of a miracle.  The chances of it landing where it is so perfectly cradled by the smaller branch have to be infinitesimal, yet there it is, and there it stays.
There is a little boy inside me that wants to jump up and knock it down, but the rest of me wants to see how long it is actually going to stay. 

Tuesday, January 19, 2016


One of the few things that Honey asked for this past Christmas was a card table.  She wanted to set it up in the den, and use it as a place to do jigsaw puzzles and coloring books.
This is her first completed puzzle.  She finished it yesterday in spite of the problems she is having with her left eye.  It was the first time either of us had ever attempted a 1,000 piece puzzle.
Well, it was supposed to be a 1,000 piece puzzle, but if you look carefully, you may see a couple of gaps - there were three pieces missing.  We're pretty sure it came that way - I guess they might have dropped on the floor and been eaten by our dog, but that's very unlikely. 
She had originally planned to put it all back in the box and donate it to the Senior Citizens' Center, but donating a 997 piece puzzle just seems mean.

Monday, January 18, 2016


Headed out in a few minutes to the Ophthalmologist.  Honey has a procedure this morning that involves sticking a hypodermic needle into her eye.  Needless to say, she is very apprehensive.

Sunday, January 17, 2016


I was reading an article this morning, and came across something I had to share.  A group of small children were asked what love meant, and most of the replies were about what you would expect, but there was one from a four-year-old named Billy -
"When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different. You just know that your name is safe in their mouth."

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Yesterday was a Chamber of Commerce day at the Boggy Thicket - crystal clear skies and a high in the low 70s, not bad for the middle of January.  
Weather that perfect also brought out something we usually only hear in the summer.  
We have a neighbor who lives about a half mile from us who considers himself a musician and treats us to outdoor concerts.  He sometimes sings along with a small band that includes drums, guitar and an electric bass.  He also must own the biggest, baddest amplifier ever created.  His music isn't good, but it is loud!
Thankfully, he always stops by eleven p.m.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Political Correctness Gone Wild

The Houston Independent School District has done it again!  
The same school board that forced a half dozen schools last year to pick new non-offensive mascots voted last night to change the names of four schools named after folks who held office in (or fought for) the Confederate States of America.  Robert E. Lee high school gets the p-c axe, along with Richard Dowling, Thomas (Stonewall) Jackson and Henry Grady jr. highs.  
Not sure how Grady made the list. The editor of the Atlanta Constitution in the 1880s, and known as the "spokesman of the new south" Grady was only 10 years old when the war broke out.
Somehow Jeff Davis and John H Reagan High Schools survived the apocolypse.  Don't ask me to make sense of that - none of this makes any sense to me whatsoever.
Reagan, the namesake of my (and my father's) old high school in the Heights, served in the U S House of Representatives both before and after the Civil War, and was the Postmaster General of the Confederacy.  Maybe he survived because he ran the only post office ever to actually run at a profit in U S history.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Nothing to Say - No Way to Say It

Since I first started this blog, I had used Windows Live Writer to compose my posts.  Then last month, quit supporting Live Writer and suggested switching to Open Writer, instead.
That would have been fine, but I can't get Open Writer to connect with my blog.  I even tried another blog composer, Raven, and I can't get it to connect, either.
I can't figure out what, if anything, I'm doing wrong. 

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

State of the ....

Last night Barack Obama delivered his last State of the Union Address.  It was covered by almost every conceivable TV and Radio network, but we didn't see it.  
Instead, we went out to dinner with our next-door neighbors, the Graffs. We enjoyed a great meal at Marsala's, the only truly outstanding restaurant in Huffman.  
Our conversation covered a myriad of topics from red-green colorblindness to parenting and pistols, but not a word about politics.  All in all, a truly delightful evening.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Getting Started

Last year I wrote that I finally sold our old 8-N Ford tractor and got a new-to-me Ford 2000 that's only 40 years old.  So far, so good on that - it's ugly (minor body blemishes) but it runs great.  It has more power than I'll ever need and several gears that will probably never be used.
The only issue I've found is that if the tractor is cold and/or wet it is hard to start.  The reason is that Diesel engines run without spark plugs - just the compression of the fuel/air mixture generates enough heat to cause combustion.  Unlike many newer tractors and Diesel trucks, the old tractor does not have glow plugs to help and must depend on compression alone to get the fuel mixture to the ignition point - a lot to ask from a 40 year old engine.
The solution is ether, which has a much lower ignition point than Number 2 Diesel. I saw several figures listed on line, but the ignition point of Diesel as about 500° and diethyl ether (the main ingredient in starter fluid) is a couple hundred degrees cooler.  That's a quick simplification of several hours of reading about how diesel engines work - flash points vs. ignition points, etc. The bottom line is that one quick spritz of starter fluid into the air intake, and the old girl fires right up. 

Monday, January 11, 2016

Rolling Thunder

I have it on good authority (ask Honey) that I snore, often quite loudly, although I have never heard myself.  That may have changed last night.  Prior to that, I have never heard myself, have never, as many people do, woke myself up with my snoring, but last night may have been different.
Sometime after two this morning, I was sound asleep when I heard thunder.  That's odd, I thought, skies were clear when we went to bed, and there was nothing in the weather forecast about rain until Wednesday at the earliest.  I didn't get up - I'm not sure I ever came fully awake - but I listened to the thunder roll for what seemed like several minutes before dropping back off to sleep.
Skies were still clear this morning.  The "thunder" may or may not have been my snoring, may have been just a dream.  Either way, it was definitely self-generated.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

No-Win Situation

My Houston Texans were underdogs going into yesterday's game.  Sports mavens had them losing by three points. Losing by any points at all still constitutes a loss, and the playoffs are a win or go home situation, but my gosh they were awful.  From the opening kickoff to the 30 zip final they just couldn't seem to do anything right.
I didn't win the Power Ball jackpot either, but I did better than the Texans.  At least I matched some numbers - not enough to win - but some.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Kay Cee

The Kansas City Chiefs are in town to play the Texans in an NFL playoff game this afternoon.  The last time a KC team played a local team in post season - last year's MLB playoffs - it didn't go so well. Hopefully, this time will have a better result.
I hate Kansas City - always have.  The reasons are mostly petty and personal, and I won't list them here.  Suffice it to say that I'm convinced that it is against the law to own property there if you can't prove that you are a jerk.
Besides, who would name their town after the state on the other side of the river?  

Friday, January 8, 2016

Driveway Blues

It should come as no surprise that ElNiño is causing all sorts of trouble this winter.  Our weather has been, to put it mildly, weird.

We enjoyed a couple of days of clear skies and warm weather, then it rained like hell all Wednesday night.  There was hardly any wind, so we weren't expecting any damage, but we woke Thursday morning to find the top of a big oak tree blocking our driveway.

Why it broke off the way it did, and shattered into many pieces when it hit, is a mystery.  The only thing I know for sure is that I have a big mess to clean up.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Half a Loaf Is Better Than None

Yesterday's post turned out to be only half right.  We made it to the chiropractor, but learned that the lady who does Honey's hair no longer works on Wednesdays.  
We are going to try again today - Honey made appointments for both of us.
I can get my hair cut anywhere, and it never looks much better or worse wherever I go.  Honey has been getting her hair done at the same place for years, and doesn't want to even try anyone else.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016


Headed out for some maintenance today.  
We have stops at the chiropractor, then getting hair cuts.
I'm not sure which we need most.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

First Second Monday

Over time I have had a sort of tradition develop - Tuesday posts are often labeled as the second Monday in a row.  These posts are usually light-hearted and seldom original - usually a cartoon or photo like the one below.
I don't know the who or the where on this, but it's just too cute not to share...

Saturday, January 2, 2016


What with weather that was not at all inviting, and - let's face it - general laziness, I skipped new year's day.  No, not that kind of skipping - I simply mean that I did not walk.
I did today. I walked one half mile and timed it so that I met up with Honey for the last quarter mile of the five she does every day.
I am not ready to make a new year's resolution to walk - I hate walking just to be walking - but I will admit that I feel better when I do.  
Maybe I'll resolve to think about it.

Friday, January 1, 2016


I got a totally unexpected Christmas gift last week.  
My daughter Cheryl gave me an internet-enabled memory chip for my camera.  It stores whatever pictures I take on the cloud, and effectively makes my old Canon Rebel XTi camera into a much more modern camera.
I'm still figuring it out, but this is a picture I took this morning of a couple of blossoms from our Camellias.  They don't have as many blooms as last year, but they are blooming nicely.
Hope you like it, and welcome to 2016.