Wednesday, August 31, 2016


Here at the Boggy Thicket we have a few hummingbirds who stay all year long, so we keep at least one or two feeders filled year round.
Yesterday, I had just stepped out the back door when I heard a loud thud and looked down to see a male ruby throated hummingbird  on the ground about six feet away.  I thought he might have been injured, but before I could take a step toward him, he flew away, leaving a female bird that had been hidden beneath him.
She sat for a couple seconds, then shook herself and flew up to the nearest feeder for a nice long drink.  From there, she flew up to a branch about twelve feet above the feeder looking none the worse for the encounter. 
If what I think was happening actually happened, we may have baby birds in about three weeks.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Houston 180

The City of Houston turns 180 years old today, and a local TV station is soliciting viewers to name something about the city - past or present - that they think is really cool.
I suppose there are lots of things I could have listed, but the first thing that came to my mind was the Southwestern Bell Yellow Pages.  Not the listings inside, the cool illustrations on the cover.
Each new edition brought an updated view of downtown, each with remarkable, and often funny details.  You could literally spend hours poring over Russell Cushman's artwork looking for how many more kittens were blocking traffic this year, or was that really a spaceship on the banks of the bayou. 
I had always assumed that these Yellow Pages covers were one of things that made Houston unique, but I just learned today that the artist did similar work for the Dallas Yellow Pages.  Now, that was a real disappointment.

Monday, August 29, 2016


I know it's too early to say, and I certainly don't want to jinx us, but it looks like our Houston Texans may have finally found themselves a quarterback.  
Playing most of the first half against Arizona yesterday, Brock Osweiler went 11 for 13 for 146 yards and one  touchdown, and as Joe Buck pointed out several times during the play-by-play, the two incomplete passes were dropped - balls that could have been caught.
From all indications, Osweiler is well liked and respected by his teammates, and he gives great interviews. 

Sunday, August 28, 2016

The Right to Be Wrong

The guy on the bottom in the picture above is Colin Kaepernick, the San Francisco quarterback who generated a firestorm this weekend by refusing to stand for the National Anthem before a pre-season football game.
As difficult as it is for me to say it, our Constitution gives him an unassailable right to behave this way.  
Courts have ruled that actions constitute speech and are protected by the 1st Amendment - that's why it is no longer illegal to burn a flag.  Free speech means, with certain exceptions like slander, threatening the President, or yelling "Fire" in a crowded theater, that Americans have the right to say anything without regard to how ridiculous it might be.  The 1st Amendment gives you the perfect right to be a total asshole.  
That is why the ACLU has, on occasion, defended organizations like the KKK, whose beliefs are anathema to what the ACLU stands for. Nobody said good citizenship should be easy.
The National Football League issued a statement affirming Kaepernick's right to behave as he did.  They were correct, but this is the same NFL front office that the week before denied the Dallas Cowboys request to put decals on their helmets honoring slain Dallas police officers.  
Maybe the Constitution needs an amendment to the amendment - one that says you have a right to be wrong, but you are required to at least be consistent. 

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Holiday Season?

You might not think of the end of August as a big time for holidays, but yesterday was National Dog Day, and tomorrow is Go Topless Day.  
In honor of the two events, our dachshunds are eschewing bikinis for the entire week.
Actually, today is also a holiday of sorts.  It's Global Forgiveness Day, not to be confused with International Forgiveness Day which was the first Sunday in August.
National Dog Day is meant to highlight the need for rescue and adoption of our canine friends, and this year's event was the biggest ever.  
Go Topless Day always falls on the Sunday closest to Women's Equality Day, and is designed to emphasize the inequality of dress code laws.  As one spokesperson put it, "As long as men can go topless, women should have the same constitutional right or men should also be forced to wear something that hides their chests."
There are at least 20 states where it is illegal for women to go topless in public, but (according to Wikipedia) Texas is not one of them.  Austin, Texas is one of the dozens of cities in the US and Canada where parades are scheduled to celebrate Topless Day this year, but .... it is Austin.  

Friday, August 26, 2016


To help us serve you better, there
Is this short and friendly questionnaire
Please start by listing thirty references
Give height and weight and sexual preferences
List your mother’s date of birth and where

State military record including rank
At discharge - leave the next section blank
Do you now, or have you ever had diseases
Like dropsy, psychosis or night-time wheezes
Did you ever swim naked in a stock tank?

Please list your favorite place to dine
Which do you prefer, cold beer or wine?
How well do you stick to a strict diet?
If you knew you would not get caught, would you try it?
Just a few more questions – you’re doing just fine

Print your name and please sign the last page and then
Bring the forms to the window and turn them in
Have a seat over there and fairly soon
A nurse will usher you back to a room
Where she’ll ask you all of these questions again

Thursday, August 25, 2016


It seems like every time I turn around - at least once a week or so - there is a story about some celebrity or other whose accounts have been hacked, and their nude, and/or compromising photos posted on line for all the world to see.
This ticks me off in  couple of ways:
First - Why did these photos exist in the first place?  What were they thinking?  Did they really expect them to remain private?
And Second - The stories about these embarrassing hacks never show the pictures, not even links to them so we can see what all the hubbub is about.  
Granted, many of these stories are about people whose names I barely recognize, and are often about folks I might pay not to see naked, but why publish the stories at all if we can't see what they are about.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016


Honey had an endoscopy yesterday morning.  
She's OK, the test simply confirmed what she already knew, and she is back on medication that she should have never been taken off of in the first place- that's another story, and possible the subject of another post.
We had to get up very early to be at the surgical center before dawn, and both of us were very tired last night, so we shut things down and went to bed around 9:00 p.m.
I should feel rested this morning, but you know what they say about best laid plans.  I woke up every hour all night long, and got up more tired than I was when I went to bed.  It's going to be a long day.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Garbage Day

Monday's are Garbage Day at the old Boggy Thicket, the day of the week that I haul the garbage can out to the curb.  
Today, when I got the can to the street, I had an almost uncontrollable urge to climb in.
I have no idea why, and of course I didn't do it, but it has me wondering what that was all about.
Then again, today was also the first day of the new school year, and I felt no desire at all to climb on the school bus.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Rhythmic Gymnastics

After too many days of Olympics on TV, Honey and I watched the all-around finals of Rhythmic Gymnastics yesterday.  
That's the event where scantily clad young women cavort with hoops, ropes, balls and ribbons to music which may or may not match what they are doing.  It is known as Rhythmic Gymnastics, as opposed to Artistic Gymnastics which are the events where the US team dominated in prime time.
In case you missed it, Russian girls took Gold and Silver and the Bronze Medal went to a girl from Ukraine.  That Bronze was particularly impressive because Russia and Ukraine are at war, and the gym where Ganna Rizatdinova trained was often without heat, forcing her to practice in a diver's wet suit.
The picture above is the US team, which finished dead last in  the first day of qualification which put them out of medal contention.  That is not as bad as it sounds - they were the first US team to ever qualify for the Olympics.  The only other American team to appear was at the Atlanta games where they received an automatic entry as the host country.

Saturday, August 20, 2016


One of the biggest stories to come out of the Rio Olympics is the bizarre report of Ryan Lochte being "robbed at gunpoint" and the subsequent stories that seem to prove that the "robber" was an armed security guard protecting a gas station.
Everyone and his brother (myself included) has been quick to condemn Lochte's behavior - wondering what the Hell he was thinking.
Then, I remembered being in a similar situation - one that involved youthful exuberance, excess alcohol, a language barrier, and a large pistol.  
In my case, the confrontation occurred in Piedras Negras when I was sixteen, and the guy with the gun was the bouncer at a border town bar.  I won't go into details here, other than to say that there was no vandalism involved, and I didn't intentionally do anything wrong, but the situation got very tense for a while.
My drunken companions thought the whole thing was hilarious.

Friday, August 19, 2016


I saw an article yesterday that said that the average English-speaking adult knows over 42,000 words.  
That number was based on a study by Ghent University.  They used an exam that they placed on Facebook.  It took me a while to find it, but you can take it yourself HERE.
If you didn't take the test - and you should - it uses a very clever method of determining knowledge.  It asks you if you recognize a series of words.  Most are real, but about 30% look like they might be real words but are not.
Several of those fake words got me - and they warn you ahead of the test that there are extra penalties for saying you recognize a word that doesn't exist.  In spite of scoring 96% on the real words, I lost major points by saying yes to predicity, doodlet and toaked.  

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Louisiana Flood

Lots of Louisiana remains flooded this morning, and some areas will get worse before they get better. There are still highways shut down, and the currently recommended route from Houston to New Orleans involves driving to Shreveport, taking I-20 to Meridian, MS, and I-59 south to NOLA.
I really feel for the poor folks who have suffered losses - been there myself  and know that recovery will be a long and painful process.
But -
CBS reported yesterday, and I suppose that it's true, that only one in eight homes and businesses that flooded in Baton Rouge had flood insurance!
They're 56 feet above sea level, on the banks of the Mississippi,and they don't have flood insurance?
What the Hell were they thinking? 

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Medal Count

I know Texas isn't a country, but then neither is Puerto Rico, and they are represented.
Here is the latest medal count from Rio if we were, and it doesn't include the track athletes representing other countries (or the swimmer from Singapore) who attend and compete for Texas schools.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Think You're Having A Bad Day?

If you think you're having a bad day, just consider Russian diver Nadezda Bazhina, who scored a perfect Zero on a dive at the Rio Olympics.
The same score she would have received if she hadn't bothered to get on the board!
Her dive was ugly, but she did manage to land in the pool.  You'd think that would be worth something.
NBC's copyright prohibits me from embedding  the video in my post, but you can see it HERE.

Sunday, August 14, 2016


If you've never ventured north of say, Corsicana, you've probably never heard of Braum's Ice Cream.  If that's the case, you've missed a treat.
Braum's is a family-owned chain of ice cream and burger joints based in Oklahoma, each with its own attached deli/convenience store. They have over two hundred locations is five states, but, since they produce most of what they sell, and to insure freshness, they will not open a store more than 300 miles from the family farm in Tuttle, OK.
Most of the signage on the Braum's stores is well done, very professional, but this one had me scratching my head.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Lady Peacock

Some days nothing of note has happened here at the Boggy Thicket, and I am sick of politics, so I have to stretch for something to comment about on my blog.  
This is one of those days.
There are several casino applications on Facebook where I enjoy playing slots.  One of them is called Shake the Sky, and it features several very enjoyable games.  
Lady Peacock is not one of them.
Oh, it is one of their games, it's just not one of their best.  In spite of that, they keep displaying it as their featured game, and when you open the app, her picture appears on your screen.
I am at a loss to explain why.  
Most women who appear on on-line slots are at least somewhat attractive.  They range from cute, to beautiful, to the sort of thing that generates erotic fantasies.  
As you can see, Lady Peacock doesn't fit any of those categories - I think she is downright ugly, slightly deformed and no more feminine that Caitlyn Jenner.  
Still, somebody at their website must find her attractive.  Maybe she looks like their mother.

Friday, August 12, 2016

About Yesterday's Post

I think everything is back under control now - it appears to be - but you'll understand if I'm not totally confident.  Here's what happened:
As I mentioned in several previous posts - Like This One - after over 50 years with State Farm, we changed insurance carriers the first of August, signing with AAA.  We were nervous about it, but the price was just too good to pass up. With our new policies in hand, we called and cancelled State Farm coverage on the second.
Then on the ninth we got a cancellation notice from AAA.  They said that they would not be able to insure our house after all since we did not have a fire hydrant within 1000 feet of the house.
You sent a guy out to take pictures of our place back in July.  You couldn't have said so then?
It turns out that AAA, and possibly some other companies, will quote a price, write the policy and then go shopping for an underwriter.  If they can't find one, they leave the customer high and dry.
In a panic, we called our old State Farm agent.  He assures us that he was able to get our old policies reinstated back to the day we cancelled, and it will be like we never left.  We don't have anything in writing yet, but then again we did have a written policy from AAA, so maybe that doesn't matter too much.
We defied a whole bunch of old adages when we changed - things like:
"If it ain't broke, don't fix it."
"If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is."
I think it's safe to say we learned our lesson.
There is a TV ad running locally where the lady says, "You know, Triple A, and you don't know Triple A."  At this point, I think that we know enough, and I don't care to learn any more.


Thursday, August 11, 2016

If It Ain't Broke...

Got some devastating news in the mail yesterday - news  that threw our lives into turmoil.  
Things are better this morning, but not totally resolved.  I'll explain everything - hopefully tomorrow - when we get everything sorted out.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Happy Birthday

As birthdays go, yesterday ranks right up there with the best I can remember.  
We went to dinner at Chili's with our neighbors, the Graffs, and on the way they stopped at HEB for a birthday cake.  Alesha had asked Honey what kind of cake I liked and she told her chocolate, the more chocolate the better.  The cake she ordered was a deep, dark chocolate with rich chocolate icing sprinkled with chocolate shavings - wow!
After dinner, we came home to watch our US Olympians add to their stash of Gold - Ledecky, Phelps (twice in an hour) and, of course, the women gymnasts who blew away the competition.  What a great way to end the day.
I got birthday wishes by mail, and email, and via Facebook.  If you add in all the comments on original posts, I got more Facebook wishes than the 74 years I've lived.  
The most unusual birthday greeting I got was from a doctor I haven't been to in years.  I answered to phone and heard a computer-generated voice say "This message is for Robert Couch." 
I normally hang up on computer calls, but before I could, "she" continued with what I guess you would call an electronic birthday card.  It was well written, but since it was a computer, there was no flow or meter to the presentation  - no way you could say it sounded heartfelt.  Still, it was unique, and remarkable in it's way.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Thoughts on Birthday Number 74

A birthday idea I thought would be cute
Post a “Selfie” of me in my birthday suit
It’s a little bit frayed, a little bit tattered
And parts of me look like I have been battered
But my biggest fear as I wash my old skin
It’ll shrink and I’ll never get back in

Monday, August 8, 2016


My comment yesterday about how loud Raccoons are when they're coupling reminded me of an incident from years ago.  
It was my daughter's eleventh or twelfth birthday, and I had taken her and a whole van-load of her friends to the Houston Zoo.  When we arrived, we could hear roars that shook the ground clear out in the parking lot.  Seeking the cause, we swiftly made our way to the big cat cages in time to see a pair of tigers mating.
The little girls didn't say much at the time, and the rest of our trip to the zoo was pleasantly uneventful.  Then on the way home, one of the girls roared and the rest went into uncontrollable fits of giggles.  Things would finally calm down, and another would roar sending them off again.  They kept that up all the way home. 
A month or so later, one of the girls roared at me in the supermarket.  When her mother wanted to know what that was about, she just told her "You had to have been there."

Sunday, August 7, 2016


A couple of nights ago, a pair of raccoons engaged in a romantic encounter in our woods out past the barn.  
They were anything but subtle about it - you could have heard them for miles.
According to PBS, the raccoon mating season runs from January to June, so I don't know if Ms. Coon's vocalizations were simply from ecstasy or if they were a raccoon version of yelling rape. 

Saturday, August 6, 2016

1.2 Billion

One point two billion dollars - that's what NBC paid for the right to broadcast the 2016 Olympics from Rio.
 After last night's opening ceremonies, they ought to be asking for some of their money back.  In spite of the NBC announcers gushing on about how wonderful what we were seeing was, it just wasn't.
The only emotion it generated in this viewer was annoyance at their editorial about climate change - totally inappropriate for this venue - but even that was only mildly irritating.
If you're interested in how to see the actual competitions, Fortune Magazine published this guide.

Friday, August 5, 2016


What's wrong with this picture?
Scientists at UC Davis released a report today on a long-term study of why sunflowers follow the sun.  They did various things to torment the flowers - put them in pots and turn them 180 degrees each night, place them in artificial light on a 30 hour cycle, etc. - all to prove what we already knew, that sunflowers actually do follow the sun each day.
As to how they do it, they showed that the shady side of the stalks  actually grow faster.  
And as to why, like most everything else in nature, it comes down to reproduction - they proved that bees are more attracted to warmer flowers, so I guess you could say the sunflowers are just trying to get laid.
Back to my original question - what's wrong with the picture above?  It (and every other photo I found on line) shows  the sunflowers facing away from the sun.  I have no idea why, but I thought it was interesting.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

A Slow Day

Writing a daily post for my blog can be a challenge.  
Trying to find something clever and/or profound to say on a daily basis is almost impossible, even when I steal and re-post something I found on line.
Today was one of those days when nothing came to mind, so I decided to go back and see what I had posted on August 4th of previous years. 
That was a bust.  
There were several years when I didn't post anything at all - usually because we were out of town on one of our vacation trips - and of those days I did post something, there were none I felt I needed to bring up again. 
Oh, well.
Maybe tomorrow will be better.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016


The 2016 Olympics get underway in Rio de Janeiro this week.  Here's a preview of the torch lighting at the opening ceremonies...


Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Down the List

For a long as I can remember - and that's a long time, 50 years or so - Houstonians have pointed with pride to the Texas Medical Center, not only as a major source of revenue, but as a the place to go for whatever disease you might have.  People come to the Med Center hospitals from all over the world because of their reputation as being the go-to place to fix what ails you.
So, it was a bit of a surprise that this year's list of America's top  hospitals only lists one Med Center facility in the top twenty, and that was Methodist way down at number nineteen.  
Methodist did come in as number eight on the specialty list as a place to treat diabetes, but despite all the advances made there during the DeBakey years, they were listed as twenty-one for heart problems.
Baylor/St Lukes made at least one specialty list, and TIRR-Memorial Hermann was listed as number two among rehabilitation facilities.
The top hospital according to the US News and World Report was the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Thirty-eight Special

Was minding my own business yesterday afternoon, watching golf on TV, when the doorbell rang.  It was a guy wanting to put sealer on the asphalt on our driveway.  I told him I wasn't interested, but he persisted, offering to do the whole thing for thirty-eight dollars.
Something didn't feel right, but after he repeated the offer several times, and me emphasizing that $38 was the full price, I finally gave the OK.
Once they got started, his brother approached me with their brochure, which clearly stated that the sealer was $38 a Gallon!  
I told them to stop right there.  They could either finish the job for  $38 - and put up their sign like we agreed - or they could take the $38, pack up their stuff and leave.  Either way, I wasn't paying them one cent more than the $38 we had agreed upon.
Things got very tense.  
The brother threatened to go get their uncle's bulldozer and tear up my driveway to recover his materials.  I assured him that wasn't going to happen, so he then threatened to have a lien placed on our property.  At that point,  Honey said she was calling 9-1-1.  
The guy who had come to the door then said it was all a misunderstanding and that they would leave.  I offered them the $38 again, but the brother said they didn't want my damn money, and started loading up their truck.
I didn't check my blood pressure, but it took over an hour for my heartbeat and respiration to return to normal after they left.